Fall weather means it's time to head outdoors!

It’s the time of the year again to “Head to the Outdoors” and what better way to do that than hunting. Deer hunting in the South East is at its prime in Georgia and South Carolina. Make sure you are equipped with the best and correct merchandise for a great outdoor experience. For camouflage clothing we carry various brands including our own RedHead brand. To keep warm and dry we also carry a variety of under garments. If you are a deer hunter we carry a variety of Firearms and Bows. We also carry a large assortment of treestands , tree climbers and ground blinds. Don’t forget deer attractant. One of our best sellers is the Wildgame “Acorn Rage”.

Acorn Rage

Along with this you need to get cover sent. Our cover sent smell ranges from pine scent to earth scent. We also carry a variety of deer feeders, some of our top brands are Moultrie and American Hunter. If you want to see what deer are roaming on your property look at the various manufacturers we have for game cameras; Moultrie, Primos, Bushnell, just to name a few. After you bag your game, we have a variety of cleaning supplies.  Last but not least, if you have a number predators on your property, we have electronic and decoy predator calls.

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Ice Holes!

With the changing of the seasons come long awaited outdoor opportunities. While many outdoor men and women are climbing into their tree stands to partake in the exhilarating sport of deer hunting, many die hard fishing folks have a hard time winterizing their boats with the thought of not climbing back into it until spring. Yet this is not the end for the fish loving folks, rather it is just the beginning to the ice fishing season and there are steps you can take right now to make this your best ice fishing season ever!

If your goal is to be the best there is on your favorite area lake, or to win one of the hundreds of ice fishing tournaments held across the country every year, now is a great time to start preparing. The following are proven techniques to increase your odds of being in the right spots long after the water is covered by a thick layer of ice. The first thing you want to do is get out on the water. With the hunting seasons upon us many of the waterways are seeing less and less boat traffic which makes the first and probably most important step much easier.

fish finder

Using some of today’s very advanced electronics, mapping out potential ice fishing hot spots becomes much easier. The first thing is to use is a fish finder with decent sensitivity and detail so you are able to tell the difference between schools of baitfish and underwater vegetation. I like the versatility of the Lowrance Elite-4 HDI.http://www.basspro.com/Lowrance-Elite4-HDI-Fishfinder/Chartplotter-with-Navionics-Gold/product/1311111453/

 

It can do everything you should need it to for locating the best potential ice fishing hot spots. If you don't want to invest into new electronics, you can obtain lake contour maps and using your current fish finder combined with a handheld GPS, you can still map out these potential spots on the water.

The first thing I look for when hunting for my winning locations is the vegetation edges, I'm looking at the depths where the underwater vegetation ends on my fish finder. Once I find my target depth I then refer to my lake contour map, I'm looking at the areas where my target depth has the widest areas, while paying attention to the underwater points and inside bends where my target depth is sustained. What this usually means is there is a good chance there will be larger areas of underwater vegetation once there is ice covering everything.

Why am I looking for the vegetation? Well it's pretty simple; the vegetation offers cover as well as releases oxygen into the water, which attracts plankton, which in turn attracts baitfish, which attracts larger predatory fish species. The larger, feeding fish will often patrol the outer edges of this vegetation looking for their next meal.

It is very important you scout out your areas before plotting them on your GPS as your hotspots. First without taking your sonar over those spots you don't know for certain what is actually down there for cover, it may be a spot void of vital cover. Next you always want to have many different spots mapped out to give you more options once the ice season hits. There are many factors that will affect your success on the ice. For example after a long period of snow covered ice the vegetation begins to die, which in turn causes the fish to find other areas. Other areas to focus on are rock piles, submerged trees, points, rapid depth changes or any other areas that might provide cover for the smaller baitfish.

Another thing to keep in mind is pressure from other people. If the best looking spot on the lake is getting the most pressure it is most likely not going to produce as many fish as some other decent spots that are not getting the heavy pressure. One thing I've noticed from years of ice fishing is many people don't do their homework and have a tendency to copy off of others when the fishing is slow. What I mean by this is that many people who are unfamiliar with the body of water or ice fishing in general have a tendency to start drilling where there are old holes or sign that others have been fishing in that location. Which isn't the worst of ideas if they are very limited on time, however if this is your favorite spot or a highly pressured spot you will be very thankful you have many others mapped out in advance.

lake map

 

Another piece of advice is don't rely on others for your fishing success, what I'm pointing out is something I've noticed on bodies of water that host tournaments. Some of the more seasoned fisher people have experienced their gem of a spot they'd been trying to keep a secret all season is flooded with people the day of a tournament. So in preparation of this they have gone out in advance and drilled mock hot spots, which were just a group of holes in the ice made to look like someone was on a pile of fish. (Pretty clever), unless one of those spots happens to be your gem. What I'm getting at is if you do find a great spot that is producing fish and you plan on fishing it during a tournament keep the pressure down, don't drill up the area, rather keep it to one or none and try your best to save it for the time you need it to produce for you and your odds of "being in the money" at the end of the tournament will increase greatly.

 

ice pic

Once you've done your scouting and have gotten a good idea of the best potential spots to hit during the ice season, the next thing you want to do is get your equipment ready.

A few steps to take is change out the old line on your ice reels, check over your equipment to make sure nothing has been damaged while getting shuffled around in the garage all summer, change batteries in your electronics, sharpen hooks, get rid of rusty hooks, and make sure you have both of your favorite gloves as it is almost inevitable you will only have one the morning you head out on the water!

Here is an article that lists many good items to have in your ice fishing sled as you head out onto the ice.http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-council-bluffs-ia/great-ice-fishing-gear.

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Bow Hunting with Persimmons

                Cool fronts are coming in, the sun is setting sooner, and deer are moving in record numbers. Hunters are chomping at the bit setting cameras, filling feeders, and scouting their opening day spots. Social media is blowing up with hunters posting pictures of their trophy bucks pre-season saying, “Score this ‘big mamma-jamma.’” You’d think they’re about to bust out of their skin with anticipation.

