Why it Matters: Rangefinders

Because of the technology today we are getting further and further away from our basic beginnings. Once upon a time your day looked like this: get up, find food, get to shelter and go to bed. Then some centuries later it got a little more advanced and you added farming into the mix. Then going to work got added onto it, but other aspects of life had become easier. And as we advanced, so did our technology which went in hand with making living easier but not simpler. The stresses people put on “keeping up to date” has caused some serious physiological issues. And as a society we have gotten farther from our awesome outdoors. And going along with that is the loss of certain skills.

Skills like gardening, fishing, tracking, making fires and others are vanishing completely from people’s ability. A huge thing we have lost track of is distance. Years ago to get the distance to somewhere you would have to bust out a map, nowadays it takes mere seconds on a smart-phone. Global communication has also shrunk our world with international calling being a daily occurrence for some people.

I have also noticed that judging simple distances is getting harder for people. This can be a huge problem, especially when it comes to hunting. Being able to judge and know distances is extremely important because it concerns so many aspects of hunting.

How far away is that next ridge? How many miles will it be back to campsite? When will the sun be setting past those mountains? Where exactly is that deer in relation to me? Will my arrow/bullet be able to reach it? What will happen if my bullet passes through and keeps going? All of these could possibly be a life-changing judgment call.

Luckily GPS has our back when it comes to several of those questions. There is no doubt that this has saved numerous lives. But what happens if the batteries die? Well if you kept track of your direction and landmarks you might just be able to make it back safely and before dark. But what about the second half of questions? Knowing the distance to your trophy/meal is extremely important. If you are out on a big-game hunt you should have taken the time to practice with your weapon. Whether it is bow or firearm you should know the limitations of the tool, the projectile and yourself well. The easiest way to know the distance: a rangefinder.

Many consider this just another gadget to have in the field, but it can be a complete game changer. Let’s say you overestimated your shot and the bullet goes over and carries on for a distance longer. Depending on the caliber and the load that distance can be quite longer. But if you know that the animal is close to 100 yards away you know where to hold to get a good, clean ethical shot.

And that is another reason why a rangefinder matters. The worst thing possible is to have a bad shot. Every hunter knows that the best way to honor the animal you are about to harvest is to take it as humanely as possible. You do not want the animal to suffer, and knowing the distance and therefore how to place your projectile is a must. Archers know this extremely well as distance and angle play a huge part in making a shot. Luckily many rangefinders have built in compensators for when shooting on an angle. Also being able to see just how far away that farmhouse and any possible inhabitants can save you from jail time.

When I went on my first big-game hunt a couple years ago I did not have a rangefinder. Luckily my uncle had an extra one for me to borrow. This made a huge difference. Thanks to it, I was able to humanely harvest an animal. Watching a deer drop right where it stood was one of the greatest visuals of my life. Not only knowing that I wasn’t going to have to track it down but that the animal was not put through pain was something to take pride in. I hope the rest of my hunting trips go like this. I know they probably won’t but you can bet that I will be getting a rangefinder before I go out again.

It may add to the cost of your trip and gear but they are well worth it. Over the past years, rangefinders have become increasingly more accurate, dependable, efficient and cost-friendly. Make sure to check into company-backed warranties on them before purchasing. Many big-name optics companies have some kind of warranty or guarantee on their products.



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up






This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa Arrives!

Yes, we know Santa and he' arriving on Saturday! This is the weekend when the holiday celebration starts at Bass Pro Shops Altoona! Santa arrives and opens up Santa's Wonderland!

When you join us, why not bring along some new hats, gloves or boots for our Warm Kids Campaign to support the Southeast Polk School District?!

Saturday, November 15 - Santa Arrives

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive promptly at 5 p.m. by Tracker Boat, escorted this year by the Altoona Police Department!

Join us starting at 4:30 p.m., or so, for photos with  Rudolph and Frosty, hot chocolate and cookies, and caroling from the Southeast Polk HS Choir! Dress warmly, it's going to be perfect Santa weather!

After Santa arrives, he chats briefly with the crowd and we give away a gift card, then it's into the lobby for one more carol and to light the lobby Christmas tree!

Last stop is Santa's Wonderland, where one lucky child gets to help Santa cut the ribbon and kick off Santa's Wonderland!

6- 8 p.m. - Free 4x6 photos with Santa. We will use the Bass Pass system and will start handing out Bass Passes around 3:30 for photos that are from 6-8 p.m. The first 125 kids to visit should receive a backpack clip

6-8 p.m. - Free craft! A Gingerbread Stocking/Bag craft

For a complete Santa's Wonderland schedule and details for the season, visit www.basspro.com/santa! Remember to share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter with the tag #santaswonderland!

Also on Saturday, November 15

Free Hunting Seminars

Of course, it's also hunting season, so we have some free seminars on Saturday to help you hone your skills! Perfect for the beginner or the hunter who needs a review!

1. p.m - Become a Better Bowhunter - Want to improve your bow hunting? Learn how to select releases, arrows, and broadheads that work for you.

2 p.m. - How to Choose the Right Guns and Ammo - Whatever hunting you plan to do, our experts will answer your question and make it easy to pick the gun and ammo.

3 p.m. - What You Should Know Before Buying Optics - Take an inside look at the features you should consider when shopping for scopes, rangefinders, or binoculars.

Pella Wildlife Company

Pella Wildlife Company will be here on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Come check out what exciting creature they'll have with them this time!


How to Hunt....





Do you want to start hunting? Or maybe you have questions on how to be more successful... come to your Bass Pro Shops for all your answers!

This weekend is for you!!!

On November 1, 2014 one of our own RedHead Field Staff, JR Adkins will be with us in the Hunting Department. JR is an outstanding hunter and fisherman. He is from the Rogersville area and knows the woods like the back of his hand.


  • 1 pm  Become a Better Bowhunter

Take the mystery out of gearing up for bowhunting. Learn how to select releases, arrows and broadheads that work for you.

