Traditional Bowhunting: Broadheads and Arrows


5th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Broadheads and Arrows

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



It was quiet and there wasn’t the slightest breeze. A bear passed by, probably 50 yards away, and I could hear every step. Then the music of an amorous buck came through the forest looking for his mate. I have spent over three hours spot ‘n’ stalking, finding a good trail. I sat as still as possible, listening, enjoying the sounds of autumn, and waiting patiently for something to happen.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_13:images.jpegMy sitting stump was positioned along an old field in which gave me an unlimited view in either direction. Just as I was beginning to think the amorous buck must have found his interest, an antlered head emerged from the shadows, this time staring at another buck from the other side. The deer’s ability to move through the forest silently is truly uncanny. The younger of the two bucks started to move towards the older and larger buck, within seconds he was 8 yards away and stopped.

A smooth full draw I anchored, and aimed naturally slightly back off the shoulder to compensate for the quartering away angle, and released. My arrow hit and the fletching burrowed through the buck. In a blur the buck jumped sharply forward, and bolted away. A second or two later an unforgettable death moan echoed through the Wisconsin forest. The buck had fallen a mere 15 yards from where it stood at the shot. My arrow downed that buck in about three seconds.  Impossible you think to bring down the deer that quickly? For a quick, ethical, humane, harvest like this experience, we need the last, most important and controversial tool added to our arrows…the broadhead!

To-date we have stayed within our original ~$300 or so budget to hunt this year. Now in order to harvest our game we will need to focus on the specific tool in order to ethically and humanely harvest our game.

At Bass Pro Shops we literally have pages and isles filled with different types of specifically designed broadheads. Then looking at all the broadhead manufacturers that are available outside of Bass Pro Shops can make choosing a good hunting tool for our traditional arrows quite daunting and overwhelming to say the least.

In the BPS Archery Cabin we want to make sure we know what and how you’re going to hunt so we can help you choose the right broadhead. In this case we already know we are hunting traditional with recurve and carbon arrows. Simple? Volumes have been printed, emotions run high, opinions…well everyone has one, even when it comes to traditional broadheads. Yep, even me… have you ever had a favorite truck conversation?

First and foremost, NO Mechanical Broadheads these are strictly for compound bows. Period.

So, this then narrows our choices to Fixed Broadheads. You’ll still find variety enough to make you scratch your head. Here’s where knowing your state hunting broadhead requirements in cutting inches, bow poundage, arrow length, weight, and your abilities come into communication with the BPS Archery staff. Here’s where the experience and your goals come together in making the choice of a good broadhead.

We have been practicing out to 25-30 yards and we are hitting the target consistently but we are dead on at 10-15-20 yards meaning all our arrows are within a 10-inch circle. Being an ethical hunter is being honest with us in choosing a broadhead. Mother Nature will thank you when she gives up her bounty to you.

In this blog, remember the fun about traditional bow hunting is the dynamic simplicity of our equipment. One other comment before I start, the broadheads discussed will be the fixed blades we carry at Bass Pro for the purpose of this blog.


How A Broadhead Arrow Works

Generally speaking arrows tipped with razor sharp broadheads harvest by cutting major blood vessels, both arteries and veins. This causes massive blood loss, reduced blood pressure, and loss of oxygen to the brain. An animal needs to lose about one third of its blood volume for this to happen. This process can take from seconds to several hours depending on where an animal is hit.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015:wildlife_deer_organs_diagram.jpgThe best placement of the shot is by puncturing the lungs. When the lungs are punctured the lungs collapse. The collapse of the lungs is known as a pneumo-thorax, and interrupts the exchange of oxygen in blood. When this happens the supply of oxygen to the brain is immediately interrupted and death comes within seconds. Since the aiming point on all big game animals is the lung area, most good shots result in a combination of these three factors. If you hit the lungs you will automatically slice through numerous veins and arteries, causing death within seconds.

Range, Shot Placement, and Self Control

The effective traditional bow range of most hunters is within 25 yards.  Of course, this varies by hunter. I consider effective range whatever distance an archer can put 10 out of 10 arrows inside 10-inch circle or a paper plate is a good example to use represent a whitetails lungs... Some hunters have to limit themselves to shots less than 20-yards.  In my own hunting experience most of my actual shots are less than 20-yards, with my average around 15-yards.  The closest shot I ever took was five yards, and the farthest forty-four.  Hunting animals so close you can even smell them is one of my main attractions and challenges of traditional bowhunting.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_9:Deer-shot-angle-overhead-1024x602.pngMacintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_6:images-4.jpegEven when game animals are at such close range the shot isn’t guaranteed. A bowhunter must wait for the correct angle before shooting.  The most common shot position is having game standing broadside. This gives the archer a clear shot to the lung area. The most effective shot angle, however, is quartering slightly away.  An arrow shot from this angle almost always enters the heart lung area causing a quick death.  A well-placed arrow in either of these positions will generally pass completely through the animal leaving a large blood trail to follow. Most other shot angles generally speaking shouldn’t be taken with bow and arrow, or at least not without a great deal of experience. It is also important that bowhunters take shots that enter just behind the shoulder on most animals. The heavy shoulder bones of animals can sometimes stop arrows, so it is simply best to avoid them. I have often had large mature animals well within shot range only to let them pass without letting loose an arrow because a good shot angle never presented itself.  Being patient, knowing your limitations as an archer, and waiting for good shots, is a major part of Traditional bowhunting.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_7:images-5.jpegPractice taking in consideration of angles like shooting from a tree stand, BPS has 3-D targets will help with shot placement. Practice taking different shot angles at varied distances. The season is just around the corner.