                All over the US, deer populations have been fluctuating over the past ten years, however the population in Texas has remained pretty stable. Texas has reached record number of deer counts registering about 3.6 million as of 2013. I’d say that’s pretty good. Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates the average hunt/harvest (likelihood of shooting a deer) and about 89%. That’s about 1 to 1 ratio, just about. Pretty good odds for those who are new to the game, or those who just need to satisfy their long overdue craving.

                Not to mention this past spring has been the most fruitful in a good while. Pollination of local flowers and plants was at an all time high, the Texas Bureau of Horticulture and Botany discovered an estimated 300 new plant species and cross breeds. “How does this tie in?” you ask. Simply, crops and the luscious vegetation that deer love to munch and graze on is more than abundant. Corn and supplements are great attractants, but you know what they say about momma’s cookin’. And ain’t nobody cookin’ better than momma.

                While most hunters are sticking to popular methods of feeders and food plots, there is a significant number out there that have a much different approach. Some could call it the “natural approach.” They merely find a natural habitat with decent signs of deer life and activity, and settle in there. It’s a lot cheaper and easier, in my opinion.

                For those interested in this particular method, persimmons trees are the talk of the town. With its delicious aroma created from crushing the outer shell of the fruit it produces, I can personally attest to its effectiveness.

                Last season, while trekking to my feeder and stand set-up, I happened across a persimmons tree. It struck me as intriguing and the smell of it was an interesting one. Playing around I grabbed one of the fruits and squished it between my fingers. The smell was pungent, and the fruit was messy. I wiped it off on my boot bottoms and kept on going, grumbling about now having to smell like strange fruit throughout the remainder of this endeavor.

About 30 minutes after getting all settled in, I heard a snort from my rear left; the direction I headed into my stand. Turning very slowly I spotted a little spike hot on my trail and nose to the ground. Now on this particular land I happened to be hunting with MLD permits and this little spike was right within my criteria.

 I quickly took him down and tracked him about 30 yards from my stand. I’d never seen a deer come into a clearing much like this one did, and with his nose down like a dog, I was a little bit curious as to what could cause such behavior. I checked his nostrils and the surrounding area for something out of place, but to no avail. Shrugging my shoulders I grunted and began to shift my kill to get a better position to field dress him when that smell, that smelly smell, hit me again. Full on.

I dropped the deer quickly, searching for the source of the stench that was that messy fruit.  Too potent to come from my boot bottoms, I examined the deer more closely and found the source of the stench to be his mouth. He had a mouthful of persimmons fruits. This little booger had come in on a line looking for a snack, just as I intended, but not exactly. Since then I always carry scentless wipes and extra gloves to use persimmons as a natural attractant. Persimmons haven’t failed me yet so I'll continue to use them.

-Rory Kelly

Hunting/Archery Lead

 

 

 

 

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Setting Up A Food Plot

Food plots are a great way to attract a wide variety of animals to a plot of land while making the land look better and more usable. Finding the right area for a plot though is a large task that takes careful planning and a lot of work. The area used needs to fit the animals that are supposed to be drawn to the plot. This land must also be in an area that won’t flood readily, while having the shade for the target animals and the cover for the more shy animals to hide when they are threatened. Lastly the plot must be accessible for hunters if harvesting animals is the goal.

plot

The best food plots are positioned in a shallow valley with two to four shallow ditches running along the edge of the plot. This allows the target animals to feel as if they are hidden when they are entering and exiting the food plot. If the food plot is meant for taking pictures of the animals a great place for a game camera is at the entrance of the food plot facing the food plot and another facing into the ditch away from the food plot. If the food plot is for hunting purposes then a tree stand position for the best vantage point would be on the downhill side of the plot about fifteen to twenty yards from the entrance ditch where the trail cameras are located. A note on the stand, this tree stand should be well hidden and good camouflage should be used in the stand in order to keep the target animals from becoming spooked.

Next step to building a great food plot is to choose the right food for the area and the species that is being targeted. For deer it is often a good idea to use a large patch of clover surrounding the main body of the food plot. Inside the food plot using either turnips or radishes is a good way to raise healthy deer and keep them coming back over and over to the plot. A good mixed bag of clover to use on the food plot is the Evolved Harvest® ProVide Clover Game Seed. This seed is specifically made to promote healthy growth in deer throughout the year making it perfect for a food plot. While for the main body of the food plot a good bag for both radishes would be the Mossy Oak BioLogic Deer Radish. This bag is formulated to attract deer with a sweet root packed with nutrients to help promote an overall healthier deer. If the radishes are not for the land being used a good substituted is the turnip. A great blend for the money would be the Evolved Harvest ShotPlot Forage Attractant, this mix is great for the new food plot builder for the simple fact that it grows quickly and doesn’t need a disc plow for planting.

fooddeer radishfood

Having the right plot and the right seeds to plant will help make any food plot great. But having the right location and the ability to find the right location whether it is accessible with heavy machinery or not is key. If there is an easily accessible spot just off a road but doesn’t have cover for the target animals in the right places then it is not worth seeding. While at the same time if there is a less accessible spot where maybe a truck cannot get through but has all the elements of a good food plot, seeding the area is a better choice, even though a tractor might not be able to get there.

plot

Now that the plot has been found and the seeds have been sown it is time to let nature take its course. Let the seeds sprout and the target animals come sniffing for the plants. A few days after the seeds have sprouted walking the food plot looking for bald spots is a good idea. Throwing a little more seed on these bald areas will fill in the field and give a little more food for the target animals. As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Let's Talk Food Plots!

