Tracker Time: Regency 254 DL3

I remember hearing several years back that Arizona had the most boat-owners per capita in the United States. This is weird, because we live in a desert. But when you actually start to think about it, it makes sense. Arizona has several large lakes throughout the state and one can drive to Mexico or California for the ocean in hours. Also we have a lot of people from the Midwest that have moved here and brought their passions with them. So really it makes sense, but still weirds me out.

While writing up the blog about the sweet bow fishing boat last month, I couldn’t help notice another newer boat to our store. And honestly, no one can help not noticing this boat as it is probably the largest one we have ever had! I’m talking about the Regency 254 DL3. This thing is a pontoon boat like you have never seen before.

Regency is a newer name to our line of boats, but it is making quite the splash. It is our line of luxury pontoon boats. There are currently three different models, and the 254 DL3 sits right in the middle of them.

The 254 DL3 sits at 27.5 feet and can hold up to 15 people. Now immediately I am sure you brain gives you the visual of over a dozen people on a boat looking like cattle in a chute, but nothing could be farther than this. This boat has several spacious seating areas for you and your passengers. There are two lounges in the front. A L-shaped lounge in the middle. And in the back there is a huge sun lounge facing aft.

And speaking of what else in in the back, this baby has some serious giddy-up! Using the super powerful but also quiet Mercury Verado 200, the 254 DL3 can get up to 35 mph! That is the smallest model Verado though, so upgrading to the larger ones will get you going even faster. (The boat we have in-store can get up to 50 mph.) To help handle this power, the boat uses three pontoons instead of the normal two. This gives the boat better buoyancy, lift, speed and handling.

What really sets the 254 apart from other pontoon boats is the interior. For the captain this boat has an adjustable captain's chair, tilt power-assist steering, multifunction gauges, back-lit switch panels, depth finder and chart plotter. For the crew they can enjoy the built in sound system, starboard aft refreshment center (including on-demand freshwater sink and food-prep area), LED accent lighting located throughout the interior, ample storage for everyone's gear and more!

Of course with something like this, it is a bigger investment. You’ll want to take care of it, and we will help you with that! This boat comes with our 10+Life™ Warranty. That is a 10-year bow-to-stern warranty plus limited lifetime structural and deck warranty. It is also completely transferable to a second owner!

All of the features for the Regency 254 DL3 are available online, but really the best way to get the facts is by checking one out in person. Our Tracker Team will take care of you! The cool thing about our company is how it lets us share our passions with you. (Just let us know when the maiden voyage will be and if there’s room for one more!)


Previous Tracker Topics

Mako 17 Skiff

Grizzly Sportsman 1860 CC

Wildcat Special Edition


Why it Matters: Proper Physical Preparation

When it comes to going on an outdoor adventure, there will always be the need for some kind of preparation. Whether you are just going out to walk around the local community pond you will at least need proper footwear and water. If you are going to Africa on an eight-day buffalo hunt, there is going to be a lot of preparing to do. And it goes beyond any checklist of gear or practice at whatever you are going to be doing. A crucial aspect that is sometimes missed is proper physical preparation.

Now I believe the outdoors should be able to be enjoyed by everyone. It is one of the very few things that anyone from any walk of life can appreciate. Knowing that there are organizations like Outdoor Experience 4 All who work hard to bring kids with terminal illnesses out hunting or fishing really shows that we aren’t completely messed up as a society. Now should nature trails in the National Parks start being paved? Eh, that is a different discussion to be had. But no matter what, people should know what is going to be expected of them and if they can handle it.

People spend years training to climb certain mountains. They know what will be needed from their bodies in order to make it up and down in one piece. This can sometimes be missed when it comes to hunting trips. On certain hunts you may have to cover several miles through harsh terrain carrying a heavy pack. And after all that you’ll need to be able to hit the animal you are after!

One of the best pieces of advice I got was this: “Go to the range with your hunting rifle. Set out your target at least 100 yards out. Do twenty five pushups, twenty five body squats, twenty five crunches and twenty five jumping jacks. As soon as you finish, fire three shots at the target and see where you end up.” While you won’t be having to do a micro-Cross Fit workout on a hunt, you will be needing to rely on your own strength and how well you can control your weapon after exuding yourself. And think about this, you didn’t have on all that heavy bulky hunting gear when you were practicing!

Practicing with the gear that you will be using is essential to a successful trip. Whether it be fishing, hiking or hunting. You need to know how the stuff will work. And always try using your gear with gloves on. Because one day you may need to be able to unscrew your water bottle with thick gloves on or unzip your backpack or fire your bow and so on!

Do you need a six pack to catch a marlin or hunt an elk? No. But should have been doing cardio and perhaps weight-training leading up to the trip before? Yea. Especially since you never know when a normal trip could turn into something much more serious.



Getting Outdoors

Picking Up







Fish Like a Girl

by Andrea Bailey
Bass Pro Shops Altoona Associate

I’ve been fishing since I was a little girl, when my dad would take me. I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors – camping, fishing, even landscaping in my other job. Fishing is great, but now I’m hooked on bowfishing.

