“De-Guilting” Your Next Outdoor Adventure

I needed to be able to hunt without the guilt of knowing my responsibilities were not being well-fulfilled. I’m now thankful that, while my plan isn’t perfect, it has certainly helped de-rail tension and squelch the guilt I once dealt with every time I walked out the door to go hunting or fishing.  

The dirty work of battling misplaced guilt.

I’ll never forget struggling with “hunter’s guilt”. I was sitting in my favorite deer stand in Northeast Missouri. The weather was perfect, and I felt like all I needed to do was wait long enough and success was going to find me. About twenty minutes after daylight, the Holy Spirit revealed different plans. My relationship with my wife was already strained because we had just had our second child and I was not good at communicating my hunting schedule with her. We had all traveled three hours from home on what was supposed to be a “family fun weekend”, but it turned into her doing what she could have done at home while I sat in a tree all day.

After that trip I had to come up with a solution that would fit my family’s schedule and co-inside with the best time of year to hunt. The main reason for all of this? I needed to be able to hunt without the guilt of knowing my responsibilities were not being well-fulfilled. I’m now thankful that, while my plan isn’t perfect, it has certainly helped de-rail tension and squelch the guilt I once dealt with every time I walked out the door to go hunting or fishing.  

I love the freedom of Proverbs 12:24-25. Proverbs 12:24-25

“[24] The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.[25] Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,but a good word makes him glad. (ESV)”

So much of battling misplaced guilt in our lives begins with being diligent in handling our blessings. Here are the keys to helping you overcome “adventure guilt” by way of diligence.

Establish Clarity

A lot of my guilt was attached to an unclear goal when it came to hunting. I just wanted to “go huntin’”.  I was not doing my homework when it came to the most productive time to hunt. My hunting calendar looked like it had been hit by a shotgun blast. If you’re married, your income is not dependant on hunting, or you have a job that requires intense planning to be absent, it’s unwise to plan your adventure based on a “whim”. Why? Because your absence doesn’t just affect you. The overlapping circles of our life situations require us to be present and reliable. When we remove ourselves from those moments, even for a play or two, our respective teams can suffer.

Do you want to kill a big buck? Do your research and start with the calendar. Ask the question, “When are big bucks in your area typically most active?” Then, schedule your time away around that time. Successful or not, this allows your goal to be clear and provides time for you and the other areas of your life to be prepared.

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Talk It Over

Do this in order of priorities. Your family and their schedule should be considered first and foremost. Are your kids really “ok” with you being gone hunting or fishing on their birthday? Is your wife really “ok” with you not going trick-or-treating with her and the kids? Possibly not. It’s hard, trust me, I get it. I learned my lesson when my wife scheduled my own birthday party, invited all my closest friends, and I didn’t show up for it. I like to sit down with my wife and sketch out No, Maybe, and Yes hunting days. I also like to do this with my Church and job Calendars. This lets me put an appropriate amount of planning into being gone from each responsibility.

Go the Extra Mile

If there is anything to me that is most annoying while I’m on vacation or on a hunting or fishing trip, it’s leaving loose ends at work or home. The more things I leave unattended and do not finish up on my to-do list before I leave, the more likely I the chance that I’ll be receiving a panicked phone call or email while I am gone. It’s better to give each area a few extra hours before you head to the field to be sure things are tied up well than it is to leave a mess. Leaving messes only makes bigger messes while you are gone. It could mean creating an “out of office” auto-responder for your email box, or getting those critical honey do’s and repairs finished up at home that have been looming for months. Being a blessing to others before you leave means making life as easy as possible for them while you are gone.   

Go!

After you have made your intentions clear, your responsibilities have been properly handled, and your No, Maybe, and Yes days have been agreed to, now you can enjoy the freedom of a guiltless adventure! GO! Sometimes, adventure guilt is merely a lack of accepting freedom. One of the best things about going to the wild is the unplugged nature we can find ourselves in, so take advantage of it! Assign your technology one or two actions; a daily check-in call home if possible, and one email/social media check per trip. Beyond that, do your best to be present in the moment.  

And Finally…

Take time to grow spiritually while you are in the field. Don’t treat time in creation as though it’s only benefit is separating yourself from the haste of your life. Coupled with praying, journaling, and scripture, time spent outdoors can be formative for our spirit. I’ve created a PDF for maintaining SpiritualHealth while you are afield that I’d love for you to use. It’s free, and it has helped me tremendously to make the most of my trips.

Would You Like The Free Downloadable outline for this post? Click Here!

