Gearing Up for Turkey Season


The last day of deer season is always a disappointment, but turkey season is fast approaching and now is the time to start gearing up.  We have the majority of our turkey gear in the store already and more is arriving every week.  I thought I would touch on a few of our products this year and give you some insight into what is going to be hot.

First and foremost, the most exciting thing for me is the new camo pattern from True Timber, HTC Green.  The majority of our products will be available in this pattern and the green is going to be extremely important this year with the mild winter we’ve had.  By mid-April, the majority of the buds are going to be blooming out and by May, the natural greens should be on in full.  Grab your Green!

The RedHead Turkey Lounger is by far the best Turkey vest available.  This vest has room for all of your calls, a game pouch for decoys or your bird, a hydration pouch which will hold a 2 liter bladder (not included with the vest), and there is room for anything else you want to take with you.  The vest is made with waterproof material. The game changer with this vest is the attached seat. This vest will allow you to sit down where ever you want, there is no need to find a tree to lean against; just lean back in the seat and you are all set.  Most importantly it is comfortable.  It is my turkey vest of choice and I think once you try it on and sit down, you will agree.

Next on the list is the RedHead Stalker Lite ¼ Zip.  I am including this because this shirt is perfect for warmer climates and I am pretty sure we are going to be looking at warm days in April here in Northwestern Ohio.  It is made out of 100% polyester which wicks away moisture and is fast drying.  We also have the Stalker Lite pants.

The one thing new this year in our store, by popular demand I might add, is the Hot Shot Deluxe Ghillie Suit.  It is a three piece suit that covers you from head to toe.  The main layer of the suit is a mesh material to help with breathability.  The suit is fully customizable and the polypropylene string that covers the suit can be cut to match the environment you are hunting in.  There is also a gun wrap and a storage bag included.


There are a lot of choices when it comes to turkey calls. Mouth calls take a lot of practice, but once you get it down, they are extremely effective. My brand of choice would be Quaker Boy. They have a mouth call for everyone including those with a narrow pallet. The sound quality and consistency make their calls stand out above the competition. For turkey hunting beginners, you should start out with a box call or a friction call. The Primos Box Cutter Turkey Call has a thumb groove that allows you to perfectly position your thumb so it can act like a spring. This allows you to make the sweetest cuts that a box call can make.\

Avian-X spends countless hours in the field studying birds and they use their findings to design ultra-realistic decoys. Specifically, the Avian-X LCD Laydown Hen Turkey Decoy presents a lifelike lay down posture. This pose attracts big gobblers by locking into the toms’ breeding instincts. They are lightweight and collapsible making the decoy easy to fit into a turkey vest. If you are looking for big toms, Avian-X is the way to go.

I could literally ramble on and probably write an entire essay on everything we have in the store for turkey season, but I wanted to highlight these few items, because honestly I’m very excited about them.  If you have any questions on anything do not hesitate to ask one of our associates, we will be glad to walk you through your selections.

On Saturday April 9th, we will be hosting two seminars specifically aimed on turkey hunting. The first one will be at 1:00 pm on Calls & Decoys. The second seminar will be at 2:00 pm on Selecting the Right Gun, Ammunition, & Choke Tube for the Job. Those who attend the seminars will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win an Avian-X Laydown Hen Decoy, but you must be present to win.

If you do not have your 2016 hunting license you can get them in the Rossford Store for both Ohio and Michigan, and do not forget your turkey tags while you are at it.  If you are hunting archery like me, we have the indoor range available, just bring your bow in (stop at our greeter to get it checked), walk up to the archery counter and ask to use the range.

Now let’s all get tuned or patterned up and put some Thunder Chickens on the dinner table.


Traditional Bowhunting: Broadheads and Arrows


5th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Broadheads and Arrows

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



It was quiet and there wasn’t the slightest breeze. A bear passed by, probably 50 yards away, and I could hear every step. Then the music of an amorous buck came through the forest looking for his mate. I have spent over three hours spot ‘n’ stalking, finding a good trail. I sat as still as possible, listening, enjoying the sounds of autumn, and waiting patiently for something to happen.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_13:images.jpegMy sitting stump was positioned along an old field in which gave me an unlimited view in either direction. Just as I was beginning to think the amorous buck must have found his interest, an antlered head emerged from the shadows, this time staring at another buck from the other side. The deer’s ability to move through the forest silently is truly uncanny. The younger of the two bucks started to move towards the older and larger buck, within seconds he was 8 yards away and stopped.

A smooth full draw I anchored, and aimed naturally slightly back off the shoulder to compensate for the quartering away angle, and released. My arrow hit and the fletching burrowed through the buck. In a blur the buck jumped sharply forward, and bolted away. A second or two later an unforgettable death moan echoed through the Wisconsin forest. The buck had fallen a mere 15 yards from where it stood at the shot. My arrow downed that buck in about three seconds.  Impossible you think to bring down the deer that quickly? For a quick, ethical, humane, harvest like this experience, we need the last, most important and controversial tool added to our arrows…the broadhead!

