Bucks & the Rut!

The key to drawing a wary whitetail buck into bow range can often hinge on downright deceit. Calls to make grunts, bleats, and rattles can all play on a buck’s sense of hearing and his natural curiosity. Scents, which play a huge role in how deer interact with each other, as well as their environment, can also be a valuable tool. Decoys can serve to relax or agitate a buck, depending on how you want the animal to react in order to move in your direction. Use them individually, and each one of these can be just enough to entice a trophy into range; use them together in a strategy in which each plays off the other, and you have a recipe that can completely hoodwink a buck into rolling right into your setup.


Here's how to do it.



Scents: Basic doe urine is all you want to use now. It will reassure deer as they move through an area that all is well in that part of the woods, especially as they travel about on the feeding patterns that are common now. If you go with an estrous scent early, you’ll only spook deer, as they will know that isn’t natural for this time of year. http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&searchTerm=doe+urine


Calls: A grunt tube is essential. It’s good all season long and is really the only call that should be used in the early season. If your tube is adjustable, make the grunt less deep and guttural so that it sounds more like a young buck. This will be less intimidating to other bucks at a time when they are not yet challenging each other too hard.




Decoys: Try using a subordinate (or smaller) buck decoy now, as young groups of bucks are still moving together and might become curious about the new kid on the block. With deer still locked on feeding patterns, it seems a doe, with doe scent placed around her, might act as a confidence tool, but it’s best to save that trick for later in the season.





Scents: Bucks are getting ramped up for the coming rut, and now is the time to challenge a big boy’s dominance. Buck urine, used either in high-traffic travel corridors or in conjunction with a scrape, can bring a bruiser charging in.




Calls: Now is the time to break out a medium to heavy set of rattling antlers or a rattling bag. Bucks are beginning to seriously challenge one another, and even the more passive ones will be curious about who is doing battle. Start slowly and work the antlers into a loud clash for two to three minutes, staying alert to any bucks that may rush in. Take a break of 15 to 30 minutes between each set. When rattling, mix in some grunts or rake a tree or the ground for added realism. As the rut approaches, rattling will only be more effective.




Decoys: Now is the time to go with a standing subordinate buck and place it 20 to 25 yards out from your stand, where deer approaching from different directions might spot it.

Angle the fake buck so that it’s looking perpendicular to you or looking past your stand at an angle (never at you) so that an approaching buck offers a broadside shot or quartering-away shot when it faces off with the decoy.



Scents: Within two weeks of the peak of the rut is when you want to bust out a top-dollar doe estrous scent. When you start seeing those first bucks—either in person or on a trail camera—running loopy through the forest on the trail of a doe, spread the scent liberally around your best stand on three or four wicks. Mix in a little tarsal gland to fuel a dominant buck’s jealousy at the same time. Use both on drags going in to your stand.


Calls: When you spot a buck cruising in search of does during the peak of the rut, three or four short, quick doe bleats will make it think a willing doe is nearby. If it’s already on a doe’s trail or slipping through and doesn’t hear the bleats, throw a single, loud snort-wheeze its way. That can stop a buck in its tracks and bring it stomping back toward you. Keep rattling and grunting during the peak, too.


Decoys: A good buck decoy, with tarsal scent hung right next to it, can serve to irritate territorial bucks on the prowl and bring them in when you combine it with a snort-wheeze or grunt. Up the ante with a doe decoy used in conjunction with the buck. That combination can be deadly.



Scents: With rut activity winding down, a whitetail’s thoughts return to food, especially in regions where winters can be tough. Generally, it’s time to return to basic doe urine to put deer at ease. About 28 days after the peak of the rut, the second rut should kick in and you should get back to using estrous scent. Because second-rut intensity is lower, don’t expect it to work the wonders it did a month ago.


Calls: The battles and challenges of the rut are winding down, deer have been run hard, and hunting pressure is at its peak. Every sound you make now should be about reassuring a buck that the environment is safe. Occasional doe bleats to mimic those final estrous does can be helpful, but for the most part just stick to light, occasional contact grunts when you actually have your eyes or ears locked on a deer moving nearby and just need to draw it in a little closer.


Decoys: Food has moved back up the hierarchy of needs over breeding, so use a feeding doe decoy out in the open to instill hunt-weary deer with confidence. Don’t use a buck decoy now, as bucks may still be skittish. Place estrous scent around a doe decoy and offer occasional bleats to add to the fake’s appeal.


Hopefully some of these tips will help you take down a massive monster buck like this:


Three Things I Wish I Would Have Had

We asked some of our team members - "What are three things you wish you would have had when you first started hunting?

Gun Vault Specialist Alicia Bricker offers up this advice:

1.Rechargeable Hand Warmers – I bought one at the store last year. I get cold easily and they stay warm for a long time, so I can keep it in my pocket and just switch hands. The warmer helps keep my hands from getting stiff, while out in the extreme Iowa climate. I hunt under any conditions, so this helps give me some warmth during those frigid days.

2.  Climbing Treestands – when I started hunting when I was younger, I would just sit under any tree or anything I could find to help give me some cover. With age comes wisdom, the say, and I started using tree stands for bow hunting and soon discovered climbers were the way to go. If you get a lightweight climber, you can hunt almost anywhere and just carry your stand in with you, and you don’t have to set it up ahead of time. This keeps you from being limited to only hunting places that you had already picked out to hang a stand.

3.  Neck Gaiters - This may seem like an odd product to pick, but, as I mentioned in #1 above, I get cold easily and in Iowa’s extreme cold and wind a neck gaiter really helps me stay warm. Since I started bow hunting, I am out in more of the frigid weather than I used to be. On the ground you can somewhat get out of the wind, but with bow hunting mostly from tree stands, you are right up there in the wind with nothing to block it. I picked up one of the thick RedHead neck gaiters two years ago and won’t leave home without it now, especially on the cold windy days. They hold a ton of heat in and help keep the cold from seeping down the top of your coat. Plus, if you are like me, on the really cold days I like to cover my face with the gaiter until I am ready to shoot. I don’t like face masks when bow hunting -  I feel they throw off my shooting. I use the gaiter in a similar manner, until I am ready to shoot.

We hope these tips will help you as hunting season continues and the days get colder. What do you use now that you wish you would have know about "back then?"


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

Picture courtesy of Costa

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

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

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


             Picture courtesy of Costa

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

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


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



About the author:

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


Fishy Facts: Striped Bass

One of my absolute favorite things about working here are the fish feedings. We have three large aquatic homes for our fishy friends (I don’t like to use the word tank, unless talking about military history). There is a saltwater exhibit in the Islamorada Fish Company. Our Trout Stream gets fed every day at 1:30, and people can even help feed the fish if they are there early enough. And the big show takes place at our Main Tank, which gets fed Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM and Tuesday at 6PM. One of my favorite fish to watch during the Main Tank feedings is definitely our striped bass. Those guys SLAM whatever we toss into the tank! They are extremely fast and voracious predators, and just look cool. And for that reason they will be the star of this month’s Fishy Facts blog!

My love for the striped bass goes back years before I even entered my first Bass Pro Shops. For some reason, I had always been keen on catching this one. (Sadly, I still have yet to.) I honestly think it is their impressive size and cool coloring that gets me about them. They are a longer, streamlined fish with mostly silver-gray coloring and distinctive black stripes. They use their streamlined body to reach impressive speeds, which always make for an exciting fight.

Striped bass are believed to be able to live over twenty-five years and on average grow up to 40 inches. The largest (scientifically) recorded weight for one is 126lbs! (I put in there scientifically, because I am sure some old-timer somewhere has caught one larger than that.) They are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America, but have been heavily planted elsewhere. They are anadromous fish, which means they live in both salt and fresh water.