It is that time of the year again. With turkey season in the rear-view mirror, it is time for all of us die hard hunters to start looking forward to fall. Because what we do now could really pay off for us when the leaves start to drop, it can be hard to get out this time of year and go into the woods and think about deer season. Many think about the hot temperatures and the bugs, but I would rather take my time and get as much done as possible now and give the deer tons of time to forget about that guy they see hanging in a tree or planting their tasty summer and fall treats. With that being said, it is a perfect time to start getting your food plots in the ground if you haven't already.

Mineral is something I feed year round on my farms and I also will incorporate my mineral in or near my food plots. If you can get your deer a good supply of mineral, food and nutrients a Whitetail buck can grow up to 1'' of antler a day. Think about it - that buck that was 120'' last year, Could be 150 or 160'' this year!!  But you will need to supply him with what he needs to grow. If I had to choose between what to spend my money on, between the food plots or the mineral, I choose MINERAL hands down. It’s nice to be able to do both and in most cases you can. There are minerals on the market that are long lasting that do not take a ton of green backs to purchase as well as food plots. Food plots scare some hunters because they don't have a tractor or 4-wheeler to disk and plant.

There are several products on the market that you can simply throw and grow. All you need to do is bare the ground to allow the seed as much contact as you can give it. A weed eater and some sort of trenching tool are handy items to have as well.  It is a lot harder work; however it can be done and the rewards are pretty amazing.

An easy first time plot would be clover.  Clover is a very hardy plant that doesn't need a lot of sun and is a great deer and turkey attractant.  It has a very fast germination period of about 2 weeks and it will look like a golf course. If you use good quality clover and some fertilizer you will be set. You can simply throw it on bare ground and you will get some growth.  However, it may not be as tall and thick as with fertilizer, but it will grow. My best clover seed I have used to date is Biologics Clover Plus. $21.99 for a 2lbs. bag that will do up to a 1/4 acre plot. I will also mix this seed with my other plots like Biologics Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets which is $21.99 for a plot thickener and for some add on attractiveness.  The winter bulbs and beets are my favorite fall and winter plot to use. They take a little more effort than clover to plant but are a great mid to late season plot. 

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Example of a nice clover field

 

As far as mineral goes, if you want something that lasts then The Trophy Rock is the way to go. It runs $17.99 for a 12lb Rock that has over 60 trace minerals and nutrients packed inside. And since it is 100% natural, it is legal to hunt over. It will also last up to 4 - 6 months in the field.  This is a great way to keep your deer in mineral all year long.  A second mineral I use and have had great success using would be Big and J Products. Their block costs $24.99 or you can get the bag supplement at $19.99 for 20lbs. Both are a great tool for you to grow them big. They both have a real sweet smell that brings them running and they are packed with protein and minerals. They are sure to help you build you deer herd up. Big and J also has two new products out for 2014: The Meltdown and Liquid Lick. These both run $12.99. The Meltdown is a powder that mixes with water and sends out a sweet smell to attract them from afar.  Liquid Lick is how it sounds – it’s a liquid form of meltdown that will be a great item to pour on stumps or the ground for a quick and easy mineral site. The powder form should last a little longer then the liquid, but I would suggest refreshing these products once a month to make sure you have constant source for your herd. Well. That's all the time I have for now. Until next time - have a safe and fun hunting and fishing season from all of us here at your local Bass Pro Shops

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Trophy Rock

 

Anthony Alkire – Hunting Lead

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Hey, Where Did That Come From?

Everyone who has used pop-up blinds for any length of time has had experience seeing deer spooked by them. Deer know every inch of their living area. Seeing a new structure where there hasn’t been one before is a cause for alarm. It takes about a week to 10 days for deer to become comfortable around a blind sitting in their feeding, traveling, or bedding area. I like to put blinds out early and brush them in well. It seems to really help calm the deer down if the outline of the blind is broken up by natural vegetation. You don’t have to totally cover the blind, just use plenty of cover so it no longer looks like a blind.

Only open the window on one side

Deer pick up any movement and if you have a window open behind you, they will see your silhouette and you will not be able to move at all. Only open the window on the side that you expect to shoot from.

To remain hidden in a blind, you must eliminate light and minimize movement. A deer will pick up on any movement inside the blind.

Wear black

Many hunters have spent good money on quality camouflage, but in a ground blind, nothing beats black and lots of it. A black shirt, black hat, and even a black face mask will help you avoid being detected. With little light inside the blind, black makes it nearly impossible for the deer to pick you out.

Put the blind near some “structure”

One way to get around the whitetails’ natural fear of the ground blind is to put it near something that the deer are already accustomed to. I have a friend who placed his blind near some abandoned farm machinery and killed a buck the first night out. Placing the blind next to a large brushpile, thicket, or heavy row of bushes can help it become a natural part of the landscape. Blinds that are sitting out in the open get the deers’ attention far more than those that are part of the landscape.

Use a decoy

Deer decoys are attractive to whitetails and often bring them in for a closer look or stop them for a shot opportunity, but decoys also serve the purpose of being a distraction. A decoy can cause a deer to settle down and feel more comfortable and the decoy becomes the focus of their attention so the blind is not.

 

A decoy calms deer down and focuses their attention away from the blind.

I like to use a buck decoy with one antler, so even smaller bucks do not feel challenged. Does settle down and larger bucks are likely to move in for a confrontation. I have had a lot of positive experiences using a buck decoy in association with a blind.

Get comfortable

Fidgeting is a killer when you are hunting at eye level. Find a comfortable chair and organize your gear in such a way that you do not have to make a lot of movements in order to get a shot once a deer does appear. I like to have my bow stationed on a holder so I can quickly access it with minimal movement. My rangefinder sits beside me on a small table attached to my chair. I can set a book down and be ready to shoot quickly without drawing attention to myself.

