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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!



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! 


Dealing with Dehydration in the Summer

Possibly one of the most deadly conditions during the summer for an outdoorsman would be dehydration. Not only does this condition drain the body of needed energy in any situation but it also robs the effected person of the ability to think clearly. So here are some tips and tricks on how to combat dehydration and prevent it from ever becoming a problem.

The first step to dealing with dehydration is to know the warning signs of dehydration. The first is simply an increase in thirst, this is usually just a sign that the body is beginning to become out of balance in water intake and output. This is of course easily remedied by drinking a good amount of water, at least 16 oz. and then continually drinking more water throughout the day. By doing this a person should keep the secondary symptoms of dehydration from ever manifesting. These include dry mouth, dizziness and if not treated an inability to sweat. When the body finally gets to the point where it no longer is able to sweat, the skin of an individual will often times become red and warm to the touch. At this point the first thing that should be done is to get the individual to a shady cool spot. The individual should be given sips of water, giving to much water at a time can cause the person to become ill exacerbating the issue. A way to help the person cool off is to lay a cool moist cloth across their forehead. Keeping the individual taking sips of water and in the shade will help to start the process of rehydrating the body. So keeping the person in the shade and drinking water for an extended period of time is a very good idea.  If at any time the individual’s condition worsens or they lose consciousness emergency personnel must be called.

backpackNow that the symptoms are dealt with here are some ways to keep from having to deal with them. First way is to have a large amount of water readily available and quickly accessible while outside and exerting oneself. A great way to do this is with a camel back, one of the best on the market is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® 2L Hydration Pack. This pack gives the wearer the ability to have water literally on their back, where the weight is easier to take and less likely to be ignored. A great way to keep from getting dehydrated is to simply add ice to the water in the camel back. tankThis keeps the water cool while at the same time helping to cool down the person’s body that is drinking the water. Another great way to keep from becoming dehydrated while working in the yard is to keep a water jug close at hand. These jugs will hold 1 to 10 gallons of water and can easily be kept cool by adding ice or being put in a cooler with ice. A great water jug for setting on a counter or a deck is the Reliance Aqua Tainer™ Water Jug, this 7 gallon jug is easy to move and fill with a large removable valve for easy access and pouring.


canopyNow drinking water is good but another thing to consider is the comfort while working in the yard or outdoors in general. A good way to stay more comfortable and help stay hydrated is to set up a canopy with some shade and perhaps a chair. A good canopy for the heat of the summer is the Bass Pro Shops® Instant Canopies, these canopies can be opened and set up in about five minutes by an individual if need be. The sturdy build means that when staked down properly this canopy will not go flying away.chairWhile under the canopy, getting off your feet is often the goal so having a comfortable chair in the shade is always a must. A their that can stand up to the rigors of the summer is the Bass Pro Shops® Big Outdoorsman Lounger Chair, this chair allows a person to lounge while still being outdoors and in the shade. Now that the signs of dehydration and how to keep from having to deal with them have been ironed out as always happy hunting and good luck! 


Summer Fishing: Bass and Crappie

The summertime is the greatest to just get on the boat and head out to the lake. This is made far better when the day is just spent fishing and relaxing. What can make this day on the lake more fun is when the fish are biting and giving a good fight. Knowing where the fish are hiding and what lures to use can make fishing easier.

In the morning bass tend to congregate around the points on the lake, they are also relatively shallow at this time of day. The best time for this would be from about 6am to 7:30am. This is the time of day the bass will be near the top because the water is still cool and there are prey fish in the area so throwing a Bass Pro Shops® XTS™ Lures – Crank, this crank bait is a shallow diving bait that has great action and will elicit the big strike many anglers are looking for in a crank bait. A good color for the crank bait is the natural green craw, blue chartreuse, and ghost spook.


Later in the day after the bass have moved away from the points it is a good idea to go looking for them in deeper water. When the water has finally heated up for the day the big bass tend to hang out around the thermocline between 18 and 24 feet deep. Even though the bass have moved to deeper water this does not necessarily mean that they are no longer active and should be disregarded. These fish that have gone deep are still very hungry and will put up a very big fight when hooked. A good lure to use during this time is the Strike King® KVD Swim Jig, this jig works great in the green pumpkin color with the ¼ oz. jig head.


During this time of day another great combo to use is the ¼ oz. Bass Pro Shops® Enticer® Pro Series Football Jigs, in the green pumpkin, this combined with the Bass Pro Shops® River Bug, also in green pumpkin, make an irresistible bait for bass. The bites from these bass will not be distinct like the bites from the morning on the top water but will instead feel either like reeling in a small stick or like the bait has disappeared. This means that the bass has grabbed the bait and is swimming toward deeper water, and while fishing in a boat usually means swimming toward the fisherman. This is the time to set the hook and start retrieving the fish.


In the morning crappie seem to be very similar to the bass in that they are usually shallow and feeding from around 6am to 8am. During this time the crappie are feeding on smaller bait fish so rigging up a 1/8 oz. jig head with a Bass Pro Shops® Baby Shad, in the smokin shad color will drive the crappie crazy. This rig many times will get a quick and aggressive strike from the crappie in the morning making this perfect for those new fishermen who want a quick strike and a good fight for the time spent. 

shad        shad

After the crappie move out of the shallow water when the water finally starts to warm up around 8am they tend to hang around in the standing timber poles or under and around docks where they can be in the shade and still feed. After the crappie move, getting a bite becomes a little harder, but having a bait like the Bass Pro Shops® Weedless Curltail Stump Jumper®, in the Chartreuse Black Chartreuse 1/8 oz. that catches the crappies eye makes this a lot easier. By taking and running the stump jumper through and around the stumps or between boat slips the crappie will bite quite quickly and a lot like in the morning with a very aggressive bite. Now that the tips and tricks are out as always happy hunting and good luck!



Warm Weather Camping

Camping in the warm weather is always a great idea. The weather is nicer and the outdoors are alive with new colors and the sounds of all the animals finally out and about after a long winter. So here are some things a warm weather camper will need this year to have a successful campout.