Pretty much since there has been a history of people living near these fishes native area, there has been a history of catching them. They were an extremely important food source for early colonials. The love of these fish has grown with us as a nation from the beginning and the striped bass is now recognized as the fresh water state fish for three states and the salt water state fish for four states.

Like most fish, the striped bass has several common names given to it. These names include:  striper, rockfish, rock, linesider and pimpfish.

Striped bass are a prized sport-fish, due their powerful fights and delicious taste. There are numerous ways to fish for these, and is mostly dependent upon the area you are in. I personally love the idea of catching a landlocked striped bass while they slam a boil and then catching one while surf-fishing in the ocean. (A boil is a common term used to explain when a bunch of larger fish start attacking a ball of baitfish towards the surface of the water. With all the activity it looks like the water is boiling. Looking for birds attacking a certain spot on the water is also a good indicator of feeding action.)

Many times with these blogs, we have to cover the current condition and any conservation efforts to protect the fish. Sometimes they are not the most opportunistic. But in this case, we have great news and a perfect example of groups coming together to protect our beloved fish. In 1982 the striped bass population had declined to below 5 million. Thanks to multiple sources of resources, effort and support the population grew back to 56 million striped bass by 2007! This is a clear example of how everyone can work together for something bigger than themselves.


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin Common Snook World Fish Migration Day

Yellow Perch American Paddlefish Cutthroat Trout


Bow Review - The BlackOut Intrigue

For years, Bass Pro Shops has offered premium bow packages at attractive prices.  Though, the most recent models including the Kronik XT, Toxik XT, and Blackout SS were marketed for taller, more seasoned archers.

This year, Bass Pro Shops presents the new BlackOut Intrigue, a competitive, single-cam, grow-with-you bow with an IBO of 313 feet per second, 80% let-off.  It maintains its performance at all points of the spectrum, whether it is the shortest, lightest setting, middle of the road, or longest, highest setting.    


The wide range of draw settings makes it appealing to archers of all ages and sizes.  The draw weight has a whopping 50 pounds of adjust-ability, from 20-70 pounds.  The draw length is just as flexible, starting at 23” and peaking at 30”.

The Intrigue is extremely convenient for all hunting environments, whether out of a ground blind or from the midst of leaves in a tree stand, even if you have to trek to reach your secret hunting spot, as its axle-to-axle measures 31 and it weighs in at only 3.3 pounds.

What might be even more exciting than its variability and convenience is the fact that the Intrigue is offered in purple accent, and in case you’ve been hibernating, purple is the new pink of the archery world.  The riser dons Realtree Xtra with carbon fiber patterned limbs.

Along with all Blackout bows, the Intrigue comes in a complete bow package: easy to use 3-pin Apex sight, 3-point contact Hostage arrow rest, Octane 5” Ultra Lite stabilizer, wrist sling, D-loop, and self-aligning peep sight.

Compound Bow Buyer's Guide

Archery Season is Here and We Have a Bow for You!


Backcountry Fly Fishing Association Presents "The Legend Series"

Steve Huff"The Legend Series" highlights some of the pioneers of the fishing world, and the Backcountry Fly Fishing Association along with Hell's Bay Boatworks is bringing a true industry trailblazer, and Florida Keys expert to Orlando to teach us a few things that will make our time on the water more productive and maybe a little more enjoyable.  Flip Pallot was set to be the original speaker for this event but will not be making an appearance due to unplanned circumstances.

Captain Steve Huff is one of those guys that seems to have seen and done it all when it comes to fishing and exploring the Florida Keys and the Everglades, which is saying a lot considering how many square miles of land and water we're talking about.  He's professionally guided for over 47 years (almost more years than I've been alive) and surely has forgotten more about saltwater angling than most of us will ever pick up by fishing only on weekends and holidays.  He along with Del Brown developed the Merkin Crab which is undoubtedly the quintessential permit fly that also produces well on species they hadn't even planned on, ultimately proving the versatility of the pattern and the ingenuity of the designers.  Steve has led numerous anglers to tournament wins in the Gold Cup, the Islamorada Invitational Bonefish Tournament, and the Islamorada Invitational Fly Bonefish Tournament, as well as many world record tarpon, bonefish, and permit including a 41 1/2 specimen on 8 lb tippet.

Captain Huff's inventiveness and constant search for perfection has proven invaluable time and again when the industry has asked for his expert guidance in developing more advanced flats skiffs, bow platforms, knots, and a myriad of other flats-fishing essentials.  He developed the Huffnagle Knot (I just got the connection) for joining light class tippet to a heavier bite or shock tippet, which is absolutely necessary when pursuing large tarpon such as the ones he chased in the Homosassa region on Florida's Gulf coast.  Steve's 186 pounder back in 1977 would have eclipsed the standing record by more than ten pounds but he never submitted for recognition because he felt that records should be left to anglers.  That's just the kind of guy he is.

Captain Steve Huff was inducted into the IGFA Hall of Fame in 2010, for his many contributions to the sport, but you'd never see this gentleman, whom many would consider to be "The Guy," hold himself in higher regard than others that enjoy the sport.  Humility, commitment, and enthusiasm are evident every time he welcomes an angler onto his boat, and he's surely converted more than one conventional-tackle angler to the fly rods as a patient and adept instructor for the Florida Keys Fly Fishing School.

I'd highly recommend taking a little time out of your busy schedules to attend the presentation.   

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

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

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 



Best Sellers and Whats new in Archery!

Now is the time to stop in and check out the new compound bows, as well as crossbows we have in.  We also have a variety of our best sellers to take a look at.  Questions on what to buy?  Our expert associates in the Archery Department will help you with your decision.  I asked one of our Archery associates what to look for when buying a crossbow or a compound bow.

With both bows you need to take into account your budget, draw weight, and the features it may or may not come with.  This is a large investment and you need to feel comfortable with it and confident using it.  Bob from our Archery Department stated that with a crossbow you have to really try cocking it to see which way you prefer. Do you prefer manual, crank, or rope. Another important fact is when buying a crossbow , are their weights.  Some are very heavy and you should take this into account when walking a long ways into your hunting spot.

Finally Bob, from our Archery Department says you just have to come in and try try try.  Hold them, shoot them until you find the one that is just right for you.

Take a look at the new Compound Bows we have in stock:

BlackOut Intrigue Compound Bow Package and the Diamond Provider RAK Compound Bow Package




















Tried and True Best Sellers!

Blackout SS Compound Bow Package

Redhead Toxik XT Compound Bow Package

Redhead Kronik XT Compound Bow Package






















NEW in Crossbows!

Ten Point Titan Xtreme Crossbow Package

Ten Point Shadow Ultralight Crossbow Package with Acu Draw

Ten Point Wicked Ridge

Barnett RAZR ICE CRT Crossbow Package

Horton Storm RDX Crossbow Package with Dedd Sledd

Horton Storm RDX Crossbow Package with ACU Draw

Barnett BC Raptor Reverse Draw Crossbow Package

Barnett Wildcat C6























































Stop on out and try a few of the new products we have.  Also check out our website at www.basspro.com to see what other varieties there are.

R. Piedmonte




2015 Fall Hunting Classic


AUGUST 21-30 

Doug Koenig Sweepstakes

Enter in store or online!

GRAND PRIZE:  1 Winner will receive a a hunting trip to Argentina with Doug Koenig

FIRST PLACE:  1 Winner per store location will  receive 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar Lock, 1 Leupold 10x25 Rogue Binoculars & 2 Boxes Hornady American Whitetail .308 Rifle Ammo


2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns and safes!

Save up to $100 when you purchase a gun or safe using our Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Credit Card!


Local Pro Seminars

August 21-23

Friday at 7pm

Saturday & Sunday from 1-4pm

Pro Staffer Charlie Faulk will be in-store as well as Keith Hickman and Mossy Oak Pro Staff.

Stop by and checkout the Mossy Oak truck while you're here!

