Category Archives: Life in perspective


Let’s Get Real: Ditch The Camouflage

No one enjoys being the last guy standing when the teams are picked. And while the game is being played, it’s never anyone’s goal to just sit on the bench. From childhood we strive for acceptance. In some form or another within the human DNA is a desire to be a part — to be liked by a person or entity.


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Unfortunately, our culture has attempted to meet this need with substitutes. We have been brainwashed into believing that the size of house we live in or the car we drive can contribute to the circle of individuals who will accept us. We are constantly faced with the idea that where we work, what clothes we wear, or how big of deer we harvest each year are what makes us who we are. None of which could be further from the truth.


Beware by what means you measure success


In essence, our attempt to find acceptance through the accumulation of things or through an association with those who seem to be more successful than ourselves is a not much different than the camouflage we wear while hunting whitetail or pursuing wild turkey. Both are attempts to conceal who we really are in an effort to blend in with our surroundings.


Our culture has created a chameleon mentality rather than an eagle mentality. Too much emphasis is put on trying to blend in rather than standing out. Eagles understand that in order to soar high, you may have to fly alone. Maybe it’s time we started writing our own book instead of allowing those around us to pen our pages.


I personally know what it is to be financially independent and then have to start over again. I also know what it is to live in a large house and have to move on. Let me ask you — just because the economy tanked and companies go bankrupt, does that make me less of a person? Neither does it make you any less of an individual when you can’t have what the next guy has, live like the other guy does or seem to be as successful as they are. So it also goes with the passion of hunting.


We all have had our share of heartache


I have had opportunity to meet some great people within the outdoor industry. It’s an honor to share a common passion for hunting and the outdoors with like-minded people. As I have sat across the table with the well-known and not so well-known there is one thing they all have in common. They are people — people with a heart, hopes and heartaches. Behind the TV shows, trophies, and successful career, is a person who has had difficult times just like you.


Maybe your company has downsized and you are not able to buy that new bow or go on the guided hunt. Maybe your family is struggling financially and you haven’t been able to hunt like you want. Maybe due to your losses you’ve started thinking that life isn’t worth living. I’ve been there and I know how you feel. But in reality, your losses do not define who you are.


The problem is not the losses; the problem is the focus. It’s time we developed the warrior mind-set a — pattern of thinking where we take more pride in the ability to press on than we do in our ability to make an appearance. We need a shift in the way we see failure and defeat. If you’re still crawling, you’re not defeated. As Austin O’Malley said, “The fact that you have been knocked down is interesting, but the length of time you remain down is important.” It’s not the avoiding of hard times that makes us what we are, it’s getting up and playing the game while bleeding that makes us.


Never doubt you can make it


I want you to remember that there is more to life than having the latest hunting equipment and shooting the biggest deer. There is more to life than how many digits are in your annual income. You’re not less of a person because of your circumstances. God created you as a unique individual who has the strength to make it through your hard times. Never doubt it.


So as we traverse the roads filled with ups and downs, lets keep our focus on what really maters. It’s each other – not stuff. It’s our families and loves ones – not things. It’s ending the day knowing I did my absolute best. End this day by kicking self-pity in the tail and telling him to get lost. Bow your head and tell God you’re proud of who you are and thankful to be alive. Never give up, you can make it!





Boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

With all the controversy surrounding the boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, my mind is taking a little walk back through history. A history that is not too far removed from within my own family tree. 
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You see, for as long as I can remember a peculiar picture has been displayed on my grandparents bedroom dresser. It’s in a filigree frame and is a photograph of a beautiful young couple and a little blonde haired girl who resembles Shirley Temple. Noticeably—out of the three people photographed—only the child is smiling.


Somewhere in my mid-teens curiosity got the best of me. Sitting down with my grandmother I asked her, “Why aren’t you and grandpa smiling in this picture?” Her reply gave the old photo new meaning. “Your grandfather was to leave that very next day,” she said, “we didn’t know if that would be the last photo we’d have taken together.”


The “next day” she referred to was the day my grandfather left his family to serve in the United States Navy. He would spend the next several years in the Pacific Theater. It was World War II and his country’s freedom was at stake.


The Principal Behind the Boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show


You might be asking, what does all this have to do with the boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. Let me explain. In recent days the eroding winds have begun to blow. Winds that send a chill through our patriotic American veins. These winds are not uncommon and anyone with a general understanding of history can recognize their subtle undermining. We’re not warring against dictators or freeing political prisoners like my grandfather, but we are in a conflict against a slow and steady force that threatens to eat away at the rights and privileges purchased for us by soldier’s blood. One of those rights is the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 


The recent decision by Reed Expositions to disallow the display and sale of Modern Sporting Rifles at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show is a perfect example of what we are facing. Although, this unwarranted decision has incited a boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show by numerous exhibitors, it comes with a significant price.


The Boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show Will Cost


I respect the well-known manufacturers and outdoor personalities that have cast their vote to preserve freedom rather than cave in to the political pressure of our day. Unfortunately, the boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show  greatly affects each company within the outdoor industry who depends on the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show for a portion of their annual income.


I simply encourage each of you that have been affected monetarily by the boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show  to remember the price of freedom. The privileges we enjoy as American’s cost someone more than what we’ve ever had to pay. Today is our day to sacrifice for the generations who will one day come behind us.


If we fail to stand united—the ultimate cost won’t be isolated to our pocketbook—we’ll lose our most valuable asset. And that asset is freedom.    


In 1997 I was introduced to Mike Goschinski of Fin Feather Fur Outfitters in Ashland, Ohio. As we conversed, we soon found common ground in our family history. His great-grandparents, like mine, daringly escaped tyranny during World War I and came to America.


For our great-grandparents freedom came at an inconceivable cost. It meant leaving behind children they would never see again.


Mr. Goschinksi and I are not alone. All of us have had someone pay a great price for our freedom. Because of that price, we now enjoy the dividends of their sacrifice.


Some of us may lose monetarily due to this boycott of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. But in the future, freedom will pay out more than what we have lost.


May we never forget—freedom doesn’t just cost—it pays.


preamble of the constitution



hunting with grandpa

A Christmas Memory: Grandpa’s Hunting Hatchet

It was Christmas and the old farmhouse rang with laughter. Gathered around the dining room table our family spent the evening sharing memories and spinning yarns. As always, this included the telling of hunting stories.
Seated at the far end of the table, my 93-year-old grandfather kept us in stitches. Blessed with good health and a sharp mind, he still remembers more than he has forgotten, including how to use his dry sense of humor.
Wanting my three boys to hear their great-grandfather’s hunting stories, I asked, “Grandpa, when did our family start hunting in Grayling, Michigan?” He cleared his throat and said, “It was around 1927… ” and for at least an hour we sat captivated by his stories.
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His gnarled hands motioned as he described drooping pine boughs and big antlers. Tales of bad blizzards and the biggest buck he ever saw captivated our attention. Spellbound, we listened of the War years when ammo was scarce and all he had was a couple rounds for an old .32 Winchester Special.
We grew tense as grandpa remembered being lost in the big Michigan woods. His experiences of tenting in the cold and stalking bucks in the snow were book worthy. We smiled as he told of all the effort that went into crippling an old car across the miles, just so he could hunt another season.
It was an honor to listen to sixty plus years of hunting reminisces.
When Grandfather finished, I asked if he had kept his little red hunting hatchet and he assured me that he did. This was the little red hatchet he carried for as long we had hunted together.
It was with that little red hatchet and a swift stroke that Grandpa would send a piece of pine bark flying. Exposing a bright white blaze on selected trees, those marks would become my roadmap to and from where I was hunting. With a Marbles compass and those ivory crescents, he made sure I could find my way in the dawn or darkness.
My interest in the hatchet is founded in the belief – this isn’t an ordinary hatchet. Maybe I’m just sentimental, but in my heart I believe the hatchet represents a whole lot more.
There is a legacy represented in that pitch stained piece of steel. That hatchet is a memoir of a mentor who passed on a heritage of hunting and the great outdoors. Every tree he blazed not only pointed me forward but it pointed back to a man who found it important to give his grandson an appreciation for the finer things in life. From that old Remington to his dog-eared Bible, he taught me there are some things you hold on to forever.
Today, my reason for hunting exceeds a high scoring set of antlers. Through experience I have learned there is value in spending time in the outdoors. The passion that began with a little red hatchet is now carved deeply into my family’s lifestyle.
As grandfather finished his stories, my mind began to wander. On this Christmas, I realized the greatest gift I had ever been given couldn’t be packaged under a tree. The greatest gift my grandfather ever gave was the time he spent teaching me about the great outdoors.
Eight-five years have passed since my grandfather started hunting. Times have changed and hunting has changed with them. The one thing that remains the same is my opportunity to teach another generation about the best things in life.
You may not own a little red hatched, but each of us holds the power to blaze a way for the next generation. Lets pass on the marks made by the little red hatchet. Take the time to introduce someone to hunting and God’s great outdoors. It may be the best gift you’ll ever give.

By  expressly for The Sportsman Channel 




A Christmas List: 10 Gifts You Can Give But Can’t Buy

The mantle is graced with garland and the manger scene is positioned just inside the entryway. Decorations have been placed in every room, creating a mood that’s festive and cozy. Sparkling lights and shimmering candles add to the Christmas ambience. It’s Christmas time and our family, like yours, enjoys celebrating the occasion.
Placed in the middle of the dinning room table is a beautiful Christmas centerpiece. With its mixture of deep burgundy’s, gold’s and greens it complements the entire room. Lying next to the centerpiece is yesterday’s mail — what a disparity.
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The centerpiece asks for nothing, it simply gives of its beauty and adorns the table. Arranged with candles, garland and glass, it’s content to simply glitter and give. A stark contrast to the numerous post-cards, pamphlets, bulletins and brochures claiming some last-minute sale for the would-be shopper. Each ad asserts it has something I can’t live without and lures me to buy the latest sporting goods item. The brightly colored advertisements suggest happiness comes through giving some product as a gift.
The contrast between centerpiece and marketing piece quietly confirmed — you can’t put a price tag on the best gifts.
1.   You can’t buy a relationship with Jesus Christ. It was purchased for you.
2.   You can’t buy time quality time with your family. You have to make it.
3.   You can’t buy true friends. Friendships are priceless.
4.   You can’t buy people who love you. Love is inestimable.
5.   You can’t buy indelible memories. They are constructed from the intangible.
6.   You can’t buy time. It’s God’s gift to each of us.
7.   You can’t buy contentment. It’s a state of the heart.
8.   You can’t buy kindness. It’s an act.
9.   You can’t buy compassion. It’s a response.
10.  You can’t buy encouragement. It’s a selfless gesture.
To be truthful, I don’t have a Christmas list this year. Instead, I chose to make a list of people. People like the bowhunter in our subdivision that I barely know. On our Christmas list is the act of taking him and his family some gifts and groceries.
The best Christmas gifts can’t be bought – but they can be given.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:15