Technology and nature don’t always go hand in hand, but the Powderhook Hunting App has made it work. One goal of technology is to make things easier for the people that use it and this extraordinary app does just that. Eric Dinger, Co-founder and CEO of Powderhook, partners with some of the most trusted organizations in the hunting industry to gather reliable data that makes sure the users get accurate information. They have determined one cause of the decline in hunters and Powderhook is an app that’s built to help prevent any further decrease and point the arrow in the other direction. In this episode, Eric shares his passion for his work, and the hunting community.
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Extraordinary Hunting App Powderhook – Eric Dinger
We’re heading out to Nebraska and we’re going to meet up with Eric Dinger. Eric is the Cofounder and CEO of a company called Powderhook. What’s all about Powderhook? A lot of us are looking for a place to hunt in various states. A lot of us want to go fishing in various states. A lot of us want to find out how I can build a community online with like-minded people that are going to give me some insights into where I want to hunt fish. Throw that all together and Eric Dinger has put that in a digital format in an app called Powderhook.
I’m with Eric Dinger and Eric is with Powderhook. Powderhook is a nerdy technology company made up of a whole bunch of outdoor guides. I don’t know how that works but Eric is sure going to tell us about that. Eric, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Bruce. I’m glad to be here.
What do you do there at Powderhook?
Thanks for having me on first of all. Powderhook is all about using technology to get people into the outdoors. It sounds a little counterintuitive because most outdoorsmen are trying to figure out how to get people off of technology. Almost everybody reading this probably has a cell phone. Every person under the age of 30 that I have ever been around using their cell phone for about everything. What we are trying to do is build some technology in the form of an app. That is designed to help people find where to go, what to do outdoors, learn from other people and find mentors who can help them along the way. The net of our work is we are trying to get more people out deer hunting, more people out waterfowl hunting. Help them have better days when they go and the turnaround this national trend of declining participation in the outdoors.
I talked to Brian Murphy from QDMA and it’s his twentieth anniversary at QDMA. Brian, some more shout-outs to you and heck of a job. He said 2.X million people forget about hunting. That’s a lot of people.
We’re down from 13.9 million a few years ago to 10.5 million license buyers in this country, even worse over the last several years. Several years ago, the number was about 18.3 million. That’s almost an eight million person fall off of license buyers in this country. If you’re a reader to this show and you’re a hunter, maybe that’s a good thing in your mind, maybe that’s fewer people in the deer woods for you. We’ve got to remember that hunters shoot guns, we need to be politically relevant as gun owners. For those of you readers who are aware of how conservation works in this country, the license purchases and the purchases of guns, bows and ammo all contribute to how fish and wildlife are managed in this country. If those numbers continue to go down at the current rate, we’re going to be looking at a pretty scary scenario for how conservation is funded in this country.
Eric is talking about Pitman robbing some money. It’s a big pot to all that money, sales tax and everything goes into the pot. It’s delegated out to each state agency. The fewer people that are putting money into the pot, the less money the agencies have to do their work.
You got it, Bruce. Why does that matter to me as a deer hunter? If you enjoy hunting state ground, if you like there to be game management in areas that you might potentially hunt, if you want EHD research and CWD research. If you care about the health of your deer herd, those deer don’t have a political say. Those deer don’t have a way to make money and fund their habitat. It’s the deer hunters who are paying for tags and paying for gear that are the only thing between those deer and their habitat becoming strip mall. I don’t think any of us want to see that happen.
A couple of my friends started something locally. Each of them was going out and said, “I’m going to find some young kids. I’m going to find some male or female, it doesn’t matter, or somebody that I know at work or anything,” and takes them out. Forget about hunting, take them out in the outdoor, go for a hike. Watch them shoot skeet. It doesn’t matter. Take them out of their natural element and get them in there because a lot of people I found nobody mentored them at all.