To-date we have stayed within our original ~$300 or so budget to hunt this year. Now in order to harvest our game we will need to focus on the specific tool in order to ethically and humanely harvest our game.

At Bass Pro Shops we literally have pages and isles filled with different types of specifically designed broadheads. Then looking at all the broadhead manufacturers that are available outside of Bass Pro Shops can make choosing a good hunting tool for our traditional arrows quite daunting and overwhelming to say the least.

In the BPS Archery Cabin we want to make sure we know what and how you’re going to hunt so we can help you choose the right broadhead. In this case we already know we are hunting traditional with recurve and carbon arrows. Simple? Volumes have been printed, emotions run high, opinions…well everyone has one, even when it comes to traditional broadheads. Yep, even me… have you ever had a favorite truck conversation?

First and foremost, NO Mechanical Broadheads these are strictly for compound bows. Period.

So, this then narrows our choices to Fixed Broadheads. You’ll still find variety enough to make you scratch your head. Here’s where knowing your state hunting broadhead requirements in cutting inches, bow poundage, arrow length, weight, and your abilities come into communication with the BPS Archery staff. Here’s where the experience and your goals come together in making the choice of a good broadhead.

We have been practicing out to 25-30 yards and we are hitting the target consistently but we are dead on at 10-15-20 yards meaning all our arrows are within a 10-inch circle. Being an ethical hunter is being honest with us in choosing a broadhead. Mother Nature will thank you when she gives up her bounty to you.

In this blog, remember the fun about traditional bow hunting is the dynamic simplicity of our equipment. One other comment before I start, the broadheads discussed will be the fixed blades we carry at Bass Pro for the purpose of this blog.


How A Broadhead Arrow Works

Generally speaking arrows tipped with razor sharp broadheads harvest by cutting major blood vessels, both arteries and veins. This causes massive blood loss, reduced blood pressure, and loss of oxygen to the brain. An animal needs to lose about one third of its blood volume for this to happen. This process can take from seconds to several hours depending on where an animal is hit.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015:wildlife_deer_organs_diagram.jpgThe best placement of the shot is by puncturing the lungs. When the lungs are punctured the lungs collapse. The collapse of the lungs is known as a pneumo-thorax, and interrupts the exchange of oxygen in blood. When this happens the supply of oxygen to the brain is immediately interrupted and death comes within seconds. Since the aiming point on all big game animals is the lung area, most good shots result in a combination of these three factors. If you hit the lungs you will automatically slice through numerous veins and arteries, causing death within seconds.

Range, Shot Placement, and Self Control

The effective traditional bow range of most hunters is within 25 yards.  Of course, this varies by hunter. I consider effective range whatever distance an archer can put 10 out of 10 arrows inside 10-inch circle or a paper plate is a good example to use represent a whitetails lungs... Some hunters have to limit themselves to shots less than 20-yards.  In my own hunting experience most of my actual shots are less than 20-yards, with my average around 15-yards.  The closest shot I ever took was five yards, and the farthest forty-four.  Hunting animals so close you can even smell them is one of my main attractions and challenges of traditional bowhunting.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_9:Deer-shot-angle-overhead-1024x602.pngMacintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_6:images-4.jpegEven when game animals are at such close range the shot isn’t guaranteed. A bowhunter must wait for the correct angle before shooting.  The most common shot position is having game standing broadside. This gives the archer a clear shot to the lung area. The most effective shot angle, however, is quartering slightly away.  An arrow shot from this angle almost always enters the heart lung area causing a quick death.  A well-placed arrow in either of these positions will generally pass completely through the animal leaving a large blood trail to follow. Most other shot angles generally speaking shouldn’t be taken with bow and arrow, or at least not without a great deal of experience. It is also important that bowhunters take shots that enter just behind the shoulder on most animals. The heavy shoulder bones of animals can sometimes stop arrows, so it is simply best to avoid them. I have often had large mature animals well within shot range only to let them pass without letting loose an arrow because a good shot angle never presented itself.  Being patient, knowing your limitations as an archer, and waiting for good shots, is a major part of Traditional bowhunting.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_7:images-5.jpegPractice taking in consideration of angles like shooting from a tree stand, BPS has 3-D targets will help with shot placement. Practice taking different shot angles at varied distances. The season is just around the corner.

Note the angle difference of the broadside on the ground versus the broadside from a tree stand.

100-grain Broadheads Versus 125-grain Broadheads

The real difference here for many new bowhunter is a heavier arrow flies slower than a lighter arrow so a 100-grain arrowhead will shoot a flatter trajectory than that of 125-grain arrowhead. When the BPS Archery staff set up your arrows initially they may have determined 100-grain was the way to go for you. If so, the weight has been determined thus narrowing decisions.

There’s more to follow on arrowhead weights and their affect on arrow penetration.


2-Blade versus 3-Blade Broadheads

The afore mentioned hunting harvest I used a G5 Montec, 3-blade broadhead, 125 grain weight, with a 1 1/8th inch cutting diameter on a Beman carbon arrow with 5 1/2-inch feathers shot from a 63 pound bow. The draw weight of your bow will dictate the number of blades and weight of your broadheads.

