Backcountry Fly Fishing Association Presents "The Life and Times of Flip Pallot"

Legend Series Flip Pallot

I count myself as one of the many fishermen out there that can identify the moment and the person that set them on the watery path they currently find themselves following, and I'm quite sure the man pictured above has a lot to do with many, many people picking up a rod of some type, then hitting the saltwater in search of tough fighting and high flying quarry like redfish, bonefish, tarpon, and snook.   Watching "Walker's Cay Chronicles" on a cold winter morning in Erie, Pennsylvania provided an escape from the brutal conditions I was likely to endure if I chose to go outside and attempt to clear the driveway of its three feet of drifted-in snow.  I normaly chose to stay inside a few minutes longer so I could see where Flip's travels took him and what locale I was going to add to my "Wish List."

"Come with me on a trip into angling adventure.  We'll ride the ragged edge where the fish are big and wild.  From the fabled Walker's Cay we'll travel to the ends of the earth, to the loneliest ocean and the farthest rivers in search of the best light tackle action.  We'll pit the smallest lures and the lightest rods against the toughest fish, and we'll burn the stories in to the memory of film, on the Walker's Cay Chronicles." 

No-motor Zone RedfishJust the introduction alone sucked me and thousands of others into a world of angling we never thought existed.  Did Flip and the show's producers know what kind of marital trouble they were causing with a simple half-hour TV show?  All those locations and all those fish infected a lot of people who probably never imagined venturing outside their current region, but their subconscious mind surely traveled while the innocent angler slept.  Little did I imagine living and fishing in the exact area highlighted on numerous episodes would ever come to fruition.  Ultimately catching the same species they made appear so glamorous turned into a lifelong goal as soon as we became Florida residents, and I'm still working on the list.

Flip's life has followed many paths along the way and there's no way I could ever do justice to his story, but rest assured that he's a legend who has spent countless hours on the water with many of the other pioneers in the sport of saltwater fly fishing.  They're the ones that develop the tackle and techniques we employ today, so in a very true sense, we owe our success to the work Flip and his pals did back then.

Spending the night of September 10th with the Backcountry Fly Fishing Association at "The Legend Series" sponsored by Hell's Bay Boatworks is your chance to hear the stories first hand while possibly learning a few things that'll make you a better angler.  Becoming involved in a club made up of a bunch of guys who share your love of fly fishing, fly tying, or just spending time on the water can't be a bad thing in itself.  The club helped me to develop as a fly angler, ultimately leading me to writing about and sharing my love of the sport.  I'm no John Gierach, or Norman Maclean when it comes to storytelling but we all share something in common with Flip and his friends, and that's passion.

Make plans to spend the evening with Flip and some new friends (and possibly some new fishing partners) on Thursday, September 10th.  It's sure to be a gathering you won't soon forget.

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 

 

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RedHead Select Outfitters: The Timbers at Chama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Adventures:

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

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Learning About America's History One Rest Stop At A Time

Tuskegee Airmen MonumentI never cease to be amazed by the little things we can learn while on the road if we just take the time to stop and check out the little roadside markers and obscure memorials dotting the country.  Our nation’s history, whether good or bad, is documented by simple signs and monuments that many of us don’t even realize are there since we’re blasting by at 75 or 80 miles an hour.

My wife and I happened upon one of these such markers when we exited Interstate 95 in Walterboro, South Carolina for a gas and coffee stop on our way home from vacation.  I noticed a sign pointing the way to the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial, and we decided to check it out since it wasn’t too far off the beaten path and we’d heard the stories and watched the movies related to the men of the 332nd Fighter Group.  You can’t help but respect men that lived through such intense diversity and we wondered what this little town had to do with a troubled history of racism and bigotry that was eventually overcome by men with a great deal of dedication, determination, and mental toughness.

As it turns out, the small Walterboro Army Airfield was a training site for fighter and bomber crews just before heading overseas to combat, and the Tuskegee airmen were a part of this war effort.  It was also the site of a camouflage school and a prisoner of war camp for German POW’s, which really surprised us considering that we thought POW’s would have stayed overseas rather than being brought in country.  Nor did I figure anyone needed a school to tell them how to look like a shrub or a bunch of weeds.  Obviously there must be more to it than just sticking a few twigs in your cap.

The 332nd and its tenant commands flew Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, Bell P-39 Aircobras, Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, and the ultimate fighter aircraft (in my humble opinion), the North American P-51 Mustang. The men of the 477th Bombardment Group flying the North American B-35 Mitchell, shouldn’t be forgotten since they trained at the same facility and fought against the same racism as the men in the 332nd, but they never actually saw combat operations according to the sites I’ve visited. Regardless of whether they saw combat or not, flying these machines by oneself, or as part of a larger crew took skill and coordination these men proved they were undeniably capable of.

The historic markers tell a story of hardship and division that was ultimately overcome by men with mental toughness that I can only dream to possess.  They joined a military that didn’t think they were capable of performing the necessary skills, while fighting for, and next to men who believed they were second class citizens.  They ultimately amassed a fighting record unsurpassed by the Caucasian squadrons, earning the respect of the bomber pilots they protected and the foreign enemy they fought.  The HBO movie “The Tuskegee Airmen” is one of my favorites with a great cast and a well depicted version of true life events.  Watch it if you get a chance!

Like I said in the beginning of this post, you never know what you’ll learn when you stop and read one of those roadside markers.  They dot the landscape across the nation, serving to document our history and teach us about who we are and where we came from as a country.  Be sure to stop and read a few when you get a chance.  You might just be surprised at what you learn.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

 

  

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops - Freedom & Fun for Everyone!

It's the FINAL weekend of Family Summer Camp and the first weekend of our NRA Freedom Days special seminars!

Family Summer Camp

Sounds like another HOT and sometimes stormy weekend for us. Join us inside for our last weekend of summer camp workshops for kids - plus, our outdoor activities are moved INDOORS, so your kids can try their hand at shooting a BB gun, casting, and shooting a bow.

Each child receives a Summer Camp lanyard at their first seminar, then a pin at each seminar they attend (while supplies last.) It's still possible for kids to get all nine pins on Saturday and Sunday! The workshops are about 20-30 minutes each and the schedule is:

Saturday - July 25
Noon  -  Fishing
1 p.m. - Water Safety
2 p.m. - Shooting and Hunting
3 p.m. - Kayaking
4 p.m. - Bird Watching

Sunday - July 26
Noon  - Shooting & Hunting
1 p.m. - Archery
2 p.m. - Travel Safety
3 p.m. - Camping
4 p.m. - Backyard Adventure

Crafts are noon-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

 

 

 

 

NRA FREEDOM DAYS!

Celebrate our Second Amendment during NRA Freedom Days!

