Fall Hunting University is Upon us, Are you ready to gain knowledge for your next hunt?

With Summer winding down, Fall hunting season is ramping up. Are you ready? Let us help you. Never before have we had such an outstanding cast of Stars for you to come meet and gain expert advice from. We will be hosting the Fall Hunting University at our store 8/19-8/21.

Here's the list of amazing talent:

Sean Mann, Professional Guide & Call Master/World Goose Calling Champion of Champions/ 3 Time Mason-Dixon Calling Champion.

Brenda Valentine, First Lady of Hunting®/ RedHead® Pro Hunting Team Member/ NWTF® National Spokesperson

Adam Keith, Co-Host of "Growing Deer.com"

Walter Parrott, Hunter, Champion Caller/ RedHead® Pro Hunting Team Member

Kelsey Konrade, Next Generation Pro Team® Member

Mark Campagnola, Denver Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff Member, Hunting Specialties Factory Rep.

Donnelle Johnson, Colorado Springs Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff Member, Owner of Hunt Data Maps http://www.huntdata.com/

Lisa Thompson, Pro Staff Member for Hunter's Specialties, Mossy Oak, PSE and Feradyne Outdoors

David Bloch, Owner of Outdoor Edge https://www.outdooredge.com/

Randy Mathews, Colorado Bow Hunter's Association Member and ProStaff for Hudalla Associates, Inc http://www.hudallaassociates.com/

Here's the full line up of Seminar times for our location. Be sure and stop by to meet them all, gain some knowledge, and pick up the latest gear for your Fall Hunting Season! http://www.basspro.com/classic

line up




This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Hunting Classic & Digs for Dogs!

Fall Hunting Classic 2016

The greatest hunting event and sale of the year starts Friday, along with our Third Annual Digs for Dogs Silent Auction!

The Fall Hunting Classic brings you sales, trade-ins, and seminars with our local pros, plus the ever-popular Next Generation weekend for kids!

Trade-ins that start Friday, Aug. 12 aer:

Bow and Crossbow Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every bow or crossbow you bring in (long bows and recurves excluded), receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new bow. Bows will be donated to local non-profit organizations. No limit on the number you can trade in.

Optics Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every working optic you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of new optics. One coupon per new purchase. No limit to number you can trade in.

Local pro seminars are Aug 20 & 21, and Next Generation weekend is Aug. 27 & 28. For complete details on the Fall Hunting Classic visit www.basspro.com/classic!

During the Classic, starting this weekend, we'll have the 2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns and Safes - all three weekends - Aug. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28!


Our Third Annual Digs for Dogs Silent Auction starts Friday! Come check out the FABULOUS houses that have been crafted and donated to help raise money for the Puppy Jake Foundation. Puppy Jake assists two of our most cherished groups at the store - Veterans and dogs! They train service dogs which are then matched up with veterans.

This year's doghouses run the spectrum of big and small, fancy and streamlined! But you have to see them to believe them and appreciate them!

Digs for Dogs 2016


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2016 Fall Hunting Classic!




It’s August! You know what that means – 2016 Fall Hunting Classic is right around the corner.



Visit your local Bass Pro Shops for The World’s Greatest Hunting Show and Sale of the year, 2016 Fall Hunting Classic, August 12-28!





Do you need NEW gear? Trade in your old gear and save some $$$   !

What are you in the market for?

  • Bow and Crossbow Trade-In        August 12-21
  • Optics Trade-In                                August 12-21
  • Game Camera Trade-In                August 20-28
  • Hunting Boot Trade- In                   August 20-28

*Applies to prices marked. Limit 1 coupon per new item. Donate all working bows, crossbows, riflescopes, binoculars, laser rangefinders, game cameras and gently worn hunting or rubber boots during the trade-in dates and receive a discount coupon to be used toward the purchase of a new bow, crossbow, riflescope, binoculars, laser rangefinder, game camera, or hunting or rubber boots. All trade-ins will be inspected to ensure good working order and then donated to local organizations to help with their outdoor education programs.


2nd Amendment Instant Savings are back all 3 weekends! August 12-14, 19-21, 26-28

Instant Savings on guns and safes! Save up to $100, purchase a gun or safe using our Bass Pro Shops credit card and receive an instant rebate up to $100!

