Category Archives: Powderhook

ANDREW MCKEAN JOINS POWDERHOOK, WILL LEAD HUNTER-ENGAGEMENT EFFORTS

Former Outdoor Life editor-in-chief and longtime outdoor communicator Andrew McKean has joined Powderhook as its brand director.

McKean will primarily be responsible for content across Powderhook’s multiple digital platforms, its website, and its hunter-recruitment app, available at Google Play and the App Store. The app is designed to serve as a digital mentoring tool, connecting experienced hunters and their knowledge with beginning hunters looking for guidance.

Powderhook is at the forefront of the movement to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters in America. The Lincoln-based company’s ambition, momentum, and potential to scale appeals to McKean, who has been a vocal advocate for lowering barriers to hunting participation.

“Connectivity is the key to creating and conserving hunters, which I’d argue is the most endangered population in America right now,” says McKean. “Powderhook’s ability to use technology to connect hunters with each other is a huge advantage in the effort to perpetuate the American tradition of citizen-hunters as the engine of wildlife management and conservation.

“I’m excited to take my background in creating and packaging content that speaks to a wide range of people, and use it to help ensure that hunters remain the best example of American values of self-reliance, respect for the land and its contents, sustainability, and community organizing. Look to Powderhook for a mix of stories of people who lead by example, but also informational and aspirational content to help beginning hunters, anglers, and people interested in the outdoors get on the right track.”

Powderhook exists to create and measure 3 million new hunters in the next 5 years by helping people, regardless of experience level, have a great day in the field. The company works with the nation’s leading hunting brands, organizations, and agencies to ensure that each can benefit from their role in increasing hunting participation.

“If a person alive today better personifies what Powderhook is about, I don’t know of them,” says Dinger. “Andrew’s clear-eyed storytelling talent has earned him a wide and trusting audience, but it’s his heart for our mission that truly sets him apart. Through our work together, we hope to welcome more people into the fight to ensure hunting thrives for generations to come.”

A Missouri native, McKean got his start in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor across the West before freelancing for a number of national publications. He’s the former Rocky Mountain editor for Fishing & Hunting News and worked for Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks before joining Outdoor Life as its hunting editor. He served as Outdoor Life’s editor-in-chief for 6 years before leaving earlier this year; he continues to serve as the magazine’s editor-at-large. McKean is a longtime hunter and bowhunter education instructor, past president of the Montana chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, is a member of the Arachnid Sportsmen’s Society, and serves on the national board of the Mule Deer Foundation. He lives in eastern Montana with his spouse and three teenaged children.

Deer Don’t Vote

I’ll say it again. Deer don’t vote.

Through pieces like the those linked below, Sierra Club is attempting to pit consumptive recreational users against non-consumptive users in what can only turn into a race to the bottom for conservation. Surely the author realizes the villain in her story, Vista Outdoor, is one of the largest funders of conservation in this country, right? Nearly $88 million last year, in fact. You could add up the entirety of the financial contributions to conservation made by ThuleDAKINE, and every other company listed by the author, plus throw in hero brands like Patagonia and CLIF Bar and you wouldn’t get close to Vista’s level of contribution. That’s not a knock on any one of those companies… it’s just a fact.

Let’s let REI and other conservation leaders know we prefer they not perpetuate a divide amongst people that love and care for wild places and animals. Rather, let’s continue to find ways to work toward getting more people out, more often. Some people hunt and some people don’t. Some people like guns and some people don’t. But, deer don’t vote. We’re stronger together.

Here are a couple of the articles to which I was referring:

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/don-t-want-your-outdoor-recreation-dollars-go-to-vista-outdoors-and-gun-manufacturers

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/are-your-outdoor-recreation-brands-supporting-nra-rei-mountain-equipment-co-op-boycott-vista-outdoors

On Winning a SHIFT Award

On Friday night, Powderhook was awarded the 2017 SHIFT Award for Technology. It’s exciting to be recognized, and knowing what our team has gone through to deliver said technology, I think this award is something to be proud of.

SHIFT is a festival (conference) filled with conservation-minded thinkers and doers. While attending, I learned a lot, and I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of the more prescient tidbits with you.

  1. The outdoor industry has what appears to be two completely separate “sides.” To put it bluntly, there seems to be the politically progressive version of conservation, led by brands like Patagonia and organizations like the Sierra Club, and the politically conservative version of conservation, led by brands like Bass Pro Shops and organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation. If my observation is true, I can’t even begin to describe to you how big of a waste this is. The SHIFT Festival was dominated by progressive-leaning people and organizations. That they chose Powderhook as an honoree tells me there is at least some appetite to work together more closely.