NRA membership drive - July 25/26 and Aug. 1/2 - Sign up in-store to for NRA membership and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

Free Seminars, July 25 & 26, Aug. 1 & 2 - Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug for the first 15 seminar attendees each day!

Saturday July 25 & August 1

  • 11 AM - Gun Competition Basics: MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo
  • 2 PM - Accessorizing your MSR
  • 3 PM - Women and Self-Defense: How to train and defend


Sunday July 26 and August 2

  • 2 PM - Choosing the Right Home Defense System: Shotgun, handgun or MSR
  • 3 PM - Gun Safety in the Home: Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories

Plus, these additional sale and promotional opportunities:

  • Free gun case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more while supplies last!
  • July 20-Aug. 2 - 2nd Amendment Instant Savings: Instant savings on guns up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!
  • Triple/Quadruple rewards points on select products!
  • NRA Freedom Days Experience Sweepstakes

___________________________

 

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Are You Obsessed with the Weather?

Are you obsessed with the weather?  You are not alone.  People want to see what is going on 24/7.  The technology we have today will keep you updated as it is happening all around the world.

Entertainment - yes it is! Hanging on to each second as to what may or may not happen.  This is pure drama in the sky.  Watch a real life movie as it unravels before your eyes.   How should you dress? Do you need to get groceries for a few extra days?  Do you need to check how many flashlights or batteries are needed?  Water?  We watch TV, computers or phones to see in advance what the weather will bring us.  Although people watch weather as TV, there is a far more serious side to this.  Knowing when you need to evacuate an area or take shelter, how it will affect crops and your livelihood.

How about some weather related sayings.  Have you ever heard?

Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight - Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors take warning

When the moon raises red and appears large, with clouds, expect rain in twelve hours

A sunny shower won't last an hour

Mares' tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails

A wind from the south has rain in its mouth

Birds flying low, expect rain and a blow

If the rooster crows on going to bed, you may rise with a watery head

Do you know how big a raindrop is?  Usually they are very small about one hundredth of an inch.  Large raindrops are one tenth of a inch in diameter.  Small rain drops fall approximately  2 miles per hour.  Large rain drops are 18 miles per hour.

Lightening can travel 136,000 miles an hour.  You can figure out how close lightning is by counting the seconds between the flash of lightning and a clap of thunder.  One mile for every 5 seconds.  An example would be if you count 10 seconds between the lightening and the thunder the lightening is two miles away.  Lightning can be very dangerous.  Do not use land line phones during lightning storms.  Do not go out on the water or play golf during a thunderstorm.  If your hair stand on end get close to the ground with your hands on your knees, then put your head between your knees.

Thunderstorms are usually in the summer when the weather is hot and humid.  You may also witness thunderstorms during the winter months as a cold front approaches.

Bass Pro Shops has a large variety of weather instruments you can use to help you with the weather.  Here are just a few ideas that are great fun and we have much more at www.basspro.com.

The Bass Pro Shops Acu Rite 5 in 1 Weather Center has a illuminated color display and a backlight that always stays on.  This unit has a strong signal that works through walls and long distance.  Check out all the other features by clicking on the picture or visiting our website www.basspro.com.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-AcuRite-5in1-Weather-Center-With-Color-Display-Model-01602BPDI/product/1308091545/

Never miss a beat with the Eton Corporation FRX4 Rugged Weather Radio.  NOAA weather alerts, solar, crank, and red beacon light are just a few features this unit offers while being tough and durable.

http://www.basspro.com/Eton-Corporation-FRX4-Rugged-Weather-Radio/product/14080606014515/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want something portable?  The convenient Lacrosse Technology Handheld NOAA Weather Radio is high quality while being portable!

http://www.basspro.com/La-Crosse-Technology-Handheld-NOAA-Weather-Radio/product/12080705124363/

 

Do you follow lightning?  Why not look at the AcuRite Instruments Portable Lightning Detector.  Water resistant for outdoor or indoor use. This component will detect the presence of lightning and the speed it is approaching at.  25 mile range

 

http://www.basspro.com/AcuRite-Instruments-Portable-Lightning-Detector/product/1308091122/

 

 

 

 

 

 

While your obsession with the weather keeps you informed, get your kids involved in the fun too.  Explain to your kids the safety that is needed and why you follow the weather.  Here is a quick and easy way to simulate a tornado.  All you need is 2-2 Liter Bottles, Duct Tape, and water and perhaps some glitter to simulate debris.  Here is all you do!  Fill one 2 liter bottles up about 2/3 with water and some glitter.  Place the other bottle on top and secure with duct tape well.  I would do this outside in case of leaks.  Turn the bottle upside down so that the water is on the top and spin counter clockwise. Watch as your tornado form and repeat!          R. Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

 

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Four Dream Fishing Trips

Let me tell ya a couple things about Dreams: One- Killer song by Van Halen. Two- Gotta have them. Everybody needs to have a dream of some kind. Whether it be owning a certain place, meeting a celebrity, inventing some new form of transportation, winning an arm-wrestling contest against someone or whatever. Just gotta have a dream.

People who love the outdoors have a lot of dreams. This world we live in offers so much to see and experience. And I have noticed that fishermen tend to have a lot of dream trips. They usually focus on two things: the species of fish and the location. So in the effort of getting our minds to escape the humdrum of everyday life, let’s start daydreaming about these four dream fishing trips.

Trip One- Fly Fishing in Alaska

Every fisherman needs to take a trip to Alaska at some point in their life. The land there is so expansive and beautiful, that it is worth the trip alone. Sure, you could make a point for this trip being for deep-sea halibut, but I’d say fly fishing would be the ideal dream trip. Grab a good guide and its fish on!

Fly fishing there puts you on some of the most amazing streams in the most gorgeous surroundings. It also puts you into bear territory, and every fisherman needs a good bear story. Depending on when you go you can catch the salmon as they run or the other year-round fish population. Just think of all the fish you can catch: salmon, trout, arctic char and so much more! Plus taking a float plane with one of them crazy bush pilots is always a good time!

Trip Two- Peacock Bass on the Amazon

Now if you have watched any of the episodes of River Monsters involving the Amazon, you know it can be a dangerous place. But there is mystery and beauty in that danger, and luckily most outfitters are well equipped for emergencies. I can think of no better quarry than the peacock bass to go after in such an epic landscape.

Peacock bass (not bass, but cichlids) are some of the hardest hitting fish out there. Be prepared to use heavy duty gear for some tough fighting fish. They are beautifully marked fish that will leave an everlasting impression to any who encounter this fish. Plus you have the chance to see some of the most elusive wildlife while fishing. My buddy’s dad actually caught a small caiman while fishing there!

