RedHead Select Outfitters: Hampton & Hampton Guide Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Other Adventures:

The Basics Mellon Creek Ducks N Bucks Blue River Whitetails


Bow Trade- In Days


Are you looking for new archery gear? Don't miss our Bow Trade-In Days at Bass Pro Shops!!!!

August 3-16 you can save up to $100 on your new bow or crossbow purchase just by trading in your old bow. All trade-ins will be donated to area youth archery groups that help teach our next generation the basic principles of archery.



We also have great instant savings using our Outdoor Rewards MasterCard!



We are ready to get you geared up for this years' archery season!

I can't wait for the Fall Hunting Classic!






This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops - Freedom & Fun for Everyone!

It's the FINAL weekend of Family Summer Camp and the first weekend of our NRA Freedom Days special seminars!

Family Summer Camp

Sounds like another HOT and sometimes stormy weekend for us. Join us inside for our last weekend of summer camp workshops for kids - plus, our outdoor activities are moved INDOORS, so your kids can try their hand at shooting a BB gun, casting, and shooting a bow.

Each child receives a Summer Camp lanyard at their first seminar, then a pin at each seminar they attend (while supplies last.) It's still possible for kids to get all nine pins on Saturday and Sunday! The workshops are about 20-30 minutes each and the schedule is:

Saturday - July 25
Noon  -  Fishing
1 p.m. - Water Safety
2 p.m. - Shooting and Hunting
3 p.m. - Kayaking
4 p.m. - Bird Watching

Sunday - July 26
Noon  - Shooting & Hunting
1 p.m. - Archery
2 p.m. - Travel Safety
3 p.m. - Camping
4 p.m. - Backyard Adventure

Crafts are noon-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday






Celebrate our Second Amendment during NRA Freedom Days!

NRA membership drive - July 25/26 and Aug. 1/2 - Sign up in-store to for NRA membership and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

Free Seminars, July 25 & 26, Aug. 1 & 2 - Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug for the first 15 seminar attendees each day!

Saturday July 25 & August 1

  • 11 AM - Gun Competition Basics: MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo
  • 2 PM - Accessorizing your MSR
  • 3 PM - Women and Self-Defense: How to train and defend

Sunday July 26 and August 2

  • 2 PM - Choosing the Right Home Defense System: Shotgun, handgun or MSR
  • 3 PM - Gun Safety in the Home: Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories

Plus, these additional sale and promotional opportunities:

  • Free gun case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more while supplies last!
  • July 20-Aug. 2 - 2nd Amendment Instant Savings: Instant savings on guns up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!
  • Triple/Quadruple rewards points on select products!
  • NRA Freedom Days Experience Sweepstakes




Product Spotlight - Reverse Draw Crossbows

This is not your father's or grandfather's crossbow. The reverse draw crossbow has arrived at Bass Pro Shops and you have plenty of time to start practicing with one!

For those who need a little background, here is the difference between traditional crossbow technology and reverse draw, as described on Crossbow Nation:

Traditional compound bow systems for crossbows have a riser mounted to the very front of the rail, two limbs mounted to the riser with the limbs angled back toward the rear of the crossbow, a set of wheels or cams mounted to the end of the limbs, and a string and two cables that tie the cams together. When drawn, the wheels or cams rotate, compressing the limbs to build up draw weight while also allowing string to role off the wheels or cams to the determined distance to reach the trigger/latching mechanism.

Reverse draw bow systems primarily work in the same fashion where there is a riser, two limbs, wheels or cams, and strings and cables however the main difference is that the riser of the reverse draw crossbow is mounted somewhere either halfway down the rail or even further back behind the trigger mechanism. Because of the location of the riser, the limbs point away towards the front of the crossbow. The draw cycle operates the same as a traditional draw bow system where the string is pulled, the cams rotate, the limbs are compressed to build poundage, and string roles off the cams to accommodate the power stroke, but with one major difference. Instead of the cams rolling outward with the string coming from outside of the bow, on a reverse draw bow, the cams roll inward towards the center of the bow and the string is pulled between the limbs.

Archery Lead Chad Benson explains some of the benefits hunters will encounter using the reverse draw technology in the YouTube clip:

Check out the reverse draw crossbow packages available at the Altoona store, your area Bass Pro Shop, or online!




Fishy Facts: American Paddlefish

Sometimes I cannot help but be amazed by nature. Just look around at all the beauty found in the land, plants and animals all over the world. And at other times I cannot help but be puzzled at some of the weirdness nature provides as well. Certain characteristics about plants or animals are downright ridiculous. Any funny-looking animals keep meme-generators going at full steam ahead. The largest concentration of unusual animals would have to be found underwater. And for this month’s Fishy Facts blog we will focus on one such interesting finned-friend: The American Paddlefish.

The American paddlefish is a prehistoric looking fish that is closely related to sturgeon. The term prehistoric is well earned for this fish as some of their fossil records go back hundreds of millions of years ago. They are a smooth-skinned fish that used to inhabit wide ranges of freshwater in North America. Currently there are only two species of paddlefish left in the world (the American and the Chinese) and both of which are considered vulnerable or critically endangered (respectively).

They are named after the characteristic front snout (or rostrum) that is shaped like a paddle. This rostrum is loaded with sensory receptors that are key for finding their main food source. The paddlefish’s main diet consists of zooplankton. They are filter-feeders, so they will swim around with their mouths wide open collecting their microscopic meals.

American paddlefish were once common throughout the Mississippi River Basin. Due to habitat loss, pollution and overfishing their numbers are significantly depleted. Their once native range has been reduced to being found in only twenty-two states and are protected in all of them.