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Big Game Basics: Bear

So I was watching one of the many very random movies that I enjoy. It’s a fun little one called “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean”. If you have not seen it, go ahead and take the time to. It has Paul Newman in the saddle again (this movie was produced after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and also features a song by BJ Thomas who had done Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head in Butch Cassidy) and a number of other colorful characters. Which included a random traveler who gives Judge Roy Bean (Newman) a pet bear. (Check it out.) Pretty random. Totally awesome.

Bears are an interesting species and I remember being scared to death of them when we would vacation in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I was positive that we would run into one out on the trails. My mom assured me though that one of us was more likely to get hit by a meteor than see a bear… three hours later, there was a bear ahead of us. Three days later, we were back home and our cat had gone missing. Pretty sure it was via a meteor.

While there is not a great variety of bear species, they are rather well spread around. This can easily be attributed to the strength and adaptability of the great animals. Human history has seemed to always involve bears as records of our ancestors hunting them is well documented. I am sure these old bear-hunters experienced the same fears and thrills we do nowadays, only at closer range with a spear.

Most bears are omnivores. Polar bears tend to be more carnivorous and pandas are completely herbivores. I will not state whether or not pandas are considered part of the bear family as they seem to continually go between being part of the bear family or the raccoon family. I swear scientists just flip their findings around every eight months or so.

Other than when mothers raise their young, bear tend to be solitary animals. They have a great sense of smell. As stated in an earlier blog, bears also have begun to relate the sound of a gunshot with there being a freshly killed meal in the area. Bears are known for their strength due to their immense size. They are fast however and can easily run down a good portion of their prey.

In the early days of the United States, bears were encountered quite commonly. When Lewis and Clark made their historical venture they took great lengths to explain the monster-sized bears they encountered with the grizzlies. They were sure to note how many rounds it took to put down the animal and strongly suggested future comers to pack powerful caliber rifles.

Earlier I stated how humans have been hunting bear for centuries, but they have also been appreciating them. Bear have been noted in myths, legends, folk tales, heritage, symbolism and religious importance in different societies all over the world.

There are a few species of bear that can be hunted in North America which includes: black, brown and grizzly. Polar bear hunting has become few and far between, and due to political protection I will not say anymore than that.

Black bear is common enough that many states allow for hunting seasons. There has been an ongoing trend that while black  bear populations are growing in a healthy rate that there has been more restrictions added to black bear hunting. Their range is in red right above this paragraph.

States seem to be continually voting on whether certain hunting practices are acceptable. The two most common practices under question are baiting and use of dogs. Now let me clarify that by baiting I mean the use of baits and attractants to get a bear to come into a desired spot. I am not talking about the bear baiting spectacles that people used to hold. It is common for people to pass judgment on states that allow the use of hunting over baits, but then again they usually are not from that state. The key to understanding any kind of hunting is that things can be drastically varied from state to state and county to county.

One can consume bear meat. From what I have been told and read about bear meat is that it varies from animal to animal. It has been noted that a bear that eats a lot of berries will have a sweeter meat, whereas those that consume massive amounts of fish do not have the most pleasant taste. The only bear I have ever eaten was in a sausage form, and it was delicious.

Bears will continue to be a source of fascination and fear for us humans. It seems to have just been stitched into our genes. Thanks to efforts of many different groups bears will continue to be around for years to come. 

Whale Away in a Wax! Giddy-Up!!

Other Big Game Basics:

White Tail Deer

Buffalo

Moose

Caribou

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Keeping those House Odors out of your Hunting Clothes

 By Stan Godlewski

Nature has provided the whitetail deer with 3 defenses, great vision, hearing and sense of smell.  The hunter can defeat all of these.  

Hunters have lots of tricks to use to beat the deer’s sense of smell.  They use special soaps to mask odors from their body.  They hang attractant scents and drippers around their hunting stands.  Some use special containers to deposit their liquid body waste.  All of these tricks work.  But one item many hunters overlook is their hunting clothes.  Deer will stay away if they smell the odors of your home or garage on your clothing.  So what do you do? The answer is very simple.  Purchase some “Hunter Specialties H.S. Fresh Earth Cover Scent Wafers” from Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.

 http://www.basspro.com/Hunter-39;s-Specialties-H-S-Scents-Primetime-Fresh-Earth-Cover-Scent-Wafers/product/55101/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_PRODUCT

At the end of the hunting season, I place my cleaned hunting clothes in a thick ply leaf bag.  I then place one or two  H.S. Fresh Earth Cover Scent Wafers in the bag and seal it up to prevent house odors from contaminating my clothes.  When I’m on my stand I place a Fresh Earth Wafer on my hat and one on my jacket.  After a busy days’ hunt, I place my clothing back into the plastic bag when I get back at the hunt camp so that the odors of cooking, tobacco or fireplace smoke etc. are not deposited directly or indirectly on my hunting clothes.

Hunter Specialties makes other wafer scents in the odors of “Buck-Rut, and Apple.”  The both work great however, don’t use the “Apple Scent Wafer" if your hunting location does not have apple trees near-by.  It may send a red flag to the deer.  Fresh Earth is a scent that is natural in the woods and won’t give you away.  The Fresh Earth Scent Wafers are not overpowering or offensive.  The scent wafers come with large safety pins for attaching the wafers to your clothing.  They  have a dark coating as not to create reflective glare.  I have used this product for years with great success.  As I have aged, I no longer hunt from a tree stand and now hunt on the ground.  One would think that I would be less successful.  Not true.  I attribute my hunting success to good scouting and masking my body scent.

I use another fantastic Hunting Specialties product to clean my hands and wash perspiration from my face and neck while hunting.  It is “Scent A-Way Wash Towels.”  http://www.basspro.com/Hunters-Specialties-ScentAWay-Wash-Towels/product/1108311499806/

They fit nicely in your hunting pack and resemble baby wipes in appearance.

