Choosing the Perfect Bow

When choosing a bow, the first thing you need to do is research the different bows that are out on the market.  There are many different makes and styles of bows.  A few we carry are the Diamond’s Infinite edge $349.99, PSE’s Stinger $399.99, and Bear’s Outbreak $399.99.  They may have a lot of the same things in common. As you compare all makes and models, you will begin to narrow it down.  You have to decide what your main priorities are.  Do you want speed? Are you concerned with noise? How about comfort?  These are just a few things that you should consider.  Then, talk to people that you know who own bows.  Get their opinions. This will also help narrow the bows down. 

Before going in to pick out a bow, you must determine what your dominate eye is.  This can be done by holding your hands out in front of you.  Make a triangle by overlapping the space between your index finger and thumb with the same space on your opposite hand. Look at an object through the triangle hole made by your hands, preferably something round like a door knob. Focus on the object not your hands. Now close one of your eyes. If you still see the object with your left eye open, you are left eyed dominate. If you still see the object with your right eye open you are right eyed dominate.

Once you have found out your eye dominates the fun part begins. Getting the bow in your hands and shooting.  I would recommend that you try out as many as you can.  Now keep in mind you only want to try a few out at a time, because it can start to get very overwhelming.  Get a couple, and shoot them side by side.  Once you have come down to the bow you want, it has to be set up for you.    

When setting the bow up to fit you, we have to decide what your anchor point is going to be. This can be done by using the tip of your nose.  You can also use the corner of your mouth with a kisser button.  If you can get more than one anchor point, is even better.  This helps in finding out where to set your draw length.  Another thing to think about is will you be using a release or shooting with fingers. It will also help later on when you begin the sighting in process. 

The next step is to find your correct draw weight.  There is no mathematical equation to determine what your draw weight should be.  This is something that must be comfortable to you. Some people opt for a draw weight that is slightly lighter, with the idea that they can hold the bow at full draw longer in a hunting situation.  Others want the increased arrow speed a heavier draw weight can allow. 

Once your draw length and weight have been adjusted, you will have to purchase arrows.  Much like bows, there are many makes out there. Arrows are determined off of what your draw length and draw weight is.  You have to also decide what you are going to do with those arrows.  Are you going to hunt with them, or is it just for target shooting only?  Once that is decided we can measure the arrow to your bow.

As you start this journey in choosing a bow, remember to do as much research as possible.  Shoot the different makes and models. Find your dominate eye. Pick the bow that meets your needs.  Determine the arrows that are going to work the best for you.

Feel free to come in to your local Bass Pro Shops and we will be glad to assist you!


Time for Bow Tuning


Tod Pridemore's youngest son, Titus, shooting his bow.


Several weeks ago I installed a new Redhead Kryptik 3-Pin Sight on my Blackout compound bow. I’ve been really excited about the extra edge it’s going to give me this fall during archery season – especially when the light is faint during early morning or late afternoon hunts. But I didn’t have time to make adjustments to my bow and new sight until just a few days ago. Now I’m flinging arrows at my Redhead Target every chance I get!

This is the perfect time of year to pull your bow out and get it ready for the fall. Archery season will be here before we know it, so take advantage of these summer months to fine tune your bow set up and the mechanics of your shot. You’ll be glad you did. And if you need any help with the details, the Archery Techs at Columbia’s Bass Pro store are full of great advice.

-Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro Team Member


Get Your Head in the Game: Positive Mental Imagery and it's Bowhunting Benefits

Nestled in the corner of a small picked bean field in Southern Iowa, I waited eagerly from my treestand to see what might appear from the surrounding timber that evening. It was mid-November and the rut was in full swing. A warm front had recently moved in and despite my wishes, the rise in temperatures did very little to improve daylight activity in this particular spot. Nonetheless, I did my best to remain optimistic.

Darkness drew closer by the minute, and I had yet to lay eyes on a single deer that evening.  Just as I was starting to accept the thought that tonight may not be the night to connect with a rut-crazed bruiser, a flash of movement caught my attention approximately two-hundred yards from my stand. A doe jogged through a small opening in the trees and a nice buck was hot on her trail!

Rattling antlers in hand, I let-out a short, but aggressive rattling sequence. While I stood there waiting to see if this buck or any other would respond to my calling, I began to mentally prepare myself for the situation that could potentially unfold.  A few minutes had passed with no sign of activity from the other end of the field, when all of a sudden he appeared! A dark-racked 160-class 10-pointer emerged just 60 yards from where I was carefully positioned in my stand.  Locked-on to my decoy, he shortened the distance to a mere 10 yards, but nearly facing me straight on, I would have stay calm and confident as I waited for him to present the right shot opportunity.

Now nose-to-nose with my decoy, the buck stood momentarily at 19 yards, quartering away from me. The time was now.  Pulling the bow to full draw, I placed the arrow on the mark and watched it pass through the buck's lungs. Prior to the deer's arrival I had mentally rehearsed such an event, so I would be confident and prepared if an opportunity presented itself. Studies have shown that practicing an exercise with mental imagery is nearly as effective as doing it physically.

Mental training is a valuable tool for archers, as well as athletes in any sport. In archery it plays a very significant role because precise muscle movement and calm concentration regulate performance. The use of mental imagery can enhance both of these attributes.

Mental training prepares the body both mentally and physically. An archer practices it so the shot can be repeated exactly the same. Even though we think of this process as conditioning the mind, it also trains the muscles and nerves used to execute the shot. We are actually blueprinting the perfect shot in our mind and muscles. When the arrow is set and released in mental training, the same muscles needed to perform the actual shot are affected. The mind sends impulses to those muscles, which in turn programs them for the shot execution. You need to develop trust in your ability to duplicate the shot and not in your ability to shoot the deer. Harvesting the animal is the result of using good form. Repeated mental practice makes the shot become more routine, natural and fluid. The confidence that results allows the archer to perform with ease when faced with the unexpected conditions of an actual hunt.

There are different levels of mental practice, with visualization serving as one part of the process. In visualization, you will see yourself shooting the arrow, just as if you were making the actual shot. You will view the situation while looking outward, rather than from the point of another observer.

Mental imagery is a higher level of mental training and takes longer to master. You are still visualizing the shot, but now you must become actively involved in the experience with your other senses. You are actually creating the complete shot scenario in your mind. You feel the backpressure, the explosion of the shot and the reaction of your bow arm. By seeing and feeling the perfect shot, you can program both the muscles and the mind so the execution can be duplicated in a pressure situation.

