Passing on the Hunt

By Guest Blogger Rod SlingsRod Slings and grandson with grandson's first turkey.
Rod Slings is a retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor.  He is the CEO/Founder of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and the Co-Author of BLOOD ON THE LEAVES – Real Hunting Accident Investigations – And Lessons In Hunter Safety


Spring turkey season is upon us.

“Passing on the hunt” seems to be what generation after generation does in hunting families. We create great memories when we introduce a young family member, or young friend, to the outdoors as a SAFE, responsible, and ethical new hunter. Being a mentor or role model is one of the most rewarding and important things a veteran hunter can do.

I will never forget the early morning of the first turkey hunt with my grandson Cooper. Dressed in his new matching camo, we climbed out of the truck and walked together into the darkness. He reached out to hold my hand, which is etched in my mind forever. Having the blind set up day’s prior, we walked slowly, as quiet as possible, him occasionally stumbling over the rough ground with his short legs. Once we reached the blind we settled in, lighting the heater, breaking out the cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate (which has become a tradition). Shortly before the break of daylight, the first “GOBBLE” broke the morning silence. Cooper immediately began to laugh out loud, which made me laugh at him, understanding that this un-natural sound to him was what we were here for - all part of this amazing outdoors experience. After a short discussion about noise, I must have sounded much like Elmer Fudd, as I whispered to Cooper, “We must be very, very quiet!”

This particular hunt would not produce the success of a harvested turkey. It was, however, a successful hunt simply for the experience we shared, and each time since then has been a treasure. As a mentor, there are several things for you to consider as you pass on the hunt:

Safety is always the first rule when mentoring a young hunter

  • Make sure you have practiced and your hunter is familiar with the firearm.
  • Set up the blind and practice how the shot will be made with an empty firearm.
  • Explain where the focus of the shot must be made for a SAFE, clean, quick harvest.
  • Remember, firearm safety must be the total focus of the mentor and young hunter.
  • Position yourself so you can take control of the firearm, if necessary.
  • It is best to use a hunting blind, to hide movement and for concealment.
  • Place decoys 15 to 20 yards away from the blind with good visibility.
  • Do not stalk turkeys or leave the young hunter alone at anytime.
  • "Under direct supervision" means you are always within arms reach.
  • Safety on, muzzle of the firearm always pointed in a SAFE direction.
  • Never prop a firearm up against an un-safe rest, such as against the blind.
  • Only load the firearm once you are settled and the hunt is ready to begin, unload before you leave the blind.
  • Finger is outside the trigger guard, safety is always on until the shot is ready to be made.
  • You, as the mentor, will whisper when to make the shot.

Comfort considerations for a young hunter are imperative.

  • Warm camouflage clothing - never wear: red, white, blue or black colors.
  • Stay warm on a chilly spring morning by the use of a portable heater, placed in a SAFE location, following all manufacture guidelines.
  • Chairs stay elevated to help see out the blind windows and for comfort.
  • Food, snacks, even a thermos of hot chocolate are all important.
  • I hate to admit it, however, limited use of electronics, on low light and on silent, may help fight their boredom when activity is a little slow.
  • Never overstay the patience of the young hunter. If they become bored, time to pack it in until next time.
  • Take a Hunter Education Course with your young hunter.
  • Remember who you are hunting with, keep in mind…it's about them!
  • Back to the first rule, hunt SAFELY!

“Passing it on” creates memories that last a lifetime, which then pass on to the next generation. Remember the camera! It may just be a camera from your phone or a GoPro to capture each moment to share with others.


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Traditional Bowhunting: Camo

7th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Camouflage Ergo: Camo

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.


Introduction: Camouflage

Camo is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see (crypsis), or by disguising them as something else (mimesis). Examples include the leopard's spotted coat or the battledress of a modern soldier. A majority of camouflage methods today aim for crypsis this is often through a general resemblance to a common background, the background and high contrast colors, eliminating shadow, and countershading.

Wow, too much information on Camo…all we want from camo is to hide from the game. True.


But we need to understand the value of camo as hunters not, that camo is the uniform of the American hunter. To be camo’ed is to self-identify (badge) as a hunter.


A huge segment of the hunting industry is deeply committed to the necessity of camouflage. I’m going to kick the can (old man reference) I don’t believe in camouflage per say. Why? I have hunted successfully without camo! This is subversive talk Dave.


Understanding the Deer We Hunt

In fact, billions of dollars are spent on camo and its development.

If you’re a deer hunter who likes to wear blue jeans while you’re scouting or to your stand, you might as well hang a bell around your neck to let whitetails know you’re in the woods. Or if you wear camouflage with many subtle colors, it may be doing you more harm than good. At the recent QDMA conference, researchers from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources presented findings from a new study on whitetail vision. 


It’s not my purpose to delve into the sciences of color and human versus deer vision. However, there are some things that in order to understand “camo or no camo” you should know…


Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans. Their color vision is limited to the short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors. As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red.


The lens in a deer’s eye also can’t adjust to objects at varying distances. These factors give deer less visual clarity than humans have. An object a deer is looking at straight on is equally in focus as something out to the side. So don’t assume that because a deer isn’t looking at you that it can’t see you. More than anything else, a deer’s eyes are designed to detect movement.


It’s been found that deer see blue colors best and red colors the worst. Deer can also see greens, yellows and UV light (wash your camo in the right detergent), but they can’t differentiate color shades to that extent that humans can. What this means to a hunter is that you should avoid wearing anything blue. You should also avoid wearing camouflage with a lot of white, because white reflects all colors, including blue. And because deer can’t perceive color shades very well, a hunter wearing camouflage containing many subtle shades of green and/or brown looks just like one big blob to deer. Instead, wear camouflage that breaks up your outline and move as little as possible to avoid being busted.


But camouflage has become highly tribal, and, it seems, mutually exclusive: If you are a Mossy Oak acolyte you can’t belong to Team Realtree. If you sport Sitka you can’t wear KUIU or ASAT.

I’ll tell you it isn’t so, but in saying that I feel a little like the candid boy who disclosed that the emperor was stark naked. But I have a few exhibits to trot out in my defense.


How many whitetails never saw my Grandfather with his Savage 99, wearing a red-checked mackinaw jacket or, many Atlantic ducks, have been shot by my Father wearing oilskin over their ragg wool sweaters? Not to mention Fred Bear the father of modern bow hunting.


The reality is that camouflage does give us an edge. But, it especially helps in close-quarters archery hunting. And it helps break up our outlines and lets us blend into our surroundings. But, I believe some hunters rely too much on the garment and not enough on our own skills.


As modern traditional bowhunters we cannot turn our backs on the improvements made to camo garments. They keep us warmer, dryer, and better concealed. But our dependence on camouflage obscures one truth it’s not the clothes that make the hunter, but rather our abilities.

How to use Camo and what have we learned?

  • Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans
  • A deer’s eyes are designed to detect movement.

Any more it makes more and more sense to have camo patterns that fit where you hunt.


A good camo will help keep us from silhouetting ourselves on skylines or in open fields. We see the examples in manufacturer ads all the time. But, its up to us to put the wind in our faces, our scents down, and minimized our movements or the best camo in the world will not work.


