Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic - Gurnee Mills

  • 2016 Fall Hunting Classic
    Come in an enjoy the "World's Greatest Hunting Show and Sale" 
     
    Trade In Dates:
    *Note: Trade-ins will be donated to charity so they must be in good working order. 
    • Bow & Crossbow Trade-In, August 12-21, Save up to $100 on your trade-in.

    • Optics Trade-In, August 12-21, Save up to $100 on your trade-in.

    • Game Camera Trade-In, August 20-28,Save up to $100 on your trade-in.

    • Hunting Boot Trade-In, August 20-28, Save up to $40 on your trade-in. Hunting Boots that are donated to Soles-4 -Souls. Soles-4-Souls is a global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.

     
     
     
     
     
    Local Pro Seminars! August 20th & 21st Be one of the first 20 to attend one of the seminars and you will receive a FREE Bass Pro Shops Tumbler!
 
  • Saturday, August 20
    • 11am - Archery Tune Up: Be Prepared for the Hunt

    • 2pm - Get Close: Scent Control and Scent Products That Give You the Edge

    • 4pm - Archery Skills: Perfecting Your Shot and How to Play the Wind


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    Sunday, August 21
    • 1pm - Boots 101: Choosing the Right Footwear for your Outing Experience

    • 3pm - Knives and Tools Guide: Your Hunt from Field to Freezer


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    Next Generation Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 27th & 28th 11am - 4pm
     
    • BB Shooting (recommended for kids ages 8-12). First 50 kids each day will receive a FREE Vest & Badge!

    • Archery Range

    • Free Photo Download

    • Canvas Crafts for Kids

    • PLUS! The first 100 kids to completed their punch cards will receive a free turkey backpack.
    •  
    • NRA Membership Drive 
    • Sign up with the NRA in our front lobby and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card! 

     

  • Enter for a Chance To Win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA America's Night Race in Bristol! Total Package valued at $9,900! Plus on (1) winner from our store will receive a NRA Lifetime Membership valued at $1500! 
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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Hunting Classic & Digs for Dogs!

Fall Hunting Classic 2016

The greatest hunting event and sale of the year starts Friday, along with our Third Annual Digs for Dogs Silent Auction!

The Fall Hunting Classic brings you sales, trade-ins, and seminars with our local pros, plus the ever-popular Next Generation weekend for kids!

Trade-ins that start Friday, Aug. 12 aer:

Bow and Crossbow Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every bow or crossbow you bring in (long bows and recurves excluded), receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new bow. Bows will be donated to local non-profit organizations. No limit on the number you can trade in.

Optics Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every working optic you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of new optics. One coupon per new purchase. No limit to number you can trade in.

Local pro seminars are Aug 20 & 21, and Next Generation weekend is Aug. 27 & 28. For complete details on the Fall Hunting Classic visit www.basspro.com/classic!


During the Classic, starting this weekend, we'll have the 2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns and Safes - all three weekends - Aug. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28!

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Our Third Annual Digs for Dogs Silent Auction starts Friday! Come check out the FABULOUS houses that have been crafted and donated to help raise money for the Puppy Jake Foundation. Puppy Jake assists two of our most cherished groups at the store - Veterans and dogs! They train service dogs which are then matched up with veterans.

This year's doghouses run the spectrum of big and small, fancy and streamlined! But you have to see them to believe them and appreciate them!

Digs for Dogs 2016

__________________________

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2016 Fall Hunting Classic!

www.basspro.com

 

 

It’s August! You know what that means – 2016 Fall Hunting Classic is right around the corner.

 

 

Visit your local Bass Pro Shops for The World’s Greatest Hunting Show and Sale of the year, 2016 Fall Hunting Classic, August 12-28!

 

 

 

 

Do you need NEW gear? Trade in your old gear and save some $$$   !

What are you in the market for?

  • Bow and Crossbow Trade-In        August 12-21
  • Optics Trade-In                                August 12-21
  • Game Camera Trade-In                August 20-28
  • Hunting Boot Trade- In                   August 20-28

*Applies to prices marked. Limit 1 coupon per new item. Donate all working bows, crossbows, riflescopes, binoculars, laser rangefinders, game cameras and gently worn hunting or rubber boots during the trade-in dates and receive a discount coupon to be used toward the purchase of a new bow, crossbow, riflescope, binoculars, laser rangefinder, game camera, or hunting or rubber boots. All trade-ins will be inspected to ensure good working order and then donated to local organizations to help with their outdoor education programs.

 

2nd Amendment Instant Savings are back all 3 weekends! August 12-14, 19-21, 26-28

Instant Savings on guns and safes! Save up to $100, purchase a gun or safe using our Bass Pro Shops credit card and receive an instant rebate up to $100!

Offer valid in-store on in-stock guns and gun safes only.

 

FREE Local Pro Hunting Tips and Seminars

 

August 20

  • 11 am    Archery Tune-Up; Prepare Your Gear For The Hunt
  • 2 pm      Get Close; Scent Control and Scent Products That Give You The Edge
  • 4 pm      Archery Skills; Perfecting Your Shot and How To Play The Wind

 

August 21www.basspro.com

  • 1 pm      Boots 101; Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience
  • 3 pm      Knives and Tools Guide; Your Hunt From Field to Freezer

 

*FREE Tumbler Giveaway – to the first 20 seminar attendees each day. Must be 18 years old or older.

 

August 20

  • 3 pm      FREE Women’s Hunting Workshop!

*FREE Mug Giveaway- to the first 25 women to attend this workshop. Must be 18 years old or older

 

NRA Membership Drive August 20-21

Sign up to be an NRA Member in-store and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card.

 

Next Generation Weekend

August 27-28      11am-4 pm

  • FREE BB Gun Shooting Range- Try out our BPS/Daisy BB Shooting Range and challenge your friends!
  • FREE Kids Archery Challenge- take aim and hit the target
  • FREE Giveaway! The first 50 kids to complete both BB Shooting and Archery Challenge (each day) will receive an orange vest and a Next Generation Patch!
  • FREE Photo Download- you on a cover or get photo bombed!
  • FREE  Craft
  • FREE Giveaway! Drawstring backpacks to the first 100 kids each day

                                 

 

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Fall Hunting Classic 2016!

Fall Hunting Classic

The Fall Hunting Classic Returns!

August 12-28

The world's biggest hunting sale and event is back with great sales, new products, trade-in opportunities, Local Pro seminars, and the family favorite - Next Generation Weekend!