Trip Three- Billfish (Anywhere)

Stories from Zane Grey and Ernest Hemmingway have longed captured the allure of big billfish. All members of the billfish family are built for speed and display some of the most amazing feats of physicality when caught. And of course, no dream fishing trip list would be complete without one deep-sea trip.

Now, different billfish inhabit different areas at different times. So when you pick out your exact quarry, you can start figuring out the specifics for your adventure. Personally, I am hungry to catch and conquer a marlin. I would like to advocate that all billfish should be returned to the ocean to help preserve their populations, but be sure to get a picture with your trophy. These fish can flash colors to startle prey and communicate with other fish. You will likely never forget the image of a sailfish leaping out of the water, and your body will likely never forget the effort it took to bring it in.

Trip Four- Spear Fishing with Namor the Submariner

And look, if we are talking dream trips… I am going all out! Sure, Namor the Submariner is a comic book character and the chances of spear fishing with him are next to non-existent. But think of the awesome adventure you could have!

Namor is the Marvel version of Aquaman, and much more moody. He is the king of the oceans and hates most land-dwellers. So the fact that he would go spear fishing with me is awesome in itself. But we are talking the whole ocean! Who knows what epic battles we might ensue in?! Perhaps we decide tackling a giant squid is in order, or no Wednesday is complete without taking on an orca pod or two! All I am saying is that it would be a dream trip.

 

So what about you? What is your dream trip? Or have you already been lucky enough to go on one of these? Share your thoughts or stories below!

-Giddy-Up!!

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Family Summer Camp

Summer is in full swing here at BPS Nashville!  That means our annual Family Summer Camp is well underway. 

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until July 26th, we have workshops from noon to 5pm on everything outdoors including Archery, Hunting, Water Safety and Backyard Adventures.  In addition, we have our Daisy BB gun range set up on our boat canopy along with a Bear archery range and a casting challenge where kids can practice their technique and cast from one of our boats.

We also have a weekly craft and each completed workshop earns kiddos a lanyard and pin so they can collect all 9!

Crafts:

Turkey Track Magnet   July 7, 9, 11 and 12

Turtle Sun Catcher   July 14, 16, 18 and 19

Lady Bug Clip Magnet   July 21, 23, 25 and 26

Workshops:

Tuesday

Noon   Bird Watching

1pm   Fishing

2pm   Archery

3pm   Kayaking

4pm   Backyard Adventure

 

Thursday

Noon   Archery

1pm   Shooting/Hunting

2pm   Travel Safety

3pm   Water Safety

4pm   Camping

 

Saturday

Noon   Fishing

1pm   Water Safety

2pm   Shooting/Hunting

3pm   Kayaking

4pm   Bird Watching

 

Sunday

Noon   Shooting/Hunting

1pm   Archery

2pm   Travel Safety

3pm  Camping

4pm   Backyard Adventure

 

Bring the family in for an afternoon of fun and educational outdoor activities!

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Summer Family Camp

 

Bass Pro Shops Family Summer Camp features fun games for kids, and activities and workshops where families can learn the skills they need to enjoy great outdoor adventures together. And it’s all FREE!!

Family Summer Camp begins Saturday, June 27 and continues through Sunday, July 26 at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, Tn.

During Family Summer Camp, free workshops and Family activities will be held every Tuesday, Thursday Saturday, and Sunday- June 27- July 26. The entire family will enjoy learning the basics of camping, fishing, archery and hunting. Other workshops include kayaking, water and travel safety, backyard adventures and bird watching.

Workshop Schedule

Tuesday

  • 12 pm    Bird Watching
  • 1 pm      Fishing
  • 2 pm      Archery
  • 3 pm      Kayaking
  • 4 pm      Backyard Adventure

Thursday

  • 12 pm    Archery
  • 1 pm      Hunting and Shooting
  • 2 pm      Travel Safety
  • 3 pm      Water Safety
  • 4 pm      Camping and Conservation Awareness

Saturday

  • 12 pm    Fishing
  • 1 pm      Water Safety
  • 2 pm      Hunting and Shooting
  • 3 pm      Kayaking
  • 4 pm      Bird Watching

Sunday

  • 12 pm    Hunting and Shooting
  • 1 pm      Archery
  • 2 pm      Travel Safety
  • 3 pm      Camping and Conservation Awareness
  • 4 pm      Backyard Adventure

In addition to all the workshops, kids can try a free craft from 12-2 pm

  • June 27-28                                          Make a wooden wind chime
  • June 30, July 2 and July 4-5            Create a kite photo frame
  • July 7, 9, 11-12                                   Color a plaster turkey track magnet
  • July 14, 16, 18-19                              Turtle Sun catcher
  • July 21, 23, 25-26                              Create a lady bug clip magnet

Other free hands-on activities include:

  • Fishing at the catch and release pond and Souvenir Photo - July 4-5 ONLY
  • Fish Casting Buckets
  • The Duck Shooting Range
  • Daisy BB Gun Range
  • Wildlife Carousel

 

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Capturers of the Outdoors: Steve Rinella

So far on this blog series I have covered let us say “an older generation” of capturers of the outdoors. Most people my age have never heard of Zane Grey or Peter Capstick. And many probably think Planet Earth was the first program to show nature on TV. It makes sense, the number of people who recreational fish, hunt, camp or so on is dwindling drastically. Many younger generations think of these activities as “old school” or what their grandpa used to ramble on about. With all of the anti-meat, anti-gun, anti-hunting and so on so prevalent in the news and media many people hide the fact that they hunt. It can be hard for younger generations of hunters to be able to voice their opinion and beliefs when it comes to holding onto that tradition. But luckily, our generation and future ones has a voice in Steve Rinella.

Steve Rinella is an avid outdoorsman who has had a success writing and television career under his belt under the age of 40. When you think of many of your successful outdoor television personalities, people like Jim Shockey or Bill Dance come to mind. And while no disrespect to either of those two greats, they are harder for the younger generation to connect with. You can truly see the passion and love for the outdoors and hunting in his shows and through his writing.

To date, he has published three books: American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter. (His books are available through his website.) I have read the first and last one. I loved them both. (Go way back to Oct. 2013 and you’ll see I mentioned his first book in a blog.) The American Buffalo book is a great one for anyone. The Meat Eater book is excellent and should be owned by any hunter. In it, he takes us on a journey through his life by using different hunts. The Scavenger’s Guide book will hopefully be on my shelves here soon. In it Steve apparently tries to collect enough food for a 45 course meal of wild game recipes.