Note the angle difference of the broadside on the ground versus the broadside from a tree stand.

100-grain Broadheads Versus 125-grain Broadheads

The real difference here for many new bowhunter is a heavier arrow flies slower than a lighter arrow so a 100-grain arrowhead will shoot a flatter trajectory than that of 125-grain arrowhead. When the BPS Archery staff set up your arrows initially they may have determined 100-grain was the way to go for you. If so, the weight has been determined thus narrowing decisions.

There’s more to follow on arrowhead weights and their affect on arrow penetration.


2-Blade versus 3-Blade Broadheads

The afore mentioned hunting harvest I used a G5 Montec, 3-blade broadhead, 125 grain weight, with a 1 1/8th inch cutting diameter on a Beman carbon arrow with 5 1/2-inch feathers shot from a 63 pound bow. The draw weight of your bow will dictate the number of blades and weight of your broadheads.

I will be hunting with Sage 45 pound bow, my draw is 29-inches making my draw weight 48 pounds (Measured in the BPS Archery Cabin), and the arrow of choice is the Blackout X3 Hunters with 4” feathers and 125-grain arrowhead weight.

When it comes to broadheads more blades are not necessarily better. The dynamics of our arrows is to capture and deliver the energy transferred from our bows to the arrowhead/broadhead thus meaning penetration at the animal. Our goal is always to obtain complete pass through of the lungs. Hence the controversy over broadheads 3-blades cut more creating more trauma than 2-blades do. However, the 3rd blade creates more drag or takes more energy from the bow for penetration. Make sense?

Ok, we’ve established the one undisputable fact that the arrow delivers the bows energy. This energy is referred to as Kinetic Energy. We are Stick ‘n’ String traditional Bowhunters here so all we want is an arrow to hit hard. There are two ways of accomplishing this; the weight of our bow and the weight of our arrow at our effective distance. Being honest with how we shoot is key in discussing options with the BPS Archery Staff!

My personal preference has always been a harder hitting arrow (even on my compound bows) so I naturally will gravitate to the heaviest arrowhead I can effectively shoot at my ideal hunting range of 20-yards and under.

Now the Sage I am hunting with this year is 15-pounds lighter in draw weight than the recurve I shot the 125-grain, 3-Blade G5 Montec with…so choosing a 125-grain (I like heavy arrows), 2-blade broadhead makes mathematical sense to obtain my goals. We will be fitting our arrows with any one of the following Muzzy Phantum, Magnus Stinger or Steel Force Broadheads. Now in order to get to 125-grains the manufactures have added what is called bleeder-blades…(wait Dave you just said 2 are better than 3 now you have just added 2 more blades making this broadhead a 4-Blade!) Yes, it’s true however bleeder-blades are smaller in size so the primary 2-blades deliver the energy cut which is wider first, while then smaller bleeders cut more tissue and veins. The bleeders being smaller slide around bone easier too.

I am a firm believer in the 3:1 ratio rule when it comes to broadheads (3” long x 1” wide) for the best flight and penetration. At BPS we don’t carry any broadheads with in this rule so…I will shoot the longest Broadhead BPS carries to achieve my goals. As a traditional archer there are some mathematical rules that help and make our arrows perform to the best albeit 3-blade or 2-bade the closer to 3:1 the better off you are.

Once you make the decision on your broadheads my advice is to purchase another set arrows and have the BPS Archery Staff put them on for you and keep them in an arrow box. This will make tuning them to you bow easier if need be.


Tuning Your Broadheads

Here’s where the 3-blade broadheads like the BlackOut FXD Cut-On-Contact, G5 Montec and NAP HellRazor shine. They are already spin balanced which makes them easier to tune to you arrows and bow. The 2-blade Muzzy Phantum, Magnus Stinger or Steel Force broadheads require a little more attention when tuning and you BPS Archery staff will guide you through it if you choose to shoot the 2-blade like me. Note BPS has added the Magnus Black Hornet and Black Hornet Ser-Razor to our product line. These are like the 3-blades in that they are spin-tested for accuracy. I have not gotten my hands on these yet…but. Who knows, we may shoot two different broadheads this season. I can harvest 2 deer; one from Wisconsin and one from Illinois.


