A Fine Nine: The Basics

So there has been a passion in my life that I have not really blogged that much about. (Well technically there are bunches but I won’t start on about how awesome koi-ponds and water features are right now.) Shooting has become one of my favorite activities in this world. I always had an interest in firearms growing up (watching Westerns and such) but knew I needed to be as safe as possible when it came to this stuff. Luckily a lot of my friends’ dads were able to step in and show me how to be a responsible firearm-enthusiast. Now I am currently getting to do the same for others, and it is truly awesome. Now why the long back story? Because it leads into this…

So the new girl in our department, Katie, has expressed interest in becoming a firearm-owner. She has shot different firearms a number of times, but owning a firearm is way different than operating one. She was thinking about something to use for protection and target-practice, meaning a handgun.

Now when it comes to firearms, there is a whole world of information out there. Everybody and anybody has an opinion, one way or the other. Sometimes it is well thought out, like when considering the quality of parts going into a firearm. Or sometimes not so much… “Those >BLANK< are trash and look ugly too!” (Please cite your sources when submitting such work, thank you.) Just like Ford or Chevy people, take it with a grain of salt.

But! There is some information out there that is actually truthful and should be shared. Such as when considering calibers for handguns. Many people will state that the best caliber of handgun for someone is the largest one that they can shoot comfortably. I agree with this. Anyone can shoot a .22LR very comfortably, but that does not make it a great protection choice. If the same person that can shoot a .22LR well can also handle a .40S&W with the same skill-set, I would suggest going with the .40S&W.

Now for Katie, that puts her in the 9mm crowd. That is the caliber she has stated she wants to own. This is awesome! Just knowing what you want as far as caliber is a great way to get started. Now comes the bad part… there are so many choices out there for a 9mm!!!! This can be extremely intimidating for a first-time firearm buyer. So over the next number of months, I will showcase off a firearm (9mm of course) in what I will be calling: A Fine Nine.

Now then, this blog is about the basics of the blogs themselves but also about the 9MM caliber itself. So let’s see…

A long time ago, in 1901 to be exact, a German designer, Georg Luger to be exact, designed the caliber called 9x19mm Parabellum. (Because it was designed for Luger firearms, it is known as the 9mm Luger. This is separate from the 9mm Browning, which as you can guess was designed for Browning firearms.) It is commonly called 9mm (as I have been doing for most of this blog) as well as: 9x19, 9x19mm or 9mmP (along with 9mm Luger which was listed above). Now the word Parabellum is derived from a term in Latin which means "If you seek peace, prepare for war", which is pretty much spot-on. This caliber has become the most widely used handgun cartridge by individuals and militaries alike. In fact, this caliber is the standard for NATO forces.

The 9mm has a flat trajectory along with what is stated as moderate recoil. (Everybody is different, and I am sure a few of you just made a face at the word “moderate”.) While it was originally designed to be lethal at 50 meters, it is still effective at farther ranges.

Since the 9mm is such a popular cartridge, and does not take as much to make it when compared to say a .45 Long Colt, it remains a cheaper caliber to shoot. This is extremely important as money is a deciding factor when it comes to practicing. The old adage of: “What good is a good gun if you can’t afford the bullets?!” is actually true. Also due to the smaller size of the cartridge, when compared to let’s say a .40S&W, it means a magazine can contain a larger amount of rounds in it.

Now I will not get into ballistics, but in case you were wondering check this site out. They do a much better job than I ever could.

So until next time, Take it Easy! Giddy-Up!!

Oh and side note. So Katie is from Chicago. She asked me if she needed a pistol-license in this state. I laughed (rather hard) and let her know that this was Arizona and we do the 2nd Amendment right here. 


Firearm Cleaning and Maintenance

There are many activities one can do with firearms, from hunting to long distance target shooting. One of the least amusing but essential things one must do with every firearm is to ensure it is properly cleaned after a day at the range and the upkeep and maintenance throughout the year. This will keep the firearm in pristine firing shape. There are some simple steps which can be taken to make cleaning the firearm a little easier.  

The first step is to learn how to field strip the firearm down to its base components in order to clean the firearm most effectively. This is easily done by looking at the owner’s manual. The manual will have simple instructions on how to not only disassemble the firearm but how to reassemble the firearm without damaging any of the components. Once the firearm is disassembled the next step is the messiest.

After the disassembly of the firearm, the owner must proceed to oil and lubricate the necessary parts. This is a step that must be taken for both cleaning and regular maintenance of the firearm. The first thing after disassembly is to clean each individual part. Often times old oil and grease residue with be on the firearm mixed with the powder that didn’t burn during the firing of the weapon. This layer of grime needs to be completely removed before anything else can take place. If the components are not properly cleaned or lubricated, the firearm can grind smaller pieces and be rendered inoperable after a time. Finding the right oil and firearm lubricant is often times a pain. One company that is regularly used because of its great track record of quality products and proven performance is the Hoppe’s. The Hoppe’s Elite Dual Pack Firearm Cleaning Products is a great package to get when looking for both gun oil and lubricant in a single package. By taking a clean cloth and adding a few drops of oil to the cloth you can oil the component parts quickly and easily. Simply run the cloth over the parts until you can see and feel a nice film of oil on the pieces. This will ensure that the pieces do not corrode or get exposed to the elements. The next step is one of the most important.

Now that the components of your firearm are all clean it is necessary to look at the barrel and start to clean it. The first thing any person cleaning a barrel needs to do is run a cloth with a drop or two of bore solvent. This solvent helps remove much of the copper, lead, plastic and powder deposits on the barrel. A great solvent is the Hoppe’s Bench Rest-9 Copper Solvent. After using the solvent running a wire brush through the barrel one to two times will help break the deposits off the walls of the barrel. As soon as the wire brush has been run through the best thing to do is run a bore snake through the barrel in order to force the last bits of the deposits out of the barrel leaving it clean enough for accurate shots.

Hoppe's Cleaning

The cleaning and maintenance of firearms is the most important and important activity associated with firearms. Knowing how to properly clean a firearm could save money with the  maintenance or replacement costs in the future. While at the same time a well cleaned rifle, pistol or even black powder rifle will shoot more accurately making the experience far more enjoyable. Follow the link to see wat Bass Pro Shops offers to keep your firearm clean and well maintaind!  http://www.basspro.com/Gun-Cleaning-%26-Refinishing/_/S-12400004002 As always have fun and happy hunting!



