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Welcome To USHuntGear
Introducing A New Pro Staff Evaluator
November 17, 2017
After a brief timeout at USHuntGear to allow everyone to get some time off (it is hunting season BTW), we would like to get back to business by proudly introducing you to our newest Pro Staff Evaluator. Her name is Tammy Cartwright and she is one of those rare individuals that brings over 40 years of hunting experience, and a hands-on, working knowledge of testing outdoor equipment.
Tammy just recently moved to Minnesota from Michigan's Upper Peninsula where she grew up hunting and fishing. She is a dedicated Whitetail bowhunter, very experienced waterfowler, and loves pursuing predators in the winter. Tammy's own words sum up her many years of hunting and using outdoor gear:
"Growing up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I have literally hunted for 41 of my 49 years. My favorite hunt is bow hunting for Whitetails. The need to be so stealthy, and stalking to within a few yards of a deer is just the best adrenaline rush! I also greatly enjoy hunting waterfowl on the big waters of Lake Michigan, pond jumping ducks and geese on the back country roads, and calling in turkeys and predators every chance I get.
"I grew up with four older brothers that had me out in the woods at a very young age. At every opportunity they were taking their little sister out with them chasing wild game, everything from snaring rabbits to shooting buck deer. As I grew older, this became my way of life, a part of who I was. To this very day I hunt and fish so much of the time that I have not purchased a single pound of beef in over 10 years!
"This insatiable love of the outdoors eventually led me to working behind the gun counter at Bass Pro Shop. There, I was able to test some of the best new outdoor products on the market. From evaluating hunting optics, to cameras, to boots and socks, I had the unique experience of seeing first hand what it really takes for a hunting product to perform in the field. I look forward to using this experience on the team at USHuntGear."
It is more than obvious that Tammy Cartwright is one of those hunters that not only loves what she is doing out in it, she knows what she is doing when it comes to finding out what hunting equipment really works. We are super excited to have her start to evaluating some of the newest gear coming out. She will be a tremendous asset to our USHuntGear Team.
So glad to have you with us Tammy!
September 3, 2017
What We Are All About
We would like to personally welcome you to our website. Thanks for stopping in.
You may be wondering what USHuntGear is all about...who we are; where did we come from; what is our purpose?
Well first off, introductions are in order. My name is Todd and I am a member of the USHuntGear Pro Staff. I have been a life-long hunter, long-line trapper, former wilderness guide, and all around chronic sufferer of obsessive outdoor personality disorder (OOPD). Much of my professional life has been spent being paid to run around the mountains out West as a wilderness guide, Camp Director, Counselor, and Program Manager teaching life skills to troubled teens. I did this for many years. It was nice to make a living waking up in a sleeping bag and putting on hiking boots to go to work. It was in many ways kind of dream profession; although the pay was lousy, the hours were desperately long, and there were those dang Grizzly Bears to worry about. On the flip side, however, the kids were always more than interesting (imagine spending 24 hours a day for weeks with a recovering 17 year old meth addict), and the job location was absolutely the best. I certainly didn't fight traffic in the morning.
As an unforeseen, added bonus, my chosen career path gave me a very unusual skill set. I literally have thousands and thousands of hours of seeing firsthand how specific outdoor equipment performs in the field - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I lived with the best of it and the worst of it, day in day out. And let me tell you, the gear I used was critical on a whole bunch of levels. There is nothing quite like straddling a precarious rock ledge in the alpine at 10,000 feet, 35 miles from a paved road, with a rope waist-cinched to you, and then having 60 pounds of backpack suddenly shift all of its weight off balance because a faulty shoulder strap blew out on you. Life ending, ahem, I mean, life changing instances like this tend to foster a deep inner desire to become very, very gear savvy.
