Simple Steps with Wes: Military Lessons

One of our oldest running blog series, and by far one of my favorites, has been Simple Steps with Wes. These started all the way back in 2013. They were the brain-child of one of our amazing associates, Wes. He was a Lead in our store and has extensive survival knowledge. He loves sharing this information and passion with others. Earlier this month, he was back in action at our store and was handling the seminars for our Family Summer Camp.

And that is one of things that I admire about him. He can give seminars to crowds of kids just as easy as talking to a classroom full of adults looking for helpful hints and tricks. Some of that ability to adapt, had to come from his military background. And that is where this month’s Simple Step comes from, his military background. Enjoy!

“I have learned many lessons in the military and in this edition of Simple Steps I hope to convey some specific ones about hiking and backpacking. “Rucking” is the military term for hiking with a full pack or “Rucksack”. As you can imagine, this is a huge issue for the military, as soldiers must wear body armor and carry weapons, ammo, water, communications equipment, and other gear critical to complete the missions. During my last training event I was carry just over 85 lbs. not including my weapon and ammo.

In order to maintain optimal capabilities military service members learn very valuable lessons along the way which can help keep you at your best when you decide to hit the trail.

1. One pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back.

Aside from selecting the proper footwear (which we covered during an earlier edition of simple steps), the weight carried at the shoe takes five time more energy to maintain the same pace of travel  as it would carrying the weight at the torso level. Simply put, lighter footwear equals less strain on the body and is more energy efficiency. In practical terms, this means you could carry half a gallon more of water if you buy boots that are a pound lighter.

2. Managing pack weight needs to be a conscious effort 

Packing what you need, not everything you want, will keep weight out of the pack. Researching potential weather conditions can also help you make decisions in what you leave at home as well. Ideally, a backpack should not weigh more than 30% of the carrier’s body weight. Each 1% of your body weight carried in your pack makes you 6 seconds slower per mile. Small changes such as flashlights that use smaller and less batteries, proper sleeping bag selection, aluminum cookware, and smart food selections can all help subtract pack weight quickly.

3. Comfort starts in how you pack

Packing lighter items lower and heavier items closer to the top of the pack helps keep better posture. As you hike, your upper body naturally leans forward. Weight at the top of the back will work with your body and lessen muscle fatigue in your shoulders and back. Properly adjusting should straps and belt straps will allow the back weight to be supported more evenly, rather than straining just shoulder and back muscles alone.  

4. Downhill is harder on the body than uphill

Going downhill places twice as much strain on your body as going uphill. Why? Braking forces. As you descend, you have to brake your speed with your quads to keep yourself under control. The steeper the downhill, the more braking. This added load on your muscles further affects your uphill performance if you have repeated bouts of up and down work. This also adds to the risk of knee and ankle injuries.

By selecting the proper footwear, bringing only what you need and packing it properly, you can keep the strain of your body and sustain yourself for longer distances and with lower risk of injuries. Read, research and ask questions and you can experience more of life in the great outdoors.

If you have questions or would like to see a topic covered in a future edition of Simple Steps with Wes, submit them to dtkurtz@basspro.com. “

Thanks, Wes! With all the upcoming big-game hunting seasons and just people going out into the woods more this is really good stuff to know. Until next time! Get more of Wes at his Facebook and Webpage.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Steps

Floods Dehydration Halloween Edition Survival Kit Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction Eye Protection Nature Calling First Aid Kits

Epi-Pens Scorpions Edible Fruit Search and Rescue Clouds Traps Celestial Navigation

Footwear Communication Trick or Treating Fire 12 Steps (Reboot)

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Look at That! The Pyramid Store

So a lot of the time, I have to admit what a cool company I work for. I mean from simply saying I work at Bass Pro Shops and hearing people light up about their experiences there or working an event an making an awesome experience for a family, it is just great! But as I am sure you all have seen, there was a certain unveiling in May that really made me stop and go “Would you look at that?” That’s right. It is none other than the Pyramid store!

Now working here, I always heard rumors about this, that and the other about this store. It is the fifth store we have opened in Tennessee, but surely not the last. In fact, another one is on its way. It is one of the largest Bass Pro Shops (if not the largest) and one of the largest retail stores in the world.

This store holds several features, besides being in a gigantic pyramid that sets itself apart from the rest. It has an Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill. It has its own hotel, The Big Cypress Lodge. At the top, you have to sneak a peek from The Lookout. It has a Berretta Fine Gun Center, for all your fine gun needs. Then there is the Ducks Unlimited Waterfowl Heritage Center, with all sorts of awesome features for any enthusiast. And if that aint enough, there is also the huge cypress swamp habitat that even has an alligator exhibit! I would love to take Troy from Swamp People just to see his expressions and hear what he would have to say about it!

I mean, a picture says 1000 words but even those don't come close to explaining this place. But seriously, would you look at that?!

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring Hand Towels Rainproof Camo She Outdoor PETT

BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag RedHead Gun Rack Chicken on a Stick

Traeger Smoker/Grills Casio Pathfinder RedHead Wellington Boots Weather Vanes

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Look at That! RedHead 11” Wellington Boots

Ever wonder where certain names or types of things come from? Me too. I am curious little critter and always like to know more about anything. One name I have seen thrown around a lot lately is Wellington, most specifically for Wellington Boots. It’s not a brand-name specific product, like Kleenex or Jacuzzi, but a style that many different footwear companies produce. So where does this term come from? I must know! And of course when we unveil a brand new RedHead 11” Wellington Boots my thirst for knowledge increases ten-fold.

Well believe it or not, the term Wellington Boots comes from royalty. Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, was the first to wear these boots and made them extremely popular. They were a leather boot that he used while hunting and participating in other outdoor sports. Most paintings of him are sure to show him wearing these boots and in short time they were the standard for the British aristocracy.

It is said that Wellesley was very much involved with the original design of the boots. His shoemaker was given specific directions to match up to the Duke’s high standards. But slowly over time these boots would change time and time again. After the process of vulcanizing rubber was invented, they went from being made of leather to rubber. This made them extremely popular with farmers and other outdoor workers who had previously been doomed to wet feet from wooden clogs. They went through several changes during the two World Wars, which forever endeared them to wearers.

After the wars these boots found themselves being worn all over the world by all kinds of people. To this day they are one of the most popular forms of work wear. They are truly an international icon and have been incorporated into sports, dances and song. The rubber Wellington Boots can be found in some way connected to just about every single industry.

