Hanging Stands, Climber Stands, and Ladder Stands

Hunting in a tree stand allows a person to get up off the ground and out of the direct field of vision of game animals on the ground. There are many types of tree stands on the market today so finding the right tree stand for the hunter is a big deal. Here are some of the pros and cons of the three main types of tree stands for hunters.

Let’s start out with the simplest type of tree stand, the hanging stand. This type of stand is strapped to a tree with wide mesh straps or cables a set distance up the tree. A good example of this type of stand is the Big Game Platinum Collection Phoenix Fixed Treestand.

Big Game

A big plus of these types of stands is that they are light and very easy to transport around a property. These stands are also very easy to set up with a simple ladder, this stand also only needs one person to set up with ease. Also the low profile of these stands is a lot less likely to spook game animals when set up closer to the opening day. Hunters in the stand also have a lower profile than other stands making it easier for them to blend into the background of the tree. A good example of this type of tree stand is the Big Game Treestands Platinum Series Bravada Fixed Position, with a low profile and wide footrest for hunters this is a great example of what a hanging tree stand should be.

Big Game Fixed

The cons of this type of stand are fairly straight forward. The mobility of the hunter in this type of stands is severely limited. Also hunting a bow from one of these types of stands is many times harder than in other types of stands because of the limited mobility. This type of stand needs a separate set of straps for the tree when talking about having a safety harness for the hunter. Lastly this stand needs a small ladder to be attached to the tree so a hunter can get into the stand without having to resort to tree climbing. So a lower profile on the stand makes detection harder and ease of setup makes this stand great for the last minute hunter or someone who is hunting more wily game.

Next let’s look at one of the most complex types of tree stands, the climber stand. The stand is strapped around the tree then the footrest and a hand bar are used alternately to scoot the tree stand up the tree from the ground instead of anchoring the tree stand semi-permanently before the season. A good example of this type of tree stand is the API Outdoors Alumi-Tech Crusader Climbing Treestand.


The pros of this type of tree stand are numerous, first they don’t require a lot of time to set up before they can be hunted from. Another reason they are great is that they can be moved and set up into a new spot without a lot of effort, or the stand can be set up the day of opening season without creating a large amount of disturbance in the local area. These climber stands also have a large seat and area for a hunter to stand without compromising their safety. At the same time many of these types of stands have easy straps to put a safety harness through in order to keep hunters safer while in the stand. A good quality climber stand on the market right now is the Summit The Crush Series Viper SD Ultra Climbing Treestand, with a padded hand rail and easy to tighten fasteners on the stand this is great for the hunter that likes to change positions with ease.


Some of the cons of this type of stand are quite simple. These types of stands are much heavier than the hanging stands and are often times cumbersome to use for the inexperienced hunter. This of course is easily remedied with a lot of practice before the hunting season and some tips from an expert. Remember to tighten straps when at the appropriate height and check these straps continually throughout the day hunting.

Lastly let’s look at one of the oldest and most used types of tree stands, the ladder stand. These stands are built around a ladder in the base of the stand so getting into the stand is a breeze. A great ladder stand for hunting is the Big Game Treestands The Next Generation Stealth Ladder Stand.


The pros for this type of stand are many, including the ability to scale up these stands to hold multiple people. Another great feature of this type of stand is added support from the ladder, making the shooting platform all the more stable. This type of stand also has a wraparound bar for stability, this bar is great for stabilizing a rifle for younger hunters. The ability to bring another person like a youth into the stand is also a great advantage of the ladder stand. Also this type of tree stand can easily be converted into a tree blind in which the entire stand is wrapped in canvas or other material making it harder for game animals to see, smell and sense a person in the stand. A great example of this is the Big Game Treestands Venture 2-Person Ladder Stand paired with the Big Game Treestands The Big Buddy Ladder Blind Kit.

BuddyVenture Ladder

This set makes the blind nearly invisible to any game on the ground. There are a few cons when talking about the ladder stand though. The major one is the sheer bulk of the ladder stand makes it hard to set up by a single person, unless they have done this several times. Also the time required to set up the stand is substantial, usually more than half an hour to set up.

Now picking the right stand for a hunter should be a little easier. Pick out the skill level required to set up, the amount of time needed to set up and the features a hunter wants and the type of tree stand becomes a lot easier to choose. For simple, quick setup before opening day a hanging stand is a must. For quick setup on opening day and moving the stand throughout the day a climbing stand is a must. Finally for partner hunting with a youth or first time hunter a 2 seat ladder stand is needed. As always happy hunting and good luck!


Blind Hunting With Youth

A hunt with youth is one of the most rewarding things a parent or friend can do with a child. The lessons taught while in the blind or stand help shape a child’s impression of the world and introduce them to the world of conservation and heritage of a good hunt. But blind hunting with a youth is often times more challenging because of their age and level of skill. So finding the right blind for these types of hunts is essential for a successful and rewarding experience. Here are some tips and tricks to finding the right blind for hunting with youth.

The first thing a hunter accompanying a youth needs to take into consideration is the attention span of the youth. If they are younger, then having a bigger blind to allow movement is a necessity. Something like the Primos Blind Luck Ground Blind, with nearly 36 square feet of floor space allows a young hunter the ability to move around in the blind while not compromising the concealment of both hunters. At the same time this blind allows a youth to look in nearly every direction without their view being blocked making the time pass by more easily as they can study the surroundings around the blind. Also having something extra like the Hunter's Specialties H.S. Camo Camo Blind Netting, will allow a hunter to brush in the blind a little more than usual ensuring that a little extra movement from an antsy youth will not compromise the entire hunt.


Another thing to take into consideration when looking for a blind, for hunting with youth, is the need to have a lot of angles for possible shooting lanes for the youth. The more lanes that are open for the youth to sight a game animal, the better the chance that the youth will be able to harvest something during the hunt. A great way to do allow this is to have a lot of open windows for the youth to hunt from. A good blind with a plethora of sighting windows is the Big Game Treestands Charger Hub Style Ground Blind. This blind is large enough for the youth to comfortably stand while still having windows on each side and corner of the blind so there are ample firing positions in the blind. This is handy especially when a new shooter, be this archery or rifle, needs a little space to set up for a proper and steady shot.


One last blind type to consider with youth is a permanent blind that can be easily accessed throughout the year. Having access to this kind of blind can get a youth ready for a hunt by letting the youth explore the inside of the blind before opening day of the season. A good blind for this purpose is the Shadow Hunter Octagon Combo Blind, this blind is larger than normal allowing a new youth the ability to move around and get in position for a good shot out of the many windows with either a bow or a rifle. While at the same time this blind keeps the occupants away from the wind and cold that is generally thought of as part of blind hunting. For a youth who is just getting into the swing of hunting this can be a huge factor in whether they choose to come back and hunt next year. Many hunters disregard their comfort for a good hunt but for a new youth their comfort is sometimes the deciding factor in the hunt. If they can stay in the blind for a few more minutes perhaps an opportunity will present itself. For the youth having a sturdy wind resistant shelter for a blind can make all the difference in the hunt.