Game Camera, Hunting Boot and Rifle Scope Trade-in

Parker Bows will be here August 29 & 30 to do product demos in their range!


Next Generation Weekend

Kids Events!

August 29-30, 11-4pm

Kid's Archery Challenge

Kid's Archery Workshop at 2pm & 4pm

BB Shooting Range

Free Giveaway (first 100 kids)


Photo Download

Women's Hunting Workshop at 3pm August 29

You're not gonna want to miss this!  Stop in and check out the great deals!



Fall Hunting Classic 2015- Mesa, AZ

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It means that another successful and egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk summer has come to a close. It also means that the holiday season is coming around the corner, which is always a great time. But for those of us who like to pursue game, get mud on our boots, take pride in filling our freezer with our own meat and have just cause for not showering know that Fall means hunting season! And we at Bass Pro Shops always kick this season off with what is one of our best sales and greatest events of the year: The Fall Hunting Classic!

Many of the hunting and outdoor enthusiasts come to our store as part of their hunting preparation. And who can blame them? We get inspired by the taxidermy around the store, can share stories with each other, learn new tips and tricks and find great deals on many essential items. Last year we had a great Fall Hunting Classic, but to be honest this year’s looks even better!


Our bow and crossbow trade in will end on the 16th, but we have a few more going on for our Fall Hunting Classic. We are going to have a Riflescope and (for the first time ever) Game Camera trade-in running from August 21st to the 30th. Bring in any working riflescope or game camera and receive a coupon to save on your purchase of a new one! For each one you bring in you will receive a coupon, but you can only use one coupon per item purchased. See below for a breakdown of the savings!

We will also be having a Hunting Boot trade-in as well! This will also run from August 21st to the 30th, and works basically just like the Riflescope and Game Camera trade-ins. Bring in some old hunting boots and receive a coupon to save on a new pair! The boots that we receive will be donated to Soles4Souls which is an awesome organization! See below for a breakdown of these savings.


Customers who are 21 years or older can enter in for a chance to win a hunting trip in Argentina with Doug Koenig! That is our grand prize, and let me already say how jealous I am of whoever wins that! And at each store there will also be a winner for a Prize Package that includes: 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar Lock, 1 Leupold 10X25 Rogue Binoculars and 2 Boxes of Hornady American Whitetail Ammo in .308 Winchester!


On August 21st we will have a seminar on year-round Game Camera strategies at 7PM.

On August 22nd we will have four separate seminars:

1PM- Archery Tune-Up

2PM- Scent Control and Scent Products

3PM- Boots 101

4PM- Knives and Tools for Hunting

For the Family:

We will have our Next Generation weekend going on the weekend of August 29th and 30th. It is going to run from 11AM to 4PM both days. There will be youth seminars at 2PM and 4PM, crafts, an archery challenge, BB Gun Shooting Range*, free photo download and giveaways. *All participants under the age of 18 must have a parent/legal guardian sign a waiver.

We will also have an awesome Women’s Hunting Workshop at 3PM on August 29th! This should not be missed by any ladies, looking to get some great tips and tricks!

Overall I am super excited about this and hope you all make visiting the Fall Hunting Classic part of your traditions!



Traditional Bowhunting: Tuning Your Bow

3rd In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Tuning Your Bow

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



Well we’ve been practicing our form, concentrating and shooting for groups. By now you have experienced that one arrow that came off your bow effortlessly hitting the target will making you smile. Thinking, how this is going to be so much fun and how this recurve bow is such a simple thing. You just shot the perfect arrow with not much more than a piece of wood gracefully curved at each end and a string tying the two ends together.

In a world of technology and complexities this is just about as simple as it can get when it comes to hunting. It’s a nice uncomplicated machine, with the right amount of labor, and some dignified beauty added. All you have to do is pull to the anchor and let fly. Right?

Like all machines once we get to know them we hear and or feel things that might not be quite right. Rightly so, in comparison to current compound bows, your recurve is simple beyond modern technology terms. But, you didn’t pull it out of the box and just start shooting it and hitting everything you shot at. The Bass Pro Shops (BPS) Archery Staff gets you up and started but it takes shooting to break in and tune your bow. In tuning it’s slightly complex but, just slightly. Here’s where the knowledge of the BPS Archery professional helps with a few pointers, a few adjustments that are necessary until you gain your own experience.

Traditional bows can be adjusted and they need to be from time to time. Your bow can be tuned to your style and arrows if you choose. Your bow can be over adjusted too!

In a traditional bow (either longbow or recurve) the difference between a properly tuned recurve bow and an untuned recurve can be huge. Remember our discussion regarding ask questions…tuning your recurve is a simple subtle response to arrow flight, feel, and sound. This is not hard work, it’s reasonably straight forward that will affect your ability to shoot your bow more accurately and increase your experience, success and enjoyment.

In any traditional community there are a myriad of styles and advice regarding how to and what to do’s that come from experience you have yet to have. Our goal at BPS Archery as mentors is to start your experience with the least amount of complexity and the best success.

Important to remember… We want you to understand and know the basics of tuning so that you may move forward on your own. Understand that ANYTHING you do in the future effects tuning so it is important to know how you want set the bow up for the way you intend to use it. If you tune your bow and later add a bow quiver, it changes the tuning, change string silencer styles or position, changes the tuning, add limb covers or tip protector, changes the tuning!

The closer to a center shot your bow is the easier it is to tune. Shooting off the shelf is one of the many reasons we chose the Sage Recurve?


Brace Height and Nocking Point

The nocking point and brace height are the two major areas impacting your bow and arrow performance. Nocking point and brace height work together. As increasing or shortening its distance to the bow by lengthening or making the string shorter the nocking adjusts the brace height point moves up or down.


Brace Height

Your Sage’s recommended brace height is 7½" - 8½". You can see it has an inch in adjustment. The BPS Archery staff has more than likely put it at 8” as the starting point until you shoot 50-100 arrows to break it in.

If your brace height is too low, arrow flight will be erratic and confuse where your nock point should be…as you learn you will get the feel for it. You’ll kind of do the nock point and brace height together.


Understanding the Bell Curve

For any given bow, arrow, archer combination, there will be a "best" arrow that will give the best flight characteristics. This is the bell curve and you should understand it before you begin the tuning process.

Bell Curve

Take a look at the tuning bell curve. For any given bow, arrow, archer combination, there will be a "best" arrow that will give the best flight characteristics. To each side of the "best" are arrow combinations that most folks would consider adequate arrow flight quickly dropping off to unacceptable arrow flight.

The farther away from the best combination, the more critical a good release and form become. So you can see why we started by practicing form and release while shooting groups in Blog 2. The BPS Archery Staff put together Bow and Arrow combinations to put you into the UPPER Thirds of the Bell Curve.


Nock Point                                                                                       

Finding the right place for your nocking point is easy. The nocking point locates the nock end of your arrow on the string at the same place for each shot. It does not do anything else. So why worry about its location? We want to have the most energy from our bow to our arrow for a humane harvest as well as target accuracy. If our nocking point is too high or too low it causes our arrow to go up and down called “porpoising.”

This is the first thing we’ll be looking for. Porpoising happens when the arrow alternates between rising and “submerging” relative to its intended flight path. The image following demonstrates this in action:

knocking point

These images illustrate what “porpoising” looks like without fletching or bare shaft.

So now forget about where your nocking point is set. At BPS Archery we start at the rule of thumb: 1/8th inch above 90 degrees. Now your nock point should be put at the point where your arrow shoots the best. Period. The nock should always be above the arrow. There is no right or wrong place for your nock point it’s the best for you. A good example of this is that my personal nocking is different on my 3 traditional bows and on the Sage Recurve we are using in this Blog.

You need to be settled into either Split-finger or Three-finger styles and your RELEASE must be consistent or it can look like a nocking point issue.


