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. http://myfwc.org/license/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: 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:




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 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



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



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.

hunting 18.JPG

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.

hunting 28.JPG

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.

hunting 34.JPG

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.


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


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 . . .


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.


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.


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


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


Preparation and Determination


Every year it’s the same scenario, weeks of scouting, hanging stands, and endless hours of tuning our bows, all steps necessary to make us better hunters.  Year after year, we reapply these tactics to ease the anticipation of the fast approaching season.  All of which are mandatory to become proficient at what we love.


A select few are able to capitalize on the pre-season scouting and take a mature buck early in the fall.  The reality of every season is that days pass and weeks seem to blend together making our hearts sink due to the lack of sightings.  Hunting pressure ultimately improves the bucks will to survive andMature Buck they inevitably become nocturnal.


The question is “Do you have the patience to wait them out?”  Do you spend countless hours in the stand to get the one opportunity to prove yourself a hunter?  Can we predict the thoughts and actions of these amazing animals?  Over time, history has proved that whitetails follow patterns, which if monitored closely, can put you in the right situation to harvest the animal you’re after.


There are endless articles, DVDs, and TV shows on how, when and where, but nothing prepares us more than time spent in the stand, watching wild animals in their own environment and learning more each time we revisit their habitat.


Throughout my 25 plus years of experience, I’ve found that the key is not to be detected while invading their territory.  What many hunters need to recognize is that whitetails know their range like you know your own home.  They sense when things are out of place.  They pick up on change and their Core areasixth sense is always on high alert.  Like humans, age gives them the knowledge required to survive in their hostile world.  Learning more about their environment will ultimately make you the hunter you need to be.


One of the most common mistakes hunters make is to overhunt stand locations.  In doing so, the animals recognize the threat and simply reroute their activities, leaving most in wonder, not even knowing the buck they are after is simply circling around them or waiting until dark to do their daily activity.  The key is to set up several stand locations in the same area, using the wind and cover to stay concealed from their incredible senses.


Most times, the trip to your stand location can be more critical than the days spent in the stand. Bumping a mature buck on the way in can be devastating to your efforts.  Raking trails from two different directions to your stand can do three very important things, the most important being wind.  The whitetail’s nose can detect your scent from incredible distances.

Planning a downwind approach can make the difference between a good hunt and wasted effort.  Secondly, using raked trails eliminates unneeded noise during your approach to your favorite haunt.  I can’t tell you how many timesBig 12 this tactic has allowed me to enter my stand undetected with animals within bow distance from my stands.  Lastly, the fresh earth in the trail can give you some insight through tracks that have crossed your path.


Through trial and error, I’ve learned that stand concealment is as important as location.  Taking this extra step has proved to be invaluable.  Using oak and cedar bows affixed to the tree will give many advantages. 

The first is cover.  The branches help break up your silhouette and, more importantly, the animals become comfortable with the mass of foliage.  The cedar not only provides all season cover, but also emits one of the best cover scents available to the whitetail hunter.  You will be amazed at how pungent the conifer can be if you roll a small sprig between your hands before each hunt.  This proven tactic has eliminated countless threats of being detected.


There is no doubt that cover scents will improve your odds as well.  Coon urine is by far one of the most effective scents on the market.  Raccoons are territorial animals which routinely mark their territory in the canopy above the Coon Urine in a Buck Ballforest floor.  Placing the urine directly downwind from your stand will greatly decrease your odds of being detected from below.  I can’t count the number of times bucks have been on the wrong end of the wind and, after getting a nose full of coon urine, turn their head with disgust and go on with their business.  As simple as it is, this tactic has saved countless hunts for me.


In order to harvest a mature buck you have to hunt big bucks.  Timing is the most critical aspect of  hunting mature whitetails.  As hard as it may seem, you have to pick the right time to hunt certain areas.  Sometimes staying out of a buck’s core area will keep his comfort level in check, allowing you to wait out his arrival in a funnel area connected to his favorite lair.  Obviously, the rut is the time to move into the pinch points, and time in the stand will up your odds of success.


History has proved that mature whitetails travel during the day at the peak of the rut.  In the real world, time is hard to come by, but if you want to take full174" 12 opportunity of this special event you need to suck it up and sit all day.  Stay at high alert and anticipate the opportunity.  Following through with mental preparation will greatly increase your odds.


Perpetration and nerves becomes the root of all evil in the whitetail woods.  Countless hours of practice can lead to overcompensation in your thoughts.  Hitting the 12 ring really doesn’t matter when you’re taking a shot at a basketball sized target.  Nerves are calmed by the confidence you hold within.  With confidence, the shot of a lifetime will certainly end in triumph. 



Dave Lee

Bass Pro Shops Hunting Staff