A friend started me in it last year. I tagged along, following him around the shore, learning and trying my hand at it. I immediately fell in love…with bowfishing. I went almost every day during the spring and summer of 2014. In just a few months, I shot a lot of carp. I’m no expert, by any means, but hopefully I can inspire other people, especially young women, to give it a try.

What is it about bow fishing? It’s exciting, it’s competitive, and it combines two great outdoor activities…hunting and fishing. Many people who bowfish use a boat, but I fish from shore. I’d like to try fishing from a boat this year, but I’m pretty sure I’ll like the shore more.

Why the shore? It’s the hunting aspect. Being in the elements, using your senses and ability to “hunt” the carp. Being quiet, stalking along the shore, wading through water, the challenge of trying to get to different places where you know the carp may be hiding. That’s part of the fun and part of the challenge…challenges like crawling out on branches that are half way in the water, then falling in and scaring away all the fish!

The tree branch incident was just one lesson reinforced in my first year – be careful! Other lessons, challenges, and tips?

  • Look for brushy areas, where the carp can hide. But, beware of shooting into those brushy areas under water – I shot an arrow into a tree and couldn’t get it out.
  • Shoot lower than you think. Shoot 6 inches below every foot the fish is under the water.
  • Watch for breaches and look for large rings from the breaches to know where the fish is. This was one of my biggest challenges in learning about bowfishing - trying to decipher which rings were from carp.
  • Be aware and go slowly. Walking on the shore you need to be quiet and keep your shadow off the water. If you’re not aware, the fish won’t be there. You will scare them off with your shadow or sound. I really had to adjust to going slowly along the shore – you have to go into stalk mode.
  • Spring is the best time and after a rain is my favorite - when water is up and there may be some light flooding. But, use common sense and be careful – always be aware of the weather and water conditions. Don’t push it.
  • Invest in some good waterproof boots – keep your feet dry.

It’s not a huge investment to get started. I use an AMS package that included everything. This year, I’ve already invested in an arm guard, wax for my bow strings, a new arrow with four barbs, and some polarized sunglasses. The better to spot those carp!

With my brief bowfishing experience so far, comes that general good feeling of doing something for the environment and encouraging others. Some of my friends will ask, “Why bowfish, when you don’t eat them?” So, I’m able to educate them about the invasive fish taken in bowfishing and the effect they can have on our waters. Likewise, I invited friends along and posted about my bowfishing on my social media pages…quite a few have started, or want to start, this year. I also explain there are some people who choose to eat carp and I often give my harvest to those folks.

This year, I look forward to venturing away from my usual locations and trying new venues. You won’t find me standing at the fence below a dam just pointing and shooting…you’ll find me walking the shores of rivers and creeks, doing my part to rid them of invasive species.

One of the biggest challenges I face? That guy - and there's always one or more -  who says, “I can’t believe you bowfish. That’s really cool.”

It’s a bit annoying…I know they're saying it because I’m female. But, I also take it as a compliment.

It is cool – I fish like a bowfisherwoman.


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Dog Days Family Event

Did you know that Bass Pro Shops is a dog friendly store? Well we are and we just love our dogs!  Those who bring their dogs in know you just can't come in and out quick here.  Why ?  Everyone stops you to talk about your dog, pet your dog, and of course any owner and dog, know to stop at the greeter because treats are always available.  Because we love our dogs so much we will be having a Dog Days Family Event at the store!  Check out what we have going on.

Dates:  March 6, March 13     6-8pm

            March 7, March 14    11-4pm

During the Event:

Enter for a Chance to Win 1 of 3 prizes!

(Need not be present to win)


1 GoPro Fetch Dog Harness with camera mount and a GoPro Hero 4 Silver Camera

2 PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Steel Fountain

3 Petmate Dog Bed, Bowl, and Toy


Friday March 6 & March 13  6-8pm

6pm Seminar  Socializing & Crate Training Your Dog with Beth from Cayuga County Highland Search & Rescue

(1st 20 people with a dog  to attend the seminar get a Nite Ize S-biner)












Home Made Dog Treats with Recipe to the first 50 people with dogs

Craft:  Make a balloon dog

TBF Service Dogs in the Lobby




Saturday  March 7th and March 14th 11-4pm

First 100 people with dogs receive a doggie bag with a Hyper Pet tennis ball and a doggie bag dispenser with 1 roll of bags inside


11am - Teach Your Puppy to Sit and Heel

2pm - Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Outdoors

FREE Home Made Dog Treats to the first 100 people with a dog!

Dr. Heather Wiedrick will be here from the Rome Animal Hospital doing micro chipping for $20 and you get a 1 year registration FREE. on March 7th






Dr. Thomas Gill will be here from the Brookside Veterinary Clinic on March 14th

Dr. Gill will be doing micro chipping for $76.  This includes all paperwork and he will mail it in for you.











Max 200 Dog Obedience and Agility will be here from Port Byron, NY on March 7th and March 14th













TBF - Service Dogs  March 6th, 7th & March 13th, 14th












Muddy Paws Dog Grooming will be here Saturday March 7th.  Talk with professionals on why grooming is so important to your pets health!








Wag In Tail & Bubbles & Bows Dog Grooming will be here on March 14th to talk about pet health and why grooming in the winter months are so important!












