Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Stop Being Someone You're Not

Fist off, I have taken a bit of a break from writing on my blog.  The last two or three months I have spent more time reflecting and internalizing many of the things that have been going on around me rather than spewing my thoughts and opinions out on my blog.  All around me there have been lots of different issues on and unfortunately the majority of them have shared a common theme.  The theme which many of the situations around me have shared is that of honesty, or the lack there of.  I want to share a few of my thoughts on the topic of honesty with yourself, honestly with those around you, and honesty in your hobbies specifically hunting and fishing.

We live in a world full of schemes.... schemes that encourage men, women, and children to be something they are not.  A world full of scenarios that not only encourage dishonesty but provide ample opportunities to portray that your life is how you display it on Instagram, Facebook, or other types of social media rather than how it really is.  Let me explain...

Instagram, Facebook, and other social media is notorious for making nobodies (relatively speaking) become someone people idolize, all because of the pictures they share.  In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with people investing time and effort into social media to promote themselves as there are numerous reasons and perks for why they would.  What is unfortunate about this scenario is that other nobodies (once again relatively speaking) get caught up in trying to keep up with the Jones'.  Pressure to post often, pressure to post funny/entertaining content, or pressure to catch the biggest fish or shoot the biggest deer/elk just to prove that you are "cool" like them... All of us want to take amazing animals.  We all want to capture the beauty in all of our adventures, but when this is the focus or motivation for our pursuits then as Fred Bear has stated, "A hunt based only on trophies taken, falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be."

I know I am beating a dead horse, but when someone caves into these pressures and posts photos or stories that are not true, then this is where I feel something needs to change.  I posted on Instagram last summer that I challenged people to post a pictures of they "less than perfect" target practice and post that rather than their best grouping to show others that you don't have to be perfect and that everyone has an off day.  The funny thing about that post, is that I had some back lash from people saying that they usually posted their average groupings, that I am wrong to accuse people of shooting at a closer distance than they claim on their post, or that I accused them of pulling a random outlying arrow before they took a photo.  ANYONE who shoots a bow knows that you don't always shoot and hit exactly where you are aiming! All I am says is that I feel there could be some good that could come from posting an #HonestArrowChallenge photo that shows your honestly and humility that you don't shoot bull's-eyes all day every day.
An #HonestArrowChallenge of my wonderful grouping at 40 yards :/
The deceit doesn't just apply to social media.  Here is another area where I have seen a lot of frustration from those around me.  I have chatted with so many of my buddies who have pictures on their Facebook or Instagram of them and their wife while they were dating.  These pictures show these two outdoors hunting, camping, fishing, and shooting guns.  These pictures are fun to look at, but often leave a bitter taste in my mouth when I hear how badly their wife hates hunting, shooting, fishing, or camping.  In the pictures everything looks perfect, HUGE smiles, laughter, touching, and everything you expect from a young dating couple enjoying an activity together.  I know there are numerous reasons why these women could have enjoyed the moments when they were dating such as it being something new, something they didn't do often, or maybe they enjoyed seeing their fiancĂ©/boyfriend having such a good time.  What breaks my heart is when you talk to these men, they say that they thought their wife was into, or at least open to, these hobbies they experienced when they were dating.  When in reality, many of them tolerated it for the time being, but express that they have always disliked guns, hunting, or the idea of killing anything. 
My wife :)
Before I go on, let me be clear, you don't have to be married to someone who enjoys and participates in all of your hobbies to have a happy marriage.  The only point I am trying to make is that of giving the impression that you are okay or into something when in reality you have absolutely no interest in it at all.  Many of my buddies feel their wife only acted interested in hunting, shooting, etc. while they were dating so that their husbands would keep dating them.  I'm not talking about getting busy as a mom and not being able to get out and do all the different things you used to when you were dating, but I'm talking about when these people completely dislike or even hate the topic of guns or hunting yet married a hunter.  Also I know this is a topic that can go both ways where many husbands put forth an image that they are something they aren't and in turn disappoint their wife later on when they are not as sweet or polite as they were when they were dating... so without opening up a whole can of worms lets just look at it from both sides and say this... When you pretend to be something you aren't, or to be interested in something you aren't, then it is just a matter of time before it catches up with you. 