I share all of this with you to give you a flavor for the kind of people involved in USHuntGear. We are outdoors people into outdoor gear. We are not a company made up of a bunch of internet marketing gurus out to make big money by implementing the latest algorithms and deciphering hunter analytics. Sure, many of us come from the quote "professional" world; but in reality we are ordinary folks just like you that just love to hunt and fish. We might utilize lap tops and iPhones, but we wear Carhartts to work, drive dusty pickups, and can't help but turn up the volume when we hear a good country song. We are most definitely not your big business, corporate types wearing a suit and tie and having power lunch presentations with the movers and shakers in the retail world; that is, unless you consider a "power" lunch with a "mover" and "shaker" to mean eating a midday bag of pretzels while cruising an ATV on a badly washed out dirt trail.
In fact, case in point, the last official business conversation I had at USHuntGear just yesterday afternoon was a telephone conversation while I just happened to be driving a dirt road doing some preseason scouting for Mule Deer in the juniper breaks. To me, this was simply just a matter of good business multi-tasking: taking care of one priority, and at the same time, taking care of my Obsessive Outdoor Personality Disorder (see ad), an illness my wife has yet to sympathize with. We were heavy into discussing some of the formatting issues of the USHuntGear website, and I kept interrupting the Business Manager with comments like "I just saw three more...look at those tracks...I know there is a buck on that hillside somewhere...."
This, of course, also has much to do with my other incurable personality issue: ADHD - Absolutely Distracted Hunting Disorder, another of my wife's favorites.
With introductions out of the way, this brings us to why do we do what we do?
This is a big question, and I can go on and on...but I will try not to bore you and cut right to the chase. Our bottom line mission at USHuntGear is to empower you, our fellow hunters, by giving you the right kind of information so you can make intelligent decisions when it comes time to get the hunting gear you need for your next hunt.
So what does this look like?
Let's establish some groundwork. Unlike most hunting retailers, we are not trying to sell you something. Selling means pushing something on you, trying to convince you, glossing over the shortcomings and embellishing the truth about a product. Literally it is manipulating you, preying upon your emotions and decision making. Quite frankly, we run the other way from your typical salesperson whose only concern is to try and get you to open your wallet. We don't like selling or sales people, and our guess is, neither do you. This is not the kind of company USHuntGear wants to be. We prefer the idea of transparent disclosure: here is what a product does; here is what it does not do; here are the conditions and circumstances where it might benefit you - you decide.
So let me put this idea to you in real-world terms and how our business model works. We welcome you coming to the USHuntGear website, looking through our gear reviews, comparing products side by side, finding exactly what you need, and then you going out and buying that piece of hunting gear somewhere else. We have zero issue with this. In fact, we are excited about it. As far as we are concerned, if you have used our website to find the right piece of hunting gear for your precise needs, we have fully accomplished our mission. This was a job well done on our part. Hopefully, from now on, because you have found real value in the information on our website and had a good experience, you will return again the next time you are looking for another hunting item in the future.
This leads me to our Goal.
Our Goal at USHuntGear is to provide you with all the right reasons so you "always check in with us before you buy a piece of hunting gear", plain and simple. Let's say you are looking to buy a new pair of binoculars. We want to be the website you go to for all the right information regarding your options before you buy. You just might find out a crucial bit of information that may lead to a better binocular purchase for your particular set of hunting conditions. This is how USHuntGear can be of real service to you and how we will gain your trust as a source of the right hunting product information with the right connections to the some of the lowest prices on the internet.
And this brings me to our real Passion at USHuntGear.
As we grow as a company we hope to use USHuntGear, and its public venue, as a vehicle to foster a new outreach to today's non-hunting youth. Pretty much my life's work has been personally and intimately involved with how a modern young person thinks, and I am here to tell you that this younger generation, as a whole, is completely lost. They have zero idea how things really work in the real world. They think meat comes from MacDonald's, water is something you buy in a designer bottle, and smartphones are essential survival gear. This lack of connection with even life's simple basics is why the majority of modern youth culture has no interest in hunting, and ultimately it is why we will lose our hunting heritage to a growing voter block of emotionally actualized, politically correct, young urbanites.
