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New This Week & Where To Find It

Humminbird New Contour Elite and SmartStrike Editions now available

The Wildrose Way Workshops

Road to Rio: Breaking Archery News

Skeet Reese Overtakes Michael Iaconelli To Win Lake Guntersville Elite

Interviews from April 11th, 2015

Dr. Houston on Opening Day of Tennessee's Spring Turkey Season

Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Sultana Disaster (April)

KVD's Got it in the Bag!

Rippin Lips team continues turning heads and jerking whiskers on monstrous catfish

Ducks Unlimited names Top 100, President’s Elite chapters

Ducks Unlimited names Top 100, President’s Elite chapters

TWRA Deer Rally

USDA To Help Waterways In Mississippi River Basin

What's Happening At Discovery Park (April)

Avery Intros New Decoy Lines

Catch More Cold-Water Crappies this Spring

MDWFP Conservation Officers Rescue Man From Mississippi River

Food Plots and Habitat Plantings for Game Birds

Project ChildSafe Releases New Firearm Safety Video

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The Show

"Outdoors with Larry Rea" is in its 14th year on the air, broadcasting from Entercom Studios in Memphis, TN. The show's host, Larry Rea, is an expert in Outdoors media, having been the Outdoors Editor for the Memphis Commercial Appeal prior to his move into radio. The show, as well as its website,, has consistently won awards for excellence in broadcasting, most recently at the annual Southeastern Outdoors Press Association conference. Airing on Saturday mornings, the show features a broad list of segments, including interviews with the most interesting and accomplished Outdoorsmen and women in the U.S. and beyond, but offers a local flavor as well. Larry and his team of show contributors cover the latest news, reports, products and events. In addition to the radio booth, the show hits the road to cover some of the most prestigious events in the industry, such as the Bassmaster Classic, the National Field Dog Trials and more.
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Road to Rio: Breaking Archery News

PHOENIX - Archery's season opener, the AAE Arizona Cup, included a national team qualifier, a World Ranking Event, a Para World Ranking Event, and the U.S. Team Trials for the World Archery Championships. This event has delivered several compelling storylines and athletes to watch as the season heats up:  
Para World Ranking Event Draws Global Participation
Para National Head Coach speaks to training opportunities for Team USA athletes, who clinched medals today and are poised for success at upcoming World Archery Para Championships - the first qualifier for Rio 2016. More:    
VIDEO: This Archer Was Born Without Arms. How Does He Shoot a Bow and Arrows?  
We put a camera on the line in front of Paralympic medalist Matt Stutzman. He shows us exactly how he shoots world-class, record-setting scores, using his feet, his shoulder and his head. More:    
Qualifying for Rio 2016: Who Will Head to World Championships?  
The World Archery Championships, in Copenhagen this July, is the first official qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The competition for spots on this team is incredibly close, as ten women and ten men advance to the U.S. Team Trials.  
Rising Star: Zachary Garrett, Rio 2016 Hopeful  
If you're wondering about emerging talent in archery, read this interview. Zachary Garrett set the field on fire at this week's Arizona Cup, dominating the qualification rounds, winning a bronze medal and then leading the U.S. Team Trials for the World Championships, outdistancing several Olympic medalists.  

Archery Talent Delivers in Arizona Heat
If you're wondering who archery's up and coming star athletes are, this is a must-read. As the sport's season opener with great international participation, the Arizona Cup is a great indicator of athlete success and which countries to watch in the lead-up to Rio 2016.
Questions? We'd be happy to help with more information on the growing sport of archery, athlete interviews, photos and other requests. Please reach out.  
About USA Archery
USA Archery is the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery in the United States. USA Archery selects and trains Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup teams, as well as developing archery at the grassroots level across the United States.  For more information, visit

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USDA To Help Waterways In Mississippi River Basin

Jackson, Miss. – Targeted conservation work in the Mississippi River basin will unite the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers and local organizations to help clean waterways that flow into the nation’s largest river. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing $10 million this year in 27 new high-priority watersheds and 13 existing projects that will help improve water quality and strengthen agricultural operations. This investment is part of a commitment of $100 million over four years to address critical water quality concerns in priority watersheds while boosting rural economies.
NRCS worked with state agencies, farmers and other partners to identify high-priority watersheds that align with established state priorities and have strong partnerships in place.  Conservation systems implemented in these areas will reduce the amount of nutrients flowing from agricultural land into waterways, curb erosion and improve the resiliency of working lands in the face of droughts and floods. This investment builds on $18.5 million already allocated to projects in the basin in fiscal year 2015.
These projects are funded through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).  This includes funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program, to help farmers adopt conservation systems to improve water quality and other related resource concerns.
In Mississippi, NRCS is working with the Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (F.A.R.M), Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to improve the Tommy Bayou /Brook Bayou watersheds in Bolivar County, Christmas Lake Bayou/Stillwater Bayou watersheds in Bolivar and Washington Counties and Long Lake watershed in Sunflower and Bolivar Counties.
Mississippi’s NRCS is currently taking applications within the new MRBI watersheds.  This is a continuous signup however only applications received by May 15, 2015, will be considered for funding this fiscal year in the new watersheds listed above.  You can locate a NRCS office near you by visiting
Mississippi State Conservationist Kurt Readus stated, “Farmers are conservation-minded individuals and NRCS and our partners are proud to be able to offer financial and technical assistance in helping them improve the water going into the tributaries of the Mississippi River.” 
Conservation systems include practices that promote soil health, reduce erosion and lessen nutrient runoff.  This includes systems such as cover crops, reduced tillage and nutrient management and irrigation systems that capture and recycle nutrients back to the field.
Findings from a 2014 report by the USDA’s Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) show that conservation work on cropland in the Mississippi River basin has reduced the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing to the Gulf of Mexico by 18 and 20 percent, respectively. CEAP models have also shown that the targeted approach of MRBI has enhanced the per-acre conservation benefit by 70 percent for sediment losses, 30 percent by nitrogen losses and 40 percent for phosphorus losses, when compared to general program activities.

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Hunter, Shooter and Angler Annual Market Trends Reports Now Available

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL. - Southwick Associates' annual trend reports on the purchasing and activity habits of sportsmen have become essential resources for business leaders looking to guide their companies toward bigger profits in the outdoor industry. The latest reports, "2014 Hunting and Shooting Participation and Market Trends" and the "2014 Angler Trends" are a compilation of the data from a year's worth of the bi-monthly surveys conducted on and
The annual reports include critical information such as the age, income and other demographics of survey respondents, along with details on participation, the types of gear and equipment purchased, how much was spent on those products, where they were bought, when they were bought and even what specific brands were purchased. Firearms, optics, clothing, camouflage clothing, reloading equipment, game calls and trail cameras are just some of the product categories broken down in the Hunting and Shooting market report. Product categories covered in the Angler Trends report include rods, reels, tackle, line, lures, fly-fishing gear, ice fishing gear, fishing electronics, fishing apparel and a wide range of angling accessories.
"We've been providing our compiled market trend reports for eight years now, and there is no other source available that delivers the level of detail on the activity-specific purchases of our nation's hunters, anglers and recreational shooters," says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.comand
To purchase a report or subscription to Southwick Associates' reports, or learn more about custom research opportunities, contact  John DePalma or visit our website.
About Southwick Associates: Southwick Associates is a market research and economics firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor recreation markets. Celebrating 25 years in 2015, Southwick Associates has a distinguished reputation for delivering comprehensive insights and statistics to support strategic decision making across the entire outdoor industry. Aside from custom market and economic data, Southwick provides custom and syndicated research including customer-driven new product development, outdoor media consumption insights, and equipment purchase tracking studies. Visit for more information.
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Team Hornady's Jessie Duff Delivers Clean Sweep at US National Steel Championships

US National Steel Championships

Grand Island, NE – Hornady® Manufacturing is pleased to announce another successful overall match win for Hornady® Sponsored shooter, Jessie Duff, at the 2015 US National Steel Championships in Smyrna Beach, Florida on March 21-22, 2015.

Duff overtook the competition in three divisions with first-place wins in: Ladies .22 Open Rimfire, Ladies Limited, Ladies Open, and Ladies Steel Master. Duff counted on Hornady® 9mm 115 gr. HAP® (Hornady Action™ Pistol) bullets to deliver the very best in accuracy and performance. 
"Steel shooting is focused on speed," said Duff, "but accuracy is just as important, and I trust Hornady HAPs every time I step to the line to compete." 
Duff's wins also contributed to setting two new national records in the Ladies Limited and Open divisions with a score of 104.72 in the Limited, and 93.28 in the Open.

The US National Steel Championships draw hundreds of shooters to compete in eight stages that consist of four steel targets and a stop plate. Competitors are required to draw and hit each target before tapping the designated plate to stop the clock. This competition focuses on pure speed and raw shooting skill.

"The Steel Nationals marked my first match of the 2015 shooting season, and I couldn't be happier to kick off the season with a clean sweep!" Duff said.

Founded in 1949, Hornady® is a family owned business headquartered in Grand Island, Nebr. Proudly manufacturing products that are made in the USA, Hornady® is a world leader in bullet, ammunition, reloading tool and accessory design and manufacture.

For further information regarding Hornady® LE products, visit For more information about all Hornady® products, visit Media members interested in Hornady® products for editorial review should contact Neal Emery at
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Huge Field Competes in FLW College Fishing National Championship

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky. – A huge field of 194 college teams launched Friday morning on Kentucky Lake, shattering the record to become the largest collegiate fishing tournament ever held. Once the final ounce had been tallied Saturday evening, the University of Arkansas team of Zachary Pickle of South Lake, Texas, and, Drew Porto of Colleyville, Texas, were named champions of the inaugural FLW College Fishing Open on Kentucky Lake. The Razorback duo brought five bass weighing 21 pounds, 15 ounces to the scale for a two-day total of 10 bass totaling 43 pounds, 12 ounces. The victory earned the club a new Ranger Z117 boat with a Mercury or Evinrude outboard engine and a berth into the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

"I never thought we were going to win it," said Porto, a senior majoring in Marketing. "I knew we had enough weight to push us into the top 10, but I never thought we would come out with a victory."

"We were pretty nervous up on stage," said Pickle, a freshman majoring in Agricultural Business. "I had lost a couple of three- or four-pounders during the tournament so I was hoping that it wouldn't come back to haunt us."

The freshman's mishap didn't hurt the duo as the two went on to win the tournament by fishing the Big Sandy River area, where the fish were active along 30 yards of chunk rock and a creek channel bend.

"We were dialed in on the exact 30-yard stretch both days. We just went back and forth along the rocks at a consistent pace," said Porto. "During practice I found the water was warmer there – about 53 degrees. After 20 casts, I had put three fish weighing around five pounds each in the livewell. I knew we would have to return there during the tournament."

The anglers said that they caught 12 keepers in the tournament, all coming on a black chartreuse-colored Xcalibur XCS Square Lip Silent Crankbait. 

"The bait worked perfectly in that warmer water," said Pickle. "The bass were right where we wanted them. This whole week was really exciting."

The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship are:

1st: University of Arkansas — Zachary Pickle, South Lake, Texas, and Drew Porto, Colleyville, Texas, (10 bass, 43-12)
2nd: University of Alabama — Konnor Kennedy and Ethan Flack, both of Cullman, Ala., (10 bass, 43-5)
3rd: University of Illinois — Qiurun Chen, Urbana, Ill., and Luke Stoner, Pekin, Ill., (10 bass, 43-0)
4th: Northwest Missouri State University — Andrew Nordbye, Saint Joseph, Mo., and Adam Almohtadi, Blue Springs, Mo., (10 bass, 41-14)
5th: Bethel University — Joseph Huggins, Ovieda, Fla., and Ty Dyer, Lexington, Tenn., (10 bass, 38-1)
6th: Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — Dalton Wesley, Worden, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill., (10 bass, 37-4)
7th: Bethel University — Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., and Grant Rutter, Dillsburg, Pa. (10 bass, 36-2)
8th: Bethel University — Alec Piekarski, Greenfield, Wis., and Kyler Chelminiak, Franklin, Wis., (10 bass, 34-9) 
9th: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga — Patrick Hoskins, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, Slatersville, R.I., (10 Bass, 34-6) 
10th: Iowa State University — Zac Beek, Bloomington, Minn., and Zachary Hartley, Minneapolis, Minn., (nine bass, 32-14)

Complete results can be found at 

This FLW College Fishing Open was hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. The next event for FLW College Fishing anglers is a Central Division event scheduled for April 11 at Table Rock Lake in Kimberling City, Missouri, and is hosted by the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce.

FLW College Fishing teams compete in qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five Conference Championship tournaments. The top ten teams from each of the five Conference Championship tournaments, along with the top-10 teams from the FLW College Fishing Open, will advance to the 2016 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing on Facebook at and on Twitter at Visit to sign up or to start a club at your school.
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Lefebre rallies to FLW win

FLIPPIN, ARK. - Ranger Pro Dave Lefebre shocked fellow competitors and spectators alike by completing an unprecedented, come-from-behind victory in the FLW Tour event on Lewis Smith Lake. Facing an eight-plus-pound deficit, his final day's total of five bass weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces was enough to propel him to the sixth Tour-level victory of his career and a $125,000 payday.

After moving from 23rd to seventh place during the tournament's first three days, Lefebre trailed tournament leader Zack Birge by more than eight pounds at the start of the tournament's final day. Focusing on blueback herring spawning areas in the backs of creeks, Lefebre used waking winnow lures to target the fishery's population of heavy, hungry largemouths, including a pair of fish that comprised more than half of his Day 4 weight that were caught on the same cast.

"I wasn't even thinking about winning the tournament, I just wanted to move up a few spots and cash a nice check," Lefebre said, after he notched his first FLW Tour win since 2012. "Today was one of the biggest surprises of my career."

Lefebre brough five-fish limits to the weigh-in stand each of the tournament's four days, finishing with 65 pounds, 5 ounces and hold off second-place finisher and fellow Ranger Pro Clark Wendlandt, who finished with 63 pounds, 7 ounces. With the win, Lefebre earned the $100,000 first-place prize from FLW Outdoors as well as the $25,000 Ranger Cup bonus. Lefebre's big finish at Lewis Smith Lake also keeps him in contention to qualify for his 12th Forrest Wood Cup.

"This feels good," Lefebre said. "Last year was a nightmare season for me, so this is sweet redemption."

In total, five anglers who finished in the Top-10 at Lewis Smith Lake were members of the Ranger Pro Staff.

"This is an incredible come-from-behind win and testament to Dave's character and competitiveness - two of the things that make him such a great ambassador for the Ranger brand " said Ranger Boats Vice President of Marketing Bart Schad. "What a tremendous finish to an already exciting event by Dave and we congratulate him and the rest of our Ranger Pros for their successes during the tournament."

The Wal-Mart FLW Tour resumes April 23-26 on Arkansas's Beaver Lake for the third stop on the 2015 schedule.
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MDWFP Conservation Officers Rescue Man From Mississippi River

JACKSON—Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Conservation Officers rescued James D. White from the treacherous waters of the Mississippi River Friday morning.
MDWFP Conservation Officers were working near Wilkinson County when Master Sergeant Gary Crum observed a boat turn violently to one side ejecting White, 65, of Moreauville, Louisiana. The 17 foot aluminum boat began a tight spin at full throttle narrowly missing White, who was struggling to stay afloat in the 52 foot deep waters. MSgt. Crum, who was first on the scene, maneuvered his boat between the out of control vessel and White in order to remove him from immediate danger.
MDWFP Major Lane Ball,  Master Sergeants Jimmy Huston and  Don McDaniel, and Private Dustin Vanderslice arrived and managed to disable the vessel.
“This could have ended in tragedy, but fortunately this individual will be spending Easter with his family,” said Col. Steve Adcock, MDWFP Chief of Law Enforcement.  “I’m proud our Conservation Officers were in the right place at the right time to execute this rescue and prevent loss of life,” Adcock added.
To report wildlife and fisheries violations call 1-800-BE-SMART.
For more information contact James Walker at 601-432-2400. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter at
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Strike King Promotes Sergeant Major (Ret.) Jamey Caldwell to National Pro Staff Team

Collierville, TN – Strike King Lure Company announces the addition Jamey Caldwell of Carthage, NC to the national Strike King Pro staff. Allan Ranson Chief Operating Officer says, "I have known Jamey for 5 years and it is rare to find someone who puts as much energy and effort into whatever he is doing to be the best that he can be. He is an expert on technology used for fishing and all the equipment and has lots experience with product development. He is an accomplished angler, is great at giving seminars and is active on all forms of social media." 

