DEC Crossbow Hunting Regulations

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

*NOTE:  The Crossbow Certificate of Qualification from 2012-2013 is no longer valid.

CROSSBOW SPECIFICATIONSBarnett Quad 400 Crossbow Package

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

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

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

Minimum peak draw weight:  100 pounds

Maximum peak draw weight:  200 pounds

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


Big Game

License requirement:

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

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

Crossbows may be used during the following seasons:

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

Cross bows may be used to take deer during:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions:

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

Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 4J in Albany County

WMU 8C in Monroe County

In the counties of Suffolk, Nassau or Westchester

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


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

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

Wild Turkey

Any other small game or upland game birds.

Unprotected wildlife ( squirrels and woodchucks) at anytime.

Crossbows may not be used under the following conditions.

To take waterfowl or other migratory game birds.

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


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

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

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator




Ten Hunting Tips from our Team

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

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

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

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

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

 6.  Washing clothing in scent free detergents.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 3 - Shooting Accessories

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



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

Arm Guards

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

Finger Tabs

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


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

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

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


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Beginning Archery for Ladies, Part 2 - Proper Stance

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

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

StanceRight-handed archery stanceBeginning Archery for Ladies - Stance

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

(Right handed example)

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

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

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




Correct - Arm is straight, elbow slightly

bent to keep out of string’s path.>




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

Anchor Point

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

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


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

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

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


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Little Split

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Let's Talk Hunting!

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

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

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


Fall Shed Hunting

Fall is the time of year when everything is changing, the leaves are falling, the grass is becoming brittle and the temperature is on the way down. This is the time when deer hunting is at its best. Rifle season and bow hunting is well underway and the deer are on the move. But there is another great sport to engage in that doesn’t need tags or a rifle. Shed hunting, or hunting for a deer’s shed antlers, in the fall is a difficult but often times a rewarding undertaking. To help new shed hunters find sheds in the fall here are some helpful tips and tricks.

Even though deer lose their antlers in the mid-spring the sheds tend to stick around all year. Many times these sheds will be worn down by little critters like squirrels nibbling on the stumps and other animals tromping over them throughout the year. But even though there are some degraded antlers on the ground it is still possible to find great sheds in the fall. The first thing to know is where to look. At this point the sheds in the fields have been destroyed often times by tractors and replanting of crops over the summer so looking instead on the edges of the field at the fence lines and on the tree lines is a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to use a pair of binoculars. A good pair for this job would be the RedHead Rubber Armor Binoculars - Porro Prism, these binoculars are built to be carried around in rough terrain and still work great, so they are perfect for scanning the tree lines and the edges of fields for those elusive fall sheds. Another good set of binoculars for shed hunting is the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars, these binoculars are perfect for shed hunting because they have such a clear and crisp sight pattern it is easy to spot anomalies on the ground like a little white antler sticking out of the foliage. A great idea to consider in the fall when looking for sheds is that the shed is probably partly buried by debris so looking for an entire shed during the fall is not the way to proceed. Instead look for the tines or points of a shed poking through the brush or from under leaves. This entails looking for white and brown shaded points along the ground or suspended in light brush, this is where a lot of deer tend to lose their antlers as they get stuck in the foliage.


Now that the human aspect of shed hunting is done it is time to get some help from man’s best friend. Having a dog on the hunt for sheds is a great way to increase the number of sheds found and have fun with the family pet. A good way to get a dog ready for the shed hunt is to get them used to the smell of the shed and the shape of the shed. One of the best ways to do this is to get an antler scent and a plastic antler to train with. A good antler scent to use is the DogBone Antler Scent, this scent helps the dog associate the scent of an antler with the sport of finding stuff in the back yard making it fun for both the owner and the dog while actually hunting sheds. Another shed kit to use for this same purpose would be the DogBone Shed Antler Retrieving System. This allows a shed hunter to hide the shed in the backyard with the scent of an actual shed on the plastic antler. The dog then gets to go find the shed in the yard training them to find sheds while having fun in the backyard. This is a great training tool but a potential shed hunter needs to make sure to teach the dog to hold the shed lightly or it might be damaged while the dog is retrieving an actual shed in the field.

dogdog bone

While shed hunting in the fall is fun and a good challenge shed hunting can be done all year long. The skills learned in the fall can be applied to all seasons especially the winter when looking under leaves can be substituted for looking for points in the snow. As always happy hunting and good luck!