Cayuga County Highland Search & Rescue will be here with one of their search & rescue dogs! March 14th











Please feel free to go on our Bass Pro Facebook page and join our Dog Event. The picture with the most likes will receive a doggie gift basket!



March 7th & March 14th

Receive a FREE Photo of you and your dog as well as a certificate with your dogs paw print on it.  All ink is baby safe and we will have dog approved wipes to take the ink off.


So stop on down to Bass Pro Shop and share with us the celebration of dogs!

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator



Crossbow Emergence

Crossbows have emerged as a major force in the hunting industry. In recent years the advancements in crossbow technology have been simply amazing. One of the premier brands in crossbows is TenPoint Crossbow Technologies out of Mogadore, Ohio.

TenPoint traces its origins back to Horton Crossbows. In the mid-1990s, Rick Bednar grew dissatisfied with the direction of Horton and left to form a new company, which eventually became TenPoint. Bednar’s plan was to produce the highest-quality bow he could. One of the newest models from TenPoint, the Stealth SS, is one of the best crossbows I’ve had the pleasure of hunting with.

Stealth SS specifications

  • Length (with stirrup): 34.4 inches
  • Axle-to-axle width: 17.5 inches uncocked/13.5 inches cocked
  • Power stroke: 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 pounds
  • Draw weight: 185 pounds
  • Velocity: 352 feet per second (370-grain bolt with 100-grain field tip)

TenPoint reduces the chance of getting “crossbow thumb” with these slick rubber flaps that guard your hand from getting in the way of the string while shooting.

The Stealth SS has a bullpup design, making the bow very compact. The grip is very comfortable and is of a thumbhole-type design. The main rail is aircraft-grade, fluted aluminum which is very strong, yet lightweight. To reduce the chances of you giving yourself a case of crossbow thumb, the Stealth has TenPoint’s rubber thumb guards helping you keep your thumbs from getting in the way of the rapidly-advancing string when you shoot at a big buck. As one of my relatives found out, that has a way of ruining a hunting trip. It can also put a damper on your hitchhiking career. There is an additional guard included with the bow to help train yourself not to do something stupid during practice. Crossbow companies are being pretty proactive in preventing this condition.

The bow is decked out in Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity camo. It’s topped with TenPoint’s three-power multi-reticle illuminated crossbow scope that is screaming-accurate right from the factory. Most of the fine details you’d expect from a higher-end bow can be found on the TenPoint—everything from swivel studs for a sling to a rubber-coated stirrup for cocking. You can add on silencers to the string and vibration dampers to quiet the bow down if you need to.


Like all TenPoint bows, the Stealth SS is offered with two different cocking aids: the AccuDraw 50 and the AccuDraw. Both aids take the form of a cocking rope that is built into the buttstock. It retracts into the stock when not in use and makes cocking the bow quick and easy.

The AccuDraw 50, which my bow came equipped with, reduces the cocking draw weight by 50 percent. The only drawback to my test bow was that the rope came a little un-sprung during testing and I had to disassemble the entire mechanism and rewind the rope. It wasn’t a big deal in that it still functioned flawlessly, but occasionally the string hook on one side wouldn’t retract all the way when I was in the field. This could have been an issue if I wasn’t watching for it and it made noise when a deer came around. Again, it never became a serious issue. I’d still get the AccuDraw 50 without hesitation. It is the best cocking aide I have used of any manufacturer.


TenPoint’s AccuDraw 50 cocking mechanism reduces the draw weight by 50 percent. It is one of the best crossbow cocking aids you can get.

The top cocking aid that TenPoint sells is the AccuDraw. It is very similar to the AccuDraw 50 but it goes a step further—it has a crank that does all of the work for you. Simply set the hooks on the string and crank up the AccuDraw until the bow cocks. If you need to, you can use a cordless screwdriver to do it. For a hunter with disabilities, this would be the hot ticket. I’ve tested the AccuDraw system in the past and it is slick!

A big plus for the Stealth is the compact feel of the bow. For those of you who hunt from a ground blind, this is one of the best bows you can get. It is compact, fast, and accurate.

I started out shooting at 15 yards with a 390-grain bolt and a 100-grain field tip. Bull’s-eye on the first shot. I then backed up 10 yards, and got the same result. I finally stopped hitting the 10-ring on my target when I hit 67 yards. That is pretty confidence-inspiring. Would I ever take that far of a shot while hunting? No, but it’s nice to know that at ranges I would shoot at, I’m pretty sure I could hit the target. The speeds of bolts put out by the bow combined with the right broadhead is a very lethal combination.


Haveta, Gota, Must have it!!! Part II



1. Weaponry and accessories will make the hunt. You have options, oh so many options. You could go the archery route – you’ll need a bow and a set of arrows that are cut and tipped to your specifications. You’ll need a quiver to hold your arrows and possibly a sight and finger tabs, maybe a wrist or arm guard depending on your shooting technique. A silencer on your bow string might not be a bad idea either. Should you go the gun route though, you’ll need a gun, ammo, eye and ear protection, a scope, and you’ll need a cleaning set up for after you use it.

2. Storage you can carry, like a backpack! You’ll need to be able to easily transport your equipment on your back so a good backpack is a MUST HAVE! You’ll also need a case for your gun or bow depending on how you want to hunt.

