Season 8 of “The Walking Dead” Has Us All Excited

If you’re a die-hard fan of “The Walking Dead,” you may think last season was missing something. Many critics said the show lost its way, but we think it was just missing Daryl Dixon’s awesome crossbow scenes.

Season 7 began with the group at the mercy of Negan and his gang, the Saviors. After a horrific scene that’s too gory to recap, our favorite crossbow archer, Daryl, was taken prisoner by the Saviors. After suffering at the hands of Negan, he escaped, carrying a major chip on his shoulder. Daryl, Rick and the gang immediately started plotting an attack against the Saviors.

The group teamed with some new friends, who end up double-crossing them. They ended right back where they started – at the mercy of Negan. But this time they were saved by the Kingdom and the Hilltop Militia, which sets up an epic war for season 8.

Daryl is on a mission. After suffering as a prisoner much of last season, he’s feeling vindictive. “He’s tired of waiting, and there are several moments this whole season where Daryl pretty much goes rogue,” Reedus said. Photo Credit: AMC

If you thought last season lacked action, Season 8 will not disappoint. Right from the start it’s all-out war. Daryl is back with his crossbow in hand, and some are speculating this war will last all season.

After last season’s shocking string of deaths, everyone is wondering who might die next. We’re sure it’s not Rick, because he’s too important to the story line. “It’s a lot of Rick’s story, so we’re following Rick’s plan, and we’re seeing it through Rick’s eyes,” said Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl on the show, in an interview with Deadline. Of course, there’s undoubtedly a huge twist waiting for fans at some point this season.

This time around, Daryl is on a mission. After suffering as a prisoner much of last season, he’s feeling vindictive. “He’s tired of waiting, and there are several moments this whole season where Daryl pretty much goes rogue,” Reedus said. “He wants to do something faster and quicker, which might not be the smartest thing to do, but he’s just fed up. He’s ready for revenge.”

Could Negan fall victim to Daryl’s crossbow? We think that’s a definite possibility and a fitting end to Negan’s reign of terror.

Daryl might have bigger things on the horizon. Rumors are swirling that he could get his own show. Reedus is very hush-hush about those rumors and any mention of a “Walking Dead” spin-off. We would love a Daryl Dixon show and all the associated crossbow awesomeness. Until that happens, we’ll settle for watching Season 8 of “The Walking Dead.” Considering how the first two episodes went, we are sure to get our crossbow fix.

Daryl doesn’t have the luxury to go to an archery store every time he needs arrows or a bow tuning. Luckily we don’t live in a zombie wasteland and can easily drive to a shop to buy everything we need.

If you want to start shooting a crossbow, use our store finder to locate a shop near you. Then have the experts outfit you with all the goodies so you can shoot like Daryl.

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Gear Up: Prep Your Bow for Hunting in 5 Simple Steps

The sun creeps over the horizon, creating spectacular views from your treestand. You chose this location carefully through scouting, and you meticulously prepared your equipment. All that’s left to do is soak in nature’s sights and sounds while waiting for a shot.

That’s exactly how you want to feel on opening morning: confident and prepared. You made sure your equipment is ready, because accurate shots deliver ethical kills and venison for the freezer.

With bowhunting season only a few weeks away, it’s time to get your archery gear ready. This process is easy because the archery shop’s experts do all the hard work. Then it’s up to you to do the fun work: practice for that all-important shot at your quarry. Follow these tips to get your bow ready to hunt.

New Bowstrings

If your bow is a couple of years old, it might need a new bowstring. Worn-out bowstrings easily stretch, causing your arrows to fly inconsistently. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

If your bow is a couple of years old, it might need a new bowstring. Worn-out bowstrings easily stretch, causing your arrows to fly inconsistently. On compound bows, string stretch also affects cam timing. Either way, your bow can shoot fine one day, and then be off the next, which can cause grief in the woods. If you’re constantly adjusting your sights, you might need a new bowstring.

Check Cam Timing

Cams should rotate in unison because their timing affects arrow flight, the feel of the bow, and the arrow’s accuracy. Getting cams to rotate in sync can require technical expertise, but all you have to do is hand your bow to qualified bow technicians and ask them to check it out for you. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

As you draw your bow, its cams rotate. How cams rotate in relationship to each other determines their timing. Cams should rotate in unison because their timing affects arrow flight, the feel of the bow, and the arrow’s accuracy. Getting cams to rotate in sync can require technical expertise, but all you have to do is hand your bow to qualified bow technicians and ask them to check it out for you.