Mental imagery is very effective because with practice our muscles actually contract and respond in the same manner as if the bow were in our hands. The only difference is that one will experience very little physical movement. It is essential that you picture the perfect shot with the same rhythm as you normally use, because the result will be the shot you are programming into your mind and muscles. This level of mental practice raises your power of concentration and focus.

Imagery will also help an archer control anxiety, nervousness and muscle tension. The mind can create the tense atmosphere of a Boone and Crockett buck ambling into your shooting lane. Think of yourself remaining calm and performing a perfect shot. View the trophy buck in your sights and then picture yourself remaining relaxed as you release the arrow.

Mental imagery will affirm your ability to shoot effectively.  A good friend once told, “Perceived confidence is achieved confidence.  Picture yourself in a positive manner and you will have the confidence to perform in a positive manner”.


Turkey Time

Spring Time Means Turkey Time

By Mark Campagnola

Eastern Turkey

If turkey season opened tomorrow would you be ready? Have you been out shooting your bow or making sure your shotgun is patterned? How about your turkey calls, camo clothes, and boots?  Are they ready?

Well if you said no to any of the above I wouldn’t get too excited about it yet (other than shooting your bow) since the earliest turkey season doesn’t open till mid-March and others Mid April. But if you don’t start now opening day will be here before you know it and then you will be scrambling to get everything done and hoping that you didn’t forget something.

Now I wrote above in parentheses “other than shooting your bow”. It’s what I call the three P’s practice, practice, and more practice year round to keep your skills and proficiently very high no matter what type of bow you shoot. A turkey’s broadside kill zone is about the size of a grapefruit, and the size of a tennis ball for a head on or rear shot. If you’re going for the hardest shot of all, a head neck shot, you’re looking at a target the size of a golf ball that’s moving 95 percent of the time.

One question I’m asked a lot in my seminars is what type of broadhead do I use? My answer is I shoot the same broadhead I use on big game and that is the G5 T3 all steel replaceable razor sharp 3-blade expandable with a 1 ½ inch cutting diameter. G5 Outdoors T3 BroadheadThe T3 puts a devastating entrance and exit hole and flies like a dart out of my Quest Torrent bow. Myself, I prefer body shots with a bow instead of a head neck shot. A head neck shot is an awesome quick kill shot but I feel more comfortable with a body shot.

If I couldn’t shoot an expandable broadhead my second choice would be the G5 Striker fixed bladeG5 Outdoors Striker Broadhead. The Striker also is all steel, has three replaceable fixed razor sharp blades with a 1 1/8 inch cutting diameter. Go to for more information. For a head neck shot you would want a broadhead with four long razor sharp fixed blades like the Guillotine that would slice a turkeys head off for a quick clean kill.



There’s also a lot of debate about what poundage you should set your bow at for turkey. Some Bowhunters take the same bow they use for big game and drop their poundage down around 40 to 50 pounds. The idea behind this is with lower poundage your arrow won’t blow thru and your arrow stays in the bird hoping to pin one or both wings so it won’t fly away and makes recovery of your turkey easier. Now the flip side of the coin is not to drop your poundage and not worry about a complete pass thru.Unless you have two bows and you can dedicate one just for turkey or small game there’s a few problems with dropping your poundage. Most compound bows are designed to perform best at their upper poundage range. If a compound bow has a range of 50 to 60 pounds it will perform best at 60 then at 50. So if you drop you poundage to 50 your bows performance is also going to drop. This is where long bows and recurve have a huge advantage over compounds. Another big problem will be arrow size! If you were shooting 60 pounds your current arrows may be too heavy or over spinned. This won’t hurt your bow mechanically like shooting to light of an arrow or under spinned arrows will. Shooting too light of an arrow is really hard on your riser and limbs, so find an arrow chart online like Easton Arrow or Carbon Express so you will know 100% whether the arrows you have will work or not. Plus factoring in your broadhead weight, you are going to have problems with arrow flight. If you shoot with sights they are going to be off so you will have to re-sight your bow in all over again. And then do it all over again when you change your bow back for fall big game season. 

Well we have only scratched the surface on preparing for your turkey hunt(s) this spring. There’s still more I want to cover on patterning you shot gun, turkey calls and a lot of the other stuff that goes with chasing those thunder chickens. Also March 23rd & 24th are the dates for Turkey Weekend at the Denver Bass Pro Shops. It will be two full days of nothing but turkey hunting and everything that goes with it. Bass Pro will have some of the best turkey hunters around doing seminars all day both days. So if you’re new to the sport or even if you have been hunting turkeys for 30 years come on down,make some friends and sit in on a few seminars. You never know what little secret you may come out with

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My first Texas Rio Grande

Mark Campagnola

Hunt Hard and Shoot Straight


Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas

 Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas


Twas a few nights before Christmas and all through Bass Pro,

The employees were scurrying all to and fro,

Great gift ideas throughout all the aisles,

In hopes these gifts would bring holiday smiles,


With toys for children and moms shopping at will,

Dads were in hunting dreaming of a big thrill,

Mom with her rifle and dad with his too,

All bundled up in warm camo suits,


Waiting patiently at breaking dawn to see,

If a great prize would come through the trees,

When out from the trees came a sudden noise,

Mom and dad both raised their rifles with poise,


Dad was jolted from his dream by a little voice,

Saying daddy, daddy look at these toys,

Let’s go see Santa they say he’s here,

Let me tell him what I want this year,


Off to Santa’s Wonderland quick we flew,

We were awed and amazed at all the free things to do,

With crafts and rides and free games to play,

And of course there was Santa to save the day,


With the children all happy in Wonderland,

Dad runs back to hunting as fast as he can,

Rifles, shotguns, and handguns too,

Not to mention shooting a new bow in the archery tube,


Remingtons, Brownings, Benellis, and more,

Bass Pro’s gun counter has guns galore,

What in the world is a man to do,

There is no way to choose just one or two,


Mom came with the children to drag dad away,

Dad took one last look and shook his head with dismay,

As they walked past Wonderland heading to the parking lot,

Santa caught dad’s eye with a wink and a nod,


All of a sudden dad felt his spirit lift,

And he started dreaming of his Christmas gifts,

With everyone’s wish list carefully written,

Mom knew Bass Pro would supply a good Christmas,


As the family left through the door,

They knew they had experienced a true Christmas store,

The last thing they heard as they walked ouf of sight,

Was Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Merry Christmas!!!

From the Bass Pro Hunting Department

Sevierville, TN





Are You Ready for Hunting Season?