3. Seating can be an issue. There are plenty of options. Blinds, tree stands, chairs, stools, take your pick and combine away as necessary.

4. Tools are an absolute addition that must be procured. Knives are crucial for finishing a kill and/or skinning and dressing a kill. Decoys and calls can distract and attract your prey helping you with your kill. Game cameras can let you know when something is nearby.

5. Dogs are not necessarily a requirement, but they sure do make things easier and come in handy.  They scent, track, and retrieve which makes things easier on the hunter. 


We'll keep working on this for you and let you know whenever we update it!!!

Keep on keepin' on!


Fishy Facts: Bow Fishing

So this month we will be taking a different approach to our Fishy Facts blogs. Instead of focusing directly on a fish itself, we will take an in-depth look at a certain way to catch fish. And if you read last month’s Tracker Time blog you would know exactly what kind of fishing we are talking about: bow fishing!

Using specialized equipment, bow fishing allows fishers/archers the opportunity to take fish. I am not sure what you would be classified out of those two (fisher or archer) exactly but you definitely get the best of both worlds. The main differences between regular archery and bow fishing is that the bow will have a line holder that holds the line attached to your arrow. Your arrow does not have any kind of fledging as it not necessary in water. What is necessary though is understanding how your arrow will react when in hits water. Also the arrowhead used will usually be a barbed one that will hopefully keep your fish from getting away. After a fish is pierced it is reeled back and taken.

Typically bow fishing takes place on a boat, as you need to be rather close to the fish to get one and they spook quite easily so be prepared to cover some water. The most common species harvested are bottom feeders including carp but also alligator gar are common targets. In saltwater though, things get kicked up a notch and sharks are a targeted species along with rays. Bow fishing also typically takes place at night when fish are slightly more active and using bright lights are easy to spot.

Of course you will want to look at your local rules and regulations concerning bow fishing. Because not only could you be fishing in the wrong place but now “discharging a weapon” as well if you find yourself in real trouble. Bow fishing has increased significantly over the past few years. What once was a smaller niche market is now proving to be a huge game-changer. Not only in sporting good stores but also ecosystems.

Unfortunately invasive species have done a good job and making a mess of our waterways. One of the most prolific is the Asian Carp. You know, that fish that jumps out of the water when disturbed and have caused serious damage to ecosystems and people that they have hit. Huge efforts to eliminate these fish have been undertaken, and bow fishing allows people the change to specifically target them and remove them much quicker and safer than other methods.

The son of the founder/owner of Bass Pro Shops is huge outdoor enthusiast. Bow fishing has become a huge passion of his, and he loves to show it on his YouTube channel. Our stores now carry a wide variety of bow fishing products as well. Bass Pro Shops also started its own Bow Fishing Championship! It is pretty awesome and definitely deserves a checking out!

While the new products and advancing technologies definitely have a lot of people drooling, it is cool to think about how this sport has evolved from its once simple and survival-importance ways. Our ancestors had to learn to bow fish in order to get the food they so desperately needed.

So do your homework and look into what it would take to get into bow fishing. It may provide that niche sport to get your fisher into archery or your archer into fishing. Either way it is a great way to get outdoors and make some awesome memories on the water. And that is what it is all about.


Former Finned-Friends:


Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass






Bull Shark


Smallmouth Bass

Brook Trout


Chicken on a Stick

Like many outdoorsmen I find myself continually thinking about my next adventure. Whether it be a fishing, camping, hunting or whatever trip. It is a passion that runs deep and brings us all to a better place. What is really awesome is the fact that there are so many resources for us out there nowadays. We have websites, blogs, magazines, radio shows, YouTube channels, online stores, brick-n-mortar stores, relatives, friends, DVDs and TV to help get our fix.

 The outdoor industry has been blowing up lately, especially on television. From what once was only a few TV shows on certain subjects, there are now whole channels devoted to outdoor programing. It is awesome! In one hour you can watch and feel a part of an adventure going from marlin fishing to bow hunting moose.

Of course though we still have to deal with commercials. Now mind you, watching an ad for a crossbow is way better than one for the next Kids Bop CD, but still it is a commercial. But one popped on a while ago that had me so intrigued I needed to know more. Because let’s be honest when you hear an announcer talking about “Primos’ new Chicken on a Stick” your curiosity gets peaked.

BOOM! Primos Chicken on a Stick, ladies and gentlemen.

Now why they call a turkey a chicken, I don’t know but it is dang good marketing! Literally say the words “Chicken on a stick”. It’s catchy. That’s probably why those “Chicken in a Biscuit” crackers are still in stores.

Any-who, this turkey decoy is pretty legit. The quality of the product and the realism of the decoy is exactly what you would expect from Primos. This company has been doing an awesome job and making amazing products for years now. They are a name that people trust and look for. While the decoy might actually look like a normal one, how Primos wants this product utilized is a little different.

Typically in turkey hunting a decoy is set up and the hunter is a little ways from it. The hunter then calls the turkey in hoping to get the bird even closer once it sees the decoy. The decoy usually enrages the turkey and sets them into attack mode. Don’t believe me? Watch a video online, or the full documentary “When Turkeys Attack!” It’s real. I watched it. With my family.