Harvest of the Deer

As firearms season comes to a close and the deer have been harvested and processed, many people wonder what to do with the meat that now fills their freezer.  Why not try sausage?  Italian, brats, summer, breakfast, salami, bologna, the varieties are endless.  With the right tools, making sausage is not as daunting as one might think.  Whether using a hand stuffer or electric grinder, the process is actually quite simple. Add seasoning and ground pork (if desired) to your ground venison and stuff in casings. Casings range in size from snack stick size to bologna size- depending on what kind of sausage you want to make.  You may then choose to smoke your sausage or freeze uncooked until ready to use.


Bass Pro Shops Electric Meat Grinder by LEM Products (Reg $269.99, Sale starting at $239.97)

LEM makes a wide variety of seasonings that I found to be quite good. I am particularly fond of the Sweet Italian mix.  Kits are also available that contain the casings and pre-measured packets of seasoning and cure.  With the holidays approaching, sausage is an easy and great gift for family and friends. What could be better than saying you made it yourself? 


Sausage Kit - $69.99


Come in and visit with our friendly camping associates to gain more knowledge on sausage making and meat processing!    



My Daisy BB Gun From Santa

Santa Mouse and My First GunI was thinking a few days ago about what Christmas movies I needed to watch over the next couple weeks and of course “A Christmas Story” came to mind (just a couple seconds before "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and "Die Hard"). 

I’ve always been able to identify with Ralphie and his obsession with having a Daisy Red Rider BB gun.  “You’ll put your eye out!” was everyone’s response including the mall Santa because they thought it was just too dangerous for a child to have. Everyone except his father of course. He knew what it meant to get your first gun even if it was only capable of killing cans or putting holes in a few paper targets. He understood that it was a rite of passage and much more than a toy.  Your Red Rider allowed you to imagine hunting Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, or even deepest darkest Africa.  It was capable of handling everything from viscious squirrels to the most dangerous Cape Buffalo and Kodiak Bear.

I still have my first BB gun and it sits alongside all my other firearms in the cabinet just like it should.  I can almost remember when my brother and I got our new guns for Christmas over 35 years ago.  Those gifts were the greatest things ever and I’m quite sure we slept with them the first few nights.  They were much loved and used to the point of near being worn out.  So much so that I’m sure my parents were driven nearly insane from the sound of “Click…..Creeeeeeek… Clack……..Pffft…Ping” of my brother and I shooting in the basement.  We had a miniature shooting range set up down there with boxes semi –full of newspaper for backstops that we could retrieve BB’s from rather than having to replenish our supply every week.  We went through reams of targets while growing up and practicing our shooting skills; and spent hours competing against each other for pretend titles and imaginary trophies.

Those first guns stoked our desire to get into the woods and fields in search of bigger game and greater challenges, while at the same time, teaching us how to take care of our possessions and of course, practice safe gun handling.  Whether it was a BB gun or the high powered rifles that came later, we were taught to treat them with equal care and respect.  We never came close to putting our eyes out (as far as anyone knows…).

The Daisy Red Rider is still on the wish list of many youngsters across the country and I can ‘t think of a better way to bring a smile to the face of a budding outdoorsman.  You might even discover the next Olympic champion shooter in your family.  Just be sure to pick up a healthy supply of BB’s and a lot of targets….You’re going to need them!

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Scope it Out: Redfield

So hunting season is ending in some parts of the country and in other areas it is still in full swing. But either way I am sure that you have had an experience or two with some form of optics out there. So that is why this month’s Scope it Out blog may pertain directly towards you.

As we all know, you get what you pay for when it comes to optics. Those who usually start at the lower quality end to save a few bucks find themselves investing even more when finally getting to a good optics brand. This pertains directly to the brand being covered this month, Redfield.

The Redfield optics company has been around for over a century. It was founded back in 1909 by John Hill Redfield. The quality of their product built Redfield a name that was trusted by hunters and shooters alike. My best friend’s dad has an older-than-me model of Redfield scope on a Weatherby, and it is one awesome piece of glass.

Slowly but surely they began creating new products and innovations in the industry. But in 1998 they closed the doors in Denver, CO. It was the end of an era. This was not the end though for the Redfield name. Several companies bought the name and began making products. Unfortunately, none of these companies did the name any form of justice and in fact degraded it to an extent.

That was until 2008, when another great name in optics, Leupold bought the name. Since then, the name of Redfield has been building its reputation back. Also it has secured in bringing Redfield back to the United States. The products for Redfield are made next to their “gold-ring” brothers and sisters. Ask anyone about Redfield scopes and they’ll tell you something like “Its Leupold glass and warranty at a smaller price point”. Ask Leupold themselves and they’ll say something like:

Based in Oregon, the original home of founder John C. Redfield, we’ve rededicated ourselves to his vision: no-nonsense optics for everyone. Focused on that goal, we’ve made top-notch optical equipment accessible to every American hunter. With Redfield, outdoorsmen across this great land can fill their tag without breaking the bank.

What I really like is their statement of “non-nonsense optics”. I would not say their products are simple, because that kind of seems degrading but I would say they are easy to operate. Their scopes have a generous eye-relief. They come in the most common and well utilized powers and sizes.

I personally have a Redfield scope on my Remington 700 and use their binoculars. Not too long ago we had a sale on the binoculars. A good guy who happens to shop here asked me about them and I endorsed them to the fullest as long as he understood that they were “heavier”. On his recent elk hunt he found those Redfield binoculars to outperform a pair of Swarovski binoculars he had on the trip. Just sayin’.

Now I remember reading an article in Field and Stream not too long ago about trends in the firearms industry. I am pretty sure it was by Petzal, because the author was saying what he hates about certain trends and that seems to be a classic Petzal writing. The complaint was about how scopes now have these extremes names like “Eliminator” or “Destructor”. This would give Redfield a lower grade in this man’s eyes as they have names like “Revenge” and “Battlezone”, but who cares what it’s called if they work great?! (Also please note that I am not trying to insult Petzal in any way as the man is well informed and provides us readers with facts and thoughts that can put things into perspective.)

Recently Redfield has been adding a new line of products to their team. These have been directed more for the AR-15 market, but this trend has been seen in many of the other big name optic brands. I would feel safe throwing one of these on top of my AR at home.

One reason for that safety-net feeling is that they stand behind their products. Leupold is famous for its warranty and has extended those same privileges to the Redfield name. You can read the full break down of this warranty at the Support section on their website. Also on their website they have a link that will direct you to any current promotions they are running.

So whether you need a scope for an upcoming deer hunt or want a good pair of binoculars for watching birds or neighbors that may be witches, think about taking a look at and through something from Redfield.

Until next time! Giddy-Up!