 

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A Different Technique for Deer Hunting

Bow season has officially kicked off here in Texas and customers are constantly asking us what advice we can give in order to bring more deer into the area where they are hunting. Our biggest competition is our neighbors.  In Texas we all use very similar techniques for hunting whitetail deer. You have to set your property apart.  I try to find attractants that my neighbors probably will not be using. Wildgame Innovations has several different products that are available and they come in three different forms. They have the cubes, powder and liquid formulas that are made to help bring in more deer and keep them there. If you hunt in an area where acorns are the predominant food source then try enhancing a stand location by adding some acorn rage powder or acorn rage pellets. These are not magic weapons that will allow you to shoot every big buck within 10 miles no, these are ways to enhance your setup and get more deer to focus on a specific location on the property rather than just stick to their normal routine. The aroma from the attractant is strong and deer will pick up on that smell sooner than the natural aroma that is produced by the food source. Another good technique is to plant something like a sugar beet food plot. Once the food plot has been harvested, pick up some Sugar Beet Crush by Wildgame Innovations. The sweet smelling aroma from the sugar beet crush powder will get in the air and force deer to frequently visit the site. I tried something a few seasons ago that helped hold deer to a specific location and it involved real apples and Wildgame Innovations’ Bucker Up Ripe-N-Apples. I would cut up fresh apples and pile them in a location I was going to hunt. In the mean time during my trip I would spread the Bucker Up Ripe-N-Apples powder around the area where I had put the real apples. The area was frequently visited by deer during my hunt and the constant traffic gave me an idea to use for years to come. Get passed the standard tripod feeder technique that everyone is using and go with something that will give you the advantage over the neighboring properties.     

 

white tail deer

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You Still Have Time To Plot This Season

Fall is rapidly approaching, but it’s not too late to get down your food plots for the upcoming season. You can still, with minimal effort, get a strong and effective plot to grow that will bring in those big bucks. You will start seeing results within a couple of weeks, and around 30 days you will have a great spot that the deer can’t resist.

BioLogic Hot Spot

BioLogic Hot Spot Seed is easy to plant, fast germinating, and extremely attractive to deer. Great for planting in a remote location, or late in the season. Plus the only tools you'll need are a rake and/or blower. Drives big bucks wild and gives hunters their very own private food plot with minimal effort and expense.

EH Throw N Gro

Another great product for late season plotting is Evolved Harvest’s Throw N Gro. Like the name says -- just throw and go! Attracts and holds deer wherever you want to hunt. Plant without disking so you can plant in areas that aren't accessible to heavy tilling and cultivating equipment.

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Bass Pro Shops Customer Profile: Bill Penninger

Customer Profile

I would like to introduce you to a long time customer at Bass Pro Shops.  Bill Penninger has shopped in the Bass Pro Shops here in Concord, NC since the store opened.  Every time that he comes into the store, he loves to share pictures of his son, granddaughter and grandson from their most recent hunt.  I want to take the time to share a little with you about them. 

Mark Penninger, Bill’s son, lives in Oregon where he is a forest wildlife biologist. 

mark working

Forest biologist Mark Penninger works to attach bait to attract martens towards a hidden camera. (photo courtesy of US Forest Service)

He also serves as the National Bighorn Sheep biologist for the US Forest Service

Sheep

The above picture was taken by Mark while working for the US Forestry Service. (photo courtesy of US Forest Service)

Mark started hunting here locally on about 50 acres before he moved to Oregon.  Jack O’Connor inspired Mark to start hunting through his articles in Outdoor Life magazine.  Mark believes that you “bless it, dress it and eat all of the edible meat” when he is hunting.    One of his favorite spots to hunt is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.

No Return Wilderness

 When Mark hunts there, he is 35 miles from the nearest road and is flown in to his hunting site. This wilderness is a total of 2,366,907 acres and is the second largest in the lower 48 states.  Mark has hunted mule deer and small game in the Frank Church wilderness.  One of Mark’s most successful hunts that Bill has told me about was the elk that he took on September 18, 2003.  Mark used a Martin Lynx bow from 12 yards.  The recovery of the elk was 50 yards.  The elk scored 351 6/8 net score on the rack. 

Mark’s children Weston and Bailey have picked up the hunting bug from their father. 

Family Affair

 Bailey, who is 16 years old, started hunting with her dad at a very young age.  She was using her Dad’s 20 gauge at 8 years old. 

Bailey

At 11 years old, Bailey started using a Ruger 7mm-08 compact rifle.  She was also taught about trapping from her father and grandfather.   Bailey is an avid hunter of duck, mule deer, elk and antelope.  She has harvested a cow elk, 4 deer, an antelope and a coyote.  She has also bagged a turkey every year since she was 13.

Turkey 1

 Bailey goes to the rifle range with her father regularly.   She and her dad are going to Alaska in August for a self-guided caribou hunt.  We wish her tons of success.  When she isn’t hunting, Bailey enjoys playing the fiddle, modern dance, hangs out with friends and loves going to church with the family.

Bill and Bailey

Bailey on a turkey hunt, even crutches cant stop her!

  Weston, who is 14 years old, uses an A-Bolt Browning 25-06 when he is hunting. 

Bill and Weston

Weston and Mark after a successful Pronghorn Hunt!

He took his first cow elk on December 22nd of last year.  He too has taken several turkeys since he started hunting at age 10.  One of Bill’s favorite stories about his grandson is his nickname from soccer, which is “the Wall”.  Bill states that Weston is called this because “hitting him is like hitting a brick wall.”

Duck Hunt

A successful duck hunt!

I hope that you have enjoyed meeting the Penninger family.  I know that Bill is proud of them.  Mark’s favorite quote is by George Washington…”It is better to be alone than to be in bad company.”  After hearing about Bailey and Weston, I have little doubt that Mark doesn’t spend a day alone at all.