Brace Height

Your brace height is the most important adjustment in your recurve bow. Brace height is the distance in inches from the string to the bow when the bow is strung. The Archery Manufacturers Organization (AMO) specifies that the measurement be taken from the string to the center of the plunger hole… this excludes a lot of traditional equipment. Some bow manufacturers measure it from the deepest part of the grip. Your Sage is measured like this so you will measure it this way all the time.


Brace height is adjusted by using a longer or shorter string or by twisting or untwisting the string. Your brace height will affect the following in order of importance:

  1. Arrow flight
  2. Arrow speed
  3. Bow noise
  4. Stability of your bow
  5. Life and longevity of your bow

Most recurve bow shooters I meet shoot their bow too high…after discussion and watching them shoot we drop their bows down as much as an inch. After this find they are shooting better than before. The brace height adjustment can do more to affect the bows performance more than all the adjustments together.

Brace height determines how long your string stays on the arrow or keeps pushing the arrow. So, we want to find the lowest brace height for your bow, arrow and style of shooting. Make sense?

Exactly where the lowest brace height for your bow is varies from bow to bow and manufacturer to manufacturer. Remembering your Sage bow is a recommended 7½" - 8½" inches from the factory based on its design and materials. There will be a specific brace height at which your bow will feel and perform its best.

Now generally speaking lower brace height will speed up your arrows and pull easier. A higher brace height will make your bow quieter and cure arrow flight problems.

If you don’t want to mess with brace height adjustments and experimenting, just take the brace height to the maximum. For some this is easier, but expect a harder pulling bow and a slower arrow.

Matching your Arrow to your bow. “ The archer and the bow set the arrow on any bow.”

The arrow is more important than the bow. Any bow can be tuned to launch the right arrow with accuracy, but the wrong arrow won’t fly well from any bow.

Remembering that the BPS Archery staff using your draw length and bow poundage chart to best recommended the correct spine for your carbon arrows and practice points. If anything has changed in your style or form you should let the BPS Archery professional know. Why choose carbon arrows? You have probably seen Traditional Shooters using aluminum and wood, but carbon arrows are very forgiving and easier to tune for beginners.

The best thing about learning to tune your bow is that it is yours and once it’s done it’s done. You shouldn’t have to do it again until you add something or change something on your bow.

The tools used for tuning your bow can be found in BPS Archery store or catalog, are as follows:


How to get better once our bow is tuned?

Once that arrow is loosed and on its way all we can do is watch the outcome…and many a traditional bow hunter has come back saying, “how did I miss by that much? Or Crap! My arrow must be in another state by now!” this has happened to all of us.

The key to getting better is practicing.  

I advocate shooting and practicing as much as one can do, especially if you’re going to hunt. Going to local clubs for 3-D shoots and/or joining in Leagues is the best shooting practice. Targets at home or local range are good but they are static and noiseless. Shooting in an event or league gives you different ranges and the noise of comrades’ joking and putting the pressure on us.

Cold Shots or First Shots, means shooting just one arrow at the target. Why is it important to start thinking about shooting these shots? We are hunting and want that first shot to count for a humane ethical harvest. That’s what all this practice leads up to…is our success in the field from that one shot.

A lot of cold and first shot issues are mental if we know our equipment from practicing and tuning to achieve that absolute best we can from our bow and arrow. First shot shooting is our mental tune up in focus, concentration and confidence. Some call it “buck fever, nerves or choking.” The worst is blaming your equipment (if you have been practicing your shooting you should know your bow by now). The best way to overcome any of these labels is to be mentally prepared. Period.

Before you start your practice, focus and concentrate on your first shot! Closer to the season, I will go out at odd times of the day like early morning, just after dinner and string my bow and shoot a first shot from different angles; then put my bow away. I will leave my arrow in the target and think about. It’s the old scout in me “Being Prepared.”

Don’t get me wrong here; I still practice shooting lots and lots of arrow through my bow(s) to keep my form and release dialed in and strength up.

“Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!”


Next in this Series: Fitness…

Previous in the series:  Traditional Bowhunting: Instinctive Shooting

Visit our online Pro Shop: www.basspro.com/Archery/_/S-12425001000


Deer Management Part 2

Food Plots


This can be a very tough subject to talk about because of the many levels of food plotting. But I get more questions on what options hunters who do not have access to heavy equipment or a 4-wheeler have. There are tons of seed companies out there that have great plotting seeds. But in the hunting industry the two most popular are Evolved Harvest and Bio-Logic. You can’t turn on a hunting show without seeing one of these two industry giants. Evolved Harvest has several no till formulas available for sale that can be planted in the spring or fall of the year. Most of which will come packaged in a 5lb bag that will cover 1/4 acre or approximately a 25yd by 50yd patch of ground. This is an ideal size for a nice personal plot within bow hunting distance. Their throw and grow line is one of the most popular seeds on the market with hunters today from their original Throw and Gro ($15.99) which is a combo of ryegrass, forage clover and brassica mixed in. They also have Throw and Grow Extreme Radish ($21.99) which has everything that the original has plus the addition of a great late season draw:  Radishes. A fairly new addition is the Throw and Gro Extreme Oats ($13.99). Oats, clover and brassica all mixed together is a great all round seed.

Now to address the name - Throw and Gro. You can just throw it out on some bare ground and get some growth. But you will have a tremendous amount of better luck if you take the time and prepare the seed bed beforehand. At the very minimal, you should clear your intended area of any rocks, log, weeds that you can. A weed eater, machete, rake and a spray bottle with weed killer is your friend. You want to make sure your seeds have every possible chance to make contact with the soil. If you can go through the area several days in advance of planting with some Round-up or something of the same category. It will make the job of weed eating 10 times easier. Then you can Rake the area clean before planting. Also before planting, take a look at the weather and if possible try to place the seeds out right before a nice soaking rain. The rain will help push your seeds to the desired depth of about 1/4 inch or so under the surface. Remember this basic - if you do everything as above you will get modest growth. The better plants will come if you apply the right amount of fertilizer and lime to the soil. A soil test is the proper way to figure out how much of each you need to apply. It’s not as hard as you may think. You can go to your local MFA or COOP and they can get you going or there are plenty of websites available such as www.plantbiologic.com or you can subscribe to a magazine like Farming For Wildlife. Any of these will give you loads options for your new food plot. If you do not want to do a soil test then most of the company's will recommend you use 75 lbs of 13-13-13 Fertilizer and 500lbs of lime per 1/4 acre. Which in most cases is a little more then you need.

BioLogic has countless seed combos on the market but two of my best and most attractive to deer food plots every year is Winter Bulbs and Sugar Beets $21.99 and Maximum $19.99. Both come standard in 2.25lb bags that will cover a 1/4 acre. These are not no till formulas. So tilling is the proper way to get the most out of these two seeds. I know some of you are thinking. I need to get a Tractor or ATV. It is nice having access to them but here is a cheaper trick to get you by. There are a lot of company's small and large that for a small fee you can rent a very nice rear tine tiller. Yes a tiller. Think of it as gardening for deer. As long as you already have the area clean of debris and mowed. A 1/4 acre plot will take no time at all to till up. A tiller gives more options on how to plant. I like to divide my fall plots and plant two different types of plants like the maximum in one and sugar beets in the other. Plants like these are a dual purpose plot. You get that early push where they are eating the green tops of the plants and then later in the year when everything is getting thin they will start digging up the big root bulbs and beets and in turn allows you to have a great late season food source. After your plants get to about 3'' in length, I like to go back and spray BioLogics M.E.E.N Green Fertilizer on them. For $24.99 you get a 15-40-5 mix that comes in a 5 lb bag that will cover up to 1 full acre. By mixing 5 oz of Meen Green with 1 gallon of water you will be well on your way to a much healthier food plot. 

 Food Plot 101

It's Not Too Late to Plot                                                                                         

To Be Continued

Up Next. Game Cameras


Doe Permits in New York State


Doe Permits are now available at Bass Pro Shops until October 1st.

