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POWDERHOOK RECEIVES INNOVATION IN TECHNOLOGY AWARD FROM HUNTER EDUCATORS

ANCHORAGE, AK – The International Hunter Education Association USA (IHEA-USA) has awarded its 2018 Innovations in Technology Award to Powderhook. The award was announced last week at the annual international hunter educators conference held in Anchorage, Alaska.

Powderhook is at the lead of a national effort to recruit, retain, and reactivate new hunters and recreational shooters. The company’s digital technology, including a mentoring app and website, are designed to leverage technology to connect new hunters and shooters seeking knowledge with experienced sportsmen and women who have it.


The IHEA’s award recognizes “any individual, group or member of industry that exhibited outstanding support of the IHEA-USA and its mission by developing better ways of delivery of the hunter education program through technological advances,” according to the association.

Megan Wisecup, IHEA-USA Awards Committee Member, noted that while her agency is the portal that educates beginning hunters, offers them certification, and moves them into the ranks of the hunting community, efforts of Powderhook are critical to give beginning hunters the resources and information so that they can be successful, which is a leading barometer of continued activity in the outdoors.

“Hunter education is a crucial step in becoming a hunter, and Powderhook is focusing on creating opportunities for next steps that aren’t currently in place,” says Wisecup. “If we cannot keep people engaged at their peak interest in hunting, then we are failing to be the support system these students need.”

Hunter education courses train and certify more than 670,000 students annually. The programs utilize 57,000 instructors, many of whom are volunteers, who teach hunting and shooting safety and responsibilities throughout the United States.


Eric Dinger, CEO of Powderhook, said that receiving the award from the hunter education community is confirmation of the power of mentoring, but also evidence of the strength of maintaining consistent messages and support at every stage of the development of a hunter.

“It’s crucial for us to have a strong partnership with IHEA-USA because it’s in their certification courses where many people discover their hunting passion,” says Dinger. “Receiving this award from such a prominent group in the outdoor space and being recognized for all the work our small staff has been able to accomplish is truly an honor.”

About IHEA-USA:
IHEA-USA is the professional hunter education association affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the 50 state hunter education programs. Since 1949, almost 40 million students have completed hunter education courses that cover firearm safety, bowhunting, wildlife identification and management, field care of game, responsible hunting, and landowner relations. More information is available at ihea.com.

McKean Minute: The Evolution of the American Sportsman

Earlier this summer, I had the great honor to deliver remarks at the Jack O’Connor Dinner in Lewiston, Idaho. It’s an annual homage to the Outdoor Life writer and shooting editor who defined for a generation what it meant to be an American sportsman. In the years after World War II, O’Connor hunted wild sheep on distant mountains, worked with manufacturers to perfect their products and introduce them to eager consumers, and maintained a cool, almost academic, distance from most of his audience.

My presentation featured Outdoor Life covers from the magazine’s founding in 1898 up through O’Connor’s tenure into the 1970s. Those classic cover images are a pretty good reflection of the evolution of the American sportsman over the last century, starting with romantic paintings of what was, in the years before America’s conservation movement, a vanishing world—sad-eyed Native Americans hunting and gathering and big-game animals posed in nostalgic landscapes. In the 1920s, Outdoor Life covers depicted a brand-new vocation: the outdoor professional, usually a manly Western big-game guide wresting a living from a wild world.

During the Depression era up through the early 1950s, cover images featured workaday hunters, relatable characters actually having fun outdoors pursuing the fish and wildlife that conservationists of a generation earlier had gifted them. The classic Outdoor Life covers of O’Connor’s era featured conflict: snarling bears charging unprepared hunters, wilderness pack trains threading through intimidating landscapes, and sportsmen on the brink of some sort of tragedy.

As I built my presentation, I was reminded not only how American sportsmen have changed with the times, but also how we portray ourselves.

This identity is still evolving. Think back to just a decade ago, and all the hero photos you’ve seen (and probably taken yourself)—the grinning hunter holding a buck’s rack, or the angler holding his catch out as far as he can toward the camera to make the fish look even bigger. Those photos feature the animal, sure, but they’re really about the person, as if to say, “Look at me! I’m a bad-ass sportsman, getting it done!”

Those photos are not about the place where the action happened, or about the experience that culminated in success, or even about the critter. They’re ultimately about ego, and a demonstration of our own capabilities. If this sounds like I’m throwing shade on my fellow sportsmen, you should know that I have entire albums full of photos of me in this very pose, showing off my prowess and my bounty.

If you’re reading this, then you have undoubtedly heard the trends. America is losing hunters at an alarming pace. As a population, we are aging, male, and homogeneously white. More than 2 million hunters have faded away in the past 7 years. In Michigan alone, 20,000 hunters stop hunting every single year, and they’re not being replaced.