Combo Blind

Now that the right blind for the youth has been found it is time for the hunt. Remember that bringing the youth out to the blind before opening day to get them used to the area and the space they will be occupying for the hunt. Also bring along a camera for the hunt, a youth and their first harvested deer, turkey or other game is always worth a picture or two! As always happy hunting and good luck!


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa Arrives!

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

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

Saturday, November 15 - Santa Arrives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also on Saturday, November 15

Free Hunting Seminars

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

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

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

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

Pella Wildlife Company

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


Game Cameras

Game cameras do not just have to be for scouting. With the giant leaps in technology almost every hunter wants to film that great hunt.  A game camera is still a camera with the same capabilities as other cameras and can be your automatic second camera person. Having a multi-camera shoot will allow you to have a very professional looking video to brag about and show your friends.

Before we get into the set up let’s look at the basics. I prefer filming in 1980p, it is what I do professionally.  1980p will allow you to pan and zoom in video editing software without causing distortion through pixilation.  Also it will allow you to snapshot frames within your video editing software for at least 4 x 6 photo prints.

First off, your main camera, whether you use a bow cam, Go Pro, or any other camera, it needs to have continuous record capability (although the Go Pro is limited due to focal point- this can be fixed in post editing).  DSLR cameras like the Canon T2 series, Nikon DSLRs, as well as Sony DSLRs have file limitations. Many of these cameras will stop after a certain amount of record time- my old Canon T2ii (my nonprofessional camera) would stop recording after 12 minutes.  There is really no workaround, although some third party programs like Magic Lantern created by professional filmmakers can work round this issue- it will void your warranty.  The Canon 5D was used to film the movie Iron Man among others that used Magic Lantern firmware.  There are many cameras that are more than capable of shooting high quality HD video continually without breaking your wallet.

Second thing to look at is SD cards. There are many types of SD cards. Many game cameras will recommend a certain class of card. Remember, this recommendation is merely the minimal requirements of class.  The maximum size specified by the game camera is the largest you can use however. To find out the class of the SD card (which is standardized by www.sdcard.org) look on the card itself. The number in the “C” is the class of the card. The distinguishing feature is the most common among cards that we use today.


I always recommend the Class 10 card, especially for HD video and always use them in photo shoots that call for action shots.


Third thing to look at is video editing software. I prefer to use Sony Vegas Pro. Although this version can be expensive it allows you to do multi camera editing which saves time.  However, you can use the standard home version Sony Vegas Platinum which will allow you to have multiple video tracks on the timeline as well as producing DVD and BluRay disc for viewing. Many Sony computer packages come with this program as well as DVD Architect to produce professional videos.  Keep in mind this same affordable software is used by professionals and is very user friendly.


Now to set up the shoot of your big shot! :

1) Take at least one game cam and set it up past the area where you think the deer is coming in from. If you have more than one game camera set them up around the perimeter. I recommend putting one behind you (in your blind spot). Set the cameras on video and auto.

2) Whichever camera you are using for the main camera make sure it is ready to go and in position.  Be prepared to turn it on as soon as you feel your opportunity is approaching to take that trophy buck.


Do not worry about the other cameras, they are doing the job they were designed to do.  You on the other hand need to concentrate on that trophy (after you turn on your camera of course).


Blind Hunting

When hunting being on the ground in the middle of the action is what many hunters are looking for from the hunt. The best way to do this is to be on the ground in the blind near where the deer will be out and about. But hunting from a blind and finding the right blind can be a challenge especially for those new hunters just getting in on the action. Here are some tips and tricks on how to pick the right blind for the area and get the blind ready for this hunting season.

The first step in blind hunting is finding the right blind for the type of hunting that is going to be taking place. For this a hunter needs to look at where the hunting is going to be taking place, what the brush around the blind will be and how many people will be in the blind come opening day. Since blinds come in all shapes and sizes knowing where the hunt will take place is the first step for finding the right blind. For blinds that will be on the periphery of a field a blind that is lightweight and easy to set up a while before the hunting season opens is a good idea. For this a good blind is the RedHead® Enigma™ 5 Ground Blind, this blind is lightweight with straps for brush to be directly attached to the blind without having to add extra weight with extra equipment to tie on brush.

Enigma 5

A different path that can be taken for this area on the tree line of a field would be a more permanent structure. A great blind for this would be the Shadow Hunter Octagon Archery Blind, since this blind has a door and windows that can be locked and sealed, this box blind is perfect for a permanent blind on the tree line. This blind is also great because the size makes it a good fit for not only archery hunters but rifle hunters also.

Shadow Hunter

While having a blind is all well and good, many times these blinds stick out on the ground like a sore thumb. So having a little netting or other camouflage to help break up the outline of the blind is never a bad thing. A great way to do this is to drape a piece of camouflage burlap over top of the blind, this being done bunch up pieces of the burlap randomly and attach them to the blind. These random bulges and flat places in the material will help break up the blind for the curious game that are looking for immediate threats. The next step is to cut the windows of the blind out of the material, since the material is easily movable it is preferred to cut three sides of the material and let the window be covered but still have the ability to be shot out of unhindered. Doing this gives the maximum concealment while still being usable. A good material for doing this is the Hunter's Specialties H.S. Camo Blind Material – Burlap, this material is easy to manipulate and cut while retaining the camouflage very well in all types of weather. For this type of extra concealment to work effectively the blind should be covered and brushed in a couple of weeks prior to the start of the hunting season in which it will be used.

Camo Burlap

Another type of blind hunting will take place in the middle of a field with stubble and hay bales. A new way to use a blind is to mimic a hay bale close to a game trail where an identified group has been seen. Since a hay bale is so innocuous to many animals, and are seen to move so often many times deer and other game species will not notice a new hay bale in a field. So using something like the Redneck Blinds Sportsman Bale Hunting Blind, keeps a hunter concealed and a game animal in the dark as to the fact that they are being hunted. This little extra advantage can be the difference in a successful hunt and a slow day in the blind.

Bale Blind

Finally there is one last thing to look at when hunting in a ground blind. That is gear storage while in the blind. While being on the ground and near the action is fun and exciting, it can be hard on gear if not done properly. This is where gear holders and blind shelves come in handy. Having something like the HME Products Ground Blind Accessory Shelf, hung in a blind helps keep things like game calls and binoculars off the ground and away from moisture in the mornings. Also having something like the HME Products Ground Blind Gun Holder or the HME Ground Blind Bow Holder, will keep everything else in the blind off the ground that could possibly be damaged by dew in the morning, while keeping the gear close at hand for a quick shot.


Now that the blind is picked and brushed in, the gear is stowed off the ground and the game is moving it is time for some blind hunting. Remember to brush in the blind before season so the game animals get used to the new object in their area. Then get to the blind very early before the animals start moving for the best concealment. As always happy hunting and good luck!


Newest RedHead BlackOut Blinds

Over the past couple of years, hunting has reached a new peak in our society. The origins of such a movement can be argued, be it a case of eating organic/healthily, a particular nationally famous family known for their facial hair, or just a new trend taking on a different form. Regardless of the cause, hunting is the new in thing. From little kids to adults who have never owned, much less touched a firearm in their lives, the hunting bug is being spread around like a new epidemic. There are those in the hunting community that do not appreciate this, and enjoy the exclusiveness of it. However, most of us are either neutral or excited at the prospect of having another set of ears to talk off, and swap stories with.