Offer valid in-store on in-stock guns and gun safes only.


FREE Local Pro Hunting Tips and Seminars


August 20

  • 11 am    Archery Tune-Up; Prepare Your Gear For The Hunt
  • 2 pm      Get Close; Scent Control and Scent Products That Give You The Edge
  • 4 pm      Archery Skills; Perfecting Your Shot and How To Play The Wind


August 21www.basspro.com

  • 1 pm      Boots 101; Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience
  • 3 pm      Knives and Tools Guide; Your Hunt From Field to Freezer


*FREE Tumbler Giveaway – to the first 20 seminar attendees each day. Must be 18 years old or older.


August 20

  • 3 pm      FREE Women’s Hunting Workshop!

*FREE Mug Giveaway- to the first 25 women to attend this workshop. Must be 18 years old or older


NRA Membership Drive August 20-21

Sign up to be an NRA Member in-store and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card.


Next Generation Weekend

August 27-28      11am-4 pm

  • FREE BB Gun Shooting Range- Try out our BPS/Daisy BB Shooting Range and challenge your friends!
  • FREE Kids Archery Challenge- take aim and hit the target
  • FREE Giveaway! The first 50 kids to complete both BB Shooting and Archery Challenge (each day) will receive an orange vest and a Next Generation Patch!
  • FREE Photo Download- you on a cover or get photo bombed!
  • FREE  Craft
  • FREE Giveaway! Drawstring backpacks to the first 100 kids each day




Fall Hunting Classic 2016!

Fall Hunting Classic

The Fall Hunting Classic Returns!

August 12-28

The world's biggest hunting sale and event is back with great sales, new products, trade-in opportunities, Local Pro seminars, and the family favorite - Next Generation Weekend!


Trade in your old gear to save money on new!

Bow and Crossbow Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every bow or crossbow you bring in (long bows and recurves excluded), receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new bow. Bows will be donated to local non-profit organizations. No limit on the number you can trade in.

Optics Trade-In - Aug. 12-21 - For every working optic you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of new optics. One coupon per new purchase. No limit to number you can trade in.

Game Camera Trade-In - Aug. 20-28 - For every working game camera you bring in, receive a coupon for a discount based on the cost of the new game camera. No limit on the number of game cameras traded in - one coupon per new camera. Trade-ins will be donated to Polk County Conservation for use in catching vandalism and dumping of trash.

Hunting Boots - Aug. 20-28 - For every hunting or rubber boot traded in, receive a coupon for a discount on a new pair of hunting boots. One coupon per new pair. Traded-in boots will be donated to Soles4SouChance Patrickls.

Local Pro SeminarsMaria Young

Join our Hunting Local Pros Maria Young and Chance Patrick on Saturday, Aug. 20 for an afternoon of learning and fun at these seminars.

Saturday, August 20

Free giveaways at each session!

11am  - Archery Tune-Up:Prepare Your Gear For The Hunt - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

2pm  - Get Close: Scent Control And Scent Products That Give You The Edge - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

3pm - Women's Hunting Workshop - Join Maria to find out more about hunting from a female perspective - and the best way to balance family, work, and life in general, while enjoying the hunt! First 25 receive a BPS mug, plus Maria usually brings some fun giveaways!

4pm - Archery Skills: Perfecting Your Shot and How To Play The Wind - First 20 at the session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

Sunday, August 21

Our top notch hunting team brings you these two sessions - First 20 at each session receive a free Bass Pro tumbler!

11am  Boots 101: Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience

3pm   Knives and Tools Guide: Your Hunt From Field to Freezer


Next Generation Weekend

Another special weekend JUST for the kids!Fall Hunting Classic

August 27 & 28
11am - 4pm each day

  • BB Shooting range  wall art craft
  • Archery Challenge
  • Free photo download
  • Crafts - Wall Art craft! Color a canvas that's attached to a wood frame then hang it in your room!
  • Giveaways - First 100 kids who complete the punch card each day and get a free turkey drawstring bag!


Also going on during the Fall Hunting Classic:

  • 2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns and Safes - all three weekends - Aug. 12-14, 19-21, 26-28
  • NRA Membership Drive - Aug. 20-21 - Sign up for an NRA membership in-store and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!


