Black Oak Ridge

plate 1. The Jacks Fork River Valley near Eminence, Missouri, is a soothing riot of spring color. A skittish sun dapples fresh greens of a thousand hues punctuated by vivid splashes of white dogwood and brilliant purple-scarlet redbud, illustrating a land truly worth conserving. April 7, 2010.

The Official Bass Pro Blog

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Bass Pro is an Ozarks’ success story. Their efforts accurately reflect the tenacity, fairness and appreciation of conservation common to so many of us here in the Hills. Thus, it is with a great deal of appreciation to feature the Bass Pro Blog of hunting and fishing tips. Conservation simply makes sense.

This land is my land / This land is your land, goes the old populist refrain. And it is a good land. Well worth saving, intelligently. Efficiently. And privately.

The Ozark way.

Stacey King

Brenda Valentine is a member of the RedHead Pro Hunting Team

Blind Hunting

by Brenda Valentine

Pop up blinds are great for turkey hunting, especially if you have done your scouting and know the area where the turkeys will be. While turkeys can seem to be oblivious to blinds it’s a good idea to have them set up before the season begins so they blend with the area. Also surround the blind with brush and limbs to help conceal it.

If you have to set up a blind during turkey season make sure you have practiced set-up and take-down to avoid excessive noise and movement.

A blind doesn’t make you invisible to a turkey. Their keen eyesight can pick out your movement while sitting in your blind. Move very slowly while inside and practice moving into position without bumping the blind’s interior or any of your gear. Wear dark clothing, including a camo face mask and gloves. Don’t stick your barrel out the window. Use the shoot-through mesh that comes with many portable blinds.

Bill Dance

Jerry Martin is a member of the RedHead Pro Hunting Team

Box Calls

by Jerry Martin

A good box call is very important to your turkey hunting success. Proper care in the field and maintenance before, after, and during turkey season will make it into an invaluable piece of equipment in the turkey woods for many years.

The first thing to remember with maintenance is to keep the call’s surfaces clean and don’t ever use sandpaper on it because it can change the tone of your call. Handle your box call carefully. Keep fingers off the striking surfaces, the edges of the box, and the underside of the lid. Skin contains natural oils, which can also affect the sound and life of your box call.

Use chalk only on the underside of the lid. The beveled edges of the call are important in its design. Using chalk on edges could wear them down.

Blow out the sound chamber of your box call from time to time too. This will get rid of any chalk dust that might have settled and give you a better sound.

Kevin VanDam

Larry Whiteley is host of the award winning Outdoor World Radio

Be Prepared

by Larry Whiteley

Have you ever been in the middle of a great fishing or hunting trip and start to suffer a headache, sour stomach, or any annoying illness? It’s not enough to make you want to go home, but enough to make you uncomfortable. And, neither you nor your fishing or hunting buddy has anything for it.

To be more prepared, pack a resealable sandwich bag with aspirins, antacid tablets, bandages, and other first-aid items. Store the items in a tackle box, turkey vest, or hunting pack and they’ll always be there, unless you forgot your tackle box, vest or pack, and if you did, you were probably not feeling good before you left.

Other convenient items to store in a resealable bag might be a pack of gum, candy, matches or lighter, even toothpicks–anything that needs to be packed in a dry container.

Being prepared can be the difference between staying or leaving.

Jim Ryan

Edwin Evers is a member of the Bass Pro Shops National Fishing Team

April Bass

by Edwin Evers

A warm spring rain can raise water temperatures, and bass moving from their winter haunts to spawning beds are looking for warmer water.

Fish sometimes move quickly to coves where warm water is entering. If water rises quickly after a rain, find newly flooded log jams that draw fish in the backs of coves and creeks.

Be mobile in the spring. April is a good time for big bass that carry extra weight in the form of eggs, but they are on the move. They may not be in the same places two days in a row.

Start in the upper, shallow end of a lake early in the spring and then work your way toward the deeper, dam end of the lake as the days progress. Fish 8- to 15-feet deep in areas that hold prespawn fish waiting for ideal conditions to move onto their beds.

Look for secondary points, dock pilings, drop-offs, and grass beds just beyond the gravel flats in the back of coves that become home to the spawning beds.

Jim Ryan

Stacey King is a member of the Bass Pro Shops National Fishing Team

The Crappie Spawn

by Stacey King

Crappies spawn on gravel banks in water usually less than five feet. Look for these banks as you cruise the shoreline. Holding the boat just barely within casting distance of the water's edge, cast along the banks with a jig suspended under a small bobber and keep moving.

As you do, watch for cover both in and along the shoreline. If you have a sonar, watch it constantly for submerged stumps, logs, brush piles, etc. If you catch a crappie, work the spot over good before moving.

Many docks on lakes are "baited," meaning their owners have sunk brush beneath them to attract crappie. Cast all around these docks, giving special attention now to the shore. Cast over the dock’s cables, if necessary. After you've worked the shoreline, take off the bobber and work around

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