Shoot for the Stars

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

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

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


You can shop for bows at


A Simple Guide to Bows

The familiar "thwang" of a bow string can set many an archer's mind at ease and relieve stress or tension. Archery is a sport practiced around the world. It is so popular that there have been world archery competitions at least five times a year every year since 2006 according to the World Archery Federation's website, which will be referred to as WAF. Countries all over the world including "China, India, Korea, Japan, Great Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, USA, Mexico, [and] Australia" compete to see who has the best archers. (WAF) They have multiple types of archery competitions: Olympic Games, World Cups, World Championships, Ski Archery, Run Archery, Universiades, World Games, World Master Games, Para-Archery, and much more.

Archery started around the time people started walking, and walked its way through the Shang and Zhou dynasties to eventually make its way through Asia to Europe. There it got into Greek, Egyptian, and Norse Mythology and then Roman soon after that. Diana of the Roman Mythology, Athena of the Greek Pantheon, the Huntress, she hunted with a longbow in the traditional style. Many in the Eurasian cultures had at least one deity that carried a bow of similar fashion as the weapon of choice.

Longbows are as many hands high as their archer and without any bells and whistles or additions to help with aim or draw. According to "longbows are much more difficult to aim than other modern bows and do not have nearly the same velocity as compound or recurve bows. " Yew is the traditional wood but other lighter woods are known to be used to make the bow. (“The Longbow”) More modernly used is the compound bow which is like an assisted or easier to use bow.

"The sleek, uncluttered lines of traditional equipment speak volumes on old-school simplicity and tradition. On the other hand, a compound bow -- with its system of cables and wheels and adorned with accessories like a stabilizer, wrist strap, multiposition arrow rest and fiber-optic bow sight -- screams modern-day technology".

The compound bow is set up on a system of pulleys that make the bows stiffer limbs assume the desired shape. The pulley system allows the archer to manipulate potential and kinetic energy for a swifter and more accurately precise shot.


The recurve bow is an older style usually used by horsemen that has also been modernized so that it comes apart into three pieces for convenience.  The recurve bow "gets its power from the unique curve at the limb tips, a design first developed by Egyptian archers thousands of years ago" per The recurve bow may be suggested as a beginners bow due to affordability.

Bass Pro Shops is a great place to buy traditional, recurve and compound bows. We have a wide selection and a staff that can help anyone pick the right bow for the archer.


"Facts and Figures." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"History of Archery." World Archery. World Archery Federation, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

"The Longbow." The Longbow. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

Carmichael, Lindsey. "The Recurve Bow – What You Need to Know." Discover Archery. The Easton Foundations, n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Robb, Bob. "The Modern Compound Bow." Sportsman's Guide. The Sportman's Guide Inc., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Unger, Kristen. "Four Types of Archery Bows." LIVESTRONG.COM. Demand Media, Inc., 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.



Ten Quotes to Ignore About Treestands

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You owe it to yourself and your family.


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Get On Target For a Better Bowhunting Season

The days are getting shorter and the mornings are starting to cool off and you can feel Bow season drawing closer.  You have been watching all the hunting DVDs and checking all your equipment and getting your pack ready for the stand, now it time to get some range time in.

Blackout 3-D Deer Target

Blackout 3-D Deer Target

The biggest respect that you can show to any game is to hone your marksmanship so that you can have a quick clean harvest of your game.  There are a number of ways that you can go about this, you can attend 3D shoots on the weekend at your local bow clubs but for those of us that just can get the time to make it there you can always shoot with a couple of buddies in your back yard or wood lot.  We have a number of targets that can help get your skills ready in the pre-season.  We have a large selection of 3-D deer targets that help you understand the arrow placement from different angles and elevations You should check out our Blackout Series of Targets they are built  to last for seasons and help to make you a better bowhunter.

