Monday, October 9, 2017

How to Survive on Social Media

Embrace it, social media is not going away and it's influence on the hunting community is just going to become more pervasive.  If anything in the hunting realm of social media is inevitable these days, it would be that you're going to see something or someone on social media who you either absolutely can not stand or someone you want to slap upside the head... For a while, I started getting quite negative about social media because I felt it was filling up with nobodies trying to be somebodies at any expense.  You would have one person make a name for themselves and then hundreds of others follow and almost copy exactly what their social media role model had done.   After seeing this over and over, it got to the point where I had negative feelings toward many of the posts and people I would see on social media.  I realized I had to stop being so negative as well as I realized I didn't want other people's stupidity have as much of an effect on my enjoyment on social media.  Sooo, I made a short list as advice on how to survive on social media! Enjoy:

1. Be yourself! Regardless if it's Cameron Hanes, Michael Waddell, or some local somebody that has a following on social media, they all have the same message that you need to do what works for you.  Of course they have their sponsorships they push, of course they feel they are the coolest person in the world, but they in no way want you to be anything other than yourself.  If one of them inspires you to do something like they do, that is great, but also take that motivation and personalize it! In other words, even if you do exactly what "so and so" says, realize that doesn't change who you are.  It just means you are still yourself but now do things like someone else...

2. Don't do things for attention.  Let's be clear... Almost all of social media is the, "look at me" mentality.  You share photos or events because you want others to see what your doing, or what has happened.  You share because you feel what you experienced is worth sharing.  I am in no way saying not to share. What I am saying is, if you go out to experience something SO that you can share it, then you have lost your purpose and reasoning behind why we do what we do.  Experience the world and the outdoors out of a love for the world and the outdoors.  Experience life because you love what you get out of it.  If you go through life looking for attention and praise of others, then you'll be disappointed when you don't get as many likes or shares... This is what motivates those egocentric bucket heads to shoot high fenced elk then claim they are fair chase animals on public land... We have seen too many incidences of TV hunters breaking laws or Instagram wannabe's who poach just to get a little bit of fame... Don't be "That guy"

3. Have integrity All of us would love a sponsorship of some sort that would get us free gear or some other benefit.  A question you have to ask yourself is, at what expense would you be willing to gain that benefit?  If you do have a following, understand that you are being watched by all those who follow you.  If one minute you say one things because one of your sponsors tells you to, then don't be surprised if you get called out when you turn around and say something contradictory a short time later.  If you are willing to change everything you stand for just to gain a sponsorship or affiliation with a certain group or company, understand that a person is only as good as their word... Don't lower your standards in hopes of gaining fame.

4. Don't be afraid to unfollow or unfriend.  I'll be the first to admit, I know I have been unfriended and unfollowed by some.  As much as I want to have a decent following on social media, I also am not offended or upset if someone chooses not to follow me.  You have your standards, your style, and your likings.  Let those be your guidelines on who you follow.  Regardless of how many followers a person has, how many shout outs, or what criteria a person may have, if you don't agree with what they post then unfriend or unfollow them.   Think for yourself and follow who you want to follow.  Even if you unfollow the "popular kids" you will still have other follow you for your content.  You will also enjoy your news feed a lot more once you purge your friend lists of those you dislike seeing.

Once I took my own advice and started following these simple four steps, I really did start to enjoy social media a lot more.  I didn't get annoyed any time I got on and saw multiple posts of people trying to be someone else.  I saw less work out/gym selfies, more family posts, hunting videos, and less high school drama.   Take ownership of your life in every aspect and be yourself.  Don't let social media have a negative impart on your hunting or create an culture of competition.  Share because what you experience is worth sharing.  Regardless of how many likes you get, love the memories you create and live!  Remember you make far more friends becoming interested in other people's lives than you ever will trying to convince other to be interested in your's.
One of my best memories I've shared yet one with very few "likes"

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Weight Lifting IS NOT Hunting!

I know I may have already offended a large number of you just by the title of this post.  With that being said I WANT to hear your comments on the topic but just as ong thing before you make a comment.... Please read this whole post so you can understand the what and why behind the title before getting your gym shorts in a bunch...