I’ll always have camo in my wardrobe, mainly because it’s my warmest, most field-friendly outerwear, and I have choices for where I will hunt and when. My patterns run from 1960’s military to and modern digitized or pixelated camo patterns and last but not least good old fashion red and black plaids. We all have our favorites, they’re our favorites based on the success they bring us and they are hard to give up on. Remembering our goal as traditional bow hunters is to get as close to our game as we can for an ethical harvest. We should always be looking and researching the best camo available. This will then bring us into the new materials and scent control materials.


I like my Viet Nam era tiger stripes for conifers and the cedar swamps because of the horizontal pattern and the open pattern of my ASAT for most everything else because of the browns. Then there’s the buffalo plaid in my wool; the big plaid breaks up your outline too and wool has the quietness…in my opinion.

But the icing on the cake (old man reference) is to do these last 2 things: Wear a brimmed boonie styled hat whenever possible and wear a leafy or ghillie suit. The point is to break up our outlines and leafy or ghillies do that and provide movement similar to Mother Nature’s slight breeze through the woods. The leafy suit works just as well as the ghillie suit does. The great thing about these suits is that its your camo…you can wear camo under them or choose not too. Its your choice. It does not trake to much time to learn how to shoot traditional bow with a 3-D suit like these. Just notice where you either trim or wear an arm guard when shooting your bow. At the end of the day the ghillie suit is a great investment for the traditional bowhunter.

What about our bows should they be camo’ed? Normally traditional bows are either brown or black which will naturally fit into the background of the woods. This changes when we hunt the plains or desert flats, you can put sleves or a camo tape on your bows limbs to break up the silhouette.

In closing, you have choices regarding camouflage today and there is no wrong on your choice, even if you choose to break up your silhouette with plaid. Always remember to wear either face paint or mask and gloves. Our skin has blue in it making us easier to see (the following photos representing what deer see.)

Remember when you shop that “Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans. Their color vision is limited to the short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors. As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red.”



1. What We See              What Deer See

2. What We See                     What Deer See


3. What We See                     What Deer See


4. What We See                     What Deer See


5. What We See             What Deer See


Next Up: The Hunt! 


True Timber: The Difference Between Looking Real and Being Real

Every year, like most hunters, I look at the newest hunting products and hunting clothing to see what I want to spend my hard earned money on. It isn’t very often that I decide to spend that money on the newest products. This year, however, something has caught my eye and I have to spend the money. Since it involves switching my choice of camouflage pattern, I’m going to be buying all new hunting clothing. So what has me this excited? Two simple words: True Timber.

Companies are always trying to create the most realistic patterns when compared to the geographic locations we hunt. True Timber has done exactly that. There is a “difference between looking real and being real.” True Timber uses high definition digital images to create their variety of patterns. There is nothing painted into the pattern. This allows for the pattern to be ultra-realistic to different natural environments and to break up a hunter’s silhouette.


So which pattern of True Timber am I turning to this fall? It’s the High Tech Concealment Fall, or HTC Fall, pattern. The pattern features oak branches, leaves and twigs. The leaves are a mixture of green, aged brown, and golden brown leaves, making the pattern great for mid to late season hunting. The HTC Fall pattern is ideal for the hardwood forests that I hunt in Northwest, Central and West Central Ohio. It is also versatile enough to fit into a variety of other landscapes throughout the country.


The HTC Fall pattern is the only pattern I have seen in person, but the True Timber website currently shows 15 patterns available that are usable in multiple hunting situations and another 4 patterns that I would consider fashion patterns. When these other patterns hit the store, I’m positive I will be adding them to my closet.

DRT™ - Dead Right There HTC Spring New Conceal

 XD3 / Extreme Detail, Depth, and Deception Flooded Timber Conceal Brown Conceal Green DS1 Harvest Mixed Pine

   MC2 Snow / Maximum Concealment Snow MC2 Blaze / Maximum Concealment Blaze MC2 Cobalt MC2 Purple MC2 Pink Snowfall Snowfall Pink

If you have not seen this pattern in person, you need to stop into Rossford Bass Pro Shops and check it out. The pattern is currently available in a variety of products such as the Mountain Stalker Series, the Redhead Tech Windproof, all of the Silent Hide products, long-sleeve and short sleeve True Fit T-shirts, a variety of boots, and the Blackout Hybrid 180 Hunting Blind.


True Timber has stepped up the game and created what I believe to be the ultimate patterns available. They have blown everyone else out of the woods with the most realistic pattern that I have seen and True Timber has me hooked! It really is for true hunters and I cannot wait to see the new patterns in the store.


Jay Hollis

Hunting Clothing Team Leader


RedHead Select Outfitters: The Timbers at Chama

So over the past month or so, most people in Arizona have figured out if they got drawn for any big game hunts this year. Many associates got pulled, or have family/friends that got pulled. It is always an exciting time of the year, and people start to plan their trips, relive old hunts and salivate over the delicious game meat they will hopefully get. Now I didn’t put in this year, my stepbrother got pulled so hopefully I’ll get to go out with them, but as usual I start to daydream about a possible guided hunt. And I know not to look anywhere else but at the RedHead Select Outfitters.  And I caught myself spending a lot of time looking at The Timbers at Chama.

The Timbers at Chama is a full-service guide out of New Mexico. And when I say full-service, I mean it. They offer hunts for bull and cow elk, mule deer and Merriam turkey. They also offer a fishing service for rainbow, brook and brown trout as well. Beyond that they have horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, ATV riding, wildlife watching/birding and more.

Now being a proud Arizonan and a hunter, I have to maintain the fact that Arizona does produce the best bull elks in the world. BUT! I will admit that there have been some amazing animals to come out of New Mexico. And to be honest, some of the elk that I have seen taken at this place are more than impressive. The quality of the mule deer as well is something to be admired. (Check out their photo gallery!)

As usual with our RedHead Select Outfitters, we include several important tips and a checklist for what to expect on the hunt. The three tips below are exactly what anyone looking to go on a hunt should know.

“In elk country the primary guide to clothing is to dress in layers. You may also want to avoid wearing newly purchased footwear that has not been broken in. Camouflage scent-proof clothing is optimal and strongly recommended.”

The latter part is extremely important, as animals have a keen sense of smell and will pick up the smallest hint of a scent. I have had good success with washing my clothes in this product and then spraying it down with this one. And remember, sometimes it is better to not have a cover scent, but just to be sure to eliminate any.

Ready to book? (So am I!) Remember to book them through our RedHead Select Outfitters because you'll get 5% of your total hunt cost given back to you in Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards points.


Other Adventures:

The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks Blue River Whitetails Hampton & Hampton  


Camo Choices in Spring Weather

Spring has arrived and has brought with it some rainstorms. Our camouflage department has hunting clothing for any sort of weather, to prepare for the springtime showers that lie ahead it may be a good idea to invest in a waterproof jacket and pants.


Squaltex II jacket

Our camouflage department has a variety of new styles of camouflage rain suits. For supreme protection from the elements, keep a lookout for the RedHead Squaltex II Jacket and pants. The Squaltex II jacket combines our waterproof, windproof and breathable BONE-DRY membrane with the camouflage designs of Realtree Xtra. This rain suit will not only keep you dry but will keep you comfortable while on your next great hunt. Staring at $69.99 or the jackets and $59.99 for pants, his option will is relatively affordable and worth every penny.


                For the Female hunters out there The SHE outdoor brand has a good selection of rainwear that keeps you dry but also breathes to provide a comfortable hunt, no matter the weather. SHE strives to make Premium hunting gear for women. The jacket and pants are a Realtree Xtra design. The jackets start at $79.99 and the pants start at $69.99.