Fishing for paddlefish is still legal, just where sustainable. Some areas rely on governmental restocking programs to keep these fish present. While these fish eat the most miniscule of food, they grow quite large and are impressive fighters. (You would have to be, to survive millions of years of sharing water.) But because they are filter feeders, paddlefish will not go after baits or lures. (Have you ever tried hooking into zooplankton?) Fisherman actually try to snag their targets in order to catch them. In several states the record for these fish is well over 120 pounds! In fact, the largest on record catching of an American paddlefish was about 200 pounds and over 6 feet long!

Huge efforts have come into place to keep the paddlefish around. They are commonly raised to keep their numbers going. They are also sources of consumption, for both their meat and caviar. Because of this they are also raised in other parts of the world, including China.

Of course without knowledge, there can be no education. Many people have become more aware of these magnificent fish lately. Paddlefish are becoming more and more common in aquariums as an example of why we must protect our most precious resources.  

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


Why Does Hunting and FIshing Gear Cost So Much? The Skinny or (Fatty) on FET (Federal Excise Tax)

I constantly hear that the archery industry and Bass Pro must be making huge profits on bows, accessories, arrows and components.  “I could make this part for much less” or “How can you charge so much for something that costs only a few dollars to make”?   

One of the reasons is the high FET (Federal Excise Tax) that is imposed on the hunting and fishing industries.  This tax is not only imposed on imported products but hunting and fishing products produced here in the United States of America. IRS Form 720 is not a form most taxpayers are familiar with. It is the form for FET, and it is only filed by those taxpayers - usually businesses - responsible for collecting the excise taxes. The most important use for Form 720 is for businesses that distribute various kinds of fuel; however, it has a motley array of other miscellanea, including the “Tanning Tax” from Obamacare. For the most part this FET is determined by the MSRP (Manufactures Suggested Retail Price) of an item and not the wholesale price of the product. Because taxpayers don’t see these taxes on their own tax forms, they miss out on these peculiarities. One of the most peculiar of these is a whopping 11% tax on “bows, quivers, broadheads, and points.”

Review the link below to learn more about the RULES as it pertains to archery and sport fishing.


Now you are starting to get the picture.  Below is a chart that reviews collected FET just the archery industry has produced over the past few years.

As you can see $55.7 Million dollars of FET generated in 2014.  Wow!, is right, that is a lot of money, and that is not including the sales tax charged on the products your purchase.

2015 there is a 49 cent FET on each arrow shaft produced, almost $6.00 / dozen arrows.

As with most taxes, it is very complicated for the manufacture to determine what the tax will be.  Take a look at the computation formula listed in the link below.


This sounds strange at first, but it turns out to make more sense in context. The Pittman-Robertson Act is an 80-year-old piece of legislation that helps fund game conservation efforts through these taxes on hunting equipment, including bows, firearms and fishing. The key is that the funds from the tax are to be marked for purposes that benefit those who are paying the tax. This is called the “Benefit Principle."

The Pittman-Robertson taxes are collected at a federal level and only then allocated in block grants to the states in proportion to their land area and the number of hunting license holders. In other words, it is clearly designed to work within the hunting community. Nonetheless, it is not a perfect user fee. For example, an archery enthusiast who does not hunt will still pay the tax, and mostly end up funding the activities of his or hers bowhunting counterparts.

So next time when you start thinking that an item you are about to purchase cost too much.... Keep in mind that you are also paying unseen taxes that are being utilized for the preservation of hunting and fishing.



Now is the Time for Bow Strings

Summer is in full swing, and between grilling, mowing the lawn, and fishing, it's also time for bow hunters to prepare their bows for fall. The proactive hunter plans ahead and inspects their bow now avoiding the onslaught of customers who said, "I'll do it later."

Many customers get new strings for their bows yearly. If you're unsure on what to look for, bring your bow to your local Bass Pro Shops and ask them to inspect your strings. Strings can dry out, stretch, and break over time, especially if the bow is not properly stored. The Altoona Archery Department team advises that a good rule of thumb for determining the need for new strings is:

  • You can't remember how old the strings are.
  • They're more than two years old.
  • They have visible strands fraying.

Unfortunately, many hunters delay repairs and come in the fall to get new strings. However, that is the busy season for string vendors. Right now, it takes 1-2 weeks (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for a string to arrive at our store, from the time someone orders it. As October nears, that time frame will grow.

The Bass Pro Shops Altoona Archery Department can order strings for compound bows, crossbows, and traditional bows -- take a look at all the available colors:

Be proactive and get your bow taken care of now. Then practice, practice, practice!


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Five Steps To Choosing The Right Bow

1. Measure your draw length. Draw your hands as if you were drawing a bow with your fisted hand against a wall. Measure from the wall to the corner of your mouth. This is your draw length.
2. Choose the correct draw weight. Draw weight represents the amount of physical force you need to pull back the bow string. Draw your bow back 10 times wait five minutes. If you are able to easily draw your bow back 11 times without becoming winded and your arms stay stable this draw weight is okay for you.

3. Pick the best bow length based on your draw length. 
Draw length                              Bow length
Less than 26                              64 in. bow
26-28                                         66 in. bow
28-30                                         68 in. bow
30 or more                                 70 in. or larger

4. Determine whether you need a right or left-handed bow. This is based on your dominant eye, not your dominant hand. Use your fingers to create a circular viewing window. Bring your hands to your face and focus through the window you created. Your hands should naturally gravitate towards your dominant eye.

5. Compare directly drawn versus compound bows. Directly drawn bows require users to provide steady force to pull back and hold the string. Compound bows use a series of gears to assist with this task. For archery and target practice, choose a directly drawn bow. Compound bows are typically used by hunters.

Stop buy your local Bass Pro Shops archery counter to get great advice from our experienced archery associates or visit to browse merchandise and find the store nearest you.


Food Plot 101


         Building a food plot sounds a lot easier than it actually is. You must know what to plant, where to plant, and when to plant. Those three things are very crucial when wanting to have a successful food plot for the deer. If you are having trouble with your food plot or would like to start one, here are a few tips on how to get your food plot looking better than ever.