    The author participates in a panel discussing growing hunting among urban-dwelling participants.
  2. The two sides use almost the same language and want many of the same things. Common ground topics include our love of public land, our desire for healthy ecosystems, our need for clean air and water, and our enjoyment of and desire to conserve wild places for wild animals. Political hot-button topics such as climate change, global warming, herd management (population control), and guns rights divide us in avoidable ways. Can’t we stop focusing on these big political issues and start talking more about the stuff we can individually do something about? Conservation’s message is most compelling when it affects the places people recreate. Let’s start bridging the gap by focusing on local parks, green spaces, access programs, habitat projects, and experience-driven events.
  3. Progressive-leaning conservationists need to consider helping create an excise tax on the gear they use, like the conservative-leaning organizations helped create in the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts. They need to find ways to fund local work without having to win ballot initiatives, and without relying on massive donors. And, they need to consider hunting and fishing access foundational to their view of a successful conservation project.
  4. Conservative-leaning conservation groups need to learn from progressive-leaning groups in how they include new people and ideas, value change, attract stakeholders in urban areas, and strategically diversify their constituencies. And, boy, could we learn how to tell our story from these groups. The new economy is about gaining and keeping people’s attention – to do that we need to connect with people on a more emotional, less “science-and-numbers-driven” story arc.
Former National Parks Director, Jon Jarvis, presenting his keynote “A Unified Vision for Conservation” at the SHIFT Festival in Jackson Hole, Wy.

The above slide was taken from a SHIFT keynote given by Jon Jarvis, former Director of the National Park Service. His presentation was entitled, “A Unified Vision for Conservation.” Mr. Jarvis has started an institute to teach his vision at the University of California at Berkeley. Do you notice what’s missing? I did, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Organizations and professionals from the fish and wildlife community, along with recreational users (hunters/anglers/hikers/climbers/campers, etc.) have a massive influence on conservation, yet they were nowhere to be found in this presentation. He called their absence, “an oversight.” Maybe that’s what it was, but this slide clearly says to me that conservative-leaning conservation organizations badly need to exit their echo chamber and get busy building bridges.

Photo credits: Powderhook

Tackling SHIFT

I was the new guy… the one in the orange hat. For the first time in awhile, I knew almost no one walking into a conference the size of SHIFT.

SHIFT is an annual gathering of conservation-minded leaders from around the country. They gather in Jackson, Wyoming each year to tackle tough issues. In ways I’ve never been part of before in the outdoor industry, they work to build bridges across political and ideological lines – though it helps that the topic of this year’s SHIFT was Preserving our Public Lands, an issue that unites nearly every conservationist.

There are around 350 people here, and on the surface, you could draw the conclusion that many are “anti-hunting” or at a minimum, “hunting agnostic.” But, time and time again we’ve had great conversations about the role hunting plays in conservation. We’ve discussed what it really means to be a hunter, we’ve spoken about the threats a declining hunting population poses to the source of many of their budgets. I’ve explained the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation at least a dozen times to people who make their living in conservation. Almost every conservation has been concluded with positive takeaways.

Representatives from Sitka, First Lite, Patagonia, and REI are pictured here on the same stage talking about conservation advocacy from a brand perspective. Despite being very different, the need to protect public lands unites these brands. SHIFT leadership seems to have gone out of their way all week to introduce hunting, talk about hunting, feature hunting, and show the hunting community they’re welcome.

There is very little camo here, and perhaps because of that, some really cool things happened. Here are some examples.

Upon my arrival, I sat with two women from Boulder, Colorado who described themselves as “not-anti-hunting, but definitely not hunters.” They asked questions. “Does the NRA represent all hunters? Do hunters realize the image they’re portraying to people like us when they brag about the size of the deer they shoot? I hear hunters care about conservation, but I totally don’t get how that can be true.”

Later on the first day, I was at a table discussion with a woman whom I think would consider herself “anti-hunting.” She voluntarily takes Hispanic families in the Pacific Northwest on outdoor adventures. And, she recently took a job with the Sierra Club. I came away thinking she was brilliant. She articulately shared her concerns, and we concluded that her perceptions of hunting and her concerns about hunting aren’t incorrect, but that perhaps they fall short of the whole story. Like nearly everyone I spoke with this week, I found her open-minded and willing to have a real conversation. I didn’t get the impression she’d ever personally become a hunter, but I absolutely believe she thinks of hunting differently than she did when she arrived in Jackson.