                Come on down to your local Bass Pro Shops and stop by our camouflage department. The associates will help pair you with the best hunting clothing for you.  Hope your turkey season goes well and happy hunting.

                For more information check out this article about preventing bug bites.


Optics Simplified

Shop our extensive selection of Optics at

When it comes to gearing up for your hunt this season, there are many things to consider:  weapon of choice, caliber/gauge, decoys, camouflage clothing, calls, etc.  However, one thing always seems to raise the most questions, and coincidentally it can be the most important purchase you make that can directly affect the success of your hunt: optics.

Few things can improve your odds of bagging your trophy of a lifetime like good glass, but not all glass is created equal.  That being said, what separates a $1500 scope from a $100 scope and everything in between? Manufacturers will use certain buzzwords such as: eye relief, fully-multi coated, light transmission, exit pupil and a slew of other words; but what do these terms mean and how do they help you choose what is best for you? Once you understand these buzzwords, you can easily determine what features you need to make your scope work for you.





The first thing you are likely to encounter when looking at scopes is something to the tune of 3-9x40 or 4-16x50. What do these numbers mean?  Read out loud, this would sound like "three to nine by forty" or "four to sixteen by fifty".  

The first part of the equation is what is called the magnification; and on a 3-9x40 scope, the magnification on this scope can be adjusted from 3 power to 9 power, and anywhere in between. Setting the scope to 3 power, means that your target will appear to be 3 times closer to you than it actually is, and at 9 power, it will appear 9 times closer to you.  In raw numbers, something at 100 yards away would appear to be 33.3 yards away at 3 power, and 11.1 yards away at 9 power.

Another important thing to consider is the magnification range, which is calculated by dividing the maximum power of the scope by the minimum power. A 3-9 power scope has a 3x magnification range, whereas a 4-16 scope has a 4x magnification range.  There are now scopes with as high as 8x magnification ranges.  The higher the magnification range, the more versatile the scope can be, but it also comes at a price.

The second part of the equation (40 on a 3-9x40 scope) is the measure of the objective lens (the one you don't look into, at the front of the scope) in millimeters, and all other factors being equal, a larger objective lens will allow more light to enter the scope, which usually results in a brighter picture.

Things to consider:

Average shot - It is very easy to over magnify your gun.  Most whitetail deer are shot under 100 yards, so a scope powered above 9 power is not only unnecessary, it can become a hindrance.

Bigger isn't always better - If 40 is good and 44 is great, it would stand to reason that 50 or more is even better, but that's not always the case.  A larger objective lens forces you to mount the scope higher to allow the bell of the scope to clear the barrel.  This works against you in two-fold, first because the farther away the scope and the bore are, the less accurate your gun will be; two, your cheek weld on your rifle stock will be compromised from having to lift your head to be able to see through your scope.


Eye Relief/Exit Pupil

The next thing you are likely to notice when looking through a mounted scope is the eye relief.  Eye relief is simply the distance your eye needs to be from the scope where you can see a full picture.  Most standard rifle scopes will have eye relief up to about 4", which means your eye can be as far as 4 inches away from the scope and still see a full picture.  Any farther, and you will begin to see a black shadow/ring around the outside of your picture inside the scope, conversely if you get to close, you risk hitting yourself in the face with the scope when your gun recoils after firing.  Shotgun/muzzleloader scopes can have eye relief up to 6", which helps accommodate for the extra recoil associated with these firearms, but we will discuss later at what cost this comes.

Exit pupil is a term that the majority of people have almost no clue what it is, but is a very crucial part of purchasing optics.  Exit pupil is quite literally the size of the picture that enters your eye.  A healthy human eye can dilate up to about 7 millimeters (sometimes more), and aged eyes may only be able to open to 4 millimeters or less.  Exit pupil is measured in millimeters, and is calculated by dividing the size of the objective lens in millimeters by the magnification power.  A scope with a 40 mm objective set at 3 power, will produce an exit pupil of about 13.3 mm, which is more than adequate for transmitting as much light/picture as possible to the eye.  Conversely, the same scope, set at 9 power, will produce an exit pupil of about 4.44 mm, which is going to produce a relatively smaller, darker picture.

Things to consider:

Bigger isn't always better (Part II) - If 3" of eye relief is good, and 4" is better, 6" should be great.  Once again, not always the case.  The farther away you get from your scope, the more your field of view suffers.  You want to be far enough away that you don't hit yourself, but not so far that you can't see anything but a pinhole through your lens.  

But sometimes, bigger is better -  It's hard to go wrong with more exit pupil.  No matter how good your glass is, if the picture getting to your eye is tiny, it will appear dark and tough to see.  Overpowering your scope can drastically reduce your exit pupil, and the last thing you want during that golden hour of last light is a dark picture.


Light Transmission/Lens Coatings:

Contrary to popular belief, scopes do not "gather" light, rather they transmit it.  The finest (and most expensive) scopes can have light transmission ratings nearing about 98%.  Great scopes will transmit up to 95% light, but the majority of scopes transmit somewhere around 90% of light that hits the objective lens. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers will list their light transmission rating, and there isn't an accepted standardized measuring system, so not all transmission ratings are created equal.

Light transmission is largely a factor of coatings on the lenses.  It seems silly, but these microscopic coatings put on the lenses are what can separate a $500 scope from a $1500 scope.  Coatings can do many things, from reducing glare,  or waterproofing and fogproofing the glass, to phase correction which aligns the different color spectrums as they move through the lenses.  The more coatings added, the more expensive the scope.  You will also hear four terms when describing how the coatings are applied to the lenses: coated, fully coated, multicoated and fully multicoated.  Coated is the lowest grade, and it means that there is at least one coating on one lens surface.  Next is fully coated, which means there is one coating on all air to glass surfaces.  The next two are the most frequent options.  Multicoated means there are multiple layers on at least one lens and as you can probably guess, fully multicoated means there are multiple layers on all air to glass surfaces.

Things to consider:

Go big or go home - In today's market, there is no reason to purchase any optic that is not fully multicoated, even budget friendly scopes are available in fully multicoated options.  


Tube Diameter

The majority of scopes on the market in the United States will have a 1" main tube.  In recent years, long range shooting sports have increased the demand for scopes using a 30 mm tube, and in some very specialized cases, tubes up to 34 and 35 mm.  

The importance behind tube diameter comes when you understand how scopes are built.  Inside the main tube of the scope lies another tube, called the erector tube.  The erector tube is an obviously, smaller tube, which houses some lenses and your reticle, and is how elevation/windage adjustments are made.  When the adjustment turrets on the side and top of your scope are turned, they press on this erector tube and move it inside the scope.  When you "run out of adjustment" in your scope, what you have actually done is pushed the erector tube as far as it can go in one direction.  However, if you have a bigger outside tube, you can increase the amount of adjustment available in your scope, which is decided advantage when shooting at longer ranges where "doping your scope" is required.

Things to consider:

Bigger can be better - I would guess that 95% of rifle scopes on the market still carry a 1" main tube, and it has served very well, and will continue to do so, especially in most hunting applications.  However, for those looking to stretch their shooting a little further, depending on manufacturer, a 30 mm tube usually offers about 20 MOA (20 inches at 100 yards) more adjustment than a comparable scope with a 1" tube.