Of course as anyone has already seen, you can't scroll through your social media now days without seeing numerous posts of hunters and huntresses making sure everyone knows they made it to the gym.  Then on the other hand, you have your MTN Ops cronies, Warrior Fuel gang, Dark Energy followers, Wilderness Athlete posy, as well as hand full of other groups making sure you know why they are taking a certain brand of supplements.  I have always been okay with these posts, but something about them has also always rubbed me a little wrong.  I could never put my finger on it until the other day when I was at a family reunion and a distant Uncle of mine started talking to me about supplements and social media.  At first I was annoyed and automatically tuned him out, but then I realized he was mocking social media and the over beaten topic of fitness and supplements.  This started a great conversation with he and I which I wanted to share with you all as well as open it up to your opinion.  As a reminder this is my opinion. You can agree with it or not, but my opinion is just as right as your opinion as our lives and situations are different. :)

Point #1 - Fitness is NOT hunting!!!! Yes, I said it... I don't care how much they overlap or how much one affects the other, they are TWO DIFFERENT TOPICS!  Anyone with two bits of a brain knows how you must be physically fit to hunt.  Also, anyone with the same two bits of a brain would know that you don't have to be in body building shape to hunt.  Does being more in shape make the hike in easier and less painful? Of course.  If you are out of shape are you not allowed to purchase a hunting license or a tag? NO! Lets be clear about people like Cameron Hanes, as much as he does for the industry and hunting, he has two very intertwined passions of his life: 1) Fitness/Body Building, and  2) Hunting.  Even though his fitness and bodybuilding influences his hunting, they are two different passions.  This is true for Cameron Hanes as well as EVERYONE ELSE WHO HUNTS!

Point #2 - You can love one and not the other.  I love hunting.... I mean I LOVE hunting. I also love working out.  As a former athlete and coach I am an advocate of being fit and maintaining a healthy life style.  As much as I love both of these aspects of my life, I would never look at anyone differently if they loved the one without loving the other.  If you love hunting but wish to do so while eating a dozen doughnuts in your ground blind, GO FOR IT! Love it! Enjoy the hell out of those doughnuts and I hope you get a great animal while on your hunt.  Yes I know that was a dumb analogy but come on people, we don't need to be "powered by ___________" while we are on our hunts.  I know many people who's only physical activity for the whole year is hunting season.  Yes they are out of shape, yes they know it and wish they weren't, but they also love hunting and they don't let their lack of fitness stop them from pursuing their passion of hunting.  Regardless of what social media portrays, you can love one without having to love the the other.  You can love hunting and have ZERO involvement in weight lifting, supplement taking, Accubows, or fitness routines.

Point #3 - Sheep... lets be honest about something... Things such as "The Industry", "Pro-Staff", "Field-Staff", "Adventure Team" seems to be so inclusive and involves all of us... Yet when EVERYONE is talking about being part of a team, pro-staff, or bla bla bla bla, we are turning into a hunting community where everyone gets a trophy... We complain about these "snowflakes" in the mainstream media talking about how delicate and pathetic they are, yet turn around and create an environment where everyone is special and deserves to be famous on social media because they are associated with some supplement company.  I don't care what supplements you take, I don't care how much time you spend in the gym, I don't care who's butt you kissed to promote yourself... I do care that you love hunting.  I do care that you do good in all the circles you are in.  I do care that you respect the animals and land you enjoy during hunting season.  I do care that you are a law abiding citizen and follow the laws of the land as well as ethically pursue the animal of your choice through the means of your choosing.  Don't fall into the trap or enticement of becoming something special just because you take MTN Ops like the rest of the one million sheep... I will say companies like MTN Ops are great! They do a lot of good and want to give back! I am in no way putting any company down or one company above another.  I am speaking in general terms using what is "popular" on our social media.  Also (and this is my biggest pet-peeve on this topic) stop creating an atmosphere where it's the MTN Ops cronies against the Warrior Fule or the Wilderness Athlete cronies or vice versa.  Social media is getting so clicky on who you support, what supplements you take, or what camo you wear.  Stop being sheep, don't do things or take things into your body just because someone tells you to...  Do what works for you.  Remember it doesn't matter what supplements you take or even IF you take ANY supplements, what matters is that you hunt.  That even goes for me, I write this post sharing my thoughts, If you don't agree that's fine.  Don't change or do something different just because someone like me shares their thoughts.  Do what works for you!