Other than books, Steve writes avidly for numerous outdoor magazines. Those including Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Bowhunter, Fly Fisherman and Petersen’s Hunting. But his articles don’t stop there, he has also written for: Men’s Journal, Outside, New York Times and Oprah’s magazine. Some of those last few might blow the mind off of who a “normal hunting writer” should be writing for. But that is the thing! Steve transcends those “norms” and can discuss hunting with anyone. And he does quite frequently. He has appeared on national radio programs and has even done live web chats with people. He is not afraid to voice his opinion and passion.

As mentioned at the beginning, Steve also appears on TV. His first show was called The Wild Within and was produced for the Travel Channel. It was amazing. Unfortunately it was only eight episodes long, but each one of them was great. Since 2012, Steve has hosted the show MeatEater on The Sportsman Channel. It has followed his adventures for four seasons now, and looks to keep going. What I love about his shows is how he shows every aspect of hunting. Some TV shows it is just “here, watch this” and “wow, what a nice animal”. With both of these shows the process of scouting, tracking, harvesting, cleaning, preparing and cooking the game is all included. Which is important, because those are all things including in hunting itself.

Steve has also mastered the art of media and has successful YouTube videos and a podcast. To him there is a strong bond and need for the outdoors and wilderness with mankind. He aims to maintain his bond and encourage others to discover and develop theirs.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previously:

Zane Grey Disney Nature Peter Capstick

Related:

Ansel Adams Teddy Roosevelt Fred Bear Boone and Crockett Club NWTF and DU

Henry David Thoreau Pope and Young Club

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Family Summer Camp – 2015 at Mesa, AZ!

Well I guess it’s about that time again to start marking down the ol’ summer-fun calendar and making arrangements to bring the family on down for Family Summer Camp here at Bass Pro Shops – Mesa, AZ! This is one of our larger events we hold every year and it is definitely one of the most fun! If you thought the Gone Fishing Event was intense, you have no idea what is coming our way! It is a month long, four days out of the week, five hours each day FREE and FUN FRENZY!! We have numerous activities for the younger generation to participate in!

From June 27th – July 26th

Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5PM

We will have the following activities:

Shooting Arcade

Zing Toys

BB Gun Range*

Archery Range*

Wildlife Carousel

Casting Buckets

Workshops will run from Noon to 4PM (Schedule of topics will be below.)

Crafts will run from Noon to 2PM/While Supplies Last (These do change weekly.)

*Participants under the age of 18 will have to have parent/legal guardian fill out a waiver

For the weekend of July 4th and 5th we will also be bringing back our Catch and Release Pond along with FREE Photo Download! Both of those will run from Noon to 5PM.

We have had the pleasure of seeing a number of familiar faces over the past few years, come time and again! We have also seen a significant increase in the amount of families attending! It is awesome! I mean where else can you take the kids for several hours that is air-conditioned, full of activities and has taxidermy? This is a great way to beat the Arizona heat and encourage kids to get passionate about the outdoors! AND IT IS ALL FREE!!!!

For the Workshops, we have NINE different topics. Each seminar will start on the hour and go for about 20 minutes. After the seminar is done, kids will receive an activity book with special questions. The answers to those questions are hidden somewhere in the store, and kids have to find the signs to figure them out! After they figure them out, bring the book back to the Workshop Area and show the Associate your answers. If you got them right you earn a pin for that specific workshop! First time comers will receive a lanyard to put their pins on, but there will be a limited supply. The workshop schedule is as follows:

Tuesdays

Noon- Bird Watching

1PM- Fishing

2PM- Archery

3PM-Kayaking

4PM- Backyard Adventure

Thursdays

Noon- Archery

1PM-Shooting & Hunting

2PM-Travel Safety

3PM-Water Safety

4PM- Camping

Saturdays

Noon- Fishing

1PM- Water Safety

2PM- Shooting & Hunting

3PM- Kayaking

4PM- Bird Watching

Sundays

Noon- Shooting & Hunting

1PM- Archery

2PM-Travel Safety

3PM- Camping

4PM- Backyard Adventure

Family Summer Camp is always a great time here and we can’t wait to start making some awesome memories with you all!

-Giddy-Up!!

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The many reasons to camp at Peninsula State Park – Door County Wisconsin

“Go West, young man” may have been Horace Greeley’s advice to those seeking success back in the 1850’s, but if he’d a met a family looking for a good place to go for a week long camping trip then he might of said “Go North”.  Let’s face it, summer heat and camping aren’t always a great mix but cooler temperatures can often be found in the northern parts of the U.S.  One fantastic destination that gives you a chance to beat the heat and enjoy awesome family fun is Peninsula State Park located in Door County, Wisconsin.  Located 409 miles from the East Peoria Bass Pro Shops, Peninsula State Park is a huge park on the shores of Green Bay on Lake Michigan.  This northern location and the close proximity to the lake make for naturally cooler summer temperatures, perfect for evening campfires and cozy sleeping bags, but it also makes daytime activities that much more enjoyable as well. Peninsula State Park and Door County definitely have a wide assortment of things to do.        Peninsula State Park - Door Count Wisc, photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Peninsula has five campgrounds totaling 486 camping sites.  While most campsites are reservable, there are also some that are strictly first-come-first-serve.  All the campgrounds offer flush toilet and shower areas and some have electrical hook-ups available.  A vehicle sticker is required to enter the state park area ($35.00 for out-of-Staters staying a week or more). Once you make it into the park and set up your camp, then the real fun can begin.


Peninsula is a park with lots of different activities that will appeal to just about everyone. 

Peninsula State Park, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

  • Swimming is available at Nicolet Beach, a sandy oasis that has a snack bar and rentals of kayaks and other water amusements. 
  • Bicycle rental is also available within the park and Peninsula has awesome bicycle trails.  You can stop at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse for a tour or bike to Sven’s Bluff or many of the other park’s famed scenic overviews.  Peninsula State Park, Outdoor Theatre Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
  • The park also has 20 miles of hiking trails which will let you explore the diverse habitat of the park, view impressive cliff formations and give you a good opportunity to spot some of the park’s wildlife.
  • Fishing, golf, tennis and volleyball are all available within the park. 
  • The White Cedar Nature Center is another great destination, it offers tours, nature crafts and outdoor activities.
  • You can take in a show at the American Folklore Theater with its magnificent open air, red pine backdrop and its family fun performances. 
  • And of course you’ll want to make sure you take a drive along the scenic Green Bay shoreline for incredible views and to find a great place to watch an awe-inspiring sunset.

 

Not only are there an amazing amount of activities at Peninsula State Park, there are also a wealth of family fun attractions packed into the entire Door County area.  There are many quaint, picturesque towns scattered around the county that have wonderful shops, restaurants, artist galleries and other fun family activities.  There are historic old lighthouses to see and cherry orchards where you can pick your own.  You can find Museums, Fish Boils, Petting Zoos, and Charter Fishing trips. From mini-golf to high end art studios, Door County has something that will interest everyone in your group.  This is one vacation spot where you won’t run out of things to do during your week-long stay.