Below are the NYS Dec Regulations on Doe Permits or please visit www.dec.ny.gov for additional information.


Deer Management Permits (DMPs)

Hunters possessing a Deer Management Permit (DMP) may take one antlerless deer per permit, in addition to deer that may be taken with a regular big game tag or Bow/Muzz Antlerless or Bow/Muzz Either Sex tags.

  • DMPs may only be used for antlerless deer (have no antlers or antlers less than 3" long).
  • DMPs may only be used in the WMU for which they are issued.
  • DMPs are valid during all deer hunting seasons.
  • Junior Bowhunters may use DMPs during the special archery seasons and during the regular season.
  • Hunters may transfer or receive up to 2 DMPs from other hunters (see Consignment of Deer Management Permits for instructions).
  • An overview of how DMP quotas are established is available at Understanding DMPs: Quota Setting and Permit Selection.

Applying for DMPs

DMP Application Deadline: October 1 each year

What You Need to Know Before Applying

  • You must be 14 years or older with a regular big game hunting license. Junior bowhunters who are 12 years or older with a junior bowhunting license may also apply.
  • You can apply for up to two DMPs within the same Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) or two different WMUs. Both must be applied for at the same time. Find a WMU near you by viewing the written WMU boundary descriptions or using our interactive WMU mapping feature.
  • If applying at a license sales agent, hunters who are selected will receive their tags immediately. If applying online or by phone, hunters who are selected must wait approximately three weeks to receive tags.
  • There is a $10 non-refundable application fee for all applicants, except for holders of Lifetime Sportsman licenses purchased prior to 9/30/2009, and Junior Hunters & Junior Bowhunters.
  • Disabled Veterans who are residents of New York and who have a service-connected disability rated at 40% or greater will receive preference on DMPs. Annually, you must bring a letter from the Veteran's Administration, dated in the current year, with your case number and your disability percentage. If you are claiming permanent disabled status, the letter must clearly state that the service-related disability is 'permanent'.
  • Landowners who own 50 or more contiguous acres of land within a WMU will receive preference on DMP selection. Annually, you must bring your tax map identification number and SWIS code (found on your tax bill) with you when you apply. Be sure to tell the license issuing agent PRIOR to applying that you are a landowner. Lessees do not qualify as landowners. A spouse of a landowner may receive landowner preference, but both spouses may not apply as a landowner for the same parcel of land. Corporate ownership: only one person may be designated by a corporation as the landowner each year no matter how many 50-acre parcels are owned. The corporation must submit an original letter or certified copy of a resolution, dated in the current year, designating the individual and must include the tax map ID and SWIS code information.

Ways You Can Apply

Chances of Being Selected for a DMP

The chances remain the same throughout the entire application period, which runs from the middle of August through October 1, and are based on the following criteria:

  • Ranking of the applicant based on the Order of Selection below.
  • Number of applicants expected.
  • Number of antlerless deer to be harvested in each WMU.

See DMP Probabilities for a map of WMUs open for DMPs and for a table of the chances of selection for 1st and 2nd choice DMPs for Residents and Non-residents.

Preference Points

  • Preference points increase your chances of selection but do not guarantee DMP selection.
  • Preference points are won and lost on first permit selection only.
  • If you receive a DMP in your first choice WMU, all available preference points will be used.
  • If you do not receive a DMP in your first choice WMU, you will receive a preference point for the following year.
  • Any preference points contained in your file are automatically applied to your first-choice WMU selection. If you do NOT receive your first choice, the points are applied to your second choice, but will remain in your file for the following year, regardless of your second choice selection results.
  • Qualifying landowners and disabled veterans will receive their first choice DMP in all open WMUs.
  • Preference Points are not WMU specific. That is, if you earned a preference point by being denied in one WMU, you can use that preference point in a subsequent year when applying for a DMP in a different WMU.

Order of Selection

  1. Landowners and Disabled Veterans
  2. NYS Residents and Nonresidents with 3 or more preference points.
  3. Residents with 2 preference points.
  4. Residents with 1 preference points.
  5. Residents with 0 preference points.
  6. Non-Residents with 2 preference points.
  7. Non-Residents with 1 preference points.
  8. Non-Residents with 0 preference points.

Additional Opportunities for Acquiring DMPs

  • Leftover DMPs
    If there are permits remaining after the initial application period ends on October 1, an extended application period for leftover DMPs will begin on or around November 1 each year. Applications for leftover DMPs can only be made at a license issuing agent location.
  • Bonus DMPs in WMUs (1C, 3S, 4J and 8C)
    Hunters who fill a DMP tag by harvesting an antlerless deer can apply for an additional (bonus) DMP to harvest another antlerless deer.
8Y 354.2 4,500 12.7 15.7% HIGH NONE LOW NONE
9A 461.6 19,600 42.5 7.2% HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH
9F 277 14,000 50.5 11.0% HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH
9G 229.9 7,300 31.8 13.3% HIGH HIGH HIGH HIGH
9H 973.1 30,700 31.5 18.9% HIGH HIGH HIGH NONE
9J 693.6 13,300 19.2 20.1% HIGH LOW HIGH NONE
9K 446.4 4,400 9.9 22.3% MED NONE NONE NONE
9M 329.7 6,600 20.0 17.5% HIGH NONE NONE NONE
9N 207.1 4,000 19.3 17.2% HIGH NONE NONE NONE
9P 581.5 3,100 5.3 25.8% PP REQ NONE NONE NONE
9R 217.6 700 3.2 18.4% PP REQ NONE NONE NONE
9S 91.5 500 5.5 11.3% MED NONE NONE NONE
9T 248.4 700 2.8 20.0% PP REQ NONE NONE NONE
9W 250.1 3,100 12.4 17.4% MED NONE NONE NONE
9X 219.1 600 2.7 24.5% PP REQ NONE NONE NONE
9Y 124.8 2,800 22.4 16.6% HIGH NONE NONE NONE

Statewide Total: 629,400 excluding units without DMP targets.

High = more than 2/3 of applicants receive a DMP.
Medium = between 1/3 & 2/3 receive a DMP.
Low = less than 1/3 of applicants will receive a DMP.
PP Req = only applicants with preference points have a chance of receiving a DMP. May require 1, 2, or 3 preference points to be selected.
LO/DV = only qualifying landowners (greater than 50 acres) and veterans with disabilities will receive a DMP.
None = No DMPs are available.
NA = DEC is not authorized to issue DMPs in these units.

R. Piedmonte

Be sure to explore our online selection of hunting gear at http://www.basspro.com/Hunting/_/T-12425000000


Fishy Facts: Cutthroat Trout

I have a deep love for trout. Over the past few years, I have covered them as subjects in my articles a number of times. One of my very first blogs was about them, and they were my 200th blog as well! Already in our Fishy Facts series we have covered the rainbow and brook species. And this time we are going to cover one of my absolute favorite (and on my top “to-catch” list), the cutthroat trout!

Now before you start saying “Yarrgh” and imagining a trout with an eyepatch, peg-fin and an affinity for rum and ransacking stream banks… these fish are not in any way to be associated with pirates despite the name. They get this name due to the distinct red coloring below their jaw.

The cutthroat trout is native to North America, ranging from Pacific coastal tributaries to the Great Basin. Like most trout they prefer cooler waters that are well oxygenated and clear. “Trout don’t live in ugly places”. They prefer gravel bottomed stream/river but are also found in lakes and other bodies of water. There are several subspecies of this fish, some are extinct and others are endangered. Because of this they are raised in hatcheries to help support wild populations.

Not only are these fish one of my favorite, but also are those of several western states. The cutthroat trout (or a subspecies of it*) are the state fish for several places. Those states include: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico*, Utah*, Colorado* and Nevada*.