That’s the key insight into all of our work here at Powderhook. Sometimes I will travel around the country and I’ll give a talk. Maybe there are 100 people in the room. If you ask 100 hunters how they became hunters, 99 of them are going to tell you that somebody helped them, somebody showed them, somebody mentored them. What’s happening is, as the number of hunters declines, the number of people available to mentor is also declining. What we’ve built at Powderhook is a different take on the age-old problem of finding a mentor. We’ve created what we call a digital mentor in Powderhook. That’s never going to replace you, Bruce, taking out your neighbor’s kid, it’s not designed to do that. What we can do is we can help your neighbor kid when you’re not available. It is not designed to be something that stands in the way of anything mentoring wise. We need millions of mentors. The mentoring programs that we know of in the United States have thousands of mentors. That’s a pretty big gap, and it’s the reason we’re seeing the hunter numbers decline the way we are. Access is hard. Urbanization is affecting things. Licenses can be complicated. Ultimately, it comes down to hunters and anglers aren’t taking people the way they used to.
Way back when I was ten years old, it wasn’t my father, it was my neighbor who took me hunting and fishing. He was a mentor. Those days, a lot of people hunted or fished, they did all that stuff. It was part of the lifestyle. I remember that and I’m thankful for Aron Knight who took me hunting and fishing. Without that, I don’t know if I have this show. I probably would have, I’d have met somebody else along the way. You think about that, readers, and it’s up to you. Eric, if they’re interested in finding out more about your application, how would they do that?There is a national trend of declining participation in the outdoors. Click To Tweet
The best way to do it is to go to your App Store or Google Play and search Powderhook. Powderhook is gunpowder fishhook all one word. Search that in the App Store or Google Play and you’ll find it. Otherwise, go to Powderhook.com going through right there for you to download, it’s a free app. We make our money by working with businesses. The businesses use our tools to become mentors and have their employees be mentors in our system. It’s a tool purpose-built to change this problem of declining participation in the outdoors. I hope you guys would check it out.
How long have you been up and running?
The company has been around for a few years now. Our app has been live for about a year. One time we were trying to change the way people access private ground. Access is a tough challenge for a lot of people, including me. Not having a place to go, prevent somebody from going. When we first started, we were trying to build the Vrbo or the Airbnb of the outdoors where people could pay for access by day to a private land lease. Instead of leasing land by the year, we were trying to work with landowners to show them how they could get more people, more access by leasing it by the day versus by the year. That business model failed miserably, so we’ve been working on this app angle and the digital mentoring approach we’re taking now. The thought being, we weren’t able to get landowners to work directly with hunters through our technology, so maybe we can have hunters help hunters.
How many people do you have that have the app? What’s your forecast for growth?
We have about 125,000 users. Roughly 30,000 of those have the app. We’d like to see that number double here before the end of the year, so we got a busy fall ahead of us.
About 100,000 is using the app?
We have what we call a registered user, somebody who has used our apps for our website. We have 125,000 of those, and then of those 30,000 have used the Powderhook app.
We’re talking about conversion rates from those 100,000 that have touched your company somehow on their phone have the app. Tell them how they can get the app.
You hit the Powderhook.com on your phone or you can open the App Store or Google Play, search Powderhook all one word. It’s a free download right there, always be free.
We are going to stay on the technology event because Eric is a good friend of QDMA and he utilizes the QDMA tracker, is that correct?
Yeah, we partnered with the crew at QDMA to build them an app before we built our own app, and that app is called Deer Tracker. It’s something you guys might be interested in. What Deer Tracker does is it allows users to create reports so hunters can track what they see in the field, create a diary of sorts. When you saw a scrape, saw a deer, shot a deer, you can create what we call a harvest report and score your deer, weigh your deer, all kinds of cool stuff through the technology. What we are working on there is because that’s a crowdsourcing tool, we build a heat map out of that data. We provide any of the data in the app to the biologist at QDMA. They can use that to make decisions that they think are important.Getting a good percentage of the herd to 5.5 years old is what quality deer management is to the eyes of the QDMA. Click To Tweet
What the app does is it builds a heat map where the map heats up based on user’s reports of daytime mature deer sightings. A lot of times, as hunters we’ve heard that hunting the rut is the most important part of the season. The biologist at QDMA says the peak of the rut is a terrible time to deer hunt because deer are all locked down. That seeking and chasing phase before and after the peak of the rut is the time that you want to be out. What the app does is it heats up like a thunderstorm map. It gets redder and redder the closer you are to that seeking and chasing period in your area.