This is more than the loss of an American architype, the sort that’s featured on magazine covers. The attrition of hunters means reduced citizen funding for wildlife conservation, public-land management, and participation in wholesome, sustainable outdoor recreation.

Many of us are rising to the challenge to not only slow the decline of hunters but to build our ranks with a new and energetic population of American sportsmen and women. We are committed to introducing new people to our field sports, to the rich American traditions of hunting, managing our public’s wildlife resources, gathering our own wild food, and building character-defining relationships with wild places.

In the past few years, as I’ve awakened to this challenge, I’ve noticed the photos in my album have changed, too. They’re less about the trophy—the big rack and giant fish—and more about the people I’m with, the place where we’ve had success, and the animals that enrich our experiences and fill our freezers.

This is a hunting pic.

I want you to think back to a century of Outdoor Life covers. Our predecessors have gone through eras of depletion, restoration, conquest over nature, and me-first consumption. Now we have entered the give-back era of the American sportsman. Take someone new hunting. Introduce your passion and love of the outdoors to a neighbor. Lead a group to improve a local marsh. Share your gear and your wild bounty.

Picture yourself on a magazine cover, posing with someone who doesn’t look like you, happily sharing a memorable day outdoors. That’s the necessary next stage in the evolution of our collective identity. The perpetuation of an American icon—the citizen sportsman—depends entirely on you.

(About the author: Andrew McKean is the former editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life. A longtime outdoor communicator, he is now an independent journalist and director of Powderhook. He lives in eastern Montana.)

Why I Joined Powderhook

By Andrew McKean

Since I joined the Powderhook team a week ago, lots of friends and colleagues have asked me the same question: Why? What is an ink-stained wretch of an outdoor writer doing with a bunch of computer geeks half my age? And how can a high-tech start-up ever have the grit and blood to speak passionately to people who define themselves in terms of grit and blood?

The answer is both easy – the Powderhook team is small, scrappy, and composed entirely of avid hunters, anglers, and outdoors folks like me who are committed to welcoming more people to each of those activities – and it’s hard. Hard because media – communicating ideas and information that has defined my career – is so fractured and noisy these days that trying to build an audience and deliver information has never been more challenging.

This is the competitive edge of Powderhook: It’s not your typical media company, or content-delivery device.

It’s mainly an app – a digital community that you can engage with on your phone. If you do one thing today, download the Powderhook app and plug in to the community. The element of Powderhook that I’m most excited about is our digital mentoring program, which connects people who want to learn more about the outdoors with people who have a lifetime of knowledge to share. Want to know where to catch crappie this weekend? Ask the app. Someone (probably a local) will have an inside tip. Want to help someone trying to figure out whether to hunt deer with a 6.5 Creedmoor or a .338 Win. Mag.? Then communicate your perspective through the app. Want to find a place to camp next month? Ask the app.

Eric Dinger, Powderhook’s co-founder, created the brand out of his belief that everyone in the country should be able to enjoy a good day outdoors. All the tools in Powderhook’s kit exist to enable that goal, to inspire, educate, prepare, and celebrate current and future outdoorsmen. More specifically (and ambitiously), Powderhook aims to create 3 million hunters in the next 5 years; participants who buy guns and ammunition, purchase licenses, and fuel the economy that sustains the American system of citizen-sportsmen and public wildlife.

So far, so good. But where do I fit in?

The best way to answer that is to look back on my career. My first job out of college was editor of a little weekly newspaper in Wolf Point, Mont. I love newspapers for their ability to responsibly inform their communities, an obligation that I took seriously as a reporter and editor. As I climbed the ranks of journalism, I always considered my next post on the basis of nearby hunting and fishing opportunities. So it was probably natural that my next career was in magazines – specifically outdoors magazines.

For half a decade, I was the editor of Fishing & Hunting News, a mashup of newspaper and magazine. It was the hook-and-bullet bible for its subscribers. It came out every two weeks, told readers specifically where to fish and hunt anywhere and everywhere in the West. I’d probably still be its editor if it hadn’t gone out of business, a victim of the digital economy. Who needs a newsprint magazine when you can get that same information off the internet?

I moved on to a gig at Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, where part of my job was coordinating the hunter and bowhunter education program. I fell in love with the idea of minting new hunters through our classes, but I also surprised myself how much pride I took in being a public servant. Wearing FWP’s grizzly bear patch on my shoulder made me stand a little taller and has given me a lifetime of respect for the game wardens, wildlife biologists, and technicians who keep fish and wildlife in the field and available for our enjoyment.