         First, it all depends on what you want to plant in your food plot. However what you want to plant is not always suitable for your local environment.

        Next, you want to figure out where you’re going to put your food plot. Depending on the deer density, plots should be about 1 to 2 acres in size.

        Lastly, you want to know when it is good to plant your seeds. If they are not planted at the correct time of the year, they may not produce to their best quality.

        Listed below are some examples of crops to plant in your food plot, and how to get them growing perfect for the deer.


        Buckwheat is an easy-to-grow, warm seasoned plant that grows best in sandy soils. It can be planted with cowpeas, grain sorghum, soybeans or it can be planted alone. There is little to no seedbed preparation, but when the seedbed is prepared there is a higher chance of success for the seed. The best time to plant is in the spring, but it can also be planted in July or August. Buckwheat performs well in a cool, moist environment and is best suited for the Northeast or Upper Midwest, but it can be planted in the south. This plant is relatively short-lived, and it will provide some temporary forage benefits for the deer. The best way to plant this seed is by broadcasting or drilling 1 to 2 inches deep. If seeded in a pure stand, broadcast buckwheat at 50 to 60 lbs. /acre or 30 to 40 lbs. /acre when using a grain drill. Test soil to see how much fertilizer to use. This is a fast growing plant, and it is good for early bow season.


         Alyceclover is a warm seasoned, annual legume that is usually used in pastures as livestock forage or it is managed for hay production. This plant does not tolerate wet soil conditions, and its best production occurs in sandy loam to clay soils. This plant is moderately preferred when wanting to attract deer. This plant is very good with drought tolerance and can go days without needed water. When planting this seed it is always important to test the soil, but with this plant it does not need nitrogen fertilizer because it produces its own. When broadcasting, create a smooth and firm planting surface because this promotes optimal germination. When no-till planting, kill the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate weed competition. This should be done a couple of weeks prior to planting. If planting pure stands, broadcast 20 lbs. /acre or drill 10 to 12 lbs. /acre at a maximum depth of 1/4- to 1/2-inch. The best time to plant is April to June in the southern regions, and May to June in the northern regions. In conclusion, this plant is excellent in providing nice summer forage for the local deer.


         Corn is a warm seasoned grass that produces grain on the ears that grow along the stem. This plant is a great source of energy for the deer, especially in the fall and early winter. It also makes good bedding and thermal cover for the deer if left not harvested. Corn does best when planted in very fertile soils, and it prefers well-drained, loamy soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Corn does not handle droughts well, and it does better when there is a lot of rainfall. One downside of corn is that it does not compete well with weeds. A good solution to this problem is to use Round Up Ready Corn because it can control the weeds without damaging the corn. The best time to plant corn is mid-March in the south, April in the middle part of the country, and May in more of the northern climates. When planting the seed it is good to make sure that the temperature of the soil is about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can plant the seed by using conventional tillage and planting it in rows, or you can use broadcasting in a prepared seedbed. During no-till drilling, the corn is normally planted at a rate of 5 to 10lbs. /acre, but when broadcasting the corn is normally planted at a rate of 10lbs. /acre. The seeds do best when they are about an inch deep and cultipacked after planting.  Corn requires for the soil to be very fertile, and it is a big nitrogen user. Since corn needs to be in very fertile soil it is good to not plant the corn in the same field in two or more consecutive years. Corn is an excellent plant to use when wanting to attract deer.


Black-eyed pea pods on plant in Hong Kong.jpg

           Cowpeas (black-eyed peas) are a warm seasoned legume that originated from Ethiopia, and has widely adapted to soils and climate conditions all throughout the country. They are extremely drought tolerant and good for the south. Cowpeas can produce in excess about 8,000 pounds of quality forage per year. It is good to have the plot size at least 1 acre depending on the deer density. It’s important to remember to test the soil so that you know how much lime and fertilizer to apply. When broadcast seeding, remember to have a smooth and firm planting surface free of any debris. When no-till planting, make sure to get rid of the existing vegetation with glyphosate to eliminate any weed competition. It is good to plant about 70 to 80 lbs. /acre if broadcasting, and cover the seed about an inch by lightly disking. If you are drilling the seed, plant approximately 40 to 50 lbs. /acre. It is good to start planting Cowpeas around mid-April in the south, and in the north they should be planted starting in late May or early June. Cowpeas are an excellent way to change things up in your food plot and attract more deer.

          These are just a few examples of things you can plant in your food plot. A few other crops include Grain Sorghum, Lablab, Soybeans, Sugar Beets and many more. If you would like more information on food plotting, check out the two links below. One link will take you to the QDMA website and the other will take you to the Bass Pro Hunting 365 website. June is QDMA donation month at Bass Pro Shops, so make sure to make your donation at your local Bass Pro Shops to help improve wildlife habitat, and ensure healthy deer populations for future generations!

Resources: Food Plots Planting Spring Food Plots

Check out Bass Pro Shops assortment of Food Plot and Land Management Products!

QDMA articles

Bass Pro Shops Hunt365 "United We Hunt"

Photo Credits:

Wikipedia commons


Fishy Facts: Yellow Perch

To me there are a few quintessential “Americana-esque” images of the outdoors. One being that of those old Chris-Craft boats being rented by lake tourists. Another would be a hunter in the woods wearing a buffalo-patterned shirt, making us wonder if camo really matters. And the last would be a canoe beached on the shore with a hole stringer of yellow perch hanging on it. For some reason yellow perch always just make me think of simpler times, which makes sense because these fish have been a delight for generations to catch. While many focus on the all-mighty largemouth bass or the crazy-fast swordfish, I’d like to slow my roll for this month’s Fishy Facts and take a look at the classic Yellow Perch.

The yellow perch is a freshwater fish native to North America. It does have a cousin across the pond in Europe, but the two are considered separate species. The perch is well known for its distinctive yellow coloring with large dark triangles along their body. Their fins are a touch lighter with orange accents in them. They may not be the “flashiest” fish in the water, but they are quite beautiful to look at.