That’s through actual observation, I’m thinking.
Yeah, more generated data.
Once they input it, it gets uploaded, is that correct?
You got it. The logic is this, if you think about the best time to see a mature deer, most of the year is right after sunrise and right before sundown. During that seeking and chasing period or a couple of weeks before and after the peak of the rut, you are likely to see a mature deer move at different parts of the day. What the app does is it says, “The further you get from sunrise and sunset when you see a mature deer, the more likely that seeking and chasing period is on.” Does that make sense?
It makes a lot of sense to me. Let’s define in your mind a mature deer. What does that look like or what is it?
We went back and forth a lot with QDMA about this. One of the perceptions that QDMA struggles with is quality deer management is all about rich guys growing big deer for themselves. It’s all about antler size. What QDMA is truly about and what their organization stands for is they want to see a healthy deer herd. The best indicator of a healthy deer herd is how many deer make it to a mature age. In their world they are much less concern with antler growth and overall deer size. What they are looking for is can we get a good percentage of our herd to 5.5 years old? That’s what quality deer management is in the eyes of the Quality Deer Management Association. It can be said that in order to have a big effect on that, you have to manage your property, that could be true. It is also true that we can be, in some cases, more selective about which animals we harvest. I’m by no means here to say which deer you should or shouldn’t shoot.
I’m quite the opposite of that. If it’s the deer you want to shoot and you are legal to shoot it, you should shoot it. On the whole, education can happen and is important in this space for what does it take to grow a healthy deer herd? Why is it important that we see deer mature to the upper ages of their total life expectancy? Why should that matter when we pull the trigger? There’re some people that don’t and that’s fine. To those people that want to participate in the QDM ideology or thought process, you probably don’t want to let a 3.5-year-old deer pass early in the season.
I’m sitting here thinking of the farms that I hunt. We’ve seen a dramatic increase since we’ve invoked some of the QDMA precepts and taking the different age classes. The 1.5-year-old, pretty much unless the kids are going to shoot them, are living to 2.5 years old. We’d have some bucks. I killed a 135-inch, 3.5-year-old deer. What would he have been if I let him go? Think about all those readers and what you want to do. I like how Eric said it, “If that’s the deer you want to shoot, shoot it.” It doesn’t matter, because you have every single right. No matter what they say in social media, that’s your deer. You’re going to celebrate that deer and that’s good. In the meantime, you want to have H class recruitment up to 4.5, 5.5 years old. Once you hit that, then your gene pool is strong. All those things that happened when you have a good selected breeding opportunity for these bucks. They’ll fight and they’ll mix it up, but you’ll get good breeding on a high number of does, in my opinion. We’ve seen that on our farm.
You said it well, it comes down to the user’s choice. If I’m pulling the trigger and that’s the deer I want to shoot, I’m going to do it. I’ll give you a good story about that. My wife has got into deer hunting and she’s brand new at it. She shot a button buck on her uncle’s property. We were out and we hunted hard most of the days of the season and we never had a deer. The landowner, whose property we were hunting, never had a deer they were comfortable with taking. They wanted us to take a 3.5 and up deer. My wife has never shot anything with antlers. She shot a button buck and then ended up shooting a doe.