I will be hunting with Sage 45 pound bow, my draw is 29-inches making my draw weight 48 pounds (Measured in the BPS Archery Cabin), and the arrow of choice is the Blackout X3 Hunters with 4” feathers and 125-grain arrowhead weight.

When it comes to broadheads more blades are not necessarily better. The dynamics of our arrows is to capture and deliver the energy transferred from our bows to the arrowhead/broadhead thus meaning penetration at the animal. Our goal is always to obtain complete pass through of the lungs. Hence the controversy over broadheads 3-blades cut more creating more trauma than 2-blades do. However, the 3rd blade creates more drag or takes more energy from the bow for penetration. Make sense?

Ok, we’ve established the one undisputable fact that the arrow delivers the bows energy. This energy is referred to as Kinetic Energy. We are Stick ‘n’ String traditional Bowhunters here so all we want is an arrow to hit hard. There are two ways of accomplishing this; the weight of our bow and the weight of our arrow at our effective distance. Being honest with how we shoot is key in discussing options with the BPS Archery Staff!

My personal preference has always been a harder hitting arrow (even on my compound bows) so I naturally will gravitate to the heaviest arrowhead I can effectively shoot at my ideal hunting range of 20-yards and under.

Now the Sage I am hunting with this year is 15-pounds lighter in draw weight than the recurve I shot the 125-grain, 3-Blade G5 Montec with…so choosing a 125-grain (I like heavy arrows), 2-blade broadhead makes mathematical sense to obtain my goals. We will be fitting our arrows with any one of the following Muzzy Phantum, Magnus Stinger or Steel Force Broadheads. Now in order to get to 125-grains the manufactures have added what is called bleeder-blades…(wait Dave you just said 2 are better than 3 now you have just added 2 more blades making this broadhead a 4-Blade!) Yes, it’s true however bleeder-blades are smaller in size so the primary 2-blades deliver the energy cut which is wider first, while then smaller bleeders cut more tissue and veins. The bleeders being smaller slide around bone easier too.

I am a firm believer in the 3:1 ratio rule when it comes to broadheads (3” long x 1” wide) for the best flight and penetration. At BPS we don’t carry any broadheads with in this rule so…I will shoot the longest Broadhead BPS carries to achieve my goals. As a traditional archer there are some mathematical rules that help and make our arrows perform to the best albeit 3-blade or 2-bade the closer to 3:1 the better off you are.

Once you make the decision on your broadheads my advice is to purchase another set arrows and have the BPS Archery Staff put them on for you and keep them in an arrow box. This will make tuning them to you bow easier if need be.


Tuning Your Broadheads

Here’s where the 3-blade broadheads like the BlackOut FXD Cut-On-Contact, G5 Montec and NAP HellRazor shine. They are already spin balanced which makes them easier to tune to you arrows and bow. The 2-blade Muzzy Phantum, Magnus Stinger or Steel Force broadheads require a little more attention when tuning and you BPS Archery staff will guide you through it if you choose to shoot the 2-blade like me. Note BPS has added the Magnus Black Hornet and Black Hornet Ser-Razor to our product line. These are like the 3-blades in that they are spin-tested for accuracy. I have not gotten my hands on these yet…but. Who knows, we may shoot two different broadheads this season. I can harvest 2 deer; one from Wisconsin and one from Illinois.


The Overall Importance Of The Arrow

The arrow is the single most important part of any bowhunters gear. Most bows can be tuned to launch the right arrow with accuracy, but the wrong arrow won’t fly well from any bow.

I’m assuming you and the local BPS Archery Staff have arrow selection basics down already. But just in case you are doing this remotely be sure to match your arrow shaft size to your draw weight, draw length and shooting style.


The Correct Hunting Shaft

The Hunting Shaft Selection Charts are great starting points, but it is only a reference point, not guaranteed to be an EXACT match for your bow. Again discussing with the experienced BPS Archery Professional and/or testing are important at this time. Up to this point has been working on form and shooting. Now you’re moving into the details that insure an ethical humane harvest. This process as frustrating as it sounds separates you from an arrow slinger to a hunter!

Drawing back an extra-long arrow to full draw and having someone mark the arrow one-to-two inches in front of the handle determine

1. Determining the Correct Hunting Arrow Length for traditional bows. Bow draw length is measured at full draw from the valley of the nock groove to the back (far side) of the bow. Actual arrow length and draw length are only the same if the end of the arrow shaft is even with the back of the bow (far side) at full draw. BPS recommends adding at least 1" to draw length for a proper arrow length.

2. Determining Actual Peak Bow Weight for Your Recurve

Actual Peak Bow Weight for traditional bows should be measured at your draw length. Using an accurate bow scale draw the bowstring until you hit your desired draw length and hold. Observe the weight on the scale. This can be done in the Bass Pro Archery Cabin/Department.

