Fall Hunting Classic 2014




Join us for the largest hunting sale of the season- the FALL HUNTING CLASSIC!!!!

This year will be bigger than ever with great sales, great pros seminars and a fantastic Next Generation Weekend!!!

We will kick off our Hunting Classic with a FREE Hunting University - learn hunting techniques from some the industries finest .

This year our guests will be host of "Turkey Man" Eddie Salter and Host of BPS "King of Bucks" and "Winchester Rack Masters" Allen Treadwell.







Class Schedule

7 pm     Eddie Salter        

          Tricks on How to Kill Deer

8 pm     Allen Treadwell     

          How to Pack for a Successful Hunt





Trade in your old gear and save on the seasons newest trends

August 1-6      Bow and Crossbow Trade-in

August 7-12    Binocular and Rangefinder Trade-in

August 13-17  Scope Trade-in





The second weekend of the classic is dedicated to the Next Generation of hunters. August 9&10, 12-5 pm will be FREE Kids Activities- Daisy BB Gun Shooting Range, Free Photo Download, Crafts (12-4 pm) and a Free Kids; Workshop at 2 and 4 pm " Fall in The Outdoors". Starting at noon the first 100 kids that complete all activities will receive a free fox drawstring backpack.














We have a brand new addition this year.... Women's Hunting Workshop!!! Have you always wanted to hunt but didn't know where or how to begin? Be here on August 9 at 3 pm and join our Red Head Pro Staff- they will show you.




The third and final weekend stars our own Red Head Hunting Pro Staff- Larry Self and JR Adkins with their tips and seminars.........

August 15

7 pm    Big Game Are All Around You

August 16 & 17

1 pm    Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success

2 pm    Tender Venison? It's Easier than You Think

3 pm    Does Camo Pattern Really Matter?

4 pm    Why Should You Be Hunting Coyote?

5 pm    How to Integrate Your Game Camera with Mobile Devices.


Don't miss it!! Come on in and visit us here at your Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville.... Your Hunting Adventure BeginsHERE!


~ The Events Team




Fly Fishing Basics

Here we are again, right in the middle of summer.  Temperatures in July and August are only going to continue to rise. Some folks call these the "dog days of summer," but I call them a perfect time to cool off and catch fish. Now is a great time to go stand thigh deep in some ice cold water and catch some decent size rainbow trout. The Lower Mountain Fork River wanders through the rolling hills of southeast Oklahoma just outside of Idabel providing both Oklahomans and Texans a great fishery and a prime place to cool off.  Its waters flow from the deepest part of the dam that forms Broken Bow Lake at Beavers Bend State Park. The water is re-oxygenated and sent downstream. The cold, oxygen-rich water not only supports the rainbow population, it plays an integral part in creating a habitat where the fish can actually procreate and grow.

 I'd suggest a pair of White River waders and wading boots because that water is just too dad burn cold to stay in for more than a few minutes. The reason for the wading boots is that regular tennis shoes aren't made to grip the bottom and you could end up "floating your hat" as they say.

 Here are a few more good tips for your trip. If you have never fly fished before then by all means take advantage of Bass Pro Shops of Garland FREE fly casting seminars on Saturday or Sunday at 11:30 a.m. or both! The pros in the White River Fly Shop can introduce you to the basic cast and familiarize you with any of the terminology your may have heard associated with your new sport. Come in and enjoy the camaraderie in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. You don't need to bring anything; we have all the equipment you'll need for the class.

 All of your White River Fly Shop associates have fished the Lower Mountain Fork and most of us will agree that if you had to pick just one fly rod to take it would be an 8 ft. 6inch 5 weight rod with matching floating line. If, however, you have numerous rods to pick from, perhaps an 8-foot 4 weight but I don't recommend much lighter weight than that because there are some "hosses" in the river. Whatever your rod situation, we have something to fit your needs and your pocket.

 Your White River Fly Shop also has the hot flies for the area. Word to the wise: Get some flies before you go! If you're an early riser you might be at a loss for flies if you wait on the local shops to open. Some flies to add to your fly box before you leave are the Y2K bug, a few size 20 red zebra midges, flashback hare's ear in size 16 and smaller and a couple of pink San Juan worms will work well especially after a rain.  For those who prefer a dry fly, we suggest size 18 caddis flies in black, green or tan. From time to time the best dry fly is the blue winged olive in about a size 20, and don't forget your dry fly floatant to keep your flies afloat and the fish afraid.

 We look forward to helping you beat the heat by getting to your favorite cool trout stream. Whether you're a novice, a seasoned veteran or are just getting re-introduced to the sport, come on in to the White Rive Fly Shop of Garland and see why we call it your fly shop....oh, and don't forget your net... you're going to need it!




Behind the Scenes: A Buck and a Truck

Most of the photos on our store walls are on loan from the Iowa Historical Society or the Iowa State Historical Museum. The great thing is - they are ALL real people.

Recently, a customer told us the history of a large photo that hangs over the Archery counter. A special photo that he had been trying to get to the store to see. This was his first time to see it since we've been open (five years almost) and he was proud to say, "That's my dad."

 Behind the Scenes - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Here's how the story goes:

Gaylend Hamann (right) and Don Gofier (left), were from around Anthon, Iowa. One morning they were enjoying coffee first thing  prior to going out for the opening day of the very first bow season for deer hunting in Iowa.

Before shooting hours, the two were heading to some hunting ground near Blencoe, Iowa. They stopped near a roadside ditch, waiting for the official shooting hour.

As soon as the hour to hunt arrived, they got out of the car. They walked down into a ditch, a buck stood up from the ditch, and Gaylend shot and killed the buck within just minutes of shooting hours. The doe was taken just a couple hours later. This picture was taken in the back alley outside of the meat locker in Anthon, just hours after the hunt.

It is a picture of what possibly could be the very first deer legally taken with a bow in Iowa.

Capture the moments.


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Red Head Blackout SS bow


            This time of year, very little is going on in the hunting community. It’s either too hot to get out in all that gear, or people are out enjoying themselves fishing, and partying on the lake. However, this time of year is also when a variety of new products come out for the upcoming hunting season. Hunters start getting that pre-season itch, and along with air conditioning, it’s a great excuse to find your way to your local Bass Pro Shops and check out what new toys are going to be available.