The new Wellington Boots from RedHead keep the same spirit of hard-work, durability and comfort that probably millions of workers have experienced with Wellington Boots. Not only will these boots work hard but they will look good doing it!

-Giddy-Up!!

Other Nifty Things to Look At!

Propane Fire Ring Hand Towels Rainproof Camo She Outdoor PETT

BPS Extreme Qualifier Tackle Bag RedHead Gun Rack Chicken on a Stick

Traeger Smoker/Grills Casio Pathfinder

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"Do you want to build a snowman?"

    This is the infamous question this week in East Tennessee, with the weather being so uncooperative. Snow and ice seems to be creeping into every corner, crack, and crevice leaving nothing untouched by it's frozen clutches.

    When you decide you're going outside, you dawn your heaviest parka (after throwing on a few more layers than normal) and thickest pair of jeans you own. After lacing your snow boots and tucking your socks into your jeans, you drape a scarf around your face, and pull down a thick, fleece lined beanie over your ears. As you boldly step out into the cold, frost bitten landscape, you realize you look exactly like "Randy" from A Christmas StoryIt's not long before that chilly air starts to break through your wall of insulation and you just get COLD! What then?

Well you could turn to the average Hot Hands, not a bad item in the least, but just a temporary fix. Why get a simple temporary item when you could have the same heat, in a form that's more durable, structured, and doesn't get tossed away when you're finished using it? What could this dream heated device be? The Celestron Elements ThermoTrek Rechargeable Hand Warmer (Isn't that a mouthful? Let's call it the TRW)

The TRW is a rechargeable, pocket sized heater that can last up to 6 hours. Rugged and rechargeable, with up to 6 hours of continuous heat, this pocket sized warmer promises to keep your fingers frost free for the long haul. The durable aluminum body and silicon caps mean weather resistant, worry free use for years to come. The TRW charges via a USB 2.0 connection and its compact design means plenty of room in your pack for other tools of the trade.

You can find this item in action here:

http://www.basspro.com/Celestron-Elements-ThermoTrek-Rechargeable-Hand-Warmer/product/140620095636103/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_PRODUCT

 Our Bass Pro customers have raved over this item, leaving 5 star reviews and passing along this item as a perfect gift to others! One customer said, " I bought this a couple weeks ago to see if it would really work. It was great, stayed very warm all evening and kept my hands warm. I'll need two, as I may drop these into my gloves when it gets very cold. It recharged in about 2 hours. I spend a ton on Hot Hands, and I always run out just when I need one. I figure this will save me a couple hundred bucks this season, so way to go! Highly Recommend!!"

A newer "sister" product by Celestron is the elevated FireCel Portable Power Pack/Flashlight/Hand Warmer (Another doozie on wording)

The Celestron® Elements FireCel® Portable Power Pack/Flashlight/Hand Warmer is a 3-in-1 multi-tool including a LED flashlight, 2500 mAh power pack, and compact hand warmer. Whether you're hunting, fishing or camping space can be limited, making the FireCel Portable Power Pack a perfect companion. The flashlight feature boasts high intensity red and white LEDs, perfect for camp light or walking to your favorite hunting spot without spooking wildlife. The hand warmer features an aluminum heating element and is compact enough to carry in your pocket for all-day access. The power pack includes a USB port and charging cable.

This little bad boy can be found on our website here:

http://www.basspro.com/Celestron-Elements-FireCel-Portable-Power-Pack/Flashlight/Hand-Warmer/product/140620095636102/?cmCat=CROSSSELL_PRODUCT

 

These items are smart and proven necessary companions against frost monsters or evil queen provoked blizzards, to stay the absolute warmest and safest, while working, traveling, or just being outside for large amounts of time during this weather.

Always stay safe, and never risk un-necessary driving in these conditions, so we can see your smiling face again at our Bass Pro Shops when it's warmer!

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Baby It's Cold Outside

If you haven't noticed yet....it's cold outside. Old man winter came to visit here in east Tennessee on Monday and he's staying for a little while it seems. He's the houseguest that won't leave. When times like this happen, and if you're like me, you forget to plan ahead. We've had tons of people needing heaters! I'm guessing nobody anticipated that the weather people to actually get it right this time!
While we are currently sold out of ALL heaters at this time, we do still have in stock, items of necessity for times such as this. Take, for instance, a cooking source if your electricity goes out, like mine did.

This little thing is only $34.99 and works great especially at times of distress....like now! Of course you can use your regular pots and pans on this stove and eat like a king! Just....don't forget to get propane for it.....

Something that saved me this morning....YakTrax! A couple of years ago, my husband purchased these awesome things here at the store and I'm so thankful this morning that he did...and thankful he forgot about them so I could snag 'em.

For only $19.99, you too can walk on ice like I did! :)  I wasn't about to walk across the parking lot here at BPS Sevierville without them!  Along with these awesome contraptions, you will, of course, need some of our Lifetime Guarantee socks to keep those tootsies warm!

$11.99 and let me just tell you....worth.every.penny!!!!

 

I promise you, you can find everything you will need, except heaters right now, at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville! We even have food! !!!!!!

Look...the meteorologists can't be counted on to get the weather right...the weather itsself can't be counted on. But you can always count on Bass Pro to help you out in times of need. We have cooking sources, warm clothes, freeze dried food, warm socks and boots/shoes, warm sleeping bags, fire starters and the list goes on and on.

Come see me and see what I have that you just might need while Mr. Bad Weather is visiting. One word of advice though...PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME! Ok so that was 4 words, but you get it. Lots of people without electricity right now are also without heat because they waited until the last minute to get a backup heater and unfortunately most everybody is sold out now.

Come on in and lets prepare together!

See you soon!

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Just in time for Rodeo!

While shopping for boots, you ask yourself a few questions before making your final purchase, such as “ What type of leather do I want?” or “What will I use them for?” Well, with my own personal knowledge of boots I decided to go with the Ariat Sahara Roper Work Boot.  I chose this boot because it has an excellent inner sole and a slip resistant outer sole that could last through any kind of wear and tear throughout the day. This boot is also very versatile because you can use them for just about anything, whether you working outside in mud or just you day to day usage. This particular boot is not strictly a work boot either as you can also dress up and look nice in them. My experience with this Ariat boot has been incredible and I would recommend Ariat’s to anyone in the market for a new pair of boots.