 Fletching angle matters. Fletching that’s glued on the shaft at an angle (helical) will spin your arrow. Tests by TruFlight Arrow Company have shown that best broadhead accuracy is achieved when an arrow spins one complete time during 30-36 inches of forward travel. This means the arrow makes 20-24 complete revolutions before it hits a target 20 yards away.

Unlike a target point, a broadhead has flat blade surfaces that tend to drive it off course. This phenomenon is called “planning.” When an arrow spins, it constantly corrects a broadhead’s tendency to plane, and this ensures an accurate shot. Most good hunting arrows are fletched for proper spin. Before you buy complete arrows or fletch your own, be sure that the fletching is angled slightly along the shaft to spin it through the air. You may have discovered this already and discussed this with your BPS Archery professional.

The arrows I am using for this blog all had straight fletching and I refletched these arrows to achieve my desired results. Here at the Bass Pro in Gurnee, IL we will refletch traditional arrows for a fee.

Max your penetration.

All else being equal in traditional bowhunting, a heavier arrow from your bow leaves with more penetrating energy and retains that energy better downrange than a faster, lighter arrow. The difference directly in front of your bow isn’t huge—about 2½ percent for every 100 grains you increase a 100-grain heavier arrow reaches 40 yards, it possesses an energy advantage of 8-10 percent, which can be significant on large animals such as bear, elk, caribou, and moose. I can see no penetrating advantage in a smaller-diameter shaft. Arrow penetration tests through foam, ballistic gelatin and other artificial materials are meaningless. In a real animal, the broadhead cuts a large hole and the shaft—regardless of size—slides along behind with little or no friction. Flesh springs away from the wound, and body fluids such as blood help to lubricate the passage of the shaft. By comparison, broadhead design is everything in penetration. This is where broadheads designed in the 3:1 ratio rule show their advantage.

The same arrow from the same bow will pass completely through a deer with a cutting-nose broadhead attached. Older-style, fixed-bladed heads such as the Bear Razorhead, Zwickey No Mercy, Muzzy Phantum or Magnus Stinger or Steel Force Broadheads and all possess cutting noses and have a reputation for penetrating well.

Note: Smaller diameter arrow shafts benefits show up in less wind and cross wind resistance.


Broadhead Tuning

In general terms, broadhead tuning is done by first shooting a group of arrows with field points into the target, and then by shooting a group of arrows with broadheads. The two groups are compared and the appropriate adjustments are made.

The field points should be as close in weight and FOC as possible to the broadheads. Because it is necessary to first establish a good group with field points, broadhead tuning can be done only after acceptable tuning has been established with field points.

Shoot a group with field point’s set up a suitable broadhead target at a distance of 20 yards or your comfort range. Using a set of field-tipped arrows that have been tuned with your bow, shoot a group of 3 arrows into the target. Take care to shoot as good a group as you are capable.

Shoot a group with Broadheads
Using identical arrows tipped with broadheads shoot a group of 3 arrows into the target. Use the same aiming spot that was used for the field points.

The shot group is the key. If you are satisfied you have shot a respectable group based on your ability, then compare the position of the two groups. Make the adjustments listed below to your setup and shoot both groups again. Keep adjusting and shooting until both groups (field points and broadheads) group in the same area.


Adjustments sometimes effect more than is expected. It is best to always make the up/down adjustments first. Once the two groups are on the same horizontal plane, then make the left/right adjustments.

  1. If the broadheads group above the field points, move the nocking point up.
  2. If the broadheads group below the field points, move the nocking point down.
  3. If the broadheads group to the left, they are behaving as if the shaft is too stiff (for a right handed archer). Any, or several, of the following can be done to correct the point of impact.
    1. Increase the poundage on the bow or brace height.
    2. Change to heavier broadheads.
  4. If the broadheads group to the right, they are behaving as if the shaft is too weak. Any or several of the following can be done to correct the point of impact.
    1. Decrease the poundage on the bow or brace height.
    2. Change to lighter broadheads
  5. Multiple adjustments
    1. First move nocking point
    2. Make spine adjustment


The main purpose of an arrow quiver is solely transporting and making available your arrows. The style is one of personal choice albeit back, hip or on the bow quiver.

If you choose the on the bow style quiver you will need to check out how your bow shoots and will quite possibly have too re-tune it. 




Deer Management Part 2

Food Plots


This can be a very tough subject to talk about because of the many levels of food plotting. But I get more questions on what options hunters who do not have access to heavy equipment or a 4-wheeler have. There are tons of seed companies out there that have great plotting seeds. But in the hunting industry the two most popular are Evolved Harvest and Bio-Logic. You can’t turn on a hunting show without seeing one of these two industry giants. Evolved Harvest has several no till formulas available for sale that can be planted in the spring or fall of the year. Most of which will come packaged in a 5lb bag that will cover 1/4 acre or approximately a 25yd by 50yd patch of ground. This is an ideal size for a nice personal plot within bow hunting distance. Their throw and grow line is one of the most popular seeds on the market with hunters today from their original Throw and Gro ($15.99) which is a combo of ryegrass, forage clover and brassica mixed in. They also have Throw and Grow Extreme Radish ($21.99) which has everything that the original has plus the addition of a great late season draw:  Radishes. A fairly new addition is the Throw and Gro Extreme Oats ($13.99). Oats, clover and brassica all mixed together is a great all round seed.