The most important thing to find for the perfect warm weather campout is the right tent. A tent needs to fit not only the group that is going but also the place in which the group will be staying. If a big group is going out on the campout, ten or more, then it is a good idea to get either a very large tent or a two or three medium tents. One tent that is great for big groups is the Coleman® Vacationer 2-Room Ten-Person 15' x 10' Cabin Tent, this tent allows a large group to split into two different groups and sleep separately while still only having to carry one tent. A tent that would be good for a smaller group would be the Bass Pro Shops® Six Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch, because it has enough room for a group while at the same time giving a sitting area on the front that can be easily zipped up to keep out bugs and other critters.


While a tent is important having food and water is far more important. Having a water filtration system with any group out on a campout is a great idea. This system needs to be able to not only filter water but do it quickly and passively so the group can do other things than crank a water filter. One of the best water filters on the market right now that not only is passive but has a high capacity is the Sawyer® 4L Water Filtration System. This system is great because the dirty water bag can be hung anywhere above the clean water bag and the weight of the water will force the water through the filter making the system fast and passive. As for food having the right utensils and cooking equipment is a must. When out on a campout and cooking breakfast the two things that are most important are the stove and the griddle. The stove needs to be sturdy and should be propane for its ease of use, while the griddle should be large and preferably be made of cast iron as it is the easiest to use and clean during a campout. For the stove a solid recommendation is the Browning Two Burner Camp Stove, this twin burner stove gives enough heat to cook just about any meal quickly while providing enough space for an entire meal to be cooked at the same time. Now for the griddle there is a lot of wiggle room on the type and size that can be made but a good choice is the Lodge Logic® Double Play Reversible Grill/Griddle, this griddle gives two sides for not only pancakes and sausage but to also grill chicken or veggies.

stovegrill griddleWater

Now that the food is taken care of it is time to relax. This part of the campout is for telling stories and just catching up. For this one only need look for a simple camp chair. The best kind are big enough for anyone and tough enough to be tossed in the back of the truck when the weekend is over and don’t need to be worried about till everyone is home.  Bass Pro Shops® Hard Arm Folding Chair, this chair is built to last and is comfortable making it perfect for a weekend out camping.

BPS Chair

Now that the essentials have been covered it is time for some direction on how to keep a camp healthy and in order. It is a good idea to always bring a large amount of trash bags, being on a campout can generate a lot more trash than anyone ever thought possible. Another must have on a campout is a basic bed sheet. Since the weather has warmed up and the use of a sleeping bag is probably not the most desirable thing in the world having a simple bed sheet can keep a camper covered while at the same time still keeping them from getting a chill. This being said bringing a warm weather sleeping bag is a good idea, a good bag for the job is the Ascend® 55º Rectangular Sleeping Bag, this bag will keep a person warm while at the same time not overheating. Now if the bag does get to hot in the night simply crawl out and sleep on top with the bed sheet.

sleeping bag

While camping is all fun and games there are a few things that need to happen as soon as all the equipment gets home. First set up the tent in the backyard for a few hours with nothing in it so that it can air out and dry out. If the tent is stored even a little wet mold can grow and ruin the tent. This is especially important after a warm weather campout where humidity tends to soak everything. After the tent is taken care of the water filtration system needs to be cleaned out. This consists of running clean tap water through the filter backwards in order to knock all the particulate matter out of the filter. Doing this will not only extend the life of the filter but keep the filtered water better for longer. Finally the last very important step is to wash the sleeping bag. This may not seem necessary after a single night campout but just like the tent, storing the sleeping bag with even a little moisture can cause all kinds of nasty things to grow. Now that everything is settled for warm weather camping, as always happy hunting and good luck! 


The Right Sock for the Right Hike

When hiking what is the worst feeling in the world? The answer is being in the middle of a long trek and finding a bright blister on the bottom or side of your foot because the sock being worn has rubbed the foot raw. Finding the right sock for each hike has been a problem for many people over the years. Here are some helpful hints on how to find the right sock for the hike.

There are realsockly many different hikes that all need different types of socks for each. The first hiking difference would be a short hike compared to a long hike. For a short hike the need for a thick heavy sock is not always necessary. This type of hike usually calls for a lightweight sock that will readily wick away sweat while keeping the foot from being rubbed around the ankles and on the heel. For men a good choice is the RedHead® Lifetime Guarantee Lightweight Quarter Socks, these socks are high enough to keep the ankle and heels from rubbing while at the same time giving that sweat wicking that is needed for a day hike. A great sock for the ladies on a day hike is definitely the Ascend® Hiker Quarter Sock, these socks are lightweight wool which wicks away sweat efficiently while at the same time giving the support   needed frsockom a good hiking sock.

The next type of hike where specialized socks are a necessity is the long trek. These hikes are usually a weekend long and having a blister after the first day can be disastrous.  So the type of sock needed is very different from the sock used on the day hike. This sock should be comfortable while being able to breathe, and at the same time give the support and sweat wicking ability without compromising any of these other functions. For a long hike it is also a good idea to pack a few extra socks just in case one pair does run through or a blister does start to form, putting on an extra pair of socks can help keep a blister from getting worse! A pair of socks that has stood the test of time for men would be the RedHead® Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Socks. These socks are great for long distance hikes because they offer the support for the foot inside the shoe while at the ssockame time giving a superior level of sweat wicking even on the hottest of hikes. The best choice for ladies Natural Reflections® Lifetime Guarantee Sock, is basically the men’s sock accept with a fit for a ladies foot, making this a great sock for a long hike where a comfortable and wearable sock is needed.

sockFinally the hike that most people would prefer to avoid is the hike in wet conditions. Sometimes even the best plans turn south quickly, but having the right socks for a hike where rain comes unexpectedly is a must. By packing an extra few pairs of socks that can be worn in the rain any hiker can keep comfortable on a hike. A set of wet condition socks need to be able to keep the foot warm while at the same time being able to dry quickly and still remaining comfortable. A sock that everybody can wear in wet conditions is the Ascend® Hiker Crew Sock, these socks are for men and women and are purpose built for comfort. They are able to wick away sweat while at the same time keeping feet warm and comfortable inside a wet shoe. So keeping a few of these awesome socks in a hiking bag is not a bad idea in case Mother Nature decides it is time for a little rain.