The Overall Importance Of The Arrow

The arrow is the single most important part of any bowhunters gear. Most bows can be tuned to launch the right arrow with accuracy, but the wrong arrow won’t fly well from any bow.

I’m assuming you and the local BPS Archery Staff have arrow selection basics down already. But just in case you are doing this remotely be sure to match your arrow shaft size to your draw weight, draw length and shooting style.


The Correct Hunting Shaft

The Hunting Shaft Selection Charts are great starting points, but it is only a reference point, not guaranteed to be an EXACT match for your bow. Again discussing with the experienced BPS Archery Professional and/or testing are important at this time. Up to this point has been working on form and shooting. Now you’re moving into the details that insure an ethical humane harvest. This process as frustrating as it sounds separates you from an arrow slinger to a hunter!

Drawing back an extra-long arrow to full draw and having someone mark the arrow one-to-two inches in front of the handle determine

1. Determining the Correct Hunting Arrow Length for traditional bows. Bow draw length is measured at full draw from the valley of the nock groove to the back (far side) of the bow. Actual arrow length and draw length are only the same if the end of the arrow shaft is even with the back of the bow (far side) at full draw. BPS recommends adding at least 1" to draw length for a proper arrow length.

2. Determining Actual Peak Bow Weight for Your Recurve

Actual Peak Bow Weight for traditional bows should be measured at your draw length. Using an accurate bow scale draw the bowstring until you hit your desired draw length and hold. Observe the weight on the scale. This can be done in the Bass Pro Archery Cabin/Department.

 Fletching angle matters. Fletching that’s glued on the shaft at an angle (helical) will spin your arrow. Tests by TruFlight Arrow Company have shown that best broadhead accuracy is achieved when an arrow spins one complete time during 30-36 inches of forward travel. This means the arrow makes 20-24 complete revolutions before it hits a target 20 yards away.

Unlike a target point, a broadhead has flat blade surfaces that tend to drive it off course. This phenomenon is called “planning.” When an arrow spins, it constantly corrects a broadhead’s tendency to plane, and this ensures an accurate shot. Most good hunting arrows are fletched for proper spin. Before you buy complete arrows or fletch your own, be sure that the fletching is angled slightly along the shaft to spin it through the air. You may have discovered this already and discussed this with your BPS Archery professional.

The arrows I am using for this blog all had straight fletching and I refletched these arrows to achieve my desired results. Here at the Bass Pro in Gurnee, IL we will refletch traditional arrows for a fee.

Max your penetration.

All else being equal in traditional bowhunting, a heavier arrow from your bow leaves with more penetrating energy and retains that energy better downrange than a faster, lighter arrow. The difference directly in front of your bow isn’t huge—about 2½ percent for every 100 grains you increase a 100-grain heavier arrow reaches 40 yards, it possesses an energy advantage of 8-10 percent, which can be significant on large animals such as bear, elk, caribou, and moose. I can see no penetrating advantage in a smaller-diameter shaft. Arrow penetration tests through foam, ballistic gelatin and other artificial materials are meaningless. In a real animal, the broadhead cuts a large hole and the shaft—regardless of size—slides along behind with little or no friction. Flesh springs away from the wound, and body fluids such as blood help to lubricate the passage of the shaft. By comparison, broadhead design is everything in penetration. This is where broadheads designed in the 3:1 ratio rule show their advantage.

The same arrow from the same bow will pass completely through a deer with a cutting-nose broadhead attached. Older-style, fixed-bladed heads such as the Bear Razorhead, Zwickey No Mercy, Muzzy Phantum or Magnus Stinger or Steel Force Broadheads and all possess cutting noses and have a reputation for penetrating well.

Note: Smaller diameter arrow shafts benefits show up in less wind and cross wind resistance.


Broadhead Tuning

In general terms, broadhead tuning is done by first shooting a group of arrows with field points into the target, and then by shooting a group of arrows with broadheads. The two groups are compared and the appropriate adjustments are made.

The field points should be as close in weight and FOC as possible to the broadheads. Because it is necessary to first establish a good group with field points, broadhead tuning can be done only after acceptable tuning has been established with field points.

Shoot a group with field point’s set up a suitable broadhead target at a distance of 20 yards or your comfort range. Using a set of field-tipped arrows that have been tuned with your bow, shoot a group of 3 arrows into the target. Take care to shoot as good a group as you are capable.

Shoot a group with Broadheads
Using identical arrows tipped with broadheads shoot a group of 3 arrows into the target. Use the same aiming spot that was used for the field points.

The shot group is the key. If you are satisfied you have shot a respectable group based on your ability, then compare the position of the two groups. Make the adjustments listed below to your setup and shoot both groups again. Keep adjusting and shooting until both groups (field points and broadheads) group in the same area.


Adjustments sometimes effect more than is expected. It is best to always make the up/down adjustments first. Once the two groups are on the same horizontal plane, then make the left/right adjustments.