  • 2 pm  How to Select the Right Guns and Ammo

Whatever hunting you plan to do, our experts will answer your questions and make it easy to pick the perfect rifle, shotgun or handgun.

  • 3 pm  What You Should Know Before Buying Optics

A Bass Pro Shops expert will give you an inside look at the features you should consider when shopping for scopes, rangefinders or binoculars.



Attend any of the seminars and register for a chance to win a FREE pair of NIKON Prostaff 7S 10x42 Binoculars!!

You must be 18 yrs or older to enter. Drawing held at the completion of the last seminar at 4 pm. You must be present to win.



Come join our Hunting Seminars!


Have you attended one of our seminars before? If you haven't, you have missed out! Great demos, tips and pointers that have really help out customers. Either from the purchases that they need to make or advice on what's best to use while out gaming. 

Here is your chance to attend one taught by our Local Pros!

1 PM- Become a Better Bow hunter

Take the mystery out of gearing up for bow hunting. Learn how to select releases, arrows, and broad heads that work for you.3

2 PM - How to Select the Right Guns & Ammo

Whatever hunting you plan to do, our experts will answer your questions and make it easy to pick the perfect rifle, shotgun, or handheld gun.

3 PM - What You Should Know Before Buying Optics

A Bass Pro Shops expert will give you an inside look at the feature you should consider when shopping for scopes, rangefinders, or binoculars. 


As well get a chance of winning a FREE pair of Nikon Prostaff 7S 10x42 Binoculars! Just attend any of these seminars and register a chance to win. That is a retail value of $200!!

So mark in your calendars -October 18th - FREE seminars from the Local Pros themselves!





Local Hero Discount Days Coming this October!



October in East Tennessee is one of my favorite times- Fall Fishing, hunting, camp fires, football- and the leaves change.

It is a busy time of the year gearing up for the upcoming holiday season but Bass Pro Shops doesn’t want to forget all of those who make it possible, the ones who protect us every day!

The entire month of October we would like to say THANK YOU to our Local Heroes!!!

Members of law enforcement, fire, and emergency response receive a 10% discount on regular priced merchandise purchased in the store. Some exclusions do apply. Must show ID to receive discount.


Terms & conditions: Offer valid October 1-31 on regular priced merchandise only. Must show valid ID to receive discount. Good for purchases at Bass Pro Shops retail store locations. Not valid with any other offer. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. Discount not available on gift cards, all firearms and ammunition, safes, fishing and hunting licenses, golf clubs, ATVs taxidermy, optics, electronics, boats, motors, Mercury motors, any TRACKER boat product/services, store restaurant food or drinks, and vendor outlets within the store. Applicable taxes must be paid by bearer. Discount not available at basspro.com or catalog call center. See store for details.



How to Pick the Perfect Pair of Binoculars

Getting the Best Possible Image

Many shoppers looking for binoculars know next to nothing about them.  They will look through a couple of pairs by different manufacturers and then pick the one that gives them the best image.  This can and has resulted in a buyer thinking that an $80 pair of store brand binoculars is better than a $2500 pair of Swarovskis.  This happens mainly because the shopper does not know how to properly focus the binoculars.

Everyone knows to look through binoculars and to turn the central focusing wheel to get the best image.  However, not all know about the diopter setting that enables them to calibrate the binoculars.  Calibration entails setting up the binoculars for optimal image clarity in both eyes, allowing for the fact that there can be differences between an individual’s right and left eyes.

To demonstrate that difference, look at the picture of the barn owl.   The left side of the picture is in sharp focus while the right is fuzzy.  It represents what the two eyes are seeing.  The result of such a difference in visual acuity is often that the person will make the left side slightly fuzzy and make the right side slightly clearer, thus obtaining the clearest image possible without correcting for the difference between the eyes.  This compromise is not necessary.  It is entirely possible to get a sharp picture with both eyes.  Let’s step through the calibration procedure.

The first thing to determine is whether you will be using the binoculars with or without glasses.  If with, then the eyecups are down.  If without, they are up.  This positions the eyes at the correct distance from the back lens.  You may want to go through the calibration procedure both ways, with and without glasses, to see what works best for you.


Next, if the binoculars have front lens covers, leave the right one closed and open the left one.  Otherwise, put your hand in front of the right lens.  Focus on an object in the store using the center focusing wheel (blue arrow).  Remember the object you are looking at, because you will have to look at the same one again to focus the right eye. 

Once you are happy with the left eye’s image, cover the left eye with the lens cover or your hand and then look at the same object through the right lens.  You SHOULD NOT touch the center focus wheel.  Instead you should focus the right lens using the knurled ring (green arrow in the right picture).  Note, the knurled ring is difficult to turn.  The stiffness is deliberate so it will not be accidently knocked off setting. 

Now that both barrels are focused according to your eyesight, it is time to evaluate image quality.  You will want to compare one set of binoculars with another.  You MUST go through the entire setup process with both in order to get a fair comparison.  Otherwise you will not be comparing apples with apples.  You will be comparing apples with peaches, pears, or prune pits. 

Asking the Sales Person “Which are ‘best’?” OR “Which ones would you buy?

These questions can lead you into a mine field, so be careful.  The word “best” is subjective and depends on the individual’s estimation of value.  If the sales person expresses an opinion, it will be based on his values, not your’s.  It is better to.figure out what’s “best” in your own mind based on your own values.

A good question to start off with is “What are the binoculars going to be used for?”  If they will be thrown in a back pack and used to look at scenery in national parks, any decent quality binocular will do.  The same goes for birding and sporting events.  Decide what you like best within your price range.  If the binoculars are going to be used for hunting, things get a bit more involved.

Where and what will you be hunting.  If the game being pursued is to be pronghorns in Wyoming, you should lean toward higher magnification and lighter weight.  Why?  There is very little ground cover in pronghorn country so they are seen at great distances.  200 yards is a relatively short shot.  Evaluating the quality of an animal’s headgear at such distances is easier with more magnification. 