Ariat Sahara Pull-On Roper Toe Work Boots for Men

A Bass Pro Exclusive!
Made to keep your feet comfortable all day long at work, the Sahara Pull-On Roper Work Boots for Men from Ariat® combine rugged construction with lots of comfort features. Designed to stand up to tough work, the Sahara's strong, full grain leather upper features 6-row western stitching and handy pull tabs. Heavy-duty Goodyear welt construction locks this durable upper to the boot's oil-, slip-, heat- and abrasion-resistant, non-marking outsole. Advanced Torque Stability (ATS) footbed Technology supports and cushions your foot with every step, reducing fatigue through the day. Ladder-friendly heel. Round roper toe. Unlined shaft. Average height: 10". Average weight per pair: 4 lbs. Imported.
Manufacturer style #: 10012648.

  • Comfortable, pull on work boots
  • Premium full-grain leather upper with 6-row western stitching
  • Goodyear Welt Construction - ultra-strong and resoleable
  • Advanced Torque Stability (ATS) footbed - supports and cushions foot as you move
  • Oil-, slip-, heat-, and abrasion-resistant, non-marking outsole
  • Work-friendly heel
  • Round roper toe

 

-Nick in Footwear

 

Bass Pro Shops- San Antonio

Bass Pro Shops Facebook- San Antonio TX

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Wading Through Waders

What do you use waders for?  Do you use them to hunt?  Outdoor work?  Fishing?  Whatever your reason to use waders, let the associates at Bass Pro Shop help you find the right wader for the right reason with the right budget.

Finding the right wader is important, not only can it ruin your mood, but it may ruin your entire day if you get wet.

There are three styles of waders to consider, hip, waist, and chest.  Common materials used for waders are rubber, neoprene, waterproof, breathable fabrics, and nylon.

Hip waders are very comfortable in warmer waters.  Very easy on and off they are great for small streams, they pack easy. The Redhead Bone Dry Hobbs Creek Hip Waders have a lug sole and are tough, comfortable, and affordable.

 

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-BoneDry-Hobbs-Creek-Hip-Waders-Lug-Sole/product/31398/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waist high waders wear just like a pair of pants.  Belt loops and a belt to hold them up.  Your upper body is exposed so again very comfortable for the warm weather.

 

Chest waders are all around waders that provide the most coverage.  Water can be unpredictable so when trying these on make sure you are covered allowing a few extra inches higher than you need.  The Redhead Classic Series II Brown Neoprene Boot Foot Waders are flexible with 200 grams for warmth and come in men, ladies, or youth sizes.  Need a plus size?  Check out the Redhead Bone Dry Big Man Neoprene Boot Foot Wader with 600 grams, fits up to a shoe size 15.  Chest goes to 58.5", waist 61" and a inseam of up to 41.5".

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-Classic-Series-II-Brown-Neoprene-BootFoot-Waders-for-Men-Ladies-or-Youth/product/10209217/http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-BoneDry-BigMan-Neoprene-BootFoot-Waders/product/41033/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What materials do you want?  Breathable uninsulated waders are lightweight and comfortable.  The fabric locks out moisture while allowing perspiration to vent at the same time.  The knees and seat are reinforced. Neoprene waders are tough and hard to beat in the cold weather.  Comfortable and durable but not breathable.  The material reminds you of a wetsuit.  Nylon waders are durable and inexpensive.  Rubber is tough durable and heavy.  It all depends what work or fun you will be having with these.  Simms Freestone Stocking Foot Waders are breathable, waterproof and convert to waist high waders easy.  Add the Simms Freestone Wading Boot with leather upper which are comfortable, durable and are able to lace up for stability.

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Simms-Freestone-StockingFoot-Waders-for-Men/product/1408280346404/

http://www.basspro.com/Simms-Freestone-Wading-Boots-for-Men-Lead/product/1408280346416/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need a extreme wader?  Look no farther than the Redhead Bone Dry Extreme Waders, with 1000 grams of pure warmth.  One piece construction makes this durable, comfortable and ready for whatever extreme you give it.

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/RedHead-BoneDry-Extreme-Waders-for-Men/product/41036/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footwear, do you want a Boot foot wader that is all one construction?  Quick on and off they have a rubber or felt sole.  The only negative is you cannot lace them up for stable footing.  The Stockingfoot waders need a boot for better stablility and some even come with a option of what sole you may want.  Felt soles are great when the rocks are slippery, while a hiking sole is better if you need to walk a distance to your fishing spot.  Metal studded felt is considered the best traction for slippery bottoms.

Which ever wader you choose, taking care of them is a must.  Hang them to dry.  If storing them, make sure the boot is completely dry and then store them in a cool, dark place with no sun.  Something that might help you dry is the Peet Wader Dryer  .  This book dryer has a gentle thermal convection that dries sweat and moisture quickly.  It also neutralizes odors brought on by perspiration.

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/PEET-Wader-Dryer/product/10225598/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop on by and check out the large variety of waders we have.  We will have one to fit your need, and budget.

 

Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator

 

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Simple Steps with Wes: 12 Steps Reboot

Undoubtedly, the Simple Steps blogs have been one of the longest running articles we produce. We have gone over numerous subjects since we first started these years ago. It is truly awesome that Wes keeps helping us with these, and providing us with extremely useful information. Last year, we started off with a 12-Step program that was loaded with skills to learn. Wes hoped it gave a guideline and some direction for those of us seeking more knowledge. And like any other “New Year’s Resolution” kind of deal, I am sure many put it on the back burner after a while.

That is why we are going to bring it back to start this year’s round of Simple Steps. You’ll notice that some of the subjects, we have already covered and some new ones still remain. We hope it gets you back into the mindset to make this year one of your most resilient! Enjoy!

A Survival Twelve Step Program

Some people may look at me and say to themselves “Man that guy as got a problem, he should get some help”.  Well the first step to step to recovery from any problem is admitting you have one.  Well the last place to have a problem is out in the wilderness and off the beaten path so I’m here to help and the best time to turn over a new leaf is at the New Year.  To get your year started out right make a promise to yourself to learn a new skill every month this year that will help make you a better, more efficient, and a self reliant survivalist.

 Here is a list of suggestions that might get the wheels turning.  Some may take a little more time than others and some may be skills you already have.  There is no order they should be done so plan around your own lifestyle and replace proficient skills on the list with ones you want to learn.  Remember knowledge is power, but you cannot replace real life practice with just reading it in a book so get out and get your hands dirty.

