Scope it Out: Bushnell

So Americans have always been thinkers, right? We like to see how we can do something the fastest or the biggest or the cheapest or so on. And every now and then a little bit of tinkering can go a long way. That is how actually how Bushnell came to be.

Bushnell got its name from founder, David P Bushnell. He founded the company in 1948 during a stint in Allied-occupied Japan. He began in an import-export company and somehow wound up with 400 pairs of binoculars. When he and his wife returned to the U.S. he was able to sell all of them and kept with optics.

This use of foreign-manufacturers helped set Bushnell apart. They were able to have optics made to their specifications and could sell them at lower prices. These early binoculars made it possible for middle-class Americans to be able to own a pair because of their price point. Slowly Bushnell started including other products in their line, including rifle-scopes.

With more people being able to afford optics, it made it easier for Americans to get into outdoor activities. It was no plausible to equip a family with binoculars to go bird-watching and not break the bank.

The company has changed hands several times over its history. Since being picked up this latest time, Bushnell has acquired other name companies with it. This includes Simmons Outdoors Corporation and Meade Instruments. They currently have lines of products that include: binoculars, rifle scopes, trail cameras, GPS, spotting scopes, laser rangefinders and other outdoor technologies. One specific line of products is in conjunction with none other than survival-superstar Bear Grylls!

They break their products into five major categories: hunting, tactical, golf, wildlife and spectator. Bushnell is not a hunting-specific company but does a good job catering to that crowd.

They also just revamped their warranty. They are offering a 100% Money Back Guarantee! And they know the best way to show it is of course through YouTube.

Bushnell has been taking great efforts to make sure people do not forget about their brand. The company has won numerous awards over the past few years for their products. With acclamation as this and a warranty like the one above, one should be sure to take a look at possibly snagging a pair for themselves.

Some Other Scope-It-Outs:

Leopold

Nikon

Vortex

Redfield

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Marine Safety Equipment

safetyWhile a lot of fun, boating can be very dangerous if operators don't know the rules, follow the rules or have the proper safety equipment onboard. As a boater, you have the responsibility to keep  yourself and your passengers safe while you are in the water.  The boat operator is reponsible for making sure safety equipment is available, the boat is operated safely and in a courteous manner that respects other boaters.

Before launching your boat, check safety equipment and make sure it is all in working order. It is a good idea to have the following items onboard:

  • Binoculars
  • Boat Mirrors
  • Fire Extinguisher(s)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flare and Signaling Kits
  • Air Horn
  • Life Vests and PFD
  • Paddle and Boat Hooks
  • Throw Cushions and Ring Buoys
  • Whistles.

binoWhen it comes to binoculars, take a look at the Bushnell 7x50 Marine Binocular.  This optics workhorse is designed to be used on the open sea, with waterproof and fogproof performance under a variety of conditions. Resistant to saltwater corrosion, the binoculars are protected with non-slip, non-skid rubber armor for true durability.  When it comes to fire extinguishers, the quantity required depends on the length of your boat. Check local regulations to make sure you have the correct number and that they are easily available once aboard the boat.aid

Take a look a the Adventure Medical Kit Marine 100 Medical Kit. It comes in a rugged plastic case with a waterproof gasket, to make sure your supplies stay dry.  This is the perfect option for boats, kayaks and canoes. Life jackets/PFDs have been covered extensively in a previous article.  Every passenger should have one and throw rings should be available and easily accessible. Air horns, flares and whistles  are a great ideas to help rescuers locate you in the event of an incident on the water.

Head over to your local Bass Pro Shops to find these marine safety items and many more!

www.facebook.com/bpsmacon

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Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend No Tax Holiday!

National RedHead Pro-Hunting Team

 

Attention Hunters! The 2012 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday* takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 7th, 8th, and 9th. Let me tell you, we are excited here at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City, whether you need a Nikon Laser Rangefinder to set up your stand in just the right location, or the Bushnell GPS to find your stand on your hunting property. We are ready to help you get all of your hunting wants and needs to make 2012 your best hunting year ever?



Some of the things the Holiday apply to:

  • Firearms: meaning a shotgun, rifle, pistol, revolver, or other handgun that can be legally sold or purchased in Louisiana.
  • Ammunition: means a projectile with a fuse, propelling charges, or primers fired from a firearm or gun that can be legally sold or purchased in Louisiana.
  • Archery items used for hunting, such as bows, crossbows, arrows, quivers, and shafts.
  • Off-road vehicles, such as all terrain vehicles, designed and intended primarily for hunting. (Note: this doesn't mean all ATV's qualify, the customer has to declare that they are primarily using the ATV for hunting purposes).
  • Accessories designed to be used for hunting.
  • Animal feed for consumption primarily by game that can be legally hunted.
  • Hunting apparel.
  • Hunting shoes and boots designed and used for hunting.
  • Bags to carry game or hunting gear.
  • Binoculars, only if purchased to be used for hunting.
  • Firearms or archery cases.
  • Range finders.
  • Knives that are primarily used for hunting.
  • Decoys.
  • Tree stands.
  • Blinds.
  • Optics, such as rifle scopes and impact resistant glasses for shooting.
  • Holsters.