Next to exit pupil, this is far and away the most misunderstood term in optics, but it happens to be one of the most important ones to grasp.  Simply put, parallax is an optical illusion.  

Consider this: you are driving down the road and look down at your speedometer, and your needle is centered directly over 60 mph.  If a person sitting in your passenger seat looks over, it will likely appear to them that the needle is somewhere around 58 mph, because they are looking at it from a different angle.  The needle didn't move, the numbers behind it didn't move, so what happened?  Parallax.

Parallax in a scope is the same concept, if I were to lock a scope down in a vise and aim it at a point on the wall, any distance away (the further away, the more obvious it becomes).  With my eye centered behind the scope, moving my head side to side would make it appear that the crosshairs moved off of my target.  Once again, the scope didn't move and the target didn't move, but if I was shooting, my point of impact would be off. Quite simply, my scope and my target are not operating on the same plane, and I need to adjust my parallax on my scope to get them working together.

On most scopes, parallax adjustment is fixed at 100 yards, which is usually fine for most hunting purposes.  If your head happens to be slightly off at 100 yards, your point of impact may only shift less than an inch or so. However, for those who frequently shoot longer ranges, there are scopes that offer some sort of parallax adjustment, which is either found on the front of the scope around the objective lens, or a third dial on the left hand side of the scope.  Either of these is usually easily distinguishable because it will have numbers, usually starting at 25 and ending at infinity, which are associated with the range of your target.  To use these, all you have to do is establish the range of your target, dial your parallax to match, and you should reduce and possibly eliminate any perceived crosshair movement due to change in head position behind your scope.

Things to consider:

Average shot - Once again consider your average shot.  Having a parallax adjustment can't hurt, but like any features, you will pay more to get it.  If you aren't going to be shooting over 200 yards anytime soon, a parallax adjustment is probably not necessary.  However, if you plan on routinely shooting over 200 yards, and especially if you plan on doing so from different shooting positions, parallax adjustment is an absolute must.


Optics Triangle:

It stands to reason that as a consumer, you would want to have the best of all the features.  However, as we all know, this is usually not possible.  Optics are no exception, and most questions regarding features can be answered by consulting what is called the optics triangle.  The optics triangle references three key features: magnification, eye relief, and field of view.  Every scope has these three features, but they are all in direct correlation with each other.  If you increase the magnification of your scope, you have to decrease the eye relief and the field of view, and so on and so forth.  The closer you get to one feature, the more you rob from the others.  Sometimes, magnification is the most important necessity (long range, prairie dog hunting). Other times, eye relief is more important (shotgun/muzzleloaders).  The important thing to consider is that changing one directly affects the other two.




Bass Pro Shops Tacoma Offers Indoor and Outdoor Fun

As the weather begins to turn warmer there’s no shortage of activities to partake in the Tacoma area. Luckily, Bass Pro Shops Tacoma has all the essentials and gear to meet the needs of outdoor enthusiasts no matter their skill level or interest.

Anglers of all types will find our selection of rods, reels, lures, lines, jigs and other fishing equipment available to help catch a variety of species. There are also waders, nets and a bevy of other supplies for fishing enthusiasts to choose from.

Our hunting department has a wide-range of merchandise, perfect for aiding hunters in their pursuit of numerous types of game, from deer and elk to fowl. The knowledgeable staff in the hunting department can guide our customers in the selections of calls, decoys, stands, blinds and camouflage clothing.

There is more to Bass Pro Shops than hunting and fishing. The natural beauty of the outdoors in Tacoma and the surrounding areas beckons to be explored and admired. Bird-watchers should be sure to check out the selection of binoculars carried in our optics department.

There’s no shortage of camping and hiking opportunities in the Tacoma area and our selection of backpacks, tents and sleeping bags will ensure that time spent outdoors is dry and warm. Camping doesn’t have to be a completely rustic experience, bring some of the comforts of home to the outdoors with a portable shower. There’s a variety of cooking supplies available in our camping department such as camp grills or cast-iron cookware, perfect for using over an open fire.  Additional items like hydration packs, water filtration systems and first-aid kits are just a few of the items we carry to help keep campers and hikers safe and prepared.

The area boasts plenty of waterways, with the numerous lakes and rivers, plus Puget Sound and the nearby Pacific Ocean, boaters have many places to explore. Bass Pro Shops Tacoma carries kayaks and canoes perfect for setting out on smooth waters. Or maybe the more adventurous long for a white-water kayaking experience on some of the local rivers and falls. Our Tracker Department carries an assortment of boats, from small fishing and bass boats to pontoons and much more.

Outdoor recreation is wonderful, but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. At Bass Pro Shops Tacoma, there’s lots of opportunity for fun for the whole family right inside our store.  Relax by the fireplace in our lobby and take in the mounted game, fish and water fowl on display. Visit the 12,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, which has a three-dimensional diorama of a waterfall and is filled with a variety of local species of fish.

Hungry? Stop by the restaurant located inside our store for lunch or dinner.  Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill offers casual family dining and serves grill-type fare. There’s also a sixteen lane bowling alley, decorated with an under-the-sea theme, sure to delight the little ones and those who are young at heart.

In addition to all the outdoor equipment, recreational items, restaurant and bowling alley at Bass Pro Shops Tacoma, there’s also a variety of in-store events, such as our Spring Fishing Classic, Fall Hunting Classic and Go Outdoors event. In addition we will have numerous other seasonal and kid-friendly events throughout the year. Be sure to like our page on Facebook or visit the events page on our website to stay informed on everything that is happening at Bass Pro Shops Tacoma.


Keeping The Bugs Away While Hunting

Springtime weather has arrived! Spring turkey hunting is just around the corner so it is time to refresh our hunting gear. One important step many may forget is insect repellant. Unfortunately, bugs come paired with the warmer weather.  An easy way to protect yourself from bites and annoying flying bugs is to treat your clothing and gear with a good insect repellant. Luckily, your local Bass Pro Shops has a variety of different bug repellants that are safe for you and your gear

Our most popular insect repellant for hunters and any other adventurer is Permethrin. Permethrin is a naturally occurring insect repellant found in chrysanthemum flowers. The scientists over at Sawyer have extracted it from the flowers and made a repellant that is as effective as 100% DEET. Permethrin is made for use on clothing and gear, and will not plasticize like some other bug repellants. When applied the Permethrin material bonds with the material providing insect protection for 42 days of exposure to sun and air or six washes. Once dried the treated material will kill ticks and mosquitoes on contact while repelling many other insects. On top of the great repellant properties, once dry Permethrin is completely odorless so any treated items do not have to be treated with any additional scent block to remove the odor of the repellant. You can simply treat the garment as you would any of your other hunting clothes.


Sawyer brand Permethrin is by far the most popular repellant that we sell. It is extremely effective at warding off insects while being versatile enough to work on virtually any material. Once applied, the Permethrin molecules bind with the fabric providing long lasting protection. Sweat and water does not deteriorate Permethrin so you don’t have to worry about reapplying throughout the other day as you would with other repellants.

As a pro tip make sure to treat shirts pants and socks while hunting, this will keep ticks from climbing up your shoes but will also protect from any ticks or bugs that rest on bushes and other higher surfaces. The more surfaces that you treat with Permethrin the better the protection, so if you have a backpack you can treat it to boost your insect protection. While Permethrin works wonders on fabric and other porous materials, it is not effective on your skin. We advise that you use a small amount of skin safe repellant such as Sawyers maxi-DEET (hyperlink) on any exposed skin to maximize your protection.