A man who works for the Wilderness Society went out of his way on a couple occasions to seek out a conversation with me. He was eager to tell me the Wilderness Society is absolutely inclusive of hunters. Though he doesn’t hunt, he wanted me to know that he feels his organization does important work that hunters don’t know about or give them credit for.

I heard an elk hunting story –  a real, not-everything-goes-as-planned, pull-no-punches hunting story from a woman leading a new woman’s hunting organization from the National Wildlife Federation, called Artemis. It brought me to tears because I could relate, and it made me so happy SHIFT included her story in their event. For some of the over 150+ people in the room, I imagined it to be one of the first authentic hunting stories they’d ever listened to. There was some uneasiness as Iooked around, but as the storyteller said, “to a fault, we hunters tend to hide the feeling in our stories.”

I learned that diversity in the outdoor industry is actually a thing. There were brown people here – hunters, campers, hikers, climbers, bikers, and leaders. It was so refreshing to hear their perspective and to enter thoughtful conversations on hard topics with them. A woman from Japan taught us a Japanese gesture of reverence before a meal. It’s pronounced, “Ita-daki-mas” and there are no direct English translations, though it loosely translates to “I’m taking, and I don’t take it for granted.” As she described the word in English she perfectly narrated the way many hunters feel after they shoot a big game animal.

My notes from the conference are as follows:

  • General
    • If we want to grow hunting, people participating in other forms of outdoor recreation are a great place to start. But, they often don’t think about it the way a traditional hunter might.
    • We need to invite people who think differently to attend our hunting industry conferences. There are hundreds of them here. REI has 16 million members… just saying.
    • Individuals inviting people is the only way we’ll create new hunters at scale.
    • A yoga instructor told me hunting was just like yoga for her – meditation and relaxation. Haven’t heard that before…
    • The Emerging Leaders program at SHIFT is something many other organizations and conferences need to think about replicating. They added a lot of energy, good ideas, and unique perspectives.
  • On appealing to urban residents
    • Make them aware they own 640 million acres of public land
    • You gotta invite the family unit
    • Treat urban access, likes parks and ponds like it’s part of nature
    • Hunting dogs are a tremendous tool for appealing to urban youth.
    • Inviting a young person from an urban family to do something once is a waste of money unless you invite their family or someone else who can help them go again
    • Local protein has near-universal appeal
    • You  can’t say you want people of color involved, you have to go to where they’re at with opportunities designed around their lives
    • All 4th-graders in the US Public School System got a free public lands and parks access pass – but I’ve never heard anyone talk about it – this is a great place to start a conversation with the family
    • Many Latino people love the outdoors, but they’re scared to death of the government. Making them enter their social security number to get a license all but prevents them from doing it – a cultural truth for Latino people. Begs the question, why do we need a social security number to get a fishing/hunting license?
    • Food sovereignty is a term I hadn’t heard before – and one that means a lot to lower-income urban residents. It’s the root of things like community gardens – and could be the basis for recruiting more hunters from urban areas
  • On bridging the gap between left and right-leaning conservation organizations
    • Avoid trigger words/phrases like global warming, herd management, long-range shooting, etc.
    • We need to invite people who don’t look and think like us to our conferences.
    • Focus on what makes us similar – love of public lands, clean air and water, wild animals, wild places and most certainly FOOD
    • Ask more questions than you make statements
    • Hunters need to know that what they put on social media informs the opinion of people who don’t hunt and/or don’t like hunting – be thoughtful about what and how you share
    • Many environmentalists I spoke with talked about their respect for how well hunters know the animals they pursue and the land on which they hunt – What do we hunters respect about environmentalists?
      • Many are really tuned into the political issues.
      • Many use emotion in their stories I seldom hear from hunters.
      • Many are intentional about inclusion and diversity.

It was good to see fellow hunting brands like Sitka, First Lite, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in attendance. It would be a good thing for that list to grow.

PS – Remember the name, Robbie Bond. He’s 10, and he’s gonna be the face of conservation in this country inside of a year. You heard it here first!

Photo: Courtesy – Jared Frasier – 2% for Conservation

Photo: Courtesy – SHIFT

Conservation Demands Innovation

Humans are an over-populated, invasive species.