Becoming a bass pro is a second career and a dream for Jamey. In December 2014 he retired from a 21-year career in the U. S. Army. Most of his first 7 years were in the 75th Ranger Regiment and then he spent 14 years in an Elite Special Operations unit at Ft. Bragg, NC. The majority of his career was spent fighting the War on Terror. He was too humble to share but from his official military records it shows that during this time he was deployed 14 times to various theaters for combat operations. He received 8 Bronze Stars (2 with Valor), 3 Defense Meritorious Service Medals, 1 Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Army Commendation Medals (1 with valor), 16 other medals and 11 other awards as well as a long list of training courses and expertise in many areas. After being a Tier One Operator for so long he is now ready to pick up a fishing rod full time!

"The characteristics of the men that achieve this highest level of military training and achievement uniquely position them for success at whatever they choose to do. They have the drive, smarts and energy to win," says Ranson. "I have seen Jamey take these traits into his fishing, even win a tournament right after a deployment on which he did his pre-fish planning while in Iraq! He has infectious energy and is fun to be around. We want to help him fulfill his dream and know that he will be a tough competitor on the water and a great ambassador for our Company. This year he will be fishing the Southern and Northern B.A.S.S. Opens with the hopes of qualifying for the ELITES. "Elite" is a good word to describe Jamey so I expect it to happen!"

Says Jamey, "While serving in a Special Operations unit I was provided with the best tools available to do my job. Now Strike King is arming me with the best lures on the market to fish at the Elite level. It is a great privilege to be part of such an amazing company and I am honored to represent them. The road to the Elite series is not going to be an easy one but nothing I have chosen to do in life has been easy."

More information on the Strike King product line, please visit , or your preferred retailer of fishing products.
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T-Roy Broussard Joins Strike King

Strike King catches Gator Hunter

Collierville, Tenn. (Apr. 1, 2015) – Strike King Lure Co. has always been known for its elite pro staff. From the inception of the company some 49 years ago, the model was to use the right anglers to promote the right product to consumers. Staying true to that philosophy, Strike King is proud to announce the addition of TV personality and avid outdoorsman T-Roy Broussard to their national pro staff!

“T-Roy is not only the guy we’ve all seen on TV, but he’s so much more,” says Marketing Relationship Manager, Mark Copley. “Aside from his obvious success as a nationally recognized alligator hunter, he is a very passionate outdoorsman and a very experienced and knowledgeable bass angler. He fits perfectly into the mold here at Strike King. He’s our kind of guy,” Copley adds.

“As a guy that takes bass fishing very serious, it’s a huge honor to partner with Strike King. These folks live and breathe the outdoors just like I do. Not only that, but Strike King makes products that work that the average angler can afford. Aside from an alligator lure, what else could you ask for?” says T-Roy Broussard, most often known for his role on the hit reality show “Swamp People”.

T-Roy is competing on the FLW Tour as well as the Texas division of the Rayovac FLW Series.  

For more information on Strike King products, please visit or your preferred fishing tackle retailer.

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Skeet Reese Overtakes Michael Iaconelli To Win Lake Guntersville Elite

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — When Skeet Reese arrived in Alabama last week for the Diet Mtn Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, he had a solid plan in place for how he wanted to fish.

His plan didn’t work.
So instead, he just followed the lead of his friend and roommate on the tour, Byron Velvick.
Velvick told Reese about the 7-inch Basstrix Swimbait — the largest version of a 15-year-old soft plastic bait that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity — and Reese used it to win with a four-day catch of 92 pounds, 11 ounces. He entered the final round in second place, more than 2 pounds behind Michael Iaconelli, but vaulted himself to the $100,000 victory with a Sunday catch of 25-5.
His buddy, Velvick, placed second with 88-1.
“You just couldn’t have scripted this any better,” said Reese, a California native who now has eight victories in B.A.S.S. events. “I had a really tough practice. I was going out with the anticipation of catching 13 to 14 pounds a day — unless maybe I could find a big bite and come in with 16 to 17. But Byron turned me on to a bait, and it evolved into something special, a win.”
Reese spent most of his week fishing in or near Seibold Creek, targeting a variety of shallow and midrange structure along the banks and on offshore flats. He believes he caught fish from all phases of the spawning process — prespawn, spawn and postspawn.
The rod-and-reel combination Reese used to throw the swimbait came from the seemingly endless line of products that bear his signature. He used a 7-foot, 5-inch Skeet Reese Victory Pro Carbon rod and a namesake Pro Carbon reel with a 6.4:1 gear ratio, both from Wright McGill.
He said the slow-retrieve reel was particularly important because the bait had to be fished painfully slow.
“There was so much fishing pressure on the lake that you had to get the bait down to them and slow roll it to get the bite,” Reese said. “That’s one of the things I figured out the first day. Around the shallow laydowns, they were a little more aggressive. But once the bait got out a little deeper, you had to really slow it down.”
Velvick, who spent a lot of time fishing the Basstrix Swimbait around Guntersville’s many bridges, wasn’t quite as consistent as Reese all four days of the tournament.
While Reese brought in 24 pounds or better three of the four days, Velvick managed only 18-plus pounds on Day 1 and Day 3. But his Sunday catch of 24-7 was enough to lift him from eighth place into second with 88-1.
Despite earning $25,000 –$75,000 less than the check given to Reese — Velvick was happy to see his friend win.
“You’ve got to help your friends out,” said Velvick, who lives in Texas. “You’ve got to be honest with the guys you fish with. I actually went and found him some more baits this morning.
“I felt like a NASCAR guy with extra tires in my trailer, and my driving partner needed tires to win the race. Even though I was in the race, too, if I couldn’t win it, there was no one else I’d rather see win.”
Besides the assist from Velvick, Reese benefited from New Jersey pro Michael Iaconelli finally running out of fish.
The leader for the first three days of the event, Iaconelli insisted things had gotten tougher for him each day. But good decisions had helped him maintain the lead, and he was hoping for one more solid limit from the area he was fishing in Seibold that had been so good to him.
His primary area fizzled, along with his backup plan, and he managed only one fish that weighed 2 pounds, 15 ounces. He finished 12th with 72-7.
“I look back at today, and I don’t know if I would really change anything,” Iaconelli said. “It just didn’t work. I had a B plan, and it didn’t work. I had a plan C, and it didn’t work. What are you going to do?”

Alabama angler Derek Remitz finished third with 85-5, and might have placed higher if not for losing a 5-pounder Sunday. Tennessee pro David Walker was fourth with 84-8, and Texan Keith Combs was fifth with 83-6.
Rookie Carl Jocumsen placed sixth with 81-15 and became the first angler from Australia to qualify for an Elite Series Top 12.
Bonuses and Contingency Awards:
  • The $1,000 award for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points leader will go to John Crews.
  • The Power-Pole Captain’s Cash will award $1,000 to Derek Remitz.
  • The Evan Williams Bourbon Heavyweight Award of $500 for the angler with the heaviest five-fish limit during the tournament goes to Michael Iaconelli for his 28-2 bag on Day 1.
  • The Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for the angler leading on Day 2 goes to Iaconelli.
  • The HUK Biggest Jump Award of $1,000 for the angler who made the largest jump in standings from Day 1 goes to Jason Williamson.
  • The Bass Pro Shops Big Bass award of $750 for the heaviest bass weighed goes to both Rick Clunn and James Elam for an 8-8 catch.
  • The Toyota Bonus Bucks award of $3,000 for the highest placing eligible angler goes to David Walker. The second highest placing angler, Keith Combs, is awarded $2,000.
2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano
About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
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Arkansas Outdoors

Today’s topics:
Deer hunters top 200,000 harvest mark again
Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program aimed at protecting state’s waters
Tagged catfish are being stocked around the state
Get a jump on color choices for crappie fishing
Deer hunters top 200,000 harvest mark again
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas hunters tagged 208,075 deer during the 2014-15 season, just short of totals for the previous two years.
The Arkansas record deer harvest came in 2012-13 when 213,487 deer were taken. The runner-up season was 2013-14 with a 213,199 total. Union again led all 75 counties with 6,750 deer tagged. The county with the fewest harvested deer was Mississippi at 183.
When the size of the county is considered, Cleveland County comes out on top with 9.4 deer taken per square mile. Bradley County was second in the deer-per-square-mile category at 8.3. Grant County was third at 7.9 and Dallas County was fourth at 7.7.
The south unit of Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge led wildlife management areas with 686 deer taken. Ozark National Forest WMA was second at 620.
Hunters bagged 1,680 deer on opening day of archery season, 5,018 on opening day of muzzleloader season and 22,086 on opening day of modern gun season. Archery season began Sept. 27 and ended Feb. 28; modern gun season began Nov. 8 and muzzleloader season began Oct. 18.
Top 20 Deer Harvest by County, 2014-15
1. Union 6,750
2. Drew 5,784
3. Clark 5,714
4. Cleveland 5,608
5. Bradley 5,443
6. Dallas 5,113
7. Columbia 5,108
8. Grant 5,027
9. Arkansas 4,623
10. Ashley 4,617
11. Ouachita 4,614
12. Washington 4,500
13. Benton 4,398
14. Pike 4,185
15. Nevada 4,125
16. Sharp 4,021
17. Saline 3,968
18. Calhoun 3,924
19. White 3,783
20. Hot Spring 3,586
Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program aimed at protecting state’s waters
LITTLE ROCK – More than 85% of rural roads in Arkansas are unpaved. These roads are the transportation backbone for many of the state’s economic sectors including agriculture, forestry, oil and gas, and outdoor recreation. They also provide residential access for many of the state’s citizens.
However, unpaved roads can cause impacts to local streams and lakes by delivering excess sediment into these water bodies. Stream crossings also can cause alterations to streamhydrology and habitat.
Recently passed legislation, known as the Arkansas Unpaved Roads Program, is aimed at protecting the state’s waters and providing benefits to aquatic species in jeopardy of being listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program provides best management practices training and matching funding from participating partners to Arkansas counties for priority unpaved road improvement projects.
The Arkansas Association of Counties is the lead partner joined by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Department of Rural Services, Arkansas Forestry Association, Arkansas Forestry Commission, The Nature Conservancy and many others.
Using the best management practices outlined in the program can result in a decrease in erosion and sediment of up to 95% and a significant long-term cost savings to counties.  A severely eroding road portion that is repaired well is significantly less expensive to maintain.
The program partners provide 50% funding to be matched by 50% funding or in-kind donations from the counties for high priority individual county road improvement projects. The Department of Rural Services administers the program with the partners participating in an advisory committee. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View.
Tagged catfish are being stocked around the state
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program is continuing their efforts to get families involved in fishing with a tagged catfish campaign. Thousands of channel catfish from the AGFC’s warm-water hatchery facilities are currently being stocked in locations around the state.
Each of Arkansas’s Family and Community Fishing Program catfish stocking locations have 10 catfish tagged with special green Family and Community tags. Anyone that catches a tagged fish will receive a first round prize. Three grand prizes are being donated by Pure Fishing/Shakespeare and Abu Garcia. They consist of top-of-the-line fishing gear and accessories.
Family and Community Fisheries Program Coordinator Ben Batten said a similar effort was first organized during spring break of 2012 and was a huge success.  “This is the fourth year for this promotion, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year.”
 Anyone catching a tagged fish from Family and Community locations should send the tags to the AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program, 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, AR 72205. Include your name, address, phone number, location and date of catch. Only one entry per person. Tag returns must be postmarked by July 2, 2015 for the grand prize giveaway, but first round first prizes will still be available if sent in after the deadline.
Incomplete or illegible information will not be accepted. For more information on the Family and Community Fishing Program, go to or call the AGFC Fish Stocking Hotline at 1-866-540-FISH (3474).
Get a jump on color choices for crappie fishing
LITTLE ROCK – Take a peek at a competent crappie fishermen’s box full of jigs, and you’ll see an array of colors, both in skirts and in heads.
Which ones do you choose?
As in any type of fishing, there are no sure bets, no absolute fish catchers, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. But you can pick some colors that usually work better in certain conditions.
Factors for first consideration include water color, water depth and whether the day is sunny or cloudy. In general, brighter colors work best on cloudy days, and darker colors work best on sunny days. This is just a starting point, however.
If the water is clear, start off using those darker colors. Sunny day and clear water? Yep, go with a black, purple, brown or dark green jig skirt. Cloudy day and dingy or muddy water? That’s the setting for white, chartreuse, pink or silver jig skirts.
For most crappie fishing veterans, the color of the skirt is a first choice, and the color of the jig head is a second option. Many like to make a contrast with skirts and heads – black skirt and white jig head for instance. But sometimes the combination that works is skirt and head of the same color. Again, this is fishing – no guarantees.
Crappie anglers often like to work with more than one rod or pole. Sometimes they will set out as many as eight rigs in an arc around their boat, and this is whether still fishing or trolling slowly. The rods will have hooks with different colored jigs and will be set for different depths. When a fish or two is caught, then the other rods will be changed to the color and depth that is working.
A crappie seeker can also use a rig with a swivel and two leaders to work two different types of jigs.
More jig skirt choices include tail types – straight, curly or twin. Colors can be solid or speckled with gold or silver tones.
Fit your crappie fishing box with a variety of colors and types of jigs. You’ll be better prepared for whatever the day brings forth.
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For the latest in Arkansas Game and Fish Commission information go to or call the Wildlife Information Hotline, 800-440-1477.
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During the past week, we have had a several rain events, (a bit over an inch here in Cotter), warm temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose four and seven tenths feet to rest at eight feet above seasonal power pool of 659 feet. This is twenty eight feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose seven tenths of a foot to rest at eight tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool and fifteen and two tenths feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose one tenth of a foot to rest at five tenths of a foot above seasonal power pool or nine and one tenth feet below the top of flood pool. On the White, we had heavy generation with no wadable water. Norfork Lake rose one and one tenth feet to rest at five and two tenths feet above seasonal power pool of 553.7 feet and twenty one feet below the top of flood pool. On the Norfork, we had heavy generation with no wadable water
The water level for the top of power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. Due to recent rains, all of the lakes on this system are well above seasonal power pool and the Corps of Engineers is aggressively releasing water to draw the lake levels down to power pool. I do not foresee wadable water in the near future.
On the Norfork, one of the generators is down for routine maintenance. In an effort to draw the lake down the Corps of Engineers is releasing additional water through the flood gates. The total release is approximately 6,000 cubic feet per second which is near maximum release through the generators.
On heavy generation, the best way to catch fish is to switch to longer leaders and heavier weight. On the White, the hot spot was the Catch and Release section below Bull Shoals Dam. The hot flies were olive woolly buggers (#8, #10), Y2Ks (#14, #12), prince nymphs (#14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead #16, #18), pheasant tails (#14), ruby midges (#18), root beer midges (#18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (#10), and sowbugs (#16). Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective (try a prince nymph with a ruby midge or root beer midge suspended below it).
Conventional wisdom states that hopper fishing begins in late summer. I reject this idea and fish them all year. I favor shorter leaders (seven and a half foot 3X) and a stiff six weight rod to proper deliver these weighty flies. My favorite flies are Dave’s hoppers (#10) and the western pink lady (#8). To increase hook ups I always use a dropper. I am currently using a ruby or root beer midge in size eighteen on a three foot or longer tippet (depending on the depth of the water I am fishing).
There have been several reliable sightings of caddis hatching. This is our major hatch of the year. They are size fourteen and easy to see. Before the hatch, you should concentrate on fishing prince nymphs. When the trout key on the top but no insects are present, switch over to my green butt. When you observe trout taking adult insects from the top of the water column, you should switch over to elk hair caddis dry flies.
The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are stained and high. With the weather warming, the smallmouths should be active soon. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
The Norfork River has fished poorly recently. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (#18, #20, #22)  like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (#14, #16) like the green butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead headed nymph (zebra midge, copper John or pheasant tail) suspended eighteen inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise #10). There have been reliable hatches of small midges (try a size 24 Adams parachute) and caddis (try a size 18 elk hair caddis).The fishing is better in the morning and late afternoon and tapers off midday.
There was more fishing pressure on Dry Run Creek due to spring break. It has been a great time to fish there. The hot flies have been sowbugs (#14), Y2Ks (#12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise #10).  
The water on the Spring River is stained and high. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork Rivers. Canoe season is over and there are fewer boats on the river to interfere with your fishing. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive woolly buggers with a bit of flash (#10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (#10) and Y2Ks (#10).
Remember that the White and Norfork Rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soled wading boots that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years.
If you have looked out the window very much in the last few weeks, you will have noticed that we have received quite a bit of rain. All of this rain has caused a significant rise in the water levels at Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes. In fact, all of the lakes in the White River System are now over power pool and are currently in flood pool. As a result, the United States Army Corps of Engineers is running significant amounts of water through the dams, in order to bring the lake levels down to power pool. This is done to prevent flooding.
When I checked this morning, they were running about 12,000 cubic feet per second (the rough equivalent of four full generators) at Bull Shoals, with a prediction of more to come. At Norfork, they were running 3,000 cubic feet per second from its one operating generator. To make up for the lost flow from its other generator, which is down for maintenance, they are running another 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) through the flood gates. The total is 6,000 cfs or the rough equivalent of two full generators, which is the maximum flow from Norfork.
Needless to say, all of this water will affect fishing. Wading is virtually out of the question. There may be a spot or two, where you can hug the bank and catch a fish or two, but the results will be marginal at best. To effectively fish under these conditions, you will need to be in a boat. I know that there are a lot of anglers out there that do not want to hear this, but this is reality. To make matters worse, I expect these conditions to continue in the near future.
Therefore we need to think about how to fish from a boat and what to use. When they are generating a lot of water the fish are generally pushed toward the bank. At low water we generally fish the main channel but in high water we generally fish the banks. 
The most productive method will be to fish nymphs under an indicator. With deeper water, you will need longer leaders and more lead. Make sure that you are ticking the bottom with your files. The traditional high water rig is spaghetti and meatballs, that is an egg pattern (peach or orange) suspended below a San Juan worm (I like hot fluorescent pink, cerise and red). Other nymphs like prince nymphs, ruby midges, root beer midges and caddis larva will also be effective. Cast out about twenty feet from the boat and have your indicator drift, with the current. Mend your line as necessary, to achieve a perfect drag free drift. Set the hook quickly, whenever you detect a take.
Another effective method is to bang the bank with a grass hopper. I like a shorter heavier leader, in order to turn over these larger flies. I add a small nymph dropper on an eighteen inch tippet in order to increase the hook ups with this rig. Cast as close to the bank as possible and retrieve with some erratic strips. You will get more hits on the dropper.
If you want to target bigger fish, then you will need to fish large streamers. This does not produce large numbers of fish but it does target larger trout. You rig large streamers on short heavy leaders on sink tip lines. Here again you bang the bank and strip the line in. Vary the strip until you figure out the retrieve they want. This is best done with heavier rods (eight weight or better) and is heavy work. It is not for the novice caster.
We are going to have some big water for a while. Don’t let it keep you away. Get out there and catch some trout. They are still there.
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TWRA Announcements


NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) will host the 2015 Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop June 5-7 in Crossville at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center.
The relaxed atmosphere of the BOW workshop is primarily aimed at women, and is an opportunity for those 18 or older to learn outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing. However, the workshop provides useful for other outdoor pursuits and interests. Workshop participants will have a chance to take a variety of courses over the three days and the classes are taught by experts in their respective fields. There will be special programs in the evenings.
This year’s workshop offers classes in firearms and firearms safety, successful fishing skills, advanced fishing techniques, all-terrain vehicle operation, basic archery, boating safety education, outdoor cooking, wild edible foray, beginning fly fishing, nature photography basics, basic canoeing, basic shotgun, survival skills, backyard habitat, map/compass, introduction to muzzleloading, introduction to turkey hunting, introduction to deer hunting, introduction to waterfowl hunting, basic trapping, reading the woods, discover scuba, stream ecology, and boat trailer basics.
The workshop fee is $175 and includes lodging at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center, meals, T-shirt, and a 2015-16 Tennessee Hunting and Fishing License. Registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications may be obtained from the TWRA website  at, or any TWRA regional office. For more information contact Donald Hosse, Wildlife Education Program Coordinator, at or telephone (615) 781-6541.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  --- White County repeated as champion in the high school division while Rutherford County’s Buchanan won the elementary title and Central Magnet claimed the middle school crown in the Ninth Annual Tennessee National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Championship.
Close to 1,750 students representing more than 90 schools were registered in the event held at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum which concluded Thursday evening. Three flights opened the tournament on Wednesday while six flights were held Thursday. .
White County High shot a score of 3,369 on its way to a second consecutive championship.  CHET, which participates with home school students in the Nashville area, was runner-up for the second straight year with a 3,284. Murfreesboro Oakland was third with 3,253, Central Magnet was fourth with a 3,241 and Siegel fifth with 3,235.
Central Magnet, fourth place finishers last year, moved to the top in the middle school division with a 3,239. Stewarts Creek was second with a 3,211m followed by Whitworth Buchanan, the defending two-time state champions, with 3,211, Christiana 3,119, and Harrogate Force Ridge School with a 3,063 to round out the top five.
After a second place finish last year, Buchanan had an 82-point improvement to finish with a 3,083 ahead of two-time defending elementary champion Christiana. Newcomer East Lincoln elementary was third with a 2,920 followed by East Montgomery 2,919, and Browns Chapel 2,788 to round out the top five.
Central Magnet School’s Craig Bowen shot a 294 (out of a possible 300). Craig slipped past 2014 top overall male shooter, Isaiah Gardenhire of White County’s 293. Both students had 24 shots of 10 (out of 30 total shots).
CHET’s Laurel Thompson repeated as the event’s top female shooter. Laurel had a 291 with 22 shots of 10 to finish four points ahead of her 2014 winning score of 287.  White County’s Jacklynn Bryant was second with a 289.
Team awards were presented following Thursday’s competition to the top three teams in each division. Medals were presented to the top five female and male finishers in the high school, middle school and elementary school divisions. Each student shot 30 arrows, 15 from 10 meters and 15 from 15 meters with a maximum score of 300. 
The top team and top 10 individuals in each division automatically received a bid to compete in the 2015 National NASP Tournament next month in Louisville, Ky. Other participants who meet specific qualifying requirements will also be invited.
In the elementary division, leading the top five girls in the elementary division was Meredith Anderson (264, Christiana) for the second straight year. She was one of three girls to shoot a 264 and the places were decided by the shooters having the most 10s. Second place was Allison McCarver (Eastside), and third was Brianna Winkler (Dibrell). The fourth and fifth place finishers each shot 262 with the most 10s having Emilyn Arvidson (Christiana) fourth, and Shelby Roberts Hickory Creek) fifth. The elementary division boys also had a tie with Briley Colyar (East Lincoln) and Calvin Black (Christiana) each shot a 277 with Briley claiming first place with his 15 10s to Calvin’s 13. Rounding out the top five were Jacob Short (275, Christiana), Austin Thompson (273, Buchanan), and Connor Brannan (270, Buchanan).
In the middle school division, the girls were led by Leah Walters (288, Central Magnet), Sophia Jaramillo (284, Central Magnet), Graci Oakley (282, Rockvale), Chasity Gunterman (280, Stewarts Creek), and Morgan Davy (280, Whitworth Buchanan). The middle school boys division winner was Tristan Dye (285, Christiana), following by Cameron Schultz (282, Whitworth Buchanan), Connor Smathers (282, Central Magnet), Dalton Bates (281, Warren County), and Dan Adams (281, CHET).
Following Laurel Thompson in the girls high school division in second place and third place for the second straight year were Jacklynn Bryant (289, White County) and Anna Buri (286, CHET). The fourth place finishers was Sara Camichael (284, Oakland), and fifth was Alison Blanton (283, Central Magnet).

In the male high school division, completing the top five behind Craig Bowen and Isaiah Gardenhire‘s were Hayden Robbins (287, White County), Cole Diamond 285, Oakland), and Chris Morton (285, White County).
Sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Tennessee began NASP in late 2004 with 12 pilot schools participating in the program. More than 290 schools now participate in the program. NASP is a 2-8 week curriculum taught during school that teaches International style target archery.
If a school or teacher is interested in starting a NASP program, please contact Don Crawford, Assistant Chief of Information and Education at or (615) 781-6542 or Matt Clarey, Regional Training Coordinator in TWRA Region III at or (931) 484-9571.

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Get Wild at “NatureFEST”-a “Southeast Top 20 Event”

JACKSON—The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks’ Museum of Natural Science will host the 15th Annual NatureFEST event on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  “This year’s NatureFEST will be a wild world adventure featuring the Wild World of Animals and a BioBlitz Discovery!” says museum director Charles Knight. The event is a festival, a nature outing, and a fascinating Museum trip, all wrapped into one exciting day.  The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) recently recognized NatureFEST as a “Top 20 Event”! According to STS, the best events across the Southeast compete to receive the prestigious “Top 20” designation. The Museum is also the current “Escape to the Southeast Travel Attraction of the Year”!
NatureFEST offers a full day of fun for the whole family, including:
·   live exotic animal shows by Wild World of Animals stage master Grant Kemmerer, III
• expert guided behind-the-scenes tours of aquariums, research, and Museum collections
• BioBlitz activities: team up and track down as many local species as possible
• reptile presentations by conservation educator Terry Vandeventer (“The Snake Man”)
• mermaid scuba diver fish feeding in giant aquariums
• nature-themed interactive photo booth (take home a free photo)
• Inky the Clown, Bubbleology, and an aquatic touch tank – plus, much more!
Visit for activity details, a schedule, and a map, or call 601-576-6000. Food will be available for purchase. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (60+), and $4 for youth (3-18). Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. The Museum is located at 2148 Riverside Drive in Jackson, Mississippi. Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter at
For more information regarding conservation in Mississippi, visit us at or call us at 601-432-2400. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter

VEC to Host Fish Predator Program

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Visitor Education Center (VEC) will host a “Fish Predator” program for youth on Saturday, March 14 at 2 p.m.
The Fish Predator program gives youth an opportunity to learn about fish and other animals that prey on fish. This program identifies some reptiles, amphibians, and birds whose diets consist primarily of fish. Participants will get the opportunity see skulls, replica eggs, claws, and teeth of some of these predators! 
The program is free with the price of admission. Admission is $2.50 for adults ages 18-59, and $2.00 for youth ages 3-17 and adults over the age of 60. For additional information or to pre-register for the event, call the VEC at (662) 563-8068.
The VEC is part of MDWFP North Mississippi Fish Hatchery and is located adjacent to Enid Reservoir at Exit 233 east off I-55.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2200. Follow us on Facebook at on Twitter at

2015 Fishing Forecast for Flood Control Reservoirs

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) fisheries biologists predict mixed success in 2015 on the Corps of Engineers’ flood control reservoirs (Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes), based on sampling completed last fall.
One to two pound largemouth and white bass were abundant in Sardis and Arkabutla Lakes, but the biggest largemouth bass were collected in Enid Lake.  The daily limit on largemouth bass is seven at these lakes, but anglers can keep an unlimited number of white bass.
Blue catfish (white humpbacks) were the most numerous catfish on all lakes except for Enid, and many weighed over 10 pounds.  Cut or whole shad are better baits for blues than typical “catfish stink baits.” Channel catfish were most numerous at Enid Lake.
Black and white crappie had big spawns in 2013 and 2014 on all lakes, but all the fish were under the 12 inch minimum length limit.  Anglers have had good luck the last few years catching white crappie which averaged about 2 pounds, but their numbers have been reduced by harvest.  Weaker spawns in 2010 and 2011 led to few white crappie from 13 – 15 inches.  However, black crappie of that size are plentiful on Sardis and Enid Lakes.  These fish have been surviving by hanging around standing timber and brush tops.  Anglers will have to give up trolling and use a single jig to catch these fish.
MDWFP operates state parks on Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes; book ahead as they fill up quickly during peak fishing times.  Food, lodging, and other amenities are available in Hernando, Batesville, Oxford, Grenada, and other nearly towns.    
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at (601) 432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter

MDWFP Announces Pond Management Workshop Schedule

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau is conducting 11 pond management workshops during 2015.  The workshops consist of an hour-long presentation and include topics on pond design, fish stocking, harvest, vegetation control, liming, and fertilization. A question-and-answer period will follow.
“These workshops allow biologists and private pond owners an opportunity to discuss management options to improve fish populations and habitat,” according to MDWFP Assistant Bureau Director Larry Bull. “We talk to people each year that want to manage their ponds effectively and this is a great way for us to provide how-to information that can help pond owners achieve their goals.” 
The complete workshop schedule can be found at under the Pond Assistance tab of the Fishing and Boating page.
For more information regarding fishing in Mississippi, visit our website at or call us at 601-432-2212. Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter
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Clagett Talley Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake Elevation 413 
Water Temp. 61
I have caught a few big fish in 4-8' on big spinnerbaits.  You can catch a lot of fish by fishing shallow.  I have caught alot of bass on a carolina rig along bluffs and in the backs of main lake pockets and main lake flats. I have been catching a lot of fish on Strike King Series 3 Crankbaits along bluffs and rocky banks.  I am catching a lot more large mouth bass in numbers above the Pickwick Dam.  Below Pickwick Dam you are more likely to catch a nice smallmouth right now on live bait.  
White bass
You can still catch a lot of white bass now below Pickwick Dam. I have caught most of them from the dam to the Shiloh area on small white grubs. You can also catch a large number on the Strike King Series 3 Crankbaits that you use for largemouth bass.
Stripers are starting to show up around the dam now.  I have caught a few on crankbaits and spoons. Most of the stripers we have caught so far have been on the smaller side and we are still not catching a large number yet.  Over the next two weeks I expect striper fishing to pick up a lot.
Sauger fishing has been slow jigging the bottom. You can start to catch some by trolling a crankbait.
Catfish are starting to move into shallow water areas like they do every year to spawn.  I have caught them while fishing for other species.  To catch these shallow catfish I usually fish with a live worm and float in 3-6' of water. and you can also go there to access TVAs website and by doing so it will take you straight to Pickwick lake. 
Compliments of Clagett Talley 731-607-5266 or
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Gary Harlan Pickwick Lake Fishing Report

Pickwick Lake

April fishing forecast


Water temp: 58-60

Clarity: Stained, but clearing

Lake level: 410.2

First of all, Pickwick is on the rise as normal for this time of year according to the TVA operating guide. TVA will raise the lake slowly to the summer pool of 414.0 around mid April. The bass are just starting to make their move towards the shallow and the rising water is helping that. There are plenty of shad roaming around for them to feed on. The water has warmed up really fast. There are a lot of fish hung up in deep water where it’s still cold. The best bet for catching fish right now is to put a Texas rigged creature bait like the Strike King Game Hawg or lizard in green pumpkin and go fishing. You need to cover a lot of water to find them. When you locate the fish, there are usually several there. I cannot tell that they are relating to anything specific and it seems as though they are moving around a good bit chasing bait. The ones we are catching are like butterballs, completely stuffed with shad. I do not have any Smallmouth stories to tell. They haven’t shown up much on our end of the lake. I have heard of a few being caught on the lower end near the dam but no big ones. Let’s hope the cold weather is behind us now, and we can get those shorts and flip flops out!
The Crappie and the Catfishing is getting better every day as well. There have been some real good stringers of both coming out of all the major creeks in the lake. Please use caution when running, with the rising water there is lots of debris (logs, limbs, etc.) floating on the river right now. Capt. Gary Harlan  @
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Steve McCadams Kentucky Lake Fishing Report
(Updated April 16th, 2015)


By Steve McCadams

Rain gear has been standard attire this week for fishermen as showers have dominated the fishing scene.