Come on in to your local Bass Pro Shops to check out our collection of bug spray to help prepare you for the spring hunt ahead. Our Camouflage Department will have a display of the Sawyer products we sell, including Permethrin. While there make sure to check out some of the newer styles of camouflage clothing we have received. Any of our friendly Bass Pro Shops associates will be able to assist you in pairing you with whatever hunting items you may need.

With help from Bass Pro Shops you can have a great, and bug free, hunt in our great outdoors.

Here is some other content you might enjoy!

Don't Let Ticks Keep You Out of the Woods!

Bugged While Hunting and Camping?


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.


Tips For Turkey Hunting in the Fall

Here are a few turkey tips that you just may find interesting during the Fall Turkey season.

1.   Turkeys can't smell humans, but their eyes are quite good.  Head to toe camo is the way to go in clothing.  Don't forget a facemask.  If possible camouflage your gun also.

2.   Locate toms in the evening.  Listen for cackle and fly up before dark.

3.   Use a locator call in the evening/mid morning before fly up then use your call from then on.

4.   Try to sneak into your covering and hit some hen yelps this will get the tom going.

5.   Learn to use as many calls as you can (slate/box/mouth).  This will make you  more successful as a hunter. 

6.   Use a smaller shot.  A #4,5, or 6 work better than larger shot.

7.   Turkeys hate the rain and prefer open fields during the rain.  The noise on the trees make it hard to hear and gets them nervous.

8.   In the Fall you can use dogs to hunt turkeys.  Dogs disburse the flock.  Use a regroup call or a kiki call to draw them back in.

9.   Never wear red, white or blue since these are the gobblers head color.

10. Never stalk turkeys, assume any call you hear could be another hunter.

11. You should always wear orange.

12. When calling, learn to create a distressed sense of hurry.  As soon as your receive a call back .  Repeat it again.

If you are in need of some decoys, take a look at the Redhead Reality Series Remote Crazy Jake Turkey Decoy System.  Very realistic this decoy comes with a remote controlled moving support stake.  70% the size of the standard strutting decoy, this will not intimidate a young gobbler.

















The Dakota Decoy X-Treme Hen Turkey Decoy, has a relaxed body position which will entice that tom.









With a forward stretching body, receptive pose, and lowered head, the Avian X LCD Breeder Hen Turkey Decoy is what you may be interested in looking at.  This also comes in a feeder or lookout hen model.












If you are looking for a tom, check out the Redhead Strutting Tom Turkey DecoyRealistic and durable, you can use your own tail fan or the folding Redhead Tail System.

















Have a safe and happy Fall turkey season.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator




Which Camo Pattern Do You Need?

There are many types of camo out there to chose from, and that can get a little overwhelming. Some look the same, or you just might not know which pattern you need for the type of hunting you are going to be doing. Well here is some help for the top 5 popular camo prints we have flying off the shelves. 

Realtree Xtra Camo

The natural colors and 3D patterns blend effectively in the fall, winter, and early spring. This new camo pattern blends perfectly year round in a variety of habitats. It blends best from the leaf change of fall through winter, then again in early spring before green-out.

Using proprietary printing technology, we layer sharp foreground elements over a progressively ghosted mid-ground and very soft background. The versatile new camo design includes tree trunks, large and small limbs, leaves of many types and colors, and large open areas.



Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity

Featuring unprecedented depth, unequaled detail and elements with remarkable contrast, Break-Up truly offers hunter another dimension in camo.Each element- leaves, limbs, acorns and branches, was selected to create unmatched realism and contrast to break up a hunter’s silhouette. Then they were placed over multiple layers of actual images from the woods to create a multidimensional depth of field unlike any camouflage ever created.

Realtree Max 5

Made for  waterfowlers, this pattern is filled with cattails, reeds, cane and grasses to blend into flooded marshes. Plus corn, wheat, oats and sunflowers to hide you in open fields. It has branches, twigs and leaves that work in flooded timber. And with open areas that mimic mud, water, bark and shadows, MAX-5 literally adds another layer of invisibility to camo – no matter where or how you use it.



Realtree Max 1

Realtree MAX-1 camo lets hunters in broad terrain melt into their surroundings. MAX-1 camo combines the perfect balance of neutral earth tones, prairie grasses, brush, rock, sage and open zones—with just a hint of shadow detail for added depth and realism. Use the versatile Realtree MAX-1 camo pattern as your go-to for hunting sage-covered hillsides, mesquite flats, croplands and wide-open prairies. Also choose it for deserts and rocky terrain. Realtree MAX-1 ® is the one to wear for hunting mule deer, whitetail, pronghorn, elk, bighorn and turkey. It’s an ideal predator hunting camo, too.




Mossy Oak Treestand

Time you game to the next level! Designed specifically for the whitetail hunter who hunts from an elevated position, Treestand offers the ideal camouflage solutions for altering your silhouette among the bare limbs of a tree in late fall. It is build to defeat the deer’s looking up through the limbs of bare trees. 




If these still don't meet your game and scenery, feel free to come in the store and talk to one of the Camo Associates who are always willing to help.




Hi-Ho A Camping We Will Go

Camping is something people from all walks of life can do. It can be a really cheap vacation, or it can be an expensive getaway. The experience all depends on how we do it; the real prize to be won is the memories made. If we’re ready to make some memories then let’s get ready to go!

The first thing we want to think about is what we want to do. Do we want to spend as little as possible and still have a good time or do we want to go glamping (this an excessively comfortable form of camping that we will discuss in a later article)? If money is no obstacle and we want to take the house with us then we want to go glamping. If we want to relax and deal with minimal extra and /or unnecessary stuff then we want to go a more traditional route. There’s nothing right or wrong about either of these choices, which can be intermingled at will, and we should always pick what we can afford both money wise and time/effort/ability wise. The point of this is always to make good, positive memories that we can share with others either in the moment or later on.

After we choose how we want to camp we can pick a location. The location will determine what gear we need. The other thing that determines what gear we need is weather. We should always check the weather as we plan for an outing because it can determine not only what gear we need but how long we want to stay. So we have picked a location, checked the weather, and decided how long we’re going to be gone. Let’s start thinking about what all to pack.

Packing can be easy or packing can be difficult. We’ve decided how and where we want to go camp, we’ve checked the weather, and hopefully in doing all that we’ve decided how long we want to go camping. All these things need to be decided first because they influence what all we need to take with us which in turn can decide how difficult a trip or easy our trip will be barring unforeseen experiences. 

Let’s create a scenario together. We’re going to go camping at Kelly’s Pond Campground for 3 days and it is supposed to be sunny all weekend. Now we all know that the weather can change on a dime and almost no one wants to go camping in the rain. To those who do: best of luck and fun in the rain! So, 3 days at Kelly’s Pond can be a relatively small trip or it can be a super busy weekend. Kelly’s Pond offers lots of stuff to do including: tent camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, if we want to we can ride our ATV if we have one or want to buy one, they even offer  picnic tables and fire rings so we can cook s’mores safely!

Now it’s time to plan what we’re going to take and where to get it if we don’t have it already. Suppose we want to go and have a fun filled week packed with adventure. Here’s what we want to do:

To do all that we need to run by our local Bass Pro Shops and get what we need. Now we’re being hypothetical so we’ll say we’re in Houston near the Katy, Tx Bass Pro Shops. Bass Pro Shops in Katy is great: it’ll have everything we need to go camping.