Cutthroat trout have been known to spawn with rainbow trout, giving us “cutbows”. This along with the fact that many areas have “stocked” cutthroat trout can make it quite a challenge to catch a true wild fish. It may be because of this that these fish hold so much allure for so many people. Many consider fly-fishing the purest form of this sport and therefore catching a wild cutthroat is a triumph.

Like most trout these fish tend to feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects. They are also known to consume smaller fish and smaller aquatic animals (crayfish and such). There is a good population of cutthroat trout that inhabits coastal waters and their diet can be quite diverse because of that.

As mentioned above, there are numerous hatcheries in production and restoration efforts being done to help the cutthroat trout. Due to habitat loss, overfishing and introduction of non-native species that prey on the cutthroat, these fish’s numbers are way down from where they used to be. This has been directly seen and analyzed at one of its most historic ranges, Yellowstone. Before a “catch and release” program was put into place, anglers could harvest dozens of this fish in a day. But towards the end of the 1960’s, wildlife management stepped in and started putting policies into place. All of these efforts and the education of people have been making a positive impact for these fish. That is why when I finally do catch one, I intend to take a picture with it, release him and relive the story over a plate of non-wild trout with my fishing buddies on that trip.


Former Fishy Facts:

Grayling Northern Pike Rainbow Trout Largemouth Bass Peacock Bass Walleye

Billfish Dolphinfish Crappie Catfish Bull Shark Tilapia Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout Bow Fishing Bowfin Common Snook World Fish Migration Day

Yellow Perch American Paddlefish


Traditional Bowhunting: Instinctive Shooting

2nd In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Instinctive Shooting

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



Man using traditional bow for huntingWe have made and purchased our first steps to becoming Traditional Bow Hunter. The Bass Pro Shop (BPS) Archery Staff will take you through step-by-step setup of your recurve bow and use of the bow stringer. The Archery Staff will cut your arrows and go thru the use of everything else purchased. We want you comfortable with the items you purchased. If you have questions Please Ask! This is your journey and we are your mentors to a successful process and experience!


Why did we recommend this instead of that?


  • First, anything recommended in the first Blog is open for discussion between you and the BPS Archery Staff. This is about your success so ASK Questions!


  • Why the Fred Bear Bow Stinger when there are others to choose from? I believe that this bow stringer is the safest and best for either longbow or recurve bow available on the market today.


  • Why the Calf Hair Finger Tab instead of the Shooting Glove? I confess this is a matter of personal experience and preference for me. Hunting in the upper part of the country we experience cold climate at hunting season. A finger tab works well for me with fingerless wool gloves and mittens.

Getting Started

You are ready for the shooting style that matches the Sage Recurve. Think about it, your bow compared to the other bows in the shop has No Sights! How are you going to hit anything? Remember the 3-legged stool? This is the 1st leg.


Shooting Style, Instinct shooting.

One of the great things about choosing to hunt traditional is the ability to see and get a shot off quicker than the compound bow hunter. A traditional bow hunter does not have to look thru the peep and find the right distance pin. With instinctive shooting we see our game, we shoot in a fluid movement, we bring home our harvest. Right? But, not without practice, practice and practice.


Shooting the Bow

How does instinctive shooting work? You can throw a baseball, football, shoot a basketball, bean bags or play darts. These are hand eye coordination that we all develop as we grow. So, you have instinctive shooting in you already. Unfortunately it is not quite that easy, in that it takes time to learn. But, once you have learned it, it is very accurate and you get better in time. It’s very important that you learn to shoot your bow well. As a matter of fact it’s absolutely necessary to in your quest to harvest an animal ethically. Shooting your bow well will be a great feeling. I know it is for me and a lot of other bow hunters.


Man shooting recurve bow at cameraShooting off the shelf

Instinct shooting starts with the arrow rest. Getting the arrow to go where we are looking begins with the arrow rest and locating as near to the bow hand as possible. Why is this important? Instinctive Shooting is shooting the bow using only the abilities of eye, body coordination and instinctive memory.


Simply, it’s shooting an arrow where you are looking.

Canting a bow is not as common as it used to be for a couple of reasons; 1st the increase in hunting sights which dictate that the bow held vertically; 2nd elevated arrow rests which requires the same position. Another reason for canting the bow is that it opens up your field of view for a cleaner shot. Here’s a Canting exercise to do.

  1. Make a fist using your bow hand, representing holding your bow exactly as though you are shooting. 
  2. Choose a spot on the wall like a picture.
  3. Aim using your closed fist with simulating the arrow sitting on top of your fist as with the arrow rest.
  4. Now canting your fist to the right 90-degrees (assuming your right handed / left handed would be opposite).
  5. Notice the arrow simulation is still pointing at the spot.


You can do this exercise holding your bow as well. As you can see, canting your bow when shooting off the shelf does not change much.


Shooting off the shelf greatly simplifies instinctive shooting. When the arrow is down close to your hand, the arrow becomes part of the sighting / pointing system. Your arrow is pointed where your hand/arm is pointed; thus improving your ability to shoot quickly and to shoot where your bow is pointed.


Learning to Shoot

The ability to shoot instinctively is a result of form and practice. No matter what type of bow and arrow you choose to shoot... the basics are fundamentally the same principles.

Those fundamentals are:

  1. The Stance, most popular with shooters: is left side towards the target, feet parallel and spaced comfortably, head turned 90 degrees with chin touching, or almost touching, the left shoulder.



2. The open stance is also popular. Similar to the standard stance except the right foot is slightly forward of the left foot and the left foot is turned slightly towards the target.



3. The Draw is the very center of instinctive shooting. The draw includes keys: hand position on the bow, bow arm position, finger position on the string, the draw itself and head position. 






4. The Anchor, the anchor is the rear sight on your bow. It’s the tail end or nock of the arrow lack of consistency in the anchor has dramatic impacts on hits. Moving the anchor up or down, right or left will send the arrow in those directions.


   3-Finger Anchor                                     Split-Finger Anchor

  1. Aiming: when we think aiming in today’s terms we associate it with tools or devices, a mechanical system. Aiming in instinctive shooting certainly is mechanical, it’s concentrating on your target. At first aiming will be difficult because we all have a tendency to look where we want our arrow to go as in spot 1 in following sketch. With practice you will see where your arrow is going as in spot 2.


   Seeing versus Aiming where we want the arrow to go.

  1. The Release: the release is affected by letting go of the string… allowing the arrow suddenly leave your fingers. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When this is done with your bow and arrow. The bow arm is pushing forward as the string is pulled back… two opposing actions.  As long as you continue to push the bow arm forward, the release hand will easily let loose the string. Your bow hand must be pushing forward and your release hand pulling back. It is a push-pull method. One last thing, the term “hold” is a misnomer… you do not hold in traditional instinctive shooting.

Here’s a very good tool and exercise to work on these fundamentals in the house, break time at work or during TV commercials… Make a String Bow.

It’s As Easy As This:


  1. Take an 84-90 inch length of string fold the string in half by placing the cut ends in your bow hand.
  2. Hook the first three fingers of your drawing hand in the loop end of the string. The string should be resting in the first joint of line of the first and third fingers and just inside the joint of the second finger.



  1. Release the cut ends from your bow hand.
  2. With the back of your bow hand facing you, close your bow hand around both strands of string 12 inches or so from where your fingers are in the looped end.



  1. Straighten your bow arm and hang it towards your imaginary target now, lift your while facing the target lift your bow arm to eye level.


  1. Draw the string through your bow hand fist by pulling the string toward your face and placing the middle finger on the corner of your mouth. If you do not shooting Split-Finger Style but, shoot Three-Finger Style you would place your index finger at the corner of your mouth. Your drawing hand and arm should be level and above your bow hand and arm.


  1. While keeping your bow hand wrapped around the string, remove your drawing hand fingers from the loop. Use the drawing hand to hold the string where it exits the bow hand.
  2. Now tie a knot as close as possible to this place, tie a second knot a hands width away from the first knot and cut away the excess string.