In memory of William F. “Bill” Penninger,

bill

December 31, 1938 - July 6, 2013

 "Bill was a master carpenter, building anything from schools to homes to nuclear stations. He loved to garden and share the fruits of his labors. Known as “the mayor” of Taylor Glen, he will be missed by his neighbors there. Even after his first stroke which left him in a wheelchair with left side paralysis, he adapted and kept living life to the fullest, which was a great motivator to those who knew him. He loved his family, especially his grandchildren."

I would say, and I think Bill would agree, that the best thing he ever built was his wonderful family!

Happy Hunting,

~Michelle Clark

 

 

 

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Trail Cameras 101

What to look for when buying a trail CameraSunset

While so many of us are grabbing whatever little bit of summer that is left by hanging out at the beach or the local swimming pool, there are those that are quietly preparing for the upcoming hunting season. These folks are trying to gain every little edge they can, which means more than just checking your equipment and wondering where in the basement you put your hunting boots or walking through your local Bass Pro Shops to see what sales are going on to buy the newest equipment for this season. Here is a great tip to help you gain an edge over your quarry, and over the other guy who just doesn’t think about putting in a bit more effort.

Bushnell Trail CamOK, so you're an experienced hunter. You’ve done all the "right things". You’ve scouted, you’ve read sign, and you’ve checked all the scenarios. Now you’re ready to go.  At least you thought you were. You've set up in a spot that's perfect for that big black bear, or deer. All the tell-tale signs are there, everything looks good, but you get skunked! Why? It could be just the "roll of the dice" (which happens), or maybe it's because you never really knew or found out what, if anything, is coming through the area you set up in that's worth hunting. That's changed.  Welcome to hunting in the 21st century.

Bushnell Trail Cam PictureYears ago, hunters would rig a simple string that they'd run across a trail and attach a clock and/or timer in a small box to it. An animal tripping the "string" would register on the timer, and you'd know WHEN that animal was there. Of course, you wouldn't know its size, or maybe not even the type of animal it was (a squirrel could trip that string as well as a deer or bear). Also, you'd have to reset the trail camera after each time it was tripped. That’s a lot of work for not much information.

In today's market, there are lots of different electronic devices -- and that includes trail cameras. We strongly advise doing very detailed research, speaking to hunters you know who have experience with these devices, and go to a reputable seller, where you can actually "see and feel" the equipment and get demo lessons. These types of electronics are always present at hunting trade shows as well. Do your homework before spending a dime!

Cuddeback Trail Cam PictureAs time has progressed, these electronic devices have improved – and today's main "attractions" are trail cameras. These cameras can be absolutely amazing. The quality of the imaging is incredible. And infra-red laser beams are incorporated to "trip" the mechanism in real time. By the way, you should make sure that there is no delay when the photo or video begins. Finding out the reaction time on these cameras once they're tripped is essential. If there's a delay, as with some point-and-shoot digital cameras, you may end up missing the animal and just see empty space. Trail cameras will take a single photo. They will take streaming video. They have batteries that can last for days. They have that little, simple SD cards that you can pull out of a slot in the camera in a nanosecond and then "read" on your computer or TV at home; OR they can be read right in the field. You'll know exactly the type of animal, its size, time it was there, and maybe some "habits."

Moultrie Trail Cam PictureAnd now -- the cost. You can get a still-photo trail camera for as low as $60. Then you can get video, or a combo of both still and video. Particular retail outlets have trail cameras that run around $600. We suggest Keeping It Simple. Meaning, buy only what you really need. You can always upgrade. You can usually add on "bells and whistles." Remember, you're not doing work for National Geographic. You want it simple. You want it to work. You want accuracy. So be cautious and be slow before you buy.

As we usually do here at Bass Pro, we like to pass on "real world" moneysaving ideas for everything that we talk about: When not using these cameras for hunting (which is most of the time), set them up in or around your home or valued storage areas as "security cameras." They work beautifully, are rugged, and will prevent theft – or worse! Remember, these cameras can and will trigger an alarm on your computer or other simple electronic set-up.

Meet all of your Fishing, Hunting, Boating & Outdoor needs at the Bass Pro Shops in Oklahoma City, OK. Follow our link for all store information, upcoming events & more.

Good luck and good "shooting" -- and that includes the use of your camera!

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Game cameras, corn and trophy rocks

trophy rock

Earlier this week I walked out of Bass Pro with a new Cuddeback Black Flash game camera, two bags of deer corn, and a Trophy Rock. Yesterday evening, I hung the camera on a secluded ridge where I’ve captured lots of photos of good bucks in the past.

If you haven’t gotten your deer cameras out yet, this is the time to do it. Bucks’ antlers have grown to the point where it’s pretty easy to sift through the “little uns” and focus on the “whoppers.” If you do plan to set out one or more game cams this summer, keep the following tips in mind:

  •          Keep your scent controlled – Even though it’s not hunting season, big bucks can still easily get spooked if you get careless while hanging cameras.  Wear rubber boots and gloves.
  •          Focus your camera on an attractant – During this time of year, it’s a good idea to put something like a Trophy Rock or pile of corn in front of your camera to attract deer in front of your lens.  Watering holes are also a good bet while it’s hot and dry.
  •          Be patient – Don’t check your game camera too often. Resist the urge to disturb the area by walking in to your camera more than once per week, and once every other week is better.