The sock can basically make a hike or break it. So knowing what type of hike will be taken and what socks are best fitted for the hike is always a must. Having a few extra socks on any hike is also a plus making it easy to trade out socks that may become damaged or just aren’t fitting correctly. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Grill Cleaning 101

Grilling out is definitelgrilly one of the top American pastimes during the summer. The smell of charcoal brings back memories of cookouts with family and good times with friends. This is why keeping your grill in top shape is such a necessity. Having a grill that is dirty or rusted it can affect the quality of the food in a negative way. Here are some tips and tricks to keep a grill running like a champ all summer long!

First finding the right grill for the job is a necessity. When looking at grills, choosing whether a cook likes charcoal or propane is a must. When it comes to charcoal a great grill for the job and the money is the Char-Griller® Outlaw Charcoal Grill, this grill is awesome for large families and people who like to throw parties but don’t like standing at the grill all day. As for the propane grill an awesome design and quick cooker is the Brinkmann® 4grill Burner Gas Grill, this grill is perfect for any patio or deck and can cook any meat quickly.

Now that the grills have been chosen and the parties have been thrown it is time for cleanup and storage. The first thing any grill needs is a preliminary scrub with a wire brush on all the cooking grates. Using a wire brush with a top handle is a must, this handle gives the leverage for the brush to knock off all the built up grime from the cooking and also loosens any residue from the charcoal or propane. A brush that meets the needs for most grills is definitely the Charcoal Companion® Dual Handle Monster Grill Brush™, this wire brush can power through just about any grilled on grime from even the biggest of parties. After the grills racks and grates have been scrubbed with the wire brush it is also a good idea to use a sponge with an abrasive pad and a little dish soap in order to get off the last of the grime from the cooking surfaces. After the cooking surfaces are clean it is a good idea on a charcoal grill to clean out the excess ash and charcoal from the bottom of the grill. Simply scooping out the ash with a small gardening shovel is the easiest way to do this. Then after the grill has cooled effectively wiping down the bottom of the grill, where the ash is, with a moist cloth is the best. Finally brushfor the charcoal grill cleaning out the grease trap is the final step. This is easily done by replacing whatever device is used to capture the grease and simply cleaning it in a dishwasher.  With the propane grill cleaning the grates and cooking areas is exactly the same, but after that the cleaning gets a lot easier. A light scrub on the burners with the sponge and abrasive pad with a little dish soap will keep the grease from building up on the burner and the subsequent charring from clogging any of the faucets for the propane. Again removing the grease trap, emptying and washing it is a must.

After the warm weather is over the grill is often times forgotten and left out in coverthe cold for the winter. The best thing to do for a grill that is not stainless is to use a cloth and rub it down with a little oil for the winter, a good one to use is coconut oil. This oil will keep the iron from becoming compromised with the frequent and harsh changes in temperature associated with winter here in the United States. Finally the last step to keeping any grill safe between cookouts is to get a good grill cover. These are usually inexpensive and will cover a wide range of grill sizes. A great cover for the money is the Classic Accessories® Cart BBQ Grill Cover, this series of cover has sizes and styles for almost any type of grill making it great for covering a grill after a party or for the winter.

Now that the grills are clean and ready to go it is time for another party! Have fun and grill with confidence, knowing that the grill being used is clean and ready to go. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


How to Properly Fit a Life Jacket

One of the most fun things about being on the water is the ability to safely enjoy some relaxing time in the water, but the main problem for many people is keeping everyone safe. The only way to do this is with a lifejacket. While life jackets are meant to keep people afloat and their heads above the water a poorly fit lifejacket can be one of the largest hazards while on the water.Life Jacket

While not all lifejackets are built the same many manufacturers follow a very specific set of guidelines in order to keep their wearers safe while on the water. Every lifejacket comes with a size and the approximate weights that the lifejacket services or the size of the jacket is based on the chest size of the person wearing the lifejacket. These guidelines for the size of the jackets are very important in that if a person is able to put on the jacket but does not fit the prescribed size of the jacket the flotation device will not hold up that person. A great life jacket that encompasses a wide variety of body types and sizes is the Type II Life Vest for Adult or Youth, this basic lifejacket is great for a little time on the river in which fitting a very specialized jacket is not the best idea.

Jet PilotWhen on the lake and doing specialized activities like wakeboarding or waterskiing a different jacket is definitely a must. These jackets must be fitted properly in order for them to work even in the slightest. The jacket should be snug around the chest, without constricting or binding in any place, while at the same time being pulled down on the shoulders. Then the jacket straps on the shoulders are pulled directly up the jacket should not move or slip in any places. This means that the jacket is effective and will not slip off of a person when they hit the water. This is especially important with children while tubing or wakeboarding. A good jacket to use for these activities is the Jet Pilot The Cause Neoprene Water Ski Life Jacket, this jacket is purpose built to accommodate heavy activity in and around the water making it perfect for all sorts of water activities.


While in a boat fishing it is always wise to wear a lifejacket. These jackets made for the fisherman are commonly made to allow seamless casting and retrieval with a rod and reel. Most of the lifejackets for a fisherman are fitted similarly to a skiing lifejacket. The straps should be snug around the chest and stomach while at the same time not constricting breathing or causing pain. The shoulder straps should be snug on the shoulders and should not lift when the jacket is pulled from the top. A good lifejacket for this purpose is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Deluxe Ripstop Fishing Life Jacket, this lifejacket comes equipped with extra pockets for baits and line. The lifejacket also comes with larger cutouts for the arms so casting and retrieval are not impaired because of the jacket.

On the water, on the bank or just on the dock it is always a good idea to wear a lifejacket when near the water. Having the right lifejacket for the activity is key to being safe and having a fun time on the water. As always happy swimming and good luck!