Now to address the name - Throw and Gro. You can just throw it out on some bare ground and get some growth. But you will have a tremendous amount of better luck if you take the time and prepare the seed bed beforehand. At the very minimal, you should clear your intended area of any rocks, log, weeds that you can. A weed eater, machete, rake and a spray bottle with weed killer is your friend. You want to make sure your seeds have every possible chance to make contact with the soil. If you can go through the area several days in advance of planting with some Round-up or something of the same category. It will make the job of weed eating 10 times easier. Then you can Rake the area clean before planting. Also before planting, take a look at the weather and if possible try to place the seeds out right before a nice soaking rain. The rain will help push your seeds to the desired depth of about 1/4 inch or so under the surface. Remember this basic - if you do everything as above you will get modest growth. The better plants will come if you apply the right amount of fertilizer and lime to the soil. A soil test is the proper way to figure out how much of each you need to apply. It’s not as hard as you may think. You can go to your local MFA or COOP and they can get you going or there are plenty of websites available such as or you can subscribe to a magazine like Farming For Wildlife. Any of these will give you loads options for your new food plot. If you do not want to do a soil test then most of the company's will recommend you use 75 lbs of 13-13-13 Fertilizer and 500lbs of lime per 1/4 acre. Which in most cases is a little more then you need.

BioLogic has countless seed combos on the market but two of my best and most attractive to deer food plots every year is Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets $21.99 and Maximum $19.99. Both come standard in 2.25lb bags that will cover a 1/4 acre. These are not no till formulas. So tilling is the proper way to get the most out of these two seeds. I know some of you are thinking. I need to get a Tractor or ATV. It is nice having access to them but here is a cheaper trick to get you by. There are a lot of company's small and large that for a small fee you can rent a very nice rear tine tiller. Yes a tiller. Think of it as gardening for deer. As long as you already have the area clean of debris and mowed. A 1/4 acre plot will take no time at all to till up. A tiller gives more options on how to plant. I like to divide my fall plots and plant two different types of plants like the maximum in one and sugar beets in the other. Plants like these are a dual purpose plot. You get that early push where they are eating the green tops of the plants and then later in the year when everything is getting thin they will start digging up the big root bulbs and beets and in turn allows you to have a great late season food source. After your plants get to about 3'' in length, I like to go back and spray BioLogics M.E.E.N Green Fertilizer on them. For $24.99 you get a 15-40-5 mix that comes in a 5 lb bag that will cover up to 1 full acre. By mixing 5 oz of Meen Green with 1 gallon of water you will be well on your way to a much healthier food plot. 

 Food Plot 101

It's Not Too Late to Plot                                                                                         

To Be Continued

Up Next. Game Cameras


Big Game Basics: Muskox

Looking back at the two years or so of blog writing, we have covered numerous topics. One of my favorite topics has always been the animal ones. And of all those we have covered numerous species. But this month’s Big Game Basic might cover the smelliest animal yet! I mean I’m sure moose don’t smell like roses and if you have ever smelt a gut-shot deer you probably will never forget it. And even our pesky little javelina are like moving trash cans, but this month may just take the stinky cake. And their name says it all, muskox.

Muskox are a large Arctic mammal that are a part of the family Bovidae. Knowing this and looking at these magnificent creatures, one assumes that they are a cow of some kind. When in fact, they are more closely related to goats and sheep! Muskox are the only animals in the genus Ovibus, which means “sheep-ox” in Latin.

They are well known for their distinctive thick coats, large horns, defensive strategies and smell. That is where most of the muskox gets their name. The males emit a powerful odor during the mating/rutting season to attract females. (Hence “musk—ox”). This may sound funny to us, but when you think about it not so much. We as humans will spray ourselves with cologne or perfume to smell nice, and so it kind of all works out. Just don’t expect any “MUSKOX by Calvin Kline” to be hitting your local scent-parlor anytime soon.

Muskox naturally live in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. They have been successfully introduced in smaller populations to Norway, Sweden, Alaska and Siberia. These animals live in extremely cold parts of the world, but have adapted to this lifestyle quite well. Their long and thick coats keep them plenty warm during winter. Also during the colder season muskox will form into groups of a dozen or two for protection and warmth. During the warmer seasons they are usually found in smaller herds.

At first look these animals may look large, clumsy and slow. Muskox are actually capable of reaching speeds of over 35 miles per hour. They are also not nearly as large as they appear, this is due to their large and thick coats. Muskox weigh on average between 400 and 900 pounds. The American bison usually weighs double that.

The history of these animals goes way back and is full of speculation. While the muskox are the only living genus of Ovibus, their ancestors go back millions of years. They are believed to have been around during the Ice Age and lived alongside all of those mega fauna. (I.E. wooly mammoths, stag moose, etc.) But this is all heavily debated. It doesn’t take much thought to picture these large beasts walking around with those other animals.