Our hope is to do what we can as an organization to help change this outcome. Fabulous organizations like the NRA and the NSSF are doing great work at the political level to maintain our gun and hunting rights, and we warmly applaud their efforts. But in order to influence a culture, especially a younger culture, it's going to take a very different approach. Hunters in our American media have been made out to be cruel, dumb, Bambi-killers. At the same time, most modern youth have been spoon fed an unrealistic view of the natural world, a very Disneyesque idea that stems from the Hollywood environmentalist fringe. We hope to use our platform to begin a new way of communicating to today's youth what a life adventure hunting can be. This is why we are offering our free ebook "Learning The Skills Of A Successful Hunter" (available in mid-October) as a beginning conduit to start a conversation with this younger generation before it is too late.
So, as you can see, we are a group of hunters who are determined to change the dynamic. It's not about us selling you something. It is about you the customer, the hunter, truly getting exactly what you need to make the right hunting gear choice . It's about connecting you to the best possible prices out there so you get the best deal going and your money is well spent. And, its about taking our passion for all things outdoors, sharing it with others of like heart and mind, and imparting that passion to a new generation soon to discover the adventure of what it means to be a hunter.
Welcome to USHuntGear.
New Pro Staff Evaluator
September 28, 2017
USHuntGear Pro Staff Evaluator: We would like to introduce you to one of our newest members of the USHuntGear Pro Staff Gear Evaluator Team:
Michael Gierke is a 65 year old retired Detective Lieutenant with the Delta County Sheriff's Department in Michigan. He served 32 years in Law Enforcement (we thank him for his service) and has a degree in Criminal Justice.
Michael has hunted, trapped and fished his entire life. He is most passionate about waterfowl hunting, and as the pictures will attest, he is darn good at it. With his hunting partner, he has won both state and local waterfowl contests for several years. He has hunted Nova Scotia, Cape Britton, Alaska, and Missouri all in the pursuit of the ducks and geese he just can't seem to get enough of. His personal goal of collecting all 38 species of North American ducks has been a life long dream, and Michael is getting closer to his goal with each passing season. Predator hunting also tops Michael's hunting list as a favorite winter pastime.
Along with his extensive waterfowl expertise, Michael has guided for Whitetail Deer for 8 years, and owned and operated a taxidermy business for 20 years. He shoots competitive shotgun and won top gun in the five-stand league on 2014 and 2015. With his wife Joan, Michael owned and operated a very successful Sporting Clay business for 9 years. He lives in Delta County Michigan which, in his opinion, is the most beautiful county Michigan has to offer. He consider the Hiawatha National Forest his own personal playground which consists of 500,000 acres of forest with countless inland lakes and streams.
We are super excited to have Michael joining us at USHuntGear. He will bring lots of real-world, Upper Midwest hunting experience to our gear evaluations. We plan on not only having him help us with field testing waterfowl equipment, but also a variety of equipment and hunting products to see how they stand up to the unique climate and conditions of Michigan.
Welcome Michael - you are an awesome addition to our Pro Staff!
New Pro Staff Evaluator
September 5, 2017
USHuntGear Pro Staff Evaluator: We would like to introduce you to one of our newest members of the USHuntGear Pro Staff Gear Evaluator Team.
Rob Kushner is from Northern Virginia. Rob is a dedicated Whitetail hunter with years of experience hunting the deep hardwoods in both Virginia and West Virginia. He hunts a small piece of his own ground, a family farm, and a large hunting lease in West Virginia. The deer herds in his area are known for producing lots of deer, but not mature bucks with large racks. The buck pictured was taken a few years ago on a small 5 acre forested lot and was one of the biggest bucks shot that year in his home county.
Rob is an experienced Certified Master Plumber by trade with over 3 decades working in the industry. He has just recently switched from owning a successful business in the private sector to doing something where he can to give back to his community. Rob is currently pioneering a brand new pilot program in the Virginia Public School System teaching high school, at-risk youth the ins and outs of the plumbing trade. We appreciate Rob's willingness to share his level expertise trying to make a difference in a young person's future. These are the kind of people we want on the USHuntGear team!