Campout Jambalaya


2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil                      1 Tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning

10 oz. of Sausage cut into Rounds                  1 Pound boneless skinless chicken breast cubed

1 Diced Onion                                                 1 Diced Green Bell Pepper   

2 Diced Celery Stalks                                      3 Minced Cloves of Garlic

1 (16 oz.) Can of Crushed Tomatoes              ½ Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper                  1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce                       2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 Teaspoon File Powder                                  1 ¼ Cups Uncooked White Rice        

2 ½ Cups Chicken Broth


Nothing beats a good old fashioned campout cookout. One of the best things to eat on a campout is a heaping plate of jambalaya! With some good seasoned chicken and sausage, as well as some well cooked rice nothing is better. It also helps that the recipe is easy to follow and the cook time is pretty manageable.

First things first, the sausage and chicken needs to be seasoned. In a bowl add the 10 oz. of sausage of your choice, Andouille is a great sausage for this, next add in a pound of chicken (16oz). Then to the bowl add in a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. A wonderful Cajun seasoning for this job is the Cajun Injector® Quick Shake® Seasoning - Cajun Shake, this seasoning is a great mix of the spice and zest many look for in a Cajun meal. After the meat is seasoned add a table spoon of vegetable oil to a skillet that is over medium heat and add the sausage. Once the sausage is browned remove it from the pan and set it aside. Now brown the chicken in the same pan, note that when cooking the cubed chicken all sides is necessary, after the chicken is browned remove it from the pan and set it aside. A good pan for the job is the Lodge Logic® Cast-Iron Flat-Bottom Square Skillet, this skillet is seasoned and ready to use making it ideal for the outdoorsman wanting to make a quick meal.


After the meat has been browned add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and begin to sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic and celery until it is well cooked. Next begin stirring in the crushed tomatoes, once the tomatoes have been stirred in season the mix with the salt, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, red pepper flakes Worcestershire sauce and file powder.

Once all of this has been mixed carefully pour into a cast iron Dutch Oven lined with a couple layers of tin foil and 18 briquettes of charcoal underneath. A good Dutch Oven for this job is the Lodge Logic® 8-Quart Cast Iron Deep Camp Dutch Oven, with its steep walls and convenient size this oven is perfect for a weekend out. After the mix is transferred add in the sausage and chicken, and let the mix cook for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooked for the ten minutes stir in the chicken broth and the rice. To bring the mixture to a gentle boil add 3 to 4 more briquettes to the bottom of the Dutch Oven, once at a boil remove the 4 extra briquettes from under the Dutch Oven and put on the lid of the oven and add 6 briquettes to the lid of the Dutch Oven. Let the mix simmer for between 20 and 25 minutes stirring occasionally then serve!

Dutch Oven


Spring Apparel Must Haves

Spring time is the best, the changing colors, the warmer weather, and a whole new wardrobe! With the new season comes the need for new clothes to match the changing colors and temperature. While the temperature might be a little chilly now the temperatures are on the rise so that of course means shorts and sandals.

A great place to start for the spring time clothes has to be shorts. These typically need to be a bit more rugged than the normal wear as they can be worn most of the year and should be comfortable enough for any situation. A great pair for the guys would be the RedHead® Canyon Flat Front Shorts, these shorts are great for a spring hike or just a day around on the town. These shorts are made with extra snap pockets for easy access and come in khaki and other designs, making them a great set of versatile shorts for the season. For the ladies finding the right pair of shorts for the spring is a chore, here is a great suggestion that might help end the long look! The Natural Reflections® Cuffed Cargo Shorts are made from cotton and are durable enough for just about any activity the springtime can throw your way. These shorts are specifically made for the active lady who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, and want their pants to stand up to the stress of an active weekend.

Ladies ShortsMen's Shorts

Now that the shorts have been sorted out finding the right shirt for the job is the next order of business. For this many people will be looking for a shirt that is both durable and flexible in the uses being that spring is such an unpredictable season. For the guys a good choice is the World Wide Sportsman® Morada Bay II Shirt, this comfortable shirt is perfect for a day out on the lake fishing or a picnic for the family. The shirt looks great and comes in enough colors to be perfect for many occasions. Now for the ladies a great shirt has to be the Natural Reflections® Plaid Roll-Up Sleeve Shirt, this shirt is 3/4th length making it ideal for anyone who wants a little bit of a sleeve in the morning but gives the ability to roll up the sleeves as the day gets warmer. This shirt is perfect for a day out on the town or for a day at the amusement park!

Ladies ShirtMen's Shirt

Now for the fun part of the spring clothing the sandals! These need to be both durable and comfortable to walk in for some time. An awesome pair for the guys would be the RedHead Vapor Flip Sandals, these comfortable sandals are made for stability while walking and are stylish enough to go with just about any spring outfit. These sandals are great for spending a day walking around the amusement park with friends, fishing from the dock or even just a day at the pool. Now for the ladies a sandal that is both stylish and functional is the Natural Reflections® Ocala Leather Buckle Twist Sandals. These sandals are great for just about any activity during the spring from a walk in the park to a day at the pool.

Ladies Shoe

The choice of spring clothes tends to be a little tedious at times, but having a good sense of what someone plans on doing during the spring can help pick the right outfit for their spring needs. These outfits are both practical and comfortable making them ideal for the all-around outdoors person planning a relaxing spring getaway. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


How To Use Your Smoker

There are many ways to cook a good slab of meat, but none has more flavor than using a good smoking technique. This might be a hassle for some people but when done right this is one of the easiest and most flavorful of all the cooking techniques. There are so many different flavors to choose from, for so many different meats, using a smoker is definitely a skill someone should acquire.

The first thing anyone wishing to smoke needs to do is find the right smoker for the job. This depends on how a person wants to smoke their meat, direct smoke or indirect smoke. If using direct smoke the meat is placed directly over top of the wood coals and is directly cooked from the heat. A simple to use smoker that is great for this direct smoking method is the Bass Pro Shops® Smoke'n Grill Charcoal Smoker Grill. This smoker and grill combo makes it easy to smoke meat while cooking directly with a built in thermometer and separate trays for coals and water. This vertical design is great for cooking burgers and other meat cuts like steaks.