Previous Sightings:





Urban Deer Zones

     Urban deer zones give archery hunters opportunities to harvest deer in defined urban deer zones, in addition to statewide bag limits. The urban deer zone season is Sept. 15, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014. The bag limit for the urban zones is four antlerless deer, or three antlerless and one deer of either sex within an urban zone. Individuals hunting in a designated urban deer zone who are attempting to satisfy the urban deer zone bag limit must harvest an antlerless deer before harvesting an antlered deer (a.k.a. earn-a-buck). The earn-a-buck requirement only applies to the urban deer zone bag limit. The urban deer zone bag limit is in addition to all other bag limits.

     An urban deer zone license has been established to replace previous requirements to possess a regular archery, extra archery or bonus antlerless license. The urban deer zone license allows an individual to harvest one deer per license in a defined urban deer zone. Hunters attempting to satisfy the urban deer zone bag limits must have an urban deer zone, resident youth hunt/trap, lifetime comprehensive hunting, or lifetime comprehensive hunting/fishing license, or meet a license exemption.

     The provision does not override any local ordinances restricting shooting of firearms and bows. Hunters must obtain permission from landowners to hunt on their property. An urban deer zone license is needed for each deer taken. Urban deer zone licenses are already included in the resident youth hunt/trap, lifetime comprehensive hunting, and lifetime comprehensive hunting/fishing licenses. Urban deer zone licenses are not permitted on Division of Fish and Wildlife managed properties.

The urban deer zones are as follows:

  • Indianapolis – all of Marion County, Hendricks County east of State Road 267; southeast portion of Boone County bounded by State Road 267, Interstate 65, State Road 32; and the portion of Hamilton County south of State Road 32.
  • Fort Wayne – the portion of Allen County lying within the bounds of Interstate 69 and Interstate 469.
  • Vanderburgh County.
  • Lafayette – the portion of Tippecanoe County north of State Road 28
  • Lake County.
  • Porter County.
  • Michigan City – the portion of LaPorte County north of Interstate 94.
  • Warsaw – the portion of Kosciusko County within the corporate limits of Warsaw.

            Immediately upon killing a deer, the hunter must complete a temporary tag on paper that states the hunter’s name, address, sex of the deer, and the day and month of the kill. A hunter is not required to place the tag on the deer while dragging it out of the field as long as the hunter has filled out and is carrying the required information. A hunter must maintain immediate custody of and visual contact with the deer carcass unless the completed temporary transportation tag is attached. The tag must be attached to the deer before the hunter leaves the deer or loads the deer in a vehicle.

     The person who takes the deer is responsible for the delivery of the deer to an official deer check station within 48 hours of the kill, or use the CheckIN Game online system to obtain a confirmation number within 48 hours of the kill. The CheckIN Game confirmation number must be written down on the temporary transportation tag and kept with the deer until processing begins.

     The deer head must remain attached to the carcass until the tag is attached and locked at the deer check station. If the deer is taken to a check station, a permanent seal must be attached to the carcass. The permanent seal must remain attached until processing of the deer begins.

     Carcasses of deer and other wild animals that are lawfully taken should not be dumped in streams or other bodies of water or left out in the open for scavengers and others to see. Dumping dead deer and other wild animals in a waterway is considered littering and is a criminal offense punishable by a fine. Rotting carcasses in a waterway can also affect water quality for those downstream.


Tracking Deer

On opening weekend of the Wisconsin archery season, Matt Serwa arrowed a giant whitetail. The hit was fatal, but the blood trail poor. Things got worse when, shortly after dusk, the rain came and lasted all night. Fortunately, Matt knew Kasey Morgan, a member of the United Blood Trackers (http://www.unitedbloodtrackers.org), a national organization whose members own dogs trained to find deer just like Serwa’s buck. Serwa described his buck, the hit, and the situation to Morgan on the phone that evening. The pair decided to wait until morning, then take up the trail with Boomer, Morgan’s bloodhound.

Cutting straight to the chase (or, rather, the end of it), Boomer found Serwa’s buck in relatively short order. And, according to Serwa, odds are high that it would have taken a while for him to find the buck on his own. “The rain had wiped out all the blood, and the buck went into this thick, nasty creek bottom,” he said. “We’ve tracked deer down there before, and I know where they usually like to go. But this deer didn’t go to that spot. I think I’d have found the buck eventually, but it would have taken a lot of work and a little luck. Boomer figured out the trail and found the buck in pretty short order.” (Morgan describes the hunt for Serwa’s buck in great detail in the following blog http://borntotracknews.blogspot.com)

If you live in one of the 27 states that allow the use of tracking dogs, this story is probably a familiar one. I, however, do not. Minnesota is one of 13 states that completely forbid the use of dogs to find big game (other prominent whitetail states, like Pennsylvania and Kansas, are included in this number). I’m in lock-step with the United Blood Trackers; it’s time for this number to shrink to zero.

This should be pretty simple stuff, folks. We should all strive for close, lethal, and ethical shots on game. But the reality is that, if you deer hunt long enough—whether you shoot a bow, crossbow or firearm—sooner or later you’re going to hit a deer in a spot that makes finding it difficult. And sometimes rain, snow or dense cover can complicate the picture. In situations like these, using a tracking dog is not only logical, there is no more ethical option.

I’ve only witnessed a trained tracking dog in action one time, on a Kentucky bowhunt about 5 years ago. The hunter had made a fatal hit on a fine buck, but the blood trail was sparse and the hot weather made waiting for morning an unappealing option; the meat was almost certain to spoil before we found the deer. Fortunately, a local man had a dachshund trained for such situations, and that little, short-legged wonder found the buck so quickly it was shocking. I’ve been a proponent of tracking dogs ever since, and I hope that one day soon their use will be legal nationwide.

Trailing Shot Deer



Archery from a pro

Charlie and BonnieWe have many unique and talented associates here at Bass Pro- Columbia, and one of them is certainly Charlie Langreder.

You may know him as the very knowledgeable associate behind the hunting counter, but what you may not know is just how accomplished he is in archery.

Charlie has been bow hunting for over 60 years.  Archery has been his passion since he was a kid on a farm and he still has his first bow from when he was 12 years old. Now, he has a collection of 57 bows and travels the country bow hunting.

He enjoys going out West the most with his wife, Bonnie, to hunt Pope and Young Antelope. They enjoy each other’s companionship in the deer stand while doing something they both love. Charlie got his wife into bow hunting years ago and now they each have one record book kill. His second favorite animal to hunt is the white tail deer and turkeys are a close third.

Charlie still shoots competitively sometimes, but not as often as he used to. His next competition will be in January or February after hunting season.