Then it was back to magazines, this time at the only brand I ever wanted to work for: Outdoor Life. I started as Hunting Editor, but worked up to editor-in-chief, and in that gig oversaw a team of talented storytellers. That’s the magic of magazines, packaging cool stories in ways that transport readers – to the Pennsylvania whitetail woods, Colorado’s elk mountains, Montana’s trout streams, Africa’s lowveld. Great brands tell great stories across all sorts of campfires – the print of magazines, the screens of computers, the speaker of radios…

This is a long way of telling you that Powderhook is simply another way, a very modern way, to tell great and timeless stories. Some will be profiles of mentors who inspire. Some will be illustrated tutorials that show you how to do something cool and useful. Some will be come-along adventures that transport you outdoors, to the world of grit and blood.

Powderhook is a campfire. Come join us around it. Tell your story. Make a hunter.

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

QDMA Releases Improved 2017 Deer Tracker App

ATHENS, GA (September 7, 2017) – The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is pleased to announce its newly improved 2017 Deer Tracker app. The app is available completely free of charge on both Android and Apple devices thanks to sponsorship by leading deer hunting brands, including Fusion Ammunition, Cabela’s, QDMA, and Powderhook.

Users of QDMA’s Deer Tracker app will find a variety of features focused on getting the information they need to have a better day in the field, including reports of deer activity in their area, public land maps, harvest reports, and more. Additionally, hunters can now estimate the score of deer in photos, receive push notifications for areas they might hunt, and view trends on an interactive heat map. Continue reading QDMA Releases Improved 2017 Deer Tracker App

Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

By Clint Lindemann – www.safe-shoot.com

Bio:

I was born and raised on a farm in North Dakota. When I was 15 years old I was in a hunting accident that left me paralyzed. I am a C4-5 quadriplegic. I graduated from North Dakota State University in 2002. Started hunting again when I was 19. I have a crossbow mount and a rifle/shotgun mount that can be attached to my electric wheelchair. I also fish with an electric reel that can be mounted to my chair. I am president of my local wildlife club, active in summer baseball program and write as much as possible about my activities. Hoping some of my ideas can help others get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Blog:

Sad to say, in every hunting season, in every state there are always hunting accidents that involve shooting of another in a hunting party. I know this all too well, I am one of the statistics. On December 28, 1994 my life would change forever after my own hunting accident.

During Christmas break of that year we had wrestling practice once a day, usually in the mornings and after that a couple buddies and I would go trudging through the snow looking for deer with our bows.  Northeast of my hometown in the “Hartford Valley” there was always a big group of deer that wintered there.  We would spend hours pushing deer back and forth but no one ever got a real good shot at any deer. Continue reading Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

Pledge to take someone hunting, fishing or target shooting and you could win a NASCAR Trip or Ultimate Outdoor Experience

Join Richard Childress, honorary chair for National Hunting and Fishing Day, in creating the next generation of conservationists

National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day), an annual celebration of hunters and anglers, features a new twist this year. Richard Childress, NASCAR legend and honorary chair for NHF Day, is asking hunters and anglers to participate in the new NHF Day Challenge by taking someone hunting, fishing or target shooting. By pledging to introduce someone to the outdoors between now and NHF Day on Saturday, Sept. 23, participants will be eligible to win a Richard Childress Racing VIP race weekend package or the Ultimate Outdoor Experience in America’s Conservation Capital from Big Cedar Lodge and Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.

“If you are a sportsman, sportswoman or an angler, you can make a difference and support National Hunting and Fishing Day by becoming a mentor,” said Childress. “Mentoring is critical to ensure our outdoor tradition lives on through future generations. Make the commitment to take someone outdoors and show them why you value hunting, fishing and target shooting.”

For millions of Americans, time spent hunting and fishing are treasured moments. Hunting and fishing brings friends and family together and provides one of the most immersive outdoor experiences possible.

“Today fewer people are connecting with nature through hunting and fishing,” said Childress. “As outdoorsmen and women, we are one of the keys to reversing this trend. Help a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker learn how to hunt, fish or shoot. Introducing someone to the joys of the outdoors not only enriches their life, it creates a future conservationist.”

Each new hunter and angler created helps fund conservation. Every time someone buys a firearm, ammunition, archery equipment or fishing tackle, they contribute to habitat conservation and science-based wildlife management through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. The WSFR is the cornerstone of fish and wildlife conservation in North America because it brings funding from the sporting arms, archery and fishing industries and sportsmen and women back to state wildlife management agencies. These monies, in addition to hunting and fishing license fees, are critical for conserving fish and wildlife across our nation.