            This year, one of our new toys is the Red Head Blackout SS bow, made by Diamond/Bowtech. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t they already come out with one of those?” And you’re right. Back at the tail end of 2010/beginning to 2011, Diamond Archery came out with the original Red Head Black Out bow, and it did fairly well. With a 7 inch brace height, 26.5-30.5 draw length range, as well as 50-60 and 60-70 limb availability, it easily matched up with some of the bows in its market. It has the ability to shoot 333 fps, which is up there in the bow speeds and darn right impressive for a single cam bow. Not to mention the remarkable let off that has you feeling (in my opinion) little to no weight past that back wall. It’s light weight (a whopping 3.8 pounds!), 32 inch brace axle-to-axle and even comes in a fancy Real Tree camo pattern.

            Any experienced bow shooter knows these specs are about average in bows nowadays. From Mathews to Hoyt pro line, they’ve come out with bows some may argue are bigger and better. However, if you look back, that was AFTER Diamond archery produced the Black Out. Hoyt produced the Spyder 30 in 2011 with a 30 inch axle-to-axle, 330 fps, and a 6 ¾ brace height. But, the Spyder 30 is also a dual cam bow. Dual cams have the ability to store more energy upon a complete revolution by both top and bottom cams while pulling the same amount of weight, while single cams only have the one on bottom to do the same. Single cams also have a reputation for being smoother and quieter, while Dual cams are bit more noisy with the string slap. A good example of this is the Mathews Chill, and the Mathews Creed, both of which were released in 2013.

I shoot the Creed, while my younger brother shoots the Chill, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, or rather, that’s what we thought. The Creed is a 30 inch ATA, 318 fps with a 400 grain arrow (68lbs), 7 inch brace height, and 3.8 pounds bare bow. It’s not the fastest, but it’s smooth, and quiet. The Chill is 31 inches ATA, 324 fps with a 400 grain arrow (70lbs), 3.8 lbs bare bow, and a 6 ¾ brace height. Both are impressive, and have their perks. And again, these were produced 2 years AFTER the Red Head Black Out.

            When I shot the Black Out, I had my reservations, but they were quickly put to bed after a few arrows flung down range. As I mention before, the let off is virtually unfelt at 70 lbs, and the output was 325 fps with a 400 grain arrow. Not much faster than the Chill, but it’s a SINGLE cam, versus the DUAL cam Chill. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what does. Now the new Black Out SS is essentially the same bow spec wise, but it’s got a few tweaks here and there. With custom dampeners found only on the BowTech destroyer (but being made by Diamond/Bowtech, it makes it an exclusive accessory) and a milled riser that brings it down to a light 3.5 pounds, it manages to bring notable results to the range. From 20 yards and at 70 lbs, when I shot a group of 4 arrows, all of them managed an average of 14 inch penetration with a 400 grain arrow and a field tip. Still a single cam, other than a quick, solid thunk it is screaming fast, powerful, and quiet. The back wall is a bit stiff, but I also shot it right out of the box. After about 20 or so arrows, it loosened up and the back wall wasn’t even noticeable.

            To top off all of these remarkable statistics that follow this bow, it also comes in a stealthy looking black, and an “extra green” real tree pattern. Like I mentioned before, my brother and I shoot the Mathews bows, but after both of us shot the new Black Out SS, we are reconsidering our preferences and starting a pre-season piggy bank, with the Black Out SS being the first thing for both of us on our list to buy.

            Oh! And if you’re still having second thoughts, compared to a Mathews or Hoyt bow that typically runs for around $1000 MSRP bare bow, the Black Out SS comes Ready to Hunt package for only $599. How ‘bout them apples?


Tips for Boat Beginners



Summer is not the same without spending time on the water fishing, waterskiing or just cruising. Learning to drive can be scary when you first learn. You’re excited to have the freedom to travel, but a little worried to take over the controls that you are unfamiliar with. Being apprehensive when you first start driving a boat is understandable. There are some tips you can follow to make boating a little easier and safer while you improve your new skills.


Learning from specialists at Bass Pro Shops or an experienced boater can help speed up the process. However, watching other boaters that have boats similar to yours and asking questions is another option. There are many state and national boating education programs offered as well.


Choosing an area with calm water and few boats will give beginners a chance to learn the feel of the boat without added pressure of handling choppy waves. If you choose to learn on Lake Michigan, choose a day with little wind so the water isn’t rough. If getting out of the marina or dock area leads you through rough water, just throttle slow until you find a cove or calm water to practice.


Be aware of the weather reports and watch for unexpected adverse weather that might pop up. Lake Michigan is known for fast weather changes. Being on the water during a rainstorm or heavy winds is dangerous, so don’t wait until the last minute to get off the water


Wear a life jacket, and make sure everyone on the boat does. Nine out of ten drowning happen when no life jacket is being worn.


Basic stuff to have on your boat: U.S. Coast Guard-approved, marine-type fire extinguisher, a visual distress signal if you are on coastal waters, a horn to make sound, a throw-able PFD (life ring) first aid kit, back-up plugs, anchor & line and spare keys


Get your boat ready to put in the water by making sure you put the plug in the boat. Your boat should not be in the water without the plug in.

  • Remove straps and tie-downs on trailers and engines.
  • Load your gear into the boat while it’s out of the water. It’s easier and safer than lugging coolers, bags, etc. through water or bending down from a dock.
  • Back your boat down the ramp to get your boat in the water so your engine is in the water and the boat is not floating off the trailer. Be sure everything is working properly before you release the boat from the trailer. Have someone assist you if you still need practice backing up.
  • Run the blower to make sure there are no fuel vapors in the engine compartment.
  • Set the kill switch to run.
  • Start your boat with the drive mechanism in throttle so the propeller is not turning while you’re on the trailer.
  • Unhook the boat and release the bow hooks that keep the boat on the trailer.
  • Have the driver slowly pull away to separate the boat and trailer
  • When pulling out of the dock, check for No Wake signs. When they are present slowly drive forward until you are out of this zone.

Have the right stuff on your boat, learn and observe safety rules and take the time to safely handle your boat.   Then you are ready to make the most of your Water adventure!


Pink It Up!!

Women's Hunting Accessories

The largest growing segment to shooting sports is women.  With so many females entering what use to be a male dominated sport we are finally seeing a the manufacturers catching up.  We now have a full line of pink and purple sights, stabilizers, nocking points, broad heads, arrows, releases and bows for our new female shooters.  Women have the option to pink out their entire bow for the range or 3D course or to just add pink features for the tree stand if they would like.