    Kentucky Lake has been on the rise in the aftermath of heavy rains both locally and across the TVA valley. Despite changing conditions the bite has held up well for both bass and crappie anglers across most of the reservoir.

    As the weekend approaches lake levels are somewhat above normal with projections of 358.5 for Kentucky Dam and 358.7 upstream at New Johnsonville. TVA’s normal curve doesn’t project the summer pool elevation of 359 until May 1 but sometimes the reservoir rises quickly when runoff enters the picture.

    Lake levels are up about a foot from last week at this time. Surface temperatures are resting in the 65 to 67 degree range. Water color has some stain in the upper Big Sandy and West Sandy, along with several creeks such as Swamp and Eagle while the main area of Big Sandy is relative clear.

    Crappie anglers had a pretty good week in the Paris Landing area and up Big Sandy. Fish have been somewhat finicky at times, however, as some north winds at midweek seemed to alter the aggressive activity enjoyed last weekend and earlier this week.

    Yet a variety of techniques are still producing as fish are spawning in some areas and right on the threshold in others. Hefty females are being caught sporting a bulging profile. Most appear on the verge of spawning at any moment.

    Temperatures are expected to be in the low to mid 70’s the next few days and rain will continue throughout the weekend. Sunny days are expected to return early next week and that should trigger a surge in spawning activity.

    Up Big Sandy boats are still flogging to the Country Junction and New Hope area where long lining and spider rigging techniques are still producing. Depths of 4 to 8 feet have been productive as anglers troll Road Runners and curly tail jigs.

    West Sandy has also given up a few fish as have the Swamp Creek and Sulphur Well Island area. And, the upper end of Big Sandy in the gravel pits sector is beginning to give up some shallow fish that just moved up in the last few days, although water color there could turn muddy if heavy rains continue.

    Vertical style jig and minnow fishing has improved this week as anglers worked stakebeds and brushpiles in 8 to 14 foot depths. Some nice stringers were taken in the last few days around structure.

    When fish are on the verge of spawning a lot of movement can take place in a short time frame. Activity can improve from morning to afternoon.

    Last week some fish were taken in 5 to 6 foot depths but fish appeared to back out deeper at midweek despite rising lake levels. The cool snap and chilling north winds likely influenced the retreat.

   Watch for a quick return to shallow areas by this weekend. Several dark male crappie were relating to shallow structure the last few days.

    Although numbers have not been as high as in times past, some hefty fish have been taken lately such as a 3.10 pound slab that earned big fish honors in last week’s two day Crappie USA tournament. And, the winning stringers were right on the threshold of two pound averages for several teams in the competition.

    Popular jig colors this week have ranged from blue/chartreuse to pink/chartreuse to several variations of sparkle but some sort of chartreuse seemed to be the preference.

    Most anglers fishing manmade fish attractors are having to make a lot of stops to earn a cooler full of fish. Beds are giving up two or three fish with a few at times producing 4 to 6. However, some beds are void of fish at times so anglers are having to stay on the move and knock on a lot of doors.

    Boats continue to troll the flats and main lake areas north and south of the power lines in Big Sandy with mediocre results as most of the larger catches are still coming from the upper Big Sandy area where fish are staging. Active spawning phases were beginning earlier this week and the days when light winds were present saw catches improve.

    It’s not unusual to see fish scatter a bit when rising lake levels enter the picture and that appears to be happening now. Some bank fishermen were scoring decent catches last weekend and boaters were casting jigs around gravel and submerged structure in shallow areas and finding fish but that approach seem to fall off at midweek when cool conditions and rain dampened the spirits of shallow water style fishermen.

    Just how much high the reservoir will go remains to be seen as heavy rains were expected as the weekend approaches.

    Bass fishermen continue to land some trophy size fish. Ray Boucher of Memphis fishes Big Sandy at times and reported an 11-pound plus bass taken last week. Another 11-pound plus largemouth was taken in Leatherwood Creek last week.

    Patterns are changing quickly as rising lake levels bring more fish to shallow shoreline habitat. In the last few days those popular yellow flowers that grow along shallow shorelines and near buck bushes are beginning to attract prespawn fish. 

    Tossing a spinnerbait, Texas rigged worms, lizards and craws, or topwater buzzbaits and jerk baits will produce around those shallow flower beds and assorted stickups.

    Some of the bigger fish have been taken from gravel points and banks on crankbaits and jig and craw combos, along with Rattle Trap style lures along shorelines and up in pockets where water is a bit warmer and runoff is entering the reservoir via feeder creeks.

    The bass picture is changing daily as fish are now being caught in places that were almost high and dry last week or too shallow to fish. Upper ends of creeks are dingy as feeder ditches have been delivering a lot of runoff.

    No doubt shad are moving up quickly and blitzing toward the newly inundated grass and shoreline habitat. Bass know it and are staging just off the shorelines following the fresh water’s journey.

    It should be an interesting week ahead for both bass and crappie anglers as it appears warm sunny days and rising lake levels will soon meet.

Steve McCadams

Professional Guide

Fishing/Duck Hunting

655 Anderson Drive

Paris, TN 38242




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Ducks Unlimited News

Ducks Unlimited names Top 100, President’s Elite chapters

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 9, 2015 –Ducks Unlimited recently announced the top volunteer chapters across the nation honored with Top 100 and President’s Elite standings. The Top 100 designation is reserved for the top 100 chapters that raise up to $100,000 in grassroots income for DU's conservation mission. Chapters that raise more than $100,000 are recognized with the President's Elite award.
“These fundraising events are the backbone of DU’s habitat conservation efforts, and the volunteers who make up these chapters are the grassroots force making a difference for North American waterfowl populations,” said DU President George Dunklin. “It takes a great deal of effort to achieve these levels, and these chapters deserve to be congratulated by every person who enjoys the outdoors.”
The chapters honored this year earned their spots on the nationally recognized lists out of more than 2,700 DU chapters nationwide. DU's grassroots fundraising system has become a model for other conservation organizations worldwide and has helped conserve more than 13 million acres of waterfowl habitat since 1937.
The top chapters of 2014 also have the distinction of being honored during DU’s upcoming 78th National Convention in Milwaukee at the end of May, with many chapter representatives in attendance.
“DU chapters across the country are showing that the future of waterfowl populations and the wetlands that filter our drinking water and protect us from flooding are important to them and to their communities,” Dunklin said. “The more money we raise, the more habitat we can conserve and the closer we are to preserving our waterfowl hunting heritage. I would like to personally thank all our top chapters for their achievement and look forward to seeing them among our distinguished chapters again next year.”

Ducks Unlimited Announces Top University Chapters

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 30, 2015 – Each spring, Ducks Unlimited announces its Sweet 16 list of top-producing volunteer university chapters throughout the nation. This elite group is considered the best of the best when it comes to fundraising and overall chapter strength.
To qualify for this year's Sweet 16, chapters must have raised more than $24,000 during the 2014 calendar year.
"I am extremely proud of our collegiate volunteers from across the country.  Their passion for waterfowl conservation has again led to a record breaking year for the Ducks University program,” said Mark Horobetz, DU’s manager of youth and education programs.
This year's Sweet 16 college chapters are:
1.    Tiger Chapter, Louisiana State University
2.    Aggieland Chapter, Texas A&M University
3.    Lamar University, Texas
4.    North Carolina State University
5.    Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota
6.    Colorado State University
7.    Texas A&M University-Kingsville
8.    Pirate Chapter, East Carolina University
9.    Bulldogs Chapter, Starkville, Mississippi
10.    University of Alabama
11.    Ole Miss
12.    University of Arkansas Razorback Chapter
13.    Martin Mallards Chapter, Tennessee
14.    University of Tennessee
15.    Milwaukee School of Engineering
16.    Southeast Louisiana University
For more information about university chapters, visit
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit Connect with us on our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at and watch DU videos at

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Avery Outdoors Announcements

Greenhead Gear® Pro-Grade™ and FFD Specklebelly: Full Body, Shells & Floaters

White-Fronted geese, also known as the Specklebelly, have expanded their range and increased their numbers in recent years. Greenhead Gear® decoys have produced some of the best Speck decoys around for years, but have now decided to take that a step further. Additional feather detail and a low maintenance one-piece design combine with a durable and realistic finish to make this the ultimate Speck decoy. Those in need of a fully-flocked decoy will be pleased to have this option as well.  Active and feeder styles are equipped with motion systems. Greenhead Gear® applied the same look as their full bodied decoys to a new line of Specklebelly shells and floaters to cover all you Speck hunting needs.

Pro-Grade™ & FFD Full Body Specklebellies available at

Pro-Grade™ Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $159.99 (½ Dozen)
FFD Elite Full Body Specklebelly/Harvester Pack: $219.99 (½ Dozen)

Avery Outdoors announces 2nd Annual Spring Break Giveaway

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the 2nd Annual “Spring Break” Giveaway, taking place through Avery’s Facebook Page and affiliated social media outlets.  The company has partnered with K2 Coolers & Field Proven Calls to present over $600 worth of merchandise for the Spring Turkey lover.  Prize package includes:

  • K2 Summit 60 Cooler
  • Field Proven Twisted Triple Turkey Diaphragm Call 3 Pack
  • Field Proven Zebrawood Combo Slate/Glass Call
  • BuckBrush PowerSeat
  • BuckBrush Finisher Gun Sling
  • BuckBrush Mesh Back Cap
  • Black and White Mesh Back Cap
  • BuckBrush 8oz Oil Cloth Cap
  • BuckBrush XL Folding Floating Gun Case
  • BuckBrush Guide’s Bag
  • BuckBrush Fleece Hand Muff


The “Spring Break” Giveaway runs from Friday, March 20th until Friday, March 27th.  Winner will be randomly chosen and announced on the 27th.  Contestants must share the giveaway post and like the Avery® Outdoors page in order to be entered to win.

Avery Migration Reports

Migration Reports
For the week of March 23-29, 2015


Name: Kirk Steffensen

Date: March 25, 2015

Location: Lincoln, NE

Weather: More seasonable temperatures with daytime highs in the 60’s with overnight lows in the 30’s. 

Snow Cover: None

Water Conditions: Area lake and ponds are open.

Feeding Conditions:  Fields are all open and relatively dry.

Species and Numbers: Very few snow geese in the area.

Migrations: Numbers declining quickly, I would say the majority of the birds are north of us now.

Season Stage: Snow goose conservation season open.

Hunting Report: Below average, frustrating spring season.

Name: Jared Shepard        

Date: 03/24/15

Location: Scottsbluff, NE

Weather: Spring temps continue as daytime highs reach the 60’s and 70’s and overnight lows dip only into the upper 30’s to lower 40’s.

Snow Cover: NO snow!

Water Conditions: Local lakes and ponds are completely thawed including the main roost/rest ponds used by the snows on their way through.

Feeding Conditions: Lots of corn and now winter wheat are available for the geese.

Species and Numbers: Snows, Blues and Ross’ geese continue to move through the area but the numbers have died down drastically. Occasional flocks have been spotted over the past week but the long strings are no more.

Migrations: The spring snow goose migration continues daily but the number of geese continues to drop.

Season Stage: The Light Goose Conservation Season ends in the west zone on April 5th.

Hunting Report: No report to report. Should be pretty slow for the last week and a half.

Gossip: Unfortunately I didn’t hear much gossip the last few weeks other than a group of guys doing pretty well near the NE/WY border into Torrington, WY.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and minimally frustrating spring season!



Name: Richard Shamla
Date: 03/24/15
Location: Watertown SD
Weather: daytime high in the forties with nighttime lows around freezing.  Over cast and windy with rain coming this afternoon.
Snow Cover:  None
Water Conditions: Most small lakes and ponds are open in the area.
Feeding Conditions: Snow geese are fielding in cornfields throughout the area along with the dark geese and ducks.
Species and Numbers:  Good pockets of snow geese are present in the area. 
Migrations: No major movements but new flocks come into the area and go north each day.
Season Stage:  Mid to late migration season.
Hunting Report: The hunting has been hit or miss with one day success and the next day hard to decoy flocks.  This has to with changing weather as well a cold front that pushed through the area. We are starting to see some more juvenile snow geese, which helped the past few days.
Gossip:  Better hunts with more juvenile snow geese are present south of this location if the weather warms and south winds come soon a push of fresh snows should happen in the next couple days.

Name:  Greg Owens 
Date: March 24 2015 
Location: Rochester, MN 
Weather: Lows in the mid 20’s and highs in the mid 30’s 
Snow Cover: It’s back…. We got about 10” of snow over the weekend, but it probably won’t last long. 
Water Conditions:  Most of the area lakes are at least partially ice free, and a majority of them are completely open now. 
Feeding Conditions:  There is still plenty of food around.   
Species and Numbers:  We have a good number of ducks and geese in the area.  They are pairing up and thinking about making little puffballs. 
Season Stage: The season is closed now. 
Hunting Report: N/A. 
Gossip:  Bring on the Turkeys!! 


Name:  Kevin Addy
Date: March 23, 2015
Location: Reading, PA      
Weather: We seem to have some fairly stable weather now – except for the snow this past Fri.
Snow Cover: Only patches remain in shady areas.
Water Conditions: Most lakes and ponds are still frozen but are thawing quickly.
Feeding Conditions: The conditions are good. Snows still hitting the cornfields and the Canada’s are using pastures.
Species and Numbers: The duck and Canada numbers are still through the roof. The snow goose numbers are on a decline since last week. Many will be gone this week.
Season Stage:  Ducks closed 1/15 and AP goose closed 1/26. CO snow goose season is open until April
Hunting Report: Weather hasn’t been great but we’ve been grinding out the snows as much as possible.
Gossip: The circus still going strong – worst year I’ve seen for yahoo’s chasing snows.

Name: Mike Bard      
Date: March 23, 2015
Location: Montezuma, NY
Weather: Things continue to thaw, but at a slower pace than the week previous. Temps have been in the 20’s and 30’s during the day, and then single digits and teens overnight. The forecast isn’t much better for the next 10 days.
Snow Cover: Melting, but still approximately 4” of hard packed crusty snow remains on the ground – plenty of bare spots on hillsides.
Water Conditions: Most water north of Rt. 90 continues to be frozen, outside of the Seneca River – the larger Finger Lakes are open.
Feeding Conditions: Fair and improving
Species and Numbers: Numbers for all waterfowl continue to increase.
Migrations: The spring migration continues – ducks, swans, Canada geese and snow geese are all arriving.
Season Stage: Spring Conservation Season
Hunting Report: A large number of hunters have been out over the last week chasing snow geese, but success has been limited.
Gossip:  It seems the snow geese are temporarily stalled out in the Finger Lakes due to the snow in the northern part of NY.  Expect them to push out quickly once they can.