With Rob's professional expertise in pressurized micro-hydro dynamics, he will be assisting our Pro Staff Team in testing and evaluating moisture resistance thresholds and saturation points in various pieces of gear, from hunting optics to rain jacket liners. This will enable us to better establish exactly when a waterproof hunting item fails in its ability to stop moisture transfer. With this kind of precise intel, we will be able to compile real-world data of if and when a piece of equipment hits the point of complete waterproofing failure in the field.
Welcome Aboard Rob! We are looking forward to having you be a part of things.
Hurricanes And Hunters
September 8, 2017
A Hunter To The Rescue
The devastation of Hurricane Harvey on Houston Texas is incomprehensible. Thousands and thousands of lives are shattered; homes ruined; businesses wrecked; for some, a lifetime of hard work, hopes and dreams have been simply swallowed up by the swirling floodwaters. And then there are the irreplaceable things - The decade's old family photo album, the painting that little Jenny made in the second grade, and that special handmade coffee table grandpa lovingly crafted in his garage. For the survivors of Hurricane Harvey, this is a story of unfathomable personal loss, priceless mementos and belongings washed away by a deluge of the likes few will ever experience.
But there are some unique bright spots in these dark events as well. It is under adversity that we see what people are made of. And in the midst of all the tragedy, there rises to the forefront some unexpected stand outs.
According to the AP, a news organization that doesn't miss an opportunity to demonize hunters and gun owners, we have the following from ground zero of Hurricane Harvey:
"Chris Thorn was among the many volunteers still helping with the mass evacuation that began Sunday. He drove with a buddy from the Dallas area with their flat-bottom hunting boat to pull strangers out of the water. 'I couldn't sit at home and watch it on TV and do nothing since I have a boat and all the tools to help.' he said."
This does not surprise me in the least - a hunter like Chris Thorn having the heart and ability to go out of their way to insert themselves into a dangerous situation and rise above the immediate circumstances to give of themselves and help out others. Actually, this kind of thing doesn't surprise me at all. in fact, the only thing that surprises me in the story is that the AP cast a hunter in a good light.
Conditioned For Adversity
Much of this has to do with conditioning. To a hunter, adversity is part of the normal landscape. A hunter will routinely and on purpose (yeah, for the fun of it) go out into the worst weather nature has to offer, sit for long periods of time in the freezing cold, and put themselves through a whole host of strenuous circumstances just to get one shot at their beloved quarry. This type of embracing of adversity becomes part of the conditioning of a hunter's mindset. It is a willingness to accept Nature on its terms, push through the rough stuff, and go so far as to even find enjoyment in it.
All the while, the common populace is doing everything it can to keep the harder parts of Nature as far from themselves as is possible. For most modern Americans living in lock step with popular culture, their primary goal of existence is to maintain their comfy, cozy, artificially created 70 degree, mall shopping lifestyle at all costs.
But something akin to a hurricane tends to peel off the artificial veneer and expose the softer, less adversely acclimated parts of our social order. Where the so called more "civilized" become desperate, disoriented, and dysfunctional, those accustomed to adversity, like the socially looked down upon hunter, can now pony up, do what needs to be done, and offer a helping hand.
The Character Of A Hunter
And so it is, we get to see in the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey, through a thoughtful, go-to hunter named Chris Thorn, a small example of what hunters are really made of. What the AP considers exceptional enough to write about at the national news level, we know to be commonplace. I am sure there were many more unsung hunter heroes busy rescuing the stranded in the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey. Why? Because hunters are some of the best people that society has to offer - because they can be.
A Hunter is an independent, super capable, I-can-do-it-myself type of person. They are self-made, self sustaining, geared up, outfitted, usually very generous, and by golly, willing to take it to the extreme if need be. And it is in this self-responsible, self actualized mindset that a hunter can then afford, when the moment requires it, to reach out to others in their ultimate time of need.
Hunters like Chris Thorn.