Yellow perch usually live from nine to ten years of age. Some studies have shown that the northern populations of these fish do grow larger and live longer lives when compared to the southern populations. While they are native in certain parts of North America, they have also been introduced into many more bodies of water. This happened for a few reasons. One being for recreational and commercial fishing purposes and the other to act as food for bass and walleye. Perch patterned baits are common for walleye fisherman, and when on a trip to Canada my stepdad was sure to take some with him.

I do believe it is a rite of passage for kids in the Midwest to catch perch. Scientific studies have not been done, but from what I understand it is so. In fact one of our Front End Leads grew up in the Midwest. I talked a little bit to him about perch and you could see how happy he was recalling catching them growing up. Like I said above, they have been delighting anglers for generations. In fact, the yellow perch is the longest standing record for freshwater fish caught in North America. The fish was caught in New Jersey all the way back in 1865! It weighed 4 pounds 3 ounces and measured 18 inches long. Just think about that, the yellow perch record has not been broken since the Civil War was ending!

Not only have anglers been enjoying yellow perch for decades, but so have diners. They are considered one of the finest flavored of the panfish and are loved for their delicious flavor. This is one of those fish that does not need to be breaded to be enjoyed.

There are many different ways to fish for yellow perch. You can use still bait or action baits, depending on your and the fishes mood for effort that day. Worms, crickets and minnows are extremely common baits and because of this most “perch lures” resemble them. They are a schooling fish and known for their voracious feeding habits, so if you bump into one get ready for a bunch more.

No matter what fish you are really hooked on catching, all fishermen should be able to appreciate and delight in catching the always-in-fashion on line or on a plate, yellow perch.


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



Momentum is the word of the day.  A lot of people seem to mix up KE (kinetic energy) and momentum when it comes to bowhunting (or one could say hunting in general, but today let’s focus on archery).  KE seems to be the big buzz word floating around nowadays which is great for marketing, but not so great when talking about actual application; it’s only HALF of the equation.  Yes speed is wonderful, a lot of compound guys (and gals) love trying to get that max IBO/ATA that their bows swears that they can get to.  But how did we go from shooting recurves (which if you hit 225fps that’s SMOKING FAST!) where we were pushing 500-600 gr arrows, to much faster speeds - the arrows are half the weight? What a lot of hunters, especially new ones, don’t really get exposed to nowadays is that other half of the equation of yes your bow is fast, but because it’s faster, it can push more weight faster too.  Think about it this way, you drive a zippy motorcycle into a side of a vehicle at around 130mph, and then take a large SUV and drive it into the side of a vehicle going 70mph, what’s going to do more damage?  I like to use Fred Bear’s arrow weight calculation, which is pretty easy, take however much draw weight you’re pulling, say 60#, and add a zero to it, now subtract 10%, which would be 540gr. I know what most of you are thinking, “Holy Toledo! That’s a log, no way can my bow shoot that monstrosity without serious drop!”  

Well, I hate to break it to you slick, but you know how most people sight their bows in for going at least out to 60 yards or so? The average distance that has been reported for shooting a deer with a bow, is a whopping 15-25 yards.  Wait, that’s it?  Yeah, that’s it.  Consider that next time you really feel the need to sight your 7 pin sight out to 80 yards, on a rig you plan on taking through east Texas where you’ll most likely never get a clear shot past maybe 35. And say if you are taking shots longer than that, what’s the matter, couldn’t get any closer? But in all seriousness, a closer shot is ideal, and of course there’s always some exception, like flat plains shooting.

Now consider this as well, sure you’re probably getting your 8.0gpi arrows with your rear deploying mechanicals into deer at say 30 yards or so and you’re killing them every time.  Awesome, but is the arrow going through, or is it just stopping inside of them?  You know what’s better than an entrance hole?  An exit hole.  You know what’s better than that?  Pass through.  Yes I understand the benefit of a broadhead swirling around inside, causing mayhem is fantastic, but you still have the shaft blocking a fair deal of potential blood loss, where a clean pass through will guarantee a great deal more blood loss which is definitely more beneficial and integral to a quicker death. Now a term that is thrown around a lot is FOC (front/forward of center), which actually effects arrow flight and impact. FOC is essentially a way of saying that there is more weight towards the front of the arrow rather than the back, or it balances more towards the front. This is important because your fletchings on your arrow are made to stabilize arrow flight due to the flex, which can be affected by anywhere from an improperly tuned bow, finger releasing, torqueing the bow, etc. The less work your fletchings have to do to compensate, the faster it will straighten. They do this by spinning the arrow to straighten out the shaft, which if the front of the arrow has a fair deal of weight or is stiffer; it’ll force the back end to balance quicker. To find your FOC just follow these steps:

1) Measure the length of the shaft from the throat of the nock to the end of the shaft, excluding the insert; this is lengthL”

2) Using a sharp edge, balance the arrow (including the point) and mark the balance point

3) Measure the distance from the throat of the nock to the balance point; this is length B”

4) Input B and L into the following formula:


Typically speaking I’d say keep target arrows around 8-12%, hunting arrows 11-15%, but also bear in mind that it is not uncommon for some of the old school bow hunters (and younger ones such as me) to go on up to 30%! This granted is a lot, but just keep in mind, how far you’re trying to go, your draw weight, draw length, your bow’s speed capabilities, etc.