We will be hosting a Women’s Hunting Workshop during our Fall Hunting Classic, check out the details at our store web page. And if you have ever thought about getting into archery but just did not know where to get started stop by the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Archery Department  and let out trained staff get you set up and ready to shoot or hunt.



Plot For Success This Fall

Food Plot

Getting your fall food plots in:   We are fast approaching the time to get your fall food plot in so that it is ready to hunt when season rolls around.  Unlike your spring plots which are there to help the overall health of your herd your Fall plots are usually set up to draw that big buck in close for the shot. 

First thing to remember is that the number one reason that food plots fail is because the soil was not properly prepared before planting. You will see a huge difference with how your plots do if you take the time to get your soil tested and follow the needs of your dirt with Lime, Fertilizer and Potash. 

Couple of other things that you want to think about before you plant:

The prevailing winds for the area: make sure that you can get into and out of the area without bumping out all the deer.

 Stand Placement: make sure that you have trees that are going to be good vantage points. I like to have a couple spots on each plot.

 Size of Plot: I like only making plots as wide as I can shoot. It does you no good if your deer are always feeding 80-90 yards out of your bow range

 Peak hunting time(when you will get to hunt):  As a pretty good rule of thumb You have about 30 days form planting till your food plot is going to be ready to use by the deer and you have about another 30 days after that where the deer will find your plot palatable. After that they will look elsewhere.   So make sure that you try to get the plot maturing when you can do most of your hunting.

One more tip, I have found that Plot-Watching features on game cameras are huge when hunting food plots. Since they are not being triggered by deer they are giving you full coverage of your plot and what walks in and out regardless of which trail. This will help you make the final decision on stand placement.






Giggin' Season Tips

frogMany of our favorite childhood memories come from catching frogs at the nearby pond or lake with our friends and family. Recipes for frog legs are passed down from generation to generation and the thrill is just as strong as we get older. Whether you’re catching them with your hands or use giggin’ gear, we have some tips that might help you this season. Larry from our fishing department has some unique strategies you can try out.

-During the day, use a fly and dangle it in front of them. They’re likely to bite.

-Try using a fishing gig instead of a frog gig. Because it has 5 prongs, is larger and has larger barbs, the frog may stay on it better for you.

-Ever have the problem of having the frog get away in the mud when you try to stick it? Try using a longer pole. Larry uses an 8-10 foot pole and says he’s able to push down in the mud farther so they don’t get away.

-If you’re froggin’ at night, use a strong light that blinds them. We have a lot of lights to choose from in our camping department that range in size. Because it’ll be dark, use a white, fairly big fly so the frogs can see it.

-Larry sometimes likes to use a .22, but a bow or pellet gun works as well if you have a hunting permit.

-Use waders for an easy way to stay clean and dry. You can find them in our fishing department.

Check out the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding regulations. You must have fishing or small game permit. The season runs June 30- Oct. 31 with a daily limit of 8 and possession limit of 16. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask one of our associates.


Born Again

By: Todd Sanders and Rod Slings, Guest Bloggers

Introductory note by Rod Slings, hunting safety expert, retired Iowa DNR law enforcement supervisor, and member of the Central Iowa Longbeards Chapter.

Todd Sanders was a very active outdoorsman who was injured in October 2013, when he fell from his treestand. Todd spent three months in the hospital after his injuries. He is wheelchair bound…for now. Our National Wild Turkey Federation Chapter's Wheelin’ Sportsman hunt took place the Saturday of Easter weekend. Todd has recently faced some major challenges in his personal life, aside from the physical injuries he sustained from his fall. Todd has a strong faith in God; Todd’s story below brought him back from a place that would challenge anyone. We are honored to open the door to the great outdoors for Todd and others with the help of our sponsors, volunteers and the NWTF.

Born Again

By: Todd Sanders

April 19, 2014, was a very special hunt I was invited to by a good friend, Rod Slings, who is a retired law enforcement supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The hunt was the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen Wild Turkey Hunt put on by the Central Iowa Longbeards Chapter. This was the 7th annual hunt intended for disabled veterans and people that face some disability challenges.

To say that I was excited was an understatement, as Rod and I texted back and forth the final week before this awesome day! After what seemed like a sleepless night, my alarm sounded off at 2:00 a.m. I gathered my gear and Rod met me at my house at 3:30 a.m. to pick me up. 

Butterflies and sweaty palms accompanied me as we drove to Jester Park, where our hunt would be based, smiling like two young kids. I was able to meet all the great people who made this event happen. We gathered for a wonderful breakfast and a prayer to give thanks and asked for safety for the hunt. I was loaded into a Kubota UTV and soon Rod and I, along with my new friend Zach, were dropped off at the site where our blind was set up and ready. Within ten minutes of the park rangers and event volunteers leaving our location, I suddenly heard my favorite sound in the world! There it was - “GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE” - about 100 yards away in the timber behind us. 

We all looked at each other with smiles and big wide-open eyes like children in a candy store. As the morning sunrise broke through the timber, we all started calling, nice and easy. This big tom apparently liked what he was hearing.

Rod said, “Breathe, Todd, breathe!” 

I smiled and gripped my bow tighter. Well, as all you turkey hunters know, gobblers are incredibly unpredictable. We heard the gobbler fly down from his roost and then…he went AWAY from us! A sassy hen was answering our calls. As I used the diaphragm call, Zach did the box call, and Rod followed with calls on his slate.

Suddenly, another gobbler, not far away, got very fired up from our calls - we probably sounded like a Sunday choir. This gobbler started responding back, getting closer and closer. Then, the hen passed five yards behind the blind to my left.   Minutes later we heard a very loud "GOBBLE." As I looked over Rod’s left shoulder, the majestic gobbler appeared, all tail feathers fanned out, about 65 yards away in the hardwood timber. 

I whispered, “There he is, I see him over Rod’s left shoulder, he’s looking this way.” 

My heart was pounding as the gobbler disappeared. Now he was circling us, trying to get a visual of those sweetheart hen noises that fired him up.

Zach said, “don’t move there he is!” 

Well, naturally, I moved and looked through the window near Rod. I saw a big blue head weaving through the brRod Slings and Todd Sandersush and briars. 

Zack whispered, “Draw back, draw back!”

As I did, he slipped right past the hunting blind window, my first shooting lane, on a beeline to the Jake decoy. As I regained my composure, Rod and Zach coached me. I did two sharp cuts on my diaphragm call - the gobbler stopped and turned. He was at 22 yards, quartering away, bumping up against the Jake decoy. I steadied my 20-yard pin on my bow sight behind the back of his wing and touched the release to see feathers immediately fly as the big gobbler flipped upside down!