Some things the Holiday does not apply to:

  • The holiday only applies to sales made for personal (non-business use). If merchandise being sold is going to a customer who is using it for business, trade, or professional use, then the sale is not eligible for exemption.
  • Food for animals kept as pets.
  • Knives used for recreational purposes.
  • Toy guns or other items used as children's toys.


*Act 453 of the 2009 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature enacted the "Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday Act" that provides an exemption from the state and local sales and use taxes on individuals' purchases of firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies on the first Friday through Sunday of each September.

Denise B.
Special Events Coordinator

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Folds of Honor Scout 1000 Laser Range Finder

hThe Bushnell Scout 1000 Patriot Rangefinder 201932P is an amazing opportunity to pay back the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and get an incredible product at the same time. The Folds of Honor Scout 1000 Laser Range Finder from Bushnell is a limited edition Scout 1000 ARC Rangefinder that delivers superb hunting performance and provides help to the families of veterans killed in combat. The Bushnell Patriot Scout 1000 Rangefinder features Bow and Rifle modes, a range out to 1,000 yards, with unbeatable optics and accuracy. This rangefinder above the rest goes even further with support for the Folds of Honor foundation. There is simply no sweeter deal, a top of the line Bushnell range finder paired with the satisfaction of helping out the deserving families of our fallen heroes.

The Bushnell Scout 1000 ARC Rangefinder Patriot Edition 201932 comes with a Bushnell Skinz unique black protective cover that features the Folds of Honor logo. The Folds of Honor Foundation provides scholarships and support to the families of armed forces veterans killed or disabled in action while serving our country. Helping out is simple, appreciated, and desperately needed. The incredible performance of the Scout 1000 paired with this unique charitable opportunity make it a no brainer!

Receive a $30 Mail-in Rebate when you purchase a Bushnell Folds of Honor Scout 1000 ARC Laser Rangefinder before December 31, 2012. You can also make a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation with a portion or full amount of rebate (see information on rebate form for more details).

 

http://www.bushnelloptics.com/bushnell-range-finders-201932p.html

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Binoculars and Other Optics Make Great Gifts

A good pair of binoculars from Bass Pro Shops makes a great gift for hunters, birdwatchers, sports fans, beach goers, travelers, and budding astronomers.  Bass Pro Shops offers a wide selection of binoculars for every purpose, but you should understand the optical characteristics in order to get the binocular type that meets your needs.

All binoculars are described, for example, as 7 X 35, 8 X 42, 10X 50, etc.  The first number indicates the magnification.  Binoculars with magnification of 10 or more will usually require some support or a tripod to eliminate shaking.  The second number indicates the diameter of the objective (front) lens.  The larger the diameter, the more light will enter the binoculars and will perform better in low light (dusk and dawn) conditions.

Binocs with objectives of 35mm are good for general daytime use such as birdwatching, daytime sports and hunting, and other daytime activities.  Binocs with objectives of 50mm or more are excellent for low light and for night time astronomy.  One drawback to binocular size is weight.  Just as magnifications above 10 X may require support, holding a heavy binocular may lead to arm fatigue and induce shaking.

Another factor to consider when choosing a binocular is whether or not the lens to air surfaces are coated.  These are chemical treatments applied to each lens surface to reduce reflections and glare and to enhance contrast.  Lenses are made using groups of glass, some separated by air.  Lesser quality binocs will have no coatings.  Lenses that are "coated" will have one lens surface coated.  "Multi-coated" lenses means that two or more lens surfaces are coated.  "Fully multi-coated" means that every lens to air surface is coated, insuring the highest quality of light transmission.

Finally, consider the eye-relief of the eyepieces; the measurement of the distance between the eye and the eyepiece.  A higher measurement of eye-relief will insure comfort and a full field of view for eyeglass users.

Bass Pro Shops carries the Nikon Action, Redhead Ascent, Leupold, Redfield, Steiner, Bushnell, and other brands of quality binoculars.  The same characteristics described above apply equally to spotting scopes.  Check out the several models of Redhead and other spotting scopes at Bass Pro Shops.

By Gary Feduccia



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Hunters It's a Tax Free Weekend!

Attention Hunters! The 2011 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday* takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Let me tell you, we are excited here atBass Pro Shops in Bossier City, whether you need a Nikon Laser Rangefinder to set up your stand in just the right location, or the Bushnell GPS to find your stand on your hunting property. We are ready to help you get all of your hunting wants and needs to make 2011 your best hunting year ever?

Some of the things the Holiday apply to:
  • Firearms: meaning a shotgun, rifle, pistol, revolver, or other handgun that can be legally sold or purchased in LA.
  • Ammunition: means a projectile with a fuse, propelling charges, or primers fired from a firearm or gun that can be legally sold or purchased in LA.
  • Archery items used for hunting, such as bows, crossbows, arrows, quivers, and shafts.
  • Off-road vehicles, such as all terrain vehicles, designed and intended primarily for hunting. (Note: this doesn't mean all ATV's qualify, the customer has to declare that they are primarily using the ATV for hunting purposes).
  • Accessories designed to be used for hunting.
  • Animal feed for consumption primarily by game that can be legally hunted.
  • Hunting apparel.
  • Hunting shoes and boots designed and used for hunting.
  • Bags to carry game or hunting gear.
  • Binoculars, only if purchased to be used for hunting.
  • Firearms or archery cases.
  • Range finders.
  • Knives that are primarily used for hunting.
  • Decoys.
  • Tree stands.
  • Blinds.
  • Optics, such as rifle scopes and impact resistant glasses for shooting.
  • Holsters.
Some things the Holiday does not apply to:
  • The holiday only applies to sales made for personal (non-business use). If merchandise being sold is going to a customer who is using it for business, trade, or professional use, then the sale is not eligible for exemption.
  • Food for animals kept as pets.
  • Knives used for recreational purposes.
  • Toy guns or other items used as children's toys.
For your shopping convenience our hours will be extended on Sunday, September 4th till 10:00pm, so you can take advantage of the Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday.