Here’s a great camping tip before you escape the heat and head for Peninsula State Park in Door County.  First, stop by Bass Pro Shops and pick up a screen house enclosure.  Easy to set-up and big enough to contain a picnic table, a screen house will provide you a bug-free zone to cook, eat, or just relax if the local insects get a little too pesky.  Check out the Bass Pro and Coleman brands of these handy structures, your whole family will appreciate the comfort they provide.  Bass Pro Shops camping department has all the equipment you need to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors.

Peninsula State Park Visitor's Guide

This is the 3rd in a series of great Places to Camp. Please visit Bruce's other blogs:

Bruce Zilkowski, Camping Department
Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL

 

 

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Look at That! Weather Vanes

One of my favorite movies has to be Open Range with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall. One of my favorite characters is Percy, the stable worker. At one point a huge storm rolls into town and Percy warns the main characters to get inside. “Big-un’s comin!” I love it. Phrases like “Storms a-brewin’!” and “Best get the livestock in!” have pretty much made themselves home in any kind of discussion considering a storm. Fun fact, as my buddy and I were driving down the highway he noted an incoming desert monsoon. I put all those phrases together and it caught him just as off-guard as the storm did!

Now there are many ways to have a heads up with the weather. Listening to the radio, watching the Weather Channel, checking your smartphone or reading the newspaper all provide hints at what the day will be like. Two of my favorite ways though are to look at the sky and check your weather vane!

Looking at the sky gets us away from technology and lets us take in the world for its true beauty. Checking your weather vane lets you utilize an older technology and probably appreciate your front or back yard for a few extra moments during the day. And the style/topper of your weather vane can say a lot about yourself.

There are two companies that we carry a bunch of different options online of weather vanes. The first we will take a stroll through is Good Directions, Inc. They make a ton of attractive options that would look great in any number of places in the yard. I am quite partial to the rooster myself. They may come with a higher price-tag than one would expect but you know you are getting something that will last for seasons.

The second company is EZ Vane Inc. They have quite a number of options, including colleges. As flying your school’s logos/colors have become more and more popular, this company might offer something your front yard would not do without. I’ll let you look online to see what schools they currently offer, but let me just say this, if you aint a gator… you’re gator bait!

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring Hand Towels Rainproof Camo She Outdoor PETT

BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag RedHead Gun Rack Chicken on a Stick

Traeger Smoker/Grills Casio Pathfinder RedHead Wellington Boots

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Springtime Camping at Starved Rock State Park

April is gone, May has begun and if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to start thinking Camping!  Comfortable daytime temperatures, cool nights and less bugs makes this a great time to go camping. So, whether you’re just looking for a little weekend adventure or want to do a shakedown campout before a big summer time trip here is a great destination for early spring; Starved Rock State Park near Utica Illinois. 

 Starved Rock waterfall - courtesy WikimediaLocated about 70 miles north of the East Peoria Bass Pro Shops, the “Rock” is an
awesome park and one of Illinois’ most visited outdoor locations. 

On the banks of the Illinois River, Starved Rock offers some incredible hiking opportunities that will take you through, in and over beautiful sandstone rock formations.  The park has over 13 miles of well-maintained, well-marked trails that let you explore its sandstone canyons; many of which have fabulous waterfall features. In fact, after a winter of heavy snowfall, this “Jewel of the State Park System” boasts up to an amazing eighteen running waterfalls. Early spring provides a once a year opportunity to witness their magnificence. In addition, you can also enjoy some incredible scenic views from on top the high bluff walls that overlook the IL. River valley.  Hike the paved trail to the top of the most famous formation in the park and learn about the Native American history which gives this “rock” its name. All of this right here in central Illinois!  Who knew? 

Actually, a lot of people know and during the summer season Starved Rock’s 120+ camping sites fill up fast and its trails can be downright crowded.  That makes April a perfect time to beat the crowds before the summer season arrives.  So check the weather report and find a nice weekend and make your camping reservation for Starved Rock with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. And remember, while spring rains can dampen some weekends they also bring out the beautiful early season wildflowers and you may even spot a tasty Morel mushroom or two. The early season moisture can also enhance the parks waterfalls making them even more spectacular than you’ll likely see later in the year.

Early spring is also an excellent time to spot lots of wildlife like White-tailed deer and the Bald Eagles that frequent the river banks around the park. It's also a great time to catch some fish from the park’s cement wall just above the river. Sauger, walleye and white bass all migrate upstream this time of year and some real trophies can be landed. If an unexpected spring shower does pop up then go check out the interior of the beautiful Starved Rock Lodge or visit the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center located just across the river from the park.  Here you can watch huge river barges “lock through” the dam and you can learn more about the river system itself. 

If you need help getting started with camping then stop by the camping department at Bass Pro Shops, for less than the cost of a two night hotel stay we can outfit you with a quality tent and sleeping bags from the top names in outdoor gear.  Companies like The North Face, Kelty, Coleman, Eureka, Ascend and many more.  If you’re a seasoned camper then stop by and see all the newest camping gear available, you’re sure to find something that will make your Starved Rock weekend getaway awesome family fun. Download the Starved Rock brochure.

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Bruce Zilkowski, Camping Department

Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL   

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The Day that Changes Lives

By Rod Slings
Central Iowa Long Spurs Member
Hunting safety expert and retired Iowa DNR law enforcement supervisor,
 

“This day changed lives!” 

A quote heard over and over, from our hunters and our volunteers, at the 2015 Wheel’n Sportsmen Turkey Hunt. The weather was not what we had ordered. Conditions were strong winds and heavy rain beginning at sunrise and that came in waves.   However, that did not dampen the spirits of our hunters in the turkey woods.  At the end of the hunt, 11-year-old Quinton was the one hunter that harvested a turkey.

As the hunters and volunteers began to arrive at 3:00 a.m. (yes, that’s in the morning), the excitement began to build. The camouflaged clad silhouettes came in, one at a time, armed with big smiles and filled with anticipation of what the day had in store. Without hesitation, handshakes, hugs, the reestablishment of old friendships and establishing of new ones began. Those in wheelchairs, power chairs and those that needed just a little guidance were welcomed and made comfortable to find a place at the breakfast table.   

Welcoming everyone was first on the agenda, followed by introductions, a prayer for safety and thanks for the resource about to be enjoyed. A hot breakfast was served, along with the Pledge of Allegiance and a safety briefing was all part of the plan. 