Trade-Ins

Trade in your old gear to save money on new!

Bow and Crossbow Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every bow or crossbow you bring in (long bows and recurves excluded), receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new bow. Bows will be donated to local non-profit organizations. No limit on the number you can trade in.

Optics Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every working optic you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of new optics. One coupon per new purchase. No limit to number you can trade in.

Game Camera Trade-In - Aug. 20-28 - For every working game camera you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new game camera. No limit on the number of game cameras traded in - one coupon per new camera. Trade-ins will be donated to Polk County Conservation for use in catching vandalism and dumping of trash.

Hunting Boots - Aug. 20-28 - For every hunting or rubber boot traded in, receive a coupon for a discount on a new pair of hunting boots. One coupon per new pair. Traded-in boots will be donated to Soles4SouChance Patrickls.

Local Pro SeminarsMaria Young

Join our Hunting Local Pros Maria Young and Chance Patrick on Saturday, Aug. 20 for an afternoon of learning and fun at these seminars.

Saturday, August 20

Free giveaways at each session!

11am  - Archery Tune-Up:Prepare Your Gear For The Hunt - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

2pm  - Get Close: Scent Control And Scent Products That Give You The Edge - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

3pm - Women's Hunting Workshop - Join Maria to find out more about hunting from a female perspective - and the best way to balance family, work, and life in general, while enjoying the hunt! First 25 receive a BPS mug, plus Maria usually brings some fun giveaways!

4pm - Archery Skills: Perfecting Your Shot and How To Play The Wind - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

Sunday, August 21

Our top notch hunting team brings you these two sessions - First 20 at each session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

11am  Boots 101: Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience

3pm   Knives and Tools Guide: Your Hunt From Field to Freezer

 

Next Generation Weekend

Another special weekend JUST for the kids!Fall Hunting Classic

August 27 & 28
11am - 4pm each day

  • BB Shooting range  wall art craft
  • Archery Challenge
  • Free photo download
  • Crafts - Wall Art craft! Color a canvas that's attached to a wood frame then hang it in your room!
  • Giveaways - First 100 kids who complete the punch card each day and get a free turkey drawstring bag!

 

Also going on during the Fall Hunting Classic:

  • 2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns and Safes - all three weekends - Aug. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28
  • NRA Membership Drive - Aug. 20-21 - Sign up for an NRA membership in-store and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

__________________________

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Upcoming Store Events! Did someone say hunting??

Hey everyone!  We’ve been having tons of fun over here at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, AZ.  For the past 3 weeks we’ve been enjoying Family Summer Camp and also teaching kids how to fish at the AZGFD/KTAR Get Outdoors Expo.  It’s been a blast! What I wanted to share with you today is information about some of the other events that will be coming up over the next couple months.  Let's get started!

 

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NRA Freedom Days

Event Dates: July 23rd & 24th

NRA Member Drive:

Sign up to be an NRA member in-store and receive a $25.00 Bass Pro Shops Gift card

Free Plano Gun Case with any handgun purchase of $300.00 or more (while supplies last)

2nd Amendment Instant Savings: instant savings when customer purchases a gun that is equal to the value of their sales tax up to $150.

 

Seminars:

Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug to first 20 seminar attendees each day

 

Saturday July 23

·         11AM Gun Safety

·         2PM  Dress Your MSR

·         3PM Conceal Carry Basics

 

 

Sunday July 24

·         2PM Conceal Carry Basics                

·         3PM Shooting Range Accessories

 

NRA Sweepstakes: July 24-August 28

1 Winner Nationally

Grand Prize: Trip for winner and up to 3 guest to the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA America's Night Race in Bristol 

 

1 Winner per store location

First place prize: Lifetime Membership to the NRA

 

 

2016 Fall Hunting Classic

This annual event is back!  We will be bringing you some of the best deals on hunting gear to get you set up for the upcoming season!

Sale Dates August 12th-28th

Trade-In Program:

Trade in your old gear for a coupon towards news gear!

Dates:

August 12-21: Bow and Optics

August 20-28: Game Camera and Hunting Boots

 

Hunting Workshops and Seminars:

Saturday August 20:

  • 11am- Archery Tune-Up: Prepare Your Gear For the Hunt
  • 2pm- Get Close: Scent Control And Scent Products That Give You The Edge
  • 3pm- Women’s Hunting Workshop (*special giveaway for the first 25 attendees)
  • 4pm- Archery Skills: Perfecting Your Shot And How To Play The Wind

Sunday August 21:

  • 11am- Boots 101: Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience
  • 3pm- Knives And Tools Guide: Your Hunt From Field to Freezer

Sweepstakes:

Come on in to enter for a chance to win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA America’s Night Race in Bristol!

Dates: July 23-August 28

Next Generation Weekend:

Dates: August 27th & 28th

Times: 11am-4pm each day

Activities:

  • Daisy BB Gun Shooting Range
  • Archery Challenge
  • Free Photo Download
  • Free Crafts
  • Free Drawstring Backpack To The FIRST 100 Kids Who Complete Their Punch Card Each Day 

For any questions please call 602-606-5600.  You can find us on the web at https://www.facebook.com/bpsmesa/

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Set Your Sights!

Set Your Sights Event!

Better your long-range shooting skills, learn the basics of handgun concealed carry and home defense from the Altoona Police Department, and get up to speed on the latest in accessories & optics!
Free seminars and free giveaway for the first 25 at each seminar! Quadruple Rewards Points on select items with coupon from sales flyer (May 13 & 14)
• Drawing for 1 Bass Pro Shops® $25 Gift Cards at each advertised seminar
• PLUS, enter for a Chance to win 1 of 2 prizes!

Savage 64F Black .22 LR Rifle
or
Howard Leight Impact Sport Hearing Protection Muffs

Friday, May 13
6:30PM Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
7:30PM The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense - presented by the Altoona PD

Saturday, May 14
1:30 PM Long Range Shooting - Guns and Optics for the 1,000-Yard Shot
2:30 PM Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
3:30 PM The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense - Presented by the Altoona PD
4:30 PM Long Range Shooting - Guns and Optics for the 1,000-Yard Shot

 

Then next weekend it's time to Go Outdoors!

___________________________________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - MOM!

This weekend it's all about mom! Grab the kids, let mom have the day off, and come in for a free family photo to present her for Mother's Day. There's also a $10 package!

Mother's Day Photos

May 6 - 5-8 p.m.

May 7 - 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Mother's Day Photos

 

Coming up next weekend?