          I, for one, am excited at the new allure hunting has taken on to those who have not been exposed to it. It’s one thing to experience buck fever, but just like a knee ache or an old itch, you get used to it. It’s invigorating to see someone new being introduced into the community we call the outdoors as they encounter new feelings and experiences at every corner and turn. That feeling is amplified when you’re the direct cause of it! Any father who has taken his son or daughter hunting can relate to this. At the risk of sounding pompous, I enjoy taking on that pseudo-fatherly role when introducing someone to the outdoor life. I feel responsible for their experience as I guide them along their new chosen path. So when I take someone new to the outdoors on one of these little excursions I try to make things as comfortable as possible for them.

          Anyone who has tried to squeeze two butts into a one butt ground blind knows that it isn’t easy. It’s often cramped, uncomfortable, and difficult to maneuver when you finally get a good shot in. Some hunters who have their own land have circumnavigated this problem by building their own custom blinds, but the rest who hunt on leases and/or public land, that isn’t exactly an option. RedHead answered that call with their new line up of BlackOut blinds for the 2014-2015 hunting season, and boy did they answer.

          The X72, X83, and X300, the first two being respective to their HUB to HUB interior dimensions are the new pop up blinds BlackOut has introduced. Seventy-two inches of roomie space is more than enough for two adult hunters and a Mr. Buddy space heater. The X83 stands a whopping 73 inches tall, and has ample space for one hunter to set up a small camping cot, a space heater, and hunt comfortably. Or, if you aren’t into that yuppie style of hunting, and prefer to share the misery with your buddies, three grown men can fit into the spacious ground blind, and mumble and grumble like old times. And the “Big Kahuna” of them all is the X300. With enough room for three grown men to hunt comfortably (4 semi-comfortably) and a 300 degree view of your surroundings, it is by far the most bang for your buck.

 All BlackOut blinds are made of a durasheen material to prevent that new-out-of-box glare from giving away your position, and come with an external mat extending seven inches from all sides to help keep out critters, any environmental factors in the immediate vicinity, and retain your scent. All windows are made of shoot-thru mesh, and come with handy cargo pouches on the inside to store all your knick knacks. The entrances to all blinds also have been made larger to accommodate those handicapped or physically disabled hunters. They also come with the brush straps, to add any vegetation or foliage and better blend in with your surroundings. All they need are elevators and blind attendants to hand you your weapon and replace the propane canisters in your Mr. Buddy.

          The best feature, which RedHead carried over from their blind model two years ago, is the HUB style set up. This ingenious bit of technology has brought the break-down and set-up time of pop up blinds in half. What used to take two people ten minutes to take down, now only takes one person half that time (5 minutes on average) to set-up and break down. With nifty folding rods, that when locked into place make the install a dream to those hunters who like to move spots, there isn’t much to complain about if you follow the instructions correctly (What are instructions?).

          All in all, RedHead has out done themselves this year. Their new BlackOut lineup is full of all new gadgets and toys for reasonable prices, from blinds to broadheads, bows and arrows. Shoot, even their chairs and stools are comfortable (I made one my home office chair.) One could easily argue that their products will be up there with Primos and Ameristep, but I don’t think either of those brands have breadth of variety that BlackOut has stamped their name on this year. And it’s all exclusively sold at Bass Pro Shops! I don’t always buy Blackout stuff from Bass Pro Shops, but when I do, it’s because that’s the only place I can get it .Head to your local (or closest) Bass Pro, or check out their ads in the mail and online. See for yourself all the cool new toys and gadgets. You’re going to like them. I guarantee it.





I have listened to plenty of hunters express a general level of frustration when it comes to hunting areas with heavily used walking trails. Discouraged at the sight of “extreme” outdoor enthusiasts power walking past a heavily beat up deer run that we were banking on for some hunting success. Although these everyday humans are trampling our suburban hunting paradise, when approached at the correct angle they actual pose a huge advantage.

Suburban and urban deer have a certain level of tolerance for human traffic in their woods. That all steaming from the fascinating process of classic conditioning, the subject at the fundamental core of my book ‘The Urban Deer Complex’. Whitetail’s recognize and process the difference between threatening and non-threatening human behavior.

That being said, plenty of us have experienced witnessed deer from a treestand watch the “extreme” outdoor enthusiasts walk by with just a casual alertness to their presence. I have written a lot on the topic of walking trails, as a method of modern still hunting, urban camouflage and in the series ‘The Science of Fear- Flight Distances’. What I care to concern ourselves in this article is using walking trails as a non-invasive method of treestand access.

There are a couple things to consider with using heavily used walking trails for treestand access. The first major advantage is wind direction, or more lack a lack of having to worry about wind directions during walks to and from stand locations. Whitetail deer, (even mature bucks) have come to expect that scent blowing off the walking trail maybe a 100 yards off their bedding sanctuary. In fact, they take a level of comfort in knowing where we are.

I try to position my treestand with least amount of invasive assess to “virgin” ground. That virgin ground is the soil one step off the walking trail, where our behavior (in the eyes of a Whitetail) turns from “extreme” outdoor enthusiast to predator. If I have to walk an extra half mile around walking trails- so be it. At that point all we are to a Whitetail is the next spandex wearing circus for entertainment while chewing on some acorns.

The second thing to remember with these heavily used walking trails is how much they actually do not impact a Whitetails movement. Yes, they will stop to the let the human walk by, and stay still from detection, but they will still in fact cross the trail and continue on their way.

As a bow hunter, more than once the people walking on trails have made it possible for me to draw back on my prey. That distraction is one more unique weapon in the arsenal of the suburban hunter, one that can in fact make the difference between harvesting our buck of a lifetime.

Although we all understand the slight frustration from people on walking trails breaking the silence of a calm wilderness, remember outside ruining that serene moment there are benefits to these walking trails. We need to consider them an advantage with treestand setups, distractions for drawing our bows, and as mentioned in my book and other articles, a vicious cover for aggressive still hunting tactics.


- A.J. DeRosa





The Hardships of Archery Season

It never fails that at Bass Pro Shops we always get to hear about the most exciting stories that our fellow employees share with us. Hunting, fishing, and camping vacations/trips are always interesting to hear about. That’s why I have decided to share our fellow Gun Vault Specialist’s story about her archery hunting trip she took to Georgia with her family.

Krizia Torres has been working at Bass Pro Shops for 4 years now. She originally was hired as a part-time Hunting associate, however, shortly after she became our full-time Gun Vault Specialist. Krizia has always had a passion for hunting since she was ten years old. We also appreciate all of her had work and time she spends to make our company and customers have a prosperous time at our store.

Open archery season is one of Krizia and her family’s favorite seasons to hunt. Lumpkin, Georgia was their first stop.  The first animal they came across was a Whitetail Fawn, but regulation says that Fawns are illegal to harvest.  Shortly after, Krizia came across a 5 point Buck. She drew back quickly at the buck then released her arrow hitting the buck on its shoulder and the buck took off running with the arrow still in him. She followed the buck’s blood trail, but the buck didn’t leave much of a sufficient blood trail since it was a muscle shot.