BPS Smoker

The indirect smoking method is great for cooking over a period of time, like a few hours. This is where the coals are set not underneath the meat, but to the side of the meat where the smoke is instead used to cure the meat. A great smoker for this job is the Brinkmann® Vertical Trailmaster Smoker and Grill, with its offset fire box this smoker is great for curing sausages or even for slow smoking a larger cut of meat like a ham or venison roast.


Now that the smokers have been found the next hurdle in smoking a cut of meat is finding the right smoking wood. The basic woods are Oak, Hickory, Alder, Cedar, Mesquite, Maple and the Fruit Woods. Here are some tips on which woods work best with what meats, Oak is commonly used to get a very flavorful taste out of a brisket and is great when mixed with a fruit wood and used to cook most beef, pork or chicken. A good Oak smoking wood made from old barrels that cured whiskey is the Jack Daniel's® Wood Smoking Chips, these chips give a hint of that whiskey flavor that many people love with a good smoked meat. Hickory is probably one of the most common woods used when smoking because it gives a very recognizable smoky almost nutty taste to beef, pork, fish and fowl. While at the same time it is great for smoking cheeses, nuts, vegies and wild game. Alder is a great wood and is commonly used to smoke many different varieties of fish. Maple wood is great for smoking pork and poultry because it gives a good sweet taste to the meat that many people like on a good chicken or ham. Many of the fruit woods, apple, pear, cherry, pecan, are great for cooking poultry and the sweet taste of these fruit woods seem to compliment hams and turkeys very well when smoked. A great set of woods to use for this purpose are the WW Wood Smoking Chips, these chips come in all shapes and sizes as well as having a large variety of different woods to choose from.

MapleAppleWood SmokingOakHickory

Now that all the supplies are sorted out it is time to cook. The first step in this process is to soak the wood chosen to cook with in water for about an hour. This is to keep the wood from burning too quickly and not releasing a good smoke that has a lot of flavor. Then set the coals to cook, when the coals have reached the temperature in which cooking the meats is best, add the soaked wood directly over the coals. Now is the best time to add the meat, right before the smoke starts to rise. After adding the meat close up the smoker and let everything cook! This process is one of the best ways to enjoy a meat to its fullest. As always good luck and happy hunting! 


The Perfect Boots for the Spring Hunt

The spring hunting season is one of the most fun, especially for young hunters. But having improper footwear can quickly turn a fun trip into a nightmare with blisters, wet feet, or cold toes. While this seems like a challenge there are some simple things to look for in order to find an excellent pair of boots for the spring hunt.

A good thing to look for in a boot is GORE-TEX. This material is used to keep water from flowing through the boot when stepping in a puddle. GORE-TEX also helps keep the natural warmth from a person’s feet in the shoe making this great for an early spring, cold weather boot. A good boot that works well as a spring hunting boot is the Danner® Pronghorn™ 8'' GORE-TEX® Waterproof 800 Gram Thinsulate™ Insulated Hunting Boots. These boots are also great for hunting because of a rugged stable sole on the boot makes it great for any terrain.


Another material that a hunter should look for in a good spring boot is thinsulate. This material is a light weight insulator and helps keep feet warm in some of the most adverse conditions. For this reason it can be worn in many different seasons in order to get the most out of a pair of boots. A great boot that uses this material is the Irish Setter® Grizzly Tracker Waterproof 1000 Gram Thinsulate™ Insulated Hunting Boots. This boot is great for any weather and any temperature, keeping any hunters feet from getting wet while at the same time keeping them warm, even while standing still.

 Irish Setter

A boot that the ladies can wear comfortably during the spring is the SHE® Outdoor Cami 9'' High Insulated Waterproof Hunting Hikers for Ladies. This boot has 600 grams of Thinsulate making them some of the warmest boots on the market.


The next thing to look for in a boot is not a material but a type of boot, warm rubber hunting boots. These are doubly helpful because they are completely waterproof and are also specifically designed for wet conditions in the early to mid-spring where the conditions are not the best. A great boot for the hunter needing completely waterproof boots is The Original Muck Boot Company® Woody Max™ Hunting Boot. These boots are lightly insulated so they can keep feet warm while at the same time giving the waterproofing needed to cross streams and walk through the snow without freezing.


Another great boot for this job is the RedHead® Span Tough 16'' Waterproof Rubber Boots for Ladies or Youth, this tough boot is great for all types of weather and can definitely take a beating from just about anyone.


A type of boot that is needed later in the spring season is a snake boot. When the weather starts to warm the likelihood of snakes being out and about increases and it is always good to be prepared for the possibility that a snake might try and take a bite out of a hunter’s foot. These boots are often times made of a hardened rubber and neoprene in order to keep snake bites from penetrating and keeping their wearers safe. A boot that works well in this respect is the LaCrosse® Alpha Mudlite 18'' Waterproof Snake Boots. Not only are they great for snakes but the boots are also insulated and great for cold weather hunting.


A great snake boot for the ladies is the RedHead® Bone-Dry® 13'' Bayou Zip Waterproof Snake Boots . This boot is not only warm but also keeps feet dry on a hike or a long morning hunt in the dew.


The final type of boot many hunters are going to be looking for is a good lightweight warmer weather boot. These boots are usually more geared towards hunters that will be walking a lot during their hunt. This is probably best for hunters who want to stalk their turkeys or early season deer. A boot for the ladies who like to stalk their prey is the RedHead® Trekker III Non-Insulated Waterproof 7'' Hunting Boots for Ladies. This boot combines light weight material with the comfort of a hiking boot so a hunter feels comfortable all day.

RH Ladies

A boot for the guys is the Danner® Jackal™ II GTX 7'' Non-Insulated Waterproof Hunting Boots. These boots are lighter and don’t come as far up the calf making them great for distance walking while on the hunt.


The spring hunt is one of the most fun times of the year to be out in the wilderness. While at the same time a spring hunt has the ability to have very poor weather on any given day and then perfect weather on the next. So being prepared when it comes to boots is always an easy way to turn around a day on the hunt. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Dump Cake with Chocolate

The quintessential camping dessert is most definitely the dump cake. This easy to make and quick to serve dish has been popular for most of the last century with campers and anyone who just wants a great dessert. Because these dishes are usually made from 3 to 4 ingredients they are easy for kids to prepare and delicious enough for the whole family to enjoy.