We had a 2.5-year-old tiny “trophy hunters standards.” He was playing in front of us for fifteen minutes and she was shaking so bad, she was so excited. That deer could as well have been a 205-inch typical 4×4. That was the deer of a lifetime to her. I regret being in a position where she couldn’t shoot. I don’t regret not shooting it because the landowner asked us not to. That’s his absolute prerogative, it’s his land. That deer couldn’t have been any bigger in her mind. Amidst that she didn’t get to experience that feeling of pulling the trigger and killing her first antlered deer, knowing that would’ve been the trophy of a lifetime to date for her. Maybe not the biggest deer she will ever shoot but that’s a big deer to her and that would have been fun. All of that goes to say that it’s the doer’s choice and anybody that would judge you for the size of deer you shoot is hunting for all the wrong reasons.
We will see it. We’ll see it in the fall. Some guy goes, “You can’t believe this buck.” Your wife maybe it’s the first branch-antlered deer she’s ever shot. She is proud as anything and somebody comes by and slams her, “What did you kill that little deer for?” It happens. Readers, don’t be that guy. Celebrate somebody’s success and somebody’s joy. What are your thoughts on that?
If you’re a QDMA guy, do your thing by all means. Remember not everybody thinks the same way. I’ll tell you this, I didn’t shoot a buck in 2016, I shot a doe. My wife shot a doe. The doe that my wife shot was probably 2.5. The tenderloins on that thing were about as good as any meat I’ve ever had in my life. That button buck deer before, I tell everybody, “We cooked the tenderloins of that button buck.” There are probably a total of one pound of tenderloin on that deer. I sliced those at an angle. We salt, peppered and garlicked them and put them on as hot of a cast-iron skillet as we could get it for about 30 seconds a side in olive oil. I served those to my family at Thanksgiving. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better bite of meat in my life. I’m here to tell you that if what you’re looking for is feeding your family, do what you want to do. What you’re looking for is shooting the biggest deer you’ve ever seen in your life, do that. You don’t have to have an opinion on somebody else’s deal unless they are asking for it.
Let’s spin out to the Dakotas and the number one pheasant capital of the world and hunt a little bit. Tell us a story about your granddad.
We’ll leave some of those out. I bet your granddad was probably no different.
It was my Uncle Henry. I never knew my grandfather, but anyway leave that alone.
Everybody has an Uncle Henry. I grew up in a little town called Redfield, South Dakota. The little trailer house I grew up in was about 200 yards from the sign that said, “Pheasant Capital of the World.” Dad managed the grain elevator. There are a lot of families in the area. I don’t ever remember a time where we weren’t hunting growing up. It was either sports or hunting, fishing in the spring or in the summer. It was an awesome way to grow up. I guided my first hunters when I was maybe nine or ten. My sister and I had a pheasant cleaning business when I was probably 12, 13, 14. An awesome way to grow up, but what it did is it completely spoiled me. I felt like shooting a limit of pheasants was a birthright and in that area it is. As I moved around the country, I moved to Minnesota for high school and down to Nebraska to go to college. I’ve quickly realized that not everybody gets that opportunity. That isn’t evenly distributed across all people that like to have that opportunity, that’s for sure.
I didn’t hunt deer a lot growing up. I have a baby picture holding the rack of a deer my dad shot. Deer hunting was always second to bird hunting, waterfowl and pheasants growing up. When I moved to Nebraska, the pheasant population isn’t like what it’s like back home. Over the last several years, I’ve picked up the turkey and deer hunting here a bunch. I have got the deer hunting bug pretty bad. Since my little kids are starting to get to the point where they like to go and we’ve got this cool little blind that a friend of ours loves to sit in where all four of us can be up in the blind at the same time. What gives me the passion for it and what I’m excited about going forward is to have those two along with my wife. My wife is always the first shooter. It’s neat family time to have 4 or 5 hours at a time per year not looking at your stupid phone or you’re not looking at the TV. We’re sitting there being a family, that’s fun now and that’s a completely different experience than what I’ve had as a guy growing up hunting for myself. It has been fun to get the kids going. It has been fun to get my wife into it. I’m looking forward to a lot more of that.
Let’s talk about your whitetail experience. Are you an archer, rifleman or muzzleloader?