After searching for the buck for almost 150 yards through the thicket and losing the trail, Krizia decided to call it quits. Her father, which was hunting in an area further down from where she was, picked her up on their  four wheeler,  and they headed towards their car to pack up and call it a night. As they rode back to the main entrance of their property, they saw a black vague object off to their right hand side of the road. They decided to turn around and find out what that object was. When they approached the object, they saw that it was a dead hog, probably close to 150 pounds. They came to the conclusion that the hog must have been road kill.

After spending three days in Lumpkin, Georgia, Krizia and her family made their way over to Milan, Georgia.  On her first day in Milan, a bobcat came up from behind her unexpectedly. When she stood up to shoot, she didn’t realize how close the bobcat was to her that she aimed a little higher than what she was supposed to with her bow. It caused her to shoot right over the bobcat, and she missed. About five minutes later, she had two other deer come out, but they were too far for her to shoot. Unluckily, Krizia didn’t get to harvest any animals but she is still excited and looking forward to the next archery season in Georgia.    


The Fawn Deer

Krizia and Robert with the hog

Krizia at age 10; hunting with her family.

Bear Archery Crux Compound Bow (Bow only) SKU# 2142949





Dream Hunter

“Boom!” The retort was sharp in my ear even through my muffs, the kickback jarred my shoulder. It was cold even though I had enough layers on to make me look like a small bear. I didn’t dare look down at my feet, but instead looked out across to see what I had just done. I’d shot a deer. This big beautiful buck lay dead.

The tree stand I was sitting in was high enough to turn my stomach if I looked down. Which I avoided doing. My tree stand was still securely attached to the tree I was in and the ladder below it felt like it was still well attached when I grasped it to climb to the ground. I could feel my harness pulling tension between where it was attached to my body and its attachment point on the tree; it was still secure as well. As I reminded myself to breathe, I slipped and my boot lost its grip on the ladder. For a moment I thought I was going to fall but then that tension jerked to a halt as the harness gripped me and I gripped its straps and the ladder rungs. Vertigo threatened but I put my boot back on the ladder and finished descending. 

With my boots firmly on the ground, I started towards my quarry. I was as quiet as I possibly could be, but as the tension eased animals started moving. Crows set flight turning the mid-morning sky to a midnight expanse in the flap of wings. A rabbit rustled around disappearing out of and back into the brush.  A skink slithered across a fallen tree thin with hunger but racing to avoid the flap of wings. 

For a moment or so the area had been quiet and still with death, but now it showed that life went on for everyone and everything other than the buck I’d killed. He lay on the ground, his belly still round enough to show he, at least, had been eating as well as he could while there was still some foliage. Bronze, copper, and gold flecked his pelt. As the sun revealed itself from behind its crow woven curtain his coat gleamed as the warm colors reflected the suns light. White collared his throat and muzzle giving him the appearance of wearing a halter made of new fallen snow. His antlers gleamed as the sun glinted across them making them shine as though polished.

As I reached for the buck I blinked – and the world shifted. I was back under my tree stand, but this time I held a bow. The warm “thwang” of the bow string reverberated up my arms as fast as the sound reached my ears. The scene replayed again – the only difference was my weapon of use. Again when I blinked upon reaching for the buck I was transported back to the tree and this time holding a crossbow.

The third time it happened I realized I was dreaming. I must need to go to Bass Pro Shops down the street in Katy for something. ‘Tis the season to go a hunting and I’d need ammo, a license, and fresh tips for my arrows and bolts depending on what I ended up using. “Time to get up and go,” I thought as I got up to get dressed and go to my favorite store in town - Bass Pro Shops.


Come join our Hunting Seminars!


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

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

1 PM- Become a Better Bow hunter

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

2 PM - How to Select the Right Guns & Ammo

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

3 PM - What You Should Know Before Buying Optics

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


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

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





Ten Hunting Tips from our Team

We asked some of our Bass Pro Shops Altoona team members for some hunting tips. No matter what, no matter where, here are some never-fail tips they'd like to share. Maybe it's something YOU'VE never thought of - here we go:

10.  I always take a spare bow release with me when bow hunting. Lose one going into the stand and you'll soon know why!

 9.   While getting ready for the season, try and practice shooting your bow/gun Deer in Woodsin the same gear in which you'll be hunting. The more realistic the practice the more confident you'll be in your shots.

 8.  Aim small, miss small. Aim big, miss big. In other words, pick a small aiming point. You may miss the small point, but more than likely still make a very accurate shot. If you aim at a big target, such as the entire deer, you may miss the entire deer!

 7.  Keep it in perspective. In the grand scheme of life, hunting is a great activity, but does not need to consume you.

 6.  Washing clothing in scent free detergents.

 5.  Store all clothing in air tight bags or totes to keep foreign odors off of them.

 4.  Dress in the field to ensure you don’t pick up any odors on the way to your spot. Sometimes hunters are tempted to stop at the gas station to get a coffee early in the morning. Likewise, remember this may mean that you are getting dressed in freezing temps!

(These next two are somewhat redundant, but that's simply how important they are!) HSS Patriot Reversible Safety Harness Vest

 3.  Safety first. Remember those whom you love who are expecting you to come home after the hunt!

 2.  Safety is #1 for me and anyone that hunts with us. We always wear our safety harness' (especially while hanging stands) and during gun season blaze orange is a must! Coming home safely to my family is my #1 priority.

 1.  HAVE FUN! Take someone with you and enjoy God’s great outdoors together!


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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 3 - Shooting Accessories

Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Beginning Archery for Ladiesby Alicia Bricker
Gun Vault Specialist
Bass Pro Shops Altoona



You have the bow and you know the stance. Now, let's look at those accessories mentioned in Part 2, that will assist you in shooting your bow:

Arm Guards

An arm guard slips onto the forearm of the arm that is holding the bow. YoNeet Arm Guardu will have the straps on the top of your arm with the solid part on the inside. This helps protect you from the string slapping your arm. Believe me, it hurts and can leave a nice bruise or welt if it gets you just right! An arm guard can also be used to hold heavier weight clothing out of the way of your string. It is an item some shooters find useful, but not a necessary one. They are also available in different styles and sizes.

Finger Tabs

Finger tabs are a useful tool for an archer to use to pull their string back with their fingers instead of a release. After a while,Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 3 - Accessories your fingers will start to hurt and may even blister or callous. Finger tabs can be used to protect them. This photo shows one type of finger tab that Bass Pro Shops has available; there are other styles and material available as well. This particular one straps around your wrist and over your three middle fingers that you use for shooting. For finger shooting, you can either hold one finger above the nock of your arrow on the string and two below or two fingers below the nock and none above. When you are shooting this way, you need to make sure to release all of your fingers at the same time to keep accurate.