I will sum up my thoughts with this final quote from  Karl G. Maeser, "I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape, but stand me on that floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first!"
People, lets be honest... Be honest in your personal lives, your social media lives, and be honest with yourself and I can promise you, you'll find a lot more joy in your life and your activities/hobbies!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Heather's Choice Meals For Adventuring

As outdoor enthusiasts we know that there are lots of companies who do a lot of the same types of things or make the same types of products.  The benefit of this is that we can have a variety to choose from as well as compare different products to see which one is a better fit for us personally.  When someone prefers one company or product over another, it is important to recognize that this is their preference and that their take on it may be useful for you to make a decision but it is still important to find which product works best for you.  This is exactly what happened to me recently when considering backpacking meals for my adventures! 

I'll be completely honest... I saw a review posted on Journal Of Mountain Hunting on Heather's Choice Meals for Adventuring comparing these meals to the typical Mountain House meals many of us hunters/hikers have used.  When I first saw the review I was skeptical (mostly due to the price of the meals) yet still interested and wanting to know more.  I started doing a bit of research on their website as well as checking into a few other companies as well. 

The first thing that peeked my interest is seeing that the Heather's Choice Meals were dehydrated rather than freeze-dried.  I have dehydrated a lot of foods and know that dehydrating is a great way to have light weight quality foods that still taste great.  

The second item that grabbed my attention about Heather's Choice meals were the ingredients... Check this out... Imagine a meal with these ingredients: wild caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, peas,carrots, potatoes, powdered coconut milk, dill weed, cayenne, white pepper, vinegar powder, and sea salt... Sounds taste right... Now how about this one: 100% grass-fed elk, onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, garlic, purple potatoes, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, tomato paste, plum tomatoes, sea salt, and black pepper. 
The third item that really stood out to me was not until a few months after I first heard about Heather's Choice meals... My son who is only a year old was recently diagnosed with having Celiac Disease which is extremely rare for a child this young.  Long story short, our whole lives have changed quite a bit in regards to the food we have around the house.  My wife and I have been pretty good at keeping some food storage around the house in case of emergencies which primarily consisted of backpacking meals that I would rotate through during my hunting and fishing adventures... Well the unfortunate part with that is that many of the standard backpacking meals are not gluten free, and then those that are are typically spicy which is not ideal for my one year old son.

My heart not only sunk at the thought of how I was going to take my son on backpacking adventures, but also of the thought that in an emergency, my son wouldn't be able to eat many of the foods we had for such a situation... I started looking again at all of the companies and products I had researched months earlier and to my surprise, ALL of Heather's Choice meals are gluten free!  These meals are gluten free, dairy free, and follow a Paleo diet.  In other words, the person who made these meals has graduated with a degree in Evolutionary Sports Nutrition and went on to study at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in Boulder, Colorado and has used all of her knowledge/education to provide meals that are healthy, tasty, and give it the fuel needed in every condition.  This may not seem very important to those who can have gluten or dairy, but to someone like me who needs to meet my son's dietary needs, this is HUGE!

With these factors, I decided to make an order and try out their meals.  I ordered two of their buckwheat breakfast, two different Packaroons, an Elk Sheppard's Pie, and a Sockeye Salmon Chowder. As soon as the package arrived, my 1 year old son and I devoured the Packaroons.  Over the next couple of days we quickly went through the meals we had ordered.  With the primary consumer in mind being my son, we were hoping he was old enough to talk and let us know how he liked the food.  As a typical 1 year old, he would act like he liked it, then he would stop eating it so we were a little confused on his take on the meals for a child that young.  I enjoyed the meals and felt that they were a great hardy meal that would be awesome while camping, hiking, or backpacking.

