Early Deer Season Prep for 2012

Well the hot weather is here so you don't have to worry about deer for several months, WRONG!  Now is the time to get ready for the best year of hunting that you have ever had.  Every year on the last day of the season, I take my bow hangers, pull up rope, padded seats and scent containers and get them put away  for the next season.  About the first week of June, I get ready to hit the trails and get to work.  First thing I always do is to help the deer take the correct trail to my stand and my food plots.  Remember that you can persuade the deer to go right  where you want them to by clearing some brush and forcing them to take a certain path.  I always like to take a few rides on my four wheeler dragging something that will not take NO for an answer.  If you don't have a four wheel ATV visit our store or our website to find the correct one. We also have many ATV accessories that can be dragged behind your new ATV to really widen that trail.  Remember that a deer is like a human in the way that they will travel.  The easiest route is the one that they are going to take unless it happens to be during the RUT.   Once they do this fifty or sixty times it will be like waking up in the morning they will just do it.

Once you help Mr. Deer find your stand you want to, start trimming away all the branches that made you miss that big one last year.  The best way to do this is to have a friend come with you, so you might have to spring for lunch and beers, but it will be well worth it when your grilling back straps come September.  You want to be the one in the stand because every ones point of sight is slightly different.  Have your buddy go to where you are pointing and trim what you tell him to trim.  Now remember you may be sitting or you may be kneeling  be prepared for any type of shot.  Don't go beyond about 40 yards, this should be plenty.  This will be your initial trimming session, you will have to come back about a month before the season starts to do a little bit more trimming.  I always try to get all of the last minute stuff done about a month early and then STAY OUT OF THE AREA!  This will pay off believe me!

 When the season is finally here always remember that you do not want to spook the early season deer, so do not use a bunch of strange smells that may get Mr. Deer thinking something is wrong.  Later on when we are closer to the RUT we can worry about these scents.  Some friends of mine wonder why they cannot get an early season doe within sixty yards of their stand, when I ask them what scents they were using they tell me nothing much just some doe urine, a few squirts of buck urine, fox urine and a hint of acorn.  WOW do you think that deer was a tiny bit confused?  In the early season I use some cover scent such as fox urine or skunk scent to hide my smell and that is it!  

This is a few easy steps to help you get the jump on your season.  Let me know what works for you and what does not.  I will see you in the field!  And remember shoot straight, unless you are hunting close to me! 

    Todd J Hunting MGR Portage Bass Pro Shops

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The Nose Knows

Looking for sheds are a great way for a hunter to scout an area pre-season. But some hunters are four-legged and don't care about the season...they just love to hunt sheds...shed-hunting dogs. Meet Remi (short for Remington)…a member of the Bass Pro Shops Altoona family and successful shed hunter.

Remi as a puppyRemi’s training began as a pup with Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith, who started training her as soon as he brought her home. Sheds were her toys. Sitting down with her and shaking an antler then tossing it a short distance made her interested. Every day they would play with sheds and he'd have her retrieve.

Bequeaith says Remi’s search lessons began in the kitchen using a dog’s favorite item…food!

“I’d cut a hot dog up into very small pieces, toss it a short distance and would say ‘search’. She’d run and find the treat and eat it. I’d call her back over, throw another  treat and say ‘search’ again.”

After a couple of weeks, training moved to the living room and the treat was thrown farther, continuing with the search/reward tactic. Soon, he began throwing the treat where she couldn’t see it, forcing her to use her nose and eyes to find it. Bequeaith says, like in all dog training, using the same command word every time is important. 

“The word can be anything you want. I used “search” but it could be bone, antler, shed…whatever you want.”

Next move to using a small shed and, just like the treat, throw the shed a short distance and say “search.” It may take a few times for the dog to figure out they should pick up the shed, but eventually  they’ll get it. Then move to a bigger area. 

“In the living room, I’d throw the shed and say ‘search’ and Remi would bring it back. After that I started to have the dog sit and stay in the kitchen while I hid the shed in the living room. I would walk back in the kitchen and give the command and  Remi would take off and search the living room until she found the shed and bring it back. After that was mastered, I’d repeat the steps but put a shirt or a object over the shed. This way you know they are using all of their senses.”

Bequeaith says the next stop is – go outside! Play fetch with the antler and have the dog retrieve. Then tell the dog to sit and stay, put the shed in tall grass and have the dog search. Bequeaith says to make it easy at first and give a lot of praise to the dog when they bring it back to you. The final test?  Place two or three sheds in the field and leave them there for a week. Come back with the dog, give the search command, and see how they do. Bequeaith says one year prior to getting Remi, he found sheds and placed them in plastic bags, trying not to touch them. He left them like that until he was ready to use them in the field for practice. This way Remi was not looking for his scent, but the scent of the antler.

“It can be a lot of fun training a dog and watching them work in the field. The most important thing is a lot of practice and being consisted in your commands,” says Bequeaith.

From there, Remi went to live with Camo Lead Michael Dodson. Michael says his desire to shed hunt comes from his passion to be outdoors. “It also gives me an idea on what size of deer are in the area that I may not know about, therefore giving me a bit of a head start on scouting come bow season. I have always shed hunted, but the idea of bringing a dog into finding them for me never really crossed my mind until I learned about it from Shaun.”

Dodson was not new to dog training.

“I’ve trained many different types of dogs - house dogs, bird dogs for waterfowl and upland, hounds for raccoons, rabbits and even bear. I also helped train a search and rescue hound, but this is my first shed dog experience and it brought a vast range of challenges to me.”Remi the Shed-Hunting Dog

He says training a shed dog differs from a typical hunting dog, especially because of a dog’s incredible sense of smell.

 “To train a bird dog, you physically grab a wing or bird (depending on the stage of training your dog is in) and plant it in cover and take the dog down or cross wind so the dog will catch the scent and learn to use its sense of smell to find the desired game as opposed to using only sight.”

While holding a bird wing, our scent is transferred to the wing, but the wings natural scent overpowers human scent, so the dog mainly smells the bird. Dodson says the opposite comes to play when training a shed dog.

 “The antler emits very little scent for the dog to catch wind of, therefore our human scent overpowers the natural scent of the antler. So it’s a “must” that you wear rubber gloves when handling the antler you are using for training purposes. If you don’t you’ll be training your dog to find human-scented antlers."

 Dodson adds that it is important to teach the dog to use their sense of sight, too, since antlers have a low amount of scent that they emit. He says teaching the dog to use their sight, and not just rely on scent, will increase the positive results when traveling upwind. Like Bequeaith, Dodson says the main key to training any dog is patience, and remembering to have fun with the dog, so the dog has fun hunting with you.

“Working with her has made me realize how powerful a dog’s nose really is. We have a lot of fun together in the field, whether it be training or hunting. This is her first year really hitting the fields for natural sheds. She is only two years old, so she still has a lot of learning to do. But, together we are both learning day by day and we will continue to teach each other new things.

 “It has brought us closer to one another; we now have a bond that can’t be broken. She is not my dog, she is my friend.”

 

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Early Spring Things

By: Larry Cessna

It seems that spring is indeed very early this year. I had to go to Buffalo, NY yesterday and while driving north along the river I was blessed with the sighting of an immature bald eagle flying upstream. It is always a joy to see these magnificent birds.

I was talking to the guys from the fishing department earlier this week and several of them are going out to fish for the early season crappies that should be hitting earlier this year, because of the unseasonably warm temperatures. I should know how they made out by the end of the week and I will put a note out for those of you who love to catch and eat those big slab sided crappie.   

The geese are moving north and the turkeys are doing their spring thing, displaying for the girls, it won't be long until the flowers  and trees will be popping out and the trout fishing will start. Along those lines; trout season opens in the 10 southeastern counties on March 31st. Check out the fish commissions web site for the season opener listing at: http://www.fish.state.pa.us/.