Hello Bass Pro Shops Customers! Are you doing last minute shopping for this year’s hunting season? Listed below are some checklists you need to be looking over to make sure have everything you need this cold hunting season.


Preseason Checklist

Purchase hunting licenses

Secure landowners permission

Take hunter safety courses

Preseason scouting

Get physically fit

Sight-in rifle

Schedule vacation time

Vehicle maintenance

Camp repair

Purchase or reload ammunition


Clothing Checklist

Check weather report for proper dress

Hat (Be sure it has the required amount  of fluorescent orange)








Extra socks

Rain Gear 

Face Mask

Field Gear and Accessories

Knife sharpened

Flashlight and batteries

Drag rope

License and holder

Pencil string or plastic tie down for tagging

Field dressing kit


Masking scents

Deer/Turkey calls

Water bottle



First-Aid kit


Hunter's seat cushion

Tree stand (with safety belt)

Hand warmers

Daypack with lunch and snacks


Personal Checkpoints

Prescription medicine

Wallet with ID money and credit cards

Keys to camp, gun cabinet, and extra vehicle keys

Leave details of your hunting itinerary with your family

Cellular phone if possible


After the Hunt

Mail in harvest report card (if you got lucky!)

Process deer, turkey, etc.

Taxidermy arrangements (hope you saved some money!)

Clean and store all your gear

If you hunted on private property share you harvest with the landowner and send the landowner a thank-you note.


A few Other Things to Check....

Don’t wait until the night before the season opens to start gathering all your hunting gear. Here’s a look at how to avoid first-day glitches that could cost you a shot.

We’ve all done it at one time or another: It’s the day before deer season and you’ve waited until the last minute to round up all the gear you’ll need for tomorrow’s hunt. You’re nearly in a panic as you go through a mental checklist while you rummage through closets, attics and the garage.

You fill the pockets of your hunting coat and your daypack with everything you think you’ll need for the next day, dust off your favorite tack-driver, and pile everything by the back door. The next morning, you’re halfway to your stand before you realize you’ve forgotten some essential item – a facemask, gloves or even ammunition!

Forgetfulness and haste have probably saved the lives of more game animals than just about any other hunter’s gaffe you can think of. Perhaps the most frustrating part is that most of these glitches are preventable. What follows is a rundown of essential and non-essential items to help you avoid the pitfalls of poor preparation this opening day.


Its opening morning and you head off down that long trail through the woods to your stand. Halfway there you notice your flashlight beam seems to be growing dimmer. At first you think it’s just your imagination, but before long the light fizzles, and though you’re only a few hundred yards from your stand, you might as well be a mile away. You won’t find it now until the sun comes up.

Dead batteries top the list of common opening-day glitches. Deer hunters have come to rely on a number of battery-operated devices, including flashlights, range finders, hand-held GPS units and two-way radios, to name a few. We love them when they work, but curse them when they don’t, even though it’s usually our own fault.

A little preventive maintenance can save a lot of frustration. Always check every battery-operated tool before the season opens. Test each device to see if it works. If you have a battery tester, use it. If you don’t, get one. One alternative is to buy batteries with built-in strength indicators. And remember this simple rule: When in doubt, throw them out. Batteries are cheap. It also doesn’t hurt to keep spare batteries in your pack, just in case.

Guns and Bows

“It shot fine last year when I put it away” is a common lament heard at deer camps all around the country, usually after opening day misses. This is one of the most common blunders hunters make. There are hundreds of reasons why your gun or bow’s point of aim could change between seasons. Maybe you, or someone else, bumped it unknowingly. A different bullet weight, a different brand, even a different batch of ammunition could make a difference. Maybe you left too much oil in the barrel when you cleaned it. Or maybe you didn’t clean it and a drop of water turned the fine grooves inside your barrel into a spot of rust.

Leave nothing to chance. Make sure all the moving parts are in working order. Clean off the heavy coat of oil you applied for storage and replace it with a fine coating of synthetic lube that won’t freeze or gum up. Next, check all screws for tightness, especially on scope mounts and rings. Finally, take it to the range and fire it, using whatever ammunition you’ll be hunting with. Shoot enough to make sure your point of impact is correct and consistent.

If you’re bow hunting, sight pins can come out of alignment. Check all cams to make sure they’re turning freely and lubricate any moving parts that might make noise with a scent-free lube. When you’re done sighting in with field points, shoot a few broad heads to make sure your bow is still on. (Broad heads will often shoot differently than field tips, and this is a common source of “pilot error.”)

A Miscellany of Other Items

Whether you stuff them in your pockets, hang them off your belt or put them in a daypack, there’s an endless list of miscellaneous items you can take into the woods. Some are necessary; others merely make your endeavor more comfortable or efficient. First, let’s take a look at the essentials.

If I had to pick one item from my daypack that I would never be without, it would have to be a compass. You may be very familiar with the area you hunt and only headed out for an hour or two, but what if you decide to pick up a hot track on your way in, or end up following a long blood trail? Good outdoorsmen never get “lost,” but they sometimes get turned around. A compass will help you find the shortest route to get in and out of the woods. You can also use it to take a bearing on an animal’s direction after the shot and while tracking to help in recovery.

Obviously, you’ll need field-dressing supplies that are in good condition, particularly a sharp knife. I recall one opening morning when I was not so well prepared. I made a good shot and found the fallen buck easily, but my elation quickly turned to frustration when I realized I’d forgotten my knife.

I only made that mistake once, but I’d need all of my scarred fingers to count the number of times I’ve field dressed a deer with a dull knife. I now carry two knives, and I sharpen them before the season and after every use.

Other field-dressing supplies you may want to include are rubber gloves, a small length of cord to tie-off innards or attach your tag, and a small sealable plastic bag with some moist wipes for cleaning up your hands.

The list of what could be considered non-essential gear is limited only by your own needs or desires. Binoculars and range finders are particularly helpful in locating and judging game and accurately estimating distances.

Many hunters now use scents and calls to help draw game closer. You may need a saw for limbing or boning. If you’re a tree-stand hunter, you’ll need a rope to haul your bow or gun up with and something to hang them on.

You may want to include some sort of wind-checking device, such as a bottle of fine powder or tufts of silk.

Two items that could arguably be considered essential are a water bottle and a survival kit. Under moderate conditions water will help quench your thirst and in hot weather it will keep you hydrated. A survival kit is an insurance policy you hope you’ll never need. But if you do have a need for one at some point, it’s nice to have it.