But doesn’t more magnification mean heavier binoculars?  Not necessarily.  All other things being equal, 10X32’s will be lighter than 10X42’s.  The first number is the magnification and the second is the diameter of the front or objective lens.  Weight is important in pronghorn hunting because you have to walk for miles every day and every extra ounce starts feeling like a brick.

If you are going to be stand hunting in the hill country or the brush country of Texas, the equation changes.  100 yards is a relatively long shot in those conditions.  Raw magnification is not so important.  What is more important is the amount of light the binoculars transmit since the critters tend to move in early morning and late evening when the light level is lowest.  Under those conditions, the exit pupil becomes the primary consideration. 

What is the Exit Pupil and Why is it important?

The exit pupil is the diameter of the front or objective lens divided by magnification.  For example, in 10X42 binoculars the exit pupil is 4.2 millimeters.  In 8X42s it is 5.25 millimeters or 25% larger.  That can make a real difference when trying to see a black hog in the shadows at 6 a.m.  Exit pupil can be hard to imagine, so let’s see what it looks like.  

The white discs seen in the lenses are the exit pupil.  The exit pupils on the left in the 10X42s are 25% smaller than those in the 8X42s on the right.  The difference may be hard to see since it is so small.  Let’s look at a more dramatic example.

This is a set of Nikon 10 to 22 power by 50 mm objective lens zoom binoculars.  In the left picture the zoom is set to 10 power magnification, so the exit pupil is 5 mm (50/10) while on the right the exit pupil is only 2.27 mm with the power set at 22.  The difference is obvious, but why is it important?

The Importance of the Exit Pupil

It might seem obvious that the darker the ambient light the more important it is to use as much of that light as possible to get the clearest image.  However, the ability to use the light transmitted by the binoculars is very much dependent on the ENTRY PUPIL (or just pupil) of your eye.  During the day, your eye’s pupil may be only 1 or 2 millimeters in diameter.  In that case, just about any binoculars will transmit more light than your eyes can use.  In the late evening or early morning, your pupil may be as large as 7 mm, or even 9 mm in people with extraordinary low-light vision.  In those conditions, the eyes can use every bit of light the binoculars can transmit.  That’s why lower magnification is often better in south Texas.

What About Coatings?

Optical coatings reduce internal light loss and glare and ensure even light transmission, resulting in greater image sharpness and contrast.  Binoculars may have 10-18 glass surfaces, each one contributing to scattered light, so coatings make a big difference in what you see.  Coated optics will have a less shiny, even dark appearance when looking into the barrel or tube; you may see a greenish, bluish, or brownish tint as well.  Most coatings are magnesium fluoride or calcium fluoride and work by eliminating reflections.  Therefore, more light enters your binoculars and is able to pass through to your eyes.  Almost all modern consumer optics have some kind of coating on most of the optical elements.  However, there are different levels and qualities of coatings.

“Coated optics” means that at least one of the major optical elements has a coating on at least one surface. “Fully-coated” means that all lenses and glass surfaces have a coating layer.  “Multicoated” means that at least one of the major optical elements in a fully-coated binocular has multiple coatings of antireflective compounds on at least one surface.  “Fully-multicoated” means all glass surfaces have multiple coatings and it is the best kind, resulting in light transmission of 90-95% for bright, sharp and contrasty images.

In extreme cases, 10X32 binoculars with superb coatings can transmit MORE LIGHT than 10X42s with inferior coatings. 

What else should the customer look for?

The last really important variable is spherical aberration.  It occurs when the light passing through the edge of a lens is not focused to the same point as that passing through the center.  It is easier to understand looking at an example than a definition. 

Please note that this example was shot using a pair of reading glasses.  None of the binoculars you will encounter in Bass Pro are anywhere near this bad.  You can see the results of spherical aberration in the apparent curvature of the vertical beam.  This becomes of practical importance if a you are going to be glassing for hours on end looking for sheep, moose, or elk.  This kind of image distortion, found most in low cost binoculars, causes headaches. 



Overall quality in binoculars is determined by the quality of the glass used (some very low end binoculars are made with plastic lenses), the coatings, mechanical precision and ruggedness, and warranty.  Bass Pro strives to give good value for the dollar and thus stocks no bad binoculars.  However, some are better than others.  Based on the determining factors listed above, Swarovski binoculars are arguably the best in the world, followed closely by Zeiss and Leica.  If you are looking for “best value,” or “most bang for the buck,” you are most probably looking for glass in the middle price range.  Vortex binoculars, among others, are good candidates.  Their unlimited lifetime warranty is unbeatable and their optics are excellent for the price.  Swarovskis cost about five times more than Vortex.  Are they five times better?  Some people think so.  Pursuits are about one fifth the cost of Vortex.  Are they poorly made?  No, they are not.  You are well advised to determine your price range and then pick the best binoculars you can within that price range.  Image quality usually defines “best” in a buyer’s mind, though warranty also often contributes to a final decision.

Good luck and enjoy your new binoculars!


Experience Bass Pro Shops Archery and Hunting department

Are you an experienced bow hunter or maybe a beginner? Have you ever thought about shooting a bow for sport? Maybe shooting a bow hasn't really crossed your mind this year. Well, we would like to change all of that. We would like to invite you to come out to the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Alabama on September 13 from 10am to 5pm, September 14 from 12pm to 5pm, September 27th from 10am to 5pm, or September 28th from 12pm to 5pm. We will be hosting an "Experience Weekend" for our customers to allow them to experience products from various departments. The best part about this experience is that it is absolutely free.


bowDuring both experience weekends, you will have the opportunity to shoot the New BlackOut SS Compound Bow. The New BlackOut SS Compound Bow is powered by Throttle Cam Tech, which is the fastest and most efficient single cam system on the market. The draw cycle and energy transfer movement are smooth and precise. To see this bow before you come to experience it, check out http://www.basspro.com/BlackOut-SS-Compound-Bow-Packages/product/1402210955448/