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Upcoming Store Events! Did someone say hunting??

Hey everyone!  We’ve been having tons of fun over here at Bass Pro Shops in Mesa, AZ.  For the past 3 weeks we’ve been enjoying Family Summer Camp and also teaching kids how to fish at the AZGFD/KTAR Get Outdoors Expo.  It’s been a blast! What I wanted to share with you today is information about some of the other events that will be coming up over the next couple months.  Let's get started!



NRA Freedom Days

Event Dates: July 23rd & 24th

NRA Member Drive:

Sign up to be an NRA member in-store and receive a $25.00 Bass Pro Shops Gift card

Free Plano Gun Case with any handgun purchase of $300.00 or more (while supplies last)

2nd Amendment Instant Savings: instant savings when customer purchases a gun that is equal to the value of their sales tax up to $150.



Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug to first 20 seminar attendees each day


Saturday July 23

·         11AM Gun Safety

·         2PM  Dress Your MSR

·         3PM Conceal Carry Basics



Sunday July 24

·         2PM Conceal Carry Basics                

·         3PM Shooting Range Accessories


NRA Sweepstakes: July 24-August 28

1 Winner Nationally

Grand Prize: Trip for winner and up to 3 guest to the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA America's Night Race in Bristol 


1 Winner per store location

First place prize: Lifetime Membership to the NRA



2016 Fall Hunting Classic

This annual event is back!  We will be bringing you some of the best deals on hunting gear to get you set up for the upcoming season!

Sale Dates August 12th-28th

Trade-In Program:

Trade in your old gear for a coupon towards news gear!


August 12-21: Bow and Optics

August 20-28: Game Camera and Hunting Boots


Hunting Workshops and Seminars:

Saturday August 20:

  • 11am- Archery Tune-Up: Prepare Your Gear For the Hunt
  • 2pm- Get Close: Scent Control And Scent Products That Give You The Edge
  • 3pm- Women’s Hunting Workshop (*special giveaway for the first 25 attendees)
  • 4pm- Archery Skills: Perfecting Your Shot And How To Play The Wind

Sunday August 21:

  • 11am- Boots 101: Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience
  • 3pm- Knives And Tools Guide: Your Hunt From Field to Freezer


Come on in to enter for a chance to win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Bass Pro Shops NRA America’s Night Race in Bristol!

Dates: July 23-August 28

Next Generation Weekend:

Dates: August 27th & 28th

Times: 11am-4pm each day


  • Daisy BB Gun Shooting Range
  • Archery Challenge
  • Free Photo Download
  • Free Crafts
  • Free Drawstring Backpack To The FIRST 100 Kids Who Complete Their Punch Card Each Day 

For any questions please call 602-606-5600.  You can find us on the web at https://www.facebook.com/bpsmesa/


Gearing Up for Turkey Season


The last day of deer season is always a disappointment, but turkey season is fast approaching and now is the time to start gearing up.  We have the majority of our turkey gear in the store already and more is arriving every week.  I thought I would touch on a few of our products this year and give you some insight into what is going to be hot.

First and foremost, the most exciting thing for me is the new camo pattern from True Timber, HTC Green.  The majority of our products will be available in this pattern and the green is going to be extremely important this year with the mild winter we’ve had.  By mid-April, the majority of the buds are going to be blooming out and by May, the natural greens should be on in full.  Grab your Green!

The RedHead Turkey Lounger is by far the best Turkey vest available.  This vest has room for all of your calls, a game pouch for decoys or your bird, a hydration pouch which will hold a 2 liter bladder (not included with the vest), and there is room for anything else you want to take with you.  The vest is made with waterproof material. The game changer with this vest is the attached seat. This vest will allow you to sit down where ever you want, there is no need to find a tree to lean against; just lean back in the seat and you are all set.  Most importantly it is comfortable.  It is my turkey vest of choice and I think once you try it on and sit down, you will agree.

Next on the list is the RedHead Stalker Lite ¼ Zip.  I am including this because this shirt is perfect for warmer climates and I am pretty sure we are going to be looking at warm days in April here in Northwestern Ohio.  It is made out of 100% polyester which wicks away moisture and is fast drying.  We also have the Stalker Lite pants.