The first step to filling everyone’s stomachs with gooey dump cake is finding the right Dutch Oven for the job. The Dutch Oven needs to be big enough for the cake to fit in and not spill over when the cake expands during cooking. A great Dutch Oven for the job is the Lodge Logic® 7-Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven. This Dutch Oven comes equipped with a wire bail spiral handle making moving the oven far easier. This oven at the same time has 7 quarts of cooking capacity, enough for a very big dump cake.

Dutch Oven

Now what is needed for a good dump cake is the right dry mix for the base of the cake. It is good to remember that the cake mix that is used in the dump cake is the backbone of the entire cake and has to have the right texture and flavor for a dump cake. A good mix needs to be pre made and ready to be cooked with the wet ingredients. One of the best mixes for this is Uncle Buck's® Fruit Cobbler Mix – Original, with all the ingredients for a cobbler crust already in the mix this makes a great dump cake mix to start with.

ChocFruit Cobbler

To go with the mix and add the chocolate flavor adding Bass Pro Shops® Uncle Buck's® Gone Fishin' Traditional Chocolate Cocoa Mix, is the best way to get a great chocolate flavor from the cake. Next on the list is the actual chocolate. A fun way to add chocolate is to use a favorite chocolate bar and chop it up into pieces and simply sprinkle them into the dump cake. Next thing for the dump cake is the marshmallows. These help keep the cake together and are just fun to have in a cake, using Marshmallow Fun Company® Marshmallowville Marshmallows will help make the cake great without making it too sweet to eat. Now what is needed in the mix is brown sugar. With the brown sugar it is best to just use whatever is in the house because they all will accomplish the same task. Finally the last ingredient is the liquid. For this using a citrus soda is preferable, something like a Sprite or 7up will work great. But if soda is not on hand using water will work as well.

The best way to make a dump cake is to first line the Dutch Oven with tin foil and put on the lid of the Dutch Oven. Next place from 8 to 10 hot coals underneath the Dutch Oven to start it heating. While the Dutch Oven is heating mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, ¼ cup of cocoa powder, ¾ cup of brown sugar. After the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed add 1 ½ cups of citrus soda or water to the mix and stir slightly. Add this mixture to the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Then add on top of that, a mixture of the entire cobbler mix, 10oz of miniature marshmallows and 6oz to 8oz of chopped chocolate bar (this is usually one chocolate bar).Mix these ingredients thoroughly before adding them to the Dutch Oven. After all the ingredients are in the Dutch Oven put the lid on the oven and add 14 to 16 hot coals to the top of the Dutch Oven. This should heat the Dutch Oven enough to cook the dump cake in approximately 45 minutes to an hour. This recipe will serve from 8 to 12 people and is a great with a little ice cream on the side and is a great idea for anyone having a large group over for dinner! As always happy cooking and good luck! 


Building a Weekend Survival Pack

A weekend in the great outdoors is a wonderful experience, the sights and sounds can fill the time with beauty. But many times spending the weekend out in the wilderness is a hassle, the tents, the food and the schedules often times get in the way of just having a good time in the woods. This is where survival camping becomes a fun idea. The premise is that a small group goes out into the wilderness for a weekend and brings nothing but the necessities. Here are some of ideas on what to put in this survival pack.

First things first. Any survivor needs to get the necessities, starting with fire. So bringing a small compact fire starter is always a must. One of the easiest to use and lightest fire starters on the market is the Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter. This fire starter can be used one handed and is essential for the new survivor.

Ultimate Survival Technologies Sparkie™ Fire Starter

The next necessity is of course water. While finding a good source of water during the survival weekend is a necessity, having a way to purify the water is also needed. A great way to do this is to invest in a good water purifier, one of the best on the market is the Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System. This system allows a person to use a single bag specifically for non-purified water and a bag for clean water making it easy to use and store. The large size makes it great for those trips where a few people are out on their own and in need of water.

Sawyer® 2L Water Filtration System

After water is found the next need is definitely food. Finding the right food for a survival bag is crucial. Using freeze dried or dehydrated foods are often a must, a great company for this is the Backpacker's Pantry®. They have an easy to use packaging that allows a person to boil water and add the water directly to the food inside the package. This makes the entire process quick and painless for a survivor in the wilderness.

Backpacker's Pantry® Colorado Omelet                                                                                        Backpacker's Pantry® Pad Thai Rice Noodles with Vegetables and Roasted Peanuts

As for pain a necessity of all survivors is the first aid kit. These should have a wide array of tools needed to keep an injured survivor healthy until medical personnel can arrive. A good pack that has all the necessities like bandages, trauma pads, gloves , and a first aid booklet is the Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit. With a wide array of medicine and bandages this kit is perfect for those people who want to survive a weekend in the wild.

Bass Pro Shops® First Aid Kit - Expedition Kit (Level 5 Care 10 People/6 Days)

The last necessity in any survival bag is definitely the knife. Now the choice in knife is always hard because there are so many styles and sizes to choose from. For a survival kit though a must have is a fixed blade knife that is sharp, durable and preferably made out of stainless steel. This means that the knife will not break under moderate use and will not corrode over time like other steel blades. A knife that matches all these requirements is the RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife. The stainless steel means keeping the blade oiled is not a problem, so checking the status of the survival bag is far easier.

RedHead® The Hunt™ Fixed Blade Drop Point Knife

Now that the necessities have been covered, here are some of the things that are good in a survival pack but not a necessity. The first thing is a good length of paracord, this light high tension cord makes great binding for improvised shelters or for general uses around a camp. A great length of paracord is the Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord. This gives a person enough cord to use around camp as well as keep some in the pack for later, just in case.

Bass Pro Shops® 100' Paracord

Another option for the survivalist pack is a foldable saw. These saws are usually made to cut through small trees and saplings with ease while at the same time being able to be folded up into a small bundle in order to be stored in as little space as possible. A great tool to use for this is the Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCut™ Saw, this saw can cut through limbs and saplings with ease and at the same time folds into a small pouch that is easily carried on a belt or backpack zipper.