I never shot one of the muzzleloaders. I love the archery and the rifle hunt. I probably hunted with a rifle more than anything. I didn’t grow up archery hunting. In fact, I took it up a couple of years ago. For the most part I have archery, I turkey hunted a lot which some of your readers may have done. That’s probably not the way a lot of people would prefer it. The turkeys where we live in Nebraska aren’t educated. You can get to them pretty close and we’ve been bowhunting turkeys a lot.
On the whitetail front, I’m probably not as avid as some guys. Probably I’m out and sit 10 to 15 days. I’m by no means a trophy hunter. I, on the last day for the last several years, have shot a doe because I love deer meat. These days it has been about getting my wife going. Helping other people get their deer. I’ll tell you one great story. I was hunting property south of Lincoln, Nebraska a couple of years back. It was the opening morning and it was getting to light. I had what I thought was an absolute giant across about 100 yards through the seeders in front of me. I was excited about it. He was big, his body was big, it looked big.
You get to shakes and you get ready to shoot and he popped between the next row of seeders and I shot. I walked up and found him lying there. He had the classic ground shrinkage. He probably wasn’t a very big deer. He was 3.5 is all but he’s a huge deer, big body. You go through all the joy and excitement and the shakes and then you realized, “That wasn’t the deer I thought it was.” You balance a little bit of disappointment because you thought maybe it was a little bigger. We gut the deer out. We get all done. My dad was with us and I set him back down to the end of the shelter that we were hunting. I walked to the pond that was between all of these to wash my knife off and clean my hands off. Swimming across the pond away from us was the biggest whitetail I’ve ever seen in my life. It looked like the Miami Hurricanes U. He was tall, big, wide, old. He was bleeding every time he breathes across the pond. He swam all the way and it had been 250 yards across the pond. He gets out, shakes off and it looks at me. I can still see this deer. If I shut my eyes, I can still see him.Anybody that will judge you for the size of deer you shoot, is hunting for all the wrong reasons. Click To Tweet
Imagine the Miami Hurricanes helmet, that U on their helmet, on a gray old saggy bellied whitetail, stand up, get out of the water and stare at you like, “What are you going to do?” We spent the next few days walking back and forth in that shelterbelt trying to figure out how to push him to my dad, which isn’t the way that you want to hunt a big deer like that. It was the only option because we didn’t have access to the other side of the property. If he was still in our property, we were doing the right thing, but he slipped us and we never saw him again. I’ll never forget that grunt.
Do you think he was running with the deer that you shot? You saw him and then he disappeared and out came this other deer and he kept on trucking?
That could be, I haven’t thought of that. He was right by where I shot that other deer. What I thought was so fascinating is that my dad would have been in the south end of the shelterbelt. He walked towards me, towards where I shot and clearly that deer got between the two of us. Rather than expose himself, he jumped in the water and swam. That’s fascinating, the survival instinct of an animal like that to be so smart to know not to cross either of us, to slip us and hop in the water and swim away. He wasn’t that smart because had I still have a tag, he’d have been in trouble.
I had him in my scope too and my dad was shooting my butt for not shooting him, but we can’t and so we didn’t. I can still see it and I’m sure a lot of your readers can imagine that one. There is always that one that got away. He was dead to the right side of strong rest at 250 yards and he was standing right there and you don’t shoot. Dad tagged him, I don’t know. That’s too long of a story probably but I imagine a lot of your readers have that deer in their head too, I’m sure. It’s like you shut your eyes and you can see this deer. He was whitish gray. I still haven’t seen a deer that big on the hunt since.
They are hard to see and I tell people all the time, I don’t care if you have 40, 80, 100 acres, but there is a deer that you would go, “No way is he in my property.” You don’t have one on the trail cam for whatever reason and you never put eyes on him, but he is there. I firmly believe that talking to the thousands of people I have. There are too many stories. Did you get double-team and he picked up that other buck with a slip-on and they slipped in that way?