The one thing new this year in our store, by popular demand I might add, is the Hot Shot Deluxe Ghillie Suit.  It is a three piece suit that covers you from head to toe.  The main layer of the suit is a mesh material to help with breathability.  The suit is fully customizable and the polypropylene string that covers the suit can be cut to match the environment you are hunting in.  There is also a gun wrap and a storage bag included.


There are a lot of choices when it comes to turkey calls. Mouth calls take a lot of practice, but once you get it down, they are extremely effective. My brand of choice would be Quaker Boy. They have a mouth call for everyone including those with a narrow pallet. The sound quality and consistency make their calls stand out above the competition. For turkey hunting beginners, you should start out with a box call or a friction call. The Primos Box Cutter Turkey Call has a thumb groove that allows you to perfectly position your thumb so it can act like a spring. This allows you to make the sweetest cuts that a box call can make.\

Avian-X spends countless hours in the field studying birds and they use their findings to design ultra-realistic decoys. Specifically, the Avian-X LCD Laydown Hen Turkey Decoy presents a lifelike lay down posture. This pose attracts big gobblers by locking into the toms’ breeding instincts. They are lightweight and collapsible making the decoy easy to fit into a turkey vest. If you are looking for big toms, Avian-X is the way to go.

I could literally ramble on and probably write an entire essay on everything we have in the store for turkey season, but I wanted to highlight these few items, because honestly I’m very excited about them.  If you have any questions on anything do not hesitate to ask one of our associates, we will be glad to walk you through your selections.

On Saturday April 9th, we will be hosting two seminars specifically aimed on turkey hunting. The first one will be at 1:00 pm on Calls & Decoys. The second seminar will be at 2:00 pm on Selecting the Right Gun, Ammunition, & Choke Tube for the Job. Those who attend the seminars will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win an Avian-X Laydown Hen Decoy, but you must be present to win.

If you do not have your 2016 hunting license you can get them in the Rossford Store for both Ohio and Michigan, and do not forget your turkey tags while you are at it.  If you are hunting archery like me, we have the indoor range available, just bring your bow in (stop at our greeter to get it checked), walk up to the archery counter and ask to use the range.

Now let’s all get tuned or patterned up and put some Thunder Chickens on the dinner table.


Spring Fishing Classic - Local Free Seminars/Next Generation Weekend

2016 Spring Fishing Classic - Altoona, IA

Old, young, men, women, and children - the second weekend of the Spring Fishing Classic has something for EVERYONE!

Free Local Pro Seminars

Friday, February 19

7:00pm - Bladed Jigs: Learn How and Where to Fish Bladed Jigs for your Next Big Catch
Presented by Fishing Associate Jakob Glas

Lance Baker

Saturday, February 20

11:00am - New To Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started
Presented by Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

1:30pm - Women’s Fishing Workshop - Presented by Becoming an Outdoors Woman (they'll have information on the BOW Spring Weekend, too!)

Kary Ray2:00pm - Understanding Baitfish and Their Seasonal Movements
Kary Ray - Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

4:00pm - The Strategy of Successful Kayak Fishing
Kent Petersen, Camping Associate/Kayak Fisherman

4:30pm - Kids’ Fishing Workshop
Taylor Howard, Leader of the Mitchellville Elementary Fishing Club - All kids get a special certificate!


Sunday, February 21

11:00am - New To Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started
Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

2:00pm - Understanding Baitfish and Their Seasonal Movements
Kary Ray - Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

4:00pm - The Strategy of Successful Kayak Fishing
Kent Petersen, Camping Associate/Kayak Fisherman

4:30pm - Kids’ Fishing Workshop
Joel VanRoekel, Des Moines Parks and Recreation - All kids get a special certificate!

Next Generation Weekend!

It's all about the kids! Our activities start at noon! Free Photo Download

  • Free Photo Download - like you're on the cover of Next Generation magazine!
  • Free Kids' Craft
  • Free Kids' Fishing workshop at 4:30 Saturday and Sunday - See the schedule above for details!
  • Free Casting Buckets Challenge!

Free kids' drawstring bag for the first 100 kids to complete a punch card each day!

Don't miss the fun!