Then, Team Todd, Team Cole, Team Angie, Team Quinton, Team Matthew, and more, began to load up and head for the turkey woods with guides and helpers ready to begin their hunt. Blinds had been set, those that needed to be lifted into Utility Terrain Vehicles were lifted, those that need to be driven to the door of the blind were carefully guided in the dark. 

This event is about people helping people, kindness, respect and love of the outdoors all rolled into one event. It changes people in just a few hours; it creates life long bonds between those that do not have the luxury of easy mobility and those that before this event took it for granted.

It’s about sitting beside an American hero and hearing their stories of war in a dark hunting blind.
It’s about sitting next to someone whose life changed in a moment in time, then reflecting on one's own life.
The harvest of a turkey is just a small part of being part of this spring morning in Iowa.
It’s about life.
It’s about empathy, courage and watching the world wake up in a place where everyone is equal in creation.
Listening closely, watching for someone who cannot see.
It’s about being their eyes, being their helper, or just being their friend.

Some think this event is about harvesting turkeys, but it is so much more than that.

It’s about life; it is about improving the quality of lives.
It’s about a new adventure for a person that is now a hunter that just happens to be mobility challenged.
It’s also about a helper who is now surrounded by a new environment, which even brings rejuvenation to their soul.
It’s about the guide that is helping share the gift of the hunt in this wild outdoor place.
Finally, for everyone involved, it’s the excitement of the sound of a gobble or songbirds singing the praises of a new day.
For these hunters, it’s not like their yesterday, it’s about making memories today, for their tomorrow.   

The results of this event cannot be measured. It can only be shared, enjoyed and become part of our individual life stories.  It’s not certain whose lives are most improved or impacted by this experience. We can only hope it improves those lives that this event is intended for, only if for a few hours, or reflecting on their memories made and the photographs taken.

A very special thanks to the American heroes at Camp Dodge, whose passion for helping disabled veterans participating in our hunt is always beyond the call of duty! The Rangers and Staff at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers at Saylorville Lake and their never-ending hospitality with meeting space, for planning, site preparation and scouting for success. The Staff at Polk County’s Jester Park and hosting our base camp for the event and providing hunting blind locations. Thanks to our volunteers for giving of their time and skills to serve as guides and helpers those who make this event possible. Also, to our cooks who serve a wonderful breakfast and celebration lunch to all of those who attend. Most importantly, thanks to our extraordinary hunters and their families.

We want to thank each of them for allowing us to honor them with an experience we hope they will treasure as much as we do.

 

 

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Why it Matters: Passing Down

Remember your first fishing or camping trip? The anxiousness and excitement all rolled up into one? Who took you? Do you have anyone that thinks of you when it comes to their first fishing or camping trip? When was the first time you got on a boat? Who made sure you had a life jacket and some water to drink? Have you been that person? What was the biggest rule about safety when it came to handling firearms? Who taught you that? In many aspects of the outdoors, there are hundreds of firsts. And usually for your firsts, seconds and even thirds you had someone there. Some form of mentor to show you what to do and how to do it. Maybe it was a family member, close friend or enthusiastic neighbor but more than likely someone showed you the way.

Nowadays you can watch YouTube videos, read a book or browse Wikipedia to become an expert on anything. But in no way is that the same as being shown by someone passing down a tradition to you. When it came to my first big-game hunt I had all the resources: TV, friends, online articles, YouTube and people at work. But it all clicked together out in the field as my uncle showed me hands-on how to handle a downed animal.

And that is what the outdoors is all about, passing it down. Being good stewards of the land so the next generation can enjoy it is woven into our makeup. Making sure the youth learns about firearm safety above all else when it comes to shooting is standard. Teaching people to pick up trash should be the number one rule for hikers and campers. You teach good and responsible behaviors because that is what you learned.

Many online articles will tell you how the number of hunters in America is declining. I have no doubt that this trend also includes fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts. I am sure this directly relates to the advances in electronics and other distractions. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice being able to take a few seconds to access some information but there is a time and place for that. The outdoors should not be a place, unless under emergency, for that.

In Hunter’s Education they teach you that a hunter goes through several stages in life. They end as a hunter who cares more about sharing the passion and teaching skills than any other part of hunting. Do you have to be old and gray to be at this point? Nope! Start sharing with others and doing outreach as soon as you’re comfortable and know how to.

I am sure many of you have favorite memories of learning about a passion of yours. And like I said above I am sure you had someone showing you the way. At Bass Pro Shops we hold several free events a year geared towards the youth. We know that without them, the outdoors will not be around forever. We are always proud to be a part of their memories.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previously:

Getting Outdoors Picking Up Hunting Fishing Hiking Camping Rangefinders

Physical Preparation Slowing Down

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April Showers bring May Flowers?

 

However you describe the new season, one thing for sure is that with Spring comes unpredictable weather. Hot, cold, rainy, windy, tornados… the list goes on.

The Gift Department at Bass Pro Shops offers a great selection of Weather Stations and Weather Radios.

The Weather Alert Radio by Midland is NOAA rated and can display alerts in English, French and Spanish. Help keep you family safe with early warnings. Receive alerts for ONLY your local area with specific area message encoding technology. Stay protected during power outages with battery backup and offers a convenient alarm clock and weather radio all in one. An AC power adapter is included. This radio is recommended by the Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness.

http://www.basspro.com/Midland-WR120B-Countertop-Weather-Alert-Radio/product/10227805/

For everyday weather monitoring, Acurite offers the Professional Weather Center with Easy Mount 5 –in – 1 Sensor. Enjoy Indoor and Outdoor temperature readings, Indoor and Outdoor Humidity Readings, Wind Speed, Peak and Average, Wind Direction with Last Reading Indicators, Rainfall Tracking and Rainfall Rate, 12-24 Hour Weather Forecast, Barometric Pressure, Wind Chill, Dew Point, and Heat Index, and Daily, Weekly, Monthly and All Time Highs and Lows. Programmable Alarms can be customized to notify you when conditions change. Alerts include temperature, humidity, wind, rainfall, dew point, heat index and more. The Sensor is totally wireless and easy to install.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=acurite

The Wireless Forecast Station made by Lacrosse Technology, offers the Indoor/Outdoor temperature and Humidity readings, Sunrise/Sunset, Moon Phase, Latitude and Longitude settings, Atomic Time, Date and DST that sets itself and an LED backlight. Have fun watching the advanced

fisherman forecast icon help you decide what to wear and how to prepare for the day.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Fisherman-Icon-Wireless-Weather-Station/product/120503051324117/

A wide assortment of weather stations is on display in the Gift Department at Bass Pro Shops. Browse through our selection – the associates in gifts can help you in your decision.

Bass Pro Shops – Portage is located in Ameriplex Plaza. Call us at 219-787-6800. Feel free to shop online at www.basspro.com .