A hunting license is one of those things you should take care of well before the season begins, particularly if you’re traveling out of state. Every state has different license sales procedures. Some may require you to purchase your hunting license from your local town office, which may only be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. Others require that you apply by mail, which could take several weeks, provided nothing gets lost in transit. Even if the local license vendor is just around the corner and open 24 hours a day, leave nothing to chance. He could run out of licenses, particularly as it gets closer to opening day.


As I sat in my tree stand watching the forest slowly come to life, I waited anxiously for the first distant shots that would announce the opening of another deer season.

Thirty minutes after first light I still hadn’t heard a shot. I suddenly began to get a very uneasy feeling that maybe I’d somehow jumped the gun. I fumbled through my pack searching in vain for the rulebook that wasn’t there. It was another half hour before I finally heard the first shots that put me at ease, but that first hour was one of the least enjoyable opening mornings I’ve ever spent.

Since that day I’ve learned to take nothing for granted. Regulations often change from year to year, and though state fish and game agencies do their best to keep us informed, it is ultimately up to the hunter to know the current laws and seasons.


Even though I always go over a mental checklist, I still manage to forget something. I finally remedied that by making a written list. That way it’s all there in black and white and I don’t have to rely on memories of last year’s hunt



Hunting Department

Leeds Alabama


21 Tips for Introducing a Young Hunter

Here are 21 specific strategies you can use to give a young or new hunter a great experience and whet their hunting appetite for more.

1. Schedule the Hunt Early

With kids’ intense schedules these days, it’s important to look at the family’s autumn calendar as early as possible and block off the necessary days or weekends for deer hunting. Late summer is a great time to do this. As the school year approaches, schedules crystallize, and hunting season dates are published. One trick is to block off more days than you need and back off later. Don’t end up shortchanged.

2. Generate Excitement

It’s important to talk about the hunt before it happens. Half of the adventure is the anticipation, especially for young and new hunters. You don’t want to whip them into such a froth that they can’t sleep at night, but do let them know how important the hunting experience is to you, and could be to them. Then they will want to be involved in the planning and preparation.

3. Involve the Young Hunter in Planning and Preparation

It’s human nature to try and “do it all” for the young hunter, and just let them experience the fun of the hunt itself. But it’s important to involve them in the hunt’s preparations — making lists, going on shopping trips, helping make catalog orders, packing, scouting, opening camp and other activities that are part of the adventure.

4. Look for Special Youth Opportunities

Some of the best hunts for kids are the special youth hunt opportunities that so many game departments offer these days. These include regional or statewide seasons for youth only, as well as special park or refuge hunts. Low hunting pressure often makes for a high-quality experience and a good chance to get a deer. Scenarios like these are perfect for a first hunt.

5. Make the Hunt About Them

One reason special youth hunts are good is that they force you, the mentor, to concentrate on the kid. This is the best way to make a beginner hunt work. Young hunters need attention, and lots of it — tutoring, ideas and instruction on everything from firearm, bow and tree stand safety to how to wait silently, minimize movement, prepare for a shot and identify other wildlife and birds you see. You’ve shot deer, and will shoot plenty more; make this time about them.

 6. Offer Plenty of Shooting Practice

Shooting well is critical to any hunter, especially the young one. The best way to ensure success is to get them out on the rifle or archery range a lot before the season. Of course, you can sling more arrows than bullets. But every young firearm hunter should have at least one good shooting session, and preferably two to three, under their belt. Be positive, and get them confident that they can place an arrow or bullet where it needs to go. That confidence will work wonders.

 7. Outfit Them Properly

It’s easy to start young hunters out with hand-me-down hunting clothes. That’s usually not a problem with jackets, but make sure they can get around in their pants. More importantly, pay attention to the comfort in their extremities. This means boots that fit (for easy walking) and are warm for those toes. It means quality gloves, mitts or other hand-wear that will keep their fingers nimble. Invest in good chemical hand warmers too. Get a hat that fits and fights the expected weather. A warm head, toes and fingers go a long way toward a happy hunt.

8. Provide Creature Comforts

All kids are different, but most of them (at least my boys) are quite concerned with their stomachs. When you’re up early, it’s important to feed them at home, in camp or on the drive. I can’t eat that early, but kids sure can. Bring plenty of food for the hunt too. If you’re in a blind, that’s easy. It’s harder to eat in a tree. Take decent food, not candy but sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly anyone?), crispy bars, granola bars or wholesome cookies.

Admission time: I don’t worry about fruit or veggies on hunts: The young hunter needs carbs now! Something to drink is important too. Water is best (remember that cold dehydrates bodies).

9. Recognize When to Take a Break

It’s important to realize that kids’ attention spans are short. Their interest wanes, and they sometimes aren’t as intent as we are on killing a deer. It takes knowing your kid. Keep a barometer on their mood, attitude and interest level. If those factors drop too low, it’s time to take a break. This is easier to do on a morning hunt, where prime time happens soon after you arrive. But it’s challenging in the afternoon, when the hunting gets better as dusk nears. Set an expectation upon arrival; kids also sit better when they have an end time identified.

10. Allow Distractions

It’s critical not to push young hunters to focus too much. Allow them to bring distractions such as handheld gaming devices, books or puzzles. Just because your youngster isn’t staring a hole into the woods every second of the hunt, doesn’t mean they are not enjoying the experience.

11. Know When to Quit for the Day

With young hunters, stay fluid with your plans. If you sense they’re done, don’t push it. Call it a day. Just think back to something you got tired of doing when you were a child, and put yourself back in those shoes. Pushing a hunt too far could leave the sour taste of drudgery with the young hunter. Let them know you’re not upset and it’s fine to go, then make good.

12. Avoid Bad Weather Days

Related to the “fluid plans” department: Don’t push the limits when weather goes bad. Wet or deeply cold conditions dictate that another day might be better. Of course, if you have just a day or two locked in to hunt, you don’t have much choice. The solutions then are to shorten individual hunt sessions, take plenty of breaks (to warm up or dry off), stay stoked with good food and laugh it all off.

13. Don’t Baby Them

Don’t be afraid to rouse kids out of bed at oh-dark-thirty. Come at it with a fun, positive and upbeat attitude. Teach them that getting up early to go hunting is exciting, and a privilege. They can catch up on sleep when it’s not hunting season, I always say. Don’t be afraid to have them walk a reasonable distance, wait a good amount of time, follow all safety rules and do some work around the hunt. You’re teaching them to grow up a little bit and learn some responsibility.