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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Chance Patrick

Our second new Hunting Pro Staff Team member is Chance Patrick!  Chance got interested in hunting as a boy and is now an avid hunter and outdoorsman, in general. He shares that love of the outdoors through his Iowa's Great Outdoors program, helping kids and adults experience Iowa's natural resources. 

How did you get started hunting?

I found an interest in hunting about 20 years ago, at the age of 12, and it quickly became a true passion. As a kid, I was taught all of the amazing things that the outdoors, and nature, have to offer. I’m not very singular when it comes to the type of game that I like to hunt, however, the hunting I enjoy most is for deer.  Not only do I love the hunt itself, but I'm very thankful for the food my hunting provides for my family all year.

What’s your favorite hunting method and why?

Archery is, by far, my favorite method of hunting.  As an adolescent, I competed in indoor and outdoor archery and, through that, met some amazing guys who got me into bow hunting. I do a bit of shotgun hunting from time to time, however, the up-close-and-personal experience of archery hunting, and the dedication it takes to prepare and hunt that way, makes it my favorite.

Three tips or techniques everyone should practice:

The number one tip for hunting is safety, safety and safety! Safety in learning about your equipment, and how it functions, and knowledge of the land/area you are hunting. Second, know the game you are hunting and regulations for that game (i.e., the legal regulations for harvesting that specific game, best legal times of the day to hunt that specific game, and the best places to find that game). Third, ALWAYS enjoy Iowa’s outdoors, but also respect all the great things it has to offer you.

Three items you never leave home without when you go hunting?

I always check, and double check, all of my safety equipment, like a working lighter for a safe fire should the need arise, all lifeline equipment, and a compass (especially if you are unfamiliar with the land/area you are hunting). Second, more clothing than I'll actually need. You should always prepare for the worst possible conditions for the season you are hunting. Third, communication and a plan with family or friends. I can't stress enough how important it is that someone be aware of where you will be and when you should be expected back.

Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors?

Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather five years ago and he was the biggest influence in my life, in general, and definitely when it comes to my love of Iowa’s outdoors. Though he was mainly a fisherman of catfish and bullhead, (which I absolutely love as well!),  some of the best times I’ve had in Iowa’s outdoors were with him at a lake or good ole’ farm pond just spending time together.


Chance's passion and mission as a pro staff member for Bass Pro Shops Altoona is to educate people of all ages, especially the next generation, about what Iowa’s outdoors has to offer. Like hunting, fishing, camping, and more, and all of the places there are, and equipment available, to do these activities. Outdoor activities are being replaced by electronics and people get so wrapped up in all of the day-to-day things that need to be done, that they forget all of the beautiful and educational things nature and the outdoors have to offer.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” If I even reach one family that decides to try something new outdoors and go down that "dirt path," then my job is being done.


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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Maria Young

Meet Maria Young - one of our two new Hunting Pro Staff members!

Maria is an avid hunter. From whitetail hunter, to turkey every spring, coyote hunting, and even raccoon. Personally, and as a member of the Dressed to Kill TV show, she has hunted in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, as well as Canada for black bear and, of course, taking some time out for fishing! She's a busy mom to three young women, businesswoman, wife, and hunter, but she took some time out to talk to us about her passion of hunting!

How did you get started hunting?

My father, grandfather and uncles all hunted while I was a child, but I started out competition shooting at the age of 8 in New York state. It wasn't until I met my husband, Tim, that I started to hunt while we were dating in the late 90s. Tim is the one responsible for teaching me all of my hunting skills. His obsession turned into our passion not only as a couple, but now also as a family!

What is your favorite hunting method and why?

My favorite style is archery, by far! I think it's the most challenging and the most rewarding. You have to practice every day and make sure that you are precise with your shots, as you do not want to wound an animal.

Three tips or techniques that you think everyone should practice:

  1. Learn to judge yardage, since you never know when the time will come that you won't be able to grab that rangefinder. Even if you range a few spots from your stand each time you get in there, this will give you a better idea of how far your target is, just in case you can't grab the range finder.
  2.  Always wear, or bring, an additional layer along with you, no matter the temperature. You can always take a layer off, but if you get cold and didn't wear/bring an extra one, this might ruin your sit.
  3. As an archery hunter, have a back up release in your bag at all times! You never know when yours will break, or you might drop one out of the stand after you have been up there a bit!