There are so many other aspects of arrow dynamics, such as smoothness of the shaft, what kind of inserts you’re using, your vein selection, nock weight (lighted nocks are heavier, so keep that in mind when trying to achieve a specific FOC), and of course the outside diameter of the arrow itself.  Generally speaking I do tend to prefer the micro diameter shafts because it’s less surface area to push through an animal, so it makes for easier penetration, but there aren’t too many really heavy micro diameter arrows out there, usually from what I’ve seen those top out at are around 10gpi (grains per inch). Of course you could cheat this by adding weights into your shaft, to offset FOC and increase overall weight but be mindful that you’re aware of exactly how much weight whatever you’re using is, you need to make sure your arrows all weigh the same.  I have used fishing weights, they seem to work okay, but making sure they stay in one place can be tricky if you’ve already put an insert into the arrow, which means you have to go from the back, but using certain kinds of epoxy because it doesn’t bond right way and a long thin device to push it down should typically work as long as you don’t allow the epoxy to seep in through the hole in the bottom of the insert.

Your arrows are an integral part of bow hunting, so just remember there are many things to keep in mind when picking out what kind of arrows you want, and practice and fine tune seeing what works with your particular rig and needs. Like, if you’re only drawing 50# and your bows rated fps is around 300, it’d probably be best not try and launch 700 grain arrows. Tinker around and see what kind of performance you get out of your arrows and remember, practice makes perfect, and most importantly, have fun out there and get yourself a nice rack, and a full freezer.


Submitted by Ty Gardner, our Archery Lead


Staying bug free on your turkey hunt

It seems that turkey season and mosquitoes arrive at about the same time but now there is a way of getting rid of the mosquitoes without spraying messy chemicals on your skin. The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent system creates an odorless and invisible barrier that mosquitoes will not cross, providing a mosquito free area 15’ in diameter.  It uses a butane cartridge to heat up a chemically treated repellent mat that lasts up to six hours (butane cartridges last up to twelve hours). Also great for bow season, dove season, fishing or anytime you want to keep mosquitoes away.

Another great product to use to keep bugs away is Premium Insect Repellent by Sawyer that contains permethrin. According to, “The active ingredient Permethrin is a synthetic molecule similar to pyrethrum which is taken from the Chrysanthemum flower.” This spray is applied to your clothing, tents and gear before your hunt and when dry will last for up to six washes. This not only repels ticks, mosquitos, chiggers and mites but also kills them. These two products used together will give you hours of bug-free fun in the outdoors.

With spring warming up and making its way towards becoming summer, your kids will start wanting to go outside. Stay ahead of the bugs by buying Bug Repellant at Bass Pro Katy.


Moveable Single Pin Bow Sight Choices That Will Help You Perform Better

Single-Pin Sights

The Tru-Glo Archer’s Choice Range Rover Pro


$199.99 SKU: 2213935

The Tru-Glo Archer’s Choice Range Rover Pro features PWR-Dot Illuminated Center Dot Technology to help improve long-distance accuracy. The ultra-smooth Zero-In Adjustment Dial delivers precise micro-adjust elevation tuning, and more than 40 pre-marked yardage tapes help make setup faster and easier. The Range Rover Pro boasts an adjustable green LED with 11 brightness settings for plenty of customization. The sight also features a large circular field of view and a glow-in-the-dark shooter’s ring. A quiver can be mounted directly to the bracket via the included quiver mount. Adjustable for right- or left-handed shooters and can be fitted with a 1.87" lens.


The Axcel AccuTouch HD X41

$279.99 SKU 2209617

The Axcel AccuTouch HD X41  gives you the best of both worlds: a single-pin slider sight that, thanks to its revolutionary Accu-Clicks, acts like a multi-pin sight. The user sets each Accu-Click at a specific distance so that the slider stops at the desired point. The Accu-Clicks, combined with a 45-degree rear-facing sight scale, allow the user to set the sight from an arm’s distance away. The Red Elevation Tension Lever lets the shooter choose how easily the sight slides along the elevation bar. In addition, the AccuTouch offers all-axis leveling capabilities. Other features include a Windage Lock Button that prevents the micro-adjustable windage knob from turning when engaged. Models include the AccuTouch, and the AccuTouch Pro, $329.99 SKU 2209618 a dovetail version with a 6-inch carbon bar. This sight can be fitted with a 1.75" lens.

The Trophy Ridge Clutch

$199.99  SKU: 2195405

The Trophy Ridge Clutch blurs the line between a target and hunting sight. Double-sided sight tapes allow for both target and hunting precision with the same bow. The fast, smooth friction drive system creates repeatable movement for precise positioning of the ultra-bright pin. Made from machined aluminum with premium stainless-steel hardware, the Clutch offers micro-click windage adjustment, micro-elevation adjustments for customized base yardage, laser-engraved tool-less windage and elevation adjustments and second-axis adjustability. The Clutch comes with 10 custom sight tapes.  The Clutch can be fitted with a 1.75" lens, not included.


The Apex Covert Pro


$199.99 SKU: 2214009

The Apex Covert Pro with advanced single-pin sight features new PWR-Dot Illuminated Center Dot Technology, providing the user with an adjustable green LED with 11 brightness settings. The Covert Pro offers incredibly smooth, one-handed adjustments and Gravity-Line rotational adjustment that aligns pin movement with gravity. This sight comes with more than 60 pre-marked yardage tapes and boasts a rear-facing, easy-to-see yardage-tape location. With an adjustable second- and third-axis illuminated level, an adjustable yardage pointer and dampened end-of-travel stops incorporated into the bracket, the Covert Pro delivers quick and easy setup and ease of use .Adjustable for right- or left-handed shooters and can be fitted with a 1.87" lens. 


Trophy Ridge React Trio

$249.99 SKU: 2195398

Trophy Ridge React Trio Enjoy the readiness of a fixed 3 pin bow sight with versatility to reach out even further when needed with the Trophy Ridge® React Trio Bow Sight. This unique bow sight uses Trophy Ridge's React Technology to turn your 40-yard pin into a movable pin, allowing you to hunt at extended ranges up to 120 yards. Drive shaft knob on the back of the sight provides fast, quiet, and accurate movement up and down for extended range shots, while the rock solid lock down feature hold sight securely for single distance shooting. Positive stop design at the 40 yard position provides fast 3 pin target acquisition in a hunting situation. Precision installed bubble level and 2nd and 3rd axis leveling help you keep the sight flat and accurate. Tool-free micro windage and elevation adjustments. Contrast Glo Ring helps you effortlessly align the peep to the sight ring, working with the impact-armored ultra-bright, .19" fiber optics for superior low light shooting.