He sees archery growing in popularity, especially with women. He thinks it has something to do with recent movies featuring the sport such as Brave and The Hunger Games.bows

“It gives hunters another opportunity to get into the woods and hunt for another season,” he said.

Among his many accomplishments are the titles 2010 Volunteer of the Year award at the Show-Me State Games and 2009 Bass Pro Associate of the Year. Charlie is also now an instructor for National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).  

Charlie's advice

Come to a pro shop because there are three important things you need to think about- eye dominance, draw length and draw weight.

The best bow to start with is the Diamond Infinate Edge 51-70lbs draw length 12-30 inch

You need patience. The distance of shot is close range so it’s a bit of a challenge. Charlie likes the challenge so he rarely shoots firearms anymore unless it’s with the kids.

If you have any questions or are thinking of getting into archery, come in and ask for Charlie!


Safe Storage for Firearms

One of the problems many adults have with keeping firearms in their house, is not knowing the safest way to keep them from being stolen or used by their children. The safety of all peoples is always the top priority for any family or sportsman. There are simple steps firearm enthusiasts can take in order to keep their firearms and families safe.

A simple step that can keep firearms safely stored is to simply remove any rounds from the magazine or chamber of the weapon. This will keep accidents from happening even when the home owner is not around. Another quick and easy way to keep families safe is to store the firearms and ammunition separately. By doing this you put a barrier to curiosity for children and others who might be wanting to use the firearms. Another simple way to keep little hands from accidentally firing a rifle or pistol is to constantly keep gun locks on all firearms in a house. This again can will provide a barrier to children and others who might be too curious about the firearm. By keeping locks on all weapons the homeowner can feel safe having firearms in the home.

Another way to keep firearms secure is to use designated firearms safe. Personal stories have shown that when a safe is employed in a house burglars are not able to get inside the safe and in some cases give up on the house entirely when they are unable to break the safe. One such safe is the RedHead Ultra Fire Resistant 25-Gun Safe. These safes are built to protect your firearms from everything from burglars to small fires. In many cases these safes are able to keep everything inside the safe protected from any conditions on the outside. Now a good way to keep your firearms away from other forms of damage is to keep your firearms and ammunition in two separate safes. This makes sure that if something unthinkable happens your ammunition does not discharge or damage your firearms. While this might seem tedious, it will help prevent unauthorized access to both your firearms and the ammunition.

To keep your firearms safe and also in good working condition, storing them in the right place is key. In some cases having the firearms in the house is out of the question, but this might not be the best for the integrity of the firearm. Keeping a firearm in a shed or the garage is usually quite trying on the weapon simply because the conditions are not regulated like inside a house. When storing a firearm first take a look at the conditions where it will be staying, if the conditions are at all damp or the temperature fluctuates to wildly during the year, finding a place inside will be far better for the firearm. When storing a firearm in a safe inside a house it is always a good idea to invest in a good desiccant. These chemical blends pull moisture from the air and keep the conditions dry and moderated. A good and rechargeable desiccant is the Red Head Safe Dri Rechargeable Moisture Control. These chemicals stay in their packages and make the conditions far better for any firearm in a safe, and they keep firearms from rusting or destroying the blueing on rifles or pistols.

In the end it is up to the owner of the firearms on how they choose to store their firearms and who has access to them. Great ways to keep these firearms secure is to get a gun safe. While at the same time doubling up on safety might be a good idea, so putting some gun locks on the firearms in the safe is still a great idea. Storing your ammunition away from your firearms, while keeping your firearms unloaded in the house keeps accidents from happening. And one last thing to remember about safe storage of firearms is look at the conditions the firearm is in. If it is to moist in an area get a desiccant and make sure the temperature does not vary too wildly or the firearms finish and parts could corrode. Follow this link to see what options Bass Pro Shops has for storing your firearms safely http://www.basspro.com/Shooting-Gun-Storage-Safes-Cases/_/N-1z0ux5b Good luck on the hunt and stay safe!

RedHead Safe


Game Changers: Fred Bear

So the past two Game Changer blogs focused on the conservation efforts of Theodore Roosevelt and The Boone and Crockett Club. This time I am going to step away from strict conservation recognition but acknowledge someone who was a real game changer in the way we go after game: Fred Bear.

Besides running animals off of a cliff, archery has been one of the longest forms of hunting. It was also a common use in warfare. In fact it was because of war that a number of advances were made in the world of bows and arrows. From the English creating their infamous longbows to the Mongol warriors of Genghis Khan needing more power in a shorter bow (first forms of recurve bows) warfare influenced bow technology immensely.

Once the advances of gun powder and firearms really took hold, both hunters and warriors seemed to step away from the bow. By the time Fred Bear was done with his 86 years on this planet, he would change all that. His name has become synonymous with archery, especially when concerning hunting.

Bear did not get into archery right away nor did he master the discipline right away. Most say that he did not pick up bow hunting until he was almost 30. As any bow hunter knows, it takes years of practice to master. He was originally inspired by a documentary about another important figure of bow hunting history, Art Young.

He began working and creating his own bows shortly after. As his skill at crafting grew, so did his skill at archery. He was able to take the Michigan state archery championship three times. Despite all of this, the man was still extremely grounded. He had what many call a “grassroots kindness” and was willing to talk to everyone and anyone about bow hunting.

His hunts and adventures took him all over the world and inspired a whole new generation of hunters. His collection was so extensive that he opened a museum which included many ancient artifacts. When the museum closed in 2003, Bass Pro Shops was more than happy to step in and acquire these timeless treasurers. At our headquarter store in Springfield, MO there is an awesome display of these items and more. (There is a nice little write-up of the area, here.)

Beyond just the trophies, Bear captured a lot more on his adventures. He was extremely successful in using film and television to bring his passion to the world. Videos of Bear taking animals ranged from deer to more exotics. Bear was even successful in taking down an elephant on a trip to Africa.

By the time he was done; Bear was a successful bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author and television host. He was a popular contributor to Outdoor Life and Archery Magazine. His company, Bear Archery is still in full swing and making what are considered by many some of the best bows out there. He was still active into his last days and it is for that reason that his name will always be remembered. When a passion like that is so strong, others can’t help but notice.

So thanks, Fred Bear. You pioneered a way of life that lets many connect to their basic roots and enjoy the outdoors in a completely different way. Your inspiration has kept the sport you love alive and has added countless people to take up a bow and the effort to protect the wilderness and animals they appreciate so much.


Are you Prepared for Deer Hunting Season?


Just a few helpful tips and reminders for your deer hunting trip.