Within seconds, the big tom was up running directly toward our blind wobbling like a drunken old man. 

I yelled, “GET HIM, GET HIM,” as the big bird took off into the timber. Zach desperately tried to open the zipper on the back of the blind by my wheelchair.  Imagine this - I am on the edge of my seat in my wheelchair in the blind,and I am now watching Rod and Zach go running into the timber out of sight. All I could hear were branches breaking and wings beating the dry leaves, but couldn’t see anything!  

I yelled, “Did you get him?” 

"YES!" Zach yelled back.

I screamed and hollered like a crazy man! Rod and Zach came back off the ridge, Zach holding my gobbler by the leg. Zach said, “Man, could you have shot a smaller turkey?” 

I couldn’t believe the size of the big gobbler as it was dropped at my feet. We yelled, hugged, high-fived and thanked Jesus, like we had just won the World Series. Rod called the park rangers and said, “Gobbler down, head this way.”

When the rangers arrived, we took pictures, again slapped high fives and celebrated this awesome hunt. After arriving back to Jester Park, our base for the hunt, we found out that two of the other hunters had also harvested birds. We shared fellowship over lunch, took more pictures, and relived and shared the story of our hunt over and over. 

This hunt was a real blessing to me having just recovered from a bow hunting accident where I fell from my treestand and broke my back leaving me wheelchair bound. This hunt gave me strength, hope and faith that my best days are still ahead of me!  I look forward to next year and thank God daily for this wonderful hunt that will be engraved in our spirits forever!  A very special thanks to Rod Slings who invited me to this event allowing me to harvest my best turkey to date!  25 pounds, 14 ounces with a 10-¾ inch beard and one inch spurs! 


Zach, Todd, and Rod

(Zach, Todd, and Rod)


Have some fun at Family Summer Camp!!


Does your family need something to do this summer?  If so, then head over to your local Bass Pro Shops for Family Summer Camp!

Family Summer Camp runs now through Sunday, July 13.  Activities and workshops take place each Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday during those dates.  We have nine Kids Workshops to participate in including Archery, Camping & Conservation Awareness, Travel Safety, Bird Watching, Kayaking, Shooting & Hunting, Fishing, Backyard Adventure and Water Safety.  Go to www.basspro.com for daily workshop schedules.

We also have an activity area where kids can shoot a Daisy BB gun, use a soft bow and arrow, try out a fishing rod or make a free craft project. We even make homemade ice cream on Saturday afternoons (5 - 6 p.m.)

Join us this summer at Family Summer Camp!


Preparing for Your Elk Hunt Part 1

Preparing for Your Elk Hunt Part 1

Preparing for my next year’s hunt starts the last couple days of the hunt that I am currently on at the time. This may sound funny or weird to a lot of people but depending on how that hunt went depends on whether or not I go back to the same place or I start looking for another. This gives me a whole year to prepare for next season. If it was a draw unit and the hunt was good I will know how many years I may have to wait to hunt it again or try drawing some other unit because this one wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.

Type of Weapon

So your first decision you need to make when preparing for your hunt is deciding on what type of weapon you’re going to use. The reason for this is it will dictate when and where you are going to pre-scout and hunt. For example, if you were to choose Colorado’s fourth rifle season, the odds of hunting up high (10,000 Ft.) would be slim because of snow.  Colorado’s fourth rifle season is towards the beginning of November and the odds of having snow is very possible and a lot of snow is quite possible. Depending on how much snow there is will also dictate when the elk start migrating down or not. During the migration the cows and calf’s start first then the younger bulls with the big mature boys pretty much last unless it’s a big storm then the big boys may come down sooner. If you were to choose to hunt archery then the chances of a storm that big is fairly slim and you would pretty much be able to hunt anywhere. In all the years that I have bow hunted I have never had a big storm like that hit. I’ve been rained on, hailed on, about blown over by the wind and snowed on, but never a massive snow storm that dumped 2 to 3 feet over night.

Deciding Where to Hunt

Now you need to decide where you want to hunt and/or if you want to hire an outfitter.  Hiring an outfitter takes about 90 percent of the work away from you, and then the other 10 percent is showing up and hunting. Also knowing where you want to hunt will depend on if you have to draw for the license or if it’s just an over the counter tag. If you decide on a (DIY) do it your self-hunt, selecting an area to hunt (if you don’t already have one) will take a lot of time and a whole lot of researching especially if you are looking for nothing but a trophy bull. A trophy bull, what exactly is, “a trophy bull”? Most people if asked “what is a trophy bull” would say, one that is around 300 plus. For me, it’s any bull that is legal. If I was strictly meat hunting, it would be any legal elk except for a calf, I will go home empty handed if that was my only choice, but that’s just me, let them grow. So depending on if you want a trophy bull or anything legal, either one will dictate where you’re going to hunt, and how much time it will take researching. Another very important equation is altitude sickness. Even though I live in Colorado it still takes me a couple days to get acclimated to the altitude. I got a minor case of altitude sickness a few years ago and I never want that to happen again, I lost a day and a half of hunting. So when you are planning your hunt be prepared for the altitude difference, start drinking a lot of water a couple weeks before you arrive at camp and keep drinking a lot of water throughout your whole hunt. When I got sick mostly what I drank was ice tea, thinking it’s made with water right, WRONG, it’s a diuretic and that’s how it happened to me. I love ice tea but since that day I have never drank it up hunting again. A severe case of altitude sickness can kill you. So drink a lot of water and take it easy the first few days and you should do just fine.

Where Will You Stay

Deciding on where to stay or camp hinges on what season and where you’re going to hunt. A lot of people stay in tents and that’s great but if you think you’re going to go to Wal-Mart and buy a tent and then use it fourth rifle season in Colorado, you got another thing coming. If I’m staying in a tent, and I have for many years, it’s going to be an outfitter tent with a wood burning stove on a late season hunt, I don’t like freezing when I’m sleeping. I do have an outfitter tent that’s 12x 18 foot with 4 foot side walls and I love it. In thirty-four years of hunting elk I have stayed in cabins, tents, fifth wheel trailers, pull behind trailers, and motor homes. Depending on where I hunted really dictated what I stayed in. If you’re packing in on horses or on your back you’ll be staying in a tent. For me in all honesty it doesn’t matter what I stay in as long as I’m comfortable. If I don’t have a comfortable organized camp my hunt becomes unorganized and not as enjoyable in my opinion. So whatever you choose remember comfortable.