14. Celebrate More than Killing a Deer

Take time to marvel at all the stars, out here where they’re not dimmed by town’s lights. Listen to the chickadees, nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals and other birds that call. Identify other wildlife, and count those sightings as part of the reason for being here in the first place. Celebrate the outdoors together, and find meaning in all aspects of the hunt. A cafe lunch in town can create memories as good as those generated out on the deer stand. Focus on time together and the whole experience.

15. Make Them Part of “The Crew”

In some cases; part of the attraction of hunting for youngsters is a sense of belonging to a fraternity of other hunters. Hunting can be a right of passage. Embrace this if you are part of a hunting camp. Go out of your way to make the young hunter feel included. Don’t make your youngster feel like a guest. Make them part of the crew. Give them camp chores. At the same time, be wary of demeaning practical jokes, or placing the youngster in a situation they do not feel comfortable with.

16. Coach the Shot

Shooting at a deer for the first time is tough. Whisper a young hunter through his or her shot opportunity. Stay positive, take away the worry, play it low key. This is big stuff, and young hunters both want and need coaching. Don’t expect them to know when the best shot opportunity is or even how to get their bow or gun up without being noticed. When things do look good, say something like, “Go ahead, whenever you’re ready …” and let them take it from there. You should have already coached them on where to aim on the deer. I’m always amazed at what good shots most young hunters are: careful, deliberate and determined.

17. Manage any Moments of Truth

Dealing with a first success isn’t always easy. It can be hard for a youngster to walk up on a majestic animal they just killed. When firearm hunting, I’m never in much of a rush to get to a downed deer: We’ll sit and watch it awhile if it has dropped in sight, gun at the ready, and let it kick its last. What you don’t want is an ugly close-up scene delivering a finisher shot.

18. Give Them a Pass on Field Dressing

Give your young hunting partner a kitchen pass on field dressing their first deer (or two). That’s a lot to ask of a new, young hunter with a lot of emotions running through them. Besides, it’s a tough thing to do without having observed the process, and helped out, a few times. Explain what’s going on as you do it, and point out some of the organs. Make field dressing a fun, natural and joyous part of the hunt: You’ve had success! Have the young hunter assist by holding a leg, helping tug here or there and turning the animal over to drain blood. If a kid doesn’t want to watch, respect that feeling.

19. Ask How They Want to Eat It

I always put each kid’s name on the venison packages from the deer they shot. They love to know which animal we’re eating at dinner time. It makes them proud, spurs conversation and interests them in the cooking process. That’s a part of the hunt that almost all youngsters like to participate in. Involve them in the recipe selection, food preparation and cooking process.

 20. Work to Meet their Hunting Desires

To the point that it’s feasible or affordable, cater to meet your young sportsman or woman’s evolving hunting desires. Maybe they want to hold out for a buck next or graduate to a different type of firearm. Last winter, I sent my middle boy out with a shotgun and slugs in a massive South Dakota pasture; he wanted the challenge versus carrying a center-fire rifle. An hour later, he returned dragging a big old whitetail doe, grinning from ear to ear. My youngest boy is graduating to the challenge of the bow this fall.

21. Let Them Tell the Story

Finally, when the hunt is over and it’s time to remember and reflect, don’t guide this process. Simply facilitate it. Let your young hunter recount the tale from their own viewpoint and form their own conclusions about the experience. You’ll probably learn something in the process.


When it comes to hitting the woods with a young hunter, don’t kid around. Your job is to concentrate on them and manage the experience, so that they have fun and want to come back for more. Deer hunting’s future depends on it … and you.


Hunting Department

Leeds Bass Pro Shops


Infinite Edge...Coming Soon!

For all of you out there that have been waiting for the perfect Christmas Gift...Diamond has come out with a successor to the Razor Edge with the new Infinite Edge!!!



For maximum adjustability and unlimited value, Diamond Archery has released the Infinite Edge. Pushing the limits of performance, the Infinite Edge is so versatile that it will be the last bow you’ll ever have to buy. It features an incredible draw length range of 13-30 inches and draw weight range from 5-70 pounds to provide dependability throughout an archer’s development. The Infinite Edge also comes with an infinite draw setting for training programs, first time shooters, or bowfishers.

The Infinite Edge accessory package includes a 3-Pin Apex Sight, Hostage XL Arrow Rest, Octane DeadLock Lite Quiver, tube peep sight and a BCY String Loop.


Quick Facts

Draw Weight:                    5-70 LBS

Mass Weight:                    3.1 LBS

Effective Let-Off:                75%

Draw Length:                    13-30

Kinetic Energy:                  74.7 FT-LBS

Axle To Axle:                      31”

IBO Speed:                        310 FPS

Brace Height:                    7”


Rey Rodriguez

Hunting Department Manager



From Recurve to Robin Hood

The debate over crossbow hunting has been around for a while. Some feel crossbows shouldn't be allowed during archery season, other hunters say, "why not?" Regulations vary from state to state. In Iowa, only those age 70 or over, or those physically incapable of pulling back a bow may apply for a crossbow license. Those who are physically challenged in some way must have doctor’s verification.

According to the Iowa DNR, the number of crossbow licenses sold in Iowa has risen continuously the past five years.   

Percentage Increase of Crossbow License Sales in Iowa


Percentage Increase
21-30 53
31-40 25
41-50 15
51-60 30
61-69 44
70+ 48

Bass Pro Shops customer and avid sportsman, John McMahon, made the crossbow hunting transition just a couple of years ago.

"Crossbows were a rarity to me until about the last ten years. Nobody had one, nobody really knew about them. Maybe you’d see one in an old Robin Hood movie."

John McMahonMcMahon says for over 40 years, he shot recurves, long bows, and numerous compound bows to harvest small game, including upland and waterfowl. He killed black bear, elk, antelope, mule deer, and whitetail throughout Iowa and the Midwest, Wyoming, and Canada and made his own arrows, with flu-flu fletchings, including empty .38 caliber casings for blunts. 

"I was the purist of all…an instinct and finger release shooter. However, I didn’t look down on those who used sights and mechanical releases, and never have."

"When there started to be more of them in use, I, like so many, criticized the fact that they could be used during the archery season. Because, with the scope and rifle-shaped configuration, it was like using a firearm that shot an arrow. In my mind back then, it was cheating, not true bow hunting."

He became more familiar with crossbows by selling them. He also began to understand their importance to a growing population. Many years in an action-packed law enforcement career gave McMahon many injuries, including damage to both his of shoulders. He gave up bow hunting for about two or three years, because he couldn’t pull a bow of sufficient poundage. Three years ago, learning about the crossbow gave him a new lease on hunting life.