*Act 453 of the 2009 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature enacted the "Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday Act" that provides an exemption from the state and local sales and use taxes on individuals' purchases of firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies on the first Friday through Sunday of each September.

Denise B.
Special Events Coordinator
Bossier City, LA

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Fall Hunting Classic 2011 - Get Ready!

The Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic is just a few days away starting August 5 and going through August 21. Seminars from national pro staff, a special hunter appreciation Weekend, and a weekend just for kids are just some of the reasons to join us for Bass Pro Shops greatest hunting event ever!

What are some of the new items to look for in hunting this year?  For crossbow users, it's  the Parker Concorder Perfect Storm Crossbow Package - the first ever automatic cocking crossbow, powered by a replaceable 9 oz. CO2 cartridge. 

BPS Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith says trail cam users will want to check out three new models.  The Moultrie M80 trail camera offers three different ways of use - IR triggered game camera, time-lapse plot camera, or plot camera by day, infrared camera by night! He says also new this year is the Bushnell HD Trail cam , as well as the Primos TRUTH Camera Blackout, which is designed to be undetectable by animals or humans!

So, what's happening for seminars and activities throughout the Fall Hunting Classic?

Saturday, August 6, 1 p.m. - Iowa's New Dove Hunting Season - What you need to know! - Presented by Rick Trine, Central District Wildlife Supervisor, Iowa Department of Natural Resources


Sunday, August 7 - Bass Pro Shops Hunting University

2 p.m. - Hunting with Trail Cameras:  Improve Your Odds
Presented by Brad Mormann – Co-Host of “GrowingDeer.tv” TV Show
 
3 p.m. - Mastering the Art:  Deer
Presented by Chris Ashley – Team Primos

Hunter Appreciation Weekend is August 12-14. The weekend features many seminars, with one $25 gift card given away at the end of each seminar, and a free BPS key ring to the first 100 people each day who sign the Hunter's Pledge!  Seminars will be presented by BPS Associates and experts from local organizations.

Friday, August 12

6pm           Using Big Game Scents & Calls Effectively
7pm           Hunting Public/Leased Land: The ins-and-outs of finding places to hunt
8pm           Food Plots & Land Management: Managing Food Plots in order to Harvest Trophy Whitetail

Saturday August 13

1pm           Using Big Game Scents & Calls Effectively

2pm           Hunting Public/Leased Land: The ins-and-outs of finding places to hunt
3pm           Food Plots & Land Management: Managing Food Plots in order to Harvest Trophy Whitetail
4pm           Choosing the Right Optics

5pm           Fundamentals of Long Range Hunting & Shooting

Sunday August 14

1pm           Tips for Game Camera Placement

2pm           Fundamentals of Long Range Hunting & Shooting

3pm           Field Dressing, Transporting & Processing Game

4pm           Choosing the Right Optics



ATV Obstacle CourseAugust 13 and 14 you can also drive the ATV obstacle course and enter for a chance to win a prize!  Must have a valid driver's license to drive.  Under 18 must have waiver signed by parent or guardian.




Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21 is Next Generation WeekendCamping Basics Workshop for Kids
Designed with kids in mind, this weekend allows children to learn more about the outdoors through free activities, such as the Deer Camp Challenge, free crafts, and youth seminars on Archery Basics and Camping Basics.  (Seminars are geared for 8-12-year-olds.) 



The paintball cage will be open, as well as the PictureU screen -have your picture taken like you're holding a turkey on the cover of Outdoor Life magazine!


So, head on over to Bass Pro Shops for the greatest hunting event ever this coming weekend!
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Hunting and the Easter Bunny!

         Bushnell offers the largest selection of hunting and golf rangefinders with accuracy to match all conditions and full slope on some golf units.  If you’re looking for optics that put you up close and with the best clarity try the Swarovoski optics.  These are the best of the best for a special hunt trip!  Check out our Camouflage department for the new Under Armour Evolution Heat gear.  This is a great hunting shirt with many features. Its slick exterior makes for easy layering, free motion, better performance and snag resistance. It also has anti-oder technology. This shirt is also moisture wicking, but what’s really cool is that they are made from recycled plastic bottles.

http://www.basspro.com/Under-Armour-Evolution-HeatGear-TShirts-for-Men-Short-Sleeve/product/10206637/-1684294
http://www.basspro.com/Swarovski-EL-42-Swarovision-Binoculars/product/10206786/-1695399
http://www.basspro.com/Bushnell-Laser-Rangefinder-Tour-V2-Slope-Edition/product/10210710/-1643662

          If you haven't had a chance to visit with the Easter bunny, come on out for a great experience with the kid's!  The Easter Bunny will be at our store up until this weekend from 11am to 3pm.  Make your very own Foam Magnet Easter Egg Decoration from noon to 3pm and enjoy an Easter egg hunt from 1pm to 2pm!  Give us a call if you have any questions. 