The Spot Hogg® Tommy Hogg

$199.99 SKU: 2116919

The Spot Hogg® Tommy Hogg™ 1-Pin Bow Sight features front control yardage adjustment to give great quiver clearance without sacrificing sight adjustability. The rugged hard mount gives super-stable mounting, and solid 6061 aluminum construction is both ultra-durable and lightweight. HRD technology means no bushings to loosen or rattle.  Micro adjustable 2nd & 3rd axis.  Micro adjustment for windage & elevation are tool-free, and the precision laser engraved sight scale & knobs are very easy to read. Removable rack for traveling. The sight scale is compatible with archery programs. Now includes sight tapes.

Single-Pin Sights

The Archer’s Choice Range Rover Pro ($233) from TruGlo (888-887-8456; features PWR-Dot Illuminated Center Dot Technology to help improve long-distance accuracy. The ultra-smooth Zero-In Adjustment Dial delivers precise micro-adjust elevation tuning, and more than 40 pre-marked yardage tapes help make setup faster and easier. The Range Rover Pro boasts an adjustable green LED with 11 brightness settings for plenty of customization. The sight also features a large circular field of view and a glow-in-the-dark shooter’s ring. A quiver can be mounted directly to the bracket via the included quiver mount.

The AccuTouch ($289 to $349 depending on model) from Axcel Sights (434-929-2800; gives you the best of both worlds: a single-pin slider sight that, thanks to its revolutionary Accu-Clicks, acts like a multi-pin sight. The user sets each Accu-Click at a specific distance so that the slider stops at the desired point. The Accu-Clicks, combined with a 45-degree rear-facing sight scale, allow the user to set the sight from an arm’s distance away. The Red Elevation Tension Lever lets the shooter choose how easily the sight slides along the elevation bar. In addition, the AccuTouch offers all-axis leveling capabilities. Other features include a Windage Lock Button that prevents the micro-adjustable windage knob from turning when engaged. Models include the AccuTouch, the AccuTouch HD with Mathews Harmonic Dampers and the AccuTouch Pro, a dovetail version with a 6-inch carbon bar.

The Optimizer Lite King Pin ($350) represents the third generation of HHA’s (800-548-7812; wildly popular single-pin mover. This new iteration is more user-friendly than ever thanks to interchangeable wheels that make changing tapes easy and let archers use multiple arrow and draw weights. Once the King Pin is sighted-in at 20 and 60 yards, it’s dialed in to the yard out to 100 yards, and a sight tape magnifier allows for adjustment to the 1/4 yard. A “Blind 20” feature allows you to return to your most common predetermined distance – without looking. The optional Blue Burst light makes for fast and easy adjustment in dark ground blinds. This deadly accurate sight has fully integrated second- and third-axis adjustment.

- See more at:

Sizing up a Compound Bow

So you are looking at your first Compound Bow or upgrading the one you have had for 20 years.  Wheels, cams, stabilizers, risers, let-off,  limbs. What does it all mean? Choosing the best bow for compound archery, whether backyard shooting, hunting, tournaments on 3-D targets or paper punching.  Learn how we do it at Bass Pro Shops.

Shop our extensive Archery selection at!

Eye Dominance:

The fancy name for this is “ocular dominance,” which basically means that your brain prefers visual input from one eye over the other. Your brain considers that eye’s input more “true.”

You dominant eye is usually the same side as your writing hand. But “cross-dominance,” is not uncommon. Some right-handed archers shoot left-handed because their left eye is dominant. I have found about 15% of our sales are to this type of archer. You can determine your dominant eye in three easy steps:

1. Place your hands at arm’s length, and press your thumbs and forefingers together to form a triangular opening.

2. Keeping both eyes open, look through the triangle and center it on something, like a doorknob.

3. Now close one eye, then the other. If you can’t close one of your eyes by blinking, have someone cover it for you.

Notice how the doorknob stays in place with one eye but “jumps” with the other eye? Your dominant eye keeps the doorknob centered in the triangle. Archers who are right-eye dominant should shoot right-handed. Archers who are left-eye dominant should shoot left-handed.

Another easy way is use the buddy system:

1. Place your hands at arm’s length, and press your thumbs and forefingers together to form a triangular opening.

2. Keeping both eyes open, look through the triangle and center it on top of your buddies nose.  Have your buddy tell you what eye he or she sees and that is your dominate eye.

Determine your Draw Length:

Your local Bass Pro Shops can measure it quickly and precisely.  Here is an easy way to estimate your draw length on your own:

First, measure your wingspan. Stand up straight with both arms and hands extended to your sides, forming a “T.” Have a friend measure from the tip of one middle finger to the tip of the other middle finger in a straight line. Divide that number by 2.5 to estimate your draw length. An archery pro will need to measure you again for accuracy and precision. You don’t want to buy a bow with a draw length that’s too short or too long. 

Keep in mind a half inch off on your draw length can be all that is keeping you from holding steady.

ATA or Axel to Axel Length:

The axle-to-axle measurement is the length between the bow’s cams– the wheel-like devices that help power the bow – attached to the bow’s limb tips.

Why does this measurement matter? It’s important for the axle-to-axle length of your bow to fit the type of shooting or hunting you’ll be doing. An extremely long bow, for instance, might make hunting in a tight blind or single-seated tree stand difficult. If you’re roaming an open course, scouting turkeys from the ground or hunting deer from a tree stand with open platforms, you can probably get by with a longer bow. It might even be beneficial. Why? Typically, the longer a bow’s axle-to-axle measurement, the more forgiving it will be when taking longer shots. Though with today's technology the shorter ATA bows are very forgiving and easier than ever to shoot.  Try a few before making your final decision.