Set Your Sights Event

Better your long-range shooting skills, learn the basics of handgun concealed carry and home defense from the Altoona Police Department, and get up to speed on the latest in accessories & optics!
Free seminars and free giveaway for the first 25 at each seminar! Quadruple Rewards Points on select items with coupon from sales flyer (May 13 & 14)
• Drawing for 1 Bass Pro Shops® $25 Gift Cards at each advertised seminar
• PLUS, enter for a Chance to win 1 of 2 prizes!
Savage 64F Black .22 LR Rifle
or
Howard Leight Impact Sport Hearing Protection Muffs

Friday, May 13
6:30PM Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
7:30PM The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense

Saturday, May 14
1:30 PM Long Range Shooting - Guns and Optics for the 1,000-Yard Shot
2:30 PM Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
3:30 PM The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense
4:30 PM Long Range Shooting - Guns and Optics for the 1,000-Yard Shot

 

Then the next weekend is Go Outdoors!

___________________________________________

Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona
Visit us @ www.basspro.com/altoona
Tweet us @bassproaltoona
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View us @ 
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Optics For Your MSR

MSR with SPARC III knew I'd need to get some type of optic for my new AR-15 MSR right after shooting it for the first time.  It wasn't that the rifle wasn't accurate enough without putting something on it, but rather I wasn't accurate enough.  I couldn't see the target or the sights in fine enough detail to allow any kind of precision shooting that I'd become used to with bolt-action rifles and Leupold scopes.  But what optic should I put on it?  Reticle scope, reflex, prism, or telescopic red dot?  Did I want something military grade or would I have to settle for something a little less expensive?  It's would be a tough choice for anyone, especially for a guy who has a hard time choosing.

I was looking for a sight that could do double duty as a hunting optic as well as home defense, but those are normally two entirely different pieces of equipment with unique performance characteristics.  Hunting sights might be adjustable for up close or long-range work, while home defense sights are normally fixed power because the ranges are limited.  Hunting weapons require repeatable sub-MOA precision from steady rests (for the most part) but defensive weapons require fast target acquisition from sometimes unusual positions.  So what sight will do both those jobs?

I ultimately chose the SPARC II by Vortex and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Mounting and sighting in (bore sighting, then zeroing at the range) was very quick and took way fewer shots than I expected.  And now, after having put about 500 rounds downrange while looking through the sight, I believe it's ready for just about anything I throw at it including defending the house or a impromptu hunting trip.  Unlimited eye relief allows the sight to be mounted anywhere on the upper's picatinny rail, and zero parallax error provides reliable sighting even when the shooter isn't sighting directly down the center of the scope.  The 2MOA red dot is small enough to allow precision work at reasonable distances but is still large enough to pickup quickly when speed matters.  The dot's intensity is adjustable over a wide range of settings to ensure good visibility in low light or on the brightest days.  Numerous mounting options allow for co-witnessing iron sights or low-profile mounting in a more traditional hunting configuration.  All caps have retention cables and flip-up covers are included.  What more could you ask for?

I don't expect to be picking off prairie dogs at 300 yards but using the rifle for wild hogs here in Florida is a distinct possibility.  Hitting my target shouldn't be too much of an issue as long as I don't have too much coffee in the morning.  The SPARC II has proven to be a nice piece of equipment that should give me years of shooting enjoyment as well as come through in clutch situations.  Check them out if you're looking for an affordable high quality scope with great features and an impeccable warranty program.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

     

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My Pick: First Rifle

Last month we took a look at my pick for someone’s very first shotgun. Wouldn’t you know it, a longtime friend and mentor actually came in a week or so later, looking for his very first shotgun. He has hit heart set on a nice over/under, but the price difference and practicality of a pump-action might just win out here. And as I said in last month’s blog, this go around we are going to look at my pick for one’s very first rifle. I will choose it based on the similar parameters I set with the shotgun (affordability, reliability, practicality, etc.). Let’s get started.

Rifles are long-gun firearms designed to be shot from the shoulder. Their barrels are “rifled” to give extra accuracy to your shot. They have been used for a couple centuries now for both survival and warfare. When firearms became more abundant, the whole landscape of warfare changed. Rifles have evolved from the ancient muzzle-loading style to our current automatic configurations. Fully-automatic rifles are limited to military and police use, unless one owns a special permit. Most commonly we civilians will use some form of a bolt-action, lever action or semi-automatic action. This latter one is commonly called an AR-15, which uneducated people will tell you stands for Assault Rifle. It actually stands for Armalite, which was the first company to start making civilian models of the M-16, which the gun is so heavily based on. Nowadays we refer to these firearms as MSRs, or Modern Sporting Rifles. Like any other tool we humans use, our rifles have evolved right along with us.

While a MSR is an excellent firearm, I would not suggest it for one’s first rifle. Likewise, I would refrain from picking up a lever-action model. Don’t get me wrong, the Arizonan inside me lusts for a lever-action but I do strongly believe a bolt-action is the way to go. Bolt actions are a simpler firearm and are much more accurate than either lever-actions or MSRs.

        

Before we get any further, let’s quickly talk about sights. Sights are what you utilize to acquire your target and then shoot at it. There are numerous kinds, but it generally breaks down to two forms. There are “iron sights” which are built in sights that usually contain no magnification. And then there is “glass” which applies to a whole diverse family of scopes. Common knowledge tells us that you will actually end up paying more for your optics than you will your rifle, because a good scope makes all the difference. But manufacturers have been able to make excellent optics options that will not break the bank.

Bolt action rifles have the capability to hold several rounds, depending on the firearm and the caliber, at a time. One would load their firearm, work the bolt back which feeds a round upwards and when the bolt is worked forward it chambers the round. Once the safety is off and the target is acquired, one would squeeze the trigger to fire the gun. Afterwards the same working of the bolt action is required, but the spend case will be extracted and a new round will be chambered.

Most people get a bolt-action .22 rifle for their first firearm. Unfortunately since .22 ammo has become harder to find, (check out this article) this would not be my choice for a first rifle. And while this caliber is great for dispatching smaller game, it is ineffective against larger game. My thought process is that if it is my first gun (and only rifle for the foreseeable future) I want it to be able to handle big game that I hope to hunt one day (antelope, deer and elk).