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Potluck Fishing in South Florida's Freshwater

Peacock BassI can’t even begin to tell everyone how lucky Floridians are when it comes to fishing opportunities, but I’m quite sure readers of my Blogs and newsletters are quite aware of how many chances we have to hit the water and the incredible variety we enjoy throughout the year.  South Florida holds a special place in our hearts, mine especially, and I sometimes wish I didn’t live 200 miles from some of the best fishing anywhere.

Scott and I just returned from another stupendous trip to the region, hitting more water than ever while fishing over a wide variety of habitats and cover types including clear and deep canals, residential lakes and retention ponds, tannin stained sloughs, and Scott even took a few casts into the saltwater side of a water control gate to land his first puffer on fly.

Mayan CichlidOur trip started at 2 AM Sunday morning as we departed my house in northeast Orlando, ultimately reaching our first stop, a Denny’s, somewhere close to Pembroke Pines to fuel up for the coming day and to outline a plan of attack.  Location number one was only a few miles away according to my phone’s map application, so we took our time getting there, and it proved to be a wonderful residential pond full of willing peacocks.  They were schooled up and smashing small baitfish, so we just had to lob a few Polar Fiber Minnows into the fray, and it didn’t take long to land a half dozen feisty fish and essentially destroy the first fly of the trip.  But you can only hit them so hard and we had plenty of ponds to explore.  One of my favorites, an unassuming section of canal along Flamingo Road proved to be productive for a very nice peacock, and a good bunch of mayan cichlids.

Three more stops including one of our best producing municipal parks yielded a very good number of cruising and bedding fish that were very willing to smack the living daylights out of a well presented fly, but we were careful not to over pressure the bedding pairs so as not to adversely affect their spawning activity.  Besides, sometimes it’s just too easy to pick what’s essentially “low hanging fruit.”  We finished off the day with our traditional “first-night pizza,” a much needed shower, a drink or two, all capped off by rapidly falling asleep while sitting up watching a movie.  Seven miles of walking, 11 hours of fishing, and essentially being awake for 40 hours sure can take it out of you.

Green SeverumMonday saw an early morning drive a bit further south to one of the best canal systems in the region.  This particular one sees a lot of pressure but the fishing can be very good at some point along its path if you can find it.  We covered a good portion of the canal reachable by foot and caught some decent sized fish, but the biggest peacocks I’ve ever seen refused to commit to the bite despite taking some pretty good shots at them.  We wondered if they were more in the mood to spawn than to chase food.  Overall, the fishing was a little off what we’ve seen in the past with fewer mayans and less peacocks on the structure than normal.  Runoff, temperature, sunlight, love, who knows what the reason for the less than spectacular fishing.

The highlight, or should I say low light, of this part of the adventure was an exceptionally lucky cast I threaded through the cover across a small pond alongside the canal.  There was an immediate flash as the line snapped satisfyingly tight to something much more immense than anything I expected.  I screamed “THIS IS A BIG FISH!!!” as I firmly set the hook and struggled to winch the monster out of the cover, through the lily pads, and across the pond, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen as it became embedded in the obstructions between us.  Recovery took a few minutes after breaking off the leader and re-rigging with trembling hands and a pounding heart.  Tarpon, snook, monster bass, peacock…  We’ll never know.

OscarThe final location of the day was right alongside a busy thoroughfare and although we always think it’s going to be over pressured and the fish more skittish, we caught another five or six beautiful peacocks and a spotted tilapia before the fading sunlight made sighting the fish and remaining in contact with the fly difficult.  It had been a long and successful day, totaling seven more miles of hiking and 10 hours of fishing.

MudfishWe visited a number of spots alongside the Tamiami canal during our last day of fishing, and were lucky enough to find a great variety of fish including oscar, spotted tilapia, mayan, stumpknocker, bluegill, largemouth bass, gar, and the rarest of the bunch, the green severum.  Scott was able to legitimately hook and land one by jumping in on a pair I’d worked long and hard to entice, but I returned the favor by absolutely slamming the Oscars and by landing a mudfish (bowfin) before him.  He did land one though in the eleventh hour and deserves congratulations on checking another one off the list of fly-caught species.  We just happened to pull over to the side of the road and discover a canal where we could sight fish to cruisers with limited obstructions and good water clarity.  All we had to do was accomplish a decent presentation and a good battle was sure to ensue.

I had the opportunity to re-learn a valuable lesson we should all take to heart when fishing in Florida, and that’s the fact that there are alligators everywhere (especially in the Everglades region) and they’re HIGHLY attracted to the disturbance caused by struggling fish.  I had two close encounters with our reptile friends approaching a little too close for comfort, but none of us was injured so I guess “No harm, no foul,” is the motto of the day.  I can claim to have landed a six footer on eight pound tippet and a size 10 topwater fly.

American AlligatorOverall, we enjoyed one of the best fishing trips of our lives without having traveled to a far off land and spend thousands of dollars trying to get there.  Although I didn't get to check any fish off the "To Catch List" there's no way the trip could have been any better since the weather was nearly perfect, the fish cooperative (for the most part), the flies effective, and company top notch.  He drives, I navigate, and we both catch more fish than should be realistically permitted.  This trip is becoming something of a tradition that I hope will continue for years to come.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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City Girls

I grew up in the city.  The only hunting I ever did was in a store.  I fished, hiked, did quite a bit of outdoor activities, but never hunted.  Fast forward many years and now I love hunting.  The one hunt that really sticks out in my mind was not the first time I sat in a stand, its not the first kill I made either.  The hunt that sticks out to me, is the first time I drew my bow on a deer.

There I was sitting in my stand, freezing, waiting for a deer to make an appearance.  I thought I had experienced every adrenaline rush I possibly could for my timid lifestyle. I was wrong. Training day in and day out with the bow and I was not prepared for this. All of the strength in my arms was gone. I am standing there in my stand and barely have the power to pull the bow back.  Finally, I get it pulled, now to aim.  I am panting.  I cannot breathe.  I think to myself, get it together and breathe slow, but all I can hear is my heart thumping.  It reminded me of the slow motion scene on a movie, everything slowed down, but nothing was clear.  My vision was blurred.  Was it the cold?  Were my eyes now frozen over?  I have sat in a stand and observed hunting for 2 years now.  This is day 3 or 4 that I have sat in my own stand.  Watching, waiting for the deer to come out of hiding. My anticipation never faltered.  I remained enthusiastic about what could be.  Now look at me. Here I am, fumbling, blinded, shaking, and panting.  I start pulling it together, my vision clears up long enough for me to take a shot.  Miss. I have to remain stealth, this deer is going to hear me.  I get another arrow in position and draw.  The deer is looking at me.  No time to rethink if I am ready to kill a deer, I must shoot.  I wait until she looks away and release my arrow. Miss. She hears the rustle of the arrow hitting the tall grass and she is gone. All of my practice and I have missed twice.  I am left with my sweaty palms, racing heart, and shaking hands.  It is cold, real cold.  I feel dizzy like I may fall from the stand.  I take my seat and instantly call my significant other and try to tell him what transpired.  I should have waited until I had gathered myself completely because the phone call was misleading for him.  He heard "I shot a deer", I actually stated "I shot at a deer".  In his defense, I was panting.