Most archers use releases for shooting. They help improve accuracy, since there is only one point holding the string. Scott Fox ReleaseIt releases when you pull the trigger, so there is no inconsistency from your fingers snagging or not all letting go at the same time. If you are hunting with your bow, I definitely recommend using a release for shooting. There are many different styles and colors. A release straps around your wrist and extends out to attach to the string or the D-loop that you may have added. There are some releases that you hold in your grip, instead of strapping around your wrist, but I prefer the type that strap around the wrist. Try several out before making a decision on which feels the most comfortable for you. Many of them are adjustable as well. You want the rod of it to extend out, so your index finger can easily press the trigger when you have your bow drawn. You don’t want to have to overextend to make it reach. Some things to look for, when selecting a release, are:

  • Does it fit your hand size - You don't want it too small or too long. Try attaching it to a string and pulling on it. Put some weight on it and see how your hand will sit, once you have drawn back your bow with it.
  • You will want it tight enough on your wrist, so that it doesn’t slip off when you draw your bow, but not so tight that it hurts.
  • If you get one with leather straps around your wrist, you will need to break it in to make it comfortable when you are shooting.
  • Check to make sure the trigger lands where you need it when you are shooting. Some archers only use the strap holding the release to their wrists to draw back their bows when using a release and keep their hands off of it completely. Others will grip the bar of the release when pulling it back. However you decide to do it, just make sure that your hand is nowhere near the trigger until you are ready to fire the arrow. I personally hold the bar to draw it back, while I am drawing, but once I am at full draw I release my grip completely until I am ready to fire. Make sure when you attach the release to the string that the trigger is facing away from your face, so that you can easily pull the trigger when you are ready to fire.

There's still plenty of time to get started with bow hunting! Hopefully, this three-part Beginning Archery for Ladies series has give you the encouragement and spark to get out and try it!


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DEC Crossbow Hunting Regulations

Crossbows are flying off the shelf here at Bass Pro.  Make sure that you are aware of the regulations, so you can hunt safely and correctly. Straight from the NYS DEC regulation guide here is something you should read:


Age Requirement:  Crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age or older.

Without landowner permission, crossbows may not be discharged within 250 feet of any home, school building or playground, public structure, farm structure in use, or occupied factory or church.

A crossbow may not be possessed in or on a motor vehicle unless it is un-cocked.

While on lands inhabited by deer or bear, and in or on a motor vehicle using artificial lights, a crossbow may not be possessed unless it is unstrung or taken down or securely fastened in a case or locked in the trunk of the vehicle.

Crossbows may not be used for hunting in Suffolk, Nassau, or Westchester counties.


There are 3 options to choose from in order to complete the required crossbow qualification & safety training.  All must accompany a NYS hunting license and in some cases a muzzleloading privilege.

Option 1:  Review the DEC online crossbow qualification training and complete the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification.*

Option 2:  Review the DEC crossbow qualification training and complete the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification* found in the 2014-2015 Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide.

Option 3:  Complete a Hunter Education or Combination Education course to receive a Hunter Education Certificate of Qualification. * Certificates must be dated on or after April 1, 2014 to meet crossbow qualification and safety training.

*NOTE:  The Crossbow Certificate of Qualification from 2012-2013 is no longer valid.

CROSSBOW SPECIFICATIONSBarnett Quad 400 Crossbow Package

A legal crossbow consists of a bow and string, either compound or recurve, that launches a minimum 14 inch bolt or arrow, not including point, mounted upon a stock with a trigger that holds the string and limbs under tension until released.

The trigger unit of such crossbow must have a working safety.

Minimum limb width:  17 inches (outer tip of limbs, excluding wheels and cams, uncocked)

Minimum peak draw weight:  100 pounds

Maximum peak draw weight:  200 pounds

Minimum overall length:  24 inches from butt-stock to front of limbs


Big Game

License requirement:

The new law essentially treats crossbows as a muzzleloader. Hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting privilege to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season OR during open portions of the early bowhunting seasons.  Muzzleloader privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms seasons.

Bowhunting privilege is not required for use of a crossbow at any time.

Crossbows may be used during the following seasons:

Crossbows may be used to take bear during the early bear season, early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone, regular firearms seasons in the Northern and Southern Zones, and the late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone.

Cross bows may be used to take deer during:

Early and late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone and late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone using       Bow/Muzz tags, DMPs, DMAP tags, or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only);

Regular firearms seasons using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs, or DMAP tags.

Crossbows may also be used to take deer or bear during limited portions of bowhunting seasons as follows, provided that the hunter possesses the muzzleloading privilege:

During the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone (i.e., November 1-November 14, 2014);

During the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone (i.e.,October 15-October 24; this includes the 7-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone);

Only Bow/Muzz tags, DMP's or DMAPs may be used during these times.

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions:

To take deer or bear in the following areas of the state:

Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 4J in Albany County

WMU 8C in Monroe County

In the counties of Suffolk, Nassau or Westchester

Junior big game hunters (age 14-15) may not use a crossbow to take a deer during the Youth Deer Hunt weekend (October 11-13, 2014). Adult mentors who accompany a junior big game hunter on the Youth Deer Hunt weekend may not possess a crossbow (or firearm) while afield on those days.


License Requirements: A hunting license is needed to use a crossbow to hunt small game species.  A turkey permit is also required to hunt turkeys.  All crossbow specifications remain in effect.

Crossbows may be used to take the following small game species during their respective open seasons.

Wild Turkey

Any other small game or upland game birds.

Unprotected wildlife (e.g.red squirrels and woodchucks) at anytime.

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions.

To take waterfowl or other migratory game birds.

While hunting with a dog for any small game (except for coyotes in the Northern Zone).


Crossbows may not be used to take carp or any other fish species.

We hope this helps you plan your hunting in a safe correct matter.

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator




Bow Hunting with Persimmons

                Cool fronts are coming in, the sun is setting sooner, and deer are moving in record numbers. Hunters are chomping at the bit setting cameras, filling feeders, and scouting their opening day spots. Social media is blowing up with hunters posting pictures of their trophy bucks pre-season saying, “Score this ‘big mamma-jamma.’” You’d think they’re about to bust out of their skin with anticipation.

                All over the US, deer populations have been fluctuating over the past ten years, however the population in Texas has remained pretty stable. Texas has reached record number of deer counts registering about 3.6 million as of 2013. I’d say that’s pretty good. Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates the average hunt/harvest (likelihood of shooting a deer) and about 89%. That’s about 1 to 1 ratio, just about. Pretty good odds for those who are new to the game, or those who just need to satisfy their long overdue craving.

                Not to mention this past spring has been the most fruitful in a good while. Pollination of local flowers and plants was at an all time high, the Texas Bureau of Horticulture and Botany discovered an estimated 300 new plant species and cross breeds. “How does this tie in?” you ask. Simply, crops and the luscious vegetation that deer love to munch and graze on is more than abundant. Corn and supplements are great attractants, but you know what they say about momma’s cookin’. And ain’t nobody cookin’ better than momma.

                While most hunters are sticking to popular methods of feeders and food plots, there is a significant number out there that have a much different approach. Some could call it the “natural approach.” They merely find a natural habitat with decent signs of deer life and activity, and settle in there. It’s a lot cheaper and easier, in my opinion.