  1. Land Navigation:  I would break this down into two categories, GPS & Map and Compass.  GPS units can be extremely helpful and most units are user friendly but getting the most from your GPS unit takes skill.  Learn how to set waypoints, understand what GPS coordinates are, and if you have one, update the map programs as needed.  Even though GPS is great technology fails and if your luck is like mine it will fail when you need it most.  Buy a good Compass and get some area maps of wilderness locations that you frequent.  Learn to ready the topographic maps and understand how to plot courses.  This skill will be worth its weight in gold if you ever run out of batteries in your GPS or “Smart Phone”.
  2. Fire Starting:  I cannot stress it enough how important being able to start a fire is for survival.  Fire covers all spectrums of survival from signaling rescue, to protection from elements and predators, to water purification to food preparation.  It is also a psychological booster in a time of despair.  I like to practice different fire starting methods every time I use my BBQ grill.  I pay attention to my technique and the environmental conditions, especially when it does not work.  The last thing I want to do is use a method in a situation that is not optimal and waist valuable energy and time.
  3. Identifying Wild Edibles: Living off the land is the key to survival.  Knowing what nature has provided is a skill that has to be practiced and photos in a book do not always properly represent the vegetation in your area so get out and see it firsthand.  Knowing what is poisonous is also just as important.
  4. Make a Survival Kit: Investing in a survival kit is like buying car insurance, you hope you don’t need it but it’s better to have it and not need it, than not have it and wish you did.  Keep it small and light weight.  To do this, select items that are multifunctional and cover more than one of the priorities of Survival (Protection, Rescue, Water, and Fire).  In Previous Simple Steps we have covered some great suggestions for survival kit items.  It does not have to be expensive but it does have to be reliable.
  5. Health and Fitness: It is common knowledge that being physically fit will expand your chances of survival.  You are already taking a step in the right direction by being active, getting out and going on a hike.  Start small and make simple changes to your lifestyle.  A very simple three step rule to follow is to never go three days without exercise, workout at least three days a week, and never miss a Monday.  You will be amazed at how effective this is.
  6. Water Treatment and Purification: If you have not already, purchase a water purification system.  I love the Lifestraw, but there are many other systems out there as well.  I also carry a bulk water purification system and tablets.  I would also practice making water still and a rain catch as well.  Water is top priority and without it nothing else matters.
  7. Snares and Traps: Once you have established a water source food is important.  Hunting takes a lot of time and energy you may not have.  If you are alone, there are a lot of tasks that need to be completes so having passive systems set up to catch small game and fish while you attend to other needs is a great skill to know.  The more you can set the better your chances to bag a meal will be.
  8. First Aid: Wilderness first aid, CPR, and any other medical skill training you can get help you and anyone else you may come across.  Having a first aid kit is not enough.  You need to know how to use it.  Take a class from the Red Cross, or another accredited source. This is not a wilderness survival skill this is a LIFE survival skill.
  9. Shelter Building: Shelters keep you safe from the environmental conditions and predators alike.  Identifying shelters nature has provided and having the ability to use materials you find to improve upon those shelters will not only help you from expending unneeded energy but will help you preserve what energy you do have.  Practice making basic shelters that are time and energy efficient.
  10. Search and Rescue: Knowing how search and rescue works and searches will help you understand how to make yourself easier to find.  Having equipment on hand to help signal for help can shorten your time in the wild and raise your chances of survivability.  Getting things such as a whistle, signal mirror and flares are a must have if you want out as quickly as possible.
  11. Communications: Most people today have cell phones but they are not always reliable in backcountry areas.  Carrying a hand held radio or CB (Citizen Ban Radio) are a great asset. Most off road vehicle clubs and hiking clubs use these and by scanning you may be able to contact someone in your area for help.  It is also good to have in case your group gets separated to link back up again.
  12. Weather prediction: Knowing how to read cloud formations and environmental conditions is a great skill to help keep you using Mother Nature to help you survive.  Seeing when a storm may be near can help plain when to set up rain catches, take shelter, and when to make fire and which method would be best.  

I hope that this list shows you that there is a lot more to hiking in the back country than just lacing up some boots, throwing on a pack and taking off.  Plan to be at your best when things are at your worst.  See you on the trails.    “

What subjects are you most interested in? Tell us in the comments section below! We are always looking to provide the most pertinent and sought after information to our audiences. You can always get more Wes by liking his Facebook, viewing his YouTube or visiting his site. Until next month!

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Steps

Floods Dehydration Halloween Edition Survival Kit Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction Eye Protection Nature Calling First Aid Kits

Epi-Pens Scorpions Edible Fruit Search and Rescue Clouds Traps Celestial Navigation

Footwear Communication Trick or Treating Fire

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A Winter With Bite!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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Ice Fishing - Great Fun and Conversation

Thinking about ice fishing?  Some people cannot imagine toting a sled with supplies all bundled up to sit over a hole in the ice as the wind blows through them.  Many fisherman find this time to relaxing, not to mention having a bbq over alot of hot coffee and conversation to stay warm.  Strategy and patience is what you need for ice fishing.  Here are a few ideas to help you find a place to fish, what to wear, what to bring, and how to stay safe while you enjoy your time outside.

New York State has a variety of fish that people enjoy fishing for during this cold weather.  Perch, sunfish, pickerel, walley, and trout to name some.

How do you get started?  The best way to get started is go with a friend or stop at a local tackle shop to find a popular ice fishing area.  At tackle shops they can tell you where the fish are being caught.  Watch for announcements on ice fishing tournaments.  Stop in and talk with Bass Pro associates to see what they recommend.  Ice fisherman tend to share tips, techniques, and stories.  They are very social.

Cutting the Ice:

The simplest way to cut through the ice,  is the "Spud Bar". Inexpensive and it works well on the  ice up to a foot thick.

Hand Powered Augers are slightly more expensive than spuds and are very easy to operate.  This is the best compromise for moderate ice conditions.  Pan fish people favor 4,5, or 6" because they are light weight and faster.  For a larger fish go to a 8".  People who go ice fishing on a regular basis or for a extreme ice condition use a more expensive option or a gas powered ice auger. 

What pole do you use?

Jigging Rod:  This is a short light fishing rod used with tip-ups.  Bass Pro Shop has many different types of tip ups and jigging poles.  Any associate in our Fishing Department can direct you to the one that is best for you.  Jigging involves use of a jigging rod or hand line and a small jigging spoon or lure with bait.  It is designed to move in different directions when jerked up and down.

