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.

On the Arrival of Fall…

Fall has officially arrived in Ohio. Well, technically, it is still summer, but Ohio weather doesn’t follow the calendar. On the heels of a soaking rainstorm and heavy cold front, summer was ushered out and fall quickly and decisively took its place. Gone are the long, muggy days (not that we had many of those this past summer) of summer. In their place are the shorter days and crisp air of a Midwest autumn.

I always have mixed feelings around this time of year. Summer is by far my favorite season and it is definitely always a little sad to see it go. Late night bass fishing, sleeping with the windows open, and firing up the grill nearly every day, some of my favorite parts of summer, are no longer really possible. Baseball season is winding to a close, especially for those teams that won’t make the playoffs, like my Cleveland Indians unless their late push for the postseason pans out.

However, there are also a lot of things that I love about the fall in Ohio. In fact, the changing of the seasons is one of my favorite parts about living in the Midwest altogether. I don’t think I could ever live in a place that was warm all year round. There is just something I love about going through all four season and watching each one take over from the last. There is always something to look forward to in each new season and that sense of possibility is something I really appreciate being able to have.

Fall brings football season (Go Buckeyes and Browns!), beautiful fall foliage, ripening apples, as well as interesting and fun fall-themed festivals. It also brings deer hunting season here in Ohio which is a tried and true tradition among many folks around the state.

There is still the chance to have a few more relatively warm days before the cold really starts to take a grip on the state once again. I’m planning to hit my favorite farm pond for largemouth bass at least a couple more times this year and firing up the grill as much as possible before it gets buried in snow on my back deck once again.

Even when the pond is iced over and the grill is just a giant snowball in the backyard, I’ll enjoy the new fall activities that take their place and be content with the knowledge that it won’t be long before spring arrives to push winter out and makes it possible to enjoy those things once again.

 

Outdoor Goals 2013 Recap…

Last year, I wrote a blog post listing my outdoor goals for the year of 2013. You can check out the list here. My list included five goals and I am proud to say that I achieved two of them. However, that obviously leaves me a lot of room for improvement in 2014.

I will be posting my outdoor goals for 2014 in the coming days, but wanted to take a few minutes and recap my goals for last year and how they went.

My first goal was also the goal I most wanted to achieve and that was to fill a spring turkey tag for the very first time. On opening day of the 2013 spring turkey in season, I managed to take a tom turkey from the Ohio woods and I couldn’t be more proud of that accomplishment. You can read the entire story of my spring turkey hunt here.

The second goal on my list was to catch and weigh a largemouth bass of over three pounds which would beat my personal best bass of all time. This goal was the one I suspected would be the most difficult as I have been bass fishing since I was young and had never topped the three pound mark. Well, at least not officially that is. There were several times that I believe I caught fish bigger than that, but I either failed to land those fish or didn’t have a scale with me at the time. Unfortunately, that makes those occasions nothing more than fish stories.

Anyways, as these things usually go, the goal I thought would be most difficult proved to be one of the easiest. It was also completely unexpected. I had just finished scouting my turkey hunting location and happened to have my fishing gear with me. It was an unusually warm spring day for Northern Ohio and I couldn’t resist wetting a line. Long story short (and you can read the full story here) I wound up hooking, landing, and weighing a 3+ pound bass on my first cast of the year.

The last three goals that I set for 2013 were much less successful. Unfortunately, I never even got a chance to really pursue them. Busy schedules and the unpredictable spring weather that is commonplace in Northern Ohio made a flathead fishing trip impossible to get planned and executed and a lack of equipment and the decision to not figuratively pull the trigger on an expensive purchase made a 2013 whitetail deer hunt out of the question.

The last goal that I set was to take a great outdoor picture. Although I had my camera with me just about every time I was out in the field in 2013, that great picture just never happened. However, I did still get a lot of great shots of fish I caught as well as those caught by friends and family. The more I think about it, maybe those pictures are even better than the great landscape shot that I was hoping to get.

Although I did not achieve all of my outdoor goals that I set for 2013, they still pushed me to be a better outdoorsman and to just appreciate having the freedom and opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in all of their abundance and beauty with good friends and family along the way.

Here’s to another great year in the outdoors in 2014!

 

Another Outdoor Goal Down…

So I know it has been awhile since I have updated my blog, but I am finally back and plan to post more regular updates in the future. Now on to the good stuff…

We have been having unbelievable weather so far this spring here in Northeast Ohio. Warm temperatures, not much rain, and generally steady weather which is pretty unusual to say the least.

However, you won’t hear me complaining. That’s for sure. The great weather has given me a great opportunity to attack my outdoor goals for this year and has also made my pursuit of my goals that much more enjoyable.

To read about my outdoor goals for this year, go here.

So after tackling my first big challenge and goal of filling my spring turkey tag, it was time to start targeting my next goals. The most obvious one to start working on was catching the three pound or bigger bass. However, I felt like that was going to me one of my toughest goals considering that I have been bass fishing for as long as I can remember and have yet to achieve this goal.

Taking advantage of the wonderful spring weather, I hit my favorite fishing hole for the second time on May 2. I expected a fairly quiet day of fishing and was just planning on maybe catching a couple small fish and just sort of shaking the rust off of my fishing skills.

On my first cast of the day, I threw my favorite weightless purple rubber worm out in front of the small dock at the pond I was fishing. The lure was only in the water for a second or two before a bass inhaled it. I could tell right away that it was a good sized bass.

The fight didn’t last long and after a close call at the bank of the pond, I landed the bass. I have caught a ton of bass in my life and I knew right away that this one was big. I grabbed my scale and sure enough that fish topped out at 3 pounds and 3 ounces. My second outdoor goal of the year was completed!

I never expected to have completed two of my goals this early in the year but could not be happier about it. Check out the picture of the bass below and look for more posts soon!

pb-bass

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.