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The Fun And Challenge Of Handgun Hunting

By Keith Sutton

 A little research and some hands-on experience can help you make the right choices for purchasing hunting handguns.

The wooded bottoms along Dirty Creek in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, are full of squirrels. Bill Scherman of Muskogee has been hunting squirrels in these bottoms for years. But today, there's a new twist to his hunt. Instead of hunting with a rifle or shotgun, Scherman hunts with a .22 handgun.

     

"I'm glad we don't have to rely on what we kill for our supper," Scherman says.

"Otherwise, we might go hungry tonight."

     

Scherman is one in a group of outdoor writers and natural resources professionals gathered in Muskogee at the invitation of Smith & Wesson to try handgun squirrel hunting. As the regional wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in this area, it's his job to help us find game.

     

"These bottoms are full of fox and gray squirrels," he says with a sweep of his hand. "We usually look for fruit or nut-bearing trees along the logging roads, then sit and wait for the squirrels to come. Or we ease through the woods 'till we find them."

     

The three in our party -- Scherman, myself and Covey Bean, a writer from Oklahoma City -- split up to hunt the Dirty Creek bottoms. Another group hunts a large pecan grove a few miles away.

     

Though I consider myself a competent pistol shooter and squirrel hunter, I figure this will be a difficult hunt. I haven't shot a handgun in several months, and on top of that, a drizzling rain is falling. As it turns out, there are plenty of squirrels along Dirty Creek; I see 12 in two hours of hunting. They're skittish, however, feeding on treetop leaf buds, not low-to-the-ground mulberries.

     

The handgun I've chosen to shoot is a top-of-the-line target pistol -- a Smith & Wesson Model 41 .22-caliber autoloader outfitted with a Bushnell 1X handgun scope with an illuminated dot reticle. But fancy equipment can't compensate for my lack of practice. Twice, I center the scope's red dot on the head of a squirrel. Twice the squirrel escapes unscathed. My woodsmanship isn't what it ought to be, either. The other 10 squirrels scamper away through the treetops before I'm close enough to try.

     

Scherman and Bean are better marksmen. When we rendezvous at our appointed meeting place, Covey has a gray squirrel dangling from his belt. Bill has two -- a fox and a gray.

     

"I don't know how the cowboys in the Old West did it with their handguns," says Scherman. "Guess we wouldn't go hungry, but it's a challenging way to hunt."

     

"It's a good thing we aren't cowboys," says Bean. "If we had to face an outlaw for a shoot-out in the street, we might wake up dead. I count three squirrels, and I heard at least a dozen shots."

     

"Must have been Sutton shooting," Scherman says grinning.

     

The group in the orchard has better luck. Ken Jorgensen from Massachusetts reports nine in the bag for three hunters.

     

"These big pecan groves are ideal for this," he says. "There's no understory to contend with like you have in the woods, so you have more open shots. And the trees are full of fox squirrels. You couldn't have asked for a better handgun hunting situation, though admittedly, we missed our share, too."

     

"It's fun, though" says Scherman. "And I intend to try it again. With some practice, I might actually be able to kill enough squirrels for a mess."

     

Despite the enthusiasm of a small but devoted group of followers, hunting game with a handgun remains a pretty esoteric business. Its satisfactions are great, but its practitioners are few.

     

Handgun hunting for other game, however, is a growing phenomena. More hunters are going afield with handguns every year, more states are allowing handguns to be used on big game, and better products are making it all feasible. If you've considered hunting with a handgun, now's the time to accept the challenge.

     

The three most important things for a handgun hunter are practice, practice and more practice.

Handgun hunting appeals to a variety of sportsmen. There's the hunter who has taken all sorts of game with rifles and wants to try something new. It's for blackpowder and archery hunters who can employ their stalking ability for a successful handgun hunt. Serious handgun shooters and competitors who are proficient on the range are applying their handgun skills in the woods and on the prairies.

     

There have been tremendous improvements in guns, ammo and optics in recent years. A little research and some hands-on experience can help you make the right choices.

     

The handgun of choice should be capable of accomplishing the task at hand but also one with which you're comfortable and can develop adequate marksmanship skills. A .44-magnum revolver, for example, can deliver the accuracy and power needed to take deer, antelope, wild boar, or even elk. A .357 Magnum can be relied upon to take many game animals if the distance is reasonable and shot placement is precise. A friend of mine used a .41 Magnum on a couple animals last year and said he was very pleased with the performance. He noted it was more pleasant to shoot than some .44s and certainly did the job.

     

Twenty-two-caliber pistols and revolvers are ideal hunting handguns for squirrels, rabbits or other small game. Twenty-twos are fun to shoot, inexpensive and also make great practice firearms. You can put hundreds of rounds downrange for a few dollars while you learn sight alignment, trigger control and other basics.

     

Choosing proper ammo also is essential. There are many new and improved bullet designs marketed today. It used to be you made a choice between expansion or penetration, but that's no longer the case. Today's ammunition is better at providing both, and there's a factory load for every quarry. Consult ammunition guides and other hunters for help in making a decision.