Rhinehart 18-1 Target

Rinehart 18-1 Portable Archery Target

My favorite target for pre-season shooting is the throw-able targets like the Rinehart 18-1 and Field target these help you with judging distance and picking a smaller target that will help you become more accurate. Aim Small/Miss Small. These targets have rope handles and are meant to thrown from spot to spot giving you different shooting angles and distances We play the best shot gets to launch the target and decide the difficulty of the shot. It is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Rinehart Targets Archery Field Target

Rinehart Targets Archery Field Target





Stay Sharp With The Right Broadhead Style For You

Are you thinking about switching broad-heads this year or are you new to bow-hunting?  Well, lets talk broad-heads for a few minutes.  You can break them down into three groups or styles of heads.  Fixed blade, Replaceable blade and Expandable style, each has their Pro’s and Con’s and a situation that they work best in.  I have used all three at one point or another in my archery career and have taken deer with all of them.

I would start out with fixed Blade. That is what I started with and what I am shooting now. I like them because I can touch them up and re-sharpen them with little effort.  I also like that as a whole they are the most rugged of the three since they have no moving parts. Downside if you miss and tear up a blade you have to chuck the whole head.

Blackout Broadhead

Blackout Broadhead

Second would be Replaceable Blade models. These are nice if you are not that great at sharpening  blades or don’t have the time to do it. You just get a set of replacement blades and swap them out before you head for the stand.  And if you miss your mark and break a blade off it is no big deal just swap it out.  The downside to these is they have thinner blades and are not as rugged as the fixed blades.

RedHead Blackout Replacement

RedHead Blackout Replaceable Blade

And the newest to the market is the expandable. The pro’s to these are they have a smaller profile so they fly more like a field point so they take less time to tune them in, as the name states they expand which give you a huge cutting area which can cut down on tracking and recovery.  The Con’s would be the moving parts. If they can move there is always the chance that they won’t or won’t at the right time. Also bows with lower poundage should stay clear of these. It does take a good amount of kinetic energy to get them to work correctly and lower poundage bows usually don’t have that.  With the lower poundage I have always found that 1/3 cut fixed heads work the best.

Blackout SS Gator Expandable Blade

Any other questions feel free to stop by and speak with one of our trained Archery Staff.



The Importance of Practice

Does practice make perfect? That's the theory. It's great weather to be practicing with your bow...tuning up, checking up and preparing your equipment, so you can make a clean harvest and be safe. However, missing a shot is one of those key mental hurdles that newcomers...whether man, woman, or child...have to conquer. Maria Young, from Dressed to Kill TV, is the first to say keep on practicing and don't get discouraged. Everyone has missed at some point, but practice will keep you in the game. Check out her comments and hear about her own personal experiences with "the miss" here in this brief YouTube video:

Pick up that bow, grab a target and start practicing. Get reacquainted with your gear and your form.


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Your Harness is Your Best Friend

By: Mike Reynolds

Hunting season is fast approaching and with it comes a little preparation.  We all go through our gear to see what may need to be replaced.  It seems like every year I get something new whether I need it or not.   The one piece of equipment I’d like you to really think about replacing is your safety harness.  I’m sure everyone uses a safety harness when in their treestand, right?  If you don’t I sure hope you can fly!  Most of the injuries that happen deer hunting happen by falling out of a treestand.  This fact is a shame because it is easily prevented.  The use of some kind of fall restraint should always be used when hunting off the ground.  There are 2 types of fall restraints: the first is a belt type and the second is a full body harness.  Both are better than nothing but the full body is far superior.  The belt will keep you from falling all the way to the ground but it will most likely flip you upside down too.  The top of your body is heavier than the bottom so, gravity being what it is, you will end up with your head facing down.  This will make it very difficult to right yourself and get back into your stand.  Bad things happen when we hang upside down for very long so let’s look at the alternative.