  1. If the broadheads group above the field points, move the nocking point up.
  2. If the broadheads group below the field points, move the nocking point down.
  3. If the broadheads group to the left, they are behaving as if the shaft is too stiff (for a right handed archer). Any, or several, of the following can be done to correct the point of impact.
    1. Increase the poundage on the bow or brace height.
    2. Change to heavier broadheads.
  4. If the broadheads group to the right, they are behaving as if the shaft is too weak. Any or several of the following can be done to correct the point of impact.
    1. Decrease the poundage on the bow or brace height.
    2. Change to lighter broadheads
  5. Multiple adjustments
    1. First move nocking point
    2. Make spine adjustment


The main purpose of an arrow quiver is solely transporting and making available your arrows. The style is one of personal choice albeit back, hip or on the bow quiver.

If you choose the on the bow style quiver you will need to check out how your bow shoots and will quite possibly have too re-tune it. 




The 2016 Grizzly 2072 MVX Sportsman Has Arrived!

Have you ever wanted to have a boat that could multitask?  That boat has arrived here at Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boat Center Savannah- the Grizzly 2072 MVX Sportsman!  Never before have we packed so many features into a single aluminum boat package!  

Grizzly 2072 MVX Sportsman


The most distinctive feature on this boat is obviously the raised bow deck.  This removable feature was designed for the sportsman in mind, particularly for flounder gigging and bow fishing.  However, it can also be used as a shooting deck for skeet shooting, or rigged with a duck blind for waterfowl hunting.  The powerful light system is important for those who want to gig a doormat flounder at night, or shoot a big gar with a bow!  The light system is powered by an included on-board generator.

The package also includes quite a few fishing options, including a trolling motor, rod holders, and numerous storage possibilities.  Check out some of the standard features:

  • Removable elevated bow shooting deck w/railing, 3 seat pedestal bases & trolling motor access hatch
  • Removable 40,000 lumen LED light kit around the front deck w/3 batteries & an onboard generator
  • Big port & starboard storage boxes for bows & other bowfishing gear
  • All-welded, unitized construction w/robotically-welded stringer system & transom
  • Backed by The TRACKER Promise—the best factory warranty in aluminum boats
  • Industry-exclusive, baked-on powder-coat finish (Forest Green) for long-lasting durability & color
  • Minn Kota® PowerDrive™ 12V 55-lb. thrust, 54" (1.37 m) shaft, foot-control trolling motor
  • Welded-in, foam-filled interior side walls for quieter ride & structural strength
  • Battery selector switch (trolling, lighting, both, off)
  • Custom matched trailer w/powder-coat finish & GALVASHIELD® corrosion protection


Come down to Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boat Center, and let one of our salesmen show you this boat today!  Until then, take a look at all the available info on this boat on the Tracker Boats website.


Best Outdoors Costumes for Kids

So around this time last year I wrote a blog all about safety for people trick-or-treating on Halloween. In it I included a small list of suggest costume ideas with “built in safety features”. And while I cannot stress enough how important it is to be safe on Halloween, it also needs to be fun! I mean it is the one time of the year when you can dress up to be anything you want! (Unless your high-school has a very informal Homecoming and it is the perfect chance to bust out a home-made Powerline, from A Goofy Movie, costume.) So live it up! And while you can go to a store and just pick out a costume-in-a-bag I give you my list for Best “Outdoors” Costumes for Kids with the hope you make it your own!


I like the idea of a hunter, because there are so many ways to do it. You could be a rifle hunter or bow hunter. You could be in full camo or add a flare of safety and throw on a blaze orange hat and vest. I think the best would be an upland hunter though and let the little one wear a bird vest and use that as their trick-or-treating bag.



Just like being a hunter, there are so many options here. I think the idea I like about this one is that you could set up a fishing net to be your trick-or-treating bag (properly lined so the treats don’t fall right out of course). Or better yet, get one of our huge fish pillows and empty it out to make the candy-bag!

Big Mouth Billy Bass

Remember those old, obnoxious singing fish? Yup! Take one of the largemouth bass pillows, empty it and form it so the child is inside that with a big round piece of cardboard on the back to make the plaque. A big red button would also be a nice touch.

Duck Dynasty

Now this costume idea has been around for a few years now, which is nice because the fake beards are easy to find. Let a whole group of kids pick who they want to be and dress up! Just make sure they have the whole smorgeous board of catch-phrases at the ready!

A Campfire

Note this one will take some creativity and handiwork, but pretty much use empty wrapping paper tubes to make the fake logs (think of it like a tutu for ballerinas). Color up a t-shirt to make it look like an open flame and bada-boom! Maybe even add a stick with some marshmallows on it for brownie… err… mallow points!

Got an idea of your own? Share it below! And please remember to be safe while trick-or-treating this year and don’t forget to come by and visit us  during our Halloween Event!