Peep Alignment

A properly aligned peep lets you see through the peep aperture with your head in a natural upright position. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

The peep sight on your bowstring must align properly with your eye. If it doesn’t, it will obstruct your view of the target or cause you to change your head position. A properly aligned peep lets you see through the peep aperture with your head in a natural upright position. If you must lean your head forward to look through the peep, or you can’t see through it, bring your bow to an archery shop so they can adjust it.

Broadheads

Talk to your archery pro about which animals you plan to hunt and the bow you’re using. This information helps them determine the best broadhead for your setup. While you’re there, they can show how to safely install the broadheads. Photo Credit: ATA

On opening morning you won’t be hunting with field points. You’ll have sharp broadheads attached to your arrows. No matter which broadheads you choose, make sure they fly properly. Talk to your archery pro about which animals you plan to hunt and the bow you’re using. This information helps them determine the best broadhead for your setup. While you’re there, they can show how to safely install the broadheads.

Practice

If heat and mosquitoes make it a chore to shoot outside, use the air-conditioned indoor range at an archery shop. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

There’s no substitute for practice when preparing for bow season. If heat and mosquitoes make it a chore to shoot outside, use the air-conditioned indoor range at an archery shop. Some shops even have virtual hunting simulators that play wildlife scenes and hunting scenarios on a screen that doubles as a target. Practice can’t get more realistic and exciting.

No matter how you practice, start now. It’s almost time to put on your camo and head to the woods. Jump-start your preparations by visiting a local archery shop to ensure your equipment is dialed in and ready to hunt.

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Take Someone Hunting, Fishing or Target Shooting and Enter a Chance To Win NASCAR or Ultimate Outdoor Experience

This post originally ran as a press release from National Hunting and Fishing Day:

Join Richard Childress, honorary chair for National Hunting and Fishing Day, in creating the next generation of conservationists.

National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day), an annual celebration of hunters and anglers, features a new twist this year. Richard Childress, NASCAR legend and honorary chair for NHF Day, is asking hunters and anglers to participate in the new NHF Day Challenge by taking someone hunting, fishing or target shooting. By pledging to introduce someone to the outdoors between now and NHF Day on Saturday, Sept. 23, participants will be eligible to win a Richard Childress Racing VIP race weekend package or the Ultimate Outdoor Experience in America’s Conservation Capital from Big Cedar Lodge and Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.

“If you are a sportsman, sportswoman or an angler, you can make a difference and support National Hunting and Fishing Day by becoming a mentor,” said Childress. “Mentoring is critical to ensure our outdoor tradition lives on through future generations. Make the commitment to take someone outdoors and show them why you value hunting, fishing and target shooting.”

For millions of Americans, time spent hunting and fishing are treasured moments. Hunting and fishing brings friends and family together and provides one of the most immersive outdoor experiences possible.

For millions of Americans, time spent hunting and fishing are treasured moments. Hunting and fishing brings friends and family together and provides one of the most immersive outdoor experiences possible. Photo Credit: NHF Day

“Today fewer people are connecting with nature through hunting and fishing,” said Childress. “As outdoorsmen and women, we are one of the keys to reversing this trend. Help a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker learn how to hunt, fish or shoot. Introducing someone to the joys of the outdoors not only enriches their life, it creates a future conservationist.”

Each new hunter and angler created helps fund conservation. Every time someone buys a firearm, ammunition, archery equipment or fishing tackle, they contribute to habitat conservation and science-based wildlife management through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. The WSFR is the cornerstone of fish and wildlife conservation in North America because it brings funding from the sporting arms, archery and fishing industries and sportsmen and women back to state wildlife management agencies. These monies, in addition to hunting and fishing license fees, are critical for conserving fish and wildlife across our nation.

Each new hunter and angler created helps fund conservation. Every time someone buys a firearm, ammunition,archery equipment or fishing tackle, they contribute to habitat conservation and science-based wildlife management through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. Photo Credit: NHF Day

Those who pledge to take someone hunting, target shooting or fishing will be entered for a chance to win two amazing prize packages. The first grand prize is two HOT passes to a future NASCAR race, which includes pit and garage passes, garage and team hauler tours, and an opportunity to meet team owner Richard Childress. The second grand prize package is a trip to America’s Conservation Capital: Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. A passion of Bass Pro Shops founder and Ozarks native Johnny Morris, the destination spans multiple properties and thousands of unspoiled acres, making it the ultimate destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. The package includes a two-night stay in a log cabin at Big Cedar Lodge, America’s premier wilderness resort, and nature-based excursions including guided bass fishing on 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake; Adventure Passes for the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail and Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum at Top of the Rock; shotgun sports at Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor Shooting Academy; and passes to Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, the largest, most immersive wildlife attraction in the world, opening Sept, 21, 2017.

To get involved in the NHF Day Challenge, visit NHFDay.org or call 417 225-1162.