"Old hunters like me don’t quit…they simply adjust their weaponry."

McMahon says he believes that the actual release of the arrow by a crossbow does require less skill. However, he also believes that for the love of the sport, the crossbow provides those who are physically challenged and still wanting to pursue the love of bow hunting an opportunity to do so.

McMahon says the challenge is absolutely the same, it’s only taking the actual shot that’s easier.

"You still have to:

  • Know your prey and how to avoid, or entice, their superior senses of smell, sight, and speed.
  • Know how to scout and the importance of the territory
  • Know signs of hormonal changes and how they affect movement.
  • Know diet at different times of the year.
  • Know effects of weather and moon phases.
  • Know where to place your stand or blind and how to disguise it
  • Know how to hide your tracks, in general.
  • Understand bedding areas.
  • Know how to track before and after the kill.
  • Have patience."

McMahon says it’s simply the pull of the trigger that sets the crossbow users apart. So the next time you see someone carrying a crossbow, don’t roll your eyes…stop and ask them how the hunt goes."


Tune into Success

   Shorter days, longer nights, and a little nip i the air assures us that the whitetail rut is approaching swiftly.  Many of you guys and gals have probably already been out and spent quite a few hours in a tree or blind waiting for an opportunity to arise.  I would venture to guess that many readers have already harvested a deer or two this season.  No matter your situation, I'm sure that you are looking forward to the next couple of weeks as the rut peaks throughout the Midwest.  November 1-20 is undoubtedly the most exciting time to be in the woods for me.  The promise of a action packed rut combined with the anticipation of never knowing exactly what is going to happen, can happen, or might not ever happen is an exhilarating swing of emotions that draw each of us back to the woods every year.  Last year I posted a blog titled "Bow Prep Tips for Crunch Time" that illustrated the small things you can do to insure that your bow is ready for the moment of truth.  In this blog, I will talk more about how to prepare you for "crunch time."

    Most of us have spent the better part of the summer getting our bows sighted in and our form hammered back out to prepare for deer season.  Muscle memory when shooting a bow is important.  Drawing to the same anchor spot, aligning your sight bracket with your peep correctly, squeezing the trigger; all important actions that will impact how well you shoot.  Of course those are not the only things affecting your shot.  You have to think about follow through, "feeling" your target as my dad taught me.  Weather conditions and steady winds can throw you off too.  Try climbing your treestand to your maximum height, pull your bow and arrows up, and then draw and fire about 6-12 shots at various ranges and targets.  Your accelerated heart rate from climbing the stand may help emulate what it will be like when buck fever dawns on you.  Shooting from an elevated position that you have not practiced from can be detrimental to that ever important first shot.  One thing to keep in mind:  if you are in a treestand shooting down at a target (or deer) it is critical to bend at the waist to keep your upper body properly aligned.  Lowering your arm rather than bending at the waist is a sure way to botch a seemingly easy shot.  The same is true for uphill shots which most whitetail hunters encounter far less often.

    If you have the form and the mental side of archery down pat, I offer you one last suggestion.  Keep shooting actively throughout the season!  I have fallen victim to this at least once.  You go out and try so hard to perfect everything about your archery shooting ability only to sit on stand for days and weeks without firing a shot.  When the magic happens on a cold day in November, you suddenly find yourself watching a bruiser flagging the other way as you sit there with a muddy broadhead and broken ego. I recommend buying a small target like a Rinehart Archery Field Target to get a couple of practice shots in before you leave the truck to head for your stand.  This will keep you focused on what needs to occur for you to hit where you are aiming.  Whether you are drawing on a big buck, a doe, or a 3-d target at the house, archery is all about concentration and focus. Remember the basics and let the emotions take over after you send one through the boiler room!

Good Hunting!

-Brian Eickholtz
Bass Pro Shops
Clarksville, IN


Silence your bow!

Unless it’s the bugle of an incoming elk or the clack of my arrow’s impact on a rib cage, I hate noise when I’m bowhunting. I strive for silence in my clothing, boots, treestands, and packs. You name it, it must be quiet, or it doesn’t hunt with me.



Various bow silencing products. Clockwise from bottom left, Sims dampener on its Limb-Saver Prism Sight, Sims Mino LimbSavers and Super String Leeches, Cir-Cut adhesive fleece, Vibracheck Stabilizer, Fize Stabilizer, Sims S-Coil Stabilizer, Stealth Archery Stabilizer, Carbon Express Stabilizer, Meanv Archery Custom String Suppressor, and Mathews Harmonic Dampener.


Foremost in the quest for silence is a quiet bow. First, let me settle a common argument. Can you make your bow silent? No. Will a big game animal always hear your bow going off? Yes, unless distance, wind, or water covers the sound.



The speed of sound, at sea level and 70 degrees, is 1,128 feet per second. That’s four or fives times faster than your arrow, meaning the twang of your bow will reach a game animal well before the arrow. Most animals react to that sound rather than the impact of the arrow. An animal has no concept of what an arrow is or what just happened. All it knows is that it might be in danger — so run!




Carolina Archery Products ShockStop Stabilizer



The infinitely varying situations and attitudes of individual animals, however, complicate this debate. Is the scene quiet and calm? Is the animal calm or tense? Is the shot long or short? Does the arrow fly at 180 feet per second or 320? Is the animal aware of your presence? Is it an ultra-quick impala or a less-reactive bull moose? Will a loud bow spook game worse than a quiet one? Does it make a difference?



You never want to “break the spell,” as I call it, by making any noise before or after you launch an arrow. So, the singular answer to the above questions, at least for detail-oriented bowhunters, is to get your bow as quiet as possible — just in case it does make a difference.




Doinker 5″ Multi-Rod Plus Stabilizer.



The Twang
No doubt, the most significant noise generators on any bow are the bowstring and buss cables. Bow manufacturers have gone to great lengths to reduce and dampen string/cable vibration. Mathews employs its String Suppressors, Hoyt the StealthShot String Suppression System, Ross Archery the Flatline Silent Shot System, and Browning the SRS (String Recoil Suppre-ssor) devices on its Illusion bow.


Aftermarket string suppression systems are also available. They screw into the backside of the threaded stabilizer hole or into the front with an adapter, and the business end butts up against the bowstring. These are effective in dampening string vibration. Four good options are Norway Industries’ String Tamer, Meanv Archery’s Custom String Supp-ressor, STS Archery’s Shock Terminator Suppressor, and Falcon Products’ Rattler.