Draw Weight:

There’s no magic formula for determining draw weights. Start with a low-poundage bow, especially if you’ve never drawn one before. The more you use your bow-shooting muscles, the more weight you’ll be able to draw, and the farther you’ll be able to shoot.

These days it’s easier than ever to find quality bows with larger amounts of adjustable draw weights.  This means you can easily change your draw weight as you develop your shooting skills and archery muscles.

Keep in mind that most of today's bows set at 40 pounds of draw weight can easily produce enough kinetic energy to pass through an animal with the proper broadhead tipped arrow.

Take a lesson:

There are many archery coaches and classes offer around your area.  Take a few hours or a day and take a lesson from your local pro.  He or she can teach you the little things that will help you hold steadier and hit your target more often.


Basic Boat Care!

Nothing wakes up the spirit of a boater than to see the ice disappear from the area lakes and rivers. Hallelujah, this is now happening all around us in the Midwest! But before you hunt a new lunker for your wall or fill up the freezer with fresh fish, proceed with caution and protect your boat.

My boat, a 2014 Nitro Z8, is not only my toy; it is my office for much of the open water season. It is imperative I protect it to insure not only success but also safety. Like other investments, such as a vehicle and home, it is important to safeguard. Think of your home. Chances are it is loaded with safety features taken for granted: airbags, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, locks, alarms, etc., and your boat needs to be fitted for protection too.

Fiberglass damage on a boat can turn into thousands of dollars for repair quickly. Damage can come from anywhere - the shoreline as you launch or while traversing the water from floating debris. The easiest and most effective way to protect against this damage is with a KeelGuard. This product is my top recommendation for all boat owners to have. If the KeelGuard gets damaged, that means you saved potentially thousands of dollars in fiberglass damage. And these suckers are tough. Look at what I put my boat and KeelGuard through this past December: (would be effective to embed the video in the blog). This proves the durability and the effectiveness of this product.

Loading a boat is a pain, especially if you are by yourself, and all boat owners know that dreadful thud of boat hitting the trailer too hard. My boat’s bows have always been notorious for having scuff marks on the gel coat. Luckily for me, I discovered a remedy and preventative product: the MegaWare Scuff Buster Bow Guard. It has covered up most of my scuffs (see photos) and protects it from future marks. If I beat it up to the point where it looks poor (very likely!), I can replace it knowing I saved hundreds of dollars from removing scuff marks or even more with fiberglass damage.

While pursuing shallow water fish, my boat comes in contact with all sorts of obstructions just waiting to destroy my investment. Case in point is the skeg on my motor - the image shows the damage a miscalculation cost me. It is not always possible to avoid every obstacle, but avoiding this damage was. Had I installed a Skeg Guard beforehand, there would be no damage. Luckily, installing one now will cover my damage, improve performance, and add value to my motor.

I will admit that my Z8 gets a lot of second looks on the road, and I like it. It is no surprise - she’s beautiful and I keep her that way. My boat receives a scrubbing weekly with Bass Pro Shops Premium Boat & RV Wash.  Do not underestimate how a little TLC goes a long way. Not only does it keep the boat sparkling, but it helps me discover loose screws, minor scuff marks, and other miscellaneous repairs that could lead to larger issues. In addition, scrubbing seats and other hard to reach places prevent mold and mildew from growing.

No doubt you will be heading to the taxidermist several times in 2015, but be sure these moments are not at the sacrifice of your boat and wallet. Before you head out on your favorite body of water, be sure it is ready for the obstructions that await it. A minor investment and a little time can save you from thousands of dollars in damage.

Check out some of our Bass Pro Shops Tracker Boats!

Thanks Andy Buss!



Custom Bow Strings

Make your bow awesome


Need a new string for your bow?  Well come down and ask about custom string orders for bows and crossbows, and yes this includes recurve bows.  We are proud to introduce a string and cable customizer, all with First String a trusted manufacturer of quality bow strings.  We will work with you step by step to get the string or cable or both that you need, and here is a fun deal, in the color you want for most applications.   So if you want a red and yellow string and cable set we can get it.  We have a wide variety of color choices available.  First String will make it as soon as it is ordered and will be shipped back to us and we will install it on your bow.   While here take a look at our vast array of archery accessories, arrows and broad heads.  Another area you need to see  is our archery range.  The range is indoors and we use 3D targets.  Look forward to helping all our archer friends so come see us.

And of course, browse our extensive assortment of Archery at


Female Historical Participation in Archery!

Archery has been part of the American social fabric since the early 19th Century. Moreover, feminine participation is nothing new but rather women are responsible for weaving much of this fabric and can take credit for what it is today.


Figure 1 “New York Times November 12, 1916 from the Library of Congress digitized archives.  Top Left Circle Photo – Basket Ball 17 Year Old Girls.  Photo Below Female Archery Tournament.

(Figure 1)

The school system is the mechanism for which female participation of archery, among other sports began and thrived. Female participation was usually much higher than male participation.  Back in the early 20th century, many states instituted laws in which it was required the girls complete all four years of high school. Boys were only required to go for two years and then would either go to work or go to a trade school.  Since the majority of junior and senior classes were made up of females it created the environment in which girls participated in all sports- archery being one of them.  This high-level participation continued for over half a century until the conformity period after WWII and today it has reemerged once again at a high-level of women participation.


On the world level this participation decreased earlier than in the United States. Archery was admitted in the Olympic Games in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1920. Women competed in the 1900 and 1908 games.  Archery disappeared from the Olympics for 50 years until the Munich games in 1972.

The Great Depression and the social negative attitudes towards women during the suffrage movement also decrease the participation levels. However, because of the mechanism mentioned before at the grassroots high school level, women archery still thrived against this adversity.