That sounds harsh, but the evidence is overwhelming that man’s consumption is negatively affecting the biosystems of our planet. Our cities lurch into wildlife habitat. We plow up grasslands to plant crops, or we graze them bare to grow protein. Mines, forestry operations, farms, ranches, dams and more are changing the ecology of our planet at a pace plants and animals simply cannot adapt to fast enough.

As conservationists, it’s not good enough to dig our heels in and say we don’t like that this stuff is happening. There’s little to nothing we’re going to do to stop these trends… unless we innovate.

For this reason, I believe conservation-minded people of all types need to take innovations like algae farming seriously. Take a look at this video. Try and set aside any political leanings you might have and listen with a conservationist’s ears.

Progressives and conservatives alike should hear some things that could make sense in a project like that. “One acre of algae farm can produce what 40 acres of traditional agriculture can produce.” I know so scarcely little about algae farming that I’m certainly not in a position to advocate for this specific solution. But, it sounds to me like an innovative way to keep 39 more acres of wildlife habitat.

Sure, we can scoff and say this is a government-backed, global warming, liberal long-shot. But, wild things and wild places don’t care much for human politics. They need conservationists to conserve. To conserve we must innovate. That’s not progressivism, that’s not conservativism, that’s a fact.

Photo: Kaleb White

The Gun Conversation: A Hunting Company’s Take

By Eric Dinger, founder of Powderhook

Nearly everyone at Powderhook and nearly everyone with whom we work owns a gun. We’re 2nd Amendment supporters and concerned citizens who value life, safety, justice, and freedom. And, we are sad, just like you, about the shootings in Las Vegas, Chicago, Lawrence and throughout the country.

Because our work involves encouraging people to safely own and use guns, lots of people from media to Facebook acquaintances, family, and lifelong friends have asked me for my “take” this week.

Their questions are most often about guns. My question is, ‘Why does this keep happening?’

We have gun laws in this country we struggle to enforce. When we uphold them, we give people overcrowding-shortened sentences at prisons designed to fail. What if, for the sake of having a different kind of conversation, we stop talking about guns long enough to investigate whether there are other, more addressable-by-you-and-me factors at play? What if there is something each of us can and should be doing to slow the growing trend of mass shootings in this country?

The mass shooters I’ve researched have all struck me as isolated, eternally lonely people. And they’re always men – usually white men – which means we gotta discuss why white men are so much more likely than others to commit these crimes.

During a sermon at my church a few Sundays back, I remember distinctly my pastor citing a survey on friendship. When asked by the surveyor how many true friends the respondent has, sadly, the most common answer for an American male was zero. In the study, the term friendship was defined as a trusted person with whom you can openly, reciprocally share feelings. So, late last night, triggered by an article on Medium, I began Googling, and here’s what I found. “Of all people in America, adult, white, heterosexual men have the fewest friends.”

I have close, trusted friends. So I began to ask myself, ‘when do we actually get time to take things beyond the superficial text chain or the two-minute catch-up phone call a couple times a week?’ The answer? Hunting trips. Sure, I’d love to say that hunting trips are the answer, but that’d be self-serving and short-sighted. It’s what happens during those hunting trips that holds an insight. While hunting, we’re away from our daily pressures, we’re in nature, and we’re together for long periods of time. Periods of time that allow for real conversation and connection. In a way, we’re playing. People do all kinds of things with their play-time, but that same Google session turned-up something interesting.  Humans, especially adult American males, don’t play together as much or for as long as they used to. Would you be surprised to find someone makes their living studying play?

According to Dr. Peter Gray, a person who makes his living doing just that, “Over the past half-century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults… The decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people.”

Would it be too much of a leap to say that lonely people don’t get a chance to build meaningful friendships in adulthood through play?

About 15 years ago I graduated from college and stuck around Lincoln, Nebraska, the place I still live today. I remember clearly what I now describe as an awkward transition phase. In the years following college, most of my friends moved away, and the lifestyles of the friends I had around town began to change from the relatively care-free college days to the family and career phase. Like it was yesterday, I remember the first few weekends where no one called to make or hear about my plans on a Friday night. I felt isolated, and I feared I had done something wrong, or worse if something about me made no one care to hang out (play) anymore. I felt shame.

In time, I made new friends, and old friends moved back, but I’ll never forget that isolated, lonely feeling. Could the long-term effects of this feeling be causing the form of “mental illness” we so often hear about following these shootings? Is it possible that white, American males who feel isolated and lonely — who have no one to talk to about their feelings — who live in a culture that values male machismo — who don’t get time away from their stress — feel deep, dead-inside shame? Could it be that long-term, dead-inside shame is at the heart of the problem?