Those who pledge to take someone hunting, target shooting or fishing will be entered for a chance to win two amazing prize packages. The first grand prize is two HOT passes to a future NASCAR race, which includes pit and garage passes, garage and team hauler tours, and an opportunity to meet team owner Richard Childress. The second grand prize package is a trip to America’s Conservation Capital: Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. A passion of Bass Pro Shops founder and Ozarks native Johnny Morris, the destination spans multiple properties and thousands of unspoiled acres, making it the ultimate destination for anyone who loves the outdoors. The package includes a two-night stay in a log cabin at Big Cedar Lodge, America’s premier wilderness resort, and nature-based excursions including guided bass fishing on 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake; Adventure Passes for the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail and Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum at Top of the Rock; shotgun sports at Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor Shooting Academy; and passes to Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, the largest, most immersive wildlife attraction in the world, opening Sept, 21, 2017.

To get involved in the NHF Day Challenge, visit NHFDay.org or call 417 225-1162.

National Outdoor Mentoring Summit Hosted in Lincoln

Lincoln, NE – Nearly 50 representatives and leaders of mentoring organizations from around the country gathered in Lincoln, NE last weekend to discuss getting more people outdoors more often. Lincoln startup, Powderhook, together with Nebraska Game and Parks, and Cabela’s hosted the event at the Nebraska Outdoor Education Center.

The group spent two days presenting about the progress of their organizations, giving important updates on legislation being passed, and discussing what it would look like to band together and form an official alliance. The number of participants in this year’s Outdoor Mentoring Summit more than doubled from the previous year with hopes to recruit even more groups into the alliance for 2018’s summit.

Founder of Powderhook, Eric Dinger, believes time spent outdoors plays an integral role in our culture. Said Dinger, “Being outdoors represents a source of happiness and contentment for nearly everyone. But, it’s becoming more and more difficult for people to make time and have a place to enjoy themselves in the outdoors. We view this as an attack on the values that undergird families and tie people to the places they’re from. If we need the outdoors to de-stress and find our center, is it possible that some of the cultural frustration so many people are feeling could be tied to a ‘nature deficit’?”

The Outdoor Mentoring Summit included attendees from several leading conservation organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Quality Deer Management Association, and Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with state agencies leaders from as close as Iowa and as far away as New Mexico and Florida. But, the celebrities in attendance were the dozens of leaders from the “Boots on the Ground” mentoring organizations from nearly 15 states.

Mike Christensen of Pass it On – Outdoor Mentors spent countless hours putting together the meeting. “If you believe it’s important to spend time outdoors with people who care about you, then it’s likely meaningful for you to know there are organizations dedicating to making that happen for people who may not otherwise have a chance to have those experiences. This meeting brought together many of the best and most influential programs from throughout the country in hopes we can find ways to have a greater impact on our communities,” said Christensen.

Newsletter (4-12-16)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Growing the perfect mustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—all things Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, covers in his hilarious and interesting memoir.Bear hunting has been a controversial topic lately. Hunters have been in hot water for hunting with spears and hunting during hibernation. Here’s what you should know about bear hunting

Wild game gets a bad reputation for being dry, tough and odd tasting but what is one thing that can fix all of this? Well, yes bacon is the cure-all. But, butter is a close second, and it’s healthier than you think.

There is an unwritten holiday in the north and thousands of people participate every year. Opening day of walleye season. Finding ways to cook this fish isn’t too hard. You have to try the salsa version!

WHO CARES ABOUT MENTORING?
GIVEAWAYS:
NEW WAYS FOR EASY ENTRIES

LEARN


8 THINGS NON-HUNTERS ARE
MISSING OUT ON

If you’re at all familiar with our work here at Powderhook, you know we love hunting. But, we loved hunting long before there was a Powderhook, and will love it for decades to come. Most people have something they’re passionate about, but being passionate about hunting offers benefits far beyond what can be simply described. That’s why we believe one needs to hunt in order to understand hunting and hunters. For non-hunters, this means they can’t feel what we’ve felt, and it bums me out for them. Here’s what I think they’re missing.
4 TIPS TO CATCH GIANT BLUEGILLS THIS SPRING
OutdoorLife
Small, dink bluegills are insufferable. Giant ’gills—true bulls—are another story entirely. I can recall with perfect clarity every hump-headed, 12-plus-inch bluegill that I have ever caught. The list requires one hand to index. The last occurred on a fishery known to grow 2-pounders.
CLOCKWORK TURKEY STRATEGIES
NWTF
Turkeys don’t enroll in time management seminars, but they do manage their time somewhat efficiently. And like you, turkeys follow a daily schedule and that can benefit your hunt. Decipher this schedule and you could be one step closer to turkey success this spring.

FRESH AIR


Turkey Vest Contents by Bob Humphrey

 

Today’s turkey hunters are fortunate there’s so much great information available with regard to turkey hunting tools, tactics and techniques. However, I wonder if at times it might be too much of a good thing. With so much often detailed and in-depth information it’s easy to get confused on what the right call or tactic is for a specific scenario. If you find yourself in such a quandary your best bet might be to take a step back and look at the big picture, and the basics.