But with the Chicken on a Stick a hunter literally sets up right behind the decoy. There is a versatile 2 piece stake that features a built-in gun rest and hand grip that the hunter uses. Keeping hidden behind the decoy and fan, the hunter can shoot the rushing turkey. And be quick, because those things are like raptors!

All joking aside, this is a really nice product and would definitely take your next gobbler hunt to the next level.


Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring

Hand Towels

Rainproof Camo

She Outdoor


BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag

RedHead Gun Rack


Think Camo!


SHE Outdoor is a rugged hunting line for women that is stylish with a feminine cut. The way it fits with the right material makes it functional and durable for that outdoor hunt. Also with SHE Outdoor apparel and it's proper fitting clothing, now women can be more comfortable in it, to have that proper movement. Women will now be able to climb tree stands, bow hunt, use firearms and to be able to even just walk.

    SHE Outdoor is offered in a styles to meet every need of every hunting atmosphere and activity. When it comes down to it women now have a lot more to choose from to be able to be ready and prepared for what's to come out in the field.


    There is now plenty to choose from when getting dressed and ready to hit the road, from light weight, mid-weight and heavy weight clothing options. SHE Outdoor heavyweight has a Insulated Jacket that are waterproof, breathable, lined hand warmer pockets and detached hood with adjustable draw-cords. Insulated waterproof and breathable pants include knee high side-leg zippers with exterior storm flap, hook n' loop closure ankle adjustments and back pockets with magnetic storm flap. A mid-weight option is the insulated bibs or jacket, the bibs have 2 hand warmer pockets, 2 button down rear pockets, reinforced knees and kick plate and 2 upper zipper bellowed chest pockets. The insulated jacket has a hook n loop adjustment cuffs, 2 ykk zippered hand warmer pockets and 3 panel draw cord hood and waste.

SHE also has a fleece full-zippered jacket and a pullover hoodie for the little extra coverage you might need. There is plenty to choose from in the light-weight items, the SHE enduraskin is moisture wicking and compression fit. The SHE tech shirts are odor control, loose fit that's polyester and breathable that comes in short sleeve or long sleeve.


Wild Turkey

License Requirements

To hunt wild turkey, a valid turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp privilege are required.

Those that have a lifetime comprehensive hunting, lifetime comprehensive hunting and fishing, or resident youth hunt/trap license can hunt turkey and do not need to purchase the game bird habitat stamp because it is included with those license types.

A separate turkey hunting license is required when hunting during each turkey hunting season — one for the spring season and one for the fall season.

Game bird habitat stamp privileges are good for both spring and fall seasons in the same calendar year.

You can assist another hunter by calling only if you are licensed to hunt turkeys, regardless of whether or not you have harvested a turkey yourself.

Season and Bag Limits

Spring 2015 - The spring season is April 22 through May 10, 2015. The bag limit is one bearded or male turkey for the spring season. Spring turkey hunting is allowed statewide.

Fall 2014 - The bag and possession limit for the fall seasons is one bird of either sex, regardless of hunting equipment used or what portion of the season. Fall archery season is statewide. Fall firearm season has specific dates for specific counties (see below).

  • Fall archery (including crossbows):
    Statewide from Oct. 1 – 26, 2014 and Dec. 6, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015.
  • Fall firearm: Oct. 15 – 19, 2014 in the following counties only:
    • DeKalb, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben.
  • Fall firearm: Oct. 15 – 26, 2014 in the following counties only:
    • Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Dubois, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan, Switzerland, Union, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warren, Warrick, Washington.

Youth Season

Information about the youth season is on page 13.

Legal Equipment

Turkeys can be hunted only with:

  • A 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½.
  • A muzzleloading shotgun not smaller than 20-gauge and not larger than 10-gauge, loaded with pellets of size No. 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7½. Combination loads using shot sizes other than these are illegal.
  • Bow and arrow
  • A crossbow

Hunting Hours

Wild turkeys may be hunted only from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. All DNR-managed Fish and Wildlife Areas, Mississinewa and Salamonie lakes have spring season hunting hours one-half hour before sunrise until noon for properties on CDT and until 1 p.m. for properties on EDT. Call the property for additional information.

Tagging & Checking

Immediately upon killing a turkey, the hunter must complete a temporary transportation tag on paper stating the hunter’s full name, address, sex of the turkey, license number (if applicable), and the date the turkey was taken before transporting the turkey from the field.

The hunter must register the turkey at an official check station or online through the CheckIN Game system ( or call 800-419-1326) within 48 hours of the kill.

Go to for a searchable list of available check stations in each county.

If the turkey is taken to a check station, a permanent seal will be given and must be fixed to the leg of the turkey. If the turkey is registered online through the CheckIN Game system, a confirmation number will be generated and must be recorded on the temporary transportation tag.

For an online printable version of a temporary transportation tag, see

Hunter Orange

Archery hunters must meet fluorescent (hunter) orange requirements while hunting turkeys Dec. 6-21, 2014 and from Dec. 26, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015.

Fair Chase

While hunting wild turkey, it is illegal to use or possess: a dog; another domesticated animal; a live decoy; a recorded call; an electronically powered or controlled decoy; or bait. An area is considered baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait, but an area is not considered to be baited that is attractive to wild turkeys resulting from normal agricultural practices.