What are three items you NEVER leave home without when you go hunting?

 My phone, my protein chews and my bow!

Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors? Tell us about it.

My husband Tim has, by far, been the biggest influence on me when it come to the outdoors. He has taught me how the moon phases work, to watch not only the temperature, but the barometric pressure, the wind direction and its changes throughout the day, thermals, sunrise/sunset, as well as how to hang stands - where and why, how to plant food plots, and so much more! Without Tim, I would not be the huntress I am today!

Maria's passion is hunting and her mission, as a Pro Staff member, is to pass that passion along to others, especially those groups two demographics who may need some extra encouragement - women and children.

"I want to teach more women and children about the outdoors, give them the encouragement that anyone can hunt and enjoy time with friends/family/loved ones in nature and assist as many men, women and children, as possible, to become hunters everywhere, safely and ethically!"

Follow Maria on social media - she is always open to answering questions. Look for her to be at Bass Pro Shops Altoona for seminars, etc!

Twitter/Instagram/Periscope/Pinterest @MariaYoungDTK


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Back in Action at Bass Pro Shops – Mesa

Well it’s a new year, and it’s about time for a new blog! And what better to talk about then all the good stuff that is coming our way? We ended 2015 with a bang (no that wasn’t a fireworks pun) as Santa’s Wonderland reached a new store high! We are so happy to have had so many friends, families and visitors come out and take part of our most festive event.

But what does 2016 have in-store?! Well, it’s a little early to reveal all the secrets but we do start the year off right.

Our world famous Outdoor Kids Night is getting back up and running. We took a hiatus when the jolly man in the red suit came to town. Every Tuesday night we will be holding this weekly event. Never heard of it? Well take a seat and mark your calendars, because here is the dealio…

Every Tuesday we start up Outdoor Kids Night at 5PM. It is completely free and the more the merrier! We have crafts or some kind of activity for the kids to get hands-on with. The Shootin’ Gallery upstairs is turned to FREE so little sharpshooters can try and beat their best score! At 6PM we feed the Big Ol’ Fish Bowl, which is worth the trip in itself. After the Fish Feeding the Archery Range opens up, but archers under the age of 18 years old will need a parent or legal guardian to fill out a waiver. Don’t have any gear? Don’t need to! We have an array of bows to fit archers of all sizes! Everything ends at 8PM and is subject to while available.

We are also starting back up our NITRO Pro Team Fishing seminars. The second Tuesday of every month, we hold these fun and free seminars upstairs in the Fine Gun Room. Our good ol’ boys will cover an array of topics for local waters, so bring a notebook and something to write with! Space is limited so be sure to be there on time!

And lastly, those interested in taking a Concealed Carry Weapons class need not look any further. One of the best teams of instructors I have ever dealt with host this class at our store. (Mine is looking a little rough around the edges..) This firearms safety training program is the Arizona Department of Public Safety approved curriculum. Course fee includes training in an air conditioned classroom environment using a blend of oral instruction, visual aids, demonstrations, multimedia video, and hands-on experience in the Bass Pro Shops on-site shooting range.

Course Fee: $60
Course Fee does not include the Arizona Department of Public Safety application fee of $60
For more information and to book your seat, please contact: 480-262-3087

For anything else coming up and going on you can always keep up to date by checking out our store webpage, Facebook and following the blogs here! You can also call us at 602-606-5600!

Happy New Year everyone and we can’t wait to see you again this year!



Traditional Bowhunting: The Hunts

8th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

The Hunts: Successes of the Bass Pro Sage Takedown Recurve

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.


What defines success in a hunt?

To many, it’s the trophy of the rack or bone on the wall… not that these hunters are not ethical hunters, it’s just the way they measure their personal successes. As a traditional hunter I believe measure my hunt differently by choice. I chose to hunt with traditional equipment and even primitive equipment; I choose to hunt spot and stalk methods; I choose to hunt with and without modern camo clothes and methods for the challenges, frustrations and rewards often never having pulling and loosing the arrow.

Success, Failure or Adventure in the hunts as definition is up to the hunter and the goals and choices you set for your hunt. My choices are mine and mine alone thus making everyone’s own personal choice to hunt the way they do, making hunting so stimulating and rewarding for each of us.