Name:  Sean M. Fritzges
Date: 23 March 2015
Location: Bel Air, MD        
Weather: Temps cool but warming.
Snow Cover: No snow at this time. 
Water Conditions: Bay tide levels normal, no ice.
Feeding Conditions:  Canada geese feeding in winter wheat fields. All corn and soybean fields have been picked clean.
Species and Numbers:  Canada geese numbers low.
Migrations:  Canada geese continue to move north in large groups.
Season Stage:  AP season closed.
Gossip: Come on turkey season!!!

Name:  Marshall Starkey
Date: 3/23/15
Location: Essex, MD
Weather: Warmer weather has returned. Seasonal temps this week.
Snow Cover: Most of the snow has gone.
Water Conditions: Most water has opened.
Feeding Conditions: Cut agricultural fields that are not snow covered.
Species and Numbers: Canada goose numbers are way down as a lot have moved north. Snow geese have mostly moved north. There are a few woodies in the area and still some divers on the Patapsco.
Migrations: Most geese left the area last week.
Season Stage: Snow goose conservation season remains open.
Hunting Report: Snow goose hunting is pretty much done.
Gossip: Bring on turkey season.

Name: Bryn Witmier
Date: 3/24/2015
Location: Strausstown, PA
Weather:  Still about 10 degrees below average.  We received 6 inches of snow last weekend.  Surprise!!!!!
Snow Cover: None
Water Conditions:  Most lakes have at least a little bit of open water.  Still a good bit of ice on most.
Feeding Conditions: Good.  Any remaining waste grain is available as well as winter wheat.
Species and Numbers: Canada goose numbers are staggering.  Piles of all kinds of species of ducks are around. 
Migrations:  There was a huge push out before the snow on Friday.  Snow geese have been pushing almost every day.  It is supposed to be 65 here on Saturday.  That may be the kiss of death.
Season Stage:  We may get another weekend for snow geese.
Hunting Report:  Quite a few juvies around right now making for some decent shooting.
Gossip:  It’s almost time to clean up the equipment.

New Position Announcements at Avery Outdoors, Inc.

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors, Inc. is proud to announce the following new promotions within the Pro Staff team.

Mark Brendemuehl started with Avery® Pro Staff in 2003 as a Flyway Manager and was promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway in 2011. This year, Brendemuehl has accepted a new opportunity with the company as Manager of Online Sales. He will be responsible for the company's websites management and product sales, as well as managing Avery® image distribution.

Arliss Reed joined the Avery® Pro Staff in 2010. After 5 years as a valued team member, Reed has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Atlantic Flyway. Reed is excited to lead the region's Pro Staff and continue building valued relationships with Avery's dealers and customers on the East Coast.

Bailey Ortley, an Avery® Pro Staff member since 2008, has been promoted to Territory Manager of the Mississippi Northern Flyway. With a strong background in sales and experience on Avery's Decoy Production Team, Ortley is enthusiastic about this new promotion within the company. He looks forward to managing the Mississippi Northern Flyway Pro Staff and continuing to advance Avery's dealer and consumer relations in the region.

Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog brands would like to congratulate the gentlemen on their advancements within the company, and look forward to their many successes within these new capacities.

Decoy Specialist Rejoins Avery® Outdoors

Memphis, TN – Avery® Outdoors is proud to announce the return of Decoy Program Manager, Matt Vanselow, to the Avery® team.  While with the company from 2010 – 2013, Vanselow was instrumental in leading the prototyping, molding, research and design, and paint scheming of many innovative Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog products.  Vanselow started his career in the decoy industry in 2004 molding and painting decoys. He advanced his specialism by attending the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy in 2008, an experience that propelled his mastery of decoy molding, sculpting and painting.

As Decoy Program Manager, Vanselow’s role encompasses a lengthy list of crucial responsibilities in the advancement of the company’s product lines.  From hiring world-class carvers, determining decoy poses, refining prototyping processes, developing paint schemes and painting decoys, to making sculpting modifications for blow-mold compatibility and enacting innovations on both decoy functionality and packaging, Vanselow will maintain a critical position on the Avery® team.   Vanselow was essential in the development of many GHG decoys, both established and new in the 2014 – 2015 season.  Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, Honkers, Snows & Blues, Pintails, Gadwalls, Redheads, Canvasbacks, popular EZ Bird bumpers and many others decorate his experience with the company.  

As Avery® Outdoors, Greenhead Gear® and Avery® Sporting Dog refine and expand their brands in 2015, the addition of Vanselow comes at an opportune and exciting time.  Vanselow hopes “to continue building the best decoys on the market,” and to “keep innovating and improving in the future”.   Avery would like to extend a warm welcome back to a respected authority in the decoy industry, and looks forward to many more years of ultimate realism and attention to detail in the nation’s most diversified decoy product line.

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Hunter Safety Systems Introduces Nite & Day Trail Markers

DANVILLE, Ala. (March 23, 2015) – Navigating to and from a newly placed blind can be difficult and even dangerous in the dark. To make this journey safer and easier, Hunter Safety System has introduced the new Nite and Day Trail Markers. The carefully selected colors of day-glow orange and chartreuse provide extremely high visibility in daylight hours, and the highly reflective materials make them easy to find in the dark with the beam of a flashlight.

Made of a durable and flexible highly reflective vinyl that will provide years of use in the field, each Nite and Day Trail Marker is equipped with a black spring-loaded metal clip for easy placement and removal. The materials used in the Nite and Day Trail Markers are reflective enough to use with a low-powered flashlight with a red filter or a red LED light that will protect your night vision as you make your way to the stand. The Nite and Day Trail Markers are also ideal for marking and retracing blood trails, scouting new areas and placement as yardage markers.

With so many uses, no hunting pack should be without the new HSS Nite and Day Trail Markers. They will be available at retailers nationwide the spring of 2015 and online at for a suggested retail of $6.95 for a pack of 10.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Ala., Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write to: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit
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The Avid Angler’s Wonder Rod
St. Croix’s Avid X earns seasoned veteran status in the year of its birth.

Park Falls, WI (March 11, 2015) – By the time he was 4 years old, chess prodigy Samual Reshevsky was making the ultimate checkmate commonplace; a few short years later he was defeating even the most accomplished players with ease. Then there was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who, also by age 4, was considered one of the most prolific music composers of the Classical Era. And then who could forget Pablo Picasso who, you guessed it, was a 4-year-old when he brushed his first masterpiece: Le picador.

Satirically, one must wonder: What took these kids so long to get noticed?

Fishing has its own prodigy children, too. Every now and then, a brainchild prototype leaves the minds and machines of its creators graced with the predetermination to become a quick legend. Said phenomenon happened to St. Croix Rod.   

A mere five-and-one-half months after its introduction at ICAST in July of 2014, the Avid X series was set free to stock St. Croix’s elite dealer base. Within mere weeks of delivery, many of the most ardent-anglers owned and were already praising Avid X.

Seven months after its debut, Avid X casting models garnered top rod honors inField & Stream’s Best of the Best: New Fishing Gear 2015 – an honor parallel to a truck being recognized by Motor Trend.

Piling-it-on in a good sort of way, Game & Fish Publication/Sportsmen Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award went to St. Croix Rod’s Avid X for “Favorite Spinning Rod.”

The editors have spoken, and so have the anglers.

So what makes the Avid X so perfect to palm and cast, as well as gobble up votes like a Republican candidate in Texas? Technology, craftsmanship and knowhow. Every Avid X spinning and casting rod is a ground-breaking version of the company’s ever-popular Avid Series, sharing the same core blank technology. This means it’s built on a premium, featherweight, high-modulus SCIII graphite blank with Integrated Poly Curve® tooling technology, which offers smooth-action alongside incredible sensitivity and strength.

A Fuji® reel seat with gunsmoke hood is fitted to the blank, surrounded by lightweight, all-new counterbalanced select-grade split-grip cork handle. There’s even an innovative hook-keeper to hold a bait of most any caliber, all the while abolishing issues associated with annoying line wrap.

As for the Kigan® Z micro-guide platform offered? The Z guides with slim, aluminum-oxide rings and reel-seat-matching gunsmoke frames are designed to reduce weight while maintaining proper stripper guide ring height for optimal line flow. To boot, the guides are skillfully wrapped with nylon thread and sealed with two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish.

Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, the new Avid X series melds the utmost performance with unparalleled value, in lengths, actions and powers built for extreme bass and walleye anglers. The series features 18 one- and two-piece spinning and casting models, with every 2-piece model sporting St. Croix’s exclusive slim-profile ferrules. And all are protected by a 15-year transferrable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Most Avid X models retail at $200.

As the editors of Field & Stream put it: Best of all, you get St. Croix quality at a sweet price.

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KVD's Got it in the Bag!




Plano, IL (April 10, 2015) – Serious anglers are a demanding bunch. They strive to be the best, and expect the same from their gear. So does Plano... It’s why the world leader in tackle storage solutions constantly seeks design input from the angling elite.

Kevin Van Dam (KVD) sits atop that group. He is the fiercest, most intellectual challenger competitive fishing has ever seen. KVD’s the all-time money winner in professional bass fishing, and he didn’t get to the top by chance. Like other sporting legends, KVD earned his success by mastering the details of efficiency. In Van Dam’s case, organization is cornerstone to his effectiveness on the water.

Plano engineers recently sat down with KVD and asked him to help redesign what was already the best premium tackle and equipment tote money could buy – the Plano Elite Kevin Van Dam Signature Series Bag.

What manifested from the mind of the “The World’s Greatest Angler” was almost scary in its brilliance. How could a man think so deeply about lures? The answer lies in 10 Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year titles and four Bassmaster Classics.    

The result of this particular brainstorming exercise is the most advanced tackle sorting and toting system to ever find the bow of a boat. Infinitely more than a canvas bag with pockets and plastic containers to toss tackle into, it’s a beautifully conceived carryall that puts everything in its proper place.

“Plano is constantly trying to improve their products, and I am honored to be a part of that,” says Van Dam. “This bag offers the most innovative features available for managing tackle and gear. I wouldn’t put my signature on it if it didn’t.”

The Elite Kevin Van Dam Signature Series Bag sports a molded top containing two StowAway™ utility boxes, held securely with elastic tie-down straps for quick access to baits that are in immediate demand. A clear zippered pocket beneath the cover is a great spot for maps, licenses or a smartphone, all of which can easily be seen with just a flip of the lid.

The bag’s colossal compartmentalized front cubicle and sizable side pockets store gear and sundries like extra reel spools, energy bars and trolling motor remote controls – items other tackle bags just don’t have room for. Slots on the outside of the front and side pockets are ideal for keeping tools like pliers and cutters at-the-ready.

A cavernous mesh pocket on the back holds additional items such as soft plastic bait packs or smaller StowAway utility boxes. Of course, the interior of the bag holds three included 3700 Series ProLatch™ StowAway boxes, providing maximum capacity for loads of lures.

Man, that’s a lot of tackle and tool toting engineered into a 19”X11”X10.5” bag. Go ahead and pack it full, too, because a thickly padded, removable shoulder strap provides comfort for those longer walks to and from the dock, no matter the load you’re bearing.


  • Molded top with elastic tie down strap holds two StowAway® utility boxes for quick access to your favorite baits
  • Includes three 3700 Series ProLatch™ StowAway® boxes
  • Large mesh pocket on back
  • Compartmentalized from pocket for multiple uses
  • Padded removable shoulder strap
  • Plier and tool holder slots on front and side pockets
  • Clear, zippered pocket under top cover

Approximate retail price of Kevin Van Dam Signature Series Bag: $79.99 - $89.99.

From elite anglers come elite products. Designed, improved and approved by the most proficient, organized and commanding angler on Planet Earth, and engineered by the masters of tackle storage, the Plano Elite Kevin Van Dam Signature Series Bag will make you a better angler by helping keep you more organized and more efficient on the water. Welcome to the elite.

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Rippin Lips team continues turning heads and jerking whiskers on monstrous catfish

Chambersburg, PA (April 8, 2015) – “Go big or stay home” is a trendy little axiom heard predominately in sporting circles. Big plays. Big hits. Big goals. In competitive catfishing, it means bringing ‘shoulder-dislocating’ sized catfish to the scales. And so far in 2015, it’s been Rippin Lips’ starting lineup that’s played the biggest.

Spiritual leader of Rippin Lips' Pro Staff, John Jamison continues setting the bar with big tournament feats. Photo by Bill Lindner 

The most recent example of this knack for going beastly was at the KC Catfish Tournament in late March in Rocky Mountain, MO on Lake of the Ozarks. Optimistic anglers launched from the Coffman Beach Access contemplating their acceptance speeches and what bills to pay down on their earnings. Fact of the matter, though, was that the river played tough and some boats posted zeros.

This wasn’t the case, however, for Rippin Lips’ John Jamison and partner Mark Thompson. The going was tough, but the tough got going.

“Until 1:30 in the afternoon, all we had to show was a half-pound channel cat,” said a befuddled Jamison. “Then all of a sudden it was on,” said the same catfish-menace with a tone of rejuvenated confidence.

Literally, in less than an hour-long span, Jamison and Thompson boated a bushel of mega-blue catfish. “We caught scads of releasers,” he said. “We put back a dozen 20-pound catfish. Lake of the Ozarks has a 26- to 34-inch protected slot, so even fish weighing up to 22-pounds had to go back.”

Fortunately, mixed into the firefight of 20’s, they yanked legal cats, including what turned out to be Big Fish with a 59.60-pound specimen, earning Lund Boat’s Contingency Bonus. (Jamison and Thompson run a mammoth Lund 2075 Pro Guide – the quintessential catfishing warship.) Oh, and cumulatively, their bag scaled over 108-pounds, claiming second place overall – almost forgot that part…

Well aquainted with the winner's circle, Rippin Lips pros Mark Thompson and John Jamison took Big Fish and Lund's Contingency Bonus. Photo courtesy of KC Catfish

Patience of a Bow Hunter

Besides your friends, family and maybe an obsessed fan or two, the average Joe doesn’t get too caught up in tournament results. But what they do care about is “how” a winning angler put fish in the boat. To that, Jamison willingly spills the beans.

Blue catfish stereotypes place them in river basin abysses and wallowing beneath power dams. At times, blues inhabit these areas. But right now, in early spring, and as Jamison and Thompson discovered, the fish ranged much shallower.

“We anchored in 12-feet of water, in casting distance of a 6- to 8-foot flat and 15-foot deep channel,” explained Jamison. During the day, said Jamison, blues lay in channels until they decide it’s time to feed. The blues bum-rush flats to scarf down shad and other edibles. So from their anchored position, Jamison and Thompson could reach both environments.

Not surprisingly, 90-pecent of their catch came off the flat. “They eat so much, and so fast, you better have lines down on the flat at all times,” said Jamison, who anchored as patiently as a bow hunter waiting for the money shot.

It's becoming known as "The Juice" in catfish circles: Scent Trail Catfish Attractant.

This time of the year, Jamison prefers cut bait over live offerings. “We used fresh-caught shad cut in 6-inch chunks, and sliced their tails so the bait would bleed.” But the shad alone weren’t the winning formula. They would soak the pieces in Rippin Lips Scent Trail to exaggerate the shad’s attractive taste and natural smell. Scent Trail, he notes, performs wonderfully as a marinade for all sorts of baits – live, cut and dip – on all species of catfish.