On September 13th and September 14th, while you are in the hunting department, make sure you check out the Oculus 7.0 Binoculars. Customers can experience first hand why the Oculus binoculars are such a great value. These binoculars are sheathed in a protective, shock-absorbing rubber armor for hard-hunting, long-term durability, fogproof, and 100% waterproof. Come experience these binoculars on September 13th & 14th. For more information about the Oculus 7.0 binoculars, go to http://www.basspro.com/Oculus-7-0-Binoculars/product/1205040859448/


scopeThe weekend of September 27th & 28th, our hunting counter will be happy to allow customers to experience the Oculus rifle scope. See first hand how technology brings nature into sharp focus with Oculus® precision rifle scopes. Come experience the brilliant optical quality that the Oculus Rifle Scope has to offer. For more information about this scope, go to http://www.basspro.com/Oculus-Rifle-Scope/product/12050105124412/


Don't let the hunting season sneak up on you with out coming to the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds to experience all that we have to offer. Our "Experience Weekend" is not just limited to the hunting department, see what other products you can experience in the fishing department, camping department, apparel department, camo apparel, and marine.



A Simple Guide to Bows

The familiar "thwang" of a bow string can set many an archer's mind at ease and relieve stress or tension. Archery is a sport practiced around the world. It is so popular that there have been world archery competitions at least five times a year every year since 2006 according to the World Archery Federation's website, which will be referred to as WAF. Countries all over the world including "China, India, Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, USA, Mexico, [and] Australia" compete to see who has the best archers. (WAF) They have multiple types of archery competitions: Olympic Games, World Cups, World Championships, Ski Archery, Run Archery, Universiades, World Games, World Master Games, Para-Archery, and much more.

Archery started around the time people started walking, and walked its way through the Shang and Zhou dynasties to eventually make its way through Asia to Europe. There it got into Greek, Egyptian, and Norse Mythology and then Roman soon after that. Diana of the Roman Mythology, Athena of the Greek Pantheon, the Huntress, she hunted with a longbow in the traditional style. Many in the Eurasian cultures had at least one deity that carried a bow of similar fashion as the weapon of choice.

Longbows are as many hands high as their archer and without any bells and whistles or additions to help with aim or draw. According to livestrong.com "longbows are much more difficult to aim than other modern bows and do not have nearly the same velocity as compound or recurve bows. " Yew is the traditional wood but other lighter woods are known to be used to make the bow. (“The Longbow”) More modernly used is the compound bow which is like an assisted or easier to use bow.

"The sleek, uncluttered lines of traditional equipment speak volumes on old-school simplicity and tradition. On the other hand, a compound bow -- with its system of cables and wheels and adorned with accessories like a stabilizer, wrist strap, multiposition arrow rest and fiber-optic bow sight -- screams modern-day technology". -www.sportsmanguide.com

The compound bow is set up on a system of pulleys that make the bows stiffer limbs assume the desired shape. The pulley system allows the archer to manipulate potential and kinetic energy for a swifter and more accurately precise shot.


The recurve bow is an older style usually used by horsemen that has also been modernized so that it comes apart into three pieces for convenience.  The recurve bow "gets its power from the unique curve at the limb tips, a design first developed by Egyptian archers thousands of years ago" per discoverarchery.org. The recurve bow may be suggested as a beginners bow due to affordability.

Bass Pro Shops is a great place to buy traditional, recurve and compound bows. We have a wide selection and a staff that can help anyone pick the right bow for the archer.


"Facts and Figures." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"History of Archery." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"The Longbow." The Longbow. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Carmichael, Lindsey. "The Recurve Bow – What You Need to Know." Discover Archery. The Easton Foundations, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Robb, Bob. "The Modern Compound Bow." Sportsman's Guide. The Sportman's Guide Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Unger, Kristen. "Four Types of Archery Bows." LIVESTRONG.COM. Demand Media, Inc., 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

WAF http://www.worldarchery.org/


Product Spotlight - Wiley X

We have Wiley X sunglasses available once again at Bass Pro Shops Altoona...and many customers are happy! What's so great about Wiley X?

  • They've been a producer of standard issue military eye wear for years and their sunglasses are the first choice for many outdoor sportsmen and women - from pro anglers to race car drivers to shooters and motorcyclists.
  • All Wiley X shades are certified to ANSI Z87.1 2003 high impact and optical standards. Lens are made from one of the most impact resistant materials. They are virtually indestructible.
  • Filter 8TM Polarized Lens - Eight layers of technology create one fantastic way to cut glare that can hamper fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities, plus cause eye fatigue.
  • Wiley X technology:
    • Meets or exceeds the military's ballistic standards for eye wear.
    • Meets and exceeds ANSI z87.1 high velocity impact safety and optical standards. This means they qualify as OSHA Occupational Eye Protection.
  • The Climate Control Series of Wiley X sunglasses features:Wiley X Climate Control
    • The patented, removable Facial CavityTMSeal that forms to your face and blocks out peripheral light plus the wind and all those things that come with it, like dust and debris.
  • The Changeable Series of sunglasses feature multiple lens combinations. The swappable lenses are shatterproof, good for any kind of shooting conditions.Wiley X - Changeable
  • The Street Series has nearly indestructible shatterproof lenses and frames and are often sought out by motorcyclists.
  • The Active Series' non-slip nose pads and temple gloves make them a perfect glass for those who enjoy the outdoor activities that involve a lot of motion and, therefore, sweat!wiley X Active

WileyX is the choice of many anglers, shooting sportsmen, race car drivers, and outdoor enthusiasts. You can see and try some of the styles in person at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or, if you know what you're looking for, you can also get them online at www.basspro.com.


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Sighting In

Every year we have a slow period between hunting seasons and are stuck waiting for the next season. There is one thing we can do to fill our time to help prepare for the up coming hunting season, and have a little fun doing so: sighting in your optics.

With hunting in mind I will be going over some basic tips on how to get the best accuracy and precision out of your set up.

First will be a proper mounting: we want to make sure everything is tight and seated properly; any movement at all will cause a huge issue and prevent an accurate shot. Some people like to use  Loctite on their screws.  Be sure to use removable (Blue) Loctite, as Red Loctite will cause the screws to permanently set, which will cause a great deal of trouble if you decided to change optics. Once the bases and rings are properly set and your optic is mounted we will take the firearm to the range.