Spotlighting Small Game: Squirrel

For a couple years now, I have filled our blog section with articles about big game animals. I have had a few reoccurring series on them (Big Game Basics, Arizona Animals and Africa’s Big Five) and through them have covered dozens of species. And now I think it is time to give the little guys some of their overdue credit! Small game has been keeping hunters out in the woods and dinner tables full for centuries. Most first hunting experiences are for small game after all. So to start off our newest series, Spotlight Small Game we will focus on one of the most classic quarries… the squirrel!

Squirrels are part of the mammal family and include dozens of different small to medium sized rodents. Their members include: ground squirrels, marmots, flying squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and tree squirrels. They are native to Eurasia, Africa and both Americas. For this reason alone, they are probably one of our oldest food sources.

More often than not, when people think about squirrels the bushy-tailed inhabitants of the trees come to mind. This is what we have grown accustomed to, probably from popular culture references and commercials. The most common tree squirrels in North America are the fox squirrel, western gray squirrel and the American red squirrel. While their native habitat has been developed for decades now, these species have adapted quite well to living near humans.

The fox squirrel is the largest native tree squirrel in North America. They are omnivores and will consume plants and meats for sustenance. They are non-territorial but are known to be more solitary than other species. Despite being a tree squirrel, they actually spend most of their time on the ground. We have several that live in our parking lot here and I usually spot one scampering by when leaving in the afternoon.

The western gray squirrel have several common  names (mostly based on what location they are in). They do visit the ground, mostly just to forage, but prefer moving in between the trees. They are known to have a much more plant and seed based diet as compared to the fox squirrel, but will consume insects. You may actually hear them before you see them as they will make an chirping alarm sound when a predator is in the area.

American red squirrels frequently live in conifer forests, as their diets consists heavily on conifer seeds. They are the most territorial of the three squirrel species listed. They are easier to identify due to their reddish coat with white underbelly and smaller size. These squirrels have one of the broadest distribution of range, mostly coinciding with conifer forests. They also have one of the highest mortality rates of any squirrel species.

As stated earlier, humans have been hunting squirrels for centuries. Hunting methods have ranged from traps to stalking these little guys. Nowadays the most common ways are through use of a rimfire rifle or smaller gauged shotgun. Because of their speed and agility they can be harder-to-hit targets and teach many shooters how to properly lead a shot. Some archers though take particular delight and pride in being able to hit one with a bow.

Now we have already taken a look at a couple recipes for squirrel (squirrelitos and fried squirrel) but these are only a couple ways to cook them. Talk to anyone who has eaten squirrel and they will tell you how delicious it is and what their favorite way to cook them is. You would be surprised how creative we have gotten with the culinary art of squirrel.

Got a cool story about your first squirrel hunt or delicious recipe to share? Post it below in the comments section. Until next time!



Traditional Bow Hunting: Scouting the Game

6th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Scouting for Game

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



It’s getting close to the beginning of our season. To date we’ve been practicing, fine tuning our equipment, getting in shape physically and mentally for our hunt. We know where we are hunting but we don’t know where the deer are or will be when we want them. Now what?

From a lifetime of hunting, the one thing I suggest you do every year, besides practice, is to get out and scout. Check out what’s changed since last year that can affect the deer’s patterns. Things like weather, changes in the forest, floods and wind blow downs. Also look at man made changes patterning from planting, cutting trees, putting in new roads or a new landowner.

In traditional bowhunting we derive great pleasure of being in the woods and close to our game, the opposite; because we want to get close changes in the woods are in favor of our prey. We cannot assume things will stay the same year to year. The guys and gals with permanent stands often get frustrated when they no longer see game.

There are no guarantees of a harvest every year when we hunt. You have heard the term “hunting hard” well I like to “hunt smart and hard.” Hunting smart is using all the tools and knowledge available to you before, during and after the season. One of my favorite hunting quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt, “Hunting is not a Game. In a game both sides know what’s going on.” I don’t know if I agree with this statement in these times. I believe due to the numbers of hunters, deer definitely have been educated and are more sensitive. To overcome and take the advantage we need to get wiser every year.

Scouting Starts By Getting Familiar With The Woods

I talk to many deer hunters every year that start their scouting just weeks before they hunt or feel they are secure in the same place as last year. You owe to yourself to get into the woods as early as possible. August is a good time to start checking game trails that lead to water or fields. These won’t change much as we enter the season. There will always be activity by water or fields. You just need to know when to expect the activity. All knowledge of walking the woods you are going to hunt helps you.

Tools For Scouting                                                                                    

We live in a technology world so let’s take advantage of these tech tools as well as some tried and true:

  • Google Earth
  • GPS
  • Phone Apps
  • Trail Cameras
  • Binoculars
  • Talking to the Local Game Warden
  • A Topographic Map
  • A Compass

Long Distance Scouting with Google                                                    

You have permission to hunt a relative’s property you haven’t been to before and its hours away this is where using Google maps gives you your overview of the property and ideas of how to hunt it.