     

After equipment is chosen, the important work begins. The three most important things for a handgun hunter are practice, practice and more practice. Shooting a handgun accurately, especially at the distances many times needed in hunting situations, takes lots of practice. You must be good enough to hit your target when it counts.

     

Safety also should be stressed. There are four rules each handgun hunter always should follow: 1) Treat all firearms as if they are loaded; 2) Keep you finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot; 3) Don't point at anything you're not willing to shoot; and 4) Be certain of your target and beyond. These are rules that we can all live with.

     

Handgun hunting is a challenge worth pursuing. Cover the basics, develop your skills through practice and you'll find the sense of accomplishment in a successful handgun hunt is well worth the effort and discipline.

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Game Camera Buyer's Guide

By Keith Sutton

Trail Timer
Dean Reidt's TrailTimer was the original electronic game monitor.

Dental-product engineer Dean Reidt began tinkering with the idea of recording deer movements in 1985 and soon launched a new industry. The idea started when Reidt, a bow hunter, was waiting along a deer trail wondering what deer hunters have wondered for generations: How many deer use this trail when I'm not here?

To find out, Reidt placed a digital clock inside a box that could be attached to a tree. He added a string to place across the deer trail and tied the string to a switch closer connected to the clock.

"What I did was turn a digital clock into a stop watch," Reidt said. "When a deer hit the string, the clock would stop. So then I knew what time the deer came through and from which direction."

Reidt called his invention the TrailTimer. It was the first device hunters could use to monitor game movements and the cornerstone of today's constantly evolving game-monitor industry.
 
Today's devices bear little resemblance to Reidt's TrailTimer. No longer are trip strings used to determine the time an animal passed. Hunters now employ sophisticated cameras that photograph the animal and record time, date and other information. Many types are available, from simple film cameras to high-tech digital models. The technology is changing so fast it's hard to keep up with it. But if you're in the market for a game camera, this basic buyer's guide can get you started.

WHY USE A GAME CAMERA?

Game cameras allow users to scout their hunting areas 24/7 without actually being there. That's a great advantage. After the camera is set up, animals passing in front of its infrared heat-and-motion detector trigger the camera so it shoots a photograph and records pertinent information. This provides a visual image of the animal so you know its sex, relative age, the time it was using the area and other information that can increase chances for hunting success. A game camera can help you determine if a quality buck is using a scrape, which waterhole is being visited by pronghorns, what time a bear is hitting a bait pile or other facts about your quarry.

Sample Photo from a Game Camera
This photograph captured by a Moultrie Game Spy 1-60 game camera not only provided the user a visual image of a nice buck using his hunting area, it also recorded the date and time the photo was taken, as well as the temperature and moon phase.

A single camera provides lots of useful information, but several cameras placed strategically throughout the area you hunt can be even more helpful. If a big buck is spotted, for example, it can be tracked through the property using the different cameras, which provides an idea of the deer's range. This helps you pinpoint the best places to hunt. As photos are collected, they can be cataloged to provide a record of different animals and their movements so you'll be better prepared when hunting starts.

The biggest advantage of a game camera is it leaves the animals less disturbed. The camera serves as your surrogate "eyes in the woods" and does so much less obtrusively than if you were there. You don't contaminate the area by going in frequently to scout.

FEATURES TO CONSIDER

Some features make certain cameras more applicable for particular situations than others. The proper selection often depends upon the individual hunter, area and species pursued, but here are features to consider before making a purchase.

Date/Time Function

For most hunters, this function, which records the date and time a photo was taken, is imperative. Most, but not all, cameras have this feature, so check before buying. Having a photo of a monster buck is nice, but knowing the exact time he came by is what you really need. Some cameras record additional data as well, including moon phase, temperature, barometric pressure and, as a security measure, the user's name and phone number.

Resolution

The term "resolution" refers to the size of the digital images a camera produces and is usually expressed in terms of "megapixels." When comparing cameras, this is one major difference you'll see. For example, the Stealth Cam 1230 camera has a resolution of 2.0 megapixels, Moultrie's Game Spy 140 is a 4-megapixel camera and Bushnell's Trail Scout Pro is a 7-megapixel camera. Some cameras, such as the latter one, allow a variety of resolution choices -- in this case, 3, 5 or 7 megapixels.

Game Camera
Bushnell's Trail Scout Pro game camera allows users to set the device at one of three resolutions: 3, 5 or 7 megapixels.

A discussion of resolution can get very technical, but for the sake of discussion here, let's just say that the higher the megapixels, the larger each image will be. And as long as the optics and internal components of the cameras are the same quality, the larger the image, the higher its quality. If you don't plan to print a lot of photos, this is less important because photos viewed on a computer or TV screen can be smaller and still look good on the monitor. If you want clear, crisp prints to show your buddies, however, you'll be happier with a higher-resolution camera.

Here's another factor to consider, one that accounts for variable-resolution choices on some cameras. Larger digital images take up more space in your camera's memory. So if you opt for a 3-megapixel resolution on the Bushnell Trail Scout Pro, for example, there will be room on the memory card for many more photos, allowing you to return to the camera site less often to download images. If you opt for a 5-megapixel resolution, the photos will be higher quality but the camera can't shoot as many before the memory card is full. Opt for 7-megapixel resolution, and the photos will be of the highest quality but even fewer in number. Nevertheless, even high-resolution cameras will hold enough photos for general use by hunters in most situations.