For all you trout fishermen, it isn't too early to start stretching out your fly lines and getting the last minute flies all tied up. Some of my favorites are the Wooly buggers, Matuka's, Stone flies, and of course the Glo Bugs in a variety of colors. I found that brown trout favor the yellow and chartreuse colors, while the rainbows like the pink and chartreuse more, and the brook trout like any thing that moves. For spinners I always liked the Mepps spinners in gold blade, how about you? For the bait fishermen it may not be too early to start putting out those minnow seines and catch your fresh bait for the opener. It may be awhile before the worms start coming though. Remember the Fishing Classic is still going on at the stores until the 12th of march, so come on in a nd get the things you need for the spring season openers.

Turkey season is going to be here soon, and it is always a great time outdoors listening to them gobble and strut around impressing the girls. Please be respectful of the other guys out there and refrain from calling to the birds and turning them on to the various calls. I know we want to see how they respond to the calls we want to use but it really can make calling them later in the season harder because they already have been educated to those calls. So, lets not give them any more help in defeating us as we pursue them in may. The new calls and decoys and camo outfits have arrived in the store so drop in and get all outfitted before the selections get picked over.

I see that the new bows are starting to show on our lists for stocking the store, so it shouldn’t be too much longer until they come in for you to look over and choose the new bow you want for this years hunts. All of you waiting patiently for the bow of your dreams, hang in there they should be here soon. I shot the new Ten Point bows while at the Eastern Sport Show in February, and the Turbo II and the new Carbon Elite were much lighter and faster and very impressive. I didn’t get to shot the Horton’s as the models they had were only proto types and not shootable. Can’t wait to try them out though. I know they have two reversed limb bows in the line up this year.

Have a great early spring fling and remember:

WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM!

 

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Hog Hunting in Texas

Some Practical tips for hunting Hogs at night in Texas.

If you hunt with a rifle we recommend a good rifle scope or possibly even one with an illuminated reticule so you can make out the black cross-hairs against a dark colored background such as a black hog. If you hunt with a bow and don't have a bow sight light you will need get one to be able to see your pins on your sight once you get drawn. You might also want to make sure you have a medium to large peep sight to insure you have enough light and a good sight picture when you get ready to shoot. A 1/4 inch or larger peep sight will work best and a lot of bowhunters will use a string splitter type peep sight to insure they can see through their peep when the time is right. Sometimes very small peep sights make it harder to hunt at night or in low light. One thing that we have found to be very helpful when bow hunting at night is to use some high quality glow paint and paint your peep sight with it. Before you start hunting just shine a bright light on it for a couple of minutes and the paint will take a charge and glow brightly for hours. When bowhunting it is very helpful to use a lighted arrow nock to view you shot placement of your arrow. If you really want to increase your odds of success it wouldn't hurt to have the aid of a momentary target illuminator on your rifle or bow in case an animal is out of range and not visible under or around the feeder light. Utilizing a good momentary target illuminator you can get ready for the shot with a rifle by simply pressing the pressure sensitive switch to light the animal up once you get your rifle scope settled on them. If using a bow you can get to full draw on the animal and then press the pressure sensitive switch to illuminate your target. In areas with extra elusive boars or wary hogs and varmints you may want to aim your target illuminator up in the sky and turn your light on and very slowly come back down on the animal to avoid spooking them with a sudden blast of light in their face regardless of the color of light or LED you are using. We carry quality but affordable bow  mounted lights and rifle mounted momentary target illuminators for rifles and archery equipment. Before setting out on your first night hunt you may want to step outside one night a few days before your hunt to make sure all of your equipment and gear is working properly.

 For additional advise and all the equipment that you need head on down to the Bass Pro Shops in Katy Texas.  We have all the right equipment including Beaman arrows, All the name brand guns Red Head clothing and the perfect Kershaw knife to get you ready and properly outfitted.

 

                               

 

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Archery Turkey Hunting

Archery hunting turkey can be quite the challenge but to me is the only way to hunt these gobblers. I will share a story that I've had and share the equipment I used to have great and exciting hunts. Bass Pro carry's a great amount of equipment for all your turkey hunting needs, like bows, broadheads, calls, decoys, blinds, etc. First thing is finding a spot to hunt, I use the Moultrie D-55IR to locate turkeys and find the times they are coming in.Some of my funniest hunts have been taking people out hunting that have not had the chance to hunt turkeys and see how exciting it can be to watch toms or even a group of jakes gobbling to your calling and strutting up looking for your hen decoy or even better yet, watching a aggressive bird attacking your jake decoy.

Turkey The blind I use is a Redhead hub-style blind, it's very roomy, easy to hunt with two people and is very easy to put up and take down. The hunt I'm going to talk about is me taking a friend for his first turkey hunt. We get up to the property before sunrise and set up the blind and get my hen turkey decoy in place. we can hear in the distance turkeys gobbling in the trees still in there roost. As the sun started rising, birds started leaving the tree and getting active. A little bit of calling on my Primos® Ol' Betsy slate call and the hunt was on. A big tom followed by 4 jakes in sight around 100 yards come out of the woods into a meadow coming strait for us. The turkeys make there way in around 60 yards gobbling at the call but drop down into a creek and leave. Exciting to watch and listen to the turkey but nothing to show for it. We wait around 30 minutes and than decide to pack up and make are way to the top of the hill.I did a little calling and listing for birds so we can reset to make another attempt. No more than 15 minutes went by and on the other side of the hill we walked up we had turkeys gobbling and coming in fast. We quickly made are way down the hill, set up my blind under a tree and put my Redhead® turkey decoy out about 25 yards away from us. 

Down TurkeyWe got in the blind and started calling, we could hear multiple turkeys gobbling in the distance but could not see them in the timber. finally a turkey pops his head up looking over some fallen down branches right at my decoy. As we watched the turkey we realized that there were a lot more turkeys following and looking for the decoy. I had my partner get his Redhead® Toxic bow ready for a shot. One jack turkey quickly jumped over the branches and landed right next to the decoy. As he drew his bow back I had my Simmons® range finder out but the turkey kept walking around my decoy. As he was drawn back I let him know not to rush the shot because there were plenty of birds. He did not take the shot and the turkey picked up and flew over the blind. The birds were still very active and would respond every time I made a call. It only took about a minute for the next turkey to come walking right to my decoy. This time the jake was in no rush and walked right up to the decoy standing only 20 yards away having no idea that we were even there. Once again we are at full draw with another turkey and I'm telling him to relax and take the shot when hes ready and he did. perfect shot right into the body and the turkey never took another step. He fell right where we stood dead, the Redhead® Blackout® broadhead worked perfect . As we waited I grabbed my bow and we tried calling in another. I let my partner try calling but with no practice and knowing what to do the turkeys decided to leave. So we packed up after about 25 minutes and took pictures and we called it a day. A very fun and successful hunt and he is now addicted to hunting turkeys.

Dino Hieb
Hunting Department
Manteca, CA

Bass Pro           

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Traditional Archery

At a quick glance, today's archery market may seem like something from outer space. With compound bows advancing each year with new technology, the traditional recurve and long bow have somewhat been overlooked. Traditional archery is a subject that can be very fun for an individual or even the entire family.

Youth recurves such as the PSE Razorback are a great way for young archers to build skills and enjoy shooting. This bow has a light, comfortable draw weight and a threaded riser for a sight and rest that can make it easier for kids to shoot. This bow can also be set up to bow fish. With takedown limbs, the bow can be broken down and stored very easily. Arrows, a recurve stringer, and a forearm guard like the Team Realtree EZ armguard are all a kid needs to get started with this bow.