How do you cover the bases at home while you are on your adventures? Leave a comment! 

Staying Spiritually Healthy During Hunting Season

With a bit of intentional planning, we can still get plenty of time hunting and do it in a way that doesn’t cause us to end our season feeling drained of energy and guilty with a pile of work to catch up on. (Free Download Included!)

Hunting is demanding. Time that could be spent with family, or spent on the “honey-do” list are admittedly replaced with partial or entire days in the field. Even more than this, the marathon of the fall and winter hunting seasons can cause us to slip into a fruitless spiritual pattern. Hunters are often on the road, and have adjusted schedules that can cut away time that would normally be spent growing in grace.

The great thing about hunting is that it doesn’t have to dominate our schedule, or catch us on our heels if we plan accordingly. With a bit of intentional planning, we can still get plenty of time hunting. We can even hunt in a way that doesn’t cause us to end our season feeling drained of energy and guilty with a pile of work to catch up on.

Plan Your Season Well

Proverbs 6:6-7 says, “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her food in summer, and gathers her sustenance in harvest.”  

We all want a prosperous season without the tension of guilt that comes with poor planning. In order to overcome it, we have to take responsibility for it. We have an entire year to prepare our calendar for the upcoming season. That’s plenty of time to speak with your family, your boss, and those overseeing your responsibilities at your church to make sure that your absence will not be overburdensome. Here are some practical steps to cover the bases:

  1. Establish when you absolutely CANNOT hunt.
  2. Establish the “maybe” days, and be prepared to be flexible.
  3. Then locate the “YES” days.

“Cannot Hunt” days are the Family, Job, Church days that are, in truth, more valuable that spending time in the field.

“Maybe Days” are those days that you will have to make a judgement call based on weather or other conditions.

“Yes” Days are the days your calendar can be blacked out to go all in!

Make the Most of Your Trip

Once you have established your hunting calendar, make the first thing you plan how you will grow in the Lord on every trip. It’s amazingly difficult for me to divide my attention when I’m hunting. Yes, that means to focus on spiritual things rather than what’s going on around me in the tree stand. I have found over the years that if I go out with a defined goal of seeking the Lord while I’m out, even without a harvest, I’m much more satisfied. I try to go after three things while I’m in the field:

  1. Set a scripture reading goal for each time out.
  2. Journal 3-5 applications from my reading.
  3. Commit to when and how I will apply those things.
  4. Create a prayer list to follow up on when I return.

Don’t Forget to Share.

You can be a true blessing to those around you when you return from hunting if you will share what God has taught you through your time in his word and in prayer.

The key to maintaining spiritual health during hunting season, or even growing unlike ever before,  is great planning. How will you grow this season? Share how you pursue spiritual growth in the field by commenting below! I’d love to hear from you!

Want to get the free PDF download of how to stay spiritually healthy during hunting season? Click the link! SpiritualHealthJCS

Icons Do Exist: An Inside Look at Easton Technical Products

A true icon is a paragon of what it represents. It blazes the trail for others to follow. An icon creates, lives, promotes, and ensures that its legacy will live on. So many fall short.

Any time the word iconic is used in any industry, I’m skeptical. A true icon is a paragon of what it represents. It blazes the trail for others to follow. An icon creates, lives, promotes, and ensures that its legacy will live on. So many fall short.

As a bow-hunter, it’s difficult to imagine Bowhunting without the Easton logo.If you haven’t had any interaction with archery, you have most likely been in some sort of contact with Easton Technical Products. It has been seen across the sports world, from tent poles to bicycling and remains a leading equipment maker across the hockey and baseball culture. What’s more, Hoyt archery, Delta Mckenzie, BEEMAN, Tru-Fletch and The Easton Foundation, all fall under the Easton name.

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A look from the balcony of the indoor shooting range.
While Easton’s versatility even reaches into surgery rooms and military applications, its primary focus is rooted in the legacy Doug Easton began building in 1922. The process has changed drastically, but the goal has held fast. Easton strives to produce the most dependable, accurate, and innovative arrows in the world.

It’s an enormous claim, but the track record speaks for itself. As the world experienced the grandeur of the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Easton Technical Products watched the arrow made in their factory set the torch ablaze. Easton arrows have also been used by Olympic medal winners in the last eight Olympic Summer games. That’s no small issue when you consider Olympic shooters worldwide, in a personal-preference laiden sport, choosing an entirely American-made product to propel them to victory on archery’s grandest stage.