Chunks were rigged on simple bottom rigs – hook, swivel and sliding sinker – highlighted by an 8/0 Rippin Lips Circle Hook. The benchmark red catfish hook is remarkably sharp and curved ideally for lip-hooking catfish. (Jamison recommends 65-pound Spider Wire Stealth on the spool and a 60-pound fluorocarbon leader.)

Despite the size of the catfish, Jamison put to use moderately powered rods. “We fished Rippin Lips Medium/Heavy SuperCat Casting Rods. The tip is soft enough so a fish can fold it over, yet has enough strength to fight big fish.”

These same rods, said Jamison, are fished by many of the top tournament catfish anglers. In fact, the winner’s circle at a number of recent events had SuperCat paw-prints all over the place.

Nothing indicates Jamison & Co.’s beast mode will end anytime soon. Plenty of tournaments on the schedule, too. Expect to read more about the Rippin Lips crew’s conquests this summer. 

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St. Croix Reveals Specialist Spinnerbait Rods

Park Falls, WI  (March 31, 2015) – Slow rollin’. Chunkin’ and windin’. Grindin’. Bumpin’ the stump. Burnin’. Helicopterin’. There’s nearly no wrong way to fish a spinnerbait—that old classic bass lure responsible for tournament wins and giant bucketmouths in the boat.

That said, pairing a sweet blade or a chatterbait with a mismatched rod can feel a little like playing a violin with a guitar pick. Accordingly, eliminating the angst of marrying technique and tool, the fishing rod prodigies at St. Croix recently revealed two new specialist sticks designed to make beautiful spinnerbait music: behold the Sweeper Spinnerbait and Sniper Spinnerbait, the newest rods in St. Croix’s masterful Legend Tournament Bass series

Surely the most thoroughly researched, tested and exhaustively engineered spinnerbait/chatterbait rods to date, the two customized bass tools each perform a dedicated function. “We realized right away that two of the hottest spinnerbait techniques demanded distinctive rod designs,” says Dan Johnston, St. Croix regional account manager, and confirmed bass-sneak. “From continuous retailer feedback, Randy Hamilton—St. Croix southeast regional account manager—and I ultimately convinced our design team to adopt the challenge. First cast with these rods, we looked at each other and knew we’d nailed it.”

At 6 feet 9 inches, Johnston says the medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action Sniper Spinnerbait rod (TBC69MHMF)gifts anglers with the immediate ability to deliver short, pinpoint-accurate casts to cover. “The challenge in building the Sniper was that it needed a very precise power for not only setting hooks and wrenching fish from cover, but also an exacting tip action for pitching baits into small windows. If you create a tip that’s too fast (stiff), you loose accuracy. But if it’s too slow (loose), you sacrifice power and some of the sensitivity.

“Very few spinnerbait-specific rods are totally dialed in, because it’s technically difficult to balance all the needs of the angler and the technique and build a rod that delivers on every front—from accuracy to strength to sensitivity. Like the ability to feel the blades pulsing in your hand, to detect when you’ve picked up a sliver of grass, and to distinguish between bumping a stump and a bass bum-rushing the bait from behind.” Johnston adds that the Sniper also doubles as a choice chatterbait stick.

Beyond pinpoint spinnerbait/chatterbait presentations near cover, St. Croix developed a second superior tool for fishing big blades in open water for outsize smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass. The resulting 7-foot, medium-heavy powerSweeper Spinnerbait rod (TBC70MHMF) has proven itself for efficiently working large spinnerbaits over rocky points and ledges, picking up line quickly and setting hooks at long distances. “The Sweeper is a perfect Great Lakes smallmouth rod,” Johnston affirms. “It’s big and bad enough to punch bullet casts into a strong headwind. Yet it’s got a nice feathery heft that won’t wear you out after a full day of fishing.”

Johnston notes that to reduce tip weight and enhance the balance, touch and performance of both rods, St. Croix developed a specialized guide train, including Fuji® K-Series Concept Tangle Free guides with Alconite® rings and frames. Also resulting from the expertly balanced configuration is seamless, dynamic line flow and exceptional presentations with super braid, mono and fluorocarbon alike.

Like all 27 technique-specific rods in the Legend Tournament Bass series, the Sniper and Sweeper Spinnerbait rods are imbued with numerous high-level St. Croix product patents: select SCIV graphite blanks with a Fortified Resin System (FRS) for superior strength and durability; Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC) tooling technology for unmatched smoothness and sensitivity; Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART™) for industry-leading blank strength to weight ratios. Moreover, the new Legend Tournament Bass rods sport optimized split-grips with super high-grade cork, facilitating effortless cam-action casts. A limited lifetime warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service means these may be the last spinnerbait rods you’ll ever buy.

“Spinnerbait fishing is alive and well,” says Johnston. “Our customers have continually asked for these rods, and St. Croix has delivered. Think of them like your favorite golf club. You want to take it out of your bag and use it because it makes you look good; maybe even helps you perform at levels you didn’t know you were capable of.”

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Tenzing: The Best for your Binos


Plano, IL (March 26, 2015) – In the world of hunting optics, you get what you pay for.  You can shell out $150 - $200 for a pair of decent binoculars or spend well over $1,000 for the very best in high-class glass.

Whether you are a professional who demands the very best quality and performance or an enthusiast who values and appreciates those attributes, toting those expensive optics into the harsh wilderness battlefield by a string around your neck can be nerve wracking.  We call it insane.


It’s time for a better binocular harness…  a bomb-proof vault for your binos that’s comfortable to wear, easy to use, and worthy of the Tenzing name… an optic suspension system that helps hunters go further and hunt longer.

The new Tenzing TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System is the finest and best performing binocular harness ever made, providing premium-quality comfort and premium-quality protection for your optics investment.

The heart of the TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System is its 5.5” x 7.5” x 2.5” 500 Denier Nylon binocular pocket.  It’s covered at the top by a stiffened protective flap for easy one-handed access, and is large enough to accept most roof prism binoculars up to 10 power with 50mm objective lenses.  The sides of the pocket are breathable to prevent fogging and feature additional mesh pockets to hold pen-style cleaners, wind detectors, hunting calls or other small items.

Wearer comfort is a hallmark of the Tenzing brand.  Our packs are engineered and constructed to carry incredible loads without slowing you down.  The TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System continues this legacy, combining ergonomic design with high-tech materials to create shoulder straps that move with the hunter and distribute the weight of heavy, quality binoculars efficiently. Fully-adjustable straps keep the binocular pocket close to the body to avoid snagging without pinching or binding.

Quality Tenzing touches throughout the TZ OSS15 improve comfort, performance and durability.  Impact-resistant buckles are covered in Hypalon material to minimize noise, while a built-in retractable cleaning cloth provides additional utility.  Shoulder straps and binocular pocket are finished in the cutting-edge Kryptek Highlander camouflage pattern for the ultimate in concealment in a wide variety of hunting terrain.

Tenzing TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System

  • Designed to fit most roof prism binoculars
  • High performance 500 Denier Nylon construction
  • Padded contoured breathable shoulder straps with built-in internal comfort stretch elastic system
  • Water resistant 5.5” x 7.5” x 2.5” binocular pocket with breathable side panels to prevent fogging
  • Two additional side pockets on bino pocket for calls or wind detector
  • 1-inch adjustable webbing straps to keep binos and pocket tight to the body
  • ½-inch Duraflex side release buckles allow binos to detach from suspension
  • 1-inch stiffening spine across inner top to keep binos clean and protected
  • Hypalon covered buckles to minimize noise
  • Built-in retractable cleaning cloth
  • Kryptek Highlander camouflage

MSRP: $79.99

One of two all-new hunting optics suspension products from Tenzing for 2015, the premium TZ OSS15 Optic Suspension System provides top-of-the-line performance and protection for your valuable hunting binoculars.  Go further.  Hunt longer.  And stop worrying about your binoculars.  Learn more at

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Humminbird New Contour Elite and SmartStrike Editions now available

EUFAULA, AL (April 16, 2015) – Now is the time to take your fishing to the next level. 2015 editions for the Contour Elite computer software and SmartStrike predictive search micro cards for ONIX are now available.

Anglers armed with these two revolutionary fishing tools can double their success when searching for more productive fishing locations. It's like having your own personal fishing guide with decades of experience all at your fingertips.

Contour Elite

NEW FOR 2015:

Contour Elite is a state-of-the-art computer software program designed to put you on fish. Paired with the most accurate lake data available means you can be more productive by fishing smarter.

Conduct searches for specific species based on season, time of day, water conditions, cloud cover, and wind. Search depth, slope, structure, sun & current exposure, aspect, distance to key features, and more with ease.

Visit our Contour Elite product page for more information on the edition that best fits your fishing area. See all of the new lakes, additional features, images, lake lists, lake elevations, PC compatibility and more.


NEW FOR 2015:

Conduct Searches for the best fishing locations with the SmartStrike Map Card. SmartStrike takes you straight to the action by showing you where the fish are biting at any given moment. Based on search parameters like season, time of day, weather conditions, and fish species, SmartStrike highlights areas on high definition lake maps where your prey is most likely to be located- before you even wet a line. Full search functionality is exclusive to High-Definition waters only.

Visit our SmartStrike product page for more information on the edition that best fits your fishing area. See all of the new lakes, additional features, images, lake lists, and more.

SmartStrike map cards work exclusively with Humminbird ONIX

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Plano, IL (January 26, 2015) – There’s no need to remind you about the price of bait nowadays – but we did anyway. And there’s really no reason to point out the cumulative costs of gas, coffee, breakfast burritos and lost sleep to capture your own bait at zero-dark-thirty. But we did it again… (Stick in there, we’re building a case for common sense.)


It was in the spirit of conservation and fiduciary responsibility that Frabill masterminded two new best-of-class, extremely-portable, non-corrosive aerators that will suck, spray and roil the water’s surface in any large container to keep oxygen flowing freely. Welcome the AQUA LIFE 1438 Spray Bar Pump System and 1439 Tower Pump System…  

Got an oversized cooler or rain barrel lying around? Now you can turn it in to the “Bait’s Motel”. How about a boat livewell that didn’t come with a respectable recirculation system, or none at all? Now your catch can stay healthy and happy until tournament weigh-in. And then there are those multi-tasking moments you need an extra bilge pump to either remove splash-water from your vessel, or, to spray water direct from the drink to clean-up fish slime or your buddy’s spilt beer.


Engineered to saltwater specifications, Frabill’s AQUA LIFE Tower Pump System stays put on the floor of a non-porous bucket, tank or cooler with its grippy suction-cup feet. The powerful pump pushes 360 gallons-per-hour (GPH) through its PVC spray tube, which is also customizable for length. Tighten or loosen the tube to adjust spray intensity, amplifying or trimming oxygenation. Frabill recommends keeping the surface water constantly roiling to remove naturally produced gasses that can be harmful to fish.   


The brawnier AQUA LIFE Spray Bar Pump System purges an impressive 500-GPH through its amply sized spray bar, which comes with suction-cups and 5 ½-feet of flexible tubing to accommodate virtually any sized tank. The device crosses over as a pump-out system, too, for bilging water out of the boat or for a freshwater spray-down of your saltwater craft after a day on the bay.


Both models come with a 6-foot power cord and hardwearing copper battery clips for easy on-and-off to any 12-volt battery.

1438 AQUA LIFE Spray Bar Pump System

  • 12V DC 500GPH low current pump
  • Aerates up to 30 gallons
  • Used to pump water in or out of boat or bait tank, as well as wash surfaces
  • Suction Cup Mounts allow mounting to any non-porous surface
  • Spray bar can be permanently mounted or mounted with suction cups
  • Produces close to 100% saturation of dissolved oxygen
  • Package includes: Pump with suction cups, spray bar, mounting hardware, 5.5 feet of flexible tubing
  • Spray tube can be cut to fit bait container
  • Standard 1/2 inch PVC pipe can be used to extend spray tube
  • Replaceable Filter removes livewell debris
  • 6’ power cord with copper battery clips and on/off switch

MSRP $59.99



1439 AQUA LIFE Tower Pump System

  • 12V DC 360GPH low current pump
  • Suction Cup Mounts allow mounting to any non-porous surface
  • Spray Pattern adjusts from tight to wide spray
  • Produces close to 100% saturation of dissolved oxygen
  • Aerates up to 30 gallons
  • Spray tube can be cut to fit bait container Standard 1/2 inch PVC pipe can be used to extend spray tube
  • Replaceable Filter removes livewell debris
  • 6’ power cord with copper battery clips and on/off switch

MSRP $44.99

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Keenaw Tackle Keepin' It Real...and Local

Keweenaw Tackle Company lends a hand so others can achieve their full potential 

Traverse City, MI (April 9, 2015) - When you look up the word “business” in the dictionary, one definition says: The practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce.

Even for some of the smallest of companies in the fishing industry, business is, well, business, and amassing the all-mighty dollar often wins out over all other motivations.

But let’s go behind the scenes of the production of Keweenaw (KEE-wi-naw) Tackle Company’s Fin-Wing. You know: “The Lure that Swims”, which was created in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s “Copper Country’s” Keweenaw Peninsula in 1948.

What’s so unique about this bait besides its wide-wobbling, fish-attracting, spoon-meets-swimbait action? The fact that the entire bait was not only developed in, but remains manufactured and assembled right here in the good ol’ U. S. of A. – start to finish.   

First, let’s talk about the snipping and stamping of its high-quality steel. The so-called blacksmithing takes place in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. And then there’s the craft of applying topnotch coats of classic-hue paints. Yep, the same state’s where that happens, too.

Now, here’s where the plot thickens – the assembly of the split-ring and high-grade hook, as well as packaging and shipping.

Not a big deal?

Well, let us introduce you to the “Goodwill Industries of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Inc”. Their mission: Helping people achieve their full potential through the power of work.

Here in Calumet, Michigan, just a few miles from where the Fin-Wing was first forged, people with disabilities get paid, receive vocational training and other benefits all while contributing to commerce. Not only do the employees here earn cash, they build pride and confidence while being part of a highly productive team. And trust that this spills out into the Calumet community in a positive way.

“There are so many benefits from employing the dedicated staff at Goodwill,” says Keweenaw Tackle’s President, Dale Elliott. “Fin-Wing has a perfect profile to provide growth in an area that, overall, is considered depressed. It’s a win-win.

“Besides that, the Fin-Wing was invented in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and it makes sense that it is made there.”

So what are the duties of the folks employed by Goodwill Industries of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Inc? Receiving Fin-Wing customer orders and then computer assembling, packaging, and shipping.

“It’s a great opportunity for folks with non-defined motor skills,” says Keith Stenger, manager of the Calumet’s work center. “There are so many diverse jobs on so many different levels. And we can match the skills needed to the person at hand.

“This work could have gone anyplace other than the community of its roots, but Keweenaw Tackle kept it local...literally right where it was invented. And the company is very committed to what we are doing here, as well as dedicated to our cause.”

Made in the USA and assembled in Michigan. That’s what Fin-Wing is all about. Oh, and they catch fish, too. 

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Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Sultana Disaster

On the early morning of April 27, 1865, the Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis. It became America’s greatest maritime disaster, killing nearly 1,800 of the almost 2,400 passengers on-board. Many of those were former Union soldiers, on their way home following the end of the Civil War. The boat sank near Marion.

On April 23-25, Marion is the site of activities commemorating this historic event.