Time in the woods going one-on-one with Mother Nature is an adventure each time no matter how well studied and equipped you are for the hunt. Some feel that not getting an animal is a failure or mark against them. It’s not. There is always a story in adventure to pass long at those campfires, share with friends or fellow hunters and last but not least a lesson from Mother Nature herself.

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I am a meat hunter. I am lucky may family enjoys the venison brought home making my harvest even more rewarding also, depending on the local State rules means I can harvest a doe instead of a buck, and sometimes like this year both a buck and a doe. Back to measuring success to many it’s posting pictures on Facebook, having a head mount made, sharing their version of venison jerky or chili with others. All of which I have done but the one I cherish and handed down to me is saving “the Blood Arrow.”

The Blood Arrow, what is it? The blood arrow is the defining scale of the hunter. It shows the hunter just how good he or she is at the moment of truth. It’s not the trophy size that that defines the bow hunter, it’s the arrow that all telling quality of the shot. That testament of the hunt lays in the color of the blood on the arrow. The bow hunter cannot hide from the facts of color on left on the arrow. I keep every arrow they are my true trophies. By saving these arrows they also become markers in a timeline. A timeline is a great mirror in which we can rediscover how truly marvelous our journey has been in bow hunting.

Our hunting season never really starts on opening day of the deer season it started months earlier. None of us, with the exception of those we watch hunt on TV, get as much time to hunt as we would like. Time seems so short pressures have a successful harvest.

My pressure began with customers and co-workers coming into the Bass Pro Archery Cabin with pictures of their harvests right after the opening of the season. It seemed like there would be no deer left by the time I got into the woods. When I got the chance to get out, Mother Nature moved her first piece in the game with warm and windy weather like last year.

2015 so far, I have harvested 2-Bucks and 2-Does and still have til mid January to hunt in Missouri. My hunting with the Bass Pro Sage Recurve I have harvested 2-Bucks and 1-Doe with 3 different arrows and 3 different broadheads.

Just a note on me, I love making arrows to hunt and shoot with and every year I make new arrows to take into the woods. This year I did make 4 sets of arrows for the Sage Bow, 3 Carbon and 1 Wood. 2 complete arrows came from Bass Pro.

All the following deer were harvested with the 45# Samick Sage Takedown Recurve from the 1st Blog:

Marsh doe was harvest in western McHenry County, IL. She was a mid day deer on a warm 50 plus degree bright day. It was a light wind was from the Southwest as it had been for early November and in my face.


  • Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Modified:2015:Dec 29, 2015:11-1-11 022.jpgArrow: Carbon Axis Spine 500
  • Arrow Fletching: 4” Left Wing Parabolic Feathers
  • Broadhead: Blackout 100 grain 3-Blade
  • Broadhead Insert: Brass 50 Grains
  • Shot Distance: <10 Yards
  • Shot Placement: Lungs with Pass through
  • Recovery Distance: <20 Yards
  • Hunting Style: Spot and Stalk
  • Camo: ASAT


December buck was harvested the week before Christmas in Western McHenry County, IL. He was mid day and mid week deer on a 50 degree bright day. Windy swirling in and out of my face from the Southwest as I sat.


  • Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Dec 18, 2015:9Point2015.jpgArrow: Carbon Blackout X3 Spine 340
  • Arrow Fletching: 5” Left Wing Shield Cut Feathers
  • Broadhead: Steel Force 125 Grain 2-Blade with Bleeders
  • Broadhead Insert: Brass 100 Grain
  • Shot Distance: 15 Yards +/-
  • Shot Placement: Lungs with Pass through
  • Recovery Distance: 25 Yards
  • Hunting Style: Sitting on the ground
  • Camo: Ghillie Suit


Second Season, buck was taken just before the New Year on private land on the Chain of Lakes, IL. Early afternoon temps in the low 30’s and slight Northeastern wind. He actually came in to work an active scrape.