After you have chosen where you’re going to hunt you’ll need to get maps of the area. You’re going to need topographical maps, forest service maps, and aerial maps if possible. Topographical maps are going to show you how the land is laid out along with elevations. It’s a good idea if you can find a class that teaches map reading because if you don’t know how to read a topographical map and match it up to a compass and/or GPS you stand a greater chance of getting lost. Reading a topographical map will help you in finding areas that elk like.  For example, elk love to use saddles on ridge lines to get from one side to the other; if you can find these on a topographical map you will have a starting point, plus a possible ambush area as they go from point A to point B. Elk are lazy and they are going to take the easiest route possible just like us, but spook them and it doesn’t matter how steep that mountain is they will go straight up it like nothing.

Forest service maps are a necessity in my opinion. These maps have a lot of information and will show interstate highways, county roads, dirt roads, and forest service roads. They will also show four wheel drive roads, closed logging roads, walking trails, and closed roads. Most importantly they will show boundaries from National Forests to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and the BIGGEST of them all, PRIVATE LAND BOUNDRIES. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know what is private and what is not. If you’re lucky and have permission to hunt private land then it is still your responsibility to know where the private land boundaries are. Get the land owner to mark on your map where their land is so there’s no question. If you can get one of those private land permission cards and have the owner sign it or at least something in writing so if you were stopped you can prove you have permission to be there all the better. In Colorado if you are caught trespassing you could have everything confiscated including your vehicle and a very hefty fine.

Good aerial maps are worth every penny you spend. If you take a topographical map, match it up to your aerial map, you will know exactly what’s over the next ridge or how deep that canyon really is. You can also down load Google Earth www.googlearth.com for free which is a very good one to look at on your computer when you are at home looking the area over, but the problem is you can’t print the free version, you have to pay for a yearly subscription to print anything. Virtual Earth www.virtualearth.com is another one you can down load and use your computer for free.  There is topographic software you can purchase and down load yourself to your computer which than you can print and take it with you. I used DeLorme www.delorme.com topographic software and when I chose a spot I would print it and then laminate it so it was waterproof and tear proof and kept it in my hunting pack all the time. That software at the time was around hundred dollars but for the amount of copies I did back then it paid for its self. Now I use Map Data which has maps specifically for elk and turkey hunting. They show summer and winter areas along with migration routes, densities, and a whole lot of other great information. I can personalize my maps to any area I want within any unit I want in Colorado. Map Data will pay for itself ten times over with just the information it has let alone being able to print your own personalized maps. Go www.huntdata.com and you will see just how much information you can get from their maps.

Next month I will cover pre-scouting in Part 2 of Preparing for Your Elk Hunt.


Hunt Hard and Shoot Straight

Mark Campagnola




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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My First Hog Hunt

By Alicia Bricker, Gun Vault Specialist

This was my first time to hunt outside of Iowa, my first feral hog hunt, and my first muzzleloader hunt. A little nervous, very excited, and not sure what to expect…but I was ready to get back in a tree stand!  My plan was to use my bow to start, because I enjoy bow hunting over gun 

Alicia Bricker - hog hunt

hunting and I thought that it would be really neat to get a hog with my bow. Bow hunting is more rewarding to me because of the challenge and having to be closer to the game.

The first two nights I opted to hunt with my bow and was in the stand from 5 pm until dark. A few hours went by and it was hot with nothing much moving except birds, squirrels and rabbits. Then, around 8 p.m., a group of 11 hogs appeared 150 yards up the trail and laid down in the path. Eventually, they started to make their way slowly towards my tree stand and the feeder set up about 20 yards away. The feeders are set on timers all over the Chain Ranch and feed is put out once in the morning and then again in the afternoon. My feeder had gone off about an hour before I saw the hogs.

Once the hogs were at the feeder, I had to wait for one to quarter away from me. Having studied up about arrow placement on the hog, I knew that in order to get the best penetration with my bow it would require a quartering away shot. Hogs have a thick layer of something like cartilage or bone in their shoulder that helps protect them from shots. The guide showed us this when we were skinning one. Some people think it is an extra bone, a “shield,” but it is actually not a part of their skeleton at all. It is in their hide. I had drawn my bow once, but the hogs move around quickly and often, so when I lost the shot opportunity before placing the shot I had to bring it down again. A few minutes later the largest hog in the group lined up perfectly to give me a good clean shot. He was quartering away by the feeder that was on the same side as my tree stand, so I took the shot. With a lumenock on my arrow with Montec G5 broadheads, I was able to see the shot placement clearly. But, the hog started to move as I released, so the arrow struck a little further back than I had hoped and the hog took off squealing into the brush. Later, our guide confirmed it was a good shot and one that would hit vitals. After the adrenaline rush had settled a bit, I called the guide and he let me know that he would be on the way. Hogs can be extremely dangerous, especially when wounded, so I was to stay in my stand until he got there. He and my boyfriend, Danny McCain, were tracking a hog that Danny had shot with his bow about an hour previously. A little after dark they both arrived, having backed out until morning from tracking Danny’s hog as it had taken off further into the brush. We took off in search of my hog.

Once we located the blood trail, we could tell that my arrow had penetrated both sides of the hog. However, the arrow had still been in him when he ran, so I knew it hadn’t been a complete pass through. There was a clear blood trail to follow up the hill and into the brush; once the hog crested the hill the blood trail went cold and we could find no more trace. After losing the blood trail, we decided to back out for the night and come back in the morning to look after our morning hunt.

A cool tracking tip that the guide showed us was using ants to help…there are a lot of ants in Oklahoma! If the ants are on the blood, then the blood is not too fresh, meaning that you are not on blood that the hog has just lost. If you come up on blood and the ants haven’t found it yet, then the hog is most likely still alive and you should back out until later, so you don’t spook the hog back up. Our guide always carried a pistol for tracking just in case this happened.  

The next morning, we set out before sunrise, but hadn’t seen any hogs, so we went back to track both hogs from the day before. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pick up any new blood trails and could not find either hog. Disappointment began to set in, but the guide reassured us that this happens often...the hogs are hard to kill - they get an adrenaline kick when they are shot and just seem to keep going forever.