There I am, left with my thoughts.  Wondering if I am the right person for the stand, wondering if this is a sport for me.  I love waking up at 4am and preparing for the hunt.  I love having a thermos of coffee.  I love the open air and the mind cleansing I get.  Then I realize, all the rest will fall in place with repetition.  Now, I don't wonder.  Now, I know, I love to hunt.

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Turkey Hunting - Safety, Decoys, and Ethics

By Rod Slings
Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC
Former Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor


We have learned, over many years, what keeps turkey hunters safe. As a hunter, you become responsible for your safety and those that you may, or may NOT know, are hunting around you.

Identify Your Target

Turkey hunting-related shooting incidents typically occur when a person does not completely identify his or her target. Before pulling the trigger, you must totally identify the bird by confirming that it is, in fact, a real turkey - with a beard, spurs and all the color configurations of a tom turkey. Never shoot at just the fan of a turkey; make sure you process all the confirming characteristics of a wild turkey before you shoot. Remember, you can never call that shot back. You must also know what is beyond your target.

Know Your Colors

By concealing yourself in camouflage, you blend into your surroundings. Never wear patriotic colors while turkey hunting.  Red, white, blue and black are the fundamental colors that only look good on a tom turkey, not on turkey hunters.

Watch the Walk

Be very careful transporting your decoys and your harvested bird in the woods. Concealing your harvest will help keep you safe when your hunt is over and you are on the way out of the woods headed home. Hunters have been injured while carrying or setting their turkey down to rest. Also, don’t think that you are alone just because you are on private property or you are the only one that has permission to be there. Always hunt defensively - there is no guarantee someone will not walk in or stalk your calls.

Plan a Safe Set Up

Ideally, you should set up your decoys facing you 15 to 20 yards away from your set up. Place your decoy or decoys in clear view. The decoy will help draw in a bird, but will also cause a distraction away from you. That distance allows you to see and enjoy the strutting and display as your calling efforts are rewarded.

Pick a tree to sit against that is wider than your shoulders and provides you a clear view of four to five times that distance.
If you are hunting from a blind, place it so you also have good visibility of your surroundings. This also allows you a safe zone in case another hunter, or even a trespasser, encroaches upon the land you are hunting. Stalking a turkey increases the chance of interrupting another hunter, or worse. If you see someone is stalking the sounds of your calls, your decoy or just walking near you, make sure you do not make any sudden movements. You do need to say, “HELLO, HUNTER!  I am here!”

Evaluate Your Own Actions Before Others Do

The manufacturers of today’s turkey decoys are making them more realistic than ever. Therefore the placement, use, and your safety are all very real issues to consider. There are looming debates over what constitutes the safe use of certain decoys, when it comes to ethically harvesting a bird. As a safety conscious and ethical hunter, you should do everything possible to keep yourself and others safe. Evaluate your actions - not only as a safe hunter, but also as an ethical hunter that practices fair chase with the animals you hunt. There are all types of ways to simply kill wildlife; a true, ethical, hunter makes sure he or she does everything possible to keep a level playing field -not to mention, to keep from giving themselves or other hunters a bad name. Please consider all of this as a hunter in today’s world, when cameras and social media allow all hunters, non-hunters, and anti-hunters to judge your actions that can affect all of us.

By following these fundamental rules of safety, we have been able to greatly reduce the number of turkey hunting incidents nationwide. These proven rules of safety have been based on good investigations of past hunting incidents. Turkey hunting is very popular and has become very safe and an exciting activity, thanks to these simple rules.

Turkey hunting can create amazing POSITIVE memories in the Great Outdoors!

Hunt SAFE!

_______________________

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The 2015 dates for the Iowa Turkey Seasons:

2015 Spring Turkey, Resident only

 

Comb. Shotgun-or-Archery

April 4 - 12,   2015 Youth Season

April 13 - 16, 2015 Season 1

April 17 - 21, 2015 Season 2

April 22 - 28, 2015 Season 3

April 29 - May 17, 2015 Season 4

Archery only

April 13 - May 17, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Look at That! Casio Pathfinder

It is my firm belief that there are three products that a man should be the only one to buy for himself. Those being wallets, watches and sunglasses. These three items are not just accessories but tools that serve a purpose. Important purposes. Sunglasses protect your eyes from all the possible harmful rays of the Sun, and styles can look great or not so much depending on the guy’s face. Wallets hold cash, cards and other important items. Some men prefer big honkers with dozens of photos and loyalty cards crammed into it and others prefer a simple money clip with the basics. And watches tell the time and come with certain features. Some watches are a little more advanced than others and that is why today we are going to talk about one in particular: Casio’s Pathfinder.

Casio has been a trusted name for decades. They have a strong and loyal customer base that will purchase nothing but their products. The Pathfinder is not a new watch by any means, but always continues to impress those that check it out. Please note this watch is not intended for those that just want one that can tell time and maybe has a backlight feature. This thing is fully loaded.

To be honest, it probably has more computing power than my Suburban. It has two forms of energy, one is a high-capacity battery and the other is solar. That’s right. Solar. And not some dinky cheap solar feature but a strong and sturdy setup. These watches are built tough because Casio expects you to put it through a lot of stuff throughout the years of use.

My good buddy was a mechanic in the Air Force. He did a tour overseas a couple years back and had a Pathfinder. Between all the standard wear and tear, add on sandstorms, workouts, being knocked around inside jet engines and more. This watch is still working to this day.

The watch of course tells time, in both 12 and 24 hour modes, and has a backlight feature. It also has an hourly time signal, the option to have five daily alarms set, water and temperature resistance, a stopwatch and what they call a Triple Sensor. This sensor is set up for the weather and direction. It gives you the features of a thermometer, altimeter/barometer and a compass. All of this can help you anticipate weather and adjust course if needed.

Another buddy had a watch with a similar weather warning feature. It would give off a distinctive beep when the air pressure changed. It usually meant that a storm was moving in. This was an extremely helpful thing when we would be out off-roading or such.

So like I said before this watch is not meant for everyone. But for those that are looking for such a feature-loaded and heavy-duty wrist-wear they should look no further than to the Casio Pathfinder.

-Giddy-Up!!

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Traeger Smoker/Grills

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