For adults that want to enjoy traditional shooting at a good price, the Martin Jaguar  is a great bow to get started with. This bow features a camo riser with black limbs and threads for the option of bow fishing as well. Available in draw weights of 40 or 50lbs, this bow is perfect for someone just wanting to shoot for fun or the more serious shooter with desire to hunt with a recurve.

For the more experienced traditional archer wanting to do it "the hard way," the Hunter recurve by Martin Archery makes for a smooth shooting bow with very little stack and hand shock. Taking a trophy buck with this bow and a cedar arrow is on the top of any avid bowhunter's dreams.

If archery interests you, or even if you have been shooting for years, and you have never enjoyed instinctively shooting with traditional equipment, then give it a try. It's a great way to endure an exciting challenge and have fun with friends and family.

-Jimmy Washam

            

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Atlanta Archery

Now that we are in between hunting seasons, deer has ended and turkey is another month away, this is a great time to check your archery equipment for needed repairs or to learn a new skill. This is also time to tune not only your bow but your form as well by participating in an archery tournament.

For the unknowing, there is a 3D type archery tournament somewhere in the metro area almost every weekend.

And since during this time of the year the weather can be not good enough to shoot outside, a great way to tweak your archery skills is to shoot indoor archery

The Georgia State Indoor tournament is being held in Augusta, March 3-4, 2012 and the NFAA SE Regional Indoor is being held at the Archery Learning Center in Snellville, March 10-11, 2012. Visit www.gbaa-archery.org for details.

If you need a repair or want to upgrade your archery equipment, come to the Atlanta store and check out  some really great deals. We also have some of the best bow mechanics and instructors in the state.

For the female archer, the PSE Pink Chaos Package is priced to move at $379.99 with a draw length of 16” to 27” and a draw weight from 50 to 60 pounds. This package comes with quiver, Whisker Biscuit and a 3 pin sight. Couple that with a Tru Fire Edge Release with a pink strap for $59.99. In the arrow department there are 3 choices. Victory Pink arrows come in 350, 400 & 500 spine for $54.99, Carbon Express  Mayhem Hot pursuit with Pink Fletching in 500 spine for $74.99 and Carbon Express Maxima Blue Streak 500 spine arrows for $84.99.

For the upcoming young male archer, the PSE Rally Package for $379.99 with a draw length adjustment of 18’ to 31” and adjustable draw weight from 15 to 50 pounds. This package has a quiver, Whisker Biscuit and 3 pin sight. Couple that with A Tru Fire Hurricane Release for $49.99 and a dozen Red Head Carbon Fury Arrows at 59.99 and they will be ready to hit the tournament trail.

Another bow to consider is the Diamond Air Raid Package at $499.98 with a draw length adjustment from 26” to 30” and draw weight adjustment from 60 to 70 pounds. This package has a quiver, Hostage arrow rest and 3 pin sight.  Add one dozen Red Head Carbon Fury arrows for $59.99 and you will be set to start shooting.

If you are in need of an archery target, consider the hurricane bag targets that come in 2 different sizes. The smaller one for $49.99 and the larger model for $59.99.

If all of your archery equipment is perfect and your shooting form is really good, you might want to think about learning a new skill such as building your own arrows. When you purchase arrow shafts, they are always cheaper by the dozen than completed arrows. Take for example, one dozen Gold Tip arrow shafts at $64.99 or one dozen Beman arrow shafts for $94.99. When you purchase shafts by the dozen, you can then customize the arrows to your own specific style from arrow wraps to different fletching colors and sizes. Start with a Bohning Fletching Jig for $39.99, add 36 count Bohning Vanes from 9.99, Bohning Fletching glue for 6.99 and you are ready to set your equipment apart from the normal.

So, if you need to make a repair or get help with your shooting form, come by and let us help you.

Thank you for reading,

Bill Millican

 

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Horse Creek Game Plantation

My wife once said “Walter, you never know when a really good time is going to sneak up on you.” I think this applies to a hunting trip that I had the pleasure of taking at Horse Creek Plantation in January.

This all started about five years ago. I was working in archery when a grandfather approached the archery counter with his grandson. He was frustrated because he had purchased a bow from Bass Pro and he could not shoot the bow very well. The bow was not set up right for his grandson, so I set the bow to the correct draw length and poundage. I took a considerable amount of time explaining how to sight it in as neither one had any experience. They thanked me and headed to the elevator. Two minutes later the grandson started running back and handed me a piece of paper with his grandfather’s name and phone number. He said “my Pawpaw said any time you want to hunt you call him.” Year after year passed and I never called. They would come in and shop and remind me of the invitation. Well, this year I decided to call. We lined up a three day weekend and I invited Dean Clark to come along. Dean works in hunting with me and we affectionately refer to him as Mr. Dean. We left work one Thursday evening and arrived at the so called “camp House”. These accommodations were unbelievable! This place had 4 bedrooms and fireplace, television, kitchen and a front porch with rocking chairs. It also had back decks facing a pond stocked with fish.

Camp House

hunting 03.JPG

Camp House (inside)

 

Next door was a processing building with stainless sinks grinders and saws. Behind this building was a catfish pond. They took us out on the Polaris, an ATV, to show us a couple of shooting houses and food plots to hunt in the morning. They handed us keys to two ATV’s and said we could ride them to the stand in the morning. We could not believe how nice this was as we settled into our king size beds that night.

The next morning, as I sat in the shooting house overlooking a food plot, I heard the sound of a truck coming. I peered out the back window and saw Mr. Price, the owner, coming in. I got on the ATV and met him back at the lodge. He loaded Mr. Dean and me in the Polaris and he proceeded to show us the rest of the property.

As soon as we returned to the lodge we loaded up tree stands and blinds and headed out for the evening deer hunt. We didn’t have any deer sightings that day and returned to the lodge for a good meal and watched hunting videos. Mr. Price asked if we would be interested in shooting birds tomorrow after leaving the deer stands. We of course told him that we would love to shoot some birds.

The next morning we were up early and headed for the stands. This was another slow morning for me but Mr. Dean had a visit from a doe that after a lot of head bobbing at the blind left the food plot.

We returned to the lodge where Mr. Price was waiting. This is where it really got interesting. He instructed his care taker to go get some pheasant, chucker, and quail and release them. We then got in the Polaris with a trailer behind that had seats for hunters and kennels for the dogs. We drove over to the kennels where we collared three dogs and put them in the kennels on the trailer.

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Dog Kennels

After releasing the dogs they instantly went to work finding the birds. Not much time had passed before they were pointing the first bird. Our guide called us up on both sides and kicked the brush that the dogs were locked up on. A pheasant took flight and Mr. Dean dispatched him quickly. The dogs instantly retrieved the bird and went back to work. It wasn’t long before they were on point again. We repeated the previous process and a chucker flushed on my side. Much to my surprise I dispatched that bird. This was the first time I had done any kind of upland hunting. This process was repeated over and over. To say we enjoyed our selves would be an understatement. After we shot all the birds Mr. Price offered to clean the birds while we headed for the deer stands.

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Mr. Dean

 

That evening on stand I turned to the left in time to see a flash of whitetail and hear one blowing at me. They ran up and down the hill to my left and eventually grew quiet. Later on that evening as it was getting really dark I heard deer walking into the opening but it was so dark I could not tell what they were. We returned back to camp exhausted.

The next morning we were off to the deer stands and more sightings of does. We returned to the camp where we were treated to a lunch of Tomato gravy and biscuits, venison sausage, and grits. After lunch more birds were released and we were back in the field. This was a repeat of the first day and we shot plenty of birds. We saw a pheasant that was headed across the road. We took the dogs over and could not find this bird so we returned to the other birds and finished our hunt.

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Walter Andrews

 

We cleaned the birds from the days hunt and decided we were too exhausted to deer hunt that evening. We started packing for home and Mr. Price said that maybe we could come back in the spring for turkey season. I would be crazy not to take that invitation and told him I would love to come back. After we had loaded the last of our gear and were about to get in the trucks, we looked to the edge of the clearing and the pheasant that had crossed the road was looking back at us.  It seems a fitting end to a great trip.