As you might expect, higher-resolution and variable-resolution cameras are more expensive than others. If you want decent photos you can print but want to use multiple cameras, you may want to go with a mid-range choice. If capturing high-quality photos of animals you can print and frame for the wall is your goal, then a more expensive high-resolution camera is best.

PIR Width and Range

Many camera descriptions refer to PIR (passive infrared) width and/or range, which refers to the camera's sensing mechanism. The infrared beam on most cameras has a very narrow scope of coverage, usually about 10 degrees. This means an animal must be centered in the field of view for the camera to trigger. Cameras with a wider PIR angle can sense activity up to 180 degrees, which allows them to capture photos of animals that cross anywhere in front of the camera. Wide-view cameras also are better able to capture pictures of faster-moving animals.

It's also important to note the furthest distance at which a game camera can detect trigger-activating motion, which may range from 30 feet on the low end to 100 feet or more.

Game Camera Image
A camera's PIR (passive infrared) width and range determine where an animal must be within the camera's field of view, and at what distance, for movement and/or heat to activate the device and capture a photograph.

Trigger Time

The time that elapses from the moment the camera detects motion until an image is snapped is called trigger time. This can vary from a small fraction of a second on some cameras to as long as 6 seconds on others. While this may seem relatively unimportant, you'll capture many more good images of game animals using a camera with a quick trigger time.

Memory

Almost all game cameras allow use of removable SD or Compact Flash media cards for photo/information storage. SD cards are far more prevalent and much less expensive than Compact Flash cards, but if you already own a specific type of media card you want to use, be sure it's compatible with the camera you plan to purchase. Most cameras have a media card included, but if one is not, you'll incur the additional expense of buying one and will need to know the maximum size media card your camera will accommodate.

Flash

Game cameras use incandescent or infrared (IR) flashes to illuminate the subject in low light and at night. The picture quality of incandescent tends to be far superior to IR, but IR flashes use considerably less battery power, fire much quicker than incandescent flashes and, many hunters say, are less likely to spook animals because the animals can't see them. A few high-end cameras allow changing from IR to incandescent with the flip of a switch, offering the best of both worlds.

Also important to know is the effective range of the flash, which may vary from 10 to 50 feet or more. A flash with a low range may be ok for photographing animals coming to a feeder or on a trail where the camera can be set at close range, but may produce nothing but the glow of red eyes when photographing animals at a distance in a food plot. Be sure the range will be effective for the area you'll be shooting in.

Additional Features

Among the many additional game-camera features you may want to consider are these:

  • External LCD: Some models have an LCD display that allows you to check how many pictures have been taken, as well as other stats, without having to open the enclosure or trigger the camera. Built-in viewers that allow previewing your photos also are available.
  • TV Jack/Cables: With one of these, can connect directly to a TV to view your photos.
  • Aiming Aids: Many units have a test mode or laser aiming device to help aim the camera properly so you won't miss a shot.
  • Event Counter: Some units incorporate this feature, which will tell you an animal crossed the sensor beam, even between photos. That way you can get an accurate count of how many times there was activity on a certain trail or area and around what time the activity centered.
  • Video: Many cameras now are capable of capturing video in addition to photographs. Some only offer fixed-length videos, while others offer programmable video length.
  • Multiple Shot/Burst Mode: When this feature is used, the camera will shoot multiple images over a specified time range to capture action that might be missed with a single shot.
  • External Battery Jack: Game cameras usually are powered by standard or rechargeable 9-volt, AA, C or D batteries. If you can't make timely visits to your camera, however, you want to make sure you don't lose battery power between trips. Cameras with an external battery jack can be hooked up to 12-volt batteries for almost unlimited field life. Add a solar charger like the Moultrie Power Panel and they can run indefinitely.
  • Security Features: Game cameras are subject to being stolen, or damaged by animals like bears. For this reason, many security features now are incorporated into the designs (camo finish, padlock tabs, password protection, etc.) or are available as accessories (locking bars/brackets, cable locks, security boxes, etc.).
  • Wireless Capability: If you don't mind paying the extra cost, you can purchase a wireless camera like the Smart Scouter or Buckeye Cam Orion that will transmit images to your personal computer or the Internet for off-site viewing. These eliminate the need to travel to or through your hunting area to retrieve camera images, creating less disturbance and saving time and money.
  • Special Features: As game cameras evolve, more special features become available such as the built-in programmable game calls (deer, turkey, moose, elk and predators) that attract animals to Bushnell's Trail Scout Pro. Expect to see more exciting innovations in the near future.

Once you use a game camera, you will never want to scout without one again. Imagine being able to keep tabs on a favorite rub, waterhole or hot bear bait day in and day out, even when you're working. Game cameras allow you to do all that and more, helping you know more about your quarry so you have a greater chance of success on all your hunts.

View all Game Cameras

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Modern Technology Meets the Turkey Shotgun

By Steve Felgenhauer

Turkey Loads
Just because a shotgun will handle 3-1/2 inch shells doesn't mean they will pattern them well. Shoot every box of shells you can get your hands on to determine what load patterns the best.