When we first walk in we can go to Customer Service to get our hunting and fishing licenses. Then we can go to the back right of the store from the entrance to get fishing gear and on our way back there we can get that ATV we’ve been wanting. After we get all the fishing gear we need we can head back towards the entrance to get any clothes we may not have and then we can head to the back of the store for a potty break since we’re human and we may or may not have little ones with us. After that we’ll already be standing in camping so we can get all the camping gear we’ll need: tent, cooking store, survival gear, and even a backpack to put it all in! Next to camping is camo so we can get camouflage for hunting and speaking of hunting the hunting department is right next to that on the way to the register so we can get guns, knives and ammo along with decoys and anything else we need to get that prize shot. We’re finally heading to the registers up front to check out and we’ll pass by the boot wall, what’s more important than proper footwear?Now, we should have everything we need besides food to make a memorable camping trip!!!

We can get to packing! Now we have all of our gear and licensing so we can go hunting and fishing. We got an Arctic Cat so we can use the ATV trails. We got clothes appropriate for the temperature and weather predicted. We want to pack everything as conservatively as possible so we don’t have a lot of extra to carry. We need to print a map of the grounds and a map of how to get to the grounds before we head out as well as food and any other supplies we may need.

By now everything should be researched, bought, packed, and printed. The vehicle should be loaded and everything is ready to go.

Let’s go have a great time!


Under Armour Scent Control

Don’t Get Sniffed Out!

Deer season is approaching quickly and one of the best ways to insure a good hunt is having a high quality base layer. One of the  top line base layers on the market for both scent control as well as adequate warmth is the Under Armour Scent Control base layer line. The Under Armour Scent Control base layer line uses Anti-Microbial Silver and also odor trapping Zeolites. This combination in the base layer traps odors and suppresses the growth of odor causing bacteria. This system also works ten times longer than carbon and does not need special reactivation detergent, you just wash it like you would any other clothing, however I would suggest still using an unscented detergent, I also suggest not using your home dryer, let the clothing hang dry outside as to make sure you do not pick up any other unwanted scents. Another tip after washing theses base layers and they have dried, place them in an air tight container as to keep out any house hold scents that could ruin your hunt.

Bass pro shops carries the Under Armour Scent Control base layers in all shapes and sizes, including youth, women’s, and men’s, ranging from extra small to 3XL. The Under Armour Scent Control also comes in two different camouflage patterns which are RealTree Xtra and Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity. These Base layers are a great addition to any hunting arsenal and well help insure that those amazing whitetails will not detect you, if you take care of the clothing properly.


These products can be found at any local bass pro shops or on our online store. Thanks for reading and safe hunting.



Ethan Aycox

Bass Pro Shops

Camo Pro Staff

Spanish Fort, AL


Camo for Fall

The weather in the fall is all over the place. There could be 100 degree days followed by a freak snowstorm the next week. So finding the right camouflage for the season is a must in any area. The camo needs to not only be functional at hiding a person’s outline but must have the added ability to protect the wearer from the elements on any of the crazy days that often times happen in the fall. As the leaves start to turn it is a good idea to change to a more open pattern on the camo like the Realtree Xtra. This pattern specifically has a lot of twigs and branches in the pattern mimicking the openness of the surrounding woods very well.

Now that one of the patterns that is good to use is established it is time to look for the right camo for those warm days at the beginning of the fall. These shirts and pants should not only be comfortable and breathable but also have to have a little greenery in the print, as all the leaves on the trees have not completely turned. A good shirt for this is the RedHead® True Fit Camo T-Shirts Long Sleeve. This shirt comes in the Realtree Xtra Green, which hPants for the early fall are next on the list for the guys and a great pair would have to be the RedHead® Stalker Lite II Camo Pants. During the early fall this pair of pants is great at wicking away sweat and breathing while allowing for the full range of motion for hiking or hunting. Another great feature for these pants is that they are easy to get in smaller sizes for those outdoor kids!as a few green leaves thrown into the more open pattern making it perfect for the outdoorsman who wants to stay hidden in the early fall.

RH Men RH Men

For the ladies, a great shirt during this early fall period would be the SHE® Outdoor Tech Tee - Long Sleeve. This long sleeve shirt is great for hiking or hunting and is specially fitted for the ladies making it more comfortable and breathable during the warmer days in the early fall. In the beginning of fall a good pair of pants for the ladies would have to be the SHE® Outdoor Utility Pants. In the early fall these pants for ladies can’t be beat giving the rugged durability of hunting clothing while at the same time being light and breathable for a warm day in the outdoors.


Now for the kids. A great shirt for the early fall has to be the Carhartt® Work Realtree Xtra® Camo Pocket T-Shirt Long Sleeve. These shirts are great for the outdoors kid who enjoys any activity outside during the early fall. The shirt wicks away sweat from the body so warmer days are no problem in this shirt while at the same time this shirt is comfortable and durable making it perfect for the rough and tumble kids!


While early fall is all well and good being warm and all too often a very humid, late fall tends to be chilly and windy. The pattern for the camo that hunters and plain outdoorsmen will want to wear will also change. The green from the early fall is now completely gone and a more open pattern with twigs and branches that are bare, with a cedar branch mixed in is now far more appropriate. For the guys a good light jacket for those chilly days is the Scent-Lok Full Season Velocity Bowhunter Hunting Jackets. This jacket is great for the late fall season because it has both the warmth for the chilly mornings and the waterproofed with the durable water repellent. A good pair of camo pants for the late fall is the Badlands® Hybrid Hunting Pants.These are perfect pant given that they are not only warm and waterproof but breathe like a much lighter pair of pants.


For the ladies a great camo top is most definitely the SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Jacket, the jacket is cut for a feminine form for better comfort in the field and warmth even on those chilly late fall days. Another great aspect of the Outdoor C2 is they come in a set. The SHE® Outdoor C2 Hunting Pants are great for mornings sitting in the chill of fall with a weatherproofed fleece that keeps an outdoors lady warm while still being flexible and breathable in all conditions.


For the kiddos a good late fall jacket that is both warm and comfortable is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Hoody. Even in the cold wind of late fall this great hoody is able to keep kids dry and warm so a hunt in the morning can be as long as needed without having to head back to the cabin. A good set of pants to go with this hoodie for the kids is the Under Armour® ColdGear® Ayton Camo Pants for Youth, these pants are able to bend and move like kids while staying dry even in the wettest conditions.


The craziness of the fall season makes finding a good camouflage a pain. But knowing the different patterns and how effective they may be during different times of the season can help pick the best camo pattern for the event. While knowing the conditions that are almost always associated with fall can help pick out the proper gear for the dry season or the wetter part of the season. As always happy hunting and good luck! 


Mushrooms Everywhere!

Its that time of the year! Spring! This is the time to get out, stretch your legs and enjoy nature beginning anew. It is also that time of the year for the food delicacy of the Morel Mushroom!

There are many ways to know if the time is right. My grandmother told me that then the violets pop up and start flowering, other people have told me that it is when the lilacs are beginning to bloom. Really its when we have had at least 2 weeks of non freezing temperatures and have a lot of rain This occurs in late April and early may and lasts only a few weeks. April showers bring May flowers and mushrooms!