He is a crafty old bastard if that’s what he did. Around here, a lot of the deer in the corn until mid-November even sometimes after the rifle season, because the corn is such a great cover for him. Not until after all the corns are out that they make their way into the shelterbelts and stuff, in some cases. At least down there where we were hunting, it’s all surrounded by corn. Who knows where he ended up?
It’s hard to sneak up on a buck in the corn. It’s hard to do unless the wind is up, everything is going right and you know where he is. They can hide or they can circle you and make you look stupid. They can circle you and keeps circling. They know we’re here or there, there is no question about it. They are smarter than I am, that is sure.
This one was better looking than both of us.
He aged well. What’s your one big thing about hunting? The thing you want to share with the readers?
The big thing would be I talk about this stuff all day, every day. For any of your readers that ever heard me or see me talk, you know that I’m all about getting new people going. That’s what our work is about. I don’t think it has to be a kid but it can be. Once you start teaching new people, it gets in your blood in a different way than hunting for yourself does. It’s not necessarily more or less fun. It’s a different experience. I’ve gotten to where I get as much satisfaction out of taking somebody new. I had a buddy shoot his first pheasant on a trip back home to South Dakota. It’s so much cooler than me shooting another pheasant.
My big thing now is I got a lot of things on my bucket list that I haven’t touched. I shot an elk for the first time, that was a great one with my dad. When it comes to the day-to-day hunting around the home, I started to get to where I like seeing my kids see it. I love it when my wife has success, that’s fun. She shot a grand slam, turkey-wise. It has been fun to see and help get other people going. I would encourage your readers that if you shot a few deer in your life, ask a neighbor. It doesn’t have to be a kid. In fact, the data says if it’s not a kid, there is a lot better chance they can keep going. That person probably has the means to get to their stand and the means to find a rifle, to go shoot at the range and things. Ask somebody new and even if they don’t shoot, take them along. Share with them the experience of watching the sunrise from the treestand. That’s pretty tough to beat.If more people got a chance to experience the outdoors, they will understand that there’s a lot more at play in this world than their lives. Click To Tweet
I think I’ve spent four or five days in the mountains with some friends. There was a guy from Illinois, 48, 50 years old. Never hunted an elk before and we’re hunting archery. Everybody else is paired up and they were 20 years younger, 40 years younger than I am, they said, “Would you mind taking Ron with you?” I go, “Heck no.” He and I spent five days covering over 20 miles above 10,000 feet. Did we see some elk? One evening we saw some of those shots. I told him at the beginning, I said, “The first shot is yours don’t miss. No pressure.” He laughed at that. We saw some sites in the Colorado Rockies and I looked at him one time and I said, “You’re the only person that’s been exactly at the same spot and be able to see the back of Maroon Bells,” all those mountain ranges. He looks and he was like, “Forget the hunting.” To be there over 10,000 feet and looking out at this panorama mountain range to me its life-changing, it never gets tiring. That’s what I meant by taking a guy. It’s a daytime church and I’m closer to God when I’m at 11,000, 12,000 feet or on a course right to the moon. I call it clicking trail in the moonlight. It’s like, “I’m here. I’m living the dream.” He makes it possible. That’s what keeps me going. That’s what keeps this podcast going. Interesting people like you and the experiences that people share, that’s the hunting tradition to me, those experiences.
It’s always the experience. Another thing, if you want to talk hot buttons about hunting is our team has done a good job of trying to relay the message that a hunt is not about the kill. It includes the kill. Absolutely it’s about a kill to a degree, but the hunt is about the animal, it’s about the place, it’s about the people you are with. There is so much more to share than a grip and grin photo about what it means to be a hunter. We’ve done ourselves at this service as a hunting community in general by sharing the big bloody dead moose and not any of the camaraderies. Not the floatplane we got up there on and the unbelievable beauty of Alaska or cornfields for that matter in South Dakota. We forget that. It’s those deeper experiences that are the reasons we love it. When we communicate about it, it’s important that we consider sharing some of the rest of that stuff.