Tip Up:  A tip-up is a spool on a stick holding a baited line that goes through the ice.  When the fish grabs the bait,  the pull on the line releases a signal that you have a fish (example: red flag).

Clothing:  Pay attention to the weather and dress in layers.

Ice Safety:  Minimum 3 to 4 inches of solid ice is the rule.  The ice thickness differs on the water.  Always use good judgement.  Avoid moving water, including where streams.  The ice thickness table below is based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-running waters.  Slush ice is 50% weaker.

Stay away from docks with bubblers.  They can produce thin unsafe ice a distance away.  Always fish using the buddy system.

The American Pulpwood Association has a Ice Thickness Table they suggest you follow when out on the ice. This is based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-moving (running) waters.

Ice Thickness                                                      Permissible Load

2"                                                                       One Person on Foot

3"                                                                       Group Single File

7.5"                                                                     1 Car (2 tons)

8"                                                                        Light Truck (2.5 tons)

10"                                                                      Truck (3.5 tons)

12"                                                                      Heavy Truck (7-8 tons)

15"                                                                      10 Tons

20"                                                                      25 Tons

Regulations for Ice Fishing:

You have a limit of 2 jigging lines (or hand lines) and five tip ups in most waters.  Each tip up is marked with the operator's name and address.  The operator must be present when lines are in the water and you must have your fishing license on you.  Always review regulations before you go by visiting www.dec.ny.gov.

Beginner Equiptment List:

Thermal Long Johns

Thermal Socks

Jeans

Snow Pants

Sweatshirt or Warm Flannel Shirt

Warm Hunting Coat

Gloves/Mittens

Waterproof insulated boots

Knit Hat/Mask

License

Commercial ice fishing rod, tip-up, or dowel rod

20-50 yards of 6 pound monofiliment fishing line

Hooks, Flat Hooks, Treble Hooks

Split Shot assortment, Mousies, Maggots, Mayfly Larva

Bait, Swedish Pimple (lure), Minnows, Wax Worms

Auger, Ice Spud, ladle, bucket, 25' nylon rope

Don't forget some food and coffee

Here are a few products we sell here at Bass Pro Shop that will make your ice fishing experience enjoyable.

The Clam Vista Thermal Ice Shelter can accommodate 2 to 3 people.

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-Vista-Thermal-Ice-Shelter/product/1406091508/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about the Soroc Sports Sled?  Perfect to pull all your supplies, it is made of thermoform construction.

http://www.basspro.com/Soroc-Sports-Sleds/product/1205010502001/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bass Pro Shop Hand Ice Auger, comes in a 6" or 8" with soft rubber handle.  Lightweight and portable.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Hand-Ice-Auger/product/10219516/

 

 

 

 

 

Need something with power?  Check out the Strike Master Chipper Lite Ice Auger.  This unit has a pointed chipper blade tip to keep the unit from bouncing around.  Lightweight and powerful

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http://www.basspro.com/StrikeMaster-Chipper-Lite-Ice-Auger/product/1404251652/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have many tip-ups to pick from, but check out the Bass Pro Shop Ice Artic Angler Tip Up.  Highly Visable with indicator and flag, measuring board and weather resistant molded base and spool.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Ice-Arctic-Angler-TipUp/product/10203469/

 

 

 

 

 

The Clam True Blue Ice Fishing Spining Combo comes with a oversized spool, cork grips and is solid graphite.

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-True-Blue-Ice-Fishing-Spinning-Combo/product/10210965/

 

 

 

 

 

Finally stay warm with the Clam Corp Ice Armor Edge Cold Weather Parka and the Clam Corp Ice Armor Ultra Insulated Bibs.  Waterproof, breathable, reflective safety piping and windproof.

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-IceArmor-Edge-ColdWeather-Parka-for-Men/product/140423030139225/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-IceArmor-Edge-ColdWeather-Bibs-for-Men/product/140423030139226/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider taking up a little Ice Fishing this year.  Stop on by and talk with any of our Fishing associates who will be happy to help you get started.

Robin Piedmonte

Events Coordinator

 

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Thinsulate vs. Primaloft Insulations

The choice of insulation in a coat, pants and boots is a big decision and needs a lot of consideration before the choice should be made. When it comes to these two types of insulation there is a lot of information on both, so finding the right insulation should be easy for anyone. But using the information that is given to find the right insulation can be a pain. Here are some tips and tricks to finding the right insulation for activities.

When talking about thinsulate the material that is used is a synthetic hollow fiber woven like a sandwich in between two outer layers. The outer and inner layers of this material hold air close to the body. This sandwich design also allows the moisture from the body to pass through the material. At the same time this hollow synthetic fiber holds air away from the body allowing there to be a barrier between the body and outside temperatures. This type of design is very good for a very moist environment where the air temperature is very cold. When looking at activities where the thinsulate should be used in comparison to other brands the differences in the materials make the choice simple. Thinsulate is a material that can be used while working in the cold, or for when a person is doing something where there is a lot of physical activity involved. A great use for something like the LaCrosse® AlphaBurly Pro 18'' Waterproof 800g 3M™ Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation Hunting Boots, would be a day out hunting where the hunter needs to walk a distance to their stand in tall wet grass. Since the boot in insulated and waterproof the boot will readily keep the hunter’s foot warm while keeping all the water off the skin. Another great use for thinsulate is for yard work. When out in the yard working in the winter having the wind on the face not only causes wind burn but is cold and uncomfortable for anyone. This makes using something like the RedHead Thinsulate Insulated Mask great for using during yard work. During the work the material allows sweat to be wicked away through the material without soaking the thinsulate, while also keeping the workers head warm against wind and biting cold.

RedHead Face MaskLacrosse Hunting Boots

Now talking about primaloft there are a couple major differences when comparing to the thinsulate. Primaloft to begin with is a synthetic down material that mimics the insulation of a down feather on a bird. This material is made up of hollow tubes in small structures that hold air against the body while letting a little air pass through the fibers to allow the wicking away of sweat. This difference appears subtle on paper, but when applied in practice the differences are quite substantial. This material is a little heavier than the thinsulate and also is not as water resistant as thinsulate. That being said when wearing primaloft a person is able to sit for long periods of time in the cold without having to move, while still keeping warm and toasty. Using something like the pair Browning® Hell's Canyon™ PrimaLoft® Bib and Browning Hell's Canyon Primaloft Jacket will allow a hunter to sit in their tree stand with a brisk wind for hours at a time without having to get up and move around. While this is great the single problem with the material being prone to soaking is easily remedied with a thin layer of waterproofing like an Outdry Membrane. The Browning Hell's Canyon PrimaLoft Outdry Gloves, are a great example of the waterproofing in action. The only drawback to this is the gloves are a little less able to breathe and wick away sweat.