We set up the next night, in different tree stands this time. Once again, it was about an hour before dark when the first hog appeared, but it was a momma sow with some babies. Hog HuntInstead of shooting with my bow, I shot some pictures instead! Then a second group of around 10 came out, but didn’t come into range. That night I went without a shot. Danny had shot a big hog weighing in at 250 lbs. It was impressive with big tusks and a ridge on its back - a very intimidating looking hog. A shot with his muzzleloader right behind the ear dropped it in its tracks around 7 p.m. Our guide picked us both up and we went back to the lodge where they have a very nice facility available for cleaning the hogs, along with an ice machine and a walk in cooler to store the hogs.

The next morning Danny and I hunted together. We wanted to make our way in to a shooting house close to a water hole, but time ran out, so we set up in a tall wheat field. There were several hogs out in the open field, but I couldn’t get a clear shot. They were either too far away, since my shooting range comfort zone right now is 100 yards, or they were too concealed in the tall wheat. I’m still new to a muzzleloader and don’t feel completely steady with one yet. Hogs move faster than many people probably realize. So, I didn’t get one that morning either, but it was still fun to see all of them moving back into the brush for the day.

That evening was my last chance. This was where my plans changed. It was make or break to get a hog, so I switched to my muzzleloader. Instead of a 20–30 yard range limit with a bow, I could shoot up to 100 yards with a muzzleloader and I wouldn’t have to wait for that quartering away shot. I appreciate the challenge of the muzzleloader, as well, considering that you only have the one shot, compared to a rifle, and they are much more of a struggle to reload quickly. So I brought it along in case I got down to the last minute and still hadn’t harvested one. Well, this was the last minute.

It was extremely hot -  over 100 degrees - with absolutely no breeze. Our guide told us this time of year is tough, since hogs don’t like to move much when it’s hot. He suggested a cooler time of year - the cooler the better for hog hunting. We set up in a shooting house that evening by the water hole where we had watched the hogs pass by that morning. There was a little piglet in the watering hole when we arrived and it stayed there throughout the evening. He became our entertainment because every so often he would get up and push the mud around and then settle back in when he decided it was comfortable enough. I was starting to get worried - at 8:30 p.m. there was still no sign of hogs. This was, by far, the hottest evening yet that we had hunted, and without a breeze to help cool things off the hogs weren’t stirring. It was getting close to 9 p.m. and the sun was getting closer and closer to setting when finally…a hog came running in across the field! He was quite a ways out, so I set my muzzleloader up, propped it on the window’s ledge, and waited and watched as the hog approached. We used the range finder and when he stopped at about 100 yards I lined up my shot. He was facing towards me – he wasn’t going to make this easy, and then finally he turned broadside. As soon as he gave me his shoulder I fired. I was antsy, waiting for the smoke to clear so I could see him. He had let out a crazy sounding squeal and was spinning in circles with his front legs flat beneath him and then, all of a sudden, he took off. I was surprised that he had gotten back up and he was moving fast. I tried to quickly reload my gun but was struggling. I needed to hurry and my adrenaline was still pumping from the first shot! Danny ran out the back of the shooting house with his muzzleloader and took a shot at the running hog and it went down. YAY! I had gotten my hog.

We went to check him out and my shot had gone right behind the shoulder blade through the heart and lungs, so a good clean shot. But, being as stubborn as they are, he still had the power to keep going. Danny’s shot had put him down, hitting him in the hindquarters and knocking them out from under him. It was a good shot considering how fast the hog was moving in the tall grass and that he didn’t have anything to help steady the gun for his shot. I was definitely impressed, but happy that my shot had still been the kill shot. We called the guide and he came to help us load up. He was just as happy as I was - he knew that it was my first hog hunt and was really trying his best to help me get one. My hog was 100 lbs.

It was a great experience. If you’re looking for something new and exciting to try during the hunting off season I would recommend checking out the Chain Ranch if you are looking for a great place to go that is also affordable. We saw several hogs every day and many of them big. They have a great set up, know what they’re doing, take great care of their hunters and there is more to do there than just hog hunts.

It was a hunt of firsts that I will never forget and I look forward to another hog hunt sometime...when it's colder.


Shot placement tips on hogs:

With a gun, if you are accurate enough, shoot right behind the ear through the spine. It will drop the hog in its tracks. A gun will also go through the “shield” over their shoulder.

With an arrow, the ideal shot is right behind the shoulder blade, low (since the heart sits low), and quartering away from you. Also, a helpful hint from our guide was if you can shoot them again do it. Most of the time they will just keep going even on a great shot.


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Summer Fun at Family Summer Camp

fscDoes your family need something to do this summer?  If so, then head over to your local Bass Pro Shops for Family Summer Camp!

Family Summer Camp runs now through Sunday, July 13.  Activities and workshops take place each Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday during those dates.  We have nine Kids Workshops to participate in including Archery, Camping & Conservation Awareness, Travel Safety, Bird Watching, Kayaking, Shooting & Hunting, Fishing, Backyard Adventure and Water Safety.  Go to www.basspro.com for daily workshop schedules.

We also have an activity area where kids can shoot a Daisy BB gun, use a soft bow and arrow, try out a fishing rod or make a free craft project. We even make homemade ice cream on Saturday afternoons (5 - 6 p.m.)

Join us this summer at Family Summer Camp!




Summer Camp 2014

Join us this year for another exciting time at summer camp at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, AL. This year, summer camp kicks off on June 7th and ends on July 13th. We will have FREE workshops and activities every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. On Saturday, we will serve FREE homemade icecream samples at 5pm.

Here is a list of our activities:

Saturday and Sunday 2 weekends ONLY: June 7th & 8th, June 14th & 15th

  • Catch and release pond - try your hand at catching a fish from the indoor pond in the fishing area of the store.
  •  Free 4 x 6 photo - you on the cover of a magazine. Take home a photo of you and your family on the cover of the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Kids magazine.