  • Macintosh HD:Users:kylewilliams:PICS:iPhoto Library:Originals:2015:Jul 25, 2015_13:images.jpegArrow: Ash Tapered Spined @ 80#
  • Arrow Fletching: 5” Parabolic Feathers
  • Broadhead: A Vintage Howard Hill 2-Blade 160 Grains
  • Shot Distance: 18 Yards
  • Shot Placement: Lungs with Pass Through
  • Recovery Distance: 25 Yards
  • Hunting Style: Sitting in Corn
  • Camo: Ghillie Suit


This year also includes one World Class miss thanks to my impatience that an arrow has become a very nice perch in a tree. Every time I have walked that tree there’s a bird sitting on my arrow.

Time in the woods bow hunting, good or bad, can be especially fulfilling. As we get older, we get maybe more poetic or spiritual about the experiences. For instance the ‘Marsh Doe’ surprised me and I thought she had seen me, proof that you should always have an arrow nocked when stalking. The ‘December Buck’ I spotted and went behind me out of sight but I could hear him and the out of nowhere he came into range for a shot. And last but not least is the ‘Second Rut Buck’ that ran by me then stopped to work a scrape I hadn’t noticed.

Every animal I harvest is personal and a moment stamped in your memory of joy and sadness. I put a tremendous pressure on myself to release only that arrow for the best and humane shot. Only when I have heard the animal go down, pick up see the blood on my arrow and then lastly touch the harvest do I relax. The joy comes with dragging the harvest back to the truck and thinking I getting too old for this…then smiling Hell No I’m Not Too Old…on my drive to the butcher.

I was very fortunate this year to harvest the deer I have compared to days that add up to months with either seeing deer and never having a shot at one or, years of never even seeing deer.

The next and last blog in this series will be all the little tuning things.

Check out the previous blog in the series: Traditional Bowhunting: Camo  


Traditional Bowhunting: Broadheads and Arrows


5th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Broadheads and Arrows

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


How A Broadhead Arrow Works

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

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

Range, Shot Placement, and Self Control

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

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

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

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

100-grain Broadheads Versus 125-grain Broadheads

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

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


2-Blade versus 3-Blade Broadheads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuning Your Broadheads

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


The Overall Importance Of The Arrow

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

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


The Correct Hunting Shaft

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

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

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

2. Determining Actual Peak Bow Weight for Your Recurve

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

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

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

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

Max your penetration.

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

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

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


Broadhead Tuning

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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




The 2016 Grizzly 2072 MVX Sportsman Has Arrived!

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

Grizzly 2072 MVX Sportsman


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

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

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


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


Best Outdoors Costumes for Kids

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


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



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

Big Mouth Billy Bass

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

Duck Dynasty

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

A Campfire

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

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



Spotlighting Small Game: Squirrel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Traditional Bow Hunting: Scouting the Game

6th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Scouting for Game

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.



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

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

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

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

Scouting Starts By Getting Familiar With The Woods

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

Tools For Scouting                                                                                    

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

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

Long Distance Scouting with Google                                                    

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

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

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

Scouting Using Google                                                                               

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learn The Topography                                                                               

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

Mark the Sweet Spots                                                                  

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

Measure Distances                                                                   

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

Map with Your Phone                                                                          

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

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




Does It Work                                                                                      

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

Google Earth can be downloaded at http://www.google.com/earth/download/ge/

Handheld GPS Unit                                                                      

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

Phone Apps                                                                                          

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

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

Trail Cameras                                                                                    

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

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

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

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

Binoculars Are A Must                                                                   

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

Talk To The Local Game Warden                                                              

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

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

A Topographic Map and A Compass                                             

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



Traditional Bowhunting: Camo

7th In The Series Of Traditional Bowhunting:

Camouflage Ergo: Camo

David Williams, Bass Pro Archery Cabin Gurnee, IL.


Introduction: Camouflage

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

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


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


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


Understanding the Deer We Hunt

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

How to use Camo and what have we learned?

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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



1. What We See              What Deer See

2. What We See                     What Deer See


3. What We See                     What Deer See


4. What We See                     What Deer See


5. What We See             What Deer See


Next Up: The Hunt! 


Bucks & the Rut!

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


Here's how to do it.



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


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




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





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




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




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

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



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


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


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



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


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


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


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


Three Things I Wish I Would Have Had

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

Gun Vault Specialist Alicia Bricker offers up this advice:

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

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

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

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


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

Picture courtesy of Costa

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

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

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


             Picture courtesy of Costa

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

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


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



About the author:

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