GlovesBibsJacket

The choice of insulation in a set of outerwear is a big decision when a person is going to be out in the cold. Thankfully there are two different types of insulation that give great coverage of most every type of activity in the cold. So when sitting in the tree stand all day wearing a little Primaloft is the better choice. When working out in the yard on a cold day the best insulation for the money is thinsulate. As always happy hunting and good luck!

1 Comments »

A+

Bought these for a fellow that works for me, he has been going through work boots about every 90 days
These boots are great for him, very waterproof, comfortable and warm. I feel certain these are really going to last this time

Name: Richard
ProductDescription: Red head boot

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Layer it on! Winter is here!

Winter has finally arrived in Nashville!

With that, we’re seeing temperatures drop into the teen’s and even a couple of single digit days.  Being from Arizona, I am not at all prepared for this surge of cold weather and my chilly drive to work this morning reminded me that I need to get myself some warmer clothing for these cold days.  Good thing I work for Bass Pro Shops!

We’ve got a great selection of fleece, jackets and hoodies to top off your winter look.  But my personal favorite thing about the cold is getting to layer all those comfy clothes for some extra warmth.  Here’s a look at some of our Top Sellers from the online shop.

For the guys, let’s start with the RedHead Thermal Henley Shirts.  They are currently on sale starting at $19.97 and are available in 8 colors.  The 3 button Henley look is popular and stylish and the waffle texture is soft and comfortable.

Sticking with the Henley look, we also have RedHead Layered Henleys in five colors for Men currently on sale for $14.97.  These shirts are 100% jersey cotton, have a chest pocket and feature a double collar for the layered look.

Both are perfect for an extra layer when spending time outdoors or just a weekend working around the house.

For the ladies, our Bob Timberlake Waffle Pintuck Henleys are pretty and comfortable.  They have a smaller waffle texture that’s easy to wear and front embellishments that make them a little more feminine.  These start at $26.97 and come in four colors.

I also love our Ladies’ Natural Reflections Flannel Shirts.  They currently start at $24.99 and also come in four colors.  They are 100% flannel for a soft, flattering fit.  Perfect with jeans and boots!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of our great cold weather clothing selection at Bass Pro Shops.  Stop in and get ‘em before it’s too cold!

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Last Minute Christmas Ideas for the Outdoorsman who has it all…

To make it easier on everyone, I have decided to post my favorite last minute Christmas Gift ideas for the wives, girlfriends, parents and children who might need a little help buying their man a Christmas present. Here are my suggestions this holiday season.

Costa “Cortez” Sunglasses
Costa’s Cortez offers a large fit with a bold wrap shape, meant to block glare from entering from the sides. The linear venting system alleviates lens fogging, and the temple tips feature open slots for a retainer cord. “Anglers who use our sunglasses know they’re going to be able to see the fish faster, and their eyes are going to be more relaxed, even after a full day on the water in harsh conditions,” said Chas MacDonald, president of Costa. The frames are built of nearly indestructible co-injected molded nylon, with sturdy integral hinge technology. The hypoallergenic rubberized interior lining and nose pads keep the sunglasses comfortably in place all day, providing a “forget-they’re-on” fit. The price starts at $169 MSRP
 

ThermoCell Heated Shoe Insoles
Cold feet are miserable. Here is a cool product from ThermoCell, heated insoles that you control wirelessly with a remote control. Rechargeable batteries are imbedded in the soles. The remote allows you to pick between two heat settings or no heat. MSRP is $99.99. 

 


Seaguar Smackdown Tournament Braid - 150 Yards
This is the most awesome new fishing line to come out in years. This braided line is sleek, ultra-strong tournament quality braid is so thin that the 20-lb. test has the diameter of 6-lb. monofilament line! Smackdown Braid features 8 ultra-thin, micro-weave strands in a round, smooth-casting profile with extra sensitivity. In addition to Smackdown's unparalleled abrasion resistance, it provides exceptional knot and tensile strength. You cannot go wrong picking up a pack of the Seaguar. $32.99 MSRP for 150 yards of 20lb test.
 

Bass Pro Shops GripMaster™ 9 inch Fillet Knife
This is an affordable, tough, and super sharp fillet knife. Featuring the 420 stainless steel thru handle construction for long-term usability, the GripMaster Fillet Knife's razor sharp blade includes a serrated section that's perfect for tackling really tough jobs. The rubber handle provides outstanding cutting comfort and control. The GripMaster fillet knife includes a durable, molded hard plastic sheath designed with vents and a convenient belt clip. MSRP $5.99
 


Wave Away Sonar GPS Screen Cleaning Kit
This is an incredible, safe cleaning product for your marine electronics, smart phones, tablets, LCD television, or sunglasses. Wave Away Sonar & GPS Cleaner is made without alcohol or ammonia, which can remove the protective coating from your screen. For best results, spray the screen with a couple pumps of the cleaning solution, and then wipe it off using a microfiber cloth (included). Afterwards go over the screen once more with a dry section of the cloth. For hard water spots, leave the cleaning solution on longer, so it can really dislodge the grime. The Wave Away Sonar & GPS Cleaner can also be used for non-waterproof electronics, just spray the cleaning solution on the cloth rather than directly onto the item itself. MSRP $9.99
 
RedHead Lifetime Guarantee All-Purpose Socks for Men 
I have been wearing these socks for 3 years in the winter; there is no better sock on the market for the price. If ever they wear out, just return them for a FREE replacement to your closet Bass Pro Shops! They are made with 100% fine grade itch-free wool against the skin from top to toe, which makes these socks softer and our stitching technique adds double-reinforcement to all stress zones. 81% wool, 17% stretch nylon, 2% spandex. Leg length: 13”. Made in USA with MSRP of $11.99
 
Strike King MOISTURE WICKING long sleeve shirt 
Strike King new clothing line has some good looking shirts. My favorite is the moisture wicking shirts for the winter time.  100% Poly interlock moisture wicking performance tee shirt. It has a smooth collar, tagless and comes in long sleeves only. The new Strike King logo appears on the chest and back of the shirt. MSRP $ 28.00

 Yamaha Pro Fishing Hat
Out at sea or on land, shield your face from the sun and show your Yamaha Pro Fishing Pride. This Yamaha Pro Fishing hat is made from a royal blue cotton twill and four black or white mesh panels. The Yamaha Pro-Fishing logo is featured on the front. MSRP $19.99

 

Lastly, what not to buy your favorite outdoors-man this Christmas:

  • ·        Fishing rods and reels
  • ·        Lures
  • ·        Bass boat or kayak
  • ·        Rain suits
  • ·        Shoes or boots
  • ·        Guns
  • ·        Thermal Underwear
  • ·        Fishing Electronics

 

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! May this joyful season greet you with health and happiness. Please continue to pray for our military….