Probably the biggest name in noise suppression is Sims Vibration Labor-atory, whose products of NAVCOM (Noise and Vibration Control Material) are found on many bows today. Many bow manufacturers include Sims String Leeches with their bows. These small, yet effective, devices go a long way toward taming the oscillation of any bowstring.



BowJax, Inc., another front-runner in noise reduction, makes string dampeners that slip between the strands of the string and cables, or slip over the bowstring after putting your bow in a press.




Truglo Pro-Tune Stabilizer.



A variety of products will dampen string vibration, including yarn, rubber “cat whiskers,” and muskox fur. All of them will quiet a bowstring to some degree, but I would recommend a style that does not hold moisture or burrs.



Three other factors affect bowstring noise: If your bow is set at or near its maximum draw weight, it will shoot more quietly than if set at a lower poundage. Also, most bows will shoot more quietly with heavy arrows than lighter arrows because the heavy arrows absorb more of the bow’s energy. Finally, a well-tuned bow will be slightly quieter than a poorly tuned bow because a higher percentage of energy goes into the arrow than through the bow.



The Bow Frame
The next steps, in no particular order, are to soak up the vibration of a bow’s frame and limbs. Since Mathews installed Harmonic Dampers on its bow risers, other companies have followed suit to deaden what is essentially an aluminum “tuning fork” holding bow limbs in place. Most bow makers who haven’t developed their own riser-dampening products, like Hoyt’s RizerShox or Martin’s Vibration Escape Modules, now install products from other companies.




Sims Vibration Lab Hunter Modular Stabilizer.



To some extent, adding weight helps to quiet a bow because a heavy object transmits less vibration. That was the original purpose of a stabilizer. Today, stabilizers have become high-tech devices filled with various substances, or engineered in some way that will increase their ability to reduce vibration and noise without adding excessive weight.



The options are many in the stabilizer market. Sims’ S-Coil Stabilizer is actually quite light, but the integrated NAVCOM material absorbs shock. Another top stabilizer is the Doinker, which features proprietary ITP (Interrupted Transfer Poly-mer) technology.



Other quality stabilizers come from Fuse Accessories, Alpine Archery, Bow-Tech, Carolina Archery Products, Vibra-check, TruGlo, NAP, Carbon Express, Stealth Archery, and Martin.




Truglo Deadenator Stabilizer.


If you don’t believe stabilizers are beneficial, screw one on your bow and shoot a couple of hundred arrows. Then take it off. You’ll notice the difference. I prefer a stabilizer in the six-inch range because it’s big enough to make a difference yet isn’t cumbersome.



Parallel limbs and new cam designs have reduced limb travel, which helps reduce vibration and resulting noise from the limbs. Aftermarket limb-dampening devices, such as Sims’ Limbsaver Ultra and BowJax’s Monsterjax (or Slimjax for narrow limb bows), work very well. Some bow manufacturers have their own designs. Hoyt equips its split-limb bows with AlphaShox. Ross Archery and Al-pine Archery have their own limb dampeners, and CSS Archery offers Tunerz, tunable dampeners for limbs and other bow parts.



You can add other products to your bow to soak up vibration. Small, stick-on Mini Limbsavers can deaden the vibration of quiver hoods, sights, and other parts. The process requires a bit of experimentation to maximize noise reduction. Each bow responds differently, and what works on one bow may not work on another.




Here I’m installing adhesive fleece on the riser shelf. (note fleece on the bottom of the sight guard; also use of Sims S-Coil Stabilizer.



Miscellaneous Noise
You can’t totally eliminate the sound of a released bowstring, but you can kill potential noises that occur before the shot. The best tool for this crucial task is adhesive fleece, or moleskin. I love the stuff.



To begin with, place adhesive fleece on any part of your bow that could create a noise. I put a couple of strips on the bottom of the upper limb so that when I hang the bow on a hanger, it doesn’t clink. If I plan to do some belly-crawling, I put fleece on the metal parts on the side of my bow that may contact rocks as I move it ahead of me on a crawl. Also, depending on the quiver design, I put fleece on the inside rim of the quiver hood to eliminate noise as I insert or extract arrows.



Fill your bow quiver with arrows and check to see if the shafts contact the arrow rest, sight, or bow limbs. If they’re even close, cover those parts of the bow to eliminate vibration noises and sounds that might occur as you remove arrows from the quiver or shoot the bow.



Always line the sight window and bow shelf with fleece, making sure to cover the lip of the shelf. With an arrow on the string, move the arrow around the arrow rest and bow shelf. If the arrow contacts any metal parts, even the bottom of the sight guard, cover those metal parts with fleece. If you use a drop-away rest, pad the bow shelf with fleece to silence the collision of the launcher arm with the shelf. A piece of thin rubber under the fleece helps even more.



Drawing an arrow across the arrow rest is the most critical moment in bowhunting, and even the tiniest noise can break the spell. Cover the launcher with fleece for a deadly silent draw.



Some good sources of adhesive fleece and other bow silencing products are Cir-Cut Archery, The Bohning Company, and Hunter’s Specialties.



Other creaks and groans that might occur when you draw could result from dirt and grime on the axles or in limb pockets, string yoke attachment points, and even cracked limbs. If your bow makes any sort of noise when you draw, eliminate it, even if that means taking it to an archery pro shop for repair.



Does taking all reasonable steps to silence your bow make a difference? In my judgment, yes, it does in certain hunting situations. Since you cannot predict when you and your bow will be thrust into those situations, shushing your bow certainly makes good bow-hunting sense.


Archery, Getting Back in the Game

Bear Compound BowWe're answering your questions! This question comes to us from Victoria Hasty:  I haven't bow hunted since I was a teen. What equipment would you recommend I use to get back in the game this season? Thanks!

Thanks for the question Victoria and welcome to your 2012-2013 bow season! I'm going to go over what it takes to get back into archery today. Whether you plan on being a diehard in the tree stands, or just miss that bow you used to shoot in high school, we have it covered here at your local Bass Pro Shops. Keep in mind archery takes a lot of patience  before you can master the art of the stick and string.