I’m a DIY (Do It Yourself) hunter by choice and necessity. Around 20 percent of my hunting this fall will be done on public land. The rest will be on small pieces of private land in heavily hunted areas. To harvest deer, I have to find areas that concentrate deer movement while offering some measure of relief from hunting pressure. In other words, I’m going to hunt places where deer feel comfortable, and where terrain features force them to walk. And all of this can be done with help of Google Earth and Google Maps.

Most people have used Google’s mapping at some point, if only for directions to go out for dinner.

Scouting Using Google                                                                               

 But if you haven’t ever used Google Maps, go to and type in the name of a location, such as your hometown. On the right-hand side of the results page, you’ll likely see a map of the area. Click on that and you’ll be sent to Google Maps.

Depending on how your Google preferences are set, you’ll see either a standard map that shows roads and bodies of water or a full-featured aerial image.

For scouting, you are most interested in the aerial “satellite” view. If you don’t see it, click on the box in the upper right corner that allows you to toggle between the “map” view and the “satellite” view. The satellite imagery will not only show you roads, but will also show you an aerial image of the area you intend to hunt. And that’s what we are looking for.

Using the basic Google Maps system, you’ll be able to zoom in on your intended hunting area and see a ton of detail.

  • Is it wooded?
  • Are there crops?
  • How many access roads are there?

Google Maps, on its own, will give you a great start on long-distance scouting. But it’s just the start to really do some serious long distance scouting you’ll want to install Google Earth. It’s a free. Once installed you can start focusing in on spots to harvest your deer this season. 

In the upper left corner of the Google Earth window, you’ll see a “Search” area. Then, type in the name of a location near where you intend to hunt. If you’re hunting a state game area or other public area, you should be able to type in the name of the location and the system will zoom right to it.

Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Aug 4, 2015_3:IMG_0223-2.PNGMacintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Aug 4, 2015_2:IMG_0221.PNG







Learn The Topography                                                                               

Once you’ve found the general area you wish to look at, zoom in. The system will act very much like Google Maps did. But, once you’ve zoomed into a certain level, the perspective of the map will change, and you’ll be given a three-dimensional view of the area’s topography. Using the adjusters on the upper right of the map, you can change the angle and viewing level to really get a feel for the lay of the land. Scouting areas with hills, streams or mountains has never been easier. Much of the area I’ve been looking over this summer for a January hunt, for example, is located Noth-North-West of St. Louis Mo., is farm land and I know from conversations with the farmer that he will be planting beans. Finding saddles and benches is critical to finding areas of key deer movement. Using Google Earth’s 3-D imaging, I’m able to locate those features without hiking miles terrain.

Mark the Sweet Spots                                                                  

Google Earth allows you to mark locations with a digital “push pin” and save them for future reference. Each pin will also tell you the exact longitude and latitude coordinates for that location. You can take those coordinates, plug them into your GPS unit and walk right to the spot, even in the dark.

Measure Distances                                                                   

 Familiarize yourself with the system’s tools. It’s incredibly worth it. They make long-distance scouting more productive and simpler. For example, I use the system’s “Ruler” tool all the time. As a Spot-N-Stalk hunter, this feature in Google gives me insight to the times of day I want to work in and out of a spot. Simply choose the tool, choose the unit of measurement you want to use (miles, yards, feet, etc.) and then click on your starting point. Now drag the ruler line to your destination. The ruler will measure the distance as you move. It’s an invaluable tool for determining how far the hunting area you’ve selected is from all potential access points. And, with your preferred route of travel marked, zoom in to the 3-D image view level. Rotate the screen around a bit and you’ll see the line you drew will lay to the contours of the land. This will tell you exactly how many hills you’ll be climbing on your chosen path of travel.

Map with Your Phone                                                                          

 All of these tools are certainly handy. But what if you want to look at an aerial image on your phone while you’re actually on the ground? One option is to simply install and open the Google Earth app on your phone, where you’ll be able to access the same 3-D imagery and many of the same tools. In areas with solid cell coverage, the app will zip right along. But if the coverage is spotty, be aware that it takes time to download the imagery, and your battery won’t last long. 

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The better, faster option for many remote hunting areas is to create a custom map overlay ahead of time on your home computer, export that file, e-mail it to yourself, and then open the file in Google Earth on your phone while you’re in an area with good service. Once the map is open, you should be able to use it anywherer. To do this, save the locations that you’d like to transfer in Google Earth on your home computer, and then simply right-click on the selections in the “My Places” area (it’s on the left side of the screen) and click “save as.” Be sure to choose the .KML option if you’ll be using the file on an iOS device.