For more information please call:  George L. Price (850) 537-3882 or (850) 543-0682. You can also find them online at http://horsecreekgameplantation.com.

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Good Times

Hello Everyone,

This week I was fortunate enough to spend some time in the field with a couple of my good friends that I have not seen in some time.  I've hunted Ducks, Geese, Deer and now Hogs with Kevin McCullough (www.downwindguideservice.com) and fished for Stripers, Hybrids and White Bass with Omar Cotter (www.luckotheirish.net) but never on the same trip.  This one day trip to a new place close to Jacksboro, Texas, was a lot of fun for all of us.  Kevin is guiding Day Hunts for a place named Wimberly Ranch in Perrin, Texas.  So, we all meet at the local convenience store at 5 am and follow Kevin to the Ranch.

I have driven by this place at least a dozen times over the years but never before been on the Ranch.  This place is huge - 4,000 acres of ponds, mesquite trees, prickly pear cactus, wild grass - and game.  We saw several Gadwall and Pintail ducks on one of the ponds.  There were also a few lesser Canadian Geese, Speckle Belly's and one very nice Canvasback.  We were not interested in hunting them today, though.  We were looking for extended season Does and Spike Bucks to cull from the Land Owner's herd or  - Hogs!  Now, this was the first time I've hunted hogs with a bow and I wasn't sure if I'd even get a chance but I was excited about the opportunity.

I saw 3 nice deer that morning but none of them presented a clean, ethical shot, so I gladly passed on them.  About 9:30 am, Kevin drove to my location, I loaded up and we went to get Omar.  After loading him up, we went to check on a new feeder and Tree Bow stand that had just been put up a few days before.  Kevin said, "Get your bow Mike, we may see some hogs."  All of sudden, I felt a little shot of adrenaline...and my excitement began.  As we approached the feeder, there was obvious hog activity in the area as the ground was completely disturbed by the rooting of the hogs.

As Kevin was checking the game camera, I saw a boar hog about 50 yards away and pointed him out to the guys.  Kevin said, "Well, go get him".  Once again, I've never done this before but it was very exciting.  I'm doing my best to sneak up on this 120 lb. black boar hog as he is rooting around some trees.  As I'm easing closer and closer, he keeps moving a little at a time - 40 yards, then 30 yards, then 25.  At this point, I'm standing just behind a couple trees and I can see this pig that I hope is soon to be filling my freezer.  I'm still amazed that he has not detected me.  Now, I'm about 20 yards from the critter and getting ready to draw my first shot at any wild animal with my Redhead Bow (www.basspro.com/Archery-Bows-Bows/_/N-1z11cvj).  As I begin the draw, I have to focus and tell myself - CALM DOWN, LAWSON!!  IT'S JUST A BIG, BLACK WILD BOAR HOG!!  A HOG WITH 2" CUTTERS...that probably runs faster than you ever thought about...the only consolation was that I knew I didn't have to be faster than the hog, just faster than Kevin and Omar.

I draw the arrow and get the pig in my peep sight and at that moment, the pig raises his head, snorts loudly and high-tails it away from me.  You see, as I'm focusing on stealth and quietness, the wind changes.  This hog catches wind of my scent, looks in my direction and immediately runs in the opposite direction...toward the rest of the pack...man were there a lot of hogs!!

I failed to get a shot at this hog but I can tell you - this was the most fun I've had on a hunt in long time.  The opportunity to stalk a wild boar hog and get within 20 yards of him was extremely exhilarating.  As I walked back to Omar and Kevin, I was shaking a little from the adrenaline, both of them asking me "What happened, Lawson?  Can't you even sneak up on a dumb ole' pig?" laughing all the while.

After hunting again that evening for deer, we met back at the barn before heading home and all agreed - we have got to do this again next year...but I don't think I'll wait until next year.  Kevin told me that they will start up hog hunts again in February and I'm already on the list to try this again.  I'm sure our next adventure will yield as much fun but hopefully, with more success.

Although I was unsuccessful in harvesting that wild boar, I consider myself blessed and fortunate to have spent the day with my good friends Kevin and Omar.  Take time out from your daily grind and call a couple good friends to enjoy the day outdoors fishing, hunting or just hiking and exploring.  You won't regret a day outdoors with good friends.  Thanks guys.

Next topic will be about Getting your Bass rig Tournament Ready, as the 2012 Tournament season is about to get under way.

All the best to everyone,

Michael Lawson
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
Grapevine, Texas

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Bow Prep Tips for Crunch Time


Archery season is ready to start for most of the Midwest and some areas are in full swing.  Countless hours have been spent by hunters everywhere tuning their bows and getting them just right in anticipation of the season.  As we progress through the season, many hunters lose track of their bow maintenance.  Unfortunately, this is the most important time to keep your bow in ship shape.  Exposure to rain, ATV rides, and going through brush carrying your bow are just a handful of encounters your bow will have throughout the course of a season.  Losing track of your bow care early in the season could cost you big when the rut rolls around and an opportunity slips away.

The first thing that should be done every time you get your bow out of the truck is check to make sure that everything is tight.  In order to do this, make sure that you carry an Allen wrench with all of the sizes that you need to adjust everything on your bow.  Check stabilizer, sights, rest, cable guard, and Limbsavers for those of you who have split-limb bows.  If something other than your rest or sight is loose, just go ahead and tighten it down.  If your sights or rest come loose, you will have to tighten it and then test fire it to see how far off your bow is before you go to the woods.  If your rest is loose, go to the archery shop to check your center shot before trying to site your bow back in.  A loose stabilizer or Limbsaver probably won't affect your arrow flight, but it will give the deer an opportunity to jump your arrow.  Check your string and cable(s) for cuts and abrasions.  If you see an issue, have it checked out immediately to prevent further damage.  Standing at the truck is also a good time to draw your bow back just to make sure everything is smooth and silent.  Creaking limbs, a shimmying cable slide, or a twisted string can really mess you up at the moment of truth.  These problems can develop throughout the course of the season and should be addressed immediately before they get worse. 

There are several preventative steps that can be taken to avoid disaster with your bow.  First, make sure that you wax your string often.  This is especially important after you have been out on a damp day.  Scorpion Venom is an excellent wax that really gives life to your string.  Waxing your string can also make the difference between an expensive string that lasts one year and a string that will give you great service for many years.  A great way to protect your bow is to get a bow sling for taking in and out of the woods with you.  The GamePlan Gear BowBat is an awesome piece of equipment for this.  Not only does it protect nearly every part of your bow from briar's, rocks, and limbs, it also doubles as a pack to eliminate the need for a second pack.  It has plenty of room to throw a face mask and other spare articles of clothing in as well as pockets to carry archery and hunting accessories in.  The Primos Bow Sling is another great sling.  It is a simple sling that protects your string, riser, and cams.  While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the Bowbat has, it is a great sling for transport from your vehicle to the stand as well as everyday range use.  Another thing to check out is your release.  Make sure that it is functioning smooth.  If it has any drag to it, put a drop of oil in the mechanism.  Don't put too much on there and make sure that you spray it with a scent
eliminator before you take it to the woods.  Hopefully these tips will save you a heartache and help you be more successful this year in the deer woods! 

Good Luck!!

-Brian Eickholtz


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Crossbows: The New Wave In Archery

Gregg Ritz Bear

Hunting with crossbows has become the fastest growing segment of hunting the past several years and it is not showing any signs of abatement. The barriers to crossbow hunting are falling as more and more states are adding crossbow hunting to their approved hunting methods. Crossbow shooting is not just limited to hunting as there are a growing number of national shooting contests specifically for crossbows.