                For those interested in this particular method, persimmons trees are the talk of the town. With its delicious aroma created from crushing the outer shell of the fruit it produces, I can personally attest to its effectiveness.

                Last season, while trekking to my feeder and stand set-up, I happened across a persimmons tree. It struck me as intriguing and the smell of it was an interesting one. Playing around I grabbed one of the fruits and squished it between my fingers. The smell was pungent, and the fruit was messy. I wiped it off on my boot bottoms and kept on going, grumbling about now having to smell like strange fruit throughout the remainder of this endeavor.

About 30 minutes after getting all settled in, I heard a snort from my rear left; the direction I headed into my stand. Turning very slowly I spotted a little spike hot on my trail and nose to the ground. Now on this particular land I happened to be hunting with MLD permits and this little spike was right within my criteria.

 I quickly took him down and tracked him about 30 yards from my stand. I’d never seen a deer come into a clearing much like this one did, and with his nose down like a dog, I was a little bit curious as to what could cause such behavior. I checked his nostrils and the surrounding area for something out of place, but to no avail. Shrugging my shoulders I grunted and began to shift my kill to get a better position to field dress him when that smell, that smelly smell, hit me again. Full on.

I dropped the deer quickly, searching for the source of the stench that was that messy fruit.  Too potent to come from my boot bottoms, I examined the deer more closely and found the source of the stench to be his mouth. He had a mouthful of persimmons fruits. This little booger had come in on a line looking for a snack, just as I intended, but not exactly. Since then I always carry scentless wipes and extra gloves to use persimmons as a natural attractant. Persimmons haven’t failed me yet so I'll continue to use them.

-Rory Kelly

Hunting/Archery Lead






Little Split

chris G. Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Chris Grocholski
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops Altoona


With deer hunting season fast approaching, I thought I'd share a story about the one that got away.  Almost every deer hunter probably has a story of that one deer that they have either spent way too much time thinking about, preparing an entire hunting season/seasons around, spent countless hours in a stand or blind waiting for, and, most likely, lost a lot of sleep over. I am definitely not the exception to this situation and am, in fact, guilty of all of the above!

My story starts in Clayton County in northeast Iowa six years ago. I had recently been told about a farm of approximately 180 acres. It was a unique section of ground that presented a challenge to hunt that instantly drew me in Little Split - First Spottedwith the challenge - the challenge was, believe it or not, trying to find enough trees to put tree stands in!  The ground had been in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and when it was taken out of CRP the land owner began planting trees. After about three months of scouting for locations for treestands and blinds, a friend and I started laying down mineral stations and trail cameras to get some set our sights on a couple. One in particular we named "Little Split," because of the split G2s that he had. He seemed to be a younger deer, but he had all the characteristics and potential to become a stud. Late that summer and early fall, before bow season, I was only able to get two more pictures of  Little Split.

Fast forward not one season, but two. I had a successful season the year after I started hunting that particular piece of ground and harvested a deer, but still had my heart set on an opportunity with Little Split. I began to think he may have been harvested by another hunter on some neighboring property or maybe just died from natural causes, because I never saw him on any of my trail cameras, or on the hoof,Little Split - 2010 for almost two years.

Then August of 2010 came and I went out to change out all six of my trail camera SD cards. Looking through the photos - BAM there he was!  But, now the name Little Split didn't quite fit anymore!  He had done some serious growing and had also added a split to his other G2 as well. I was instantly obsessed with this deer and knew right away it was going to be almost impossible to let him walk, if given the opportunity at harvesting this animal. The rest of the summer and early fall I was able to get several pictures and a few short night videos, as well.

As the season went on, and I spent more and more time hunting this deer, I was starting to think that I wasn't going to get a chance at him, because I had not seen him again in any pictures or during any of my sits. I had set up a blind on a corn field edge before the corn had been picked, because there was a ton of deer moving in and out of this corn field.  Well, the farmer finally told me that the corn was out, so I instantly knew where I was going to set on my next hunt.  However, the morning did not go as well as I had planned, and I wasn't able to get out to the blind until almost 8 a.m. Considering it was that time of year when deer can be moving at any time of the day, I felt it was still worth an all day sit, so off I went.

I was about 60 yards from the blind, when I saw four does in the field picking up corn. I sat down and watched the does because I didn't want to spook them out of the field, just in case there were sLittle Split 210ome bucks around checking them out. As I sat there for about 10 minutes watching, guess who shows up? Little Split! 

I quickly came up with a game plan to see if I could get a stalk on him, an decided to use a small depression that could get me to about 50 yards away from where he stood. I started my stalk. Aided by a perfect wind, I was able to get where I wanted to be without being noticed. I nocked an arrow and got set up behind some brush, then gave two very light grunts on my grunt tube. He yanked his head up and stared right in my direction. After about 15 minutes of looking my way, he went back to eating corn in the field and milling around with the does. This time I gave him a snort wheeze and it was ON!  He gave me all the posturing of a full mature deer that was ready for a fight and I knew this was my chance.

Sitting behind the bush, I was thinking, "I can't believe this is going to happen!"

I closed my eyes and collected myself, as he walked straight towards me. I opened my eyes and drew my bow - here was the deer I had been hunting for almost three years and he was within 20 yards of me.  As he walked through the brush, I followed him with my bow. Then suddenly he stopped behind a bush, and I thought, "Oh no, something is wrong."

My fear was reality. He somehow picked me off, stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and trotted away.  I guess deer don't become trophies by being dumb.

The most important thing I learned? Find a bigger bush to hide behind!


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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 2 - Proper Stance

Beginning Archery for Ladies - Bass Pro Shops AltoonaBy Alicia Bricker
Gun Vault Specialist
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Now that you used my tips in Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part One, and have your bow picked out and set up, we need to work on the proper shooting form. Then watch for Part 3 next week, where we explore some of the accessories mentioned here in a little more detail.

StanceRight-handed archery stanceBeginning Archery for Ladies - Stance

First, you want to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart with the back leg a little more forward to give you a steady base. If you are shooting a right-handed bow, then your right foot will be in the back. Right-handed bows are held in the left hand and left-handed bows are held in the right. The front of your body will face out away from your target with your dominate hand on the opposite side of your body away from the target. The hand holding the bow will face the target. Everyone will stand a little different and you will develop your own stance over time. This is just a place to start when first learning.

(Right handed example)

When you are drawing back your bow to shoot, be sure to keep your arm just slightly under fully extended to keep it from extending into where the string will travel. I have noticed, especially with women, that our arms tend to extend past straight and this causes issues when shooting. Be sure to keep:

  1. Your arm straight or slightly bent,
  2. Your wrist straight, not bent,
  3. Your elbow rolled under.

< Incorrect - The elbow is Incorrect forearmextended into the path of the string.Correct Arm for Bow




Correct - Arm is straight, elbow slightly

bent to keep out of string’s path.>




Here is an example of how you can hold your bow when you are at full draw. The wrist sling, shown in the photo, keeps theUsing a wrist sling bow from falling to the ground, once the arrow has been released. When you grip the bow, you want to keep your fingers loose, so that you don’t jerk the bow with a tight grip. By keeping your fingers loose, you allow your bow to follow through with the shot. Allow the arrow to completely leave the bow before gripping it again. The wrist sling will allow the bow to roll forward, but it is around your wrist, so it won’t fall completely. Also, you don’t keep your hand loose for very long, after you have released the arrow, just long enough to follow through with your shot. You don’t want your bow to fall too far before gripping it again.