Satuday, Sunday, Tuesday, & Thursday activities include:

  • Duck shooting arcade - practice your aim using a foam bow & arrow by knocking down plastic ducks in an arcade style game
  • Casting buckets - improve your casting, flipping, and pitching techniques using our bass fishing buckets
  • Make and take crafts - each week on Saturday, we will introduce a new craft to make and take home
    • June 7th, 8th, 10th, & 12th color a wooden ring toss
    • June 14th, 15th, 17th, & 19th create your own rainbow thermometer
    • June 21st, 22nd, 24th, & 26th design a magnifying glass
    • June 28th, 29th and July 1st & 3rd create your own personal camp journal
    • July 5th, 6th, 8th, & 10th color a wooden wiggle fish
    • July 12th & 13th color a wolf track
  • BB range - take a shot at a target inside an inflatable BB range.
  • Archery - shoot a Bear bow & arrow
  • Ice Cream samples on Saturday
  • Workshops - come sit in an educational workshop and learn about the great outdoors
    • Tuesday's workshops:
      • 12 pm Bird Watching
      •  1 pm Fishing
      •  2 pm Archery
      •  3 pm Kayaking
      •  4 pm Backyard Adventure
    • Thursday's workshops:
      • 12 pm Archery
      •  1 pm Shooting & Hunting
      •  2 pm Travel Safety
      •  3 pm Water Safety
      •  4 pm Camping
    • Saturday's workshops:
      • 12 pm Fishing
      •  1 pm Water Safety
      •  2 pm Shooting & Hunting
      •  3 pm Kayaking
      •  4 pm Bird Watching
    • Sunday's workshops:
      • 12 pm Shoothin & Hunting
      •  1 pm Archery
      •  2 pm Travel Safety
      •  3 pm Camping
      •  4 pm Backyard Adventure




Is that Branch in the way? Using your Multi-Pin Bow sight to determine arrow flight.

Last month we talked about arrow speed in regards to trajectory and deer jumping the string at a given distance.  This month we take that data and look how it applies to aiming at your target with obstacles between you and your target.

How many times have you been up in a tree-stand or at a 3D tournament and there was a branch in your way or at least your first impression was that it was going to be struck by your arrow as it traveled towards your target?  I have setup many 3D shoots with these shots being a part of the course.  Many times I have heard that these are impossible to be shot because a tree branch was in the way.   Nope, that shot was designed that way and if you are like me when it comes to golf I will focus on the water and that is where my ball ends up.  It is true with any shooting sport, if you focus your mind on the branch or tree you are most likely going to strike it and take a big fat zero or have a miss on your deer.  But if you know your arrow flight path towards the target and know that you won’t hit that branch, you can focus on the middle of your target and catch that 12 or heart.

Most people NEVER practice or shoot their bow at very close distances.  I have won more hotdogs at three-yard shots that I have lost count and have become fat.  More deer are missed right below the tree stand than at any other distance.  This is due to very few people practice or understand how there arrow trajectory works at very close distances.  My hunting setup shoots at around 280 FPS.  I know that at 3 yards I have to hold my 50-Yard pin about and inch high of where I want my arrow to hit.  WHAT???, Do I have your attention now?  Yes for me to shoot a pinwheel “X” I have to hold my 50-Yard pin 1-inch high.  I have witnessed that most people will either hold there 20-Yard pin ON or even a little low to take that shot and then miss the target either completely or shoot very low.  Funny, most people who take the shot again in disbelief will shoot the same way and miss again.

Why is this?  Think about where your arrow is compared to your 20-Yard pin while in your bow.  It rests somewhere between 4 and 5 inches below the 20-Yard pin.  Think about what has to happen for the arrow to hit where your 20-Yard pin is at 20 yards.  The arrow has to rise, or shoot upward to get to that mark after it is shot.  In fact most arrows will climb to their highest height at about 13 to 14 yards then start to descend again from that point.  With that being said, at very close ranges your arrow has not reached its apex or highest part of its trajectory yet, but rather is climbing through the longer yardage sight pins until its apex at 13 to 14 yards.




Okay now let’s put this information into practical situations. 

Below is a picture of a 3D deer target at 22 yards.  The tree branch is 5 yards in front of me. Would you take this shot?

Knowing that my arrows flight at 5 yards is just below where my 30-Yard pin is, the answer would be “NO”.  I would hit that branch dead center.   

The picture below is the same deer at 22 yards with the branch at 5 yards.  Would you take this shot?

Knowing that my arrow will be well below the branch and somewhere just below where my 30-Yard pin is I would easily take this shot.


The picture below, now let’s say that branch was at 13 yards and deer was still at 22 yards.  Would you take the shot? 

Knowing that my arrow in flight at 13 yards is above my 20-Yard pin, I would NOT take that shot as my arrow would graze the bottom of the branch sending it into the ground in front of the target.  

The picture below, Scenario now is the deer is at 30 yards and the stubby branch is at 10 yards in front of me.  Would you take the shot?  

I know most people will focus on that stubby branch and tag it and state that was an impossible shot.  Knowing that my arrow in flight would be at the top of my 20-Yard pin as it passes over that stubby branch at ten yards and just drop into the middle of the 10 ring at 30 yards, I would take that shot.  I might aim just a hair to the right to make sure I avoid that little twig coming off from the left of my 20-Yard pin though. 

All of these are real world scenarios and if you know your arrow flight and trajectory you will have the confidence take that shot. 

Practice those really close shots and learn where your arrow is compared to your sight pins and your scores will go up.

Next month we will be learning how to use your multi-pin sight as a range finder on the 3D course and during hunting situations. 

Until then, Shoot Straight.                                                                                  


The Perfect Trolling Motor

If you have spent any time looking for a trolling motor for your boat you know very well how astounding the number of choices are. Between Motorguide, Minn-kota and Prowler trolling motors there are at least 30 different units available from Bass Pro Shops Miami, so which one is right for you?

The most popular units I carry at the Miami store are the Prowler branded trolling motors. Prowler is a Bass Pro Shops’ owned brand that comes in 4 easy to differentiate units that covers a large spectrum of needs for today’s boaters.

Prowler 30/30:          Prowler 55/40:


The two motors above are both Transom mounted, 12 volt and freshwater motors with a rugged aluminum shaft and sturdy rubber grip. The 30/30 is the smallest Prowler motor we carry and is ideal for small crafts with only a couple of passengers. If you need a more powerful motor the 55/40 offers a greater amount of thrust with a longer shaft for larger vessels.

Prowler 55/36:           Prowler 55/50B:

These two white Prowlers are similar in design but are suitable for salt-water use. The 55/36 is great transom mounted motor if you’re planning on boating in salt-water or even brackish water. The Prowler 55/50B is the only bow-mounted Prowler Bass Pro Shops offers in addition to being the biggest Prowler available.


With all the choices available to you, come on by the Miami Bass Pro Shops Marine department and check out our floor displays with a staff ready to answer your questions.

Ruben M.