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I Want to Hunt from a Treestand. But How do I Choose the Best Spot?

The essence of bowhunting is getting close to animals, which requires bowhunter to know the area and their quarry.

Treestands can help by concealing bowhunters and offering a great vantage point as deer come into range, but first you must know where to place your stand to reap those benefits and fill your tag. That means choosing one tree in a vast area to get within 20 yards of a deer. That sounds like a lofty goal, but it’s realistic if you know deer and their habitats.

Know Your Prey

Read about deer biology, learn the habitats they prefer, and find the signs they leave behind. Once you start understanding a deer’s daily life, the more reliably you’ll choose sites for your treestand. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo.

Studying animals you hunt is a vital part of bowhunting. The more you know about their habits and favorite foods, the better your odds for success. Read about deer biology, learn the habitats they prefer, and find the signs they leave behind. Once you start understanding a deer’s daily life, the more reliably you’ll choose sites for your treestand.

Food, Water and Shelter

treestands

Ponds, streams, swamps and livestock tanks all provide water for deer. Shelter cover for deer typically means places that hide them from predators, and shield them from cold and wind. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

The three things all animals need are food, water and shelter. Those essentials provide  important information for bowhunters because if you can find where deer eat, drink and rest, you hold the key puzzle pieces.

Favored food sources for deer are crop fields, acorns (especially from white oaks), young plant shoots, apples and berries, and nuts like pecans, chestnuts and hickory nuts. During droughts or hot weather, water sources can be deer hotspots. Ponds, streams, swamps and livestock tanks all provide water for deer. Shelter cover for deer typically means places that hide them from predators, and shield them from cold and wind. Good deer cover often features thick brush or tall weeds, as well as low-hanging boughs of cedars, spruce and other conifers.

Terrain

treestands

Be sure to check out every dip or “saddle” in a ridgeline. These low points create easier travel routes to the ridge’s higher portions. These terrain features often create ambush opportunities because they force deer to walk through a small area that gets you close enough for a shot. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Deer like to take paths of least resistance when traveling to food, water and shelter. Hunters can use that trait to their advantage by selecting fence crossings or pinch points created by terrain.

For example, check out every dip or “saddle” in a ridgeline. These low points create easier travel routes to the ridge’s higher portions. These terrain features often create ambush opportunities because they force deer to walk through a small area that gets you close enough for a shot. Likewise, three- or four-strand barbwire fences with a missing strand or collapsed section create funnels deer can’t resist.

Edges

Deer and other animals love edges, a place where two types of habitat meet. This could be an edge where woods meet a field, or where thick brush meets open hardwoods. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Deer and other animals love edges, a place where two types of habitat meet. This could be an edge where woods meet a field, or where thick brush meets open hardwoods. Deer like these edges because it’s where cover and food “collide.” Edges also provide deer several options for food, and who doesn’t like options?

Scent and Confidence

treestands

Trail-cameras are motion-activated devices that strap onto a tree. When a deer walks in front of the camera, it snaps a picture. This photographic evidence also tells you the time of day. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

You’ve found a good spot for your treestand, but you’re still unsure about your plan. A trail-camera can help you decide if you’re hunting the right spot. Trail-cameras are motion-activated devices that strap onto a tree. When a deer walks in front of the camera, it snaps a picture. This photographic evidence also tells you the time of day.

If you have a great spot that deer visit regularly, don’t blow it by leaving lots of human scent nearby. Deer have an incredible sense of smell, and if you spend too much time in your favorite bowhunting spot, they’ll disappear.

Sidebar:

As a rule, bowhunters should not visit the same area too often, and don’t check your trail-cameras constantly. When scouting, hunting or checking trail-cameras, wear clothing washed with scent-free soap. Also, wear rubber boots to reduce the scent you leave behind.

Also consider wind directions when choosing treestand sites. Wind can carry your scent to nearby deer or away from them. To use the wind to your advantage, set your stand so the wind blows your scent away from where you expect deer to approach. Ask experts at your nearby archery store, or check your area’s weather records to learn autumn’s prevailing wind directions. Whenever possible, hang two stands at a given site to take advantage of different wind patterns. Always check daily weather forecasts for the wind direction to help decide which stand to hunt from.

Choosing a site for your treestand isn’t a science, so don’t get discouraged if your plans don’t work. Just move your stand and try again. Deer are far better at surviving than we are at hunting, but that merely confirms the fun challenges of bowhunting.

When a bowhunting plan comes together, you won’t stop smiling, maybe because you know  you’ll never taste sweeter success. If you have questions or need a treestand, safety harness or trail-camera, your archery store is there to help.