  1. It’s very important that the “string bow” be the proper length, make sure the bow hand string (with the knots) is place in the hands lifeline. Proper draw length is critical for ethical hunting and the use of the tool like the string bow helps us in its use. Proper Draw Length,


See the alignment from elbow to bow hand.

The BPS Archery staff will go through these principles with you when you purchase your bow.


Practicing Your Form And Release

Start shooting by being close 5 to 10-yards to your target and just work on your form, release and concentration. As these get better you will notice your arrow groups will get better, tighter and smaller.

In the archery we say “Perfect Practice makes Perfect” so, take your time when practicing. You will see the results.

Click here for the first installment

Click here to check out our line of traditional hunting gear.

The 3rd Blog in this series will be shooting tuning equipment.


Traditional Bowhunting: Buying the Bow, Arrows and Accessories

1st In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:Buying the Bow, Arrows and Accessories

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



Why do a Bass Pro Blog on Traditional Bow Hunting?

The trend in big box stores is to meet the demands of today's bow hunter using the latest technologies in bows and arrows. Now thanks to a media presence in TV and Movies that are re-introducing Traditional Style Recurve Bows to the young and stirring memories...


Where to Start?

The Bass Pro Archery Cabin has a range of Traditional Bows, Arrows and support accessories. To the point of being overwhelming...

We are going to start with an entry level hunting bow and arrows that without local taxes will come in right around $300.  One of the challenges we faced for the beginner interested in Modern Traditional Bow Hunting is the wide variety brands and prices available. In this blog we are simplifying the choices.


The Bow

Many factors in determine which bow is best for you:

  1. What’s your budget?
  2. Are You Right or Left Eye Dominate?  
  3. What is your draw length?
  4. What game do you want to hunt?
  5. What state(s) are you going to hunt?
  6. What is the minimum draw weight for the bow?

Each state has a minimum draw weight or poundage. Here in Illinois the minimum draw weight is 40 lbs. and in Wisconsin its 35 lbs. The states draw weight is tied to your draw length that will be measured in the Archery Cabin. 



AMO stands for the Archery Manufacturers Organization. Created set of standards.

All bows have the measured AMO poundage at 28" this standardization is important for choosing bow, arrows and arrowheads.

Example: the bow we are using is a Right Handed Sage Recurve 45lbs. at 28". So, if you're hunting in Illinois and have a draw length of 27" have the BPS Archery staff weigh the bow on the scale and you will see, you are still meeting the states requirement of 40 lbs.

My draw length is 29 1/2"; using a “rule of thumb,” of every inch on the bow equals 3 lbs. I am pulling 49 ½ lbs.


We at Bass Pro want to make sure that you are "Not Over Bowed." Many times customers think because they shoot a 60 to 70 lb. compound bow, they will shoot the same in a Traditional Bow at the same draw weight. Being over bowed means you cannot pull, aim and shoot the bow consistently. So, start at 10 to 15 lbs. under your compound weight or if new to the sport or starting again after a long layoff start at your minimum hunting regulations. We want you to be able to enjoy the process, become good, and be able to harvest your game ethically.

Many of the Bass Pro Staff will know the local hunting requirements. But, it's up to YOU to know them and to have your Hunter Safety Certificate.

There are 2 primary classes of Traditional Bows:

  • The Longbow
  • The Recurve Bow

There is no scientific solution to the choice of whether to shoot a recurve or longbow. Both designs have their merits and drawbacks.

  • Typically longbows can be more forgiving and much easier to shoot.
  • Recurve bows can be shorter, faster, and more maneuverable in the woods. Some models can be taken down for easy storage and transport.

I have chosen the Sage Takedown Recurve, Right Hand 62” long and 45 lbs. at 28”.


Why choose the Sage Recurve?

The short answer: this is the best bow that I have ever shot in the “up to $200″ price, Sage is the most bows for our budget. The 62" AMO length allows for stable, smooth shooting for almost any draw length. The no-tools takedown is one of the easiest to use methods on the market. The Sage Recurve is great for a beginners bow or even as a backup bow for those traveling to hunt big game.

The draw is really smooth, there are no noticeable vibrations at all during release. It’s exceptionally quiet - which is really important on a hunting trip. Due to the bow’s length it is really accurate, and can even (to a certain degree) compensate for stance and form issues that the archer shooting it might have.

The 62" AMO length allows for stable, smooth shooting for almost any draw length. The no-tools takedown is one of the easiest to use methods on the market. The Sage Recurve is great for a beginners bow or even as a backup bow for those traveling to hunt big game.


What about arrow flight?

This will obviously depend on what drawing weight you choose. The higher the drawing weight, the straighter the flight of the arrow will be and the more deadly its on-hit effect. The Sage is available in 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 lb. versions. For the best performance, I recommend getting 40 lbs. or 45 lbs. weights. You’ll be able to shoot targets from as far as you need to, and expect tight arrow groups from well over 25 yards.

Is The Sage Good For Hunting?                                                        As long as you get the 40lbs. or 45lbs. draw weight models, you’ll have the ability to harvest deer from 20+ yards without any problem depending on your abilities and arrow choice. For larger game (elk for example) you might need to go slightly beyond that 45 lbs. and get a 50 lb. version of the bow. The Sage is definitely not the smallest recurve on the market, but it’s still small enough to make it easy to carry around and maneuver in the field.

Just keep in mind that the suitability of any bow for hunting will depend not only on the draw weight, but also on your draw length. The longer your draw length, the more kinetic energy your arrows will carry and hence the deeper they will penetrate your target. As such, if your draw length is 26 or less, you will likely need to make up for it by getting a heavier version of the bow if you want to hunt (45lbs. minimum, even for deer).

What about Arrows?

Carbon/Aluminum Hunting Arrow Length and Bow Weight Chart


Once we know our measurements from the bow we can now match and choose our arrows and arrowheads. The general rule of thumb for arrows is to match the spine or flex of the arrow by looking at your draw weight and draw length.

However with traditional bows we need to take in consideration:

  • What type of arrow rest or no arrow rest
  • The arrow rest will determine the type if fletching, vanes or feathers.
  • Bow draw weight and length.
  • Arrowhead weight.

Our goal is to deliver as much energy through the arrow as we can to have a successful ethical harvest of our game at the distance of our ability to shoot accurately. Look at this like a 3-legged stool with each leg representing part of the process. The archer being 1st leg, the bow being the 2nd leg and the 3rd most important is the arrow resulting in all of our hard work.

I will be setting up either the BlackOut X3 Hunter arrows or Beman Centershot Carbon arrows, with 4” feathers and 400 spine or shaft; arrowhead weight will be starting at 125 grains for FOC. You will learn later FOC (Front of Center) on an arrow is important to the arrows performance.

These carbon arrows give us great performance, mid – level price, good durability and ease of tuning to our bow. We are shooting with 4” feathers because our bow does not have an arrow rest. We are “shooting off the shelf” and plastic vanes would cause the arrow to bounce off the bow.

Materials Purchased to Begin our Quest to Deer Hunt 2015

And be sure to check out our online selection of traditional archery gear: www.basspro.com/Hunting-Archery-Bows/Subcategory-Traditional-Bows/_/N-1z0ux53Z1z0tmuh

The 2nd Blog in this series will be shooting style.


Think Camo Ladies!


SHE Outdoors makes a feminine cut clothing that is functional, rugged and durable to last out in the adventure hunt.  The material is made with the proper fit and with the right fabrics to allow comfortable movement to be out in the field. With the proper fit, it allows better movement when drawing a bow, shouldering a firearm, climbing treestands, or all the walking hunters do.  SHE offers a wide range hunting clothes to keep you warm and dry to light weight in the hot summers.