Typically the predators of muskox are the Arctic wolves. It is hard to mention these animals without the characteristic “circle-protection” coming to mind. The muskox will get into a circle to protect their young who are on the inside of the circle. The muskox face out towards the danger and lunge forward to strike back at any predator with their large, curved horns. Besides wolves only large bears (grizzly or polar) really attempt to take muskox on, and usually they target young or weak members of the herd.

Muskox also put on great displays in order to establish dominance. Males will tear up the ground with their hooves, release scent, make loud noises and ram into each other. They will back up about 60 feet from each other and run full speed until the two collide. Once one gives up, he will become the subordinate male. This subordinate male will be treated like a female until he becomes dominant.

It is still legal to hunt muskox, and many big game hunters wait their lifetime for a chance. The hunting is well regulated due to large harvests being taken in the 19th and 20th century. Other than on a hunting trip, these animals are commonly kept at zoos. They are also ranched in some places. They are prized for their milk, meat and especially their wool. Their wool is warm, soft and average at $60 an ounce for yarn.

While exactly where these animals come from is unknown, but with conservation and education hopefully the muskox will be around for generations to come.


Other Big Game Blogs:

Mountain Goat White Tail Deer Moose Caribou Buffalo Bear Dall Sheep Walrus Blacktail Deer Cougar

Mule Deer Coues-Deer Pronghorn Antelope Turkey Elk Bighorn Sheep Javelina Roosevelt Elk

Lion Cape Buffalo Elephant Rhino Leopard

Other Animals You Might Bump Into

Bobcat Coyote Rattlesnake


Hunting Season 2015 - Part 1

It is that time of the year again. It is the time to start getting ready for the upcoming deer season. I know what some of you are thinking. It’s June and I should be fishing. You are right; it is a great time to be out on the water. But what you do now could really help you come fall. This will be Part 1 of 4 of Game Management 101.


Let’s start with mineral. (Followed by) Food Plots, Game Cams and Tree Stands.

They are in my opinion 3 types of hunters: You have the hunters that want to attract deer, Hunters who want to grow deer or hunters who want to do both. I like to do both. There are a lot of products on the market that will draw deer in like a magnet. But they do nothing for them other than make them really thirsty. What I look for in an attractant is a product that has as many proteins and minerals that you can cram in it. Not just salt that a lot of them have. It is a proven fact that if given the right amount of food, protein, and minerals a whitetail buck can grow 1'' of Antler a day. With that said, you take that buck you had on your farm last year that was about 130'' that you passed looking for a bigger one. You can do the math. I bet it is safe to say you wouldn't pass him again. And that's why I feed mineral year round on my farms. 

The most iconic mineral on the market is The Trophy Rock. For $17.99 you will get a 12lb block full of over 60 trace minerals that is 100% natural.  It is legal to hunt over in the Show Me State. I place 2 of these Rocks on each of my 3 farms in 2 separate locations. Depending on deer consumption and weather, I only have replace them every 6 or so months. WARNING: Do not place mineral blocks where you do not want to have holes. On 2 of my hunting spots I have holes knee deep from consistent Trophy Rock placement. I have game cam picks of deer up to their shoulders in the hole. It is really a fantastic product.


Another product I have great success with is Big & J Products. I have used their BB2 Supplement $19.99 for 20lbs for the last several seasons and have had great luck with growing and attracting. It's a great standalone attractant.  If you are wanting to make it last try mixing it with corn. The product I had the most luck with was there new item - Liquid Luck. $12.99 for 1/2 gallon. Don't be scared by its look and aroma. It’s great at pulling in deer from afar and quickly. I placed it out for the first time on my brand new area that I had no clue what was there or where. I had the first trail cam picture within 4 hours of it being there and that continued for almost a month before it lost its luster and I had to refresh it. Reminder, unlike the T-Rock, Big & J products are grain based. Which means under Missouri Law it is considered baiting. Make sure they are removed 10 days prior to your planned hunt. These are just a few suggestions and I hope they help. There are many great products out there. Just remember if you want to attract and grow big deer, buy products with good protein and mineral content and you will be on your way to growing that buck of a lifetime. From all of us here at your local Independence Bass Pro Shops -- Have Fun and Safe Hunting Experience....................


Whitetail Mineral Sites

Deer in the Midwest getting big on Trophy Rock



Quality Deer Management Association


What can you do to help out conservation efforts in your area? The easiest way is to shop at Bass Pro Shops! We have several Conservation Groups that we choose to spotlight during the year to help them out with their efforts; June is Quality Deer Management Association Month.


QDMA is a non-profit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage.