I have only been going out for a few years. Before that I had no idea what to look for and how to look. The way my friends explained it to me was that you are looking for a very well camouflaged Mushroom near fallen trees. It is kind of like looking at a magic eye picture, where if you stare long enough, the picture pops out at you. Once you have found one or two you will see them all over the place! As you can see in the pictures above(and this was a close up) you could walk right by it and not see it because the colors of the leaves and mushrooms are so close together.

Since you will be trampling in the woods off the beaten path looking for these delicious morsels you will need a few things since they are not the only plant growing. I personally spray my clothing down with Permethrin because it keeps the ticks and mosquitoes off of me. Permethrin is made out of Chrysanthemums that is made for clothing. This is a great product that lasts 90 days on gear and 6 washings on clothes. So if you are looking for a more natural repellent, this is a good one. Any bug repellent is good though. Wear long pants so you do not have to worry about bushes scratching you since you will be off the beaten path. I wear long sleeved shirts as well and bring a light jacket.

You will need a few things while hunting these tasty morsels. First you will need a mesh bag. This helps the mushrooms drop their spores and drop any insect hitch hiker that tried to come along for the ride. You may see some people who use plastic grocery sacks or canvas bags, this is just not appropriate and some times you may be ticketed or fined from the park depending on their rules. This stops the propagation of the mushrooms and every time someone does this, it makes the mushroom population shrink till it could become non-existent in that area. Always check with the park employees, when you check into the park, about the rules of that area. Even if the parks are in the same state, they all have different rules.


The best way to find Morels is to look off the beaten path. Look for fallen Elm trees, mushrooms love Elm trees. These trees have rough coarse bark who have diagonal lines(possibly intersecting) cut into it, the leaves are oval shaped with saw toothed edges, so if you find a live one, the fallen trees around it are more then likely the same tree, just look at the bark. They will also grow in other dead underbrush and trees but not near as often. I bring a walking stick with me to brush away any leaves while looking in the piles near downed trees.

After you have found your treasure of tasty Morel Mushrooms and get back to your campsite, or home if it was just a day trip, you do have to soak them in a salt water brine for a few hours. I always do it overnight. This gets rid of all the bugs and dirt, which you do not want to eat. 

Now you are ready to prepare and eat. I like mine deep fried so I bring my dutch oven and fry basket, my friends mom does it on the stove in their camper. I have also tried them cut up and used in a mix of hamburger for burgers and meatballs(this was to trick the picky eaters into trying them, but darn tasty). The possibilities are endless! This is a great spring time hobby,a great way to get out doors and fun for the whole family. Enjoy! 




Spring Turkey Season

It is that time of year again to get ready for the spring turkey hunting season. Preparation is key to an enjoyable and successful harvest of a wily gobbler. Usually this means gathering up all the gear you will need for a successful hunt. Such as decoys, calls, turkey vest, turkey ammunition, camouflage clothing and boots, bug repellant, hunting license, etc.  Making sure that everything is in great working condition before we head off into the woods helps increase our success in bringing home a big tom. Before you start to load up, these are questions you should ask yourself before your hunt, “Are all your calls and decoys in good shape? Have you patterned your shotgun with the new ammo or choke you bought? Are there any tears or holes in your boots?” Making a checklist a few weeks before your big hunt pays off immensely when you are out away from home and deep in the woods.


Speaking of preparation, be prepared to calm yourself from the excitement when that old gobbler shows up out of nowhere from behind you. Being still and not spooking turkeys is one of the hardest parts of turkey hunting except for calling. When it comes to calling turkeys, practice makes a big difference in how they respond. They have excellent hearing and know exactly where the calling is coming from. A naturally sounding call makes for gobblers responding and coming in for your decoys and bad calling will make them go quiet and spook them.


Planning out your hunt will make a difference on how successful your hunt will be. Doing a little preseason scouting and getting knowledge of where the turkey’s location will likely to be, helps in deciding what area to hunt. Also it is a good idea to have a second and maybe third choice of areas scouted out. Weather can also play a major factor in how much the turkeys are moving and responding to your calling. Calling can change from hour to hour or day to day. Sometimes soft purrs or clucks may work, sometimes loud excited calling does better and sometimes you can use a mixture of the two.


So in your preparation for spring turkey, make a list of all the equipment you will need for a successful hunt. From your gear, to practicing calling, to scouting your hunting areas, doing a proper preparation is a must to having not only a successful hunt, but a fun one.



Finding the Perfect Gift for Your Hunter

My husband is a hunter. He hunts for food, not horns just to let you know J So, I asked him what a hunter would want for Christmas. Would they want gifts pertaining to hunting? He told me they definitely would. Together we came up with the top items that hunters would definitely want for Christmas this year!

The main item a hunter wants is a good weapon. A shot gun, a muzzleloader, a bow. Most likely they'll want all three! Consider one of these items for this year, the next, and the next. The receiver will NOT complain...

Another thing a hunter wants for hunting season is to be warm. Hunters always wear camouflage. The Sportsman's guide is packed full of great two piece jacket and pant sets. They are available in many styles of camouflage and made by the top makers of hunting gear. You'll find Mossy Oak and the rest of the best through the Sportsman's Guide.

Hunters also love to get little items that keep them warm such as long johns and socks! Any man will appreciate a good pair of long johns on a cold day. Same goes for a nice, warm, fuzzy, thick pair of winter socks. Beware though, if you only get them one pair they may never take them off!

Hunters also need a pouch or small carrying bag of some sort. My husband has a waist one and loves it because everything he needs is right there and ready. This item is needed to hold the ammo, hunting knife, those little hand warmer packets, scents, etc. It is very handy and helps the hunter you love enjoy their hunting time to the fullest because they aren't wasting it searching for lost items!

Speaking of scents, hunters need scents. Doe scent, buck lure, etc. They smell absolutely awful to us but the deer come right too them. Hunters also appreciate the special scent remover spray the eliminates all human orders from their bodies and clothing which helps keep them undetected by the deer!

Hunters also love to collect calls. Turkey calls, doe calls, buck grunts, even squirrel calls are available. There are many other animal calls available too. These calling devices really do work very well. It's amazing. Any hunter would love to find one in their stocking or under the tree this year!


First Hunt of the Year!

By: Jerry Costabile

With the changing leaves and the waterfowl migration starting, I finally got out on my first hunt of the season.

I really needed to get out and watch the sunrise, get the smell of fall in my nose and put the everyday stress on the shelf, even if it was for a single morning. Sadie, my Yellow Lab, has been giving me that look for weeks. It’s that “If you don’t get me out hunting soon, we are going to have problems” look. So with my son Jake, home from college, and a morning off, it was ON!

We went and purchased our license’s, got the gear ready, decoys out of the garage and the dog crate into the truck. As I loaded the crate, I heard a noise inside the open back door of the house, there was Sadie standing at the top of the stairs. I think I heard her say, “It’s about time!” She has a sixth sense when it comes to knowing I am getting the hunting stuff ready, I have never been able to get ready without her knowing it!

So after I got the truck loaded and the dog calmed down, it was time for a good meal and off to bed, 5:00am comes early! When the alarm went off and I finally woke up, I realized that I had been dreaming of the hunt that was coming up in a few hours. Guess I am still a young hunter at heart!