Turkey Hunting with a Purpose

As we wrap up our National Wild Turkey Federation donation month, it's nice to remind everyone about one of the many great programs the NWTF sponsors. The Wheelin' Sportsmen program gives all people with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors at events held nationwide and sponsored by local chapters. Recently, the local NWTF chapter held their spring turkey hunt. The hunt pairs up hunters with disabilities with experienced hunting companions. For those with disabilities, it may be a first time experience or it may be a chance to enjoy past experiences once again. For all involved, it is a meaningful, often life-changing, experience.

The Central Iowa Long Spurs Chapter of the NWTF held its 7th Annual Wheelin' Sportsmen Turkey Hunt on Saturday, April 19. The U.S. Corps of Engineers at Saylorville Lake, Camp Dodge, and Polk County's Jester Park were the host hunt sites. Rangers from Saylorville and Jester, along with military staff from Camp Dodge, provided support and a number of volunteers from the chapter guided.

One of the successful hunters was Todd Sanders. Todd fell from his treestand in October of 2013 and sustained multiple injuries, includingCentral Iowa Long Spurs Chapter Wheelin' Sportsmen a broken back. At the hunt, he harvested a nearly 26 pound turkey with a bow and arrow from his wheelchair. 

Rod Slings, hunting safety expert and retired Iowa DNR law enforcement supervisor, helped Todd with his hunt and said it was a life-changing milestone for Todd, but also for him personally.

"From my standpoint, it was an amazing experience that offered up a lot of thanks for the blessing to be able to help Todd!"

Jim Haroldson and Allen Chillcote also successfully harvested turkeys.

Central Iowa Long Spurs Chapter NWTF










Pictured from left to right, back row - Ranger Scott Rolfus & Rod Slings.
Front row - Dan Gracey, Todd Sanders and Zach King


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Hoosier Spring Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting is a pleasurable sport enjoyed by Hoosiers for more than three decades. To hunt wild turkey, a valid turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp privilege are required.

Those that have a lifetime comprehensive hunting, lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing, or resident youth hunt/trap license can hunt turkey and do not need to purchase the game bird habitat stamp because it is included with those license types.

A separate turkey hunting license is required when hunting during each turkey hunting season — one for the spring season and one for the fall season.

Game bird habitat stamp privileges are good for both spring and fall seasons in the same calendar year.

Turkeys can be hunted only with:

  • A 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½.
  • A muzzleloading shotgun not smaller than 20-gauge and not larger than 10-gauge, loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½. Combination loads using shot sizes other than these are illegal.
  • Bow and arrow
  • A crossbow

Wild turkeys may be hunted only one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. All Fish and Wildlife Areas, Mississinewa and Salamonie lakes have spring season hunting hours one-half hour before sunrise until noon for properties on CDT and until 1 p.m. for properties on EDT. Call the property for additional information.

The spring season is April 23 through May 11, 2014. The bag limit is one bearded or male turkey for the spring season. Spring turkey hunting is allowed statewide.

Indiana has never had a fatal turkey hunting accident. However, a few Hoosier turkey hunters are injured in shooting accidents every year.

Surprisingly, national studies show that most turkey season shooting incidents on persons involve experienced hunters who accidentally fire on their own hunting partners. The studies also show most turkey hunting shooting accidents occur on private land.

Having said that, here are a few things that you can do to improve your safety this Spring while you hunt…

  • Select a calling position where you can see for at least 50 yards in all directions and where you are protected from the backside.
  • Whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of your position. Never wave or stand up.
  • Never sneak in on a turkey or use a gobbler call near other hunters. Never crowd another hunter working a bird.
  • Never shoot at sound or movement.
  • Use a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Be aware of turkey "fever" and its prevention. Disregard peer pressure to bag a bird.
  • Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.
  • Do not wear red, white, or blue outer wear or exposed inner clothing.
  • Make sure your head net doesn't obscure your vision.
  • Don't assume you are the only hunter in the area. Be certain of a companion's location.
  • Know and identify your target and what is beyond.
  • Discuss safety techniques with companions.
  • Never assume that other hunters are responsible.
  • Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Always keep your gun unloaded until ready to use.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.
  • Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.
  • Hunters should unload their guns when crossing fences, climbing into stands, jumping ditches or traversing steep ravines.

With all of this information you should be able to have a great turkey hunting season.


Setting the Hook on Spring Lunkers

While the disappearance of the ice is celebratory, anglers are now met with the challenge of finding bass amongst barren lands. We can blame Old Man Winter for this. In a normal winter, temperatures rise and fall, thus, periodically the snow will melt exposing the ice. This is critical as the absence of snow allows sunlight penetration, which is essential to weed survival. However, from January through March snow only piled up as temperatures failed to get above freezing. As a result, scores of the best weed beds this spring are missing. Many of our lakes are desolate.  

As the weeds disappeared under the ice, the small bluegill, perch, and sunfish, which used these for protection, became exposed. Predators like bass and pike had a feeding bonanza. Because of this, bass fishing across Northern Indiana has been tough this spring, but simultaneously, the quality has been exceptional.

Take, for example, a tournament held on popular Lake Wawasee April 12. Out of 30 teams, only seven managed a five fish limit; just 57 total legal-sized bass were caught. Yet, the winning weight was an astounding 20.92 pounds! Furthermore, ten fish over four pounds also found their way to the scale.                    

The fishing has been tough because with the abundance of easy prey, the bass and can afford to be picky. This is also why they are large. Now more than normal, a natural presentation has become necessary. Few types of bait are more natural than a swim bait, and few are as realistic as the new Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad. Consider the forage on your favorite body of water: if bluegills are abundant, use the Bluegill Flash color scheme. If perch outnumber the bluegill, go with the Male Perch pattern. If you are not sure, Green Pumpkin works everywhere. Match it up with a ¼ ounce Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Shad Jig head around sparse vegetation. If you are lucky to locate thicker weeds, lighten up with a 1/8 ounce jig head.

Swim baits are simple to use. Cast it as far as possible and simply reel it in. Keep this in mind: the slower the better. Hold the rod at an 11 o’clock position and make sure a bow exists in your line between the rod tip and where the line enters the water. When a strike occurs, do not set the hook immediately; instead wait until you feel the weight of the fish, then hammer it home. When the fish makes the initial strike, it normally has just the tail in its mouth. Setting the hook too soon pulls it away from the fish.

Do not waste time getting frustrated chasing bass right. Instead, get real, slow down, and stand by for lunkers.