Founded in 1988, the QDMA has more than 60,000 members in all 50 states and several foreign countries. Since the beginning, QDMA has worked to educate its members and all deer hunters about the benefits of the Quality Deer Management (QDM) philosophy. This effort – aided by the support of numerous member-volunteers, corporate sponsors, and other QDM advocates – has rapidly increased awareness and implementation of QDM throughout North America, resulting in healthier, more balanced deer populations and more rewarding hunting experiences. As it grew in membership and influence, QDMA also began working to secure a sustainable future for wild white-tailed deer through practical research and by advocating for wise policy and regulation that will protect our hunting heritage. Additionally, QDMA works to attract, assist, educate and guide young and new hunters to ensure they become tomorrow's stewards of whitetails and all wildlife. 

QDMA promotes:

  • Safe and ethical hunting.
  • Adherence to wildlife and trespass laws.
  • Appropriate harvests of adult does where needed.
  • Restraint in harvesting young bucks.
  • Hunter involvement in education and management.
  • Cooperation with wildlife biologists and enforcement officers.
  • Education of hunters and non-hunters toward a better understanding of wildlife management.
  • Stewardship and appreciation of all wildlife.



During the month of June if you would like to help out QDMA all you have to do is ask your cashier to round up your purchase total to the nearest dollar.


If you would like to learn more about QDMA, please visit



Food Plot 101


         Building a food plot sounds a lot easier than it actually is. You must know what to plant, where to plant, and when to plant. Those three things are very crucial when wanting to have a successful food plot for the deer. If you are having trouble with your food plot or would like to start one, here are a few tips on how to get your food plot looking better than ever.

         First, it all depends on what you want to plant in your food plot. However what you want to plant is not always suitable for your local environment.

        Next, you want to figure out where you’re going to put your food plot. Depending on the deer density, plots should be about 1 to 2 acres in size.

        Lastly, you want to know when it is good to plant your seeds. If they are not planted at the correct time of the year, they may not produce to their best quality.

        Listed below are some examples of crops to plant in your food plot, and how to get them growing perfect for the deer.


        Buckwheat is an easy-to-grow, warm seasoned plant that grows best in sandy soils. It can be planted with cowpeas, grain sorghum, soybeans or it can be planted alone. There is little to no seedbed preparation, but when the seedbed is prepared there is a higher chance of success for the seed. The best time to plant is in the spring, but it can also be planted in July or August. Buckwheat performs well in a cool, moist environment and is best suited for the Northeast or Upper Midwest, but it can be planted in the south. This plant is relatively short-lived, and it will provide some temporary forage benefits for the deer. The best way to plant this seed is by broadcasting or drilling 1 to 2 inches deep. If seeded in a pure stand, broadcast buckwheat at 50 to 60 lbs. /acre or 30 to 40 lbs. /acre when using a grain drill. Test soil to see how much fertilizer to use. This is a fast growing plant, and it is good for early bow season.


         Alyceclover is a warm seasoned, annual legume that is usually used in pastures as livestock forage or it is managed for hay production. This plant does not tolerate wet soil conditions, and its best production occurs in sandy loam to clay soils. This plant is moderately preferred when wanting to attract deer. This plant is very good with drought tolerance and can go days without needed water. When planting this seed it is always important to test the soil, but with this plant it does not need nitrogen fertilizer because it produces its own. When broadcasting, create a smooth and firm planting surface because this promotes optimal germination. When no-till planting, kill the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate weed competition. This should be done a couple of weeks prior to planting. If planting pure stands, broadcast 20 lbs. /acre or drill 10 to 12 lbs. /acre at a maximum depth of 1/4- to 1/2-inch. The best time to plant is April to June in the southern regions, and May to June in the northern regions. In conclusion, this plant is excellent in providing nice summer forage for the local deer.


         Corn is a warm seasoned grass that produces grain on the ears that grow along the stem. This plant is a great source of energy for the deer, especially in the fall and early winter. It also makes good bedding and thermal cover for the deer if left not harvested. Corn does best when planted in very fertile soils, and it prefers well-drained, loamy soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Corn does not handle droughts well, and it does better when there is a lot of rainfall. One downside of corn is that it does not compete well with weeds. A good solution to this problem is to use Round Up Ready Corn because it can control the weeds without damaging the corn. The best time to plant corn is mid-March in the south, April in the middle part of the country, and May in more of the northern climates. When planting the seed it is good to make sure that the temperature of the soil is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can plant the seed by using conventional tillage and planting it in rows, or you can use broadcasting in a prepared seedbed. During no-till drilling, the corn is normally planted at a rate of 5 to 10lbs. /acre, but when broadcasting the corn is normally planted at a rate of 10lbs. /acre. The seeds do best when they are about an inch deep and cultipacked after planting.  Corn requires for the soil to be very fertile, and it is a big nitrogen user. Since corn needs to be in very fertile soil it is good to not plant the corn in the same field in two or more consecutive years. Corn is an excellent plant to use when wanting to attract deer.