The full body harness will keep you right side up and able to get to your stand easily.  It will also distribute your weight evenly and not be so traumatic on your body.  The harness I started wearing a few years back was the Hunter’s Safety System [HSS].  It is, by far, the easiest harness to put on.  I have found through asking guys who don’t wear a harness that one of the most common reasons was the harness was too complicated to get on especially in the dark.  The HSS is a vest that goes on easily even in the dark.  Its buckles are large enough to secure and hold tight.  It is comfortable to wear and doesn’t restrict the motion of drawing a bow.  This harness doesn’t cost too terribly much, usually around $160.00.  In my opinion this is a small price to pay to make sure you don’t fall. After all, how much is it worth going home to your family after a day in the treestand?

Any kind of fall restraint is better than nothing but the full body harness is the best choice unless of course you can fly. We all want to go home to share our love of the outdoors with our family and not falling is the only way to do that.  When you are checking your gear before this season, please remember to take a look at your harness.  If it looks old or worn or is more than 5 years old, please consider replacing it.  


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Local Hunting Tips and Seminars

Our Fall Hunting Classic wraps up this weekend with seminars from our local experts and hunting team. The first 25 people (18 or older) who attend the seminars on Friday and Saturday receive a Fall Hunting Classic tumbler!  The first 25 Sunday seminar attendees (18 or older) receive a free safety whistle. All seminars take place Fall Hunting Classic - Bass Pro Shops Altoonaback by the Hunting Department.


Friday, August 15

Fall Hunting Classic Seminar

  • 7:00 pm. - So You Think You Know How to Bow Hunt - Led by Hunting Lead and bow hunter Nick Aldrich.

Saturday, August 16 and Sunday August 17

  • Fall Hunting Classic Seminars
    • 1:00pm – Autumn Hunt: New Approaches to Fall Success - Find out what's new this year from our Hunting Lead Nick Aldrich.
    • 2:00pm – Tender Venison? It’s Easier Thank You Think - Learn from the experts from the renowned Milo Locker, a favorite of Central Iowans!
    • 3:00pm – Does Camo Pattern Really Matter? With Hunting Lead Nick Aldrich
    • 4:00pm – Why You Should be Hunting Coyote - Presented by Jake Slings from the Iowa DNR
    • 5:00pm – How to Integrate Your Game Camera with Mobile Devices presented by Hunting Manager Shaun Bequeaith


Additional Fun This Weekend

►10 a.m. - 2 p.m. - Test drive a Bad Boy Buggy! Must have driver's license and be 18 or older.

►Our Own Little State Fair Flavors

Saturday, Noon- 4 p.m. - Try a sample of our Flossie's funnel cakes!

Sunday, Noon-4 p.m. - Sample our corn dogs made with Flossie's Corn Dog Mix!

►Saturday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. - The Grill Shack is open! All proceeds go to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation!



Labor Day Hometown Festival event the weekend of August 30-31, from Noon – 5pm - All kinds of fun activities for children and families to enjoy!!


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Hunting Story Told Right: Mike’s Safari

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Hartebeest (200 yards) Bronze

Black Wildebeest (297 yards) Silver

Springbok (X) Silver

Warthog (500 yards, rested position) Not scored

Gemsbok (200 yards) Didn’t score

Blesbok (240 yards) Bronze

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

Awesome job, Mike!


Enjoy these other pictures too!







Is Robin Hood a better archer than Bill Jordan?

Were the archers from the Middle Ages better bowman than modern professional hunters like Bill Jordan? Before we answer this question we must look at a brief history of the bow and arrow.

Who invented the bow and arrow? Answering that question is equivalent to answering who invented fire or even the wheel. However, we can look at the history of the bow and find some interesting technologies that we use for hunting and sport today.

A recent discovery in South Africa puts the invention of the bow and arrow about 71,000 years ago.  Arrowheads as well as spear heads were found in Pinnacle Point cave located outside Cape Town, South Africa. This is an important discovery about how sophisticated Homo sapiens (modern humans) early on. The oldest Homo sapiens archeological find dates back a little over 200,000 years ago.