 

About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer and prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville, GA. He retired as a 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, a 501c3 supporting Special OPS soldiers (www.operationonevoice.org)

 

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Check it Out List: Tactical Clothing

Two words that have infiltrated the shooting world over the past years, tactical and zombie. From those two words, different worlds have been developed. And combining those words is a whole different ball game!

When it comes to the term tactical, there is a whole slew of things it can involve. Tactical shooting, clothing, maneuvering, reloading, pens, holsters, water bottles, knives, flashlights and so on. So much so that many simply mock the whole “tactical” concept.

But like many things that can come under ridicule, tactical apparel does have sound reasoning behind it. So for this month’s Check it Out List we are going to go over Tactical Clothing.

 

Tactical Shirt

Tactical Pants/Shorts

Tactical Belt

Tactical Gloves

Tactical Jacket

Tactical Boots

 

Most often tactical products are concerning self-defense. It goes hand in hand with possible combat and carrying a firearm. You really wouldn’t want to be caught in a gun-fight with pajama pants, flip flops and a lose shirt. You are going to want clothing that is secure, leaving little room for possible issues occurring while drawing and firing a firearm.

Working our way down the list, let us start with the shirt. There is an assortment of shirts: long sleeve, short sleeve, button up, polo and so on. Each different style will provide you with some kind of advantage. Also depending on the weather and possibly your job or plan for the day will help you choose what to wear.

The pants and shorts are well known for having numerous pockets on them. This is for your extra magazines, knife, flashlight, standard everyday items (phone, wallet, etc.) and more. Unlike cargo shorts, these pockets do not bulge out so you are less likely to get caught on something while moving. Also the pockets hold items more securely so you are not fishing around to find the desired item.

The belt may be the simplest yet most important aspect. First thing to notice is how thick it is. The thickness and height of the belt help keep a holster on your person. Try wearing a holster on a normal belt and notice how much wiggle there is. Now when you have to draw your firearm that wiggle space could throw you off and be a huge difference to the outcome. A tactical belt will almost eliminate that “wiggle room” completely.

Two items are more for personal preference. Gloves are great to shoot with, but not always necessary. And you probably won’t go around wearing them all day anyway so it would look a little unnatural. They do allow one to grip a firearm better and can help if dealing with a “hot” firearm. Gloves do not sweat like your hand might in a stressful situation so it helps keep something important from “slipping out”.

A nice tactical jacket will allow you to have numerous pockets (much like the pants/shorts) and may even have special pockets to carry extra magazines or the firearm itself. These jackets tend to be built well so they do a nice job of keeping you warm and providing you with ease of access for items.

You can tell a lot about someone by their shoes. Tactical boots are very nice and many who wear them tend to wear nothing else. These boots are built light, solid and comfortable. Thinking about having to be in a self-defense situation you are not going to want to worry about tripping on your shoelaces or even worse being in flip flops. There has been an increasing trend for use of tactical boots for hunting and hiking because of how well they work.

No matter what your goal is, hopefully this has opened your eyes or opinions to other options.

-Giddy-Up!!

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Kayaking

Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking

 Dove Hunting

Upland Hunting

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Fall Apparel Must Haves

When the weather starts to change and the leaves begin to fall it is time for some more practical clothes for the new season. As the nights begin to get colder and the days become shorter finding something that is warm and fashionable is always a must. So here are some outfits for the family that will make this fall comfortable and fun!

For the guys, the fall wardrobe is wide open and just about anything that is warm and can stand up to the punishing weather changes is practical. For many guys a nice set of jeans and a flannel button up is the way to go for the fall. Something like the Ascend Denim Jeans for Men paired with the RedHead Fleece-Lined Flannel Shirt for Men, this combo is great for colder weather while still looking great during a night out on the town. The flannel shirt lets guys roll their sleeves during the warmer part of the day then during the colder night roll down the sleeves for a more comfortable evening. These jeans on the other hand are comfortable in almost any weather and in just about any conditions the fall season can throw at you.

RH Mens FleeceAscend Jeans

For the younger boys in the family something like the Bass Pro Shops Camo Cargo Pants for Boys with Carhartt Hunting is My Sport Fleece Hoodie for Boys. This combo keeps boys warm while holding up to the rough and tumble of outdoor play in the fall.

Boys Carhartt HoodieBoys Camo Pants

For the ladies in the fall anything that keeps the body warm and is comfortable enough to walk around the block in works well. So a nice set of jeans with a nice sweater and comfortable undershirt is comfortable and looks great. A good outfit would be the Natural Reflections Contrast Embroidery Slim Bootcut Jeans for Ladies paired with the Ascend Sweater Knit Hoodie for Ladies. The great thing about this outfit is that just about any kind of shoe or boot comfortably fits into a set like this. Just like the guys this light sweater allows the wearer to roll the sleeves during the day while it is warm and then in the evening to roll the sleeves down and button up the sweater for a warmer fit during the evening. Also the pair is comfortable in just about any weather and temperature fall can dish out on any given year. For the younger girls, the must haves are similar to the boys. These clothes need to be comfortable and tough to put up with a lot of running and climbing in the outdoors in the chilly air.

Ascend sweater hoodieNR Slim Bootcut Jeans

Another good option for the ladies would be Natural Reflections Flannel-Lined Jeans paired with Bass Pro Shops Applique Hoodie. This set will keep ladies comfortable and warm while still being able to keep up with everyone outdoors.

BPS HoodieFleece Lined Jeans

There are many different body types and body temperatures. Some people like to wear shorts and a t-shirt through the cold months of fall while others like to keep their heavy coat on all day and night. These are just some ideas on the types of different combinations of warm and rugged clothing that go well with the fall colors and are comfortable enough to wear on an outing without having to worry about the cold. Remember that sweaters for the ladies are always in and for the guys a little flannel can be warmer than a jacket on a chilly evening. As always happy hunting and good luck!