Deer Hunting Checklist



_____ Purchase deer hunting license/licenses

_____ Find hunting location & secure permission from landowner & surrounding landowners

_____ Read latest hunting and trapping guide for regulation changes

_____ Scout your hunting area

_____ Purchase ammunition & sight-in your firearm or other equipment

_____ Practice tree stand climbing & using your safety harness

_____ Ensure all equipment is in working order



_____ Check weather and layer clothing appropriately

_____ Put on hunter orange clothing and be sure it meets requirements

_____ Pack and sharpen knife for field dressing

_____ Bring headlamp/flashlight

_____ Hunting license and ID

_____ Drag rope

_____ Temporary transportation tag and pen/pencil (fill out most beforehand)

_____ GPS/map/compass

_____ Water bottle/thermos/snacks

_____ Hunting license and ID (it’s on here twice, it’s THAT important)

_____ Ammunition

_____ Small saw or clippers

_____ Cell phone

_____ Leave hunting details with family/friends

_____ String or zip tie to affix transportation tag

_____ Paper towels/gloves for field dressing

_____ Calls or scents

_____ Tree stand and full body harness

_____ Blind and hunter orange for blind

_____ First Aid Kit

_____ Binoculars



_____ Field dress the deer, drag out of woods, affix temporary transportation tag

_____ Check in deer at check station or online at checkingame.dnr.in.gov

_____ Process your deer or take to a processor



_____ Make taxidermy arrangements

_____ Clean your gear

_____ Thank private landowner for permission to hunt land (share your harvest)

_____ Organize and put away gear for next year.




Protecting Your Percussion Muzzle Loading Rifle from Storage Problems

By Stan Godlewski

The days are getting shorter and the night’s cooler, besides making those scouting treks into the woods to locate that big buck, you probably have pulled “Old Betsy” out of the gun safe and have taken her to range.  Just as last year, you ran a clean patch down her barrel and made sure she was clean and unloaded.  After placing your target down range and dropping your powder charge and projectile in the barrel, you place a cap on the rifles nipple, took aim at the target, and squeeze the trigger and the hammer fell on the cap.  All you got was a “POP” not the familiar “BANG.’  Okay, you kept the muzzle of your rifle pointed down range for three minutes.  The dreaded “misfire.”  You placed a fresh cap on the nipple. Brought the hammer to full cock, took aim, and squeeze the trigger again and another “POP.”  You asked yourself, what is going on here.  Again you went through the same ritual with no “BANG.”  Now you have a loaded firearm and no way to discharge it.  You cleared the charge by pouring water down the bore of the rifle to wet the gunpowder and make the piece safe to pull the projectile from the chamber.  After all is said and done, your local gunsmith informs you that the problem was a buildup of varnish in the flash hole.  You ask yourself “Varnish” how did that get in there!  The simple answer is, you put there.

Most novice black powder shooters coat their muzzle loaders bore with a layer of oil to prevent rust during storage.  Bass Pro Shops carries some excellent gun protections oils.  Rem Oil is just one of our many fine gun protection products that will not varnish.   http://www.basspro.com/Remington-Rem-Oil/product/60622/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_THUMBNAIL                                       

You probably stored the rifle muzzle up in your gun safe.  Now that is where the problem starts.  Over a period of time, standard gun oil can turn into a gummy like substance.  It can even cure to a solid.  To prevent this from occurring, old time muzzle loader shooters stored their rifles muzzle down in their storage lockers or gun safes.  They place some newspaper or paper towels down at the muzzle to absorb any excess oils. 

When you get to the range snap a few caps prior to loading the rifle.  You may ask, “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China.”  Well nothing, but It ensures that the shooter has a safe firearm to load.  The process goes like this.  Point the muzzle of the muzzle loading rifle in a safe direction (down range).  Point it toward the ground down range.  Pick out a tree leaf or a blade of grass.  Take the hammer to ½ cock, place a cap on the nipple, take the hammer to full cock.  Place the muzzle of the rifle near the objects and pull the trigger.  The cap should fire and cause the leaf to move or the blade of grass to dance.  Do this two more times for a total of three snapped caps.  The first snapped cap lets you know the nipple, flash hole and the rifle bore are clear.  The second fired cap burns off any excess oil from the bore and the third makes the bore nice and dry.  This process will give you confidence to load your charge and let you know your rifle is safe and will shoot.

Another problem some shooters have is a weak hammer spring “Not enough energy for the hammer to fire the cap.”  This problem is usually the result of storing the rifle with the hammer drawn to full cock.  Likewise, dry firing the gun without a cap on the nipple can deform the nipple to the point that it may not accept or hold a cap properly.  

The following links provides you with excellent muzzle loader cleaning and maintenance products.







A Lesson Learned About Firearms

This is a true story about firearm complacency and safety by our own Jim Young (Hunting Associate)

When I was about 10 years old I received my first firearm on a chilly Christmas morning. It was a brand new J.C. Higgins .22 single shot bolt action rifle from Sears and Roebuck. It was the kind that you had to load each cartridge one at a time then pull the plunger back to cock the rifle when you were ready to fire. it could shoot .22 shorts, longs and the powerful, venerable supersonic long rifle cartridge.

I really liked this little rifle but my propensity to get into trouble would urge me on to expand my creative talents for getting myself into a lot of hot water and to do more stupid things that normally charted the course taken by a young adolescent male just prior to discovering girls. in fact, as i look back, my propensity for doing stupid things did not diminish after i discovered girls. It was possibly exacerbated even more so, but i digress.

Of course, recalling my previous Red Ryder BB gun days, my mother, father, and older brother would increasingly preach to me about gun safety, gun safety and more GUN SAFETY!!! So much so that I had gun safety coming out of my ears and I was sick of it. i knew good and well that i was well practiced and highly skilled 11 year old rifle marksmen and no one could tell me what to do. i knew it all.

I really enjoyed cleaning and taking care of my rifle. Late one Saturday evening while watching a western on T.V. while everyone else had gone to bed, i had just finished cleaning my rifle. Having been bored by the movie i picked up the rifle , checked to make sure it was unloaded, started taking aim at things around the room and pulling the trigger. After a while i started to practice loading and unloading the rifle with a long rifle hollow point. Still leaving the round in the rifle i set it down and went back to watching the movie. Again boredom set in and i picked the now loaded rifle up .... see where i am going with this. Once more i began taking aim at inanimate objects around the room. Instead of squeezing the trigger and giving my customary "blam" or "pow" a real supersonic crack of the rifle witch to me became the shot heard round the world or at least the shot heard round the house. As i stared in disbelief i just knew my mother, father, and brother would soon be at my location having been known as incredible light sleepers. I sat glued to the couch and listen for the coming doom that would befall on me but i was not able to hear anything over the ringing in my ears, how was i to know that such a little gun could make such a loud noise, i had no idea that a little .22 could be so dang loud let alone make such a huge cloud of blue smoke. I just knew Winchester had packed that particular cartridge with the powder charge normally reserved for artillery shells, and did so just to turn what was left of my young life into a living hell!