When preparing for your fall and winter needs you want to make sure you layer warm and comfortable as possible. SHE offers an insulated jacket that is waterproof, breathable and warm. The insulation is 150 grams of thermolite insulation in torso and 100 grams in the sleeves, lined hand warmer pockets, detachable hood, and adjustable drawcord hem is side pocket. To match the jacket, there is the insulated pants that are also 150 grams of thermolite insulation and knee-high side-leg zippers with exterior storm flaps.

If you are looking for something a little less, maybe for fall season, SHE offers the insulated jacket and bibs. The jacket is 100 grams of thermolite insulation, 3-pannel draw cord hood and draw cord waist. The bibs are also 100 grams of thermolite insulation, reinforced knees, mid-thigh zips with storm flaps, and adjustable elastic shoulder straps. Perfect outfit for that early spring or late fall hunts.

SHE Outdoors offers so much more for warmer weather hunts or to use as a layering system for your rigorous hunting adventures. You can use a mid-weight out in the early morning or late evening hunts. When using SHE base layer that helps provide AXE anti-odor technology to keep your prey’s nose in the dark and to help keep comfy with-out the binding. SHE has a great line of short-sleeve shirts and long-sleeve light weight shirts to use every day also.

The full-zip vintage hoodie is a perfect fit and look for a comfortable, light-weight and yet breathable design that’s stylish. It has a double-lined hood, 2 hand warmer pockets and raglan sleeves.


No matter the conditions, year or weather SHE Outdoors has you covered. You’ll always be ready and comfortable for any hunt and whatever comes you way.

Check out our awesome selection of ladies hunting clothes at http://www.basspro.com/Ladies%27-Hunting-Clothing/_/S-12600004010


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Bows and Barks!

We have an action-packed weekend with bow trade-in opportunities for the archers out there and our Second Annual Digs for Dogs Event! PLUS, it's the State of Iowa Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 7-8 and we have several clothing/footwear items that qualify

Bow and Crossbow Trade-In Now

Aug 3-August 16

Trade in your bow or crossbow and save up to $100 on a new bow!


Instant Savings on Bows and Crossbows!

August 3-16
Use your Bass Pro Shops Credit Card to purchase a new bow or crossbow during that time and receive an instant rebate up to $100!


Digs for Dogs - Silent Auction for ARL of Iowa

The second annual Digs for Dogs Silent Auction begins Friday, Aug. 7! Make sure to stop in and check out the amazing doghouses that have been donated by local organizations, including:

Mitchellville Police Department
Northern Polk Pheasants Forever
Central Iowa Delta Waterfowl
Sons of the American Legion
Pleasant Hill Lions Club

There are at least six houses, maybe more!

Join us on August 8, at 11 a.m., when Lou and Jackie from Great Day on KCWI and Mick McAuliffe from the ARL judge and announce the 1st and 2nd place winners of the Most Creative!

The public is invited to place silent auction bids beginning at 9 a.m., Aug. 7 through 7 p.m., Aug. 16, in the store. The houses will be on display near the front of the store.


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Trade ‘Em On In: Bows 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Ascend Your Gear: 3 Piece Backpack Cooking Set

I have noticed that outdoor enthusiasts seem to go through trends. And I am not talking about people pursuing the newest or hottest upcoming outdoor activities. I mean like how they like to enjoy the outdoors. Decades ago, you went camping and it was basically you and the tent. You had your base camp and it was into the woods for entertainment. Then toy-trailers and RV’s hit the scene, and this became the “norm” for camping for a while. Your base camp started to include several multi-wheeled items and cable TV. Now though, people tend to be going for a mix of the two.

Another trend I have seen is in gear. First you start with big, bulky and numerous items for a trip. Then you whittle it down to lightweight and multi-purpose gear. Then you work some of the older and proven pieces into the space age. But no matter what part of that trend you are in, quality gear has always been something well appreciated. Which is why I bring you “Ascend Your Gear” where we take a look at awesome equipment that will help you ascend to the next level.

Now one of my favorite things to do outdoors is cook. And I have gone through the trend of starting with several large pieces of equipment to working down to a blender bottle with a scoop of protein. And I knew there had to be a middle-ground. And that is exactly what I found with the Ascend 3-Piece Backpack Cooking Set.

This backpack cooking set comes with two pots and a lid (that will fit both). One pot holds .7 liters and the larger one holds 1.5 liters. They both come with collapsible (or huggable) handles. I use the term huggable, because when the handles are closed around the pot, that’s what they look like they are doing.

Both are also coated with the Quantum 2 system, which resists sticking and abrasion. The total weight for everything is only 12.7 ounces! And it also includes a mesh bag to help you carry it. With space being a big importance for people going outdoors, the fact that these will stack neatly inside each other is a great help. There is even enough room to put an isobutene fuel canister inside as well.

Immediately I think about using this set to prepare a nice cup of soup or maybe some hot cocoa. Also just using it to boil natural water to help kill any hidden bacteria is a nice bonus. Plus the teal accents… who doesn’t love teal accents?


Previous Reviews:

Toxik XT Bow Package Arrow Tips Blackout Ground Blind 8 Tray Dehydrator Propane Fire Ring Hand Towels Rainproof Camo She Outdoor PETT BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag  RedHead Gun Rack Chicken on a Stick Traeger Smoker/Grills Casio Pathfinder RedHead Wellington Boots  Weather Vanes


RedHead Select Outfitters: Hampton & Hampton Guide Service

So far in our RedHead Select Outfitters blog series, we have been giving a lot of focus on whitetail deer guides. To be honest though, this has been one of the most popular kinds of services available for years now. But for this month, I felt we should take a look at a more tropical location. For a couple reasons: One- my brother-in-law is back in Florida right now and I miss him. Two- I just remembered how awesome Swamp People is! So we are going to take a look, from a safe distance, at a world class American Alligator guide service: Hampton & Hampton Guide Service.

Hampton & Hampton (to be known as H&H from hence forth) has been in the business for over twenty years. They are based out of Melbourne, Florida and alligator hunting is what they do. Many guides and outfitters will offer a variety of game to go after, but these guys are strictly all about the gator. Which is good, because having competent and confident guides is essential when going out after these mighty animals.

Not only are they well noted and made it to the top-notch list of being a RedHead Select Outfitter, but they have been getting attention and coverage for years now. They have been featured in writings for books and magazines, one article was written by world famous hunter Jim Shockey. They have also been featured on over two dozen television shows. Oh yea, that article written by Shockey was about a SCI record 12 foot alligator taken by muzzleloader.

All this recognition and publicity has not gone to their head though. Safety is their biggest concern and they know where issues might occur. Their guides are well-equipped and prepared for any emergency situation. They have also maintained a magnificent relationship with outdoor conservation groups. H&H work very closely with groups like SCI to help protect and educate people. They also help educate local Law Enforcement on how to handle alligators and alligator hunting. H&H has donated numerous hunts for fundraisers and has participated in programs like “Hunt of a Life Time”.

When hunting with H&H you can opt for a rifle hunt during the day or a bow/harpoon hunt at night. Swamps really come alive at night, and while TV might do a decent job at capturing what it’s like, there can be nothing else like firsthand experience. H&H has everything you will need for any kind of hunt.

Along with having a safe hunt, they want you to have a memorable hunt. And from just one bit of writing they used, I can tell without a doubt that hunting with them would be a good time. “Each of our hunts are performed on private lakes and canals. These gators were not previously trapped and released before it was time to hunt. Rather, they are 100% free range, tail slapping, mouth snapping, boat biting gators with an all-around bad attitude. (They have a worse attitude than your mother-in-law did the night she showed up at your bachelor party).”

So next time you are thinking about an awesome trip, think Florida and Hampton & Hampton Guide Service. (Plus if you have to bring the family, think about all the other places they can go while you hunt!)


Other Adventures:

The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks Blue River Whitetails