 

Crossbows represent another option for people to participate in archery who do not want to shoot a traditional or compound bow whether it is due to physical limitations, injuries, age or just the desire to shoot something different. They offer similar ballistics and accuracy to that of the compound bow while perhaps being easier to shoot for a beginner.


Horton crossbows are one of our featured lines of crossbows in our archery department. We have some of their top selling models including: the Brotherhood, Team Realtree Ultra Lite Express, the Bone Collector, the Legacy and the Vision 175. Most of these crossbows come in a complete package which includes everything you need to start shooting. Pictured below are the Legacy, the Team Realtree and the Vision models.

 

Horton Crossbow  Team Realtree Crossbow Horton Vision Crossbow   

 

If you are interested in becoming part of this fast growing sport you will want to come by the archery department and try out one of these crossbows in our indoor archery range. Our professional archery associates will set you up and show you how to shoot one of these exciting crossbows. Whether you are interested in target shooting or hunting, the archery department is well stocked with all the cr

ossbow

accessories you could need including: cocking devices such as the Horton EZ Crank, carbon and aluminum arrows, crossbow

scopes and sights, quivers replacement strings and targets.

 

Representatives from Horton are scheduled to be at the store during the upcoming Fall Hunting Classic where they will be able to answer any questions you might have about crossbows. There will be an opportunity to shoot one of their crossbows at our outdoor archery range. There will also be a new Horton crossbow given away as part of the program so keep checking our website to find out when they are scheduled to be here during the Fall Hunting Classic. I have included a picture of a trophy bear taken by pro hunter Gregg Ritz with a Horton crossbow at fifteen yards. I don’t think I would have let it get that close to me.

 

Don Nelson

Bass Pro Shops

Foxborough

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Archery is a Great Family Sport

Archery is more than just bow hunting; it is also a great family sport. It is always nice to find an outdoor activity that the entire family can enjoy together and archery provides a great opportunity for just that. There are bows made for all members of the family from the Diamond Razor Edge bow for the younger members of the family and the Bear Home Wrecker bow for the ladies, to the PSE Stinger for the men. Another option is a Genesis, which can be shot by all members of the family.

Once you have the family outfitted with bows then you need a few arrows for each shooter and a target such as the RedHead Deluxe Bag Target to shoot at. I have seen first hand at our Family Archery Days at the store how much fun all members of the family have shooting and it is a great way to get the kids outdoors, away from the video games. The only other need is for a safe place to shoot. You really don’t need a big area to shoot just a safe shooting lane and a safe back stop.

If you have never shot a bow or are uncertain as to what the right bow to use for you or the other family members is then just come on by the store and visit our archery shop where our professional staff will help find you the right bow for each member of the family. They are also available to take you and the family into either our indoor range or bring you out to our outdoor range and get you started shooting.

For the more experienced shooter or hunter there is a great selection of bow packages ready to shoot out of the box such as the RedHead Blackout or the Diamond Fugitive RAK models. You also can customize the bow to your specific needs with a basic bow such as the PSE Bow Madness and select your own arrow rest such as the Quick Shot Whisker Biscuit which I personally use. You will also want a sight, a release, a wrist sling and a stabilizer. You will also need arrows which have to be customized to your bow and your draw length. There is a large selection of RedHead, Easton and Carbon Express arrows to choose from. There is also a wide selection of hunting broad heads to choose from such as Spitfire, Muzzy and Rage. Your final need will be for a target and some of the more popular models available are the Rhino block 18 Side, Shooter Buck 3D and RedHead 3D Deer targets.

Be sure to visit our archery shops where our pro staff is ready to help everyone from the beginner to the experienced shooter. Be sure to check our website for our next Family Archery Day and be part of this fun event.

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors

Don Nelson

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Bow Season is Just Down the Road

Bow season will be here before you know it. After three more months of bass fishing and skiing, you will look up and realize you are not ready to go to the woods. Now is the time to start preparing yourself so that when you draw back on that Pope & Young buck in early October you will be confident that your arrow will hit its mark.

The first step in getting yourself back in the groove with bow shooting is to condition your shooting muscles. For about the first week of shooting, it is best to limit your shooting to around 10-12 shots. The reason for this is that after that first day of shooting 50 arrows, on day two the shooting muscles are so sore that you don't have as much control of them. This makes you very prone to developing bad shooting habits that you may carry with you through the season. A mistake that is very often made in the first week back to shooting is adjusting pins from the season prior. More times than not, the first few arrows will hit slightly off mark.  A shooter's first reaction is to adjust the bow sight, when the real issue is shooting form. Just about every year I will start out shooting good groups that are off mark. After roughly a week of shooting my group will move back to dead center because my muscles get back to where they were the year before.

After getting back into "shooting shape," it is time to get a little more serious. For about two months, I will shoot as many arrows as I can. I will try to shoot about 50 arrows a day, with 30 arrows from the thirty yard line, 10 arrows from forty yards, and 10 arrows from 50 yards. Avoid shooting inside of twenty yards, because close up shooting does not build as much confidence and does not condition your shooting nearly as much. Although I will never shoot at a whitetail over forty yards, shooting at longer distances helps train my eye and shot form to a finer art. Remember when shooting a lot in hot weather to wax your bowstring frequently to avoid accelerated string wear. Tex-Tite wax seems to be the best wax for the money, with a clean application and longer retention by the string.

When September arrives, I drastically slow down my shooting. Leading up to the season opener, it is more important to focus on quality rather than quantity. I will shoot  two rounds of 3 arrows, but the manner in which I shoot is much different. I focus much more on placing my first shot where it needs to be, because this is the shot that matters in October. I will wear long sleeves and will shoot with a face mask and hat to simulate the real thing. Practicing with a face mask on is very important if you wear one while bow hunting, because sometimes a mask can cause a change in anchor point, which will greatly change where your arrow will hit. I wear a Team Realtree EZ Armguard over my left sleeve to ensure that I do not slap my sleeve with the string on the shot. Every few days I will shoot from my climbing stand, to make sure I am using proper form by bending at the waist and maintaining a consistent anchor point. I make sure to shoot at a 3D target to practice angles and shot placement. The Shooter Buck is a good target for the money, with a replaceable vital and easy arrow removal.

Following this process helps me ready myself to get in the woods and be successful when the time arrives. Getting started on preparation for this upcoming bow season now will help give you the confidence you need to make the shot count this fall. 

By: Jimmy Washam

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Youth and Women's Bow

If you are looking to buy a bow for youth or women the Diamond Razor Edge is one of the best bows out there. This bow is amazing for growing youth. There are two sizes of this bow one that will go 15-30# and the next size that will go 30-60#. Both sizes have and 19-29” draw length adjustment. These adjustments allow youth to grow up with the bow for a long time. The bow comes set up with a sight, rest, quiver, wrist sling and peep. This is about everything you need but release and arrows to start shooting. Archery is a great hobby to get youth involved in. Hunting with archery equipment is very challenging and rewarding. Come in to your local Bass Pro and get one set up for your kids or self and get to shooting this summer!

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Summertime Bowfishing 101

Bowfishing is the practice of shooting fish with a specialized bow and barbed arrow with a a special line and reel connecting the two.

Bows Most people use the traditional long and re-curve bows to fish, but more and more are beginning to use the compound bow. Crossbows can also be used. Sights although not common can be used. Most look down the arrow in a line-of-sight shooting style.

Arrows Bowfishing arrows are heavier and stronger than regular hunting arrows. They are made out of fiberglass, solid aluminum, carbon fiber, and carbon fiber reinforced fiberglass. You don't use fletchings on bowfishing arrows because they are not needed for the short distance shots, and they can cause the arrow to flare off when they hit the water.

Line Bowfishing line is braided nylon, Dacron, or Spectra. 80-400lb test is the more common weights used. 600lb test is recommended for shooting sharks and alligators.