After what seemed like hours i finally got up the courage to leave the couch and inspect the damage to my target. Sure enough there it was a nice neat little hole centered perfectly in the brass door knob that went to the closet that housed our heavy coats. the shell itself went through the door knob and the door but was not able to find the shell or its fragments. Taking inventory of the closet and its contents i was not able to find any more damage. At this point i was able to take a breath of relief even though the room was still filled with the smoke from the round.I thought i just might be able to survive the night and not be staked outside over a pit of fire ants or some other horrible torture that i was sure i would be in for because of my careless action. I think around this time i started to go though what  you could describe as "damage control" since no one had showed up to reprimand me. Many days passed then years and still no word I finally told my parents once i was grown and suffered through their consternation. Even though they were impressed i was able to change out the door knob with a replacement we had in our tool shed as well as put puddy and paint over the hole with out them ever knowing. I was as my mother called "damned lucky" and she was right. There are two morals to take from this story number ONE is gun safety, gun safety and did i mention gun safety. Don't ever allow your self to become complacent  with a firearm complacency kills. I was very lucky i didn't hurt myself or anyone in my family from a direct shot or from a ricochet bullet. Be sure to always treat you gun with the assumption it is loaded. Never take anyone's word that a gun is unloaded and safe not even your own double check triple check its always better to be safe than sorry.

The second thing to take away from this is sometimes God does smile on you when you do stupid things, thank God it was lesson learned and never repeated.

One last thing- I always wished i had kept the door knob because it would have made one heck of a show and tell piece!


What? Protect Your Hearing!

With hunting season here, and the increased interest in shooting sports, it's time to review hearing protection.
Besides...it National Protect Your Hearing Month!

RedHead Foam Shooting Plugs

Did you know that people who don't wear hearing protection devices (HPD) while shooting can have hearing loss with as little as one shot? In the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Audiology Information Series, Michael Stewart, PhD, CCC-A, Professor of Audiology, Central Michigan University, says, "Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols."

RedHead® Electronic Sport 2-Microphone Earmuff

Sounds louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. The destructive noise can come from one loud blast or explosion or prolonged exposure to high noise levels. For example, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA) , at 140+ dBs, a firearm blast has a higher noise level than a jackhammer and even a jet engine!

150 dB = fireworks at 3 feet
140 dB = firearms, jet engine
130 dB = jackhammer
120 dB = jet plane takeoff, siren

Extremely Loud
110 dB = maximum output of some MP3 players, model airplane, chain saw
106 dB = gas lawn mower, snowblower
100 dB = hand drill, pneumatic drill
90 dB = subway, passing motorcycle

Hearing protection should be an automatic accessory for anyone using firearms. There are so many options that there's no excuse to not have some kind of hearing protection, depending on your budget and needs. There are options for youth and adults, and even pink ear muffs for the ladies! There are inexpensive malleable foam plugs up to hi-tech electronic protection.
The key measurement to note when purchasing hearing protection is the NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). This EPA rating is a measurement of a hearing protection device's potential noise reduction. The highest NRR rating for earplugs is 33, and the highest available NRR rating for ear muffs is 31.
As an example, Bass Pro Shops' foam ear plugs have an NRR rating of 31. The Howard Leight Leightning L3 High Attenuation Hearing Protection Earmuffs provides an NRR of 30.
Take a tip from the ASHA and take time to protect your ears in some way...you never know what you might miss many years from now!
Tips To Protect Your Hearing
  • Always use some type of hearing protection  any time you fire a gun.
  • Always have disposable HPDs handy - make them part of your gear.
  • Double-protect your ears, like putting muffs over plugs, when shooting big-bore firearms.
  • Choose smaller caliber firearms for target practice and hunting.
  • Choose single-shot firearms instead of lever action, pump, or semi-automatic guns.
  • Avoid shooting in groups or in reverberant environments.
  • Use electronic or nonlinear HPDs for hunting.


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Don’t let your Gun Case Rust your Rifle

By Stan Godlewski

Modern firearm storage cases are excellent in protecting the firearm from damage.  However, the novice gun owner needs to be cautious when using one of the cases for long term firearm storage.  The other day I spoke with a fellow hunter about the pending deer season.  He was in the store to get a new hunting rifle.  He was not very happy that his favorite hunting rifle rusted in the gun case.  We briefly spoke about how and when he stored his gun.

As the story goes, he was hunting in upstate Pennsylvania.  He spent all day in the woods when it was very cold.  As a safe hunter he emptied his firearm prior to placing it in the hard gun case.  Since he was leaving to head home the next morning, he opted to leave the cased unloaded firearm in his vehicle overnight.  Again, it was very cold.  Driving home to Maryland, he cranked up the heater in his vehicle.  When he got home he put a padlock on the gun case and stored the locked rifle and case away in his storage closet.

This is where the problem arose.  The gun metal was cold while hunting.  It stayed cold while stored in the vehicle overnight. The metal sweat when the gun and case were placed in a warm environment.  Most modern gun cases protect the firearm from impact with foam.  Foam is porous like a sponge and can wick and retain moisture.  So what the gentleman had was a fine hunting rifle sit on a wet sponge for an extended period of time.  Old time cloth gun cases did not have this problem since the moisture was able to breathe out through the case.

How do you prevent this from happening?  To prevent rust forming on your rifle from storage in a hard or plastic gun case, remove the firearm from the case to allow the metal warm up.  Open the gun case and allow the foam to breath for several hours.  Remove the foam from the case and wipe any moisture from the plastic or metal walls of the gun case.  Ensure the firearm has a light coat of gun oil to protect it.  After both the firearm and the case had a chance to come to room temperature and evaporate any moisture it then would be safe to store the fire arm in the case.  I recommend that at least once every 3 months the owner removes it from the case inspect it, re-coat it with gun oil and again store it.  This process can provide you with a confidence that your favorite hunting rifle will be ready for next year’s hunting season.


Archery Season is Here and We Have a Bow for You!

At Bass Pro Shops we are all about getting you outside.  We have such a nice variety of bows to pick from that it was hard for me to highlight just a few.  As many of you know,  your bow is unique to you.  You have to feel comfortable with the draw and ease of use.   Bow hunting creates a different challenge than hunting with a firearm.  This type of hunting is more silent and peaceful.  You also need to be closer to your game.  Anyone of our associates in our Archery Department are happy to spend as much time as you need to find the right bow for you.  Here are a few you might want to take a look at.