Regardless of what supplement you believe in, ask yourself how did you ever survive without it 5 years ago? The way we are portraying it on social media is that if you didn't have "X" then some of you would have never been able to get up that mountain, cross that canyon, or to pack out your harvest...  If that is true for you, then heaven forbid... I am SOOO glad you found that supplement because I would have hated to run into you on the mountain without it...

I will say, I am glad many hunters are wanting to improve their physical fitness to help them while hunting.  Everything I do, relates in one way or the other with hunting.  I also will never pretend to believe that everyone has to live a life like mine in order to hunt or love hunting the same way I do.  What works for me is what works for me. If you love taking your supplements keep doing it! Will you see a difference? Maybe, depending on your lifestyle, work ethic, and pure luck.  If it's one more thing you want to do to feel like you are giving it your all, then more power to you.  BUT lets remember that they are still two different areas of your life.

I will confess, I have taken supplements, and I also feel the ones I took were great! I am in no way condemning taking supplements but rather making a stand to point out the gym photos, supplement photos, and "gains" selfies are getting a bit much.

Hunting season is starting in many states, so lets focus our attention on pursuing the outdoors.  If you want to keep posting the gym selfies then go for it.  When you include the #elkshape #huntfit or one of the other million trendy hashtags I'll just roll my eyes, like your photo, and move on.  Just remind yourself once and a while that those supplements you are saying are so necessary were not around a few years ago and hunters did just fine without them so stop pretending they are THEE key factor to hunting success...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"How NOT To DIY Paracord Gun Sling"

Looks good from far but is far from good... 
Paracord is one of those things that became rather trendy for a while then died of a bit, but the functionality of having an abundance of paracord while in the woods is priceless.  I have used paracord numerous times while hunting to help secure an animal to my pack, fix broken gear, or even to make a shelter.  I have also used it countless times while camping and scouting for just about everything.  Especially with kids, you will always have a moment you'll need some paracord.  These are some of the reasons why I decided to make myself a paracord gun sling!

I have been following Chelsea from SOS Gear for quite some time now and even have some of their items.  I have seen their gun slings and have thought they were pretty cool.  I will admit, I didn't want to spend any more than I had to so I decided I would DIY (Do It Yourself) and build my own. I mean really how hard could it be... 

I had made a few bracelets here and there at family reunions and thought my bit of experience could be aided by a few YouTube videos in order to get me the finished product I wanted.  I watched 3-4 videos and was feeling okay about starting my project but had never woven any of the styles I was watching... I found one video with a pattern I could easily follow and was confident in which made up my mind that I was going to make this.  
The unintentional switch of colors... 

I purchased two colors of paracord, got me long board I could attach my gun sling brackets on, and began my work.  One of the quickest lessons I learned about making a paracord gun sling, was the fact that when you buy one from someone like Chelsea at SOS Gear, you aren't just buying a product that cost "X" amount of money for the supplies to make it, but you are also paying for the time they put into it... It didn't take long for me to get tired of tying my knots and making my sling.  After a few hours I realized the length of paracord I bought wasn't long enough so I ran back to the store to get the same color.... or course my luck was that I had bought the last one in that color so I had to improvise and add another color.... I wasn't to happy about this, but at this point of my project I was just anxious just to get it done.  

By the end of my project I has spent hours tying knots, spent more than I wanted to on paracord due to not getting the right amount the first time, and my gun sling didn't look near as good as I wanted it to.  Yes it works, It twists a little on the ends where the paracord attaches to the brackets, but it lets me carry my rifle on my shoulder.  

Twists at brackets :/

I'm sure my next one could turn out better, but if I could do it all again, this is what I would do: #1 get off YouTube and buy a gun sling from SOS Gear. Don't waste your money or time trying to make one yourself.  As satisfying as it is making something yourself and using it, I would like my gun sling to be more comfortable, look better, and be tied at a higher quality than mine is.  SOS Gear prides themselves for making quality products which are made to use, not just look nice.  Having an item that is functional, durable, and doesn't look like a 3rd grader made it is well worth the money.  So there you have it, this is my confession that DIY is not always the best way to go.  If you are in the market for a rifle sling, or any other cool paracord item, be sure to check out SOS Gear.

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