Reels There are three types of reels used in bowfishing. A hand-wrap is a custom made spool that sits on the front of your bow that allows your line to free spool off after a shot. You have to wrap your line back on the spool by hand.  A spin-cast is a big version of a push button reel on the front of your bow. Make sure that before you shoot using a spin-cast reel that you "Push the Button" so that the line releases from the reel. The retriever is a reel made specifically for bow-fishing. It allows the line to come freely out of a bottle when shot. It also has a stopper to stop or slow down the line being pulled out of it by a fish. This type of reel is recommended for big fish.

Glasses in night time or day time a pair of polarized sun glasses to cut the glare, from sunlight or halogen light, off the water is essential.

Boats Any boat that is made for shallow water or has a platform for shooting can be used for bow-fishing. Air-boats, Jon boats, and Canoes are typically used for freshwater bow-fishing.

Aiming When bowfishing you are shooting in water. The water refracts light. This makes it seem like the fish is higher in your field of view than it really is. But no worries, by using the aiming tip you will become a more successful shooter. Aim 4 inches low for every 10 feet of lateral distance you are from the fish, and add 3 more inches for every foot of water in depth the fish is in. This might be difficult to pick up at first, but practice makes perfect, and shooting is the fun part.

Fresh water Bowfishing Species
Common Carp, Bighead Carp, Silver Carp, Grass Carp, River Carpsucker, Longnose Gar, Shortnose Gar, Spotted Gar, Alligator Gar, Paddlefish, Threadfin Shad, Frog, Bigmouth Buffalo, Smallmouth Buffalo, Freshwater Drum, Catfish, Tilapia, Snakehead, and American Alligators.
Saltwater water Bowfishing Species
Southern Stingray, Cownose Ray, Bullshark, Barracuda, Redfish, Flounder, Sheepshead

Check with you local marine police or game warden to see what species is legal to shoot in your state.

Some key items to checkout are:
Bow-Bear Archery Super Grizzly Recurve
Rest-AMSBowfishing Wave Bow-fishing Arrow Rest
Arrow-Muzzy Carbon Mag Bowfishing Arrow with Carp Point, Safety Slide and Uninock
Line-Muzzy Extreme Bowfishing line
Reels-Bohning Bowfishing Reel (Hand Wrap), AMSBowfishing Retriever Pro Bowfishing Reel (Retriever), Zebco 808 Bowfishing Reel(Spincaster).
Kit-AMSBowfishing Fish Hawk Compound Bow Bowfishing Package
Glasses-Sea Striker Sunglasses
Boat-Grizzly 2072 Jon

Remember have fun, be safe, and may God lead your way.
Richard Justin Louhier


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Dressed to Kill: Spring Turkey Hunt Edition

Its Turkey time!

Bass Pro Shops will have you dressed to kill with our spring turkey hunt apparel checklist.

Hat- A full wide brim on a hat works best because it shadows your face and allows you to turn your head without changing your profile.

Facemask- This allows you to hide your face from the turkey without impairing your vision. A bandanna is traditionally used, but there are many different styles of masks available. A mask such as the RH Form Fit Full Face Mask is a popular buy. However, your choice should all depend on comfort because you don’t want to be adjusting constantly and let your prey see you.

Eduraskin Baselayer- The weather is getting warmer and when you’re out dressed in head to toe camo chasing after a tom you’re bound to perspire. The Enduraskin Baselayer won’t let your scent hinder your hunt. It not only will wick away moisture but its technology prevents the growth of odor-causing bacteria. So not only won’t they see you, they won’t be able to smell you either.

Camo Clothing- This is just another item of clothing to keep you hidden and blended so that the turkey cannot see you. However, another important element regarding your apparel is the amount of noise it makes. RH’s Silent Hide tops and bottoms are super quiet, durable and comfortable, perfect for the spring hunt.

Camo Rainwear– Spring is a season of unpredictable weather conditions. So don’t get caught in the rain without your rain suit. The RH Squaltex Bone dry Jacket and Pants will keep you dry and out of sight.

3D Camo Suit– A leafy suit over your regular clothing blend you into your surroundings. RH’s 3D Evolution suit is lightweight and made to match your hunting environment to a tee.

Gloves– RH’s Jersey Dot Grip glove is durable and breathable. The textured material on the palm provides enhanced grip which is excellent for bow hunting.

Other accessories that may come in handy when hunting your turkey is a gear bag to hold all your stuff and a hydration reservoir to keep you cool. When sitting in the bush trying not to move for hours, you want to be prepared for all the elements. With this check list you will have all your apparel bases covered.

This has been Genevieve DeBellis for Dressed to Kill: Spring Turkey Hunt Edition.

Suit up, and set out!

Vaughan, Canada
Store 24

 

 


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Spring Turkey Season

While Turkey season is among us, a lot of people will be spending their time in the woods, many of which will be after their first bird. I have gathered some information and put together a checklist for those “new” Turkey hunters.

  • Red, White and Blue are turkey colors, so never wear these colors known as *turkey* colors in the woods.
  • You must identify your target before shooting, as you would really need to wait until you see the whole turkey and know its sex before shooting.
  • Call the turkey to you. Never stalk a turkey for many accidents have happened when one hunter stalks another.
  • Remember you are not alone in the woods; listen carefully for footsteps and other calls for there might be other hunters close by.
  • Never wave your arms at another hunter to get their attention for they may shoot at the movement.
  • When calling a turkey, you should or I have been told to sit with your back to the tree, as this will protect you from another hunter if he mistakes you for a turkey.
  • Carry your decoys in a bag or vest so they are not visible and mistaken as movement of a turkey in the woods
  • Hunters in Indiana must wear a fluorescent orange outer garment and hat while hunting
  • It is illegal to shoot across roads or bodies of water.
  • The state of Indiana strictly forbids silencers or laser sights for hunting, and you must have a special permit issued by a local sheriff's office or police department to hunt with a handgun.
  • Hunting each day is from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. If you are hunting on a state fish and wildlife area, you must stop hunting at noon.
  • Hunting on private property requires permission from the landowner.
  • You must tag your turkey immediately upon harvesting it. It must be checked in to a check station within  48 hoursof the harvest.
  • Shotguns with shot shells, bow and arrow or crossbow are legal equipment to use.

Some of the items that are needed for the hunt are as follows:

Turkey Calls
Turkey calls are sold in different varieties such as the diaphragm, box call and the slate. Using these calls, hunters perform the yelp, tree yelp, cluck, cutt, cackle, purr, kee-kee, gobble and the spit and drum. Hunters should purchase a few of these calls and learn to call proficiently for success. Bass Pro Shops offer certain classes and contest on these calls.  As well as having these items on sale.

Clothing
Turkey have exceptional vision so hunters must conceal their identity. Camouflage clothing is required for turkey hunting, as hunters must sit on the ground during the hunt. Clothing should cover the entire body, including the arms so bring a long sleeved camo shirt or jacket, camo pants and boots. Turkey season is often a time when snakes abound, so many hunters wear snake boots which cover the leg up to the knee. Hunters should also wear a face mask or head net while turkey hunting. A head net makes a hunter more difficult for turkey to spot but has an opening for the eyes so the hunter's vision is not impaired. Bass Pro Shops carry a variety of these items and with a knowledgable staff to help you make sure you choose the right on

Weapons/Ammunition

Turkey hunters can hunt turkey with a bow and arrow or a shotgun. Bow hunters should have their bow sighted in and purchase the correct turkey broad heads.  Bass Pro Shops offer this in their Archery Department. Newly designed broad heads are more accurate and save the meat on the turkey by killing it without inflicting as much damage to the body. Hunters using shotguns to turkey hunt should be sure to bring turkey load shotgun shells, along with their shotguns to ensure their success. Apply for the correct hunting permit in the area you will be hunting and obtain the proper license before the hunt. Guidelines for permits and licensing are available at the Fish and Wildlife Commission in the state you are hunting in. We at Bass Pro  as well offer your hunting license here at the service desk.