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Shooting Line at the Easton Foundation Shooting Facility
Even though I had no clue what to expect when I pulled into the Easton Technical Products lot, and my knowledge was limited to my own use of their arrows on the range and in the field, I had one goal. I wanted to find out what qualities made a company like Easton stand out among so many other archery industry companies. It never fails when you attend a trade show where Easton is present, there is always a crowd at their booth, and there is always some sort of exciting news surrounding their product.

History 

It’s reported that Doug Easton would make approximately 300 wooden arrow shafts before being able to find one dozen shafts that were of the same weight and straightness. Leave it to an engineer to determine that the accuracy of aluminum could be more efficiently replicated and how that could be done.

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From the Easton Foundation Facility Museum
By the 1940’s Doug Easton had developed his first proprietary equipment to produce this new breed of arrows, and the archery world would never be the same.

Along with changing the face of archery performance, Easton has also stayed true to it’s commitment to the American economy. It’s production facility in Salt Lake City, Utah produces all of it aluminum and carbon/ ballistic fiber shafts for products ranging from arrows, to tent poles that have seen the summit of Everest, to surgical tubing products.

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The Outdoor Range

Innovation

Since taking archery by storm, the development hasn’t stopped. The leap from wood to aluminum was revolutionary, as was the transition from aluminum to carbon arrow technology. When Easton’s Carbon-wrapped aluminum ACC shaft entered the market, target archers and hunters were left saying, “surely it couldn’t get any better.” Easton responded with the reverse of the ACC. A ballistic fiber core, with an aluminum wrap. The small diameter, high penetration, Full Metal Jacket has invaded hunting archery unlike anything else we’ve seen.

When I asked Clay Henderson, Vice President of Production at the Easton plant, if he saw another jump in technology coming, he quietly responded, “We’ve been testing a few other things that are out there, but none of them are at a price point that would serve the public well.”

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Clay Henderson VP of Production at Easton Technical Products

Legacy

Perhaps the most exciting part of my visit to the Easton facility, (Never mind the bins full or arrow shafts and parts) was the private tour I was given by President Mark Pezzoni through the Easton Foundation’s Archery Center. This facility is the embodiment of the Easton legacy. Pristine indoor and outdoor ranges beg the archer to excel. Coupled with training and conference rooms, and a historical library that contains archery relics and literature I was almost afraid of getting too close to, this facility opens the door for generations of future archers to climb to the top of archery competency.

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The Easton Foundation Archery Center
I believe icons exist. Even if only in the sense that there are examples of success that have a congruent historical commitment to quality, innovation, and legacy. In the archery world,  Easton Technical Products should be a case study to future companies on how to develop and produce a high quality product, distribute that product to a global audience, and do all of this while preserving the industry in which they live.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Mark Pezzoni, Clay Henderson, and all of the Easton team for allowing me to take time out of their day and experience what their every-day looks like. 

Building Your Baseline: Four Critical Steps to Begin Training to Hunt

In the words of an old football coach of mine, “If your not willing to pay the price now, you can be sure you will do it later.” 
Personally, I’d rather spend time now to position myself well for success. 

Here it comes…… ready? You need to begin getting in an improved physical condition for this season. By making some solid adjustments to your eating and exercise behaviors, you totally can. Try walking a mile each day and removing excess sugar from your diet. Take it from a soft-drink addict, in a few days, you’ll stop sucking wind when you walk up the stairs. Try doing a few sets of push ups and sit ups every morning. You’ll notice a change in a month. Yes. A month. Moral of the story, you’ll enjoy hunting so much more if you can put less of a physical strain on your body due to being out of shape.

This all sounds very easy in theory, but it seems like starting is always the hardest part. Here are four incremental steps to implement before beginning your training regimen.

  1. Examine your routine and attack what’s attacking you.
  2. Develop a diet and workout plan that fits your schedule.
  3. Surround yourself with motivation.
  4. Quit Stalling.

Examine Your Routine and Attack What’s Attacking You

We don’t get weak and out of shape over night. More often, we have adopted habits that accumulate over time. Are you a sugar junkie? Maybe you’re working too much without adequate rest. Maybe you’re just drowning in procrastination.

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It can actually be a little discouraging to see how much processed and even dangerous food we eat when we begin examining our diet. Don’t just cut out bad food. Replace it with healthy, more balanced choices.

In order to sort through all of this, I recommend breaking your life into three categories; Diet, Exercise, and Rest.  What’s good about each one? What areas need work? Don’t try to keep it all in your head either. Write it down. Create your ideal week for each category, and attack the very things that are most glaring first through good planning and execution.