Have fun, and I hope you get some great photos in the weeks ahead! Also, we'd love for you to share them with us on facebook at www.facebook.com/bpscolumbia


Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro Team Member

 

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Fall Hunting Season Is Fastly approaching

It might be hot and humid right now in mid July, but Alabama's fall hunting season will be here before you know it. The cool breeze will soon be upon us and that can only mean one thing,  Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic! This years Fall Hunting Classic will be filled with activities, guest appearances, great savings and hunting seminars. Running from August 2 to August 18th

Here is the schedule of events for the 2013 Fall Hunting Classic:

  • August 2-18: Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic
  • August 2-7: Bow Trade In.
  • August 2-11: Instant savings on Guns and Safes
  • August 3: Bass Pro Shops Hunting University with Pro Appearances
  1. Hank Parker with "The Science of Broad heads" at 12:00pm and "How to Properly Use Deer Attractants" at 3:00p
  2. Fred Eichler with "Dangerous Situations" at 1:00pm
  3. Lee and Tiffany Lakosky will be doing a question and answer session as well as signing FREE autographs!!!
  • August 8-13: Scope Trade-In
  • August 9-10: Daily Specials
  • August 9-11: Hunter Appreciation Weekend:
  1. Friday August 9: Rick in our Archery department teaches "Tips For Bowhunters" at 6:30pm and Kraig from Archery teaches "Tactics for hunting Deer" at 7:30pm.
  2. Saturday August 10: Kraig from Archery teaches how to hunt for antler sheds at 1:30pm, David From Archery teaches "From the Field to the Table, how to fry a turkey" at 2:30pm, at 3:30pm Audie from archery tells his tips and techniques for hunting, Mike from the hunting department will give an introduction to Competitive Handgun, Shotgun and Rifle shooting and at 5:30pm will go over choosing the correct camouflage clothing for your needs.
  3. Sunday August 11: Mike from hunting does another introduction to Competitive shooting at 1:30pm, Kraig from archery goes over his tactics for hunting whitetail deer and lastly Greg from the hunting department will go over his tips and techniques for hunting at 3;30pm, choosing the best scent control at 4:30pm and choosing the right optics at 5:30pm.
  • August 14-18: Binocular and Range finder Trade-In
  • August 16-17: Daily Specials
  • August 17-18: Next Generation Weekend, activities for the children:
    • Next Generation weekend is August 17-18, Noon-5pm and includes: Free Kids Archery, Free Kids Crafts, Free Photo Download, Free Giveaway and a Free Kid's Seminar going over 10 safety tips.

 

This years Fall Hunting Classic is going to be bigger than ever. Please come join us as the local and National Pros will be here to help you improve your skills in the woods. All schedules are attentive and subject to change. I will be posting a more detailed schedule as the time gets closer to August.

Thank you,

 

Grayson Barnes

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It’s a Hard Time for Wildlife

snowdeer

As I type this, a doe and yearling deer are standing in my freshly bladed driveway. They’ve been pawing through the packed snow just to get at a sparse amount of green grass underneath.  It is the middle of the afternoon, and it’s easy to see that these two animals are getting desperate to find food. The deep snow has been taking its toll on these and other wild critters.

I’ve never considered providing supplemental food for deer during the winter, but if there ever is a time to do it, it’s now. Bass Pro provides the following supplemental feeding products, among others:

·         RedHead On-Track Premium Feed Supplement

·         Big & J BB2 Nutritional Supplement Deer Attractant

·         Imperial Whitetail 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral/Vitamin Supplement

I’m hopeful that the snow melts soon so that our mid-Missouri wildlife can move past this extremely stressful time. But in the meantime, they could use a little help finding the dinner table.

Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro Team Member

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Supplemental Feeding Through Winter

Here we are in February and March in the Carolinas and although we have had some 60 and 70 degree days so far this winter we have still had a good bit of cold days as well. Some of us have seen the usual Carolinas “Winter Mix” with the wonderful ice and a little bit of snow mixed in there as well but we have the shelter of our homes to get us through this period. What are you doing to help your deer herd make it through this tough time?

deer browsing

If you are like me each year you may expand your food plots out or add more plot around your hunting land but even with those preventative measures; during the month of January my plots get ate to the ground. Most all of your crops will not be growing much if any during the winter so once your plots are down to nothing you will need to look at some sort of supplemental feeding whether it be by some sort of protein pellet mix or corn.

deer corn deer block            feed supplement

Redhead Deer Corn and Deer Block                           On Track Premium Feed Supplement

Anything you can do will help your deer somewhat maintain and not drop too much body weight.

If you are in a hunting club you may suggest a feeding schedule to other members.  Together your club can come up with a feeding schedule and have feeding stations throughout your property. This way the cost of feeding is spread over the whole club and not one individual, after all the entire club will benefit from supplemental feeding.

If you start feeding at locations where there has not been food before it may take a week or two but deer will eventually find it as they are searching hard for food. Where I hunt we have started a feeding schedule each week and the deer are eating it up. We hope that we will be able to see some changes this upcoming year with a better deer herd going into spring until we start planting. Just remember if you are turkey hunting make sure you do not have corn or any attractant on the ground during turkey season.

Happy Hunting!

~ Dale Rice Hunting GSM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Georgia National Parks: Chattahoochee River

riverToday the river valley attracts us for so many reasons. Take a solitary walk to enjoy nature’s display, raft leisurely through the rocky shoals with friends, fish the misty waters as the sun comes up, or have a picnic on a Sunday afternoon. Get outdoors and experience the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area as you have never done before.

At Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area you can float, fish, or play in 48 miles of river as it flows through the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Use your land legs as you explore one of the 15 land units strung like emeralds along the river. Or just kick back and relax!

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (CRNRA) is rich in natural and human history, each influenced by the river's pervasive force. Usually clear, cold, and slow moving, the river sometimes plunges as a muddy torrent through its rockbound shoals. For centuries people have been drawn to the river for a source of water, food, and transportation, and in more recent times for power to sustain the mills, factories, and homes built along its banks.

Wild plants and animals, native to the area, are abundant in the park. Visit the park often to see the ever changing show that the plant life found in the park has to offer. Some animals you will see every time you visit and some, like the playful river otter, will delight you with a rare appearance. Whether  you are canoeing, fishing or hiking, CRNRA is an exciting place to observe animals in their natural habitats.