The Bear Archery Apprentice.   This bow is great for a young archer.  13 different draw lengths, draw weights adjust 15-60 pounds.  Nice and light at 2.9pounds.  This will accomodate a young archer longer than other youth bows.











The Bear Motive 6 Compound Bow is light, quiet, and extremely fast.  Very smooth draw cycle.















The easy to use Redhead Kronik XT Compound Bow  is also lightweight and strong.  This bow package also includes a 3 pin sight, hostage capture style arrow rest, and a 5 arrow quiver.


Last but not least is the Redhead Toxik XT Compound BowThis bow has a smooth draw and is extremely accurate.  Lightweight at 3.8 pounds this bow is also great value for the money and high quality.
















Believe me that a quick look here just does not do these bows justice.  You have to look at these quality products to see just how great they are.  So stop on by, and take a good long look at what we have.  Ask a lot of questions this is not just a great investment, but a wonderful time spent outside enjoying nature at its best.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator 


Scope it Out: Nikon

Hear ye, hear ye! Gather the townspeople to the village square! It is time for the second scroll of Scope it Out to be unveiled! And this time we will delve into the realm of optics that hails from the land of Nikon!

OK, enough of the olden time nonsense, let’s talk about some optics. And yes, that’s right… Nikon makes a whole line of sporting optics! Just like the first company we went over (Leupold), Nikon offers many different scopes, binoculars, rangefinders and more.

Nikon was founded in 1917 in Tokyo, Japan. They have been operating for close to a century now, and have built up a good reputation. Most people know them for their photography line, which is quite impressive. They even made movie-cameras for a while, which were considered top of the line during the time.

From their experience making cameras and lenses, they were able to apply their skill and quality to sporting optics. Just like the cameras, their sporting optics are considered to be a good value at the price point. Many of the Hunting Department associates have had good success with the Monarch line of rifle scopes.

They may have read my previous blog which included how Leupold had a nice display set up at our store. We just received a similar display for Nikon scopes. This allows you the chance to feel and see how their optics work on actual firearms.

Most of their optics comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty. It is essential to consider how a company will stand behind their product when it comes to sporting optics. You never know what might happen in the field and a commitment from the company is nice.

They really have been pioneering specific rifle scopes for specific rifles. They have whole lines of scopes devoted to crossbows, muzzleloaders, handguns, rimfires and shotguns. Where they have been making a huge splash has been with scopes specifically designed for the AR platform firearms. They have scopes that work for specific calibers. This includes: .233Rem, .308Win and .300Blackout. This makes Nikon an easy choice for people purchasing an AR that want to throw an optic up top.

They also excel with their ballistic matching technology. This is a great way to get a good idea of what is going to be going on internally when you squeeze that trigger. Nikon has also down a good job developing mounts for their scopes specifically. Someone once told me that you want a new set of mounts for a scope, so why not kill two birds from the same company?

So next time the significant other is thinking about buying themselves a new camera offer that if they get a new Nikon, so do you! Mountain Goat Glassin’! Giddy-Up!

If you missed the first blog about Leupold, check it out here.


Yes, I Hunt Like a Girl!

By: Katie Cook

Hello everyone! My name is Katie and I work the hunting department at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee. One of the first questions I am asked when a customer approaches the gun counter is “Do you shoot?” or “Do you hunt?” My answer to them is “Yes! I don’t just work at a gun counter because it’s fun” and then I tell people that I have been shooting for 20 years.

I started hunting around the age of 12. I took hunters safety and was ready to go! I hunted a few years before things got busy with high school and my part time job. When I was hired at Bass Pro Shops in 2005, I started as a cashier. I had originally applied for the hunting department but I was too young to work with handguns. The week of my 21st birthday I filled out my paperwork to transfer to hunting. A week later I was training in the department. Working around hunting and firearms really got me into buck fever! I was working two jobs and going to school so a hunting trip was out of the question. In 2011 I couldn’t stand it anymore and I took the time off for the Wisconsin gun season. I took hunter’s safety again and was glad I did because there were a lot of things I had forgotten about. Under the care of my uncles and my grandpa, they set me up in my dad’s treestand. First light on opening day it sounded like the 4th of July all around me in the woods. I couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t see a single deer all day. My uncles joked that I feel asleep in my stand because I was too excited for hunting that I didn’t sleep the night before. I saw a few deer over the next few days but none that were in safe shooting distance. Sad but determined to shoot my first deer I started to plan for 2012 deer season. Sitting in my same treestand as the year before, I hear shots at first light. Saw a few but nothing with a clear shot. It was really warm for November in Wisconsin last year and it seemed like the deer were more active. About 10:15 I saw 2 deer grazing on the property line. One was farther off and wasn’t on our property. The closer one was bigger and I watched her for about 10 or 15 min before I had a clean shot. My whole body started to shake and my heart was racing. I slowly squeezed the trigger and I just instantly calmed. She was down in one shot! My grandpa comes over the radio asking who shot. I said “I got her!” and my uncles and grandpa told me good job. My dad said he was on his way to my stand and to just stay there until he got there. On closer examination, I didn’t shoot a large doe, I shot a button buck. I got a lot of grief from my uncles about not letting him get a big rack before I shot him. My grandpa said it was alright because they had all done that once or twice or five times in their lives. Needless to say I have had buck fever even worse now than before.

Me with my trophy (I’m trying to tell my dad how to use an iPhone.)





Scholastic Shooting Sports Programs in Iowa

Youth shooting sports programs and teams are becoming more popular in Iowa. This past June over 1,000 students took part in the High School State Championships in Cedar Falls.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Shooting Sports Program  encompasses Archery in the Schools and the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP). The SCTP allows youth from grade school up to high school to learn team-based clay target shooting in an organized manner. Of course, they also learn lifelong skills, such as firearm safety, leadership and focus. There were 89 high school and other program teams registered in 2013 and they're projecting 105 teams in 2014, with an estimated 2,640 participants expected.
Uriah Hansen has seen the increase in growth, too. Hansen is on the board of the North Polk Pheasants Forever Chapter, which works closely to support the Ankeny, Iowa, trap team. He says the Ankeny team is bursting at the seams with kids wanting to be a part of the team.
"I think we are seeing a huge growth in programs like this as people begin to get more curious about the shooting sports...as time goes on and more people begin to get involved, I think we are going to see this continued growth in scholastic teams and interest in them."
Iowa Scholastic Clay Target Program, Inc. is a non-profit organization that assists in providing financial support to the teams and their coaches. Hansen says that is also their Pheasant Forever Chapter's main support for the Ankeny team, which is where they feel it will benefit them the most. 
"Our main support is monetary support for the club and the kids. As you know, shooting is not a cheap sport, and it gets more expensive the better you get. It may cost a shooter $25 a week in just shells to get five rounds of trap in, plus an equal cost for clay targets. That doesn't take into account the cost of a gun, often times which may come close to $1,000 or more to shoot, the vests, and other safety protection required just to step on the range. You take those kind of numbers and spread them across 100+ kids and you're talking $2500 in just shells, if they practice one night a week."