Another must have for a survivor out for the weekend is a tarp. The tarp can be literally used for any number of things in the wilderness, from a ground covering to keep a survivor off the wet ground to a quick shelter in case of a sudden downpour. A good tarp for the job is the Texsport® Ripstop Tarp in a size of 10’ by 12’. This is big enough to make a good shelter or to cover enough ground to keep a few survivors off the wet ground.


Surviving for a weekend in the woods has the possibility of being one of the most fun things a person can do. Having the right survival bag ready can help make that weekend a lot easier and far safer. These few helpful hints on what to include in a survival bag can help the would be survivalist start their bag successfully. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Matching the Gear Bag to the Event

One of the best feelings in the world is being able to go to the shooting range and just plink away for a couple hours. The problem is that many times people are not aware of how heavy their equipment is until they are at the range and lugging it from the car. The right equipment is needed for each type of shooting a person could be doing in a day, whether that be testing out the new shotgun or plinking with the old .22 there is always a bag for the job. The right range bag can make all the difference when the activity is shooting.

A day out shooting pistols is definitely a favorite of many shooters. A gear bag that has many compartments for those extra magazines is a must. Also a good gear bag for the day out shooting pistols is going to need a large main compartment where ammo boxes can be stored easily. The last thing a day at the pistol range bag needs is a good storage area for the pistols themselves. A great range bag for the day out at the pistol range is the RangeMaxx® Pistol Range Bag. With its extra pockets and large central compartment this bag has everything a shooter could need for a day at the pistol range, and the bag has a convenient shoulder sling to keep the weight manageable.


When the air starts to warm many people start their routine of taking the shotgun out to the range for a day shooting clays. This day at the range is a little easier to prepare for because there are fewer needed components for the shotgun. So what is really needed in a good shotgun range bag is a large compartment where different boxes of shells can be kept separate from each other, and the spent shells can be carried. A good example of a shotgun range bag is the RangeMaxx® Deluxe 4-Box Carrier. This carrier has the extra pockets needed for those pesky choke tubes and the large central compartment for a few boxes of shells and room enough for the empty shells when the shooter is finished.


After a day of work and running around town isn’t it nice to just grab a few guns and head out to the range. There are gear bags specially designed for these days, where multiple firearms will be used of all different calibers. When the day calls for pistols, shotguns and rifles a gear bag needs a lot of space. The pistols need safe storage as do their magazines. The ammo needs a large area for the different boxes to be stored and there needs to be some extra space for the spent casings after the trip is over. A great bag for this all around shooting day is the RedHead® 1856 Range Bag. This bag has the space needed for the storage of multiple boxes of ammunition as well as side pockets large enough to hold pistols and their magazines, as well as room enough for the spent casings after the day is out.


A day at the range is a great joy for many people. Finding the range bag of choice should not be the hassle that keeps someone from going. Here are some great choices for different kinds of days at the range. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Annie Oakley’s 410

Annie Oakley

The late 19th and early 20th century was a great time to be a sharpshooter in the United States. One of the most renown of these sharpshooters was the famous Annie Oakley. She performed from coast to coast in some of the most well-known traveling acts in the world. This being said many people don’t know the humble beginnings of this great and shining star of sharpshooting.

Annie Oakley was born in Darke County, Ohio on August 13th, 1860. When Annie was young her father died suddenly of illness, leaving the young Annie to fend for her entire family. She managed this by hunting with her father’s shotgun, with which she quickly became a crack shot. But for Annie’s family hunting was not all that was needed. So soon after her father’s death Annie and a few of her siblings were sent to live in the Darke County Infirmary. After a few years Annie’s mother remarried and was finally able to support the family in their home.

In Annie’s early teens she was able to practice her shooting again. Back in the woods around the town Annie found a very well-paying job, hunting for the local grocery store. This seemingly little job earned Annie enough money at the age of 15 to pay off her mother’s mortgage on the house. It was also at this time that Annie began to enter competitions with fellow sharpshooters in the area and win.

In these competitions in 1875 Annie Oakley met her future husband. During the Thanksgiving Shootout Competition, Annie was able to beat Frank E. Butler. Mr. Butler at this time was a top shooter and also a great performer in many vaudeville acts. Soon after the competition they were married. But it wasn’t until 1882 that they began working side by side in one of the best acts of sharpshooting ever made. In 1885 the show featuring Butler and Annie became so popular that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show decided to make them one of their signature acts.

It was during the height of her career, with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, that Annie Oakley’s 410 shotgun was given as a gift from the company Gold-Hubbard to Annie. This gift was a work of art with a beautifully engraved stock and break open double barrel design. Then as now the shotgun is a work of art and graces the National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops Springfield, Missouri where it is a testament to the great woman who embodied everything good about sharpshooters during their heyday. Check out this video about the National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops Springfield, Missouri!

Annie Oakley


Matching the Sleeping Bag to the Campout

Camping all year round has many benefits including beautiful landscapes and amazing activities. Between the hiking and cookouts in camp the sleeping bag is often not thought of. This piece of equipment in many cases can either make a campout amazing or miserable. Here are some tips on finding the perfect sleeping bag for a campout.

First think of the weather. Is l the weather going to be wet and cold? If so looking for a sleeping bag that has a liner might be a good place to start. Another thing to consider for wet and cold conditions is the style of the sleeping bag. The square sleeping bag is not recommended for extreme cold and wet instead look for a mummy bag that can wrap up and around the head to keep the entire body warm all through the night. A great example of a cold weather mummy bag is the Ascend™ 0º Mummy Sleeping Bag. This bag is very comfortable up to around 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a great cold weather sleeping bag. While cold is tough to find a bag for, finding a bag for those warm summer or fall nights can be equally as tough. A great bag for camping during the summer is a square bag, this is because if it gets warm during the night sleeping on top of the bag is easy, although bringing a sheet for this scenario is a must. A sleeping bag that fits the bill for a summer bag is the Ascend™ 55º Rectangular Sleeping Bag, this sleeping bag is perfect for those cool nights in the summer and fall where a big 0 degree bag is just too warm.