Affordability and the ability to acquire rounds of the caliber as well are a major concern. 300 Win Mag is an excellent caliber (and has grown in significant popularity since American Sniper) but the cost (and recoil) may keep people from practicing enough with it. So we take a look at two of the most commonly owned rifle calibers, .270 Win and .30-06 Sprg. These two calibers have been keeping meat in the freezers for almost a century and people who favor one caliber to the other swear by it. I personally own a .30-06Sprg but talk to one of leads at the store and he will proudly tote the ability of his .270 Win all day.

My honest pick for a first-rifle caliber would be .308Win. This is another extremely popular caliber, that makes a good sized hole on a target but not too big of one in your wallet. Go online and you will find dozens of sources that can provide you will ballistic information. This is a well-studied, documented and proven round. It has good knockdown power (would work well on deer, antelope and elk if all in reasonable and ethical shooting points) but not enough recoil to hurt most people after a full day of shooting. You can also pick up ammunition for this caliber in bulk packs, which helps with the affordability.

Now for the big reveal: my pick for one’s first rifle would be a Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP Combo. This is a great firearm that checks all the boxes I am looking for. It is reliable, practical and affordable. Most people will tell you that when you buy a combo rifle, meaning it comes with a scope already on it, the first thing you do is toss the scope and buy a new one. This combo does come with a Nikon scope, which are a good piece of glass. It is a 3-9x40mm, which is one of the most common and utilitarian scope setups and is backed by an excellent warranty. In .308Win this rifle weighs 7.25lbs (unloaded) and can hold four rounds plus one in the chamber. It shares a couple similar characteristics with the Mossberg 500 as reasons why I think it is a perfect first-gun. The safety for it is on the tang of the grip, so switching it on and off is a breeze. It is also large enough that one can easily operate it when using thick gloves and the large red-colored indicator is a nice touch. This gun is also synthetic, which makes it a perfect first-gun.

Wood is beautiful. Wood is great. Wood is art. But… wood swells, wood shrinks, wood absorbs water, wood is affected by altitude and humidity whereas synthetic stocks do not have any of those issues. Like I said with the last blog, you can also buy a nice wood-stock firearm next but for first time go synthetic and last a long time.

Next time we will cover handguns, but first we will look at one of my favorite firearms: the revolver.

-Giddy-Up!!

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Traditional Bow Hunting: Scouting the Game

6th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Scouting for Game

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.

 

Introduction:

It’s getting close to the beginning of our season. To date we’ve been practicing, fine tuning our equipment, getting in shape physically and mentally for our hunt. We know where we are hunting but we don’t know where the deer are or will be when we want them. Now what?

From a lifetime of hunting, the one thing I suggest you do every year, besides practice, is to get out and scout. Check out what’s changed since last year that can affect the deer’s patterns. Things like weather, changes in the forest, floods and wind blow downs. Also look at man made changes patterning from planting, cutting trees, putting in new roads or a new landowner.

In traditional bowhunting we derive great pleasure of being in the woods and close to our game, the opposite; because we want to get close changes in the woods are in favor of our prey. We cannot assume things will stay the same year to year. The guys and gals with permanent stands often get frustrated when they no longer see game.

There are no guarantees of a harvest every year when we hunt. You have heard the term “hunting hard” well I like to “hunt smart and hard.” Hunting smart is using all the tools and knowledge available to you before, during and after the season. One of my favorite hunting quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, “Hunting is not a Game. In a game both sides know what’s going on.” I don’t know if I agree with this statement in these times. I believe due to the numbers of hunters, deer definitely have been educated and are more sensitive. To overcome and take the advantage we need to get wiser every year.

Scouting Starts By Getting Familiar With The Woods

I talk to many deer hunters every year that start their scouting just weeks before they hunt or feel they are secure in the same place as last year. You owe to yourself to get into the woods as early as possible. August is a good time to start checking game trails that lead to water or fields. These won’t change much as we enter the season. There will always be activity by water or fields. You just need to know when to expect the activity. All knowledge of walking the woods you are going to hunt helps you.

Tools For Scouting                                                                                    

We live in a technology world so let’s take advantage of these tech tools as well as some tried and true:

  • Google Earth
  • GPS
  • Phone Apps
  • Trail Cameras
  • Binoculars
  • Talking to the Local Game Warden
  • A Topographic Map
  • A Compass

Long Distance Scouting with Google                                                    

You have permission to hunt a relative’s property you haven’t been to before and its hours away this is where using Google maps gives you your overview of the property and ideas of how to hunt it.

I’m a DIY (Do It Yourself) hunter by choice and necessity. Around 20 percent of my hunting this fall will be done on public land. The rest will be on small pieces of private land in heavily hunted areas. To harvest deer, I have to find areas that concentrate deer movement while offering some measure of relief from hunting pressure. In other words, I’m going to hunt places where deer feel comfortable, and where terrain features force them to walk. And all of this can be done with help of Google Earth and Google Maps.

Most people have used Google’s mapping at some point, if only for directions to go out for dinner.

Scouting Using Google                                                                               

 But if you haven’t ever used Google Maps, go to Google.com and type in the name of a location, such as your hometown. On the right-hand side of the results page, you’ll likely see a map of the area. Click on that and you’ll be sent to Google Maps.

Depending on how your Google preferences are set, you’ll see either a standard map that shows roads and bodies of water or a full-featured aerial image.

For scouting, you are most interested in the aerial “satellite” view. If you don’t see it, click on the box in the upper right corner that allows you to toggle between the “map” view and the “satellite” view. The satellite imagery will not only show you roads, but will also show you an aerial image of the area you intend to hunt. And that’s what we are looking for.

Using the basic Google Maps system, you’ll be able to zoom in on your intended hunting area and see a ton of detail.

  • Is it wooded?
  • Are there crops?
  • How many access roads are there?

Google Maps, on its own, will give you a great start on long-distance scouting. But it’s just the start to really do some serious long distance scouting you’ll want to install Google Earth. It’s a free. Once installed you can start focusing in on spots to harvest your deer this season. 

In the upper left corner of the Google Earth window, you’ll see a “Search” area. Then, type in the name of a location near where you intend to hunt. If you’re hunting a state game area or other public area, you should be able to type in the name of the location and the system will zoom right to it.

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Learn The Topography                                                                               

Once you’ve found the general area you wish to look at, zoom in. The system will act very much like Google Maps did. But, once you’ve zoomed into a certain level, the perspective of the map will change, and you’ll be given a three-dimensional view of the area’s topography. Using the adjusters on the upper right of the map, you can change the angle and viewing level to really get a feel for the lay of the land. Scouting areas with hills, streams or mountains has never been easier. Much of the area I’ve been looking over this summer for a January hunt, for example, is located Noth-North-West of St. Louis Mo., is farm land and I know from conversations with the farmer that he will be planting beans. Finding saddles and benches is critical to finding areas of key deer movement. Using Google Earth’s 3-D imaging, I’m able to locate those features without hiking miles terrain.