On Thursday, April 23, those pre-registered for the event can pick up their information packets at the Marion Hampton Inn from noon until 5 p.m. The Sultana Museum in Marion, located at 104 Washington St., will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The commemoration begins on Friday, April 24, at 9 a.m. at the Marion United Methodist Church with a series of lectures. Topics include “Where the Sultana Disaster Really Began,” followed by “The Naval Battle of Memphis” at 10:30 and “The Search for the Sultana” at 1:30 p.m. The Sultana Museum will be open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A Civil War encampment will be located on the grounds of the Crittenden County Courthouse, directly across from the Sultana Museum, beginning at noon. A commemorative wreath laying takes place at the Sultana Monument, located adjacent to the Marion City Hall at 3:30 p.m. A wine and cheese reception is scheduled for the Sultana Museum from 4 to 5 p.m., followed by a traditional Southern dinner at the Marion United Methodist Church. The dinner is $15 per person and includes a Civil War period concert and performance by the 52nd Regimental String Band.

Saturday’s activities kick-off with a bus tour beginning at 8:30 a.m. The tour includes visits to Fort Pickering, Jefferson Davis Park, the Gayoso Hotel, the Hunt-Phelan House (site of U.S. Grant’s headquarters in Memphis), the Memphis Navy Yard, and Washburn Alley. Cost of the bus tour is $27 per person. The Civil War encampment opens to visitors at 9 a.m. and the Sultana Museum at 10. A special tour of the Mississippi River Museum commences at 12:30 p.m., including the museum’s Civil War and Transportation on the Mississippi exhibits.

To learn more about the 150th anniversary commemoration, or phone the Marion Chamber of Commerce at 870-739-6041.

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What's Happening at Discovery Park

Saturday, April 18- Punch & Paint Class (NEW!)

Looking for something fun to do with the family? Join us for Punch & Paint Class for ages 6 and up! It is only $30 for Members and $35 for Non-Members on

Saturday, April 18th from 9:30 - 11:00 AM in the LEC Room! For more information, please click here.

Sunday, April 19- Birds of Prey

Back by popular demand! Enjoy Birds of Prey in The Settlement (weather permitting) from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. FREE with admission!

Wednesday, April 22- Administrative Assistants Luncheon

Bring your assistant or assistants to Discovery Park of America and show your appreciation for "a job well done!" Everyone will have an enjoyable lunch and will receive a small gift to take home. Call the special events department to make a reservation at (731) 885-5455, ext. 22. Space is limited- Call today! Click here for more information!

Weekend of April 24, 25, 26- Civil War Days Sponsored by Dixie Gun Works

This is going to be an AWESOME WEEKEND! Are you interested in history or want to learn more? You will love this! We will have the Confederate and the Union represented, artillery demonstrations every hour, storytelling and so much more! The Great Lawn will be FULL of all sorts of Civil War demonstrations! Mark your calendars and plan to attend this fun-filled weekend! Click here for pictures!


Libation Station opens Friday, May 1st, with Olivia Faye!

Sponsored by Davis Wealth Services,

Williams Country Sausage,

& Snappy Tomato Pizza.

New Additions!

We have two new statues in Liberty Square. Pictured below are the statues of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan. Come see them!

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Lew's partners with Missouri FOP in fundraiser for wounded Springfield police officer

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Feb. 13, 2015) - Lew's and the Missouri Fraternal
Order of Police have teamed in a major fundraiser to benefit
Springfield, Mo., police officer Aaron Pearson and his family. Pearson was seriously wounded late last month while responding to a burglary call.

The fundraiser, deemed the "Team Pearson Boat Raffle," is the result of Lew's officials providing the FOP with significant prizes to stimulate ticket sales in support of the Pearsons' needs. The grand prize is a fully rigged 2015 Ranger boat with trailer and a Mercury 250 horsepower outboard motor, a package valued at $75,000. The two runner-up prizes are considered "dream fishing trips," as each is with a nationally recognized angler.

One trip is with Hank Parker, host of the "Hank Parker's
Outdoor Magazine" television show and a two-time
Bassmaster Classic champion. The other trip is with Jason
Christie, a highly successful Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour bass tournament angler, who is currently ranked the #1 pro in the world by Both trips are for the respective prize winners and a guest.
Officer Aaron Pearson was shot while on duty in
The Parker prize package is valued at $10,000 and the Springfield. Groups from all areas have rallied insupport to help Pearson and his family.
Christie trip $5,000. All three prizes also include an assortment of fishing rods, reels, tackle bags and lures. Raffle tickets cost $20 each and can be purchased at

Lew's is headquartered in Springfield. CEO Lynn Reeves says that Pearson is a true American hero, and the team at Lew's has a responsibility to help.

"Officer Pearson is an American hero," Reeves said. "He sacrificed to keep our community safe. We know that it's now our turn to make sure Aaron and his family have everything they need to see them through their challenges ahead."

While Pearson has been steadily improving, and is now out of the ICU, he will face long-term care and rehabilitation.

"Aaron's an outstanding officer and we're ready to stand by him," said Mike Evans, president of the Springfield Police Officers Association. "So many local businesses have come forward to help, and we're thrilled to see this effort from Lew's. With everyone coming together for this raffle, I think we'll be able to take great care of Aaron and his family. And that's what it's all about."

Reeves also said a number of outdoor industry companies in addition to Lew's helped make the prize packages possible, and extended a "thank you" to them on behalf of everyone in the Springfield area. packages possible, and extended a "thank you" to them on behalf of everyone in the Springfield area. Among the other prize contributors were Grosse Savanne Waterfowl and Wildlife Lodge, Gene Larew Lures, Plano, Onyx Lifejackets, Strike King, River2Sea, Rat-L-Trap, Owner Hooks, Bullet Weights, K2 Coolers, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Humminbird, MinnKota, Power Pole, TH Marine and HydroWave.

Mike Evans, president of the Springfield Police Officers Association, stands alongside the "Tournament Ready" 2015
Ranger bass boat that is the featured item of a grand prize package that local-based Lew's and many of its fishing industry friends helped provide for a raffle to benefit wounded Officer Pearson. (Click for hi-res image)

Team Person Boat Raffle tickets are available for purchase during the period of Feb. 13 - May 31, 2015. A third-party accounting firm will conduct the drawing on June 5, 2015.

The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Missouri Constitution, Article 3, Section 39(f), states that any organization recognized as charitable or religious pursuant to federal law may sponsor raffles and sweepstakes in which a person risks something of value for a prize. Such laws vary by state. The Team Pearson Boat Raffle is void where prohibited.

Visit www.officerpearson.comfor more details about Officer Pearson, the fundraiser and prizes.

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When Tagged Animals Play Tag With Kids

Tennessee Aquarium Unveils High-Tech Animal Tracker Program Using Beacon Technology
Chattanooga, Tenn. (March 12, 2015) – Scientists, like the researchers at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI), employ various technologies to monitor the health of wild populations and measure the success of restoration efforts. Almost microscopic wire-coded tags implanted in Aquarium-reared Southern Appalachian Brook Trout and sonic tags that broadcast the underwater whereabouts of reintroduced Lake Sturgeon, provide a wealth of information about TNACI’s freshwater conservation efforts.
Other biologists around the world use powerful electronics to monitor the movements of everything from sharks and sea turtles to Polar Bears and even the amazing journeys of the Wandering Albatross. So right now it’s an exciting time to be a scientist tracking animals from around the world – whether on land, overhead or under water.
Starting March 12th, kids who visit the Tennessee Aquarium during spring break can dive into the role of High-Tech Animal Trackers with their families trailing some rare, threatened or rarely seen animals. Powered by tiny transmitters called Beacons, the Tennessee Aquarium is the first aquarium to utilize this new technology.
In the Aquarium’s mobile optimized adventure, a team of wildlife biologists is seeking the help of young citizen scientists to observe animal behavior and collect data. While exploring the Aquarium’s two buildings, kids will receive notifications when they are approaching the habitats of “tagged” animals. In River Journey, herpetologist Ana Conda may ask you to observe Giant South American River Turtles. In Ocean Journey, entomologist Olive Buggs could give you the task of identifying a specific butterfly species. Or, ichthyologist Finn Skales may need your help observing a colorful endangered fish species. “We’re using Beacon technology to put our guests in a more active role during their time with us,” said Thaddeus Taylor, one of the Aquarium’s senior educators. “I’m excited about adding another layer to our experience, one with a game-play feel that increases learning about our animals because it’s so much fun.”
Beacons allow mobile apps to understand their position with tremendous accuracy. By using Bluetooth Low Energy technology, information can be transmitted over short distances. Guests opt-into the program by first downloading the free Tennessee Aquarium app. Once device settings allow Bluetooth connections and push notifications, they’re ready to begin tracking. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of this new technology, creating some engaging content for our guests,” said Taylor.
Equally excited are the co-founders of CloudBeacon, the Chattanooga-based technology company that developed the magic behind the scenes of the High-Tech Animal Tracker Program. Co-Founders Justin Junda, Jason Provonsha and Peter Van de Put launched CloudBeacon as a full-service company specializing in mobile app development and Beacon strategies, and CloudBeacon is a company within Chattanooga-based LPG Lab, the start-up studio of Lamp Post Group. The retail sector may have been the first industry to adopt beacons, but Junda, Provonsha and Van de Put are poised to use their content management system to light up tourism with many more engaging experiences like the one they are launching with the Aquarium. “We have some pretty lofty goals about how to bring beacons to this city and many others,” said Junda. “Chattanooga is developing quite a reputation as a technology hub and we are glad to be a part of that growing reputation. The Aquarium project is a great test case as we continue to expand.”
Because content on the CloudBeacon platform is easily changed, the Aquarium has plans to offer new beacon programs at different times throughout the year. Taylor is already looking forward to creating new fun and inspirational themes. “I hope this alters the way our guests look at animals,” said Taylor. “So that even after they leave the Aquarium, there is a long-reaching effect of creating a desire to closely observe the wildlife around us rather than simply noticing the animals.”
Ready to become a High-Tech Animal Tracker? Download the FREE Tennessee Aquarium app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
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The Wildrose Way Workshops

 Please register for all Wildrose Oxford and Arkansas events at
April 18, 19 -  Basic Gundog - Upland and Waterfowl, The Wildrose Way - George Hi Plantation, Garland, NC.  Contact Dan O'Connor at 910-564-5860
April 23 to 26 - Training the Wildrose Way (2-Day Basic, 2-Day Seasoned for Gundogs/Adventure Dogs) - Orvis Sandanona, Millbrook, NY.  
Contact 845-677-9701 or email

May 1, 2 -Basic Gundog Training the Wildrose Way - Burge Plantation, Mansfield, GA.  Call 770-787-5152 for more information.  
May 16 - Starting Your Dog the Wildrose Way, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or

June 6, 7 - Retriever Training for Driven Shooting - Blixt & Co, Tetonia, ID, Contact Lars at 307-731-5450 or

September 26 - Starting Your Dog the Wildrose Way, Wildrose Oxford. Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788 or
October 16 to 18 - Double Gun Retriever Classic, Train, Shoot and Retrieve (TSR), Wildrose Oxford, Contact Cathy at 662-234-5788
Visit for more information about Training the Wildrose Way.
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Project ChildSafe Releases New Firearm Safety Video
First-of-its-kind resource from NSSF encourages open conversations between parents and children about firearm safety

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today released a new, first-of-its-kind educational resource, the “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video. The video, starring champion shooter and mother Julie Golob, encourages parents to have “the talk” about firearm safety with their kids sooner rather than later, and provides tips for how to have a helpful discussion.

“Too often, children don’t know what to do if they find a gun,” said Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of NSSF, which developed and sponsors the Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program. “This video opens a door for honest conversation and empowers parents to be the authority on gun safety for their kids, whether they have guns in their homes or not.”

The “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video was created as a resource to start positive and constructive conversations by encouraging discussion rather than lecture, and helps parents responsibly demystify the subject of guns.

“As a mother, I know full well how challenging this conversation can be,” Golob said. “It’s crucial that parents set an example and teach their kids about firearm safety so children don’t learn about guns solely from what their friends say or what they see on video games and TV.”

The video features Golob expressing the importance of adults having gun safety discussions with young people, emphasizing that education on responsible safety and storage is the number one way to prevent firearm accidents in the home. The video has two sections, one for talking with younger children, the other for talking to older kids and teens.

“How to Talk to Your Kids about Gun Safety” is available—and shareable—online at and on the NSSF YouTube page at NSSF is also promoting the video with its members, law enforcement partners, local communities, conservation groups and other supporters, starting with a national launch in partnership with Sportsman’s Warehouse, which streamed the video in all of its stores across the country.

“Talking to kids about gun safety is not something to be put off or ignored—it’s an essential part of responsible gun ownership,” Sanetti added. “This video supports our industry’s “Own It? Respect It. Secure It” initiative, and we hope firearms owners everywhere watch it and share it with their communities.”

The video expands Project ChildSafe’s safety education resources that encourage safe firearms handling and secure storage by gun owners and their families. The video complements such program resources as the Safe Storage Options Infographic and the Parent-Child Safety Pledge. Since 1999, Project ChildSafe has worked with more than 15,000 law enforcement departments throughout the United States to distribute educational resources and free firearm safety kits, which include a gun lock, to their communities. To date, the program has given away more than 36 million safety kits and gun locks in all fifty states and the five U.S. territories.

Project ChildSafe’s public commitment to firearms education and making our communities safer is supported by Project ChildSafe, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. To learn more about Project ChildSafe, visit

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Watch, Listen and Adapt for Season-Long Turkey Hunting Success

By Josh Lantz with Eddie Salter

Evergreen, Alabama’s Eddie “The Turkey Man” Salter is one of the world’s most experienced turkey hunters.  Over nearly 50 years of observation, Salter has refined his skill set through trial and error to learn what works in the turkey woods and why. 

Most of the time.

“Old Tom Turkey plays by his own rules,” says the Plano-Synergy pro, who may hunt a dozen different states each spring. “Just because I can puff out my chest after fooling one doesn’t mean the next one’s going to come the same way,” he continues.

A portable blind excels at concealing movement and keeping hunters comfortable during unpredictable early season weather.

Yes, the Turkey Man is quick to admit that no single strategy works 100% of the time.  It’s what keeps him coming back to the field spring after spring, searching for the next unique experience or observation that will make him an even better hunter the next time out. 

Humility is an important trait in any hunter, and Salter maintains his through ample lessons from the birds he loves, as well as a sincere appreciation for the opportunity he’s been given to hunt turkeys for a living and to share his knowledge with others.

I had the opportunity to shadow Salter and his cameraman, Mike Miller, on a challenging hunt in the hills of central Kentucky during filming for Salter’s popularTurkey Man television series last spring.  Two things quickly became apparent over the course of our two-day hunt.  First, Salter never gives up.  If there’s a tom in the neighborhood, he’ll work that bird ten different ways until he either puts it down or pushes it into the next county.  Second, Salter – a two-time world champion – is the finest turkey caller I’ve heard.  His ability to effectively vocalize all manner of turkey sounds – with or without an actual call – is truly remarkable. Miller is an incredible caller as well, and the team worked in tandem to light up every bird within earshot.

“Calling is an important skill a turkey hunter needs to have,” says Salter, “but it’s more important to know when to make those sounds.  Anyone can learn to call, but if you want to kill turkeys with regularity, you’ve got to listen to those hens and jakes and toms in the field and watch how they interact together,” he adds.  “There’s no substitute for experience.”

While every turkey-hunting situation is different, the Turkey Man has strong views on how hunters can, and should, adjust their strategies throughout the spring season.

Salter and Miller watch and listen for clues on the best way to set-up for and call to turkeys on an adjacent ridge.

Early Season

Most turkey hunters believe the opening days of the spring turkey-hunting season offer the best chances at taking a bird.  This is probably true in most cases.  Turkeys that haven’t been hunted in months can up the odds for success, but an abundance of weather-related variables can easily turn what should be prime turkey killing days into disappointing outings that often leave less-experienced hunters scratching their heads.