If you have the proper tools to bore sight, then that should be your next step. If not your local Bass Pro will bore sight it for you. When bore sighting you want to start at 25 yards and adjust your windage and elevation screws on your scope. A habit I got into was to tap the screws lightly to help set the cross hairs. Now that the optic is bore sighted at 25 yards it should be on paper at 100. With a few more adjustments you should be spot on and ready for the next season. There are tons of products to help with sighting in, like the Pursuit Boresighter Kit. This will make future jobs easier and you would be able to sight in many different firearms. So what ever your hunting make sure your on target with a proper sighting.



Sunglass Spotlight


Here at Bass Pro Shops in Columbia we offer a wide selection of products you may need for your outdoor adventure from your head wear to your foot wear. An often overlooked but critical piece to help you enjoy the great outdoors are sunglasses, and here at Bass Pro Shops, we offer a wide variety of styles and brands like Strike King, Jimmy Houston and Bill Dance for fishing, and Smith Optics for shooting. Fish eyes, guidelines and all terrain are reader lenses, and XPS offers a wide variety of polar sensor lenses.

Haven and Cocoon will take care of your prescription glasses with clip ons, flip ups and fit over glasses. We continue our selection with NASCAR, Ironman and plenty of youth styles. In addition, we offer a high end selection including Maui Jim, Native and Costas sunglasses (We are one of two who sell Costas in Columbia). As always, we thank you for shopping at your local Bass Pro Shops, where you always receive more outdoors for your money.



Beginning Archery for Ladies - Part One: The Bow

BrickerBy - Alicia Bricker, Gun Vault Specialist

Ladies, are you interested in archery, but aren’t sure where to get started? Don't have someone who can take you out and show you the ropes? I'll get you started. Archery is a fun and exciting sport and anyone can get involved.


The Bow

First off, you'll need a bow that fits you - you need to be comfortable with how it feels when you shoot it. Go out and try several different bows. I suggest a bow that can grow with you as you get stronger. Two aspects that are important are the draw weight and the draw length. They make a variety of bows with different draw weight variations that you can try.

Draw weight - The amount of weight you will have to pull when drawing back your bow.

Draw length - The length you will draw your bow back. This varies with your "wing span" (length of your arms) and you will want to get this calculated before picking out your bow. Your draw length is determined by measuring the distance between your arms and you will need someone to help you measure.

1. Hold your arms straight out to your sides, palms facing forward.

2. Measure from the tip of your middle finger to the other tip of your middle finger then divide by 2.5.

This will give you an estimate of your draw length, but it may need to be adjusted depending on how it feels to you when shooting. Our archery experts can always help you determine what the best draw length is for you.

A couple of good beginner bows, both of which offer quite a bit of growth in draw weight are:

The Quest G5 Radical, which ranges as low as 15 Lbs up to 70 LBS draw weight with a draw length of 17.5” up to 30”

The Diamond Infinite Edge which ranges all the way from 5 LBS up to 70LBS for draw weight and a draw length from 13” up to 30”

As an adult, your draw length will stay the same.  However, kids that are still growing will be able to take advantage of the draw lengths being so versatile in the above listed bows allowing them to get comfortable with a bow and get it adjusted as they continue to grow.

The varying weights are a plus for women. It allows you to start out at a lower draw weight as you begin, then increase poundage as you grow stronger and more used to using those muscles as you continue practicing with your bow. There are many bows to choose from, but one of these could be a good place to start as you are learning the sport.

I suggest buying a bow package. That way everything you need to get started is already with the bow, instead of  buying each individual item that you need. Packages vary with the bow models, but will typically come with a: rest, quiver, sight, peep sight, wrist sling, and possibly a whisker biscuit. Some will come with a stabilizer and string stop as well.

You don't necessarily need these items on your bow and can always add them later on if you decide that you do want them. Let's take a look at what each of these do.

A stabilizer will help balance the bow and even out the weight in the front of the bow. The string stop is just what it sounds like. It stops the string from going forward after you release the arrow reducing some of the string vibration. This, in turn, seems to help reduce some of the excess noise. Neither a stabilizer nor string stop are must-haves, but are more of a personal preference.

String Stop                                 Stabilizer

string stop                         Archery - Stabilizer


Trophy Ridge Whisker BiscuitA whisker biscuit is a good idea to use as a rest for beginners. It holds the arrow in place, so there is less chance of the arrow slipping off the rest. You can change this out in the future for a drop away or other type of rest once, you get more comfortable shooting. The whiskers of the rest will eventually wear out as you shoot more arrows through it, so eventually you will need to replace it or buy a different rest.



The Sight - Before we talk about the sight on your bow, we need to talk about YOUR sight. You need to determine which is your dominant eye. Your dominant eye is the one that is dominant over the other when focusing on something. This will be the eye that you use to sight in your target. There is a simple tick that you can use to determine which eye is dominant.

1. Hold your hands out in front of you in a triangle placing your two index fingers together and your thumbs together.
2. Keep both eyes open and focus on a target or object about 10 yards away.
3. Close one eye then open it and then close the other then open it. The eye for which the object stays in the same place is your dominant eye.

If you have trouble with this exercise, try holding your hands in the same position as you just did and focusing on the object again with both eyes open. This time keep them open and slowly move your hands to your face while you are focusing both eyes on the object. The eye that your hands naturally go to is your dominant eye.

Your dominant eye may be the same as your dominant hand or you may be "cross eye" dominate. These means you are right-handed and left eye dominant or left-handed and right eye dominant. If you are dominant on the same hand and eye then that is the bow you will need. Ex: right eye and right hand = right handed bow. If you are cross eye dominant, you may want to try getting a bow that goes with the eye that you are dominant with, since it is easier to train your hand than your eye. If you try this, but cannot get used to it, then you will have to train your eye if you opt for a bow for your dominant hand and non-dominant eye. To do this you will have to make sure that your dominant eye is either closed when shooting or covered so that your other eye is able to focus.