Mark the Sweet Spots                                                                  

Google Earth allows you to mark locations with a digital “push pin” and save them for future reference. Each pin will also tell you the exact longitude and latitude coordinates for that location. You can take those coordinates, plug them into your GPS unit and walk right to the spot, even in the dark.

Measure Distances                                                                   

 Familiarize yourself with the system’s tools. It’s incredibly worth it. They make long-distance scouting more productive and simpler. For example, I use the system’s “Ruler” tool all the time. As a Spot-N-Stalk hunter, this feature in Google gives me insight to the times of day I want to work in and out of a spot. Simply choose the tool, choose the unit of measurement you want to use (miles, yards, feet, etc.) and then click on your starting point. Now drag the ruler line to your destination. The ruler will measure the distance as you move. It’s an invaluable tool for determining how far the hunting area you’ve selected is from all potential access points. And, with your preferred route of travel marked, zoom in to the 3-D image view level. Rotate the screen around a bit and you’ll see the line you drew will lay to the contours of the land. This will tell you exactly how many hills you’ll be climbing on your chosen path of travel.

Map with Your Phone                                                                          

 All of these tools are certainly handy. But what if you want to look at an aerial image on your phone while you’re actually on the ground? One option is to simply install and open the Google Earth app on your phone, where you’ll be able to access the same 3-D imagery and many of the same tools. In areas with solid cell coverage, the app will zip right along. But if the coverage is spotty, be aware that it takes time to download the imagery, and your battery won’t last long. 

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The better, faster option for many remote hunting areas is to create a custom map overlay ahead of time on your home computer, export that file, e-mail it to yourself, and then open the file in Google Earth on your phone while you’re in an area with good service. Once the map is open, you should be able to use it anywherer. To do this, save the locations that you’d like to transfer in Google Earth on your home computer, and then simply right-click on the selections in the “My Places” area (it’s on the left side of the screen) and click “save as.” Be sure to choose the .KML option if you’ll be using the file on an iOS device.

 

 

 

Does It Work                                                                                      

Last fall I got permission to hunt a new area that I’d never seen before. The landowner told me the parcel’s boundaries weren’t marked very well. So, using a copy of the county plat map as reference, I used Google Earth to draw the boundary lines. I saved them in the “My Places” section, exported the file, and then e-mailed it to myself. Upon arriving at the location, I simply downloaded the .KML file from my e-mail, opened it in Google Earth and bingo; I had my own custom boundary map. As I walked around the property, the Google Earth system showed me where I was, and the red boundary lines I had created were clearly visible on the map. Google Maps and Google Earth may seem like fairly simple systems to use. Aerial photos, after all, are time-tested scouting tools. But the options and power behind these digital scouting devices is awesome. There are far too many uses, tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way to cover them all here. In fact, I’m still learning something new every time I use it. But this should get you started, and I suspect you’ll soon wonder how you ever scouted without them.

Google Earth can be downloaded at http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/

Handheld GPS Unit                                                                      

Working with Google is great as I have stated but a good handheld GPS unit is far better and more reliable in my opinion, especially in heavy timber and out west in the mountains. The options are outstanding today in GPS units. Make sure you look at units that you can download existing coordinates. Make sure you give yourself time to play with and get comfortable with the unit before you get to the woods. The GPS unit is great for scouting now as you work the game trails you will always have reference point throughout the season.

Phone Apps                                                                                          

As the saying goes there’s an app for everything and I think every year I play with a dozen or so. However, honestly they will never replace my GPS, Topo Map and Compass. Call me old fashion, yes I am but, I have had things go wrong (we’ll call it Murphy’s Law) and cell phones are just not that dependable for me yet.

Now having said this, I have used them when hunting locally which means there are several cell towers close and I will be sleeping in my own bed at night. A good example of what can happen is a few years ago in Northern Wisconsin. I came across 3 hunters that were lost, their phones were on low battery, they had no signal, it was cold and they were turned around going deeper into the woods. It can happen to the best of us. I loaned these hunters my GPS (after I pulled my Sims card) with instructions on where they could drop it off and continued to hunt.

Trail Cameras                                                                                    

Trail cameras scout when you’re not there. They have become an essential to many a hunter. Are they worth it? It depends on every hunter’s situation. Can you get to the trail camera often enough to make it worth your while? If you have to travel long distances then a trail camera becomes a different scouting tool.

I am a big believer in the use of trail cameras. They help me get an idea of activity on the trails of both wildlife and human depending on where I’m hunting. As I had mentioned earlier, I will be hunting in eastern Missouri late in the season, so the use of a trail cam will give me another view while I hunt one area. I will put the trail cam on another that I had found through Google Earth. On my way out of the woods I will pick it up and check out activity that night.

Trail cams will show you times when deer are moving, whether the deer are nocturnal or moving mid-day which can change before the rut. Get a trail cam that gives you good range and information like weather, moon, date and time.

One last comment on trail cameras: you must be scent free as possible. A good tip would be to use latex gloves when you put them up, as well as being as stealthy as possible in order to not disrupt the trail.

Binoculars Are A Must                                                                   

Mine are always with me whether I am scouting or hunting! We want to see the deer or game first and binoculars are our best option for this. This is a hunting tool of importance and value so discuss the best available for your budget. The BPS Hunting Professionals can help you find clear clean optics that will give you the advantage of spotting bedded game, ears or antlers in tall grass.

Talk To The Local Game Warden                                                              

Call and introduce yourself. These men and women want the best for both the game and the hunter. You’ll be able and get valuable information on winds, feeding and sometimes more, like when the locals hunt or don’t hunt.

I have NEVER had a bad conversation with these men and women. By introducing yourself, you are showing your interest in hunting ethically and after who better to get a last double check on understanding a rule.

A Topographic Map and A Compass                                             

These are my never fail standbys and are in my fanny pack and in my pack along with some other essentials. I would go as far as recommending an Orienteering Class sometime in your future especially if you ever go out west to hunt without a guide. You can get Topographic books at Bass Pro Shops or order them. They are an excellent back up to technology.

 

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Fish Will Appear +1.5 to +2.50 times bigger with your C-MATES on!