The early morning gobble startled me as I drifted off. I'd been up since 4 am and daylight was slow to arrive. I had brought a complete arsenal of calls that I owned -- store bought and custom calls -- and had them at the ready for when that big boss gobbler hit the ground. I was dressed in camouflage from head to toe; even my shotgun was camouflaged. Daylight overtook the darkness and the turkeys began opening up, gobbling all around me. The biggest problem I faced was deciding which one to shoot.

I hit my call and a big tom answered. He was just over a little rise to my left, as I readied myself into a comfortable shooting position he gobbled, and then double gobbled. This tom was hot. As he topped the hill, he looked as big as an ostrich and must have weighed 50 lbs. I laid my cheek on the shotgun -- there it was again, doubt. A little voice murmured, "I hope I can get a pellet into his head." More negative thoughts raced through my mind. The bird hung up at 45 yards. Was the choke in my gun up to the task of putting more than 10 lethal pellets into the turkey's head at this range?

Suddenly, I jumped, hearing a ringing alarm clock; my wife shook me, letting me know I'd slept in. It was all a dream. I woke up drenched in sweat. I had time. I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge who had been given a second chance. I vowed I would not let this dream come true. That morning, in earnest, I began frantically gathering up boxes of shells. I had shells from every manufacturer in every shot size imaginable and in chamber sizes -- 2 3/4, 3 and 3 1/2 inches -- I was leaving no stone unturned.

This isn't your Daddy's turkey gun!

In the last 20 years, leaps and bounds have been made in the shotgun arena.
Modern turkey hunters have more choices than ever: firearms, ammunition, chokes, stock configurations and camouflage patterns. 

Tools of the trade for serous turkey hunters. A Winchester SX2 with a Bushnell Holosight mounted atop it; custom choke tubes can provide the extra edge to put more pellets in a turkey's head. Taking stock in your shotgun

Twenty-five years ago, gunstocks were made of walnut. Today, most shotguns used by turkey hunters are made of a synthetic composition. These stocks are not affected by moisture. They are lightweight and usually less expensive, although manufacturers are incorporating features into the synthetic stocks to aid in the reduction of recoil, which in turn raises the price tag. Stocks come in many different styles such as Monte Carlo, thumbhole and even collapsible stocks.

The 3-1/2 inch chamber

The 3-1/2 inch chamber is one of the most popular options in recent history. Waterfowlers discovered that the new steel pellets weren't as effective downing waterfowl, therefore creating the need to use bigger pellets to make up for the lack of lead density. Bigger pellets took up more space in the shell, so ammo makers began working to develop a new 12-gauge shell that would hold more of the bigger pellets. Voilà!  The 3-1/2 inch chamber was born. Firearms manufacturers quickly noticed the demand and acted accordingly, increasing the length of the standard shotgun chamber to accommodate a new longer shell that held a giant payload. Who else wanted a lot of pellets? Turkey hunters. The more pellets downrange, the better the chance of putting more into a turkey's head.

Turkey Hunting Guns, Loads and Sights
Patterning and having confidence in your turkey gun can reap rewards in a big way.

Initially, the introduction of the 3-1/2 inch chamber was not warmly embraced. Even with open chokes, the first guns patterned horribly. Manufacturers began testing and found that back-bored barrels were the answer to the problems that plagued the 3-1/2 inch guns. True back boring, increasing the diameter of the bore, by either polishing or using a special reamer or a combination of both, has many advantages over a standard bore. Back boring alleviates excess pressure caused by the larger charges of powder in the longer cartridge and reduces perceived felt recoil. Back-bored barrels also produce higher velocities and less deformed pellets than standard barrels, due to less barrel wall constriction creating less friction. Today, most firearms are not back bored, but over bored, the dimension of the bore made larger than the standard .729 of an inch to a nominal .740 of an inch, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) standard.

If your favorite shotgun isn't performing as well as you had hoped, there are many gunsmiths who specialize in back boring your current barrel. Aftermarket barrels are also available for many of today's shotguns.

Don't get choked up!
 
If you are serious about putting a lot of pellets in a turkey's head at 40 yards, a custom choke tube may be the answer. Choke tubes make the magic of a great pattern happen, but not solely. Choke restriction is important, but just as important is matching the choke constriction with the bore diameter of your barrel and the specific load you are shooting. This can only be achieved by the slow and painful process of patterning your shotgun. Major manufacturers mass produce chokes that fit the general populous, a one size fits all -- perhaps good enough for the occasional hunter, but seasoned turkey hunters demand the most from their equipment.

The end result of a well patterning shotgun. Now you see it, now you don't

The most obvious element of a turkey hunter's shotgun is the camouflage. In years past, I have seen spray paint -- which can do a decent job if time and care is given; and camouflage tape -- which can leave a sticky residue and a mess on your gun. However, nothing compares to the new finishes on modern shotguns. New shotguns are dipped in a film to accurately reproduce your favorite camouflage pattern. Nearly every firearm manufacturer has a camouflage model shotgun to hide your gun from the eyes of an old wary tom. If your shotgun is not camouflaged there are several firms that specialize in aftermarket camouflage. Any camouflage pattern imaginable can be put on your shotgun or any hunting gear.

Feed that shotgun what it likes

Ammunition has changed dramatically and so quickly that last spring I inquired about a new ammunition offering, the sporting goods clerk gave me a puzzled look and asked, "What is that?"