Beginning Archery for Ladies - Cobra Bushwacker SightA sight has pins in it that you will use when shooting a target at different distances. The top pin will be for the closest distance and the bottom pin for the furthest distance. Different sights offer a different amount of pins. You will set the pins for about 10 yards difference in each. Some people set the first pin at 10 or 20 yards. You can also start at 10 yards and then later adjust it to 20 yards, once you become more accurate. Sight pins are typically fiber optic and some are even lighted, which helps in lower light settings. Some come with a bubble level, so you can judge when you are tilting your bow and when it is level. When you first set up your bow you will need to adjust the pins for the distances that you want, which means you will need to shoot from each distance to set each pin. Our archery experts can help you get this set up and will get the pins set as close as possible, but some tweaking may be necessary once you start shooting more accurately. Then you can tell if you are off target either up and down or right and left, which you learn by the grouping of your arrows. Example: If you are shooting tight groups (the arrows all land in the same generalG5 Meta Peep area close together), but they are always to the right of where you are shooting, then your sight needs adjusted.

A peep sight is set up in your string and is just a small circle with a hole in it. When you have your bow at full draw, it should line up at eye level, so you can look through it and line it up with the pin on your sight. There are different colors and styles to choose from on these.Quiver



A quiver is what holds your arrows when you are not shooting them. You can get one that stays attached to the bow or one that is detachable. There are also quivers that you can sling over your shoulder or clip onto your hip. Most bow packages include a quiver that mounts to the bow. The amount of arrows that a quiver can hold varies usually around 4 to 6. They just clip in fletching down with the point up in the foam to keep the tip or broadhead from cutting anything.

A wrist sling also usually comes with a package, but is not a necessary accessory. This can help prevent the archer from torquing the bow with their grip when shooting. You want a loose grip when at full draw with your fingers open and the bow resting between your thumb and index finger - resting on your palm, so you don’t flinch the bow with a tight grip. The wrist sling is attached below the grip on the bow and goes loosely around your wrist. You still want to grab your bow before it fully falls, but this allows you to let your arrow leave your bow before you grip onto your bow again (follow through). Grip it while you are pulling it back but relax your hand before you shoot your arrow.

How to grip bow

A kisser button is not a necessary accessory, but is an inexpensive one that you can add in order to help build your consistency when drawing back your bow. It helps you anchor your string in the same place every time when shooting. I recommend it for a beginning archer, since it helps you feel where your string is anchored and will get you used to anchoring in the same place. An anchor point is where you rest your hand or release every time you draw back your bow. Consistency in anchoring is important since that will increase your shooting accuracy. When drawing back the bow, you will want to place the kisser at the corner of your mouth. The person setting up your bow will set this where it needs to be for you. It will be placed above your D-loop on your string. 

                                                            Kisser button

(This picture shows the placement of the kisser button at the corner of the mouth.)

A D-Loop is something that not all archers have put on their strings, but is something that most release shooters use. It is just a small loop added on the string where you will nock your arrow and then use the loop to hook your release onto. The arrow will nock between the two knots holding the D-loop to the string.

Our archery experts can assist you in chosing the right bow for you as well as setting everything up and getting you ready to shoot. All the accessories discussed here come in a variety of styles and colors as well. Do some research on different bows and all of the other items to see what you like first, before making a final purchase. There is a lot of information available to help you make a decision on picking out what is right for you. You can also come in and talk to one of the archery experts and they will help guide you on this first step of your journey.

The example below will help show the different accessories I've discussed and where they are located at on the bow, once it has been set up.

Bear Siren set up

Next up - The Stance


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Are you living the Salt Life?

Are you always on the water or thinking about your next trip on the water?

Well then you are living the Salt Life! Bass Pro Shops Miami has always carried a wide range of Salt Life products including apparel, towels, cozies, and decals. Now we are caring Salt Life Sunglasses.

Don't miss your next big catch!

The Salt Life Sunglasses have anti-glare optics that help you see through the water even before you cast your line! Salt Life sunglasses have full UV protection so you can enjoy a day in the sun. They use only the best ZEISS lenses, polarized so you can watch the Salt Life in its true color.

About your Salt Life Lenses:

  • Smoke lenses are designed for bright, clear sunny day conditions are and are perfect for everyday use.
  • Smoke Blue Mirror lenses are perfect for open or blue water conditions.
  • Copper lenses enhance contrast in overcast to low light conditions while reducing eye strain.
  • Copper Green Mirror lenses are excellent for shallow water, stream, and flats activities.
  • Copper Blue Mirror lenses provide superior contrast and true color perception at dust and dawn.

If you would like to try on the latest in Salt Life Sunglasses swing on over to our Sunglass Counter or you can visit us anytime at http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=salt+life

Have fun and Go Outdoors!




The Mystery of Wiley X Sunglasses

     The Wiley X Sunglasses have been around for more than 28 years. Many people are not as familiar with them. The sunglasses are great, affordable, high quality, and much more. They are great for those who love the outdoors. Many Nascar drivers wear them such as Carl Edwardsm Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Matt kenseth. You kow if the Pros wear them then they are a product that you should investigate them. Why are they so great? What's new with Wiley X in 2014? Let's solve this mystery together!

Facts about Wiley X Sunglasses.

  • Wiley X : A Leader for 28+ Years in Performance Eyewear
  • Heritage: Standard issue for U.S. armed forces, elite military and law enforcement personnel around the world.
  • Premium Safety: The only Premium performance sunglass brand whose entire line meets the stringent ANSI Z87.1 standards for high impact. Optical clarity as well as OSHA-grade for safety.
  • Function: Only Wiley X has patented removable Facial Cavity Seal technology to block eyes from wind, dust, debris and light while amplifying polarization and reducing eye fatigue.
  • Lens Technology: 8-layer shatterproof Selenite polycarbonate polarized lens construction with scratch resistant layers(T-Shell)
  • Hydrophobic coatings and anti-reflective  coatings for 100% Filter 8 Polarization and UB protection.
  • Recognized: The eye wear choice of NASCAR greats and Basspro Edwin Evers and Stephen Browning.
  • U.S. family owned-operated:
  • If you are into active outdoor activities like boating, ATV riding.  come in and pick up a pair for exceptional eye protection.
  • Maybe you need a pair for work. All lens and frames are ANSI marked.
  • Try them on and find a pair especially for you.
  • Prices range from $80.00 to $140.00. Some even comes with changeable lens.
  • Be like the pros: Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth.
  • Protect your eyes and have some fun.
  • Comes in Polarized and Non-polarized.
  • They are available in Ladies & Men’s styles!