A Winter With Bite!

Call me nuts, but my favorite time to bass fish is not in the spring when the flowers are blooming; nor is it during the summer when I can wear sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt; and it is not late fall when the leaves are displaying incredible beauty. Nope. My favorite time of year to bass fish is when the trees are void of leaves and required clothing includes boots, bibs, parka, and a stocking cap. Am I nuts? You be the judge.

            Before the ice blankets our lakes, bass get amazingly predictable. This normally begins in late November and lasts up until the lake is completely covered with ice. Even when the lake is half froze over, bass are still willing to bite. When the water cools into the 40’s, all game species begin migrating to their winter haunts. Contrary to the idea that these cold blooded creatures rarely eat in the frigid water, I can assure you, these fish eat! Granted, finding them can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but when you find them, it can be one of the best days in your life. In 38 degree water, I have caught over 60 smallmouth bass as well as over 40 largemouths in a single outing. These are good numbers any time of year.

            Finding these fish can be surprisingly simple if you are familiar with popular ice fishing locations. Bass follow bluegill throughout most of the year, but especially during the winter. If you know where the ice is annually carved in to Swiss cheese by ice anglers, you need to look no further. The bass will be there too.

            If you do not know where the ice fishermen congregate on a lake, or perhaps you want to target a river system, the search is more challenging, but feasible. Spend your time on the northern side. The north shoreline protects the water from brisk cold northern winds and is often a degree or two warmer. It also receives more sunlight. Study a map and locate the sharpest breaklines and inside cuts creating a deep pocket. Once on the water look for signs of any green weeds. Bluegill will use these weeds for protection. Finding baitfish on your electronics is confirmation you are in the right area. If this recipe can be located, you are certain to find bass.

            Perhaps the best aspect of fishing this time of year is that the fish will return to the same spots every year and remain there all winter. Unlike other seasons when the fish are constantly moving, they will remain in the same area all winter.

            Arguably the best bait for cold water fish is a blade bait. Wide varieties are available on the market today, but the ½ ounce gold Lazer Blade is always my first choice. It takes no time to reach bottom and produces an awesome vibration with the slightest rise. Working this bait is easy. Simply cast it as far as possible and let it sink to the bottom. You will know when it hits bottom as your line will have slack. Now place your rod in the 9 o’clock position and raise it to 11 o’clock and drop it back down to 9 o’clock. Once the bait settles, repeat all the way to the boat. Rarely will you feel the fish strike. It will suddenly have some resistance as you lift it, which will feel like weeds. Upon feeling this resistance, do not set the hook; just continue pulling the rod as far back as you can, keeping pressure on the fish.

            Swimbaits are growing in popularity in cold water. An endless supply now saturates the market, but not are all created equally. Some are made of a plastic that will not elicit good action in cold water. The cold temperatures actually stiffen them up. I rely on a Speed Shad. I match them up with a ¼ ounce leadhead jig and choose bluegill color schemes.

Retrieving this bait is also easy. Cast as far as possible, let it sink to desired depth, and maintain a slow, constant retrieve all the way back. Keep an eye on your line, a slight bow should be prevalent between your rod tip and the water. Also, be patient when a fish bites. It will feel like a bluegill pecking at your bait and then suddenly you will feel the weight of the fish. Do not set the hook during the pecking, wait until you feel its weight.

            Typically you will hear anglers suggest sleeping in all morning because the bite gets better once the sun has the opportunity to warm up the water, but my experience suggests the complete opposite. This may because most winter articles are written from southern anglers where shad is the primary forage, but in Northwest Indiana, the best bite occurs the first three hours after dawn. Yes, it is cold outside, but you will be amazed at how quickly you warm up when the fish are biting.

            Am I nuts? Perhaps, but I will not be watching fishing programs on the television this winter; I will be experiencing it live with simple tactics and predictable fish. Plus, I will likely have the entire body of water to myself. Not to mention, my rapid heart rate caused by the fish catching will keep me plenty warm.



Late Christmas Presents!

Do you still have some Gift Cards left from the holidays? And perhaps they are to Bass Pro Shops? Did you pick up a new hobby for New Years? Just want some new toys to play with? Well of course we are here for you to help you with all of that!

Here are some items from our current ad with some awesome prices that might just catch your eye!

BlackOut Intrigue Compound Bow Package


Get all the features you want in a high performing, grow-with-you bow with the BlackOut® Intrigue Compound Bow Package. Giving you great performance without the high price you face with comparable bows, the Intrigue is a pleasure to shoot with its 80% letoff, compact 30" axle-to-axle measurement, silky smooth draw, and solid back wall. Highly adjustable and capable (up to 308 fps), this lightweight bow gives developing bowhunters everything they need to make the shot when the opportunity arises this fall and for years to come. Brace height: 7". Weight: 3.3 lbs. Draw weight adjustment from 20-70 lbs. Draw length adjustment from 23"-30". Package includes: 3-Pin Apex sight, stabilizer, peep sight, D-loop, and wrist sling.