Develop a Diet and Workout Plan that Fits Your Schedule

As my wife can testify, I’m the king of going full bore into a new diet and workout plan and then crashing within a couple of weeks. A few years ago, I did it to the point of a pretty serious leg injury. While I completely stand by attacking your weaknesses veraciously, doing so without a plan that fits your schedule and budget is setting yourself up for failure.

It doesn’t take an enormous amount of time to get great results either. My mornings are broken into 30 minute intervals from the time I wake up to the time I go to work. 30 minutes is more than enough to get a great cardio workout with a series of body weight exercises that, if nothing else, crank up your metabolism to start the day.

Surround Yourself with Motivation

Find the things that get your blood pumping and put them where they need to be to press you forward.

One thing that helped me tremendously was saving up a few bucks and purchasing some supplemental products from Wilderness Athlete. The “newness” of an exciting product, and the financial commitment helped push me to they gym or out of bed in the morning. It also helped fill gaps in my diet, my energy level, muscle growth, and recovery.

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Sometimes finding motivation is easier said than done. I’ve found that I often need to detach myself from what is familiar in order to excavate the motivation I need.
I recommend having several different motivations that are at arm’s reach. I especially recommend thinking about the people you surround yourself with and the impact they have on your ability to stay focused on your goals. All the special products and strategies in the world will have trouble standing up to the negative, jealous, and critical people that may questioning what in the world your doing. Your value doesn’t depend on their ability to understand what your doing. So, adjust accordingly.

Quit Stalling

If you really want to get psycho-analytical, you can think of procrastination as a means of inevitable failure. In the case of the outdoors, it could mean missing an opportunity because you’re too tired to make that long hike again, or you’re not strong enough to draw your bow because it’s too cold. In the words of an old football coach of mine, “If your not willing to pay the price now, you can be sure you will do it later.”

Personally, I’d rather spend time now to position myself well for success.

Do you have a useful motivational tool, workout plan, or productivity strategy? I would love to hear it! Comment below!

God’s Prevailing Grace in the Outdoors

God’s prevailing grace can often times be seen in our experiences in the outdoors. I know for me at least, even before I came to know and fully love God, I experienced moments where God’s grace was completely apparent to me. Even now, after giving myself to the Lord I can see his work every time I am afield.

Guest Post By: Kyle Settle

One cannot look at nature without an overwhelming sense that God had a wonderful master plan for it all.  God’s prevailing grace can often times be seen in our experiences in the outdoors. I know for me at least, even before I came to know and fully love God, I experienced moments where God’s grace was completely apparent to me. Even now, after giving myself to the Lord I can see his work every time I am afield.

With the opening of our rifle season, I decided it was time to go deeper into the mountains to hunt where I thought pressured deer would gravitate towards. I settled into a stand that rarely gets hunted and waited for the sun to come up. Even thought this was close to 5 years ago now; I can remember how beautiful the sunrise was that morning. Turkeys began to pitch off from their roosts and mill around the ridge to my right. I began to call back and forth to them in hopes of them staying around during the morning.  No matter how much I called they seemed to just want to go the opposite direction. Weird, I thought. I was not that bad of a caller for them to be moving away without investigating the new intruder into their territory.The years after college were a stressful time in my life as I was a young Engineer that was driven to succeed and was honestly greedy for success.  To this point hunting and a connection to nature had always been paramount in my life but due to work and social commitments I began to stray from an outdoors lifestyle.  Until one morning when I had an experienced that snapped me back to reality.

After the turkeys moved off I focused my attention down into a thick hollow where deer liked to frequent. I caught a little bit of movement on top of an old downed tree and immediately realized that a Bobcat had snuck in on me while I was calling the turkeys. I raised my rifle and settled the crosshairs on the cat. The pressure from my finger on the trigger gently increased until the rifle recoil surprised me.  The recoil made the scope jump from the cat and after settling the scope back onto the area where the Bobcat had been standing I saw nothing. Did I miss? A sinking feeling of dread filled me. I had never seen a Bobcat and now I missed one? I know this seem like something insignificant to put before God but I prayed that he show me a sign that I had harvested that beautiful Bobcat.

Three years later, I had a similar experience while hunting that not only strengthened my faith but drove me to fully give myself to God.  My life was literally falling apart around me and I couldn’t see a way out so I did the only thing that helped to ease my anxiety and took to a treestand.