Check out this blog post from last year about apparel for cold weather! http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/apparel-for-cold-weather

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Start The Ice Season Off On The Right Foot

By Rod Woten, Professional Ice Fisherman
Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff

The recent cold blast has definitely got some of us thinking ice! In our zeal to get out on the hardwater, though, let’s not forget to remember ice safety and be sure to include some of the safety essentials in our equipment as we venture out. Safety is especially critical at this time, because the ice is still in its infancy and there’s not a lot of it yet. Additionally, since ice does not freeze in a uniform manner, walkable ice in one area does not guarantee walkable ice in another area. When ice is thicker, there is more “wiggle room” for this discrepancy, but when ice is thin there is almost no room for variation. That being said, with just a few simple pieces of equipment and some common sense procedures we can ensure that we all stay on the top side of the ice this season.

The Buddy System

This is a good practice anytime you hit the ice, but is especially essential at first ice. A buddy can be there to throw you a rope, if you do happen to go through, and can call for help if needed.  I never venture onto first ice by myself…ALWAYS go with a buddy!

Wear a PFD

It’s very rare to find someone frozen into the ice. Hypothermia is definitely an issue, but typically those that die after falling through the ice do so from drowning. Wearing a life vest is cheap insurance against this. A life vest will keep your head above water and give you extra time for help to arrive or for you to get yourself out of the water.

Carry a Rope

Seems like common sense, but you’d be amazed at the number of folks on early ice that don’t have any kind of a rescue rope. A rope allows your buddy to help rescue you without putting themselves at risk. The throw bags that kayakers use are ideally suited to this application; they have a heavy end which is easy to throw long distances, the rope floats and has nice loops on each end for each party to grab onto.

Check the Ice

It’s virtually impossible to gauge the condition of the ice just by looking. Snow on the ice complicates this even more. At the very least, drill a hole every few feet with your auger to make sure there is enough ice to support you. A “spud bar,” also known as an ice chisel, is a much better option. A spud bar allows you to check the ice with each step as you walk.  Simply walk, as if you were using a staff or trekking pole, and strike the ice with the spud bar with every other step. If the spud bar doesn’t go through, neither will you.

Traction

More injuries occur every year from people falling ON the ice rather than THROUGH the ice. If you’re not wearing some kind of traction device on your boots while you’re on the ice, it’s not a question of IF you’re going to fall; it’s a question of WHEN!  There are lots of good options out there and they all work.  They range from very inexpensive to a little on the pricey side.  Pick one and use it!

Be safe and have fun!

_____________________________________

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Check it Out List: Upland Hunting

I love upland hunting. Being out in the field, walking the line, joking with a buddy but still focused for a possible flushing, watching the dogs work, being put in your place every time by your pa that is making shots you couldn’t even fathom (and only using a 28 gauge) and of course knocking down a bird or two. And the birds you are after are some of the best tasting in my mind. Don’t get me wrong, dove is fun but upland is just different.

Now with upland hunting you are usually out with at least one other hunter, if not several. You also might have dogs working so safety always needs to be your main concern. Keep close attention to where the others are, and hold off on that shot to make sure the dog isn’t jumping up after the bird. It is sad to say that these kinds of accidents happen.

You are moving around so the kind of clothing you will have on will also be different from when hunting dove or waterfowl. So for that we are going to make it the topic for this month’s Check it Out List.

 

Upland Hunting Clothing

Boots (Insulated/Non)

Long Socks

Brush Pants

Long Sleeve Shirt

Hunting Vest

Hat

Jacket

 

Because of the kind of habitat you find upland game in, you will want to be well covered. I have never known someone to hunt in sandals, but I bet someone has somewhere. A good pair of boots and socks can make a huge difference in your hunt. Depending on the area and season will determine if you want insulated or non.

Brush pants have a tough material sewn onto them. This material can make its way past bushes or other plants you could get hung up on. It also lasts longer whereas using jeans means you will probably go through a few pairs before going through one set of brush pants. Likewise, long-sleeve shirts will help keep you from getting torn up. Many upland shirts are being made with wicking material to capture and remove sweat. Also many have a built in pad for where you shoulder your shotgun.

Hunting vests are a must for their storage. You will have room to store shells and birds. They have all different kinds and you will want to pick yours out specifically. I used to use the full vests, but now find myself quite happy with a strap vest. (It can still be a little toasty later in the year, here in Arizona.) You will want to consider how the vest might affect shouldering your shotgun and movement restriction.

Hats for sun protection are a must as well. Make it a blaze one to help keep you from being missed by another hunter. Jackets should always be packed, because you never know what can happen in the field. Better safe than sorry.

Now I only mentioned blaze for the hat, but let me emphasize that the more blaze the better. You do not need to look like a traffic cone but by having some on your hat, vest and shirt it will greatly increase the odds that an accident does not happen while shooting. Also be sure to look into your local laws as some states require a certain amount. They do sell doggy blaze vests, and considering everything that might not be a bad idea.

Oh and I will go ahead and say it, I think chukar tastes better than pheasant.

-Giddy-Up!!

 

Checked-Lists

Picnics

Gun Cleaning

Game Care

First Aid

Kayaking

Day Pack

Trip Prep

Range Time

Fishing Pack

Boating Day Trip

Camp Cooking

 

Dove Hunting

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Santa Arrives!

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

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

Saturday, November 15 - Santa Arrives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also on Saturday, November 15

Free Hunting Seminars

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

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

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

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

Pella Wildlife Company

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

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Puppies and Poppies!

The elves are working hard to prepare Santa's Wonderland for Santa's arrival on November 15. Meanwhile we have a few activities going on this weekend:

Saturday, November 8

Members of Iowa VFW will be on hand to answer questions and distribute Buddy Poppies. The Buddy Poppy is the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Free will donations will be accepted.

(Our donation campaign for AMVETS and USO starts November 11!)

3:15 - Jay Green and Zeus the therapy dog will be here to do their dog obedience demonstration! By the main aquarium after the fish feeding!

 

Warm Kids Campaign!

Bring NEW hats, gloves, and boots for ages 4-12 to Bass Pro Shops Altoona for distribution in the Southeast Polk school district! Our kids need to be warm this winter and the schools need the "extra" warm ideas to help out the students.


 

 

 

Coming Up!

Saturday, November 15, 5 p.m. - Santa arrives and we cut the ribbon on Santa's Wonderland 2014!  #santaswonderland

 

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