SWCC Shooting Spartans

Shooting sports teams are popping up on the collegiate level, too. Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa, is new to the shooting sports program arena, and they actually have a school-supported team. The SWCC Spartans came in strong in their first competition on September 21, landing fourth in a field of nine teams, which included the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.  They  have 25 team members, including three female and travel with 15 members to away shoots. Head Coach Charlie Mundy says the idea of having a team picked up a little steam about a year ago.
"The college was looking for a niche to help keep our current students engaged or attract new students. We had done a little research and realized that there were not many places for a shooting athlete to continue after 4-H and high school. SWCC recognizes our shooting athletes the same as our other sport athletes, whether baseball, basketball, track, etc. Most of the college and university teams around here are considered club sports, which basically means that the athletes are funding their own way. SWCC is supporting our shooting team in the same manner as any other sport here at SWCC."
There are typically challenges in organizing any new student group. However, Mundy says the shooting sports team offers a unique set of challenges, including public perception.
"The political environment is one of the toughest things that we deal with. Most people try to say that we carry weapons. We consider our guns SWCCto be a piece of athletic equipment that is no different than a basketball or a baseball bat...we consider our athletes to be exactly that, athletes. A shooter has to be in good shape and extremely mentally able to focus. Shooting sports are very mental. We also had to find a gun club that was willing to partner with us. We are very lucky to have the High Lakes Outdoor Alliance in Afton (Iowa) as our partners. We have to have a place to store our ammo, guns, etc., and they have been very accommodating. None of these items are allowed on campus. They help to facilitate our practices and home shoots."
Mundy is positive about the future of shooting sports at the collegiate level, much like the high school level. 
"Iowa high school shooting sports have seen their numbers grow by the hundreds in the past couple of years and even since the beginning of our team I have heard some rumblings of other colleges following us in the pursuit of a shooting team."
For more information:
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Pre Season Preparation

By: Jerry Costabile

Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructor

With the fall hunting season approaching fast, it’s time to get ourselves and our equipment ready.

Being a hunter education instructor, I have heard of stories from my students of great preparation and not so great preparation. Waiting until the week before the season to get your list of “to do’s” done is not good preparation. Prepare well in advance. Following a well prepared plan and make your season successful.

We all define success in different ways, I measure my success based on many things from time I spend in the field, the people I spend time with in the field, to the game I get to put in my freezer. It all falls into how well I have planned my hunt.

Let’s start with preparing ourselves for a long and safe hunting season. Being at the age of 50, I have had to admit I can’t do the things I want the way I used to. My mind says that I can still get to where I want to hunt and hunt the way I have always hunted, but my body says I have to do it different. This means that I have to prepare myself physically for the upcoming season. A good diet and regular exercise helps tremendously. Walking on a regular basis is a great activity to help get fit and you can add to your exercise routine by walking on the type of terrain that you plan to hunt. If you are planning a trip out west and will be hunting in a lot of steep terrain, don’t take walks in the flat areas.  Get out and hike the hills or get on a treadmill that has incline features. To be physically prepared, you must try to match what you will be doing on your hunt.  For a bird hunter, long walks across different terrain are helpful.  Big game hunters should with a weighted pack matching your hunting conditions.  Try to get in a routine of wearing the footwear that you will be wearing in the field, especially if it’s new footwear. Nothing is worse than ending your hunt due to blisters!

If you don’t have your own land, you should have already secured your location to hunt. Make sure that if you are going to obtain permission to hunt on a landowners property, you do it way in advance. Don’t try to get the permission on the day of the hunt. Sometimes the landowners are busy or need time to think about giving you the permission that you want. BE RESPECTFUL at all costs. If the land owner says no, thank him or her, and ask if it is ok to return another at a later time. Sometimes it takes several visits to finally get the opportunity to hunt private land. It is such a privilege to be able to hunt another’s land. If you do get permission, thank them and ask for any and all instructions that the land owner might have. Parking, gates, driving into a field to retrieve game, tree stands are just some of the questions to ask. Remember to always leave their property better that you found it. Giving a gift of the game you harvest or something the owner might like could get you a permanent location to hunt.

All of your equipment should be gone over to make sure it is safe and ready for the season. Your firearms should be cleaned and fired to make sure at the time of the shot, all is good. Big game hunters should go to a range and fire their favorite guns to make sure sights and scopes are zeroed in. We owe it to the game we pursue to be good marksmen so we can make a clean and humane kill. Also have you knives sharp. It is true what is said about how a dull knife is a dangerous knife. When your knife is dull, you have to force it to cut. A sharp knife will cut cleanly and safely.

Tree stands should be inspected from top to bottom, looking for anything that might be broken, loose, or bent. It is so important to make sure that if you intend to hunt from an elevated stand, it is 100% safe. Look for cracked or broken welds, missing or loose nuts or bolts, and check the straps that you will be securing the stand to the tree with for wear or tears. This is important if you leave your stands in the woods year around, squirrels love to chew on straps!  And you should be wearing a safety harness every time you leave the ground so make sure it also is in 100% working condition.

Take the time to go over all of your equipment  that you plan on using during your hunting season making sure first that its safe, and then making sure that you have everything you will need to have a safe and enjoyable hunt.

Obtain a map of the location you plan on hunting. This helps you plan your strategies and stand locations. If you are hunting upland game, you can plan out your drivers and standers or blockers. If you are hunting in stand locations, you can find the narrow funneling areas that deer use to travel to and from feeding areas. It also helps you understand the lay of the land for your navigation needs. It can be used to mark the area you are going to hunt so that others know in case of an emergency.

As the season gets closer, get out and scout from a distance to see actual game movement. You can obtain a great amount of knowledge on where and when the game is moving. Deer, pheasant, waterfowl, and predator hunters will benefit from preseason scouting!

If you take the time to make a plan and stick to it, you will have an enjoyable time in the field and you will have hopefully considered it a success.