If so, can we talk about what each of us can do about it?

Photo: Christopher Burns

An Open Letter to Hunters

Fellow Hunters,

It’s never been more clear that now is the time to act. The hunter numbers are in, and they’re not good.  Preliminary findings of U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation indicate a 5-year fall-off of over 2 million hunters. Since 1980, hunter numbers have fallen from nearly 18 million to the current count of 10.5 million. The preliminary findings are summarized well here. The future of conservation in this country relies heavily on our collective ability to reverse a devastating trend in hunter participation.

But what can we do about it? Continue reading An Open Letter to Hunters

Nerds and Retailers

CABELA’S PARTNERS WITH POWDERHOOK ON INNOVATIVE RETAIL EXPERIENCE

When nerds and retailers come together, customers win.

Two Nebraska-based outdoor companies have come together on an innovative in-store experience coined “Digital Trailheads,” a new tool designed to help customers find local resources and experience the outdoors like never before. Digital Trailheads feature intense 360-degree “virtual reality” content showcasing Cabela’s Ambassadors pushing products to their limit, along with maps and local resources designed to help customers find places to go. The project will be unveiled at the grand opening of Cabela’s El Paso, TX, and Albuquerque, NM store locations in mid-September.

Continue reading Nerds and Retailers

Powderhook Events API Now Available

 

Powderhook PRO users can now implement the Powderhook Event API, a first of its kind, nationwide, outdoor event dataset.

R3 (recruitment, retention, and reactivation) has become a hot topic in the outdoor industry. And while events play a significant role in the adoption sequence, it’s not often that outdoor events are visible in places new people think to look. According to Powderhook CEO, Eric Dinger, the Events API is a step toward solving this problem. “Fundraising banquets, family fishing nights, and countless other types of events are great ways to recruit, retain, and reactivate hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters. But in order for events to reach their potential as an R3 tool, we have to get outdoor events into the mix of other things people can do with their time. Through this API the outdoor industry is now able to list their events alongside things like concerts, plays, sports tournaments, and other options. And, because of its open architecture, any brand, fish and wildlife agency, or organization can begin promoting all the events in their area, rather than just their own.”

In total, over 9,000 hunting, shooting, fishing, and conservation events are accessible via the API. Event hosts include major NGOs, such as Ducks Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation, state agencies, and businesses. New events are added every day via integrations with our partners, scrapers, and APIs. Once the API is implemented, no additional development time or support resources are required to keep it up-to-date.

There are many uses for the Powderhook API:

Web developers can implement a calendar containing events from hundreds of sources.

State agencies can map all the events happening in their state as part of their R3 effort.

Businesses can create a calendar of events happening near their location(s).

Non-government organizations can aid their members in finding other things to do in their local area.

More information is available here: https://powderhook.com/events-landing

To view the events on our map simply navigate to: https://www.powderhook.com/map

Next up we’ll announce a fully self-contained calendar widget, giving our partners the ease of configuring/copying/pasting our events calendar into their website.

Please email us with questions.

12 Sweepstakes Sites To Boost Your Powderhook PRO Contest Entries

Powderhook PRO contests are a simple and effective way for you to increase the visibility of your product or service while gathering a list of people interested in buying it.

At Powderhook, we’ve used contests since day one and have added tens of thousands of faithful subscribers to our email database as a result. One insider secret to increasing their popularity is posting the contest or giveaway on high trafficked sweepstakes websites. Sometimes this can degrade the quality of your list with people simply entering to win anything they come across, but over time we’ve found a few to be really helpful.

One quick note: these sweepstakes sites work great for brands with a national, broad target audience. They are a certainly an effective way to quickly gain numerous entries to general contests, but if you have a very local and audience specific company, these websites may not be the best use of your time.

Here are 12 sweepstakes websites you can submit your contest on to grow the number of your contest entries.

Contestgirl

Sweepstakes Bug

Sweeties Secret Sweeps – local contests

Sweeties Sweeps – national contests

Infinite Sweeps

Sweepstakes Crazy

Hyper Sweep

Contest Alley

Contests for Moms

Win Prizes Online

Contest Bee

Sweepstakes Lovers

A successful online contest is a great way to grow your list and social media engagement. One successful online sweepstakes can give you the same ROI as numerous pieces of content. If you have questions or need some help, please email us at support@powderhook.com.

Continue reading 12 Sweepstakes Sites To Boost Your Powderhook PRO Contest Entries