If opening day arrives on the heels of typical spring weather, hunters can expect toms to be fired up for breeding yet frustrated by hens that aren’t quite ready.  These are great conditions for the turkey hunter, as toms will be close to the hens and establishing dominance.  These are birds that can be expected to respond favorably to effective calling – especially the less-dominant toms.

“You’re mostly hunting satellite toms in the early season,” says Salter, who often hunts from a portable ground blind during this period.  “You’ve got a lot less cover at the start of the season, and a blind is a key tool,” he continues.  Turkeys are often less vocal now, too.  “Silent birds can be on top of you before you know it during the early season,” he says.  “A good blind set up is going to conceal your movement when repositioning your gun towards the old tom that seemed to pop out of the ground right next to you like a mushroom,” he concludes.  Of course, a ground blind also provides welcomed comfort and protection from early spring’s unpredictable weather.

Avian-X Feeder Hen

Most seasoned hunters agree that weather is the single largest variable in early season turkey hunting. “So many times in a cold early season, the birds don’t crank up when you want,” says Salter, who recently experienced this very challenge during the opening days of Alabama’s 2015 spring turkey season. “Go to areas with a lot of sign that you know birds are using and try to deer hunt them a bit,” he says.  “Use a couple decoys and try a little calling, but don’t be surprised or concerned if they don’t gobble,” he advises.  “Have patience and move on to a different location after an hour or so.  Pack a lunch and hunt all day if your state allows it.  You’ll probably stumble up on one,” concludes Salter.

When it comes to early season decoy strategies, Salter prefers a single Avian-X Breeder or Feeder Hen and a single Flextone Thunder Chicken Jake.  “I don’t like big, fluffed up decoys or a lot of them,” says Salter, who appreciates the relaxed posture of the Avian-X hen’s head, and the feather-like fan that moves in the wind on the Thunder Chicken Jake.

“Those small details help put birds at ease and can make a big difference whenever you hunt,” he says.

Deciding how much or how little to call can only be learned through experience, and is a critical consideration during the early season.  “When toms are sorting out their pecking order during the pre-breeding period, you can have great success with aggressive calling,” says Salter.  But it’s important not to overdo it right out of the gate.  “Guys have a tendency to keep hammering away, especially when turkeys aren’t gobbling, but that isn’t always what the birds want to hear,” adds Salter.

Tenzing’s unique TZ TP14 Turkey Pack allows turkey hunters to set up anywhere and remain comfortably motionless while working birds – without the need for a tree or stump to lean against.

Instead, Salter suggests starting with three or four little notes and building up gradually. “Wait a minute after those soft initial purrs or yelps, then apply a little more pressure,” he says.  Salter will repeat this process a couple more times, getting louder and extending his sequence each time.  “By the fourth time, I’m screaming 10 to 12 notes at them... feeding calls and throwing some cuts in, too,” says Salter, who often rustles leaves with his hand or a branch between calling sequences to simulate scratching and add realism. “Mix it up, and wait different periods of time between calling. Hens have a lot of personality, so put feeling into your own calling,” he suggests.

Salter’s point about each hen being – and sounding – different, was proven on our Kentucky hunt last spring.

We were set up on a ridge of oaks attempting to call in a stubborn tom from the next ridge over.  Salter and Miller were each working slate and mouth calls simultaneously, playing off of each other and the live birds in the area with the precision and artistry of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts jamming the bridge toJessica in 1972.  During a brief pause, the world’s worst turkey caller started yelping down slope from us and out of view. 

Out of cadence and more grunt than yelp, the calls sounded like someone working very hard to sound like a hen turkey, but failing miserably.  The three of us, moderately amused, looked at each other with stunned faces. Thirty seconds later, a live hen turkey – completely normal by all other accounts – cleared the ridge and proceeded to continue with her unconventional and entertaining yelping.  She busted us and ran away when someone began laughing.

Turkey Man TV videographer, Mike Miller, works a diaphragm call in conjunction with Salter’s calling to locate a late season tom.

Late Season

Conditions change in the late season, and hunters should adapt their set-ups and calling strategies accordingly. 

Breeding is winding down at this time, and many dominant hens will be nesting.  But while these older gals are laying and sitting, a number of younger hens will still be out and about broadcasting their availability to suitors.  Those are the birds hunters need to observe and mimic.  The toms are listening.  Are you? 

Salter says it’s usually a good idea to tone down your calling during the late season, but recognizes that hunters should continue to let the birds tell them what they want.  “If they aren’t doing a lot of calling, I’ll stick with those softer purrs, clicks and yelps,” says Salter, who carries and uses a pack full of calls during this period.  “I like to try a bunch of different calls later in the season… just for variety… to try and find that one he’ll key in on,” he adds. “If I can get a tom to answer, then I’ll stick with that one call he likes, but won’t be too aggressive.”

Gobbler calls can also become effective hunting tools during the late season.  Such a call can be used for shock gobbling birds on the roost, but also excels when used in conjunction with a mating yelp.  It’s a deadly combination that can bring a jealous old tom running in to look for a fight.  But gobbler calls can serve another purpose in the late season as well.

“Gobblers will switch gears at some point late in the season and look to buddy up again,” says Salter.  “A call like Flextone’s Thunder Gobble is underutilized, especially late in the game when toms become more interested in each other’s company again,” he says.

The physical hunting environment also changes throughout the season.  An increasing amount of foliage on the ground and on the trees makes visibility – for both turkeys and hunters – more challenging as the season progresses.  But the heavier vegetation can also be an asset.  “We often need to cover more ground in the late season, and the increased cover makes mobility and concealment easier,” says Salter, who recommends leaving the ground blinds at home at this time of year.

“I’ll work paths, trails and clearings where I can see more, but tuck into available cover using my turkey pack,” says Salter, referring to his Tenzing TP 14 Turkey Pack, which has a fold-down padded seat and unique spring-loaded legs to create a comfy backrest.  “I can set-up anywhere with that pack in seconds and don’t need a tree or a log to lean against… It’s been a real game-changer, for me and a lot of other turkey hunters,” he continues.

The late season provides another key advantage for the turkey hunter, the importance of which cannot be overlooked.  There’s simply less competition from real hens.

“If you find a tom that isn’t henned-up, he’ll likely be sucker for the proper calling and set-up,” says Salter, who tends to stick with his hen and jake decoy set-up throughout the late season.  “Toms seem to make more mistakes during the late season,” he says, “and seeing that single jake with a hen is just something he’s not going to be able to brush off. He’s coming in; so let him make the mistake, not you.  Watch what he likes, then keep doing it and you’ll get your bird.”

The most successful turkey hunters avoid mistakes by watching, listening and adapting their strategies accordingly – throughout the course of a single hunt and over the changing conditions and circumstances of an entire season.  Still, everyone makes mistakes.  The key is racking up enough experience to realize errors right away and make immediate adjustments.

Spend enough time in the woods and the birds will show you what they want.

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Catch More Cold-Water Crappies this Spring

Dr. Jason Halfen,

As winter fades slowly into spring, crappies and other panfish begin a predictable transition from thermally stable, deep water basins toward warming shallows where the food web of the lake is beginning to bloom. This general movement may take a number of weeks, and can be easily interrupted by unstable spring weather. However, in general terms, during the weeks after ice cover leaves the lake (or water temperatures begin to rebound from wintertime lows), crappies are on the move with shallow water as their ultimate destination. This is a movement that will eventually lead to spawning, but reproduction is not driving this initial transition; feeding is! 

The author with a brace of cold water slab crappies

Many anglers will impulsively head to the shorelines and back ends of soft-bottomed bays as soon as surface temperatures begin to increase. While some panfish may be found in these waters, the vast majority of the population, and nearly all of the quality fish, are most likely to be located in transition areas between the deep water basins and shallow spawning grounds. They will remain here until the shallows become consistently warm.

My most important tool for locating cold water crappies is my Humminbird ONIX system equipped with Side Imaging. I will patrol transition areas between deep water basins and shallow feeding (and eventually spawning) grounds until I locate large numbers of fish. I am specifically looking for large collections of white "spots" against an otherwise darker background; these represent schools of crappies that are in transition from deep to shallow water. 


For example, in this screen capture from my ONIX10ci SI system, there are two groups of crappies (circled in yellow) in deep water (10-18 feet), as well as a large group of crappies on the right side image, patrolling a deep weed edge (circled in red). Notice that the shoreline is nowhere in sight; these are transitioning crappies that have not yet reached the shallows. Side Imaging is such a powerful tool for finding fish that I will not stop to try to catch fish until I identify those fish using Side Imaging.

The Side Imaging feature of my ONIX10ci SI system reveals schools of cold water crappies. 

Precise boat control is important for staying on top of these groups of transitioning crappies. I make extensive use of the Minn-Kota iPilot Link Spot Lock feature when targeting cold water crappies. When crappies are actively feeding in a specific area, like the deep weed edge illustrated above, I use the Spot Lock feature to hold my boat in position near the school, so I can focus all of my attention on presenting baits and catching fish. If I lose contact with the school, or if the biters turn from slab crappies to "Tiny Tims", I will reposition the boat by 10-20 feet along the weed edge until I make contact with the school again.

You can see an example of this Spot Lock/reposition cycle in this screen capture from my ONIX system, as I adjust my boat's position along the weed edge. Remember, the fish are here to feed, and much like a herd of cattle, they will graze in one area until the food source is exhausted. Then, they will be on the move again – it's your job to stay with them.

The Minn Kota i-Pilot Link system illustrates saved Spot Lock locations with Anchor icons on my ONIX display.

A classic technique for targeting cold water crappies is to dangle a lively minnow above their heads, suspended from a bobber. Allow me to encourage you to try something different this spring: fish exclusively with subtle soft plastics rigged on light jigheads. I rely on the Ratsofrom Custom Jigs and Spins to put spring and early summer crappies (as well as bluegills and perch) in my boat. The subtle action of the Ratso's tail is an outstanding trigger for cold water panfish, and the small profile is an excellent mimic for the insect larvae and other invertebrates that constitute the primary forage in these warming waters of early spring.

Cold water crappie fishing offers some of the most consistent and reliable opportunities of the year to catch fish. Take advantage of this period to share the outdoors and your love of fishing with a young person. If you invest a little time and effort to find fish with Side Imaging, and position your boat for effective bait presentation using the i-Pilot system, your young guest will reap the benefits of your efforts and reward you with smiles, laughter, and maybe even your first fish fry of the season. So shed those winter coats and enjoy some spring crappie fishing with a youngster today!

Share spring crappies with a youngster, and gain a fishing partner for life!

Dr. Jason Halfen owns and operates “The Technological Angler”, a media company dedicated to helping anglers learn to use their onboard technology to find and catch more fish. Their first full-length instructional video production, “The Technological Angler, Volume 1: Success with Side Imaging”, was the winner of the 2014 AGLOW awards-in-craft competition in the TV-fishing division.

"The Technological Angler, Volume 2: Integrated Technology" teaches anglers to harness the power of 2D sonar, Side Imaging, Down Imaging, 360 Imaging and the i-Pilot Link system, to find and catch more fish. 

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Food Plots and Habitat Plantings for Game Birds

One aspect of wildlife management that is growing rapidly is the restoration of native habitat and growing crops with game birds like quail and turkey in mind. I am of the opinion that loss of habitat may be the number one factor in a list of many reasons for the steady decline in quail numbers over the last several decades. Turkey on the other hand, have had remarkable success and have a population that is abundant across most of the U.S.

Whether you are trying to attract turkeys and keep them on your property or attempting to provide food and cover for a couple coveys of quail, there are several easy to plant annual crops that can be very beneficial.  Millets, sorghum, and sunflowers are all easy to plant warm season annuals that can be planted as stand-alone crops or as a blend like BioLogic's WhistleBack. A lot of people want to plant something that is providing food within a couple weeks like they do for deer, but it really doesn't work that way for birds. For game birds we are really trying to create food, cover, and brood habitat that they seek out. Giving the birds all they need through the changing seasons will keep them at home and discourage them from wandering to neighboring properties.
Warm season annuals such as the previous mentioned millets, sorghum, etc, need 70-100 days of growth to mature and produce seed. As the plants mature and dry up in the late summer and into the fall, they will naturally begin to drop seeds. The maturity rate is dependent on what varieties are used and of course weather plays a factor. These warm season annuals are relatively easy to grow and can be planted by broadcasting onto a prepared seed bed or by using a no-till drill or planter.  I prefer a no-till drill for bird plots for a couple of reasons. The rows make it easy for smaller game birds like quail to navigate through, drills also disturb the soil considerably less than using a disc or tiller and as a result you will usually have less weed problems. 
If using traditional planting methods, I would suggest spraying the area to be planted a week to ten days ahead of planting with a non-selective herbicide such as Round-Up to kill all existing vegetation. Ground to be planted can then be disced or tilled and then cultipacked or rolled to create a firm seed bed. Seed can then be broadcast and lightly dragged in or rolled back over with a cultipacker.  A 6.0-7.0 pH is needed for optimum growth and seed production; however, millets, sorghums, and sunflowers are fairly tolerant of acidic soils, allowing you to plant for your birds in areas with less than ideal soil conditions. Fertilizer recommendations  would be to use 13-13-13 at around 300 lb per acre or an equivalent. All the seed varieties in this blend are nitrogen lovers and it would benefit growth and seed production to implement a secondary nitrogen application 4-6 weeks after germination.

A more long term way to provide the life cycle needs and improve habitat for birds is by using native warm season grasses and plants. A great blend is Mossy Oak Nativ Nurseries Bedding Blend that contains Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Maximillian Sunflower, Switch Grass, New England Aster, Virginia Wild Rye, and Partridge Pea. These native grasses and plants not only provide great nesting cover and feeding areas but also are very attractive to insects which are crucial to young birds. The bunch grasses provide open areas on the ground that make it easy for young birds to traverse.
It doesn't take large acreage areas to plant some areas for your birds to be effective. Strips along the sides of roads, perimeters of large food plots, clearings in the woods, all make suitable locations to plant for your birds. Another big upside to planting game bird habitat is almost all other forms of wildlife benefit from it. I have found whitetail love to use them for fawning areas and many small critters like rabbits really like to use it as well.
If you want to take your wildlife management to the next level, consider planting some areas specifically for your birds and improve your properties overall diversity. Even though you may only have an occasional covey of quail currently, there is no better way to help them multiply than by creating the food, cover, and nesting areas they are missing.
Would you like to learn more about improving your hunting and get discounts on the products you need? Learn from the experts by joining the new Mossy Oak GameKeepers Club at Or call 662-495-9292.  
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Dr. Houston on opening day of Tennessee's spring turkey season

Opening morning. Got on a bird and he was talking back to my call. Dirty, loud, demanding sorts of talk. But I could not tell which way it was he was.

This went on for over an hour. He finally got disgusted with me and I had to stand up to relieve the kinks in my back, formed into baseball-sized knots where I had constantly twisted around to listen “behind me.”

I started walking and ran a jake out of a field. Then I spied a big boy at the end of a long field and began the big sneak. On the way I nearly stepped on a band of toms and jakes, but could not get a shot from 20 yards.

They teleported to another dimension when I peeked around the other side of the brush. I Injun-sneaked the big boy and ran him off … probably, I am not sure. I got too close, saw him, he may have seen me. I backed off, sat down on some briars and called. After a few minutes the band I had seen earlier came running single file from behind me.

Two toms and three jakes in a line, pecking order established by place and all in a hurry to find the hen. They missed me. All one-eared turkeys, apparently. I waited till they stopped and began to mill around. When the jakes were between me and the toms, I called. Immediately the toms jumped on the jakes and here they all came again at a dead run, seemingly intent on running past me again.

I waited coolly and shot too soon. I missed and decided to miss two more times while I was at it. So, I displayed all of my turkey hunting acumen in one trip: could not hear, could not stalk and could not shoot. A fine day.

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