The invention of the bow and arrow can be an important step on why homo sapiens out competed their rival the Neanderthals, who were much more stronger then they. The bow and arrow would allow modern man to attack from a distance instead of battling the Neanderthals up close.

Amazing, we are using the same tool that ancient man had used 71,000 years ago hunt and for warfare. But are we really? How strong were these early bows? How accurate were they?

No one really knows about the earliest bows. All that remains are the broadheads that were made of stone. The bow itself is as long been biodegraded back to dust.



So we need to flash forward to a more modern era to understand the sophistication of early bow and arrow technology. In the England during the middle Ages, the longbow rained supreme - to some historians – is when bow and arrow technology leaped forward.  Warfare in the middle ages long today as more to do with resources than how many soldiers you have. The longbow and its precision and the highly trained archers allowed countries like England to win against countries like France who had an abundance of resources

In the middle ages, Archers were able to kill a man from over 200 yards away. They did not have rangefinder nor sight pins. Today modern hunters are lucky to hit a deer from 70 yards.  Longbows from the middle ages had a draw weight of 150lbs or more. Why is there a big difference? What made middle age era archers so much better than modern ones? Are today’s improvements like the compound bow, sights and release inferior to the longbow of the past?


I think the same analogy holds true with firearms like the Kentucky Long Rifle.  American Patriots were able to hit a man size target at 200 and up to 300 yards with open sites. Today a hunter with an inline and a scope can maybe hit consistently that 300 yard mark, and they would never think about going traditional. This same analogy holds true when comparing the archers from today to archers from the middle Ages.


Here is the big difference:

  1. Archers from the middle Ages learned at a very young age.
  2. It was life or death, either in battle or to hunt for food.
  3. It was a way of life. They did it everyday.
  4. They could not afford to miss their target. Arrows were expensive. Although some would argue they are today, but in reality we do not have to make them by scratch. Nor would it cost us two chickens and a goat for the use of the blacksmith.


We may not be as good as they were, but we do not have the time to do it everyday nor do we have the life threatening stimuli to force us to be better.  We do it for FUN! So bring on the advances in technology and the gadgets, we need them.

 Wayman, Erin “Early Bow and Arrows Offer Insight into Origins of Human Intellect.” November 7, 2012 – Online Smithsonian Magazine

Wong, Kate “Oldest Arrowheads Hint at How Modern Humans Overtook Neanderthals” November 7, 2012 -  Online Scientific America

Military History Monthly , “ The Longbow- Medieval Weaponry” Online

Americas First Freedom- NRA Publication, Online



Why Should Women Hunt?

The number of women taking up hunting is growing. Healthy, sustainable food sources (you know where it came from!), exercise, conservation, simply the challenge...all are reasons that more women are learning to hunt and especially bow hunting, with its added challenge and the submersion into nature that it demands.

Maria Young is from southern Iowa and a member of the Dressed to Kill TV Pro Staff. She recently spoke at a Women in Hunting workshop at Bass Pro Shops Altoona. She appreciates the world of nature that takes place around her when she's hunting and her enthusiasm for hunting is contagious.

When asked why women should hunt, Young notes right away that "it's not a man's world," it's fun, and ANY woman can do it. However, in this brief YouTube clip, she also adds there are a two other reasons that are especially important for women who are also moms:

For more information on how to get started in bow hunting, visit this post from our own Hunting Associate Alicia Bricker, or stop in at your local Bass Pro Shop!


Find Maria Young on Facebook -

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Blind Calling for Whitetails

At the recent Bass Pro Shops Altoona Fall Hunting Classic, Bric Steward from Drury Outdoors "Bow Madness" gave some great information about hunting mature whitetails. One technique he calls "amazing" is blind calling or growling for bucks.

Blind calling is just what it says - you're calling when there are no deer in sight. You just take a chance that some mature buck out there is itching to pick a fight, so, it's only done at certain times. Bric explains in this brief YouTube video clip!

Check out another video tip from Bric on the question - Ground Blind versus Tree Stand!


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