Picture courtesy of Costa

Costa sunglasses new C-MATES Sunglasses with readers will help you see the small stuff. It has been incredible for me tying on a drop shot hook to reading my detailed Insight Genesis maps on my Lowrance units. These new sunglasses no longer have a visible line around the front of the bifocal area. You can also now get them in the superior 580 technology lenses you’ve come to expect from Costa sunglasses. Many of the new styles are available and they have just added a third power range of +2.00 that fits in nicely between the +1.50 and the +2.50. 

If you’re like most of the mature outdoorsmen, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a time or two when it would have helped if you had been wearing a pair of reading glasses, and even better if they’d been sunglasses. There are a number of activities that these glasses can enhance you outdoor experience with.  Think how much easier or more pleasant these activities could be with reader and sunglasses together. Now imagine having a quality pair of sunglasses that will also allow you to tie a hook, or be able to read the numbers from your GPS device without switching from sunglasses to your reading glasses. Welcome to Costa C-Mates which will allow you to do just that!


If you were wearing quality sunglasses that protected your eyes from the sun and glare the C-Mates will allow you to read and see better. Now you can enjoy your time on the water a bit more, especially if you’re into fishing or any other sport involving the water. Quality sunglasses help to not strain your vision when the glare of the sun hits the water. With Costa C-Mates not only would you be protected from the sun, but you’d also be able to read the small print information printed on packaging on your favorite lure boxes. Hunters could see the site pin better without eye discomfort while bow hunting.

 

             Picture courtesy of Costa


When I started wearing Costa Del Mar’s C-mates it took me a little bit to getting used to them.  Once you get used to wearing them you can enjoy their full potential even more. It does take a bit of time to get used to just using your eyes to glace down, instead of our normal tendency to tilt our entire head in a different direction to see something small. Now with the C-Mates on you just use your eyes to look through the reading part of the lens. While driving with the glasses on all you have to do is look forward; rarely have I realized that the reading element is even there.

These sunglasses are the most ideal way to enhance your outdoor experience without having to find a pair of reading glasses while in the outdoors. So the next time you are fishing while wearing your Costa C-Mates the only line you will see is the one you tie to your hook!

 

Each pair of Costa Del Mar Sunglasses features 100% protection from UV A, B, and C rays, 100% polarization, water-repellent coating, and anti-reflective coating. Mirrored lenses are made of top-quality optical glass. Manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.

 

 

About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and Prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville, Ga. He is also a retired Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service in 2013. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice (501c3) (www.operationonevoice.org)

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Product Spotlight - Blowguns

Blowguns are now in stock at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

Archery Lead Chad Benson has used a blow gun a few times. He says he shot his around 20 yards and, with practice, a person can be pretty accurate with them. These aren't toys. These are the real deal and should be used with safety precautions, like all weapons.

We have two blowgun brands.

1. The ShowStopper 48 is a .40 caliber professional 48" blowgun from Gamo®. The ShowStopper has a foam comfort grip, fiber optic front sights, and a carry sling. You also get 48 darts, in four different types of "fuel." At the store we also have replacement fuel in Distractor, Destroyer, and Paralyzer.

2. The Big Bore .625 Magnum (a division of Cold Steel, Inc.) - We have the 5 ft, two-piece blowgun and the 4ft. blowgun. The two-piece is especially good for hunters who want one that is easily packable with the rest of their gear. These both also have a rubber ferrule, or tip, which means they can act as a hiking pole, but if you want to pack it, then the two-piece wins. In package includes 36 darts - 6 stun, 15 mini-broadhead, and 15 bamboo darts). We also carry replacement Big Bore darts.

So, if you're an experienced hunter wanting to try a unique approach to small game hunting, come check these out at the store.

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Trade ‘Em On In: Bows 2015

Several times throughout the year we hold a trade-in for items. This is a great chance to bring us something old and get some savings on something new! We have done trade-ins for bows, optics, fishing poles, video games and I am sure more.  (Last one we did was for our Gone Fishing Event.) With our Fall Hunting Classic starting off, we are unveiling this year’s bow trade-in.

The bow trade-in works quite simply. You bring us an old bow/crossbow and trade it in for a coupon. That coupon will save you money on a new bow/crossbow. You pick out what you want and the coupon will take off a certain amount on your purchase. See below for exact details. Bada-boom!

But what if you don’t have an older bow to trade in? You can purchase a cheaper one at the store and use that for your trade-in! The thing to remember is that these bows do get donated to local youth-groups or non-profits. So this equipment that gets traded in does go to good use and may in fact inspire the next generation of archers!

The trade-in will run from August 3rd until August 16th! This trade-in does exclude long bows and recurve bows.

Now parents, I am sure that many of you are getting requests from your kids to get into archery. And that is awesome! It is a great way for kids to learn several important skill-sets and keeps them from staying indoors all the time. There are also numerous scholarships for archery that go unclaimed! My suggestion for you would be to encourage your kids to get into archery and look at a “grow with you” bow. These are bows are specifically designed to grow and match your child’s development through many years. (That Bear Cruzer package is a pretty sweet option.)

So what are you waiting for?! Now is the time to get something prime!

We've got some great archery deals online, too! www.basspro.com/Hunting/_/T-12425000000

-Giddy-Up!!

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Summer Fun In The Sun

Does packing for summer vacations overwhelm you? We all know how easy it is to forget something or not know exactly what to bring on your trip. Bass Pro Shops has everything you need for your summer vacation. Here are a few tips and must have items that are perfect for your vacation plans this summer.  

Sunscreen

Don’t forget your Banana Boat sunscreen to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.  It is important to consider sunscreen (SPF) or Sun Protection Factor. An SPF of 15 will block about 94% of the UVB rays, an SPF of 30 will block about 97% of UVB rays, and an SPF of 45 will block about 98% of rays. It’s best to apply sunscreen to dry skin fifteen minutes prior to going outdoors. It is good to reapply every two hours or follow the directions on the manufacturer’s bottle.  Another good tip to remember when purchasing sunscreen is that broad spectrum sunscreen not only protects from UVB rays, but it also protects from UVA rays.

Chairs

What better way to relax on vacation then to sit down and enjoy the view? We have a variety of chairs in our camping department that are perfect for all occasions.

Sun Shade

Ever feel like you need a break from the sun? Well, we have the perfect solution for that. The Bass Pro Instant Shade Shelter can be used at just about any location and is easy to assemble. It has a water-resistant polyester roof and side panels that offer great shade protection. There are also large mesh panels that offer a nice breeze to come through. A carrying bag and stakes are included. The size of the shelter is 9”L x 5”11”D x 5”2”H and it weighs about 5lbs.