  • Great performance from a grow-with-you bow at a great price
  • 80% letoff
  • Compact 31" axle-to-axle - moves easily in stand or blind
  • Very capable - up to 308 fps
  • Lightweight - 3.3 lbs.
  • Highly adjustable - Draw weight adjustment from 20-70 lbs.
  • Draw length adjustment from 23"-30"
  • Comes with: 3-Pin Apex sight, stabilizer, peep sight, D-loop, and wrist sling.




Bass Pro Shops Extreme Tourney Spinning Reel


The Bass Pro Shops® Extreme® Tourney Spinning Reel delivers performance on par with top-level spinning reels. It's built with a lightweight and durable graphite frame and rotor, with a double anodized forged aluminum spool and a machined aluminum handle with a comfortable EVA handle knob. Inside, a 10-bearing system, including power lock instant anti reverse, keeps the reel smooth and aligned, and it's driven by brass gearing and a stainless steel main shaft.

  • Graphite frame and rotor
  • Forged aluminum spool
  • Machined aluminum handle
  • Stainless steel main shaft and bail wire
  • 10 bearing system including Powerlock™ instant anti reverse
  • Durable brass gearing
  • EVA handle knob





Masterbuilt Sportsman Elite 30'' Elite Digital Electric Smoker

Enjoy precise digital temperature and time control from a professional-quality smoker with the Masterbuilt™ Sportsman Elite® 30'' elite digital electric smoker. This high-performance smoker combines integrated digital push button controls with a thermostat-controlled, 800 watt electric heating element for even, consistent smoking between 100º - 275ºF. Full foam insulation in the body and door between the cool touch, powder coated steel exterior and smoking chamber keep heat in for consistent cooking. The integrated, digital control features an easy-to-read blue LED display that stands out, even when viewing in direct sunlight. Enjoy 730 square inches of cooking space over 4 removable, chrome-plated smoking racks. Redesigned wood chip loading system features a side door for chips. Convenient, front access drip pan makes grease cleanup easier. Handy side air damper makes smoking easier. Outside dimensions: 19.4''x18.3''x33.9''. Smoker Box dimensions: 15.26''Wx12.7''Dx26.31''H. Weight: 52.5 lbs.
Manufacturer model #: 20071414.

  • Easy-to-use, smooth performing electric smoker
  • Integrated digital push button controls for temperature and time
  • Easy-to-see blue LED display - even in direct sunlight
  • 800 watts of electric heat for smooth, consistent smoking
  • Thermostat temperature control ensures even, consistent cooking between 100º - 275ºF
  • 730 square inches of cooking space over 4 removable, chrome-plated smoking racks
  • Cool touch powder coated steel exterior
  • Full foam insulation in walls and door keeps heat in
  • Redesigned wood chip loading system with side door - easier to use
  • Convenient front access drip pan for easy grease cleanup
  • Air damper on side - easy access



We have many more sales, clearance and deals going on right now! So come make your way to the store and see for yourselves!!



Nitro boats You Can Be Proud Of

We are excited to announce a special offer on 2015 NITRO Z-8 and Z-9 models that will be of great interest to anglers considering the purchase of a performance fishing boat for the upcoming season.


The new Z PRO HIGH PERFORMANCE PACKAGES feature high-value upgrades on premium fishing equipment on 2015 Z-8 and Z-9 models, delivering a superior tournament boat at a savings up to $4,000 from the normal retail price, and a significant advantage over competitor offerings.


Package Includes:

  • 2 Lowrance HDS9 Touch fish finders w/ Structure Scan at the Bow and Dash

  • Power Pole 8' Blade Edition Anchor-Dealer Installed

  • Minn kota Fortrex 112/US2, 45" 36V

  • GEN 40 AMP 4 Bank Battery Charger

  • Keel Guard

  • Hot Foot- Non Verado

  • Trim Lever

  • Remote Oil Fill

  • Two Auto Bilge Pumps


    2015 Nitro Z-8 w/225 Pro XS

    Original Retail with Package: $51,710

    Special Pricing with Package: $46,595

    SAVINGS: $4,115


    2015 Nitro Z-9 w/250 Pro XS

    Original Retail with Package: $52,695

    Special Pricing with Package: $48,995

    SAVINGS: $3,700



    Promotion of these tremendous NITRO performance values are available now!!!

    ***While Supplies Last***


    We at Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats invite you to visit your local store and check out what is available to you!






Hunters Backpack

The second day of my first bowhunting road trip to Iowa was looking perfect. The sun was about to make an appearance on the horizon and it was a cold, crisp morning during the rut. Everything pointed towards the possibility of seeing a good buck that day. Sitting in my treestand, I heard footfalls through the dry leaves—a deer was coming. I slowly took my bow off the hanger and clipped my release to the string just as the deer was about to appear in my shooting lane.

CLINK! Something fell from my hand and hit the aluminum stand on its way to the ground. My release came apart in my hand and I couldn’t draw the bow. The buck took off, and I got a good look at it as it ran away.

Fortunately it was a small buck, or I would still be losing sleep over the experience even today. I was able to cut a piece of barbed wire and twist it in place to make the release functional for the remainder of the day, averting a disaster that could have ruined the rest of the hunt.

Since that morning, I never leave home without a spare release. That’s just one of the things I carry in my backpack when I hunt. I confess that I am not a minimalist when it comes to hunting gear and I carry a lot of stuff with me. But I often hunt miles from the truck, and having an item with me can make the difference between making that walk an extra time or not.