The Heather's Choice meals weigh 4 ounces and their snacks weigh 1.8 ounces.  The packaging is much smaller than your typical Mountain House Meals while carrying just as much, if not more, food in each pouch.  I would encourage anyone to at least check out Heather's Choice Meals and see what they have to offer.  Especially if you have dietary needs like my son, these meals are a great way to have high quality food while on your adventures!

Right now Heather's Choice is running a Kickstarter fundraiser to help raise money to purchase different equipment to improve their dehydration, expand their menu, as well as improve their packaging and thus reducing the cost of their products.  If you can help out and make a pledge it wouldn't only help out Heather's Choice, but it would also help out all of the Heather's Choice customers as well.  Please check them out and give their meals a shot! Please click this link to go and make a pledge if you can!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lucky Shot USA Review - 20MM Bottle Opener and 30MM Shot Glass

 Recently, I had the opportunity to review a 20MM Vulcan Bullet Bottle Opener as well as a 30mm A-10 Shell Shot Glass from Lucky Shot USA.  Just to give you a little bit of info on this company, Lucky Shot is a family owned and operated company who is dedicated to keep the military history alive through providing bottle openers, shot glasses, and many other products.  They make 12 gauge brass magnets, bullet casing tire valve covers, pens, and many other awesome items to help preserve the military heritage and way of life!  All of their products are built out of refinished/repurposed military munition which carry a significant meaning when using the product in a different setting.

With the 20MM Vulcan Bullet Bottle Opener, you get a card certifying it's authenticity which states: "This brass shell casing is authentic, fired by an procured from the US Military." The shell has been refinished, polished, and has had a expertly milled aluminum tip resembling the projectile for this round.  In case you were wondering what type of gun shoots a 20MM Vulcan round, this is the cannon style Gatling gun mounted on a F-16 Fighter jet.  If that doesn't impress you then I'm not sure what will...

The bottle opener is 3 times the size of a 50 cal. and measures out at just over 6 1/2 inches long.  This is definitely not a bottle opener you are going to lose or have a hard time finding when needed.  Needless to say, the product works well and opens bottles.  This review isn't necessarily to tell you how well it works, but more rather, to tell you how I feel this is a bottle opener with a purpose as well as a story behind it.  You can personally design your bottle openers with custom engravings or even choose one of their colored shell casings to create your own style of bottle opener.  Each bottle opener comes in a slick looking black bag with a drawstring top to protect it when storing it in a cupboard or drawer.  With the manliness behind using a 20MM Vulcan shell as a bottle opener as well as being able to personalize it with a custom engraving, I feel that this is a great gift idea for the military personnel or gun enthusiast in your life.  The 20MM bottle opener costs $24.99 without any engraving.

The 30MM shot glass is made out of a shell casing from a A-10 Warthog's (Thunderbolt II) GAU-8/A  Avenger seven barrel Gatling-type cannon.  The shot glass hold up to 2.25 ounces.  The only down side to the shot glass is that it is no dishwasher safe, just to avoid losing the vibrant color which has been put on the shell casing.  Other than that, it is completely safe to drink out of and is another item that can be personalized with engraving as well as one of their multiple color options.  They also have pre-made shot glasses with "Don't Treat on Me", "'Merica Est. 1776" and other patriotic/military friendly slogans.  The 30MM shot glass runs $14.99 without engraving and carries with it, a piece of history.

Both of these items are great conversation starters, gifts, keepsakes, as well as functional manly style house hold items.  Who wants a simple bottle opener when you can rock a 20MM Vulcan Bullet Bottle Opener! Without fail, every time I pull out my new bottle opener when we have guests over, everyone asks to see it and asks me what it is.  I am not huge into the military culture nor do I know a lot about the ammunition they use in the military, but I do appreciate the history and culture these products and company stands behind.   If you are looking for a good gift idea, a new addition to your man cave, or just curious about their other products, be sure to check out