Anchor Point

The next thing to be conscious about when shooting is your anchor point. You want to draw your bow back to the exact same spot every time to keep your shots consistent. Do this by making a conscientious effort to place your hand at the same spot on your face every time you pull back your bow. If you are a finger shooter, it will be towards the front of your jaw and closer to your mouth. If you are a release shooter, it will be back closer to your ear. Every archer is different on this, and you will have to practice and find what works best for you to keep your shots accurate.

When you pull the stringAnchor Point back, you want to put the string up against the side of your nose and the edge of your mouth. For beginning archers, I recommend a kisser button like shown in the picture. This will help you feel where your string is when you are pulling it back, so you know it is the same every time. This photo shows where the string should land when you are pulling it back and where to anchor your string against your face using a release. All archers will be slightly different on this, so keep that in mind when you are starting to shoot. You will figure out your own anchor point, over time.


The key to accuracy is to be as consistent as possible, doing it the same every time. When you pull the string back, you will learn by feel where your hand needs to be anchored in order to shoot the best. After a while, it will just become second nature and you won’t have to think about it. A good habit, when first starting out, is to make a mental check list. Go through and ask yourself:

  • Do you have a solid base, so your balance is steady?
  • Once you pull your string back:
    • Is your arm straight, but out of the path of the string?
    • Is your wrist straight?
    • Is your grip loose on the bow, so you don’t flinch the bow?
    • Is your string against your face in the same place, or the kisser button in the corner of your mouth?
    • Is your hand anchored in the right spot and the same place as before?

These questions will become unnecessary as you progress, but in the beginning it will help you increase your consistency and accuracy every time you shoot. Eventually,  you'll know what works and doesn’t work for you. Your stance and how you draw your bow will become second nature. Everyone develops their own style and knows what feels right for them. These are just a few tips that can get you started down the right path!


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Shoot for the Stars

Some parents teach their kids to reach for the stars and dream big. Jack Moller is teaching his granddaughter's to shoot for the stars. These girls aren't just shooting for the stars either, they want to be stars - they want to shoot at the Olympics.

Alyssa (10) and Julia (8) are avid archers and have been for 2 years or so. The girls shoot every weekend with their granddaddy. Jack Moller has been shooting Traditional Archery since he was 12 and he takes teaching the girls seriously. When they shoot the girls aim at balloons attached to the targets in order to work on precision and accuracy. 

More information about the difference between the different bows the girls use can be found by reading A Simple Guide to Bows.


You can shop for bows at http://www.basspro.com/Archery/_/S-12425001000


Ten Quotes to Ignore About Treestands

Rod SlingsRod Slings, is Founder/CEO of Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants LLC and retired Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Supervisor.

Over the years of investigating treestand falls and interviewing the victims, their families and evaluating the scenes, a number of quotes come to mind. These are quotes to remember, but never follow. Please learn from these with the “Note” of explanation:


  1. He always said, “Those safety harnesses are way too restrictive. I like my freedom to move around.”

Note: Over one million treestands are sold each year. Each stand includes a safety harness; look for only stands that are Treestand Manufacturer's Association approved, with the logo on it. Do not alter the harness. The harness provided or purchased separately is designed to save you from falling to the ground.  Read all manufacturer's instructions before use. Your goal is to get back on to your stand as quickly as possible if you fall.  See: Dr. Norman Woods’s study on suspension trauma:


  1. “I looked at the treestands in the store and I knew I could build one almost as good.”

Note:  Homemade stands come in all shapes and sizes, everything from old shipping pallets to untreated plywood that are nailed into the tree to hold it up. Your best safety investment is a manufactured stand that will provide you with a safe and secure platform when manufacturer's guidelines are followed. Don’t take a chance with your safety! Your life is worth more than a pile a lumber.Treestand safety

  1. “I don't know who put this stand here or when; I was just checking it out to see if it was still safe.”

Note:  Never trust a stand that you have not helped hang or made yourself familiar with each detail of how it has been secured. The longer a stand is exposed to the elements, the more risks you are taking. The worst thing you could do is climb into an unknown stand in the predawn hours and put yourself at risk, based on someone else’s carelessness.

  1. “I didn't unload my gun before I pulled it up to my treestand because the noise might have spooked a deer.”

Note: Never hoist or lower a loaded firearm from your treestand. Always check and double check your firearm to make sure it’s unloaded. When using a muzzleloader, make sure the cap or ignition system is removed. Use a haul line to raise and lower your hunting implement, including bows, crossbows and all firearms and equipment. Never allow the muzzle of a firearm to be lowered into the dirt, snow or mud.  Remember, attempting to raise or lower any type of equipment in hand or attached to your body may cause risk, which may result in injury or worse.

  1. “I was wearing my harness, but I guess I had a little too much slack in my tether.”

Note:  Make sure you always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when ascending, perched in your stand or descending. When you allow too much slack in your tether, you risk not being able to self-rescue yourself back into your treestand. Your primary focus must be to get back onto your stand as quickly as possible. Your anchor point that you attach your tether to must be above your head when sitting in your stand.

  1. “It just takes too much time to use all that safety stuff; I just wanted to get in my tree quick I as I can.”

Note: If you plan to hunt again, and return home safely after each and every hunt, you will follow all of the safety guidelines and utilize the equipment needed to stay safe in the woods. Planning your hunt means allowing enough time to not only get to your stand, but also secure yourself safely. Use three points of contact when using a ladder. Use a lineman’s belt, a line that you hook your harness into when ascending and descending. Always stay connected to a safety anchor. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.  One slip and you will change not only your life, but put a great amount of stress and burden on those around you.

  1. “I can’t believe I fell asleep and fell out of my stand.”

Note: It has been said that a hunter in a stand becomes “one” with the woods when hunting from a treestand. There is an almost a hypnotic state of mind that takes place when surrounded by the natural beauty hovering above the forest floor. As this relaxed transition takes place, it is imperative that all safety equipment is in use. Don’t become a statistic!  

  1. “I laid on the ground all night after I fell out of my stand. My legs wouldn’t work, my phone was in my backpack up in the tree, so I couldn’t call for help.”

Note: Always carry a communications device on your person. Make sure you always have service from the location you are hunting. Carry it in a chest pocket, so you can get to it when you need it. File a “hunt plan” with your family or friends, so they know exactly where you are hunting and when you expect to get home.  That way, rescue and law enforcement have a much better chance to find you, if you need help.

  1. “I unhooked for just a second, lost my balance and fell.”

Note:  Always stay connected. Maintaining the same sequence of events each time creates a routine.
“I always do it this way” is a very good method to maintain good safety practices. That one second of disconnect could cost you a lifetime of suffering. Always staying connected to an anchor point protects and insures you and will help you defy a thing called gravity.       