Coolers

We carry a variety of cooler brands including Bass Pro Shops, Coleman, Igloo, and YETI. New for 2015 is Igloo’s Super Tough STX-120 Chest Cooler priced at $154.99.  The STX-120 is made in the USA, comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty, and is rated at 5-day ice retention at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Towels

Towels are a must have when surrounded by water. We have a large selection of beach towels including Bass Pro, Browning, Red Head, Guy Harvey and Salt Life.

Sunglasses

What better way to protect your eyes from the sun then a nice pair of sunglasses? We offer a variety of brands including Costa Del Mar, Maui Jim, Oakley, Wiley X, Under Armor, Ray Bands, Salt Life, XPS, Spy Optics, Body Glove, Strike King, Ironman Triathlon, Native Eyewear, and Smith Optics.  The Costa Blackfin 580P Polarized Sunglasses are a staple of any fisherman.  The polycarbonate lenses deliver quality eye protection and crisp vision in any conditions. You have to wear them to see and believe the difference! Costa lenses come in many colors for various light conditions.

Costa Lenses:

  • Blue Mirror Encapsulated mirrors deliver superior contrast and color in full sun and eliminate glare (gray base).
  • Amber Excellent all-around lens delivers the brightest field of vision.
  • Gray Maintains color saturation and natural contrast in medium to bright sun conditions.
  • Copper Cuts glare and enhances contrast and color in all conditions.
  • Green Mirror Encapsulated mirrors enhance visual acuity and eliminate glare (copper and amber base).
  • Silver Mirror Encapsulated mirrors enhance visual acuity and eliminate glare (copper and amber base).

Costa Del Mar Sunglasses on basspro.com: http://goo.gl/C9eXQF

Floats

Floats are a perfect way to kick back and relax in the water. Whether you want to lie down or sit up, we have the perfect floats for you. The Intex 18 Pocket Suntanner Pool Lounge is a perfect float for lying down and relaxing around the pool and they come in two different colors. We also have tubes and kids wings available that provide comfort and safety for the summer.

Swim Goggles

Whether you’re swimming laps in the pool or exploring the coastline, we have you covered!  Speedos Vanquisher Mirrored goggles are comfortable to wear and mirrored design helps reduce brightness and glare on the water.  The hypo-allergenic, anti-fog lenses offer UV protection of 95+ and are PVC and latex free. For those looking to explore underwater, check out the Agua Lung Sport Magellan Purge Silicone Swim Mask.  This mask is loaded with great features including a double-window design with tempered glass lenses.  This is a mask you will want to take your next snorkeling adventure.

Swim Wear

The Bass Pro Shops Stripe Swim Shorts for men are 100% polyester allowing them to dry fast and be comfortable on the beach or on the boat! For ladies, we also have Natural Reflections bikini’s and tankini bathing suits.

Water Toys

Water toys are perfect to keep kids busy and entertained. We have a wide variety of water toys that can be for all ages. There are different toys such as Swim Way Toypedo’s, the Stream Machine Water Gun, and the Swim Ways Battle Reef Micros and Shark toys.

Sandals

 

When you head to the water, don’t forget your footwear!  We have a great selection of men’s and women’s sandals!  The women’s Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 are very popular. The footbed is even made from real yoga mat with a rubber outsole! They are available in several colors and patterns.

Spending time outdoors with your family or friends is a great way to relax and visit new destinations! Whatever your plans are this summer, remember to bring along the fun!

Off the Rack Sunglasses Versus Costa Del Mar Protect Yourself

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First Time Gun Buyer's Guide

“What gun should I buy?” 

This question is repeated at gun retailers across the country constantly. Given the plethora of gun options out there, it’s understandably daunting to a first time gun buyer or even an experienced shooter who is new to a specific type of firearm. The following are some tips to help you make the right decision.

 

What Do You Want To Do With The Gun?

While the most basic answer is to shoot, certain guns do certain things better than others. For example, a lot of folks are getting concealed carry permits and want a gun they can carry. Obviously in that case the choice would be a handgun, but which one out of the huge number of models on the market? One thing to keep in mind is the size of the gun and by size I don’t mean the caliber, we’ll cover that in a bit. By size I mean the physical size of the gun. A small gun, like a Smith and Wesson Shield is more portable; however a larger sized gun like a Glock 19 in the same caliber shoots more comfortably. Therefore, the buyer has to decide the size gun that works for them including the thickness of that gun as that may come into play regarding comfort in holding, shooting, and carrying the gun on a day in and day out basis. These same considerations come into play when it comes to shotguns and rifles as well.

Shotguns are kind of like golf clubs in that all clubs will knock a ball along the course, but some do certain things better than others. Sporting clays, hunting, and home defense all find shotguns being a go to choice in firearm. Again the size of the gun is matched to the activity the owner intends to do, but luckily a bread and butter pump shotgun like a Benelli SuperNova will do anything and everything reasonably well.

Rifles are all about downrange accuracy so if you like reaching out and hitting a target you can barely see with your naked eye a bolt action rifle like the Browning X-Bolt is the way to go. Remember, in this application a quality optic is key. The other popular rifle right now is the AR style. This IS NOT short for “assault rifle”, it stands for Armalite Rifle. Armalite was the company that originally designed the platform and put it into production. AR style rifles are really fun to shoot and are great for dealing with predator control such as coyotes. An example of this kind of rifle is the Bushmaster M4-A3 and is ready to shoot right out of the box after a thorough cleaning.

Caliber is something everyone gets hung up on and new shooters worry about recoil a lot. Adding to the confusion is the fact that calibers are measured in both fractions of an inch as well as in metric measurements depending on where the caliber was developed. The simple rule is to shoot as large of a caliber as you can comfortably and more importantly, accurately. Extremely technical people will quote all kinds of ballistic and energy transfer data and confuse the heck out of even seasoned shooters but in short, bigger bullets hit harder and do more damage but a big bullet is no good if you can’t hit what you’re shooting at. The best way to judge the caliber you’re comfortable with is to consider your intended target and to go shoot some guns.

What Do You Want To Spend?