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Spring Turkey Hunting in Missouri

Montana 2010First I would like to introduce myself, I am one of the Hunting Department Team Leads at the St. Charles Bass Pro Shops store. My name is David and I actively engage in several of the hunting and fishing seasons here in Missouri and in other states around the country. I enjoy the freedom and the serenity that is provided by actively engaging in such activities through out the year.

As spring begins to blossom, the weather begins to break and the temperatures increase, it sounds the signal on the spring turkey season. Spring turkey hunting this season promises to be more of a challenge than it has been in the previous few years. According to the MDC; several breeding seasons of foul and unfavorable weather conditions have reduced the number of birds per acre on average, and as such the large gobblers are more scarce and harder to call in and the jakes are even scarcer and are smaller on average. Though the overall numbers remain strong the competition for food, space, and hens is not as aggressive; setting the stage for a challenging season.

This year's season runs from April 18-May 8th, so now is the time to get equipped and get that essential must have gear:
  1. Shotgun
  2. Call
  3. Camouflage
  4. Permit
  5. Other items that I suggest you take but are not entirely necessary:
    • Knife or Knives for cleaning your bird
    • Camera- to capture that great moment
    • Binoculars- its a great help to spot those distant birds
    • Bug Repellent as often it can be damp and humid
    • Rain gear for those days when mother nature just doesn't cooperate

First lets look at the Shotgun, its the most essential part of your gear. There are a number of suitable choices from brands such as Mossberg, Remington, Browning, Winchester, and Benelli. While there is a dizzying array of choices, just keep in mind that there a a few specific features that make a "Turkey Gun" different from just another shot gun. Most are customized to some degree to take full advantage of the condition that most turkeys are hunted in, there fore they have shorter barrels that allow for great movement and ease of handling in dense foliage. They have more constrictive chokes either full or extra full to maximize the killing potential at the greatest distance possible by controlling the spread of the shot pattern. Many also make use of fiber optic rifle style sights to aid the shooter in aiming and making that perfect shot. Many now also make use of collapsible or pistol grip stocks to give the shooter greater comfort and control; and number one single defining factor is that a turkey gun sports a dense foliage camo pattern. Some of the best choices this season for a turkey gun are the Mossberg 500 series "Thug", and the Remington 887 Turkey Magnum- which is a Bass Pro Shops Exclusive. Both feature a dense woodland camo pattern, with fiber optic sights, and chokes optimized for turkey hunting. The Mossberg also sports a Choate Inc. Pistol grip stock.

The ammunition also makes a big difference on your success. Winchester, Remington and Environ-metal Hevi-Shot all make turkey specific hunting loads designed to exploit the advantages of the full and extra full chokes. These loads maximize effective range and killing power while being easy on the shooter and reliable in all conditions.

Next, we will look at the call. Once again this can prove to be a harrowing experience. To simplify your life there are two basic types of calls, the diaphragm call and the friction call.
  • The diaphragm call produces sound by the user forcing air through either a silicone of latex reed. The diaphragm call will often be referred to as a mouth call.
  • The friction call produces sound by rubbing two pieces of material against one another. The most common of the friction calls are the box and slate.
The diaphragm is most likely the hardest for the beginner to use, as it requires conditioning and hours of practice to master. Then it requires a different call for each type of sound you are wanting to produce. The box and slate calls however are rather user friendly and you can produce many types of sounds of varying length, volume and urgency from a single call. The box call is the simplest of the calls and can be used by anyone with little to no experience. The slate is a bit more advanced and its benefits far outweigh its learning curve. I suggest that even the greenest novice learn to use a slate call as its versatility lend itself to the varying conditions that are often encountered on a hunt. You can call soft and subtle or loud and aggressive, from a simple yelp to a full blown mating call. New for this year and one of my favorites is the Knight & Hale Warlord diaphragm call- quickly becoming a customer favorite. Its a full featured call ideally suited to the conditions that many face hunting spring turkey in Missouri. In the box calls the RedHead RTX box calls are a great value and are built to last through years of punishing use! In the slate call arena there are several great options; One of my favorites is the Primos Jackpot Slate, however there are some others that are great options as well: the HS Strut Lil Deuce II is a great beginners slate call as well as the all new for 2011 RedHead Cherry Friction slate call.

On to the camouflage, many times you can simply use what you have for early season bow hunting. However if your starting from scratch you will want to look at a thinner weight camo clothing that will provide comfort and concealment for those cool mornings but won't overheat you in the early afternoons. Ideally you want to be looking at something in an Mossy Oak, or a Real Tree pattern, as this best matches the Missouri foliage conditions. You also might want to purchase a blaze orange vest to wear when traveling to and from your hunting area. A face mask is also a good idea for a couple of reasons. One, it keeps the pestering bugs from your face. Two, turkey have particularly strong eye sight and your face and eyes are most often the portion of your body that give your position away when the rest of you is concealed.

The permit is just that: the state issued hunting permit that is required to be on you at all times while you are in the field hunting. It is available at any sporting goods retailer and now through the MDC website for an additional dollar. Its amazing just how many people forget just how important this piece of gear is. Its arguably the single most important piece of gear in your assortment. Don't risk your hunting privileges, get your permits on time and guard them like cash!

The other category is where many people go overboard and collect a lot of useless items. You have to remember everything you pack takes up space and adds weight, so pack sensibly. I prefer to keep my other items as light and compact as possible. For a knife I carry either a Buck Alpha Hunter with the Gut Hook feature or a Knives of Alaska Muskrat. For a camera I rely on either a Nikon or Canon pocket size digital camera. When using binoculars I prefer to carry the Nikon Monarch 8X36's. They are robust and have great light transmission for those early morning birds that are just out of naked eyesight, but be careful because you don't want to use them when there is a change of shadowing or prismatic reflection which may give away your position.

As far as bug repellent goes the best thing going right now is the Therma Cell. If you want or require bug repellent look no further; its light, compact, highly effective, and refillable. For those wet mornings quality rain gear is a must. I prefer a product with Gore Tex, as I have had great experience with it. However there are some new fleece materials on the market that are just as effective. Both the RedHead Storm Tex and Bone Dry backed clothes are great, as well as the Storm Kloth branded products.

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Michigan Monster

The whitetail world always amazes me. Year after year, bucks of monstrous proportions pop out of the woodwork throughout the country. Animals of mythical mass and tine-length break records every year. This is mostly due to quality deer management over the last decade and hunters’ efforts to improve the health and genetics of their herds.

 I’ve seen this tactic work for several animals that I’ve pursued over the years, animals which had the potential to be world class. My trail cameras captured them season after season, and I’ve let them walk, hoping they make it through the hoards of hunters in the area. Again, my cameras proved that many do.

 The number one defining attribute is age. If bucks are allowed to make it to maturity,168 buck their knowledge of their environment will ensure that they have a chance to make trophy caliber. Without our help, whitetails will seldom evolve into what every hunter is looking for.

 My intrigue of whitetails lead me to the decision that I wanted to enter the hunting community as a manufacturer of hunting products, products which would make my own life easier in the field. In 2006, Innovative Hunting Solutions was born, as well as a new scent-dispersal system.

 This brings us to the story at hand. We were contacted by customers almost immediately after our product hit the shelves. One customer, Brian, really stood out. He hunted mature whitetails in Michigan as seriously as anyone I knew; he had a passion for big bucks.