To get things started, let us go over a few bows out there that will fit a beginner. Please bear in mind we have a huge selection of bows and I am only going to go over a few of our favorites. PSE Stinger Compound Bow


The first few things you need to look for in a bow:

- the size of the whole bow itself
- the draw length range must match your draw length
- and you have to get a bow that you are physically strong enough to pull back.Redhead Kronik XT


My personal selections that fit that roll for the average beginner are the PSE Stinger, RedHead Kronik XT, Bear Apprentice, and the Diamond Razor Edge. All of these bows have a huge range of adjustment and can usually fit every individual. In addition to that they are also ready to shoot out of the box. Meaning you will not need to buy a rest, sight or all the other gadgets out there. Trust me though, once you are hooked on archery you will be back in to add on to your set up. Diamond Razor Edge Compound Bow


When you have a few bows selected that you would like to test, we will set them up to your specifications and allow you to shoot them. You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, right? While test firing the bows, do not worry about how accurate you are. Focus just on the feel of the bow to the grip and the draw cycle. You are looking for smoothness and ease of draw.

Once you find one that fits you, you then need to select some arrows, For a beginning shooter, there are tons of arrows out there for you to choose from. A few of my favorites are the Redhead X5 Envy Arrows, easily our best seller. Next are the Carbon Express Mutinys, both of these arrows are great values and come in different weights and strengths to match up to any bow.Redhead X5 Envy Arrows


Redhead XPS Caliper ReleaseAfter you have your arrows picked out, you now need a release and then you are ready to shoot. A few of our top sellers for releases are the Patriot, Patriot Jr, and the Redhead XPS Release. These are the most popular and provide the best value to the beginner out there.

TruFire Patriot Caliper Release Power StrapWith these things in hand you are now ready to take your equipment home and practice. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to practice! Shooting your bow should become part of your everyday routine. All you need to do to be successful is 10-20 arrows a day. Please remember to focus on form over accuracy until you are sure you can shoot with the same exact form over and over again. I hope this is a big help to everyone out there and remember to stop in and get set up, it is never too late to start shooting!


Dustin Sacco, Achery Associate
Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL


Preparing for Archery Season in Florida

I hope by now you have been practicing with your archery equipment because in just a little over a month from now, archery season opens in Florida.  I also hope you have had some family outings in the woods looking for signs of wildlife movement.  The acorn crops are starting to mature and will be falling soon which means the deer are going to move back into their summer-early fall feeding patterns.  I have seen some bucks in South Florida where I am working and they are starting to rub their antlers.  This means they are back to visiting those rub lines from last year. I have found that year after year bucks seem to follow the same patterns even if a buck is harvested in a scrape area another one will move in and take over.  So start your summer scouting in areas where you have seen deer sign before. 


Now is the time to clear those shooting lanes too!  If you clear them now the deer will get used to them and all the scent you leave behind will be long gone when the season opens.  By the way if you have not tried the Bass Pro Shops Redhead Ratchet Pruners you should because they work great for making those shooting lanes!  If you are going to hunt from a climbing stand now is a good time to climb the favorite tree and make sure there are no limbs in the way.


Let’s talk a little bit about tree stands.  My favorite is the Grand Slam by API.  This stand is very easy to set up and use.  Find your favorite location, set up this stand and it will give you many hours of comfortable seating.  Also remember to get an API Gear Reel.  It makes life a whole lot easier by allowing you to pull up your “stuff” after you get in place and don’t forget to wear that safety harness, which is why they supply it with the stand!

grand slam

Back to practicing with the bow…you need to check out all of your archery gear and get it back into shape for the upcoming season.  Be sure to check your string for wear and wax it.  If it needs to be replaced the associates in the archery department at the BPS-Outdoor World in Orlando will be happy to help out.  Make sure your sight pins are set and tight, your arrows are straight and feathers or vanes are in good shape.  Practice with field points that match your broad head weight and remember to change back to broad heads before you head back into the woods to hunt. Some fellow hunters have asked what type of broad heads I use.  I like and have had good success with the Redhead Blackouts as have a number of folks that I talk with during seminars and campfire conversations.

blk out

I hope this information helps with your preparations for the upcoming archery season and I wish you great success!  Remember to take that camera with you and when you have a successful harvest, send us your photo or bring it by the Orlando store.  We always love seeing your pictures and listening to your stories!


For now…head outside, have fun in the great outdoors and be sure to take family and friends along with you!

Mikey Blanton

Bass Pro Shops Orlando- Hunting Pro Staff


Hunting Season Preparation

It’s that time of year again. If you hunt Public Land in Florida you probably remember June 1st better than you wife’s or children’s birthdays. Each year June 1st marks the opening of the application period for a shot at one of Florida’s Phase 1 Quota/Limited Entry Hunts. If you hunt one of the “Big Three” in Florida (Archery/Muzzleloader/Gun) now’s the time to get out into the garage and start rummaging through all the equipment you have buried behind the weed eater and Christmas Lights.

If  Archery is your thing and your bow has been put up since last season It’s not a bad idea to bring it in for a “tune up” before you get out in the yard to work the rust out of your aim.

archery shop

The same thing goes for all your accessories.  Make sure your targets, arrows, release and other gear is in good, safe working order by having a Pro look at it. Replace anything that is showing wear or not working exactly as it should.  Bow Hunting is the most technically challenging so prepare yourself now to be ready when you’re out here…


If you prefer the smell of black powder outdoors, accompanied by the flash and bang of muzzleloading, it’s again time to start preparing for this year’s hunting season. The best starting point is to get your gun out and give it a good cleaning/inspection before you start target shooting.  Make sure you’ve got plenty of powder or pellets and caps as well as loading accessories for practice as well as hunting.


Modern or General Gun is by far the most popular of the “Big Three” and requires the same prep elements as Archery and Muzzleloading. Cleaning & safety, practice, and having all the tools/accessories you need. If you have been or are planning on spending time at the gun range make sure you are sighting in your rifle and target shooting with the same rounds you plan on hunting with. A different size(grain) rounds have a different trajectory and may not impact the same point even when fired out of the same rifle.

target pic

Finally, spend some time going through the rest of you’re gear to make sure everything is in not only in good working order, but you have enough of it to get you into the season. Overlooking the smallest detail can be the difference between a successful hunt or a frustrating outing. Ever run out of butane for your Therma-cell or have a strap break on your climbing stand?Better to find out before you get out into the woods, right?  Also, try all of your camo on in case you’ve gained or lost a few pounds and spend a few hours each week before hunting getting your boots broken back in.

As we get closer to Hunting Season spend the time to get properly prepared in the comfort of your home, garage and backyard instead of trying to do without or attempting a hasty repair in the dark Opening Morning!

Good Hunting,

Have Fun & Be Safe!


James Grebey


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


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.”



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.





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:

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:




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           


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 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