I was thinking about some of the sunrises I’ve been able to see. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, “How the heck did I ever get here?”
There is an island in Lincoln, Nebraska, it’s not a big city binding these 300,000 people, there are plenty of people here. I forget I don’t get to see the sun come up and I don’t get to see the sun come down. I live in town. Trees are all over the place in my neighborhood and I don’t see it. Unless I’m intentional about it, I don’t ever see the sunrise and sunset. I forget how beautiful that is. A lot of your readers probably live in urban areas as well. I don’t think you can take for granted how beautiful that is and how important it is to take other people out there to see that. We lose sight of a lot of things when we don’t realize how big this world is and how much we are ultimately an animal. We need the time to be away and the time to experience those places and those things. Seeing the sun come up is a great reminder of how seldom we get to do that because people like me live in the cities.
I look forward to spending some time in some ridges in Wisconsin where I’ll be. Some of my old stands and some of the new stands we have. It’s always unfortunate there because we are high enough, so the sun comes up and the sun goes down and by doing all day sitting, I see the whole thing.
Not a lot of people get to do that.
It’s incredible the things that I have been able to enjoy and share and people I travel with and the campfires we sit around.
Your tone is reminding me of a thought I have for your readers. My wife and I were in Chicago in December to Christmas shop. That whole city has panties in a wad. There were Black Lives Matter marches going. All the clerks of the stores were all tired, worn out and frustrated. I got to thinking about the exact opposite of that is how you feel when you’re hunting. It was like I left Chicago with this wish for others to have a chance to go sit in a treestand. Sit at the end cornfield and shut up for five hours and be still. I can imagine what would happen in our world if more people got a chance to have the chance to be away and still. It excites me to be working on getting more people to experience that because it can help. Not just help hunting, but help humans find a sense of place and understand that there’s a lot more to play here in this world than their lives.
That’s hard to do. Some people said, “You’ve got to get unplugged, you’ve got to do this and you can read 1,000 books or blogs.” People would say, “Here is how to become a better you.” Both you and I agree or know that it’s really simple. Do the simple thing, go and sit someplace and see what happens.
As deer hunters, we sometimes take for granted what that does to our mindset. I’ve never had better clarity as a person than when I’m in that environment.
I used to hunt DIY all the time. Over the years, my wife loves when I go hunting. She knew who would come back. It’s better than any shrink, a Prozac or whatever. She knew who would come back and she was right 100% all the time. She says, “Hunting is cheap.”
One of the things you should ask your guests in the future is, “Give me a good new excuse for hunting to give to the wife.” In my case, my wife started to come. The good one is I can either go to the shrink and it’s going to costs us $150 an hour or go to the woods for the afternoon on Saturday.
I had a good friend of my wife’s family, Lorraine. She was a good shot. She hunted birds and she had a good dog. She told Kathy before we married, “Kathy, you’re going to have no problem with Bruce.” Kathy goes, “What’s up with that?” If he’s hunting, one he is not chasing. Two, he is not in the bar. Forget the computers, he’s not reading Playboy or whatever, paper thing. She said, “He is engaged with something that’s going to keep him out of so much trouble. It’s worth every single dime.”
I’ll never forget Lorraine for saying that. Kathy didn’t come from a hunting family. She loved Lorraine. Lorraine was a super lady but she told her that. Tongue-in-cheek, she was stating facts, she said, “That will keep Bruce out of a lot of trouble.” I get into trouble enough. Having said that, Kathy and I have been married 47 years and that was many years ago she shared that information. There is a lady that mentored in my life something about the hunting environment to help my wife also.
That would be a fun experiment in getting around over the next few years as you do your show is come up with the most ingenious excuses we found as species.
That would make it into a great eBook or YouTube.
It would be.
At the end of it, I would ask on YouTube, “Here’s my contact, Bruce Hutcheon at WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com.” If you got a better one, if it ever went viral, I have to hire you to figure it out for me.
We were at the Ducks Unlimited bank a couple of years