     The mystery has been solved & Wiley X will be a purchase that you will not want to miss out on! Stop in and ask for Doris at the Sunglass counter. She is one of our mystery solvers when it comes to fitting you for the right pair of sunglasses!


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops - Easter 2014!

Easter Egg Hunt @ Bass Pro Shops AltoonaEaster activities continue at Bass Pro Shops Altoona this weekend!

Friday, April 18

  • Free 4x6 Photo with the Easter Bunny - 2-7 p.m.
  • Free craft for kids - 2-7 p.m., while supplies last.

Saturday & Sunday, April 19-20

Free Easter craft @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

  • Free 4x6 photo with the Easter Bunny - 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Easter Egg Hunt - Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20 ONLY. Registration opens at 1:30 p.m. - Egg hunt begins promptly at 2 p.m. and lasts one hour. Ages 2-10 only please.
  • Free craft for kids - 1-4 p.m., while supplies last.

Saturday, April 19

Try Before You Buy!

Our Gifts Department shows you easy it is to use our Uncle Buck's Fruit Cobbler mix by serving up samples of cherry and blueberry cobbler! Noon to 4 p.m. or while supplies last.

Coming up?

April 25-27, 2014 - Set Your Sights Weekend!

  • A weekend of free seminars covering optics and other accessories, conceal carry laws and equipment, target shooting, and gun care and safety. Seminar attendees (first 25) on Friday, April 25, receive a free Bass Pro Shops tumbler. Additionally, a $25 gift card will be given away at each seminar all weekend!
  • If you're 21 or older, you have a chance to win a Savage® rimfire.22 LR rifle or a Caldwell® AR-15 magazine loader.
  • Quadruple Points all weekend on the following brands: Streamlight, EOTech, Beretta, DPMS Panther Arms, Remington, Savage Arms


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New Shotgun From Benelli, Ethos

Bass Pro Shop, Leeds, Alabama just received its first shipment of the new shotgun from Benelli. This new model is named "Ethos" and it is sure to be a game-changer for the shotgun world.

Ethos' Features:Ethos Stock

  • Progressive Comfort System
  • Wide range of LOP adjustment
  • Easy Loading System (No more ""Nelli numb thumb")
  • Easy Locking System
  • Large Bolt Release
  • Anti-Seize Mag Cap
  • Carbon Fiber Rib
  • Interchangeable Fiber-Optic Sight
  • Crio-treated barrel
  • AA Walnut Stock

Benelli Ethos Configurations:

  • 12ga 2.75"-3". AA-Grade Satin Walnut, Engraved. 28"-6.5lbs. 26"-6.4lbs. MSRP $2199


  • 12ga 2.75"-3". AA-Grade Satin Walnut, Anodized. 28"-6.5lbs. 26"-6.4lbs. MSRP $1999


The new Benelli Ethos is also said to be able to cycle light loads. Benelli advertises that the Ethos will cycle a 7/8 ounce load reliable. This feat is probably the biggest hurdle any semi auto shotgun manufacturer had to overcome.

I have had the shotgun in my hands I can tell you for sure some of the improvements are just that, improvements. The shell carrier does not pinch my thumb, the magazine tube had no restriction while loading, the bolt is amazingly smooth, the AA-Grade walnut is beautiful, the gun is well balanced and swings beautifully. The interchangeable front beads works great for varying weather conditions and shooter personalities.

I think this is a great new gun from Benelli and I can not wait to pull the trigger on one. Be sure to check out www.BenelliUSA.com to see all the specifications for the Ethos, along with more pictures and videos of this gun in action. Also remember to stop by BassPro for all your outdoor needs!

Safe and Happy Shooting,




One Antler On, One Antler Off

It’s getting to be that time of the year. Shed hunting season.

Depending on what type of animal shed you are looking for, and what part of the country you are in will depend on the best time for you to look. The most ideal time of the year to go shed hunting is in the spring. Most animals will start losing & dropping their antlers in late winter and early spring.

The best time to go hunting for sheds is when the sky is overcast. There are fewer glares from other objects, making it easier to spot the sheds.

The best places to look for sheds:

  • South facing slops/hills where the animals bed
  • Areas where the animals feed
  • The animals travel routes and trails
  • Fence & creek crossings

How to dress:

  • It’s best to dress light & dress comfortably. You may be walking/hiking around for long periods of time, so it’s best to have less weight on you.
  • Wear a good pair of hiking boots or shoes.

What else to bring:

  • Water. Since you will be doing a lot of walking you need to be sure to keep yourself hydrated.
  • A good pair of optics. They will help you to glass the area.
  • GPS. By having your GPS, you can mark the locations that you find your sheds to use in the future. Many times you will find the sheds in the same general areas year after year.
  • A pack or frame. You can use this to attach the sheds you find so you don’t have to carry them around.

Shed hunting is a fun way to get out in the outdoors, and a fun way to exercise. There are also endless possibilities once you have your sheds. You can collect them, paint them, mount the sheds, craft with them, and so much more!


Miss Absolutely Nothing

Oculus Optics has arrived and I would like to thank them for their support. Great Binoculars 7.0 10x42 and Spotting scope 15x45x65 are available here at the Bass Pro Shops located in Ashland, VA. As we say, you will "Miss Absolutely Nothing" with this wonderful brand of optics. I have a love for the outdoors and a wonderful way to share it is with Oculus brand optics. I know there are many different makers of fine optics and I have used most of them; we all look for the best deals and here they are. These Oculus products are designed and manufactured with precision and accuracy in mind and they stand behind all of their products with a lifetime warrantee; no receipt is required.