The river is home for trout, bass, catfish and 20 other species of fish. The Chattahoochee River is the southernmost trout river in the United States. This is possible due to Buford Dam releasing cold water from the bottom of Lake Lanier and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources stocking the river.

Housing over two hundred and forty bird species, there's not a corner you turn without hearing the sweets sounds of nature. You are likely to see the graceful blue heron soaring above the river, with it's neck bent for flight in the shape of an 's' and its wings outstretched five to six feet. Some species make their home in the river corridor and others are just passing through while traveling the eastern flyway.

The forest along the river is home to many species including rabbits and white tailed deer. If you walk quietly in the late summer, you might see fawn just starting to forage alone. At this young age, they are rivespecially beautiful with their large white spots and long, lanky legs, silently leaping up banks or over fallen trees.

At dusk, it is shift change for the animals in the park. A symphony begins with the call of the owls and the frogs. The bats dart about, honing in on their dinner of insects, while the toads leap underfoot and the crickets join in.

For more information, please visit www.nps.gov.

www.facebook.com/bpsmacon

 

 

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Hunting to Crow About

crowTheir diet consists of just about anything...including your garbage.

When it comes to defending their own, they are defenders to the end.

The crow.

During winter in Iowa, the crow is everywhere. If you're in hunting withdrawal between deer and turkey seasons, crow season is an option until March 31.

Here are some basic tips from our Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith:

1.  Crow hunting is easy to keep very simple - Get a call and about six or so crow decoys. Owl decoys are  also a great way to attract a flock of crows.

2.  Find a plowed field...either corn or bean fields work well. Make sure you have permission!

3.  Set up your decoys out in the field and use your crow call.

4.  After you shoot one a crow, get more aggressive on your calls and the crows will continue to come in.  Crows are very social and "pack" oriented. They will come in to help if they hear crows sounding like they are in distress...or if they think there is food to be shared!

There is no limit on crows. According to crowbusters.com, crows account for extensive crop damage to all types of crops around the country, hurt the waterfowl population, and are a prime carrier of West Nile Virus.

Needless to say, their population has grown by leaps and bounds...or is it caws and cackles...the past few years through urban and suburban areas.

However, the crow is also extremely intelligent and can be a challenging opponent, if you're up to the task.

So, kill some time between seasons and try crow hunting...you'll provide a good service to farmers and urban dwellers alike!

 

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Deer in the Midwest getting big on Trophy Rock

Trophy Rock

Trophy Rock is an all-natural mineral lick containing more than 60 beneficial trace minerals that grow bigger antlers, healthier deer, and successful hunts.Trace minerals are essential for animals to reach their development potential, and Trophy Rock has 60 naturally occurring trace minerals. Keep Trophy Rock available during the early spring and summer months, and your herd can get a huge benefit.

Healthier deer herds yield more trophy bucks, and Trophy Rock can improve your herd's digestion, lactation, cellular function, and bone and antler development. Our dedicated fans will tell you there is no tool more effective at attracting, surveying, and holding deer on your property. Keep the bucks at your place!

Serious hunters who care about antler size and herd health swear they've never seen a better product. Try it for yourself and see why so many hunters have become Trophy Rock fans for life! Try Trophy Rock for yourself and see what countless others have seen – it just plain works.

About Trophy Rock:

Trophy Rock Nuggets Big Game Attractant is an all-natural lure that's been field-tested to attract all big game animals like whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, moose and antelope. Made of a mined sea salt with over 50 trace minerals including sodium, calcium, potassium and sulfur that are beneficial to antler growth and overall herd health. 12 lb. rock.

 

  • Features:
  • All natural deer lure
  • Field tested - attracts all big game animals
  • Features more than 50 trace minerals to benefit antler growth and herd health
  • Made of mined sea salt
  • 12 lb. rock

 

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FoxPro Hellfire Predator Call

    Now that many Deer seasons have begun to end it is good to extend some hunting fun to other game that actually may harm your pursuit of Deer or Wild Turkey. Coyote hunting is both fun and useful as a management tool to keep conditions good for our favored game animals. We will look at what it takes to get started in predator hunting. The rifle, if you have any centerfire rifle from 30-06 or smaller you are set there. Yes you can go more specialized, but to start just use what you have. Look for ammo with smaller faster loads. Now for the main requirement, a good predator call. I cannot stress enough how this single part will lead to your success in this sport. You can buy mouth calls, or inexpensive electronic calls, you may waste time and effort for little results.

     FoxPro has been in this business for many years and is made here in the USA. The Hellfire model is a great middle of the road caller. It comes with 75 pre-loaded sounds and can hold 200. It has a 100 yard remote included. The unit only weighs 3 pounds so packing it into the field is pretty easy. One big feature for this model is called FoxBang. What this does is change the current sound to another of your choice just from the sound of your rifle going off. The reason for this is that many times you have not just one, but more Coyotes coming from other areas and they know sometimes there is wounded game that is shot by hunters, so they will continue into the call, provided you change to a sound that will peak their interest.

     OK now that we have covered the gear, let’s go hunting! What do I do to setup a coyote hunt? Remember they have excellent smell and hearing. Look at wind direction and guard your scent from keeping them away. Yes they see quite well also, so camo clothing is needed. The best locations are open areas near woods and swamps, or water. If you hunt this area keep notes when and where you see activity. Place your caller about 50 yards away from your position. This way as the coyote approaches he will be within a good shooting distance, say 100-150 yards. Use a rifle rest or some support to aid in shooting. I did not mention above of another item needed to help lure this animal, a decoy. This is often a moving little piece of fur or feather, that looks like a dying rabbit or bird. So now you have sound and sight to attract the coyote.  Work the spot for about 45 minutes to 2 hours, then move to another location.

Good luck!

~Bill Mellentine (Hunting Team Lead)

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