The term I like to use in this regard is that you tend to get what you pay for but the question is how much do you need? Someone that wants to shoot a lot needs a better, more durable firearm than the person that may never shoot the gun more than 100 times. This again is a double edged sword as while it may seem like you’re saving money by going the cheap route, you have to consider the cost of repairing the firearm or replacing it. My usual advice to a new shooter is to look for their given choice of gun somewhere in the middle of the price scale and then be prepared if they find they really get into it that they will want to buy a new gun. We all want more guns once we find we enjoy shooting so this isn’t exactly a problem and a good excuse to get at least one more gun. Also, consider any accessories you may need with the gun you’re buying as that may play a significant role in the overall price.

Can I Get Ammunition For My New Gun?

If you’re getting a popular caliber firearm you shouldn't have a problem getting ammunition for your firearm but the best way is to check the shelves before you settle on a caliber and anyone in our hunting department will be happy to tell you what your best bets are to find ammunition in.

So, Where Do I Start?

Reading this blog article and asking yourself these questions is a good place to start. Then come see us and look at some firearms.  We've got tons of knowledgeable associates in the store ready to help you out.  Or, if you have buddies, go shooting with them.  That’s another great option to get your feet wet in firearms. Ask shooters what they like and don’t like and why. Ironically, as you’re reading this on the internet, I would caution you to take what you read on the internet with caution. A lot of people pass their opinions, prejudices and personal experiences off as facts. There are a few cold and hard facts in firearms that I’ve attempted to cover here admittedly in a basic and simple fashion but there are a lot of things out there that are personal opinion and preference and the only person that can answer those things for you is indeed yourself. And remember with all the information you’re going to have coming at you, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Cory Brown, Hunting Department

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RedHead Select Outfitters: Ducks N Bucks

If you have been reading my blogs over the past couple years you would know that I am a fan of rhyming and alliteration… and puns… and Jurassic Park. If you have been reading my blogs over the past couple of months you would be aware about our RedHead Select Outfitters. These outfitters are those that our professional hunting teams have hunted at and proved themselves to be worthy partners of ours. Besides offering great hunts with amazing memories, signing up with one of these outfitters can also pay off thanks to the points earned on your Outdoor Rewards account. Last month I highlighted one of the outfitters in Texas. This month I will combine my love of rhyming with the focus of this blog and have chosen to highlight Ducks N Bucks.

First off, love the name. Simple and fun. They let you know exactly what they are about. But it’s not all fun and games, as they state they are “a professional hunting guide service dedicated to providing quality hunts for the serious hunter.” They are based out of Burlington, Oklahoma which they call the “friendliest town in Oklahoma”. If you have ever gone to Oklahoma, you know how friendly the people there are already but it is quite something to earn this title.

Because of their location they are a great spot for trophy deer and ducks. In fact some of their deer come from their northern neighbor, Kansas. Kansas has been a pride for prized deer and some of them head down South putting them in the cross hairs of those at Ducks N Bucks.

One of my favorite things with the set-up of these RedHead Select Outfitters is how they have their own checklist for the hunts. This gives hunters an honest idea of what they will need to bring with them. Which we all know, extra items for a hunt can add up quickly.

For Ducks they say to bring:

  • Warm waders
  • Warm and cold weather clothing
  • Face mask or face paint
  • Gloves
  • Stocking hat
  • Gortex coat
  • Waterproof clothing (Be prepared for the elements.)
  • Shells
  • Gun
  • Proper licensing

For Bucks they say you’ll need:

  • Knee boots
  • Warm and cold weather clothing (Be prepared because it can get real cold.)
  • Rangefinder
  • Good optics
  • Scentlock suits if you own any
  • Rifle
  • Bullets
  • Orange, proper tags

I like that for both species they are sure to mention the elements and weather, which can be a huge deciding factor for some hunts. One thing that is on their website that you would probably like to know beforehand is that their deer hunt is that “You DO NOT have to apply for a draw to obtain a license for these hunts. Tags are available over the counter in most sporting goods stores throughout the state.”

So next time you are thinking about that dream trip with some family or friends, maybe the rhyme will be a great time and look no further than Ducks N Bucks!

-Giddy-Up!!

The Basics

Mellon Creek

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Optics Simplified

Shop our extensive selection of Optics at basspro.com

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.

 

 

 

Magnification/Objective

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.

 

Parallax

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.

 

 

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Set Your Sights and Paddling!

It's a Set Your Sights Weekend! We have free need-to-know seminars for the new gun owners and those wanting to know the latest and greatest! Drawing for a $25 gift card at each seminar. Enter to win either a Savage 64 F Black .22 L.R. or a Caldwell Steady Rest NXT Shooting Rest

Friday, May 1
6:30 PM Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 Yard Shot -
Sgt. Shivers and Sgt. Kerchee, Altoona PD
7:30PM - The Basics of Handgun Concealed Carry and Home Defense - Presented by Lori Ahearn, Firearms Education for Women and Men

Saturday, May 2
1:30 PM - Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle - Brandon Minton, Hunting Associate
2:30 PM - Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 Yard Shot -
Dirk Ringgenberg, retired Army sniper instructor
3:30 PM - The Basics of Handgun Concealed Carry and Home Defense - Presented by the Altoona Police Department
4:30 PM - Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle
- Brandon Minton

 

Stand Up and Paddle!

Saturday, May 2, 10:30 with Todd Robertson from the Iowa DNR!

What is SUP or Stand Up Paddling? We have paddleboards now...how do you use them? Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR, gives you a basic overview on SUP history, positions to paddle, strokes, safety, locations, transporting on vehicles...everything you need to know before even attempting the water! Todd is a well-known, certified ACA SUP instructor, Level 3 and the River Programs Outreach Coordinator for the DNR.

 

 

 

 

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Set your Sights

 

 

Our best gun event of the year is within sight!!! Set Your Sights will be May 1 & 2, 2015- we have free seminars, giveaways and and GREAT prizes for you to win!

 

Friday, May 1, 2015

6:30 pm                Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 yd shot

7:30 pm                The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense

  • For the first 25 customers to attend each seminar on Friday night only – a FREE Bass Pro Shops Travel Mug

Saturday, May 2, 2105

1:30 pm                Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle

2:30 pm                Long Range Shooting: Guns and Optics for the 1,000 yd shot

3:30 pm                The Basics of Handgun Concealed-Carry and Home Defense

4:30 pm                Optics and Accessories for your Modern Sporting Rifle

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of each seminar register for a chance to win a $25 gift card – must be present to win!

Register for a chance to win one of two prizes!

  1.  Savage 64F Black .22 L.R. Rifle
  2. Caldwell Steady Rest NXT Shooting Rest

Drawing held May 2, 2015 at 5 pm, need not be present to win. Must be 21 yrs old or older.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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