Does It Work                                                                                      

Last fall I got permission to hunt a new area that I’d never seen before. The landowner told me the parcel’s boundaries weren’t marked very well. So, using a copy of the county plat map as reference, I used Google Earth to draw the boundary lines. I saved them in the “My Places” section, exported the file, and then e-mailed it to myself. Upon arriving at the location, I simply downloaded the .KML file from my e-mail, opened it in Google Earth and bingo; I had my own custom boundary map. As I walked around the property, the Google Earth system showed me where I was, and the red boundary lines I had created were clearly visible on the map. Google Maps and Google Earth may seem like fairly simple systems to use. Aerial photos, after all, are time-tested scouting tools. But the options and power behind these digital scouting devices is awesome. There are far too many uses, tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way to cover them all here. In fact, I’m still learning something new every time I use it. But this should get you started, and I suspect you’ll soon wonder how you ever scouted without them.

Google Earth can be downloaded at

Handheld GPS Unit                                                                      

Working with Google is great as I have stated but a good handheld GPS unit is far better and more reliable in my opinion, especially in heavy timber and out west in the mountains. The options are outstanding today in GPS units. Make sure you look at units that you can download existing coordinates. Make sure you give yourself time to play with and get comfortable with the unit before you get to the woods. The GPS unit is great for scouting now as you work the game trails you will always have reference point throughout the season.

Phone Apps                                                                                          

As the saying goes there’s an app for everything and I think every year I play with a dozen or so. However, honestly they will never replace my GPS, Topo Map and Compass. Call me old fashion, yes I am but, I have had things go wrong (we’ll call it Murphy’s Law) and cell phones are just not that dependable for me yet.

Now having said this, I have used them when hunting locally which means there are several cell towers close and I will be sleeping in my own bed at night. A good example of what can happen is a few years ago in Northern Wisconsin. I came across 3 hunters that were lost, their phones were on low battery, they had no signal, it was cold and they were turned around going deeper into the woods. It can happen to the best of us. I loaned these hunters my GPS (after I pulled my Sims card) with instructions on where they could drop it off and continued to hunt.

Trail Cameras                                                                                    

Trail cameras scout when you’re not there. They have become an essential to many a hunter. Are they worth it? It depends on every hunter’s situation. Can you get to the trail camera often enough to make it worth your while? If you have to travel long distances then a trail camera becomes a different scouting tool.

I am a big believer in the use of trail cameras. They help me get an idea of activity on the trails of both wildlife and human depending on where I’m hunting. As I had mentioned earlier, I will be hunting in eastern Missouri late in the season, so the use of a trail cam will give me another view while I hunt one area. I will put the trail cam on another that I had found through Google Earth. On my way out of the woods I will pick it up and check out activity that night.

Trail cams will show you times when deer are moving, whether the deer are nocturnal or moving mid-day which can change before the rut. Get a trail cam that gives you good range and information like weather, moon, date and time.

One last comment on trail cameras: you must be scent free as possible. A good tip would be to use latex gloves when you put them up, as well as being as stealthy as possible in order to not disrupt the trail.

Binoculars Are A Must                                                                   

Mine are always with me whether I am scouting or hunting! We want to see the deer or game first and binoculars are our best option for this. This is a hunting tool of importance and value so discuss the best available for your budget. The BPS Hunting Professionals can help you find clear clean optics that will give you the advantage of spotting bedded game, ears or antlers in tall grass.

Talk To The Local Game Warden                                                              

Call and introduce yourself. These men and women want the best for both the game and the hunter. You’ll be able and get valuable information on winds, feeding and sometimes more, like when the locals hunt or don’t hunt.

I have NEVER had a bad conversation with these men and women. By introducing yourself, you are showing your interest in hunting ethically and after who better to get a last double check on understanding a rule.

A Topographic Map and A Compass                                             

These are my never fail standbys and are in my fanny pack and in my pack along with some other essentials. I would go as far as recommending an Orienteering Class sometime in your future especially if you ever go out west to hunt without a guide. You can get Topographic books at Bass Pro Shops or order them. They are an excellent back up to technology.



Traditional Bowhunting: Camo

7th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Camouflage Ergo: Camo

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.


Introduction: Camouflage

Camo is the use of any combination of materials, coloration, or illumination for concealment, either by making animals or objects hard to see (crypsis), or by disguising them as something else (mimesis). Examples include the leopard's spotted coat or the battledress of a modern soldier. A majority of camouflage methods today aim for crypsis this is often through a general resemblance to a common background, the background and high contrast colors, eliminating shadow, and countershading.

Wow, too much information on Camo…all we want from camo is to hide from the game. True.


But we need to understand the value of camo as hunters not, that camo is the uniform of the American hunter. To be camo’ed is to self-identify (badge) as a hunter.


A huge segment of the hunting industry is deeply committed to the necessity of camouflage. I’m going to kick the can (old man reference) I don’t believe in camouflage per say. Why? I have hunted successfully without camo! This is subversive talk Dave.


Understanding the Deer We Hunt

In fact, billions of dollars are spent on camo and its development.