  1.  “I heard there were two kinds of treestand hunters, those that have and those that will.”

Note: Falls from elevated devices result in significantly more injuries than hunting-related shootings. The safety equipment available to keep hunters that hunt from elevated devices safe has increased greatly over the past years. If you talk to those who “have” fallen, you will hear them say, “I didn’t think it would happen to me!”  Learn from the tragedies of others, don’t become a statistic!

Please hunt safe this fall. Remember to acquire the necessary equipment to keep your hunt safe.

You owe it to yourself and your family.


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Hunting Story Told Right: Mike’s Safari

So what is cool about this story is that it combines a lot of things I have talked about before and rolls it into one big awesome adventure. This is the story of our very own Mike’s hunting trip to Africa. And he knows how to tell it right!

Mike has been with us for a while now and it seems like he has been talking about this trip ever since he joined us. I’ve had the pleasure to talk with him about where he is going, what he is taking and so on. Well he took that trip, not too long ago, and came back with some awesome trophies!

So let’s go over the basics of his gear. Mike only wanted to take one rifle with him, so the caliber he chose needed to be able to cover all of his bases. And his choices of animals ranged from kudu to warthog and a bunch in between! He went with the .300 Win Mag! (Hey didn’t I write a blog about that caliber? Or two?!) Mike picked out the Winchester Model 70 (a classic) and it served him well! It was the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation anniversary edition. On top of that bad boy, he threw on a Vortex scope. I have spoken before about how awesome these products are and Mike backed that up. His scope only needed three clicks to be dialed back in after all that travel. His Professional Hunter (PH) also said how impressed he is with their scopes are… and that he personally owns four.

Also, get the luck of this guy! He entered in for a chance to receive a case of ammo (your choice of caliber) and WON!!! Seriously!? My best friend and his dad took a trip to Africa and a huge expense was the rounds they needed to practice with before their hunt! Mike used Barnes Triple Shock in 180 grain and they worked like magic. They dropped every animal taken, except one, in one shot where they stood. This is great for the animals because it is humane and it is good for the PH so they don’t have to chase after a wounded animal.

It was a two week trip, four days of which were lost to travel. After landing in South Africa, they spent days at Kruger Park. Here they went over spotting and stalking basics. The PH wanted Mike to know what he was going to be looking for and how to get close to it. This is a simple concept but is something everyone should do! The things you learn at that time can make a huge difference later. Mike also insisted on doing all the hunting in a stalk. There was the option to shoot from the vehicle, but Mike abstained from this. Good for him! Mike also was able to see a lot of the wildlife he was not there to hunt and got a lot of awesome pictures. This is great so he can have something to show people who do not condone hunting. You always want to be mindful and respectful of people’s mindsets. Don’t go showing bloody pictures to anti-hunters because it only makes us more enemies!

From Kruger, Mike hunted in an area west of Kimberly. He took seven animals while there. Most of them were taken at least two hundred yards away. This speaks highly of Mike and his skill and the caliber, firearm and scope he had with him. Below will be pictures of Mike with his animals, the kind of animal, range it was taken (if he could remember) and what it would have scored. Over there, they have their own form of scoring. The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa  (PHASA) has guidelines for each different animal and what it would rank as. Hunting there is extremely different than here as Mike was able to take three animals in one day!

Mike noted that there was a lot of walking involved, and that they found a poacher. This individual was “looking for firewood” but just happened to be carrying around a bow and arrow… and didn’t have any wood… kind of illegal.

Anyways, enough words. Let’s bring on the pictures! Enjoy!

Red Hartebeest (200 yards) Bronze

Black Wildebeest (297 yards) Silver

Springbok (X) Silver

Warthog (500 yards, rested position) Not scored

Gemsbok (200 yards) Didn’t score

Blesbok (240 yards) Bronze

Kudu (200 yards) Didn’t score. It was missing three inches from one horn but would have been a Silver. This is Mike’s favorite trophy because just look how thick its horns are and how cool it looks.

Awesome job, Mike!


Enjoy these other pictures too!







Let's Talk Hunting!

It’s that time of the year again. Archery season is fast approaching and time to get last minute prep work finished.  Mother Nature has been very nice to us with the abnormally low temperatures this summer. It has been perfect weather to get out in the woods and do a little bit of trimming around your stands or put out some trail cams, mineral or even build a food plot or two. With the increase of big buck sightings on my farms this year, I think it’s going to be a great season for us all. The deer numbers have really bounced back from the die off we had a few years ago. I still don't have the numbers on my north Missouri farm as I did before the event but it has improved dramatically. My farm here in central Missouri has improved even more. It depends on where you hunt, but I think it will be a much improved year. With more rain to come, hopefully we can put the drought behind us for now. Make sure you pick-up a copy of the 2014 Fall Deer & Turkey Booklet here at Bass Pro or visit the Missouri Department of Conservations website for all of the harvest changes here in Missouri. It will mostly affect gun hunters.  It’s still a great idea to grab one and catch up on all the changes so you are not surprised when you go buy your tags this fall.

A few pointers to get your season started: If bow hunting is your passion, my best advice I can give you is to HUNT EARLY!!!!!!!!!!! I used to be really bad at not spending enough time hunting September and early October. I got caught up in watching all the hunting shows of Bucks chasing Doe's all over the place during the rut. So I thought that would be the absolute best time to hunt. I would take my vacation around that time every year. Here in Central and North Missouri, the rut is right around the 1st and 2nd week of November. Don't get me wrong, it is a great time to be in a tree and there are a lot of really big deer harvested every year from trick or treat day (Oct 31st of course) to November 14th. But, and that's a big but, little do most bow hunters know that they have past some of the best hunting of the year in September and early October. Mostly because of the hot temps that are present at that time of the year. But the deer are still there and they have to feed and drink. When archery season starts on September 15th, you can bet that this guy will be in a tree or ground blind overlooking a food source or water hole. The best thing about September that you don't normally have in November is that you can pattern that big ole buck in daylight hours near a food or water source. Sometimes you can set your watch by it. In November that same buck is up on his feet during daylight but he more than likely is running all over God’s green earth looking for that perfect girlfriend. That could take him right off your farm and into someone else's sights. Spending some time now with the help of a few game cams, like Bushnell's Trophy cam ($229.99) or Moultrie's M990i ($199.99) you should be able to get a good idea of when, where and what time those deer are coming through and still have plenty of time before season to get a couple of stands or ground blinds set-up and ready to go. Tips for Game Camera Placement

Ground blinds can be really effective this time of the year because they will help control your scent and cover any movements. Redhead Blackout Hub Blinds are a great choice to help your blend right in ($139.99 - $279.99). There are three different models to accommodate multiple hunters if you decide to share your experience with family or a friend. Also, always try to give yourself options for different wind directions. Early season can be full of surprises. I have seen 3 different winds in 3 days. Always play the wind and brush in those stands and with a little luck your taxidermist will have a little more work this fall. That's all the time I have for now.  From all of us at your local Independence Bass Pro Shops, have a fun and safe hunting season.