With Jake up and me half awake, we made our way down stairs to the basement to the man cave. This is the room that contains all of the necessities to survive as an outdoorsman. Camo and blaze orange color scheme makes it a beautiful room. The air freshener is a combination of WD-40, Rem Oil, and a hint of natural earth scent from my bow hunting clothes. Truly a room only I can appreciate.

After getting dressed in my waterfowl camouflage and ready to walk out the door, I picked up Sadie’s camo collar and she knew it was finally time as she sprinted past me to the back door and jumped up and down until I opened it. Without missing a beat, she ran right to the back of the truck and waited for me to open the tailgate so she could get into her crate. We have worked on a way to get her into the crate without running anyone over, “Sadie sit!” I open the door to her crate looked at her and she is shaking uncontrollably. “Kennel! I said” with one leap she was in the crate and ready to go hunting!

After a quick stop at the gas station for coffee, we had about a 15 minute drive to the recently cut soybean field that has been holding geese a few days ago. In the darkness of the early morning, I pulled off of the paved road onto the two track road that the farmer uses to get his equipment in and out of the fields. With recent rains, the road that is usually dry and easy to navigate has become muddy and the pot holes deep. I guess my truck will have a new color tone added free of charge! As we approached the spot in the field that I wanted to hunt, I swung the trucks headlights into the field to have light to set the decoys.

Before I could get out of the truck, I heard a whimper from the back. Sadie was ready to come unglued! I let her out and she ran as fast as she could out into the field and ran in circles until we got the decoys out and set.

Using the new Wisconsin DNR shooting time App. on my phone, I was able to determine that shooting time was 6:34am. With about a half an hour to wait, Jake and I set up our natural blind, and enjoyed my coffee and watched as the sky showed just a hint of daylight on the eastern horizon. 6:34am and we are loaded and watching the marsh behind us, there has to be ducks that roosted for the night out there.

As that thought entered my head, Jake grabbed my arm and said, “Dad, ducks!” We both got down behind the tall marsh grass and waited for our chance. The first ducks which were teal, went to our right out of gun range. But the next flock lifted and were headed right at us! When they got within range, I hollered “Take’em Jake!” With a flurry of three shots each, two wood ducks were down. Not the best average, .333 if you are a baseball fan, but for the first hunt not bad.

After getting Sadie back to where I could send her out to retrieve the first duck, she made a leap into the water and stayed on line to recover the woodie without any problem. The second duck turned out to be a little more difficult, it sailed to the far side of the field before hitting the ground. Jake took Sadie and headed in the direction of the duck and Sadie was up for the challenge. After a walk of about two hundred yards, Sadie headed into the cover on the field edge and returned proudly with the drake wood duck.

It was now getting time for the geese to start flying and we were watching and listening for the honks of the Canadian goose. It was about 8:00am when the first geese flew over head, and I started my best effort to call them into our decoy spread. But that flock like the next three or four flocks didn’t like what they saw. After a few adjustments, we had the decoys looking like they should bring in the next birds.

We finally had three geese coming in from the southeast and they look interested in joining our decoys for breakfast! As I called, and the birds got closer, I could feel Sadie start shivering with excitement. The big wings of the geese locked up and just as they started to put the landing gear down, I shouted to take’em. Well our batting average didn’t get any better, but we did have one of the three down. Sadie raced out to the big honker and found the right location on the bird and made a perfect retrieve. When she retrieves a bird she take sole ownership of it, why not she deserves it.

The morning ended with that, and we packed up the gear and headed home. I pulled into the driveway and Sadie knew she was home and would get her breakfast and that I would reward her with a couple of treats. When I left for work about an hour later, she was asleep and probably dreaming of the next hunt. Just like I will.

First Hunt!



Trick Out Your Truck

seatBesides being the nation's leading outdoor store, carrying the usual complement of hunting and fishing supplies, did you know we also carry a number of items to customize your vehicle?  It's true, your local Bass Pro Shops is also your vehicle personalization headquarters.wheel

First up, let's start with the interior.  Seat covers are both functional and decorative. You'll find a number of different licensed products, most of which feature camouflage-pattern accent pieces.  Some of the options to choose from include Browning Mossy Oak, Ducks Unlimited, Duck Commander and Realtree. Most of the seat covers also have matching steering wheel covers to provide a unified look for the interior of your vehicle.

airMake sure you check out the selection of floor mats that are available well.  You will find options for both the front and rear of your vehicle.  The floor mat selections include standard and 3-D options.  Designs are available from Bone Collector, Browning Pink/Mossy Oak, Realtree and more. You will also find a ducknumber of logoed air fresheners, and even windshield shades to complete your look.

We haven't forgotten the exterior of your vehicle.  A variety of fishing-and hunting-themed stickers, decals and window clings are available to personalize your windows, bumpers and side panels.  When you are stocking up on ammunition or replacing your hunting clothing, don't forget to trick out your truck!



Crossbow Predators

As an experienced predator hunter I had called in and shot many coyotes and bobcats with both rifles and shotguns, and although i was aware of the increasing popularity of bow hunting i had never considered it for hunting predators. However i retired recently and taking a part time job at Bass Pro brought me into direct contact with new equipment developments in this field and i began to think seriously about it.

In practicing both in the stores range and in my back yard i was amazed at how quickly i was able to shoot accurately even at the ranges of fifty and sixty yards, well within the distances that i had called in and shot predators with a shotgun. In using my crossbow i would be able to have it cocked in the stand, a big advantage over the movement involved in drawing and shooting a compound or a longbow. The real difference would be in shocking power where the accuracy of a high powered rifle bullet would be less important than that of a crossbow bolt. For this reason i selected some wide cutting broad heads to maximize blood loss and to assist in tracking a wounded animal.

The area that I chose for my first crossbow hunt was one where i would have no competition, an old overgrown farm where i had hunted for deer for more than 10 years. It had recently been bulldozed for a housing addition, but the construction did not belong immediately. The deer were gone but there was coyotes scat on every new road. I spent the next week scouting and doing some howling in the evening, and it appeared that i would be dealing with at least two separate packs of coyotes. I selected four calling sites so that i would have choices depending on wind direction. I planned to call early in the mornings and late afternoons although coyotes can be called at any time especially in cold weather when food is scarce. Night calling can also be very successful but is illegal in many areas.

Coyote in Grass

Late one afternoon i slipped quietly into one of my stands and set up with a light breeze in my face. I was wearing camouflage clothing, a face mask and gloves, and sat against a tree to break up my outline. i placed and decoy that looked like a red-tailed hawk and a electronic caller with programed rodent and rabbits distress calls. i had a mouse squeaker tapped to my bow and squeaked every ten minutes, which is important as coyotes maybe close enough to hear it and may respond from several hundred yards away and going to full call mode may scare them off.

Shortly there after two yearling coyotes showed up followed by an alpha female. I loaded my crossbow waited about 10 minutes till she was in range and i was confident enough in my shooting skills to kill her and released the bolt that got her right in the neck, with that i was able to get one of the yearling coyotes with a quick reload. Wow what a day my first crossbow hunt and i got two coyotes. It took two trips to get both coyotes and my equipment home but the elation i felt with my hunt made the trips very easy.

with a little preparation and some face time with Bass Pro employees and the sue of the range i was able to make my very first crossbow hunt extremely successful, and though my first hunt was fruitful unfortunately my next 3 were not, i reviewed what i did with some of the hunting staff at Bass Pro and was able to adjust what i did and got a Bobcat the last day of the season