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Is Squirrel Hunting a Thing? Yes! Here’s What You Should Know.

Bowhunting offers many benefits, such as harvesting quality meat and connecting more closely to the natural world. If that sounds appealing, but you don’t feel ready to bowhunt big game like deer and elk, start with small game like squirrels. They provide a great introduction to this intense, rewarding experience.

Most of us see squirrels daily. They eat from our bird feeders, dash in front of cars, and tease neighborhood dogs by staying just beyond reach. But don’t let their familiarity fool you. Woodland squirrels are difficult prey for bowhunters.

The squirrels you see in your yard or nearby park aren’t the ones you’ll bowhunt in woodlots. Wild squirrels assume you’re coming for them when you walk into sight, bow in hand. They keep a safe distance by bounding limb to limb to flee, or simply flatten against a tree’s trunk or branch and let you walk by.

If you get close enough to a squirrel to shoot, your next challenge is to make a quick, lethal shot. The squirrel must be stationary and positioned to expose its vitals, which is its head or the heart/lungs. Hitting such small “vitals,” which are slightly larger than a golf ball, is challenging but attainable.

And if you miss, the hunt isn’t over. Other opportunities soon arise. Squirrels are also great practice for big-game bowhunting. Even Katniss Everdeen hunts squirrels to hone her skills and feed her family.

If you’re curious about bowhunting squirrels, you probably have lots of questions. Let’s review what you need to know to get into the squirrel woods.

Can you eat them?

Dishes like squirrel gravy, hearty squirrel stew, and squirrel Buffalo wings will quickly win over any skeptic. Squirrel makes an excellent table fare and can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways! Photo Credit: Outdoorchannel.com

Squirrel meat tastes like a chicken’s dark meat. It’s relatively mild, with good flavor. Therefore, squirrels make excellent table fare and can be prepared many delicious ways.

Dishes like squirrel gravy, hearty squirrel stew, and squirrel Buffalo wings quickly win over skeptics. Taking a squirrel from field to table is similar to the same process for larger animals, which makes it great practice if you hope to bowhunt big game someday.

What equipment do I need?

When bowhunting squirrels, a well-placed head shot with a blunt or judo point will humanely harvest your quarry. If you’d rather aim for the body, use a small game point and aim for the heart and lung area just behind the front shoulder. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Flu-flu arrows are excellent for bowhunting squirrels because most shots are aimed upward. With the flu-flus’ large fletchings, the arrow won’t go far if you miss. Even so, make sure you know what’s beyond your target, and that it’s free of people, pets, roads and buildings. Even with flu-flu fletchings, your arrow will land some distance away if you miss.

When choosing arrow points for squirrel hunting, you’ll pick from blunts, judos or other specialty points that anchor squirrels in their tracks. Staff members at archery stores can help you find the best point for your needs.

An important, often-overlooked piece of hunting gear is sunglasses. As you scan treetops for squirrels, the sun’s rays can hurt your eyes and cause glare that make it difficult to spot your quarry. Good sunglasses solve those problems.

Where do you aim on squirrels?

Well-placed head shots with a blunt or judo point humanely kill squirrels. For body shots, shoot a small-game point with small blades. You’ll aim just behind the shoulder to hit the lung and heart area, just like on a deer.

How do you hunt them?

Shot opportunities for bowhunting squirrels vary. You’ll spot squirrels high in trees and even right at your feet. Try field or 3-D archery to practice shooting at different angles and experience realistic hunting scenarios. Photo Credit: John Hafner

Many good tactics and techniques work for bowhunting squirrels, and you can hunt them however you like. Sitting still and waiting within a stand of white oak trees is an excellent tactic. It’s also great practice for deer hunting because white oak acorns are a favorite food of deer and squirrels.

Slowly moving through the woods and slipping quietly into bow range of foraging squirrels – called “still-hunting” – is an exciting way to hunt them. So is stalking squirrels, which means spotting them from a distance and sneaking into range. Stalking and still-hunting are challenging bowhunting methods that hone your stalking skills. When using these tactics, do more looking than walking. Prey animals see movement very well, and if you move while they’re vigilant they’ll see you before you see them. You’ll get away with slow movements if you advance only when they move, look away or lower their heads to eat.

When bowhunting squirrels, you’ll spend lots of time looking up into trees, but also watch for bushy tails flicking and scurrying among fallen leaves. Opportunities vary from lofty treetop missile launches to ground-level shots just beyond your feet. To practice different angles and realistic hunting scenarios try field or 3-D archery.

Small game provide a great introduction to bowhunting. You practice shooting, hunting tactics, and processing your own game meat on abundant, widely available game like squirrels. Who knows? You might even discover that small game are your favorite quarry!

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