What follows is a list of some of the uncommon things I carry with me most of the time I deer hunt. Of course, I carry the “standards”—extra SD cards for trail camera checking, a rangefinder, a field dressing knife, a water bottle or hydration bladder, a deer call, a spare release, a flashlight and headlight, a wind checker puff bottle, a camera, my deer tags and licenses, and so on. There are also some situational items I’ll carry depending on the specifics of a hunt.

But there are also some items I bring that most hunters do not usually think to carry with them. They all serve a purpose and can make your day go much smoother if you have them along. I’ll deal with each of them separately.

Heading into the woods without the right gear can mean a short day when a long day is needed. A few things can make all the difference.

Heading into the woods without the right gear can mean a short day when a long day is needed. A few things can make all the difference.

1. Zipper-lock bags

Zipper-seal baggies for keeping used scent and lure items such as drag rags or scent wicks. Putting the smelly stuff in a zip-tight bag really helps keep the rest of your stuff from smelling nasty.

2. Wet wipes

Wet wipes and be used to clean up after field dressing a deer, or if you have to take care of business in the woods. They’re way better than toilet paper.

3. Brush nippers

Brush nippers. I cannot believe how much I use these. I snip that one branch that is going to mess with my trail camera photo, I clip a branch out of my way that might interfere with a shot, and sometimes I just use them to trim around where I am sitting in a stand so I do not have a twig poking at the back of my neck. The one I use is a multi-tool made by Avid and it has several other tools attached.

4. Rope

A haul rope for pulling stuff up into the treestand. This makes life so much easier than trying to carry things up into the stand with one hand or in your pockets. It’s much safer, too.

5. Zip ties

Zip ties come in handy in so many ways. I use them to attach a tag to the carcass, for tying branches out of my way, for temporarily attaching things to my pack or stand, attaching a lure dispenser to a branch, and even for fixing things that break. I carry a couple of different sizes and never leave home without them.

6. Properly-equipped pill bottle

I’m always sure to carry a small pill bottle with four things in it:

  • Benadryl to take care of any allergy, beesting, or bad reaction to a plant.
  • Ibuprofen to treat headaches, the pain of a turned ankle, a sprain, or just sore muscles from more physical exertion than usual.
  • Aspirin. Aspirin can fend off a mild heart attack—it’s surprising how many people have heart attacks in the woods. Chewing a large aspirin tablet while you wait for help to arrive can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Diarrhea medicine for…well, you know, it might keep you in the woods longer.

7. Plastic garbage bag

I also carry a plastic garbage bag. I have used one many times to put over my pack to protect electronics during a rain. My new Tenzing pack has a built-in rain cover that comes out of a zipper, so I may eliminate the garbage bag if I find I never use it any more.

8. Lighter

A cigarette lighter allows me to burn the ends of rope, seal plastic, and if needed, start a fire in a pinch. I never realized how handy this item is until I started carrying it; I’m surprised how often I find a use for it.


Letters to Santa - Reindeer and other Wishes

This will be our last batch of selected letters to Santa to share with you. We don't want to delay them getting to the big guy in red!


I like you! You're nice. I believe in you! I like your reindeer. Can you reindeer fly? You're awesome. Am I on the nice list? If so, can you bring me some chart paper? Can your reindeer keep your sleigh in the air?


I'm pretty sure you know what I want. So, can you tell Rudolph he is amazing and tell Frosty (if he is here) please, don't melt. Just tell you I drew a picture for you and cookies and milk and carrots for your reindeer. Please write back.


I want for Christmas a bow, arrow, make-up, earrings, a baby sister, a tree house, a dress, a gun, a picture of you and the reindeer, and moneys.



For Christmas, can I have some wrestlers and an arena? Can I also have a picture of you and Rudolph? But, if you can't get it, it's fine. Also, can I have a track and some remote control cars to go with it? Do you really use reindeers? Can you list off the reindeer you have?


I have been a good girl and want to tell you how much I love Christmas time. I enjoy helping mommy and daddy putting up decorations and the tree. I look for the Elf on the Shelf each morning. I hope you have a good holiday and don't forget my house for a gift.


I would like a big baby doll and a fishing pole to go ice fishing with my daddy.


I am sorry that I treated my brother and sister badly. I hope you can forgive me! By the way, Ernie-Bernie, our elf, needs to pick up our Christmas list at home! And I hope I can make the "nice" list this year.

Thank you.



Last, but not least:

Please, please, please I want an iPod Touch.

I know I looked at my presents, but can I have my Elf on the Shelf back please?

Santa, p.s. Her name is Jingle.




Hanging Stands, Climber Stands, and Ladder Stands

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

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

Big Game

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

Big Game Fixed

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

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


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


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

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


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

BuddyVenture Ladder

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

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


Blind Hunting With Youth

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

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


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


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

Combo Blind

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


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa Arrives!

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

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

Saturday, November 15 - Santa Arrives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also on Saturday, November 15

Free Hunting Seminars

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

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

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

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

Pella Wildlife Company

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


Game Cameras

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


Blind Hunting

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

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

Enigma 5

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

Shadow Hunter

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

Camo Burlap

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

Bale Blind

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


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