The newest kid on the block is tungsten-based shot, an alternative to lead that is 13 percent denser than lead. Tungsten shot is not actually new -- waterfowlers have known for many seasons how effective tungsten can be on ducks and geese. Now turkey hunters have taken notice of the new lead alternative and most of the ammunition manufacturers have made finding the tungsten-based shot much easier.

Don't lose sight

Topping everything off, the addition of sights -- primarily rifle sights that glow in low-light conditions when a big gobbler is likely to show up -- are quite common on today's firearms. Many shotguns are drilled and tapped, as well, to accept scopes and other electronic sighting systems. Several optic manufacturers such as Leupold, Nikon and Bushnell have developed scopes designed exclusively for turkey hunters. Red dot scopes and reflex type sights like the Bushnell Holosight is gaining ground and has a large following amongst turkey hunters.

No magic potions 

New technology won't replace legwork to locate a turkey; nor will it bring in a big tom from a mile away. Once you do your part, the last thing on your mind should be the question, "Can my gun do the job?"  Today's offerings, or even your old standby tricked out with modern technology, will put your mind at ease and let you focus on bagging a big boss gobbler.

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Glossary of Binocular Terms

By Bushnell

Roof Prism Binos
Roof Prism System
Porro Prism Binoculars
Porro Prism System

Diopter Setting.
Diopter Setting

Roll-Down Eye Cups
Roll-Down Eye Cups

Prism Systems

The prism system of a binocular reduces the size needed to contain a long optical path and turns what would be an upside-down image right-side-up. There are two types of prism systems: roof and porro.

Roof Prism System

In roof prism binoculars, the prisms overlap closely, allowing the objective lenses to line up directly with the eyepiece. The result is a slim, streamlined shape in which the lenses and prisms are in a straight line. Roof prism binoculars are less bulky and more rugged than an equivalent porro model.

Porro Prism System

In porro prism binoculars, the objective or front lens is offset from the eyepiece. Porro prism binoculars provide a greater depth perception and generally offer a wider field-of-view. Because of the simplicity of this system, some of the best values can be with a porro design.

Waterproof/Fogproof

Some binoculars are O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged for total waterproof and fogproof protection. These models can withstand complete immersion in water and stay dry inside. The interior optical surfaces won't fog due to rapid temperature change or humidity.

Magnification (Power)

Binoculars are often referred to by two numbers separated by an "x". For example, 8x32. The first number is the power of magnification of the binocular. With an 8x32 binocular, the object being viewed appears to be eight times closer than you would see it with the unaided eye.

Objective Lens Size

The second number in the formula (8x32) is the diameter of the objective front lens. The larger the objective lens, the more light that enters the binocular and the brighter the image.

Prism Glass

Most optical prisms are made from borosilicate (BK-7) glass or barium crown (BaK-4) glass. BaK-4 is the higher quality glass yielding brighter images and high edge-to-edge sharpness.

Coated Optics

Lens surface coatings reduce light loss and glare due to reflection for a brighter, higher-contrast image with less eyestrain.

Types of Coatings

Coated - A single layer on at least one lens surface.
Fully Coated - A single layer on all air-to-glass surfaces.
Multi-Coated - Multiple layers on at least one lens surface.
Fully Multi-Coated - Multiple layers on all air-to-glass surfaces.

Field-of-View (FOV)

The side-to-side measurement of the circular viewing field or subject area. It is defined by the width in feet or meters of the area visible at 1000 yards or meters. A wide-angle binocular features a wide field-of-view and is better for following action. Generally, the higher the magnification, the narrower the field-of-view.

Resolution

Resolution, or definition, is the ability of a binocular to distinguish fine detail and retain clarity.

Exit Pupil

Refers to the size of the circle of light visible at the eyepiece of a binocular. The larger the exit pupil, the brighter the image. To determine the size, divide the objective lens diameter by the power (an 8x32 model has an exit pupil of 4mm).

Eye Relief

The distance a binocular can be held away from the eye and still present the full field-of-view. Extended or long eye relief reduces eyestrain and is ideal for eyeglass wearers.

Eyeglass Wearers - Eyecups

The distance a binocular can be held away from the eye and still present the full field-of-view. Extended or long eye relief reduces eyestrain and is ideal for eyeglass wearers.

Diopter Adjustment

A "fine focus" adjustment ring usually provided around one eyepiece to accommodate for vision differences between the right and left eyes.

Rubber Armor

Rubber armor provides multiple benefits. It helps protect the binocular from the bumps and scratches that come with day-to-day use. It provides a comfortable gripping surface for making them easier to hold on to. It's easy to wipe clean after a tough day in the field. And it suppresses noise if the binocular bumps aluminum or other non-rubber surfaces, which might otherwise spook wildlife.

RainGuard HD

Hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating on which condensation from rain, fog or snow forms in much smaller droplets than on standard coatings. Smaller droplets scatter less light, which results in increased light transmission and a clearer image. Makes the binocular useful even when looking directly into the driving rain. (Bushnell optics exclusive)

PC-3 Phase Coating


Found on the best roof prism binoculars, this chemical coating is applied to the prisms to enhance resolution and contrast. Would not provide an advantage on porro prism models. (Bushnell optics exclusive)

Shop Bass Pro Shops' complete selection of Binoculars.

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