I’ve been an active member of the outdoor industry for about a year and a half. While I’ve hunted and fished my whole life, it wasn’t until I started Powderhook that I began to learn how the industry really worked. In my short time in the industry I’ve come to understand and deeply care about things like the North American Model of Conservation, R3 (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation), license sales, and access. As I’ve traveled the country learning, meeting new people and discussing the future of the industry we love, I have been involved in dozens of conversations about the need to get people to actually go hunting and fishing. Most of those conversations have centered on the imperative for our industry to activate new people, especially young people.
The anti-hunting movement has overwhelmed the consciousness of the hunting industry. Hunters, hunting land, firearms, and the sporting way of life are under attack politically and socially. Millions of hunt-able acres are shut down in Oregon to protect the spotted owl. Lead ammunition is banned in California. Increasingly legislators, not biologists, are making wildlife management decisions. Professional huntress Melissa Bachman receives threatening messages to this day, over a year removed from the day she posted her now-famous lion photo. A deceptive foe, the Humane Society of the United States, seems to gain momentum even in the face of science, ethics and reason. The negativity and pressure has taken its toll, leaving industry leaders frustrated and searching for answers. A way of life once mandatory to sustain life is now fighting for its own life.
According to John Frampton, industry veteran and leader of the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, “we’ve got to do something drastic or hunting as we know it won’t exist for future generations.”
Okay, three of them are epic. One of them is a homemade video we put together to let you know Powderhook just launched the largest ever upgrade to its website. We’ll let you decide which is which!
Balancing the demands of a marriage, family and startup can be tough. My wife, Stephanie, has been an integral part of any success we’ve had at Powderhook. She doesn’t have a title, tasks or projects, yet her role is essential. We’ve been in business a little over a year, and our marriage is stronger than ever. This is our second go-around as a startup couple (we sold our first business in 2012), so I thought I’d share some of our experience. Here are five things I believe we’ve gotten right:
1) Starting a business is a family decision. Stephanie was part of deciding to start a business in the first place; she had a lot to say about what type of business, how much we would invest, and how long I could go without a paycheck.
2) We set boundaries. Dinner is at 6:45. I’m there. Once the kids hit the hay I jump back on and get to work. It’s important to us that we get a few minutes to talk every day, so I don’t bring the computer to bed. Both are seemingly little things, but these boundaries help us prioritize in the midst of an otherwise chaotic time.
3) Stephanie knows our team, problem, product, customers, and partners. She’s come with me to trade shows and she’s stayed up late with me testing our product. If starting a business is a family decision, growing one is a family commitment.
4) Grace. Unending grace. Entrepreneurship can be an exhausting, stressful and a downright frustrating experience. Stephanie lets me vent; she senses when I need time to come down from a tough day, and she picks up all my slack around the house. On top of that, she is our family’s breadwinner right now. To do that with a smile takes strength and grace.
5) We make time to be alone. The love language of the spouse of almost every entrepreneur is “time.” Ask a successful businessperson you know about their marriage. Most will tell you they are more proud of their marriage than their business. There is literally nothing that happens at your business that is so important that you can’t focus a few hours a week on your spouse. Plan it, send calendar invites, ritualize it, whatever. Do it.
Powderhook, a free website that connects people with places to hunt and fish, announced today an initiative to promote a common code of ethics to outdoorsmen.
The Outdoor Pledge puts into simple terms the wisdom of generations of sportsmen, mindful of the reality that for many people time spent outdoors with their teachers is scarce. Through this initiative, Powderhook seeks to unite the individuals and groups that care about the true meaning of what hunting and fishing is all about: being a steward of the land, promoting goodwill through strong ethics, honoring the beauty and fragility of nature, and teaching the next generation to do the same.
Powderhook hopes to identify opportunities to work with people and organizations on a technology-backed approach to growing ethical outdoorsmen and women. “Our hope is that we can help reinvigorate the national conversation about doing things right and for the right reasons,” said Eric Dinger, founder and CEO of Powderhook. “Hunting and fishing shows have done a great job of creating interest in the outdoors, but most people will never shoot a buck or catch a trout as big as they see on television. It’s important we share with people the true meaning and purpose of time spent outdoors.”
The “Outdoor Pledge” harkens the work of one of the greatest American Conservationists, Teddy Roosevelt. The 26th President spoke often of the need to protect our natural resources – the bountiful land, water, and wildlife for which strong stewardship is the only answer to sustainability. “People have a very strong connection to the places and animals they hunt and fish, but today these same resources face new challenges. It’s important to bring fresh eyes and new ideas to the fight,” said Dinger. Through partnering with leading outdoor conservation and manufacturing organizations, Powderhook plans to do just that.
Although this initiative is in its infancy, the response from the outdoor community has been quite positive. Any individual, brand, business or organization can take the pledge by visiting OutdoorPledge.org.