What was the conformity period? From the battle field to the home front the war was an emotionally exhausting time for the world that was affected by it.  Conformity period was a way for our society to be “normal”. Moreover, communism was the new enemy and setting our culture apart from theirs- in which women were doing the same tasks as men for the sake of the motherland-was important to the American cultural attitude. Some women went back to homemaking and left the world of sporting. However, unlike many of the other sports Archery was still in large numbers done by women.



Figure 2 Library of Congress Digital Archives. Office of War Information/Farm Services Administration.

(Figure 2)

In the early 20th Century women took the center stage in the world of competition archery. For example Dorothy Smith Commings was a seven time Archery National champion in 1921, 1922, 1924-1926 and in 1931 (Figure 2).  These competitions were huge events in which newspapers across the country would report on the results and the contestants. It must be understood the time period; even simple things like taking photographs shown here was an expensive venture. The quality of these photographs is another indication on how important women Archery was to the American social fabric.  People took the sport very seriously in which many would travel great distances to watch the matches. Moreover, young men were attracted to the participants. Magazines and prints a like would use attractive images of women to attract male counterparts to sporting events.



This phenomenon kept moving forward.  Even advertisers jumped on board. The image a female shooting a bow attracted many and was-and still is-appealing. Possibly due to the image that it portrays- beauty and power (Figure 3 & Figure 4).  Also, in this late 40’s Crest Commercial here:




Figure 3

Figure 4

            Today Female Archery is still going strong. Movies like Hunger Games and Brave are not the cause of females being interested in archery, but merely a continuation of a long standing American tradition.  I invite all women- young and old alike- to stop in Bass Pro Shops and speak to one of our Archery Pros, we have girl pros too!

And of course, check out our extensive online selection of Archery on

For more further reading......


Bow Fishing 101

What is Bow Fishing?  Do we have a season for it?  If so what are the dates.  Do you need special equipment?

Bowfishing is a method of fishing that you use special equipment to shoot and then retrieve the fish.

Season:  May 15th thru September 30th

Who can bow fish?  Any person who has a fishing license or a small game hunting license can take carp of any size and in any number by long bow, recurve or compound bow.  This can be done in any water where fishing and discharging a bow is permitted.  Please always check your DEC website to see if the lake you plan to go bow fishing is restricted or not.

On May 2nd at 4pm we are pleased to have Captain Jason Barnes one of our Bass Pro Shop Pro Staffers here to give a Bow Fishing seminar.  Jason has grown up in the area and has been hunting waterfowl since the age of 5 with his dad.  Jason received his Master Captain's license and New York State Guide's license in 2000.  Jason formed Frontenac Fowlers Guide Service and enjoys taking young, old and veterans on guided tours while teaching them the sport.  Now as part of the Pro Staff with Gator Trax, Jason does fishing charters in the summer.  This seminar will talk in detail about the sport and what equipment is needed as well as how to get started.



















Here are a few bows that Jason will touch base on.  The AMS Bowfishing Fish Hawk Compound Bowfishing Package  perfect with all the equipment needed with the exception of arrows.  A smooth draw and it weighs 3.4 pounds.










The PSE Archery Discovery Bowfishing Package includes everything you will need as well as 2 arrows.






So plan on stopping by May 2, 2015 at 4pm for a fun fact filled seminar on bowfishing with Captain Jason Barnes.






Staying bug free on your turkey hunt


It seems that turkey season and mosquitoes arrive at about the same time but now there is a way of getting rid of the mosquitoes without spraying messy chemicals on your skin. The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent system creates an odorless and invisible barrier that mosquitoes will not cross, providing a mosquito free area 15’ in diameter.  It uses a butane cartridge to heat up a chemically treated repellent mat that lasts up to six hours (butane cartridges last up to twelve hours). Also great for bow season, dove season, fishing or anytime you want to keep mosquitoes away.

Bugged While Hunting and Camping?

Another great product to use to keep bugs away is Premium Insect Repellent by Sawyer that contains permethrin. According to, “The active ingredient Permethrin is a synthetic molecule similar to pyrethrum which is taken from the Chrysanthemum flower.” This spray is applied to your clothing, tents and gear before your hunt and when dry will last for up to six washes. This not only repels ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers and mites but also kills them. These two products used together will give you hours of bug-free fun in the outdoors.

With spring warming up and making its way towards becoming summer, your kids will start wanting to go outside. Stay ahead of the bugs by buying Bug Repellant at Bass Pro Katy.



Gearing Up for Spring Turkeys – Calls and Calling

As a beginning turkey hunter years ago, the one thing that worried me most when I entered the turkey woods was that I would make a mistake when it came time to call. Over the years, I’ve found that if I can simply become COMFORTABLE with the calls I carry with me into the woods, my CONFIDENCE in using them soars.


So as we turn the calendar to April and start counting down the days to the season opener, spend some time getting comfortable with your favorite calls.  If you use any type of friction call, you probably don’t need much practice to feel confident with it before the season begins.  But you do need to make sure that it still produces the sound you want it to make.  For box calls you may need to use some sand paper and a bit of chalk to get ‘em to sound like you want.  If you’re like me and prefer to have a friction call in your hands, don’t neglect to check out your striker tip.  A light sanding of the striker tip and pot surface may be needed.  Or, if you’re looking for a new tone or pitch, consider investing in a new set of strikers to go with your old standby friction call.


The calls that I have to spend the most time getting reacquainted with every pre-season are my mouth calls.  I prefer the Redhead Pro Pack of diaphragm calls.  They all provide good and unique sounds and they aren’t so pricey that they break my hunting budget. If I don’t start yelping, cutting and purring with them weeks before I head into the woods with my shotgun or bow, I know my confidence won’t be high enough to use them when I need to.


So make sure you spend some time getting comfortable and gaining confidence with your calls this spring. That way you’ll be ready to use them when you come across something like this!


Todd Pridemore, Local Hunting Pro