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Kyle Settle

At this point in my life prayer wasn’t a part of my routine and I was distance from the Heavenly Father but the prayer still came to me anyway. A few minutes went by without any signs. I began watching a large fox squirrel as he carelessly bounced around the log where I had shot at the Bobcat. All of a sudden he alerted and began to bark at nothing.  Was this a sign? I immediately climbed down and walked down to the spot. Lying in a small nook between the log and a tree was my Bobcat.  God has answered my prayer and given me an experience that I will never forget.  I was filled with that passion that I previously had for the outdoors and I believe God used that experience to recharge my spiritual batteries.

 That November morning literally saved my life.

I began attending church regularly and found a home with Culpeper United Methodist Church. With my fiancé and my family by my side I was baptized and became a member of a wonderful congregation.  I was sitting in that stand analyzing all the poor decisions I had made in the last few years and was fighting an endless void that I felt inside.  At this point in my life I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t accept grace. I can remember praying for these feelings to be gone because if I continued to harbor them I would lose my life.  Literally moments after uttering those words to God, a small five point Buck materialized out of the brush and walked directly under the stand. I raised my muzzleloader and harvested him at less than 20 steps. At this moment I realized that all the heartache I had endured was over. God had given me a sign that I was worth saving and that he had plans for me.  Even though I did not know it at the time, Jeremiah 29:11 describes this instance perfectly  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Without that experience on that cold November morning I would not have the life I have now.

A few weeks ago, I had an amazing experience while turkey hunting. I spotted a large Gobbler in an open field that seemed nearly impossible to approach without being seen.  I began to stalk the bird and thought that this was an impossible feat.  There was no way I could get to within 40 yards of that bird without being seen.  I cut the distance to around 100 yards using the terrain and spotty tree cover.  I was then able to cut the distance down to 40 yards without being seen.  I raised my gun and settled my red dot on the birds waddled. I squeezed the trigger and had my final bird for the season down. To say this was a blessing is an understatement and I fully believe that God’s grace shown down on me that morning.

I began attending church regularly and found a home with Culpeper United Methodist Church. With my fiancé and my family by my side I was baptized and became a member of a wonderful congregation.

Mending Fences: Where Does Forgiveness Fit in all of This? 

I’m tired of the current news-cycle. It’s time to grow up and start mending some fences.

I’m tired of the current news cycle. No one is innocent. Right principles coupled with wrong behavior are rendered to be little more than arm-chair quarterback ideals. The only way any of the racial tension, the political fanfare, and the social media “whatever-ness” will end is for someone to step forward and say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. WIll you forgive me?” 

One of the most powerful bits of instruction I’ve ever heard with regard to reconciliation went something like this, “If you are 2% wrong in a conflict, you need to take 100% responsibility for that 2%.” The sentiment is that typically, in human conflict, no one is 100% innocent. This stands true in divorce, in racial conflict, even in court cases. 

So, how are we to respond to someone who has wronged us, or who we have wronged? If we have done something sinful against another person, scripture makes clear that we are to apologize and ask for thier forgiveness. If they refuse to give it, that issue remains between them and God. The principal stands on the other side of the coin as well. If someone asks you for forgiveness, it’s your responsibility to hear thier case, and be honest with them as to whether or not you actually forgive them at that point in time. If you do, tell them. From that point forward work to  not allow that misstep to interfere with your mending relationship. If you don’t it’s your reposnsibility to tell them that also, and pray for yourself that one day you can. Once you do forgive that person, it’s also on you to let them know. 

Notice that I didn’t use the phrase “Forgive and forget”? It’s unbiblical. God is not an old senile man in some forgotten nursing home that conveniently forgets to take His medication. When scripture says He “casts our sin as far as the East is from the West” (Paraphrasing Psalm 103:12) it means he no longer holds our trespasses as a “Lien” against our account. When God forgives, He forgives completely. Likewise, it’s not our job to behave differently than God would in any situation. He is just. 

What I’m most concerned with through all of the cultural division that is being propagated today, is the condition of our relationships. Do we care about how our relationships (as Facebook-esque as they may be) exist in this world? The number of damaged and unreconciled relationships that exist pre-social media was bad enough. What is perhaps most disturbing is how far off the message of the gospel our current view of relationships has become. 

The Son of God died on the cross to reconcile your relationship with the one and only Holy God of all. You didn’t want to have anything to do with cleaning up your life, and yet he did it anyway. How does that image fit into the NFL demonstrations? How does that image fit into the modern mutation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s noble beginnings? 