If you’re a deer hunter who likes to wear blue jeans while you’re scouting or to your stand, you might as well hang a bell around your neck to let whitetails know you’re in the woods. Or if you wear camouflage with many subtle colors, it may be doing you more harm than good. At the recent QDMA conference, researchers from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources presented findings from a new study on whitetail vision. 


It’s not my purpose to delve into the sciences of color and human versus deer vision. However, there are some things that in order to understand “camo or no camo” you should know…


Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans. Their color vision is limited to the short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors. As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red.


The lens in a deer’s eye also can’t adjust to objects at varying distances. These factors give deer less visual clarity than humans have. An object a deer is looking at straight on is equally in focus as something out to the side. So don’t assume that because a deer isn’t looking at you that it can’t see you. More than anything else, a deer’s eyes are designed to detect movement.


It’s been found that deer see blue colors best and red colors the worst. Deer can also see greens, yellows and UV light (wash your camo in the right detergent), but they can’t differentiate color shades to that extent that humans can. What this means to a hunter is that you should avoid wearing anything blue. You should also avoid wearing camouflage with a lot of white, because white reflects all colors, including blue. And because deer can’t perceive color shades very well, a hunter wearing camouflage containing many subtle shades of green and/or brown looks just like one big blob to deer. Instead, wear camouflage that breaks up your outline and move as little as possible to avoid being busted.


But camouflage has become highly tribal, and, it seems, mutually exclusive: If you are a Mossy Oak acolyte you can’t belong to Team Realtree. If you sport Sitka you can’t wear KUIU or ASAT.

I’ll tell you it isn’t so, but in saying that I feel a little like the candid boy who disclosed that the emperor was stark naked. But I have a few exhibits to trot out in my defense.


How many whitetails never saw my Grandfather with his Savage 99, wearing a red-checked mackinaw jacket or, many Atlantic ducks, have been shot by my Father wearing oilskin over their ragg wool sweaters? Not to mention Fred Bear the father of modern bow hunting.


The reality is that camouflage does give us an edge. But, it especially helps in close-quarters archery hunting. And it helps break up our outlines and lets us blend into our surroundings. But, I believe some hunters rely too much on the garment and not enough on our own skills.


As modern traditional bowhunters we cannot turn our backs on the improvements made to camo garments. They keep us warmer, dryer, and better concealed. But our dependence on camouflage obscures one truth it’s not the clothes that make the hunter, but rather our abilities.

How to use Camo and what have we learned?

  • Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans
  • A deer’s eyes are designed to detect movement.

Any more it makes more and more sense to have camo patterns that fit where you hunt.


A good camo will help keep us from silhouetting ourselves on skylines or in open fields. We see the examples in manufacturer ads all the time. But, its up to us to put the wind in our faces, our scents down, and minimized our movements or the best camo in the world will not work.


I’ll always have camo in my wardrobe, mainly because it’s my warmest, most field-friendly outerwear, and I have choices for where I will hunt and when. My patterns run from 1960’s military to and modern digitized or pixelated camo patterns and last but not least good old fashion red and black plaids. We all have our favorites, they’re our favorites based on the success they bring us and they are hard to give up on. Remembering our goal as traditional bow hunters is to get as close to our game as we can for an ethical harvest. We should always be looking and researching the best camo available. This will then bring us into the new materials and scent control materials.


I like my Viet Nam era tiger stripes for conifers and the cedar swamps because of the horizontal pattern and the open pattern of my ASAT for most everything else because of the browns. Then there’s the buffalo plaid in my wool; the big plaid breaks up your outline too and wool has the quietness…in my opinion.

But the icing on the cake (old man reference) is to do these last 2 things: Wear a brimmed boonie styled hat whenever possible and wear a leafy or ghillie suit. The point is to break up our outlines and leafy or ghillies do that and provide movement similar to Mother Nature’s slight breeze through the woods. The leafy suit works just as well as the ghillie suit does. The great thing about these suits is that its your camo…you can wear camo under them or choose not too. Its your choice. It does not trake to much time to learn how to shoot traditional bow with a 3-D suit like these. Just notice where you either trim or wear an arm guard when shooting your bow. At the end of the day the ghillie suit is a great investment for the traditional bowhunter.

What about our bows should they be camo’ed? Normally traditional bows are either brown or black which will naturally fit into the background of the woods. This changes when we hunt the plains or desert flats, you can put sleves or a camo tape on your bows limbs to break up the silhouette.

In closing, you have choices regarding camouflage today and there is no wrong on your choice, even if you choose to break up your silhouette with plaid. Always remember to wear either face paint or mask and gloves. Our skin has blue in it making us easier to see (the following photos representing what deer see.)

Remember when you shop that “Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans. Their color vision is limited to the short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors. As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red.”



1. What We See              What Deer See

2. What We See                     What Deer See


3. What We See                     What Deer See


4. What We See                     What Deer See


5. What We See             What Deer See


Next Up: The Hunt! 


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.


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) (


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 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

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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 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 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


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.