I have been shooting long distance archery for many years and looking at arrows through many different products. The clarity and eye relief that the Oculus Spotting Scope gives me is beyond wonderful. I would like you to check out these fine products the next time you are shopping online or in person here at Bass Pro Shops. Don't just think about it, do it! You will look at things a lot different and as we say “Miss Absolutely Nothing.”  


Till next time your local Bass Pro Staff member wished you happy viewing as you will soon see the outdoors in a different way. 


-Rex Reichert  




Eyes on Rangefinders!

Lets scope out an amazing tool that is often overlooked and rarely talked about...the rangefinder.

In the event you are unfamiliar with them, a rangefinder is a device that measures distance from the observer to a target. Optical range finders work by comparing the height of an object to a scale. Laser range finders work by bouncing a laser beam of an object and determining how long it takes to return and therefore distance. To select a rangefinder you first need to determine the size, maximum distance and type of object that is to be used to determine distance. Small non-reflective objects at long distances need very high quality rangefinders. Large shiny objects can be detected with cheaper rangefinders. Just determine your needs and budget and research your options.

Ballistics and Tactical

Rangefinders may be used by military or law enforcement snipers as a means of finding the distance to the target in order to set up a "perfect shot". If range is not known before the first shot, it may be necessary to walk the rounds in on the target, such as using tracer ammunition or observing splashes. The laser rangefinder is not always the best option though, as it sends out a light source that may give away the rangefinders position. Many Nikon Laser Rangefinders for hunting and golfing are readily available in different ranging distances. These Hunting Rangefinders include laser rangefinders for bow hunters. Leupold Laser Rangefinders include the RX series of premium quality hunting rangefinders and golfing rangefinders also.


Rangefinders are also used for surveying in forestry. Special devices with anti-leaf filters are used. Surveying jobs such as sale boundaries and stem mapping are great examples of what they are used for.

Virtual reality

Since the 1990s, the entertainment industry has been using lasers to scan objects and create 3-D models. These precise measurements are converted into highly detailed representations in virtual reality. Scientists often use laser rangefinders, as well. Long-range lasers can be used to measure the distance to an object in space, such as the moon. The technology continues to be used more and more in space exploration, where there is no atmosphere to deflect beams of laser light.




The Nikon Archer's Choice Laser Rangefinder is specifically designed with the help of the pros at Archer's Choice and combines Nikon's ID technology with all the features serious bowhunter's demand. The Nikon Archer's Choice Laser Rangefinder with LCD Display has a first target priority mode that allows confident ranging of objects and has a 5 to 100 yard range. The Nikon Archer’s Choice Laser Waterproof/Fogproof Rangefinder features a bright, multicoated 6X optics and proprietary anti-reflective coatings offer high-resolution images in most lighting conditions. The rangefinder is ultra-compact in size and fits in your pocket or pack, and can be worn on a belt without interfering with your shot.

Nikon Archers Choice


NAC Display





One of the featured series is the Leupold RX Rangefinders. They range faster, more accurately and to longer ranges than in previous models. The proprietary DNA (Digitally eNhanced Accuracy) engine responds instantly with crisp precision within 1/10th yard and TBR (True Ballistic Range) gives you all you need to place your shot perfectly.


Leupold RX

Leupold RX1000i Display

This rangefinder is also equipped with an inclinometer. This is a great addition to the rangefinder to aid in the estimated time to travel up or down a slope as well as where to best put your shot.   



The new Leupold Vendetta bow-mounted rangefinder will revolutionize the way you hunt and dramatically improve your game. Vendetta gives you an instant and precise digital readout of your target range – at full draw – with no excessive movement and less busted game. Simply push the trigger pad and Vendetta continually adjusts distance, angles and elevation as your target moves with a range from 10 -70 yards.

Leupold Vendetta


Leupold Vendetta Bow Mount


Rangefinders are a great addition to the gear list and are proven time after time. If you are unsure if you should use on or what model you should get, come down to Bass Pro and try them out. We have more than enough taxidermy mounts to practice on.

Go scope something out!




Scope it Out: Bushnell

So Americans have always been thinkers, right? We like to see how we can do something the fastest or the biggest or the cheapest or so on. And every now and then a little bit of tinkering can go a long way. That is how actually how Bushnell came to be.

Bushnell got its name from founder, David P Bushnell. He founded the company in 1948 during a stint in Allied-occupied Japan. He began in an import-export company and somehow wound up with 400 pairs of binoculars. When he and his wife returned to the U.S. he was able to sell all of them and kept with optics.

This use of foreign-manufacturers helped set Bushnell apart. They were able to have optics made to their specifications and could sell them at lower prices. These early binoculars made it possible for middle-class Americans to be able to own a pair because of their price point. Slowly Bushnell started including other products in their line, including rifle-scopes.

With more people being able to afford optics, it made it easier for Americans to get into outdoor activities. It was no plausible to equip a family with binoculars to go bird-watching and not break the bank.

The company has changed hands several times over its history. Since being picked up this latest time, Bushnell has acquired other name companies with it. This includes Simmons Outdoors Corporation and Meade Instruments. They currently have lines of products that include: binoculars, rifle scopes, trail cameras, GPS, spotting scopes, laser rangefinders and other outdoor technologies. One specific line of products is in conjunction with none other than survival-superstar Bear Grylls!

They break their products into five major categories: hunting, tactical, golf, wildlife and spectator. Bushnell is not a hunting-specific company but does a good job catering to that crowd.

They also just revamped their warranty. They are offering a 100% Money Back Guarantee! And they know the best way to show it is of course through YouTube.

Bushnell has been taking great efforts to make sure people do not forget about their brand. The company has won numerous awards over the past few years for their products. With acclamation as this and a warranty like the one above, one should be sure to take a look at possibly snagging a pair for themselves.

Some Other Scope-It-Outs: