8 Great Outdoor Companies in Ohio

Ohio has a long and proud tradition of hunting, fishing, and spending time in the outdoors. That long tradition includes outdoor companies being started by enterprising outdoors enthusiasts. These companies exist in a number of outdoor categories, but they all have one thing in common. To help other Ohio (and those around the country) sportsmen and women have the quality gear they need to truly enjoy and succeed at their outdoor pursuits.

Click here for my list of eight great Ohio-based outdoor companies.

10 Things Every Hunter Must Do In Their Lifetime

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A hunter’s bucket list is something that every outdoorsman or woman should have. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Just about everyone has a bucket list. A list of things that they want to experience, see, achieve, or accomplish at some point in their lifetimes. This is a great way to stay motivated for the future and really live a full life.

If you love hunting and the outdoors, you should really consider creating a hunter’s bucket list to help outline your goals and all the things you wish to experience in the hunting world. Even if you don’t check everything off of your list, it’s still fun to dream big and chase after the things you want to accomplish.

Check out this slideshow for some great goals to add to your hunter’s bucket list.

Opening Day Tom…

This past Monday was opening day of spring turkey hunting season here in Ohio and the only place I could be found was out in the woods. I made plans to hunt with a good buddy of mine who is a great hunter and all around outdoorsman.

I am fortunate enough to have access to 250 acres of prime Medina County farm land for all my hunting trips and that was where we decided to hunt. The land does not get very much pressure and is filled with all kinds of game.

We got set-up in the field at about 5:30AM with the stars still visible in the sky and about 1 hour or so before legal shooting light. It was a chilly 38 degrees with expected highs near 65 later in the day. Luckily, we got a day with no real breeze to speak of.

We set up in a pop-up blind on a field filled with corn stubble from the previous year’s harvest with a woodlot to our backs. We set up two hen decoys and a full-strut tom decoy in front of us at about 15 yards.

Around 6 o’clock we started hearing our first gobbles of the spring. What sounded like a couple of different birds a couple of hundred yards back in the woods started lighting up on the roost. However, once they flew down, they promptly shut up and we assumed they had paired up with hens.

Things were pretty quiet for a while until about 7:30 AM when my buddy saw a gobbler running in and a hen creep out of the treeline. We thought that gobbler wasn’t going to stop until he gave us a clean shot, but for some reason, he hung up back behind our blind. The hen did come out into the field and fed for awhile but soon disappeared back into the woods.

Around 8:30 AM was when the real action started. Birds started gobbling their heads off way back in the woods again. As far as we could tell, about three different birds were gobbling about 200 yards into the woods near a creek bottom.

My buddy started hitting the call about a half hour later and those birds were calling back hard. After a few minutes a group of jakes worked their way into the field but they wouldn’t commit to the decoys. They fed for a while while always seeming to keep looking back into the woods.

Then at about 9:45 AM, they vanished back into the woods. Then almost out of nowhere, a longbeard emerged from the treeline on my right. He was looking for a fight and walked straight up to the full-strut tom decoy. Before he could start attacking the decoy I made my shot. It was a clean kill right at 15 yards.

My first ever turkey and it was a beauty and on opening day nonetheless. He weighed in right at 23 pounds. His beard went 11″ and his spurs were right at an inch. That puts him right around three years old.

All in all it was a great hunt with a good friend made even better given the fortune of finally being able to fill a turkey tag. It was a fun morning in the spring woods and I already can’t wait to do it again next time.

In a previous post, I listed my outdoor goals for this year. Filling a turkey tag was one of them and I’m glad to say that I already met that goal. Only four more to go!

Here are a couple pictures:

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On Friendship…

As any outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) can attest, the camaraderie of enjoying the outdoors with good friends only enhances the pleasures derived from the experiences. Yes, catching a trophy fish or watching the sunrise over a frozen corn field is a great experience in and of itself. However, when those same things are done with close friends they are exponentially better.

Now, I’m not saying that enjoying solitude in the great outdoors from time to time is an unpleasant experience; quite the opposite in fact. Those moments where you can reflect on life in private are invaluable. However, this post is about friendship so I’m going to focus on that today.

I’ve always been of the mindset that a person doesn’t need an extreme number of friendships in life. The thing that I find to be much more important is the quality of the friendships that you do maintain. Personally, I would say that I have about 5 friends that I consider to be close relationships and 1 person who I consider to be my best friend. Now, every person has their own definition of what a best friend is. To me, it is the friend that you would do anything for, can tell anything to without being judged, and the friend whose company is always enjoyed to its fullest. Funnily enough, that friend for me, the person I am closest to, (i.e. my best friend) is the one who lives the furthest away from me.

When I first met my best friend, we were about 520 miles driving distance apart. How the heck did we meet you might ask. No, it wasn’t in some strange chat room or something like that. No, it was actually an online college class that brought us together. Now, I have taken a ton of online college courses before and would be hard-pressed to name you even one other person from any of those classes. The only one is another one of the 5 close friends I mentioned above who I happened to also meet in the same class as my best friend. Anyways, for me, I always just did my work in online classes with any interaction limited to class discussions. However, for some reason, I felt a push to get to know this one person better.

There was a class project that gave students the option to work with a partner. I would usually have just done it myself and had that be the end of it. However, in this case, I emailed my now best friend and asked her to work on this project with me. That is totally out of character for me, but there was just something about the little information I did have about her that told me I had to get to know this person better.

To make an extremely long story short, we spent the rest of the summer (it was a summer class) chatting online just about every night, usually for several hours. We just immediately hit it off. I don’t think we even talked about the project for the entire first week! So our friendship grew faster than anything I had ever experienced before and we became best friends.

Having been best friends with her for somewhere around nine months now, I can honestly say that I have learned more about what true friendship really means in that time than in the rest of my 23 years combined. The paths that led both of us to take the same online class from two different states is tough to fathom, but I do believe that we were meant to meet and have the special friendship that we do.

Having a few close friends instead of many distant ones is just the much better choice in my opinion. That way you can put the effort into the friendship that it takes for that friendship to last and be fulfilling for both people.

When you then spend time doing outdoor activities with those close friends, the amount of fun had by all only increases. There is a certain amount of giving each other a hard time about missing a shot or losing a big fish, but that is all part of that outdoors camaraderie that I mentioned before. So in the end, here is my advice. Work hard to maintain some close friendships and get out into the woods or to the lake with those friends. One day, you’ll be thankful that you did.

Ol’ Boss Gobbler…

During the winter session offered at UMass last year, I took a creative writing class. It was really my first class of the sort and I truly did learn a lot. The class wound up mostly focusing on poetry and I could not be happier that it did. I discovered that it was something I enjoyed doing. Prior to the class, I don’t think I would have ever even tried my hand at it.

However, after seeing the reaction to my writing from both the professor and my fellow classmates, I decided to pursue. Not as a career but simply as a hobby. I have even entered several poetry contests. Not with an expectation to win, but just to feel like my work can be noticed in some small way.

With spring turkey hunting season fast approaching, I decided to share a poem I wrote for the class about an experience I had while turkey hunting last spring. So here goes nothing…

Ol’ Boss Gobbler

The wild turkey of

the deep forests and

sparse woods of North America

is the king of early spring.

They are a completely different

creature in those early months

that see the forest reborn

than they are the rest of

the year. Eyesight to rival

an eagle.

 

Any hunter who has

braved the predawn woods

with calling a gobbler in mind

can attest to that. Despite the needling of the

old-timers on the porch of Mumford’s

during the pre-hunt pit stop,

the hunter remains optimistic.

 

The old-timers chuckle at

That youthful exuberance they had

Lost to seasons long past.

Creaking sounds manifest from

Rocking chairs or joints. No one

Is quite sure anymore.

 

They roost

in trees; flight not impossible

and soar down at dawn in

an explosion of feathers.

They shatter the surrounding serenity

with a gobble that carries and

drifts through the still blooming

limbs to the ears of the eager

hunter.

 

The ol’ boss gobbler

that is the quarry of the hunter

is no easy prize to claim. That

bird is no spring chicken.

and is not fooled by much.

He’ll tease the hunter with his

brain rattling gobbles and

apparent approach only to

disappoint at the last moment,

to strut and parade for the resident

hens he aims to impress.

 

Sending the hunter home

with an unfilled tag but

a story to tell. Of the ol’ boss gobbler

at the old woodlot living to see

yet another sunrise from his throne

at the top of the sagging spruce

on the south ridgeline.

 

You haven’t

lived until you’ve heard a turkey

erupt in a gobble ten yards behind

you,

and catch not a glimpse.