 Brian used his trail cameras to scour properties across southern Michigan, using as much land as he could to find the buck he would spend the season chasing. Because Brian had access to numerous properties he was able to single out some rather large bucks. The photos were impressive. In the fall of 2006, he sent me a photo of a handsome long-beamed, tall-tined buck walking under his empty stand on December 6th.  I remember the pain in his voice when he told me the story of why he had missed the hunt. Long days were spent during the last few weeks of the season to no avail.

 I kept in touch with Brian throughout the spring and early fall of 2007. His cameras were showing no sign of this highly anticipated buck. Days rolled into weeks and weeks turned into months. After much thought, Brian realized that this deer was a transient and that, for some reason, only showed his presence during the tail end of the rut.

 The whole month of November passed without a word from Brian. I imagined the thoughts that were racing through his head. A buck of that stature is hard to come by anywhere in the country, let alone Michigan. As anyone would, he and the property owner kept the buck a secret knowing that the pressure in the area would double if word got out.

 On the 10th of December, I received a call from Brian. I could tell from the excitementbigbuckballz.com in his voice that the buck had returned. A few days earlier, he placed dominant buck urine on an active scrape, checked his camera and found a photo of the very buck from the season before. Unfortunately that was it, almost like déjà vu, the buck disappeared without another sighting or picture that season.

 As both were avid bird hunters, Brian and the property owner worked with Pheasants Forever to enhance the wildlife habitat on the property the next spring. They planted corn, buck oats, soy beans, and clover plots in and around the perimeter of an apple orchard.

 The plantings proved to be successful. Bird and deer numbers were up, but the 2008 season came and left without any sign of the ghost-like whitetail. Did another hunter put a fatal shot on him? Did he get hit by a vehicle? Could he possibly have died of old age? All these questions were going through Brian’s mind. Talk about mental anguish!

 The 2009 season came in quick. Brian was back on the property running cameras and looking for signs of the giant buck. I even lent him a few of my own cameras to help the cause, meanwhile wondering how something so big could just disappear.

 Then, one November evening, I received a call from Brian. His first words were “THEmichigan monster BIG BUCK IS DOWN!” The event unfolded like this . . .

 BRIAN HEADED TO THE STAND AT 6:15 A.M.

Because of bad wind directions for a week, Brian had been waiting to hunt a stand overlooking standing corn and oat plots intersected by narrow hedgerows. His camera had shown a lot of rutting activity in this area and the conditions seemed perfect.

 It was early November, the temperature was 37 degrees, and the rut was at its peak. The wind was at a standstill and every step sounded like the one that would give him away. Brian stopped every 20 yards or so in order to make himself sound like a weary animal, eventually making his way to his blind without alarming any game.

 6:35 A.M.

Busting brush to the south a mature doe made her way through the orchard in front of Brian. Daylight was still 15 minutes away, but, through his binoculars, Brian could see a heavy-framed buck standing no less than 20 yards from his stand. With the buck so close, he didn’t want to give away his location, so he sat motionless. The buck grunted again and proceeded to chase the does.

8:30 A.M.

The scene was quiet. Thoughts were circling Brian’s head like a whirlwind. He wondered if he could have made the shot earlier that morning. All of a sudden, a doe broke the hedgerow with a 150-class buck in tow. Brian had little time to control his emotions, let alone gather his gear. The two whitetails blew by his stand before Brian could get his composure.

Over the next 20 minutes, the trophy buck chased the doe over just about every inch of the five-acre food plots, except for the area where Brian was perched. Situated in his stand, ready for any shot, Brian watched helplessly as the chase lost momentum and eventually the deer began to feed out of range.

 Brian thought to try and call the buck in, but he knew he would alarm the deer because of the wind direction. He had to sit back and wait to see how the deer would react and how the day would unfold.

 9:00 A.M.

A grunt, snort, and wheeze, downwind from the orchard put Brian at full alert. While slowly gathering his bow and attaching his release, Brian looked up to see the very buck that haunted his dreams for the last three years penetrating the hedgerow 90 yards from his stand.

The buck was leaving a dust trail as he blew through the neighboring field at full throttle catching the 150, 11-point that was tending the doe unaware and helpless. He drove his massive antlers in the chest of the 11-point and pummeled him to the ground. After little resistance, the mature buck chased the doe due south, directly away from Brian, disappearing into the hardwoods.

 10:35 A.M.

Brian was still trying to get over the fact that the buck of his dreams and three years of anticipation simply ran by, out of range, in a cloud of dust. Feeling sorry for himself, he raised his head in the direction of the hedgerow to the south. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the front profile of the enormous rack working its way into the clover.

All emotions erupted at once. At first, Brian thought for sure he had another chance. Then he realized the wind was blowing in the wrong direction. Where was the doe?  He told me, at that point, his arrow was uncontrollably rattling in his rest.

There the buck stood, 90 yards away, scanning the food plot with a look of intensity in his eyes. The only thing moving was his ears, scanning the area like radar. Another 10 minutes went by, and then the beast slowly walked out of the danger zone the wind was providing.

To Brian’s amazement, a 1-1/2 year old 8-point walked directly up to the monarch and began to spar with him. The giant buck simply let the smaller buck bounce his meager head gear from inside to inside of the massive 10- point frame.

This was Brian’s chance. He reached into his bag and began the task of trying to call in the brute. He tried grunting, rolling the can, and even rattling. Nothing seemed to faze the buck. He looked up a few times, but seemingly had no interest.

bbBrian endured another 15 minutes of mental torture and again had to watch the buck fade away into the thick Michigan undergrowth. There was nothing he could do but watch and hope the doe showed up again, hopefully pulling the buck into range.

THE SITUATION

Brian had no intention on hunting all day until he saw how the morning had unfolded. He was supposed to hunt the morning and return home to help his wife prepare for his son Jacob’s first birthday party. Brian knew he had to make a choice. He was hoping his wife would forgive him.

For the next five hours, Brian had numerous young bucks chasing does in and around the food plots he was overlooking, never going more than 30 minutes without seeing rutting activity. He knew his wife was going to be mad, but there was no way he was leaving.

4:20 P.M.

The weather was exceptionally warm for November and Brian was contemplating shedding a layer when all of a sudden five does broke through the hedgerow into the clover. Fifteen seconds later, he heard brush busting. Taking his attention off the does, he could not believe his eyes. The buck was back!

Trying to keep his composure and not spook the does, Brian gathered his gear and positioned himself. The does stopped to feed below his stand at seven yards. The massive buck sat tight, scanning the area from the hedgerow 25 yards to the south.

The buck was directly downwind and couldn’t see Brian because the sun was behind his back.  He just sat still, patrolling the does. Brian prayed that his scent-free clothing and spray would be enough.

4:25 P.M.

Brian’s head was a whirlwind of emotions. It took everything he had to keep it together. Was this going to be another close call? How could the buck not smell him? He hoped that the buck would forgive him and keep his attention on the does.

4:30 P.M.

A shift in the wind gave Brian hope, when the does began to slowly move toward the south. The buck flared his nostrils, turning south, taking three steps. The does watched the buck as Brian drew his bow.

As Brian tried to steady his Red Dot scope from bouncing all over the kill zone, he kept saying “it’s only a deer” over and over again. After little hesitation, his bow launched forward and the 100g broadhead ripped through the ribs behind the front leg of the buck. Jumping straight up, the buck kicked, then drunkenly stumbled 40 yards and fell on his side against a fallen log.

THE CONCLUSION

That day, Brian Hughes proved that perseverance and patience pay off. After the 60-day drying period, the massive animal net 203-5/8 non-typical in the Boone and Crocket scoring system, having less than six inches of deductions, making the recordL&T books both typical and non-typical.

Two weeks later, during firearm season, the property owner harvested the first buck Brian saw that memorable day.  The buck net 146 with an 8 broken G2. The antlers were the spitting image of Brian’s buck, proof that Michigan has what it takes to produce world-class animals.

Dave Lee

Bass Pro Hunting Pro Staff

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