Ascend® 0º Mummy Sleeping Bag                                                                                          Ascend® 55º Rectangular Sleeping Bag                                                                                   Ascend® 10° Rectangular Sleeping Bag

Second think of where the campout will be taking place. If the camp will be made in the woods where there are lots of leaves and padding between a person and the ground, padding in the sleeping bag is often not needed. While sleeping on the prairie, where rocks seem to grow like weeds, a little cushion is never a bad thing. An example of a sleeping bag with good cushion Bass Pro Shops® 0º Oversized Sleeping Bag with Hood. This sleeping bag has a few extra layers including a lining that gives a little more cushion for those trips where a rock could ruin a perfectly good night’s sleep.

Bass Pro Shops® 0º Oversized Sleeping Bag with Hood

The third thing any person who is going camping needs to think about when choosing a sleeping bag, is how you sleep. If the camper is a restless sleeper finding a bag that hugs the body tightly might not be the most prudent choice. A sleeping bag that hugs the body of a restless sleeper can, in many cases, cause a person to wake up numerous times during the night. So for this person a square sleeping bag or an oversized sleeping bag is probably best. While a person who sleeps soundly at night will probably prefer a bag that is far more confined so the camper does not have the ability to be jostled around in the night by any small movement.

Finding the right sleeping bag for any particular campout is one of the hardest activities before the trip and is often a chore for all involved. But knowing where the camp is located, what the weather will be like upon arrival and how you sleep can make finding the right sleeping bag easier and far more comfortable. As always good hunting and good luck!


Choosing the Right Knife for the Job

When it comes to knives choosing the right knife for a job can be a challenge. Do you need a large knife to make broad cuts and strokes or do you need a small precise knife for making incisions and cutting in tight spaces. Here are some helpful tips and tricks for finding the right knife for the job.

Skinning and gutting a deer is one of the most basic skills requiring a good sharp knife. While many everyday tasks require one simple knife for skinning it is often recommended that two knives be used. Using a larger knife often with a gut hook is often preferable while at the same time using a smaller sharper knife for those delicate cuts that need to be made inside of the deer. A great knife that holds a good edge is the RedHead “The Hunt” Guthook Fixed Blade Knife. This knife has the fixed blade needed for a good skinning knife and the guthook that makes processing the animal far easier. A good smaller knife that is razor sharp for those hard to reach areas is the RedHead® Pro Series Skinner Fixed Blade Knife. The smaller size makes this blade great for those smaller cuts needed right after the animal is harvested.


While gutting a deer might take a lot of care and some precise movements getting through a wall of brush is a whole different problem. For broad strokes and general hacking people need a much larger blade and a lot more power behind the blade. So naturally one would have to look for a little more weight on the blade as well as a sharp and rugged edge. The perfect tool for this is the RedHead Traditions 15.25” Machete. This rugged blade has most of its weight in the front of the blade making it ideal for chopping through thick brush and smaller saplings. So if a trail needs clearing a great tool for the initial building is this RedHead Machete.


What if you are looking for a good around the house knife, something that can be used for anything from whittling on the porch to opening boxes throughout the day? The perfect around the house blade is the RedHead® Traditions Medium Stockman 3-Blade Pocket Knife. This handy knife has everything a person could want for an around the house knife from a large sharp blade for cutting twine and rope to a smaller blade with a blunted tip for opening boxes.


With all the knives out on the market today it can be very hard to find a blade that is right for you. But with a little help finding the right blade is easy and fun. Just remember these helpful tips, what does your job require for the blade, does the blade need a point, does the blade need to be razor sharp, and how big should the blade for the job be. Keeping this in mind can help make the choice on which blade is right for you far easier. As always happy hunting and good luck!



Hunting: Matching the Call to the Duck

Choosing the right duck call is very important to the success a hunter will have in the field. A whole day can be wasted if the right call is left at home because the newest call came out in stores and it just had to be tried. This being said going out and buying a new duck call is very stressful because if the call doesn’t work a whole weekend could be lost. Here are some helpful hints and some recommendations on some calls that work!

The first call that is needed on any lanyard during a duck hunt is the standard mallard call. A good mallard call will bring in a group without having to resort to the switch between calls constantly. A great call is the RedHead® Reality Series™ Limited Edition Acrylic Mallard Call. This call makes lifelike mallard calls that can be heard out to great distances, and has been shown to bring in several other species of waterfowl at the same time, making this call a must have for the duck hunter in the family.

RedHead Reality Series® Limited Edition Acrylic Mallard Call - Green/Orange                                                 RedHead Reality Series® Limited Edition Acrylic Mallard Call - Black Pearl

The next call that is needed in any duck hunters pack is the whistle call. The whistle call is very effective at calling in many species of waterfowl including Teal, Pintail, and Widgeon. One of the best whistle calls on the market right now is the Primos® Power Drake™ Whistle Duck Call. This call is able to increase the volume of the calls making them far more effective during a hunt at calling in gadwall and mallard drakes. Using the mallard drake whistle on this call is great for calling in late season ducks and those shy birds that don’t want to land. This diversity of use makes the Primos Power Drake a great tool for any duck hunter.

Primos® Power Drake™ Whistle Duck Call

The final call that is needed for all duck hunters is the wood duck call. These calls are very useful for calling in flocks of birds when the entire group seems to be heading elsewhere. A great wood duck call is the Duck Commander® Wood Duck Call. This duck call is not only simply made and easy to use it also replicates the squeal of a wood duck in both the sitting and flying positions. This duel use makes it easy to call in ducks that are still in flight or a group that has landed.

Duck Commander® Uncle Si and Wood Duck Call Combo                                                                           Duck Commander® Wood Duck Call                                                                                              Duck Commander® 1972 Series Duck Call - Black Wood

These three calls create a great base for any hunter that is looking to get into the duck blind and have a successful day hunting, or for the seasoned hunter that is looking for a new call to increase their chances of a good duck season. Though calls can’t make a day hunting the best ever these three calls will make sure that a day hunting is not wasted. As always happy hunting and good luck!