Black-eyed pea pods on plant in Hong Kong.jpg

           Cowpeas (black-eyed peas) are a warm seasoned legume that originated from Ethiopia, and has widely adapted to soils and climate conditions all throughout the country. They are extremely drought tolerant and good for the south. Cowpeas can produce in excess about 8,000 pounds of quality forage per year. It is good to have the plot size at least 1 acre depending on the deer density. It’s important to remember to test the soil so that you know how much lime and fertilizer to apply. When broadcast seeding, remember to have a smooth and firm planting surface free of any debris. When no-till planting, make sure to get rid of the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate any weed competition. It is good to plant about 70 to 80 lbs. /acre if broadcasting, and cover the seed about an inch by lightly disking. If you are drilling the seed, plant approximately 40 to 50 lbs. /acre. It is good to start planting Cowpeas around mid-April in the south, and in the north they should be planted starting in late May or early June. Cowpeas are an excellent way to change things up in your food plot and attract more deer.

          These are just a few examples of things you can plant in your food plot. A few other crops include Grain Sorghum, Lablab, Soybeans, Sugar Beets and many more. If you would like more information on food plotting, check out the two links below. One link will take you to the QDMA website and the other will take you to the Bass Pro Hunting 365 website. June is QDMA donation month at Bass Pro Shops, so make sure to make your donation at your local Bass Pro Shops to help improve wildlife habitat, and ensure healthy deer populations for future generations!

Resources: Food Plots Planting Spring Food Plots

Check out Bass Pro Shops assortment of Food Plot and Land Management Products!

QDMA articles

Bass Pro Shops Hunt365 "United We Hunt"

Photo Credits:

Wikipedia commons


Get Your Late Season Buck While The Rut Is In Full Force!

Everyone can look at there calendar and see that the season is drawing to a close very quickly. If you want to get that last minute Buck your are going to have to play "The Rut" game with these deer. This is the most vulnerable time of the year for bucks and the hunters best opportunity and bagging a good one.Never forget though we are in their world and they are very smart creatures. There is no such thing as a non-learning hunter we constantly must be better in every aspect. Let's talk about a few sure ways to get these bucks attention in the woods.


Code Blue®  Screamin' Heat™


This little bottle has enough potential to give you the best hunting year of your life. It is made with actual doe secretions which make it all more realistic. My favorite way to use it is on trails because it will make the buck frequent the area more. The bucks are already checking scrape lines but if your hunting a greenfield or somewhere else you need the edge to draw the buck in. Use a scent wick and hang it on the trail or simple spray some around your green field. This is a proven product that is sure to help even the most seasoned hunter.


Tink's® Trophy Buck Lure & Scent Bomb®

Tink's® Trophy Buck Lure & Scent Bomb®

This might be one of the most under rated type of deer attractant available. Not the brand but buck lure in general. There is one thing that really upsets a buck deer and that is an unfamiliar buck messing around his territory with his doe. Just try this around scrapes and rubs that you find and see if it helps. It should double the amount of mature  buck deer you see. If there is a mature buck in the area he will not stand for any other competition and will be coming to address the situation. You will be right there waiting on him.

Hunter's Specialties® Primetime™ Trail Drag;s-Specialties-H-S-Scents-Primetime-Trail-Drag/product/27639/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_PRODUCT


The last stop for the day and this is a good one to end on, because you should use this as the last thing you put on before you walk to your hunting spot. This is a simple product that works wonders. Simply dip it in whichever scent you would like to use and clip it to your belt while letting it drag the ground as you walk. Wait until you are in fairly close proximity to your stand then use it. I have used it before to far away and  come out after the hunt to find big Buck tracks where I was dragging it on the way in. This product really works so use it wisely and go kill a big one.See you in the woods.




Wall Art - A Great Gift Idea for Any Age

A great gift idea for someone is a beautiful piece of art for their walls.  You can go classic with fish, deer, elk, and ducks.  You can also get modern, yet rustic.  I am a firm believer that anything can work when you like something well enough. 

The Big Sky Carvers Shadow Box Art is very modern, but with a lodge and rustic feel to it.  You can pick from bear, wolf, moose, elk, or a series of three bears.  Very unique it would fit in a camp or traditional home.

















The Holy Shed Antler Cross gives you a chance to show your faith in a natural and unique way.

















If you want a cross with a bold look, take a glimpse at the Big Sky Carvers Faux Wall Cross. 













New to Bass Pro Shops this year, IMAX has come out with a realistic rustic and modern looking antlers.  The McDaniel Aluminum Antlers or the Marshall Aluminum Antlers give your home a daring and naturalistic look.


































Two pictures that are perfect for the fisherman or hunter is the Live to Hunt Box Art or Live to Fish Box Art.  Both pictures will fit in any home regardless of the style.















If classic is your style, take a  look at all the beautiful wall art we have.  Just one of the artists we carry are from Northern Promotions.  They have attractive outdoor pictures of cardinals, deer, ducks and more . Each picture is framed with a rich mat.







So stop on by or shop from the comfort of your own home.  I bet you will find the right picture for that person you have been looking for, as well as treat yourself .


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator



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.


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.


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.


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






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.


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.


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! 


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. 


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


Trophy Rock


Anthony Alkire – Hunting Lead


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.


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





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.;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.”

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



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


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.


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


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. 


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,


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