I don’t believe the biggest issue we’re facing right now is whether or not a football team stands or kneels during the national anthem, as tacky as it may be. Our bigger issue is how the United States is going to begin reconciling it’s one on one relationships between family members, neighbors, friends and co-workers.   

The JCS Archery Top 5

The last thing in the world I assume when I write a gear list is that someone would purchase new gear just because I use it. The first thing I think about is members of the JCS community having a better hunting season because something they’ve never used before helped them close the deal!

The last thing in the world I assume when I write a gear list is that someone would purchase new gear just because I use it. The first thing I think about is members of the JCS community having a better hunting season because something they’ve never used before helped them close the deal!

Some of the items on this list are sponsored items, but all of the items on this list are what I trust and have helped me have several successful seasons. I’m not easy on gear. If a piece of equipment slows down my hunt or can’t withstand the abuse of an entire season, it gets sent to the pile of other things that haven’t stood up to the test.

The cool thing is, they’re not just new items. Many of them are things that have been in my kit for years and are still proving themselves useful. My hope is that they will help answer some of your gear questions and direct you toward equipment that will make you more confident and proficient in the field.

Based on reliability (out of the package readiness), durability, usefulness, and convenience, here’s a list of my top five gear recommendations that have proven themselves over a number of seasons.

Do you have a favorite piece of gear? Share in the comment section below! I’d love to hear from you!

  1. Wilderness Athlete Paleo(ish) Hydrate and Recover (Sponsored: Use Code JCSBLOG for 15% off at checkout)

    Wilderness Athlete Hydrate and Recover has become a must have. Before I ever spoke with WA founder Mark Paulsen, I had been looking for a product to help me lose weight, but also provide what my body needed in the field. Several years ago, multiple-day hunting trips meant headaches, and week-long recovery after the hunt was over. Hydrate and Recover changed all of that. When a product helps you this much, and the founder shares his testimony and his desire to support your blog  with you over the phone, it’s a no brainer to share such great products with your friends. No matter the trip, you’ll find Hydrate and Recover in my pack. I’m especially excited to begin using the new Paleo(ish) edition of H&R this season!

     

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    Wilderness Athlete Paleo(ish) Hydrate and Recover and Beef Protien Supplement
  2.  Easton 5MM FMJ

    Every team likes to have a “ringer”. It’s the guy that takes the ball and is like clock-work. You just know that he is fully capable of changing the entire game. That’s how I feel about the Easton FMJ. Yes, I’ve used other arrows, and no, they haven’t performed as well. Tipped with a consistent boradhead and shot under the right draw weight, I’ve seen these arrows punch through both shoulders of whitetail as far out as 40 yards.

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    Easton 5MM FMJ
  3. 100gr. Slick Trick Standard fixed blade broadhead.

    A great arrow deserves a consistent, well-built, deadly broadhead. Four seasons ago, a friend introduced me to Slick Trick broadheads, and everything has taken second place since. These are the most consistent shooting fixed blade heads I’ve ever used. If they aren’t shooting very closely to my field points, it’s typically because of arrow damage or a tuning issue with my bow. I have personally seen the 100 gr. standard (pictured below) fired from five different bow brands and arrow configurations, and all of them were consistent with field points.

    Performance note: These heads are for accuracy junkies, not for folks who like giant entry and exit wounds. I lean toward the “if I can hit what I’m aiming at, I don’t need giant hole” camp. If you’re a mechanical shooter, Slick Trick offers their new Raptor Trick.

     

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    Slick Trick 100 Gr. Standard

    4. Cross Country Camo (Sponsored)

    I have to admit, when I started using Cross Country Camo, I had questions. Wasn’t it going to be too light? Especially in the timber dense country of the midwest? Three years, multiple turkeys, and multiple whitetails later, I can honestly say my questions have been answered. Want to see a full review? Click Here.

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    Cross Country Camo in West Texas

    5. Morakniv Companion Knife

    Simple, practical, ergonomic. If everything I owned fell under those categories like this knife, life would be good. The carbon steel blade of this knife holds a great edge and is easy to return to razor-blade sharp with just a whet stone. My first experience with this knife was using it on my biggest buck to date in frigid temperatures. The edge held very well against the near frozen flesh of the animal and only needed to be sharpened once because of hitting bone. The price point is exceptional as well.

    Equipment care note: Carbon steel requires some extra care. Leaving this blade wet for only a few hours can stain the blade. Some people use various mediums to petina the blade. I prefer to simply clean and dry it right away, and then spray the blade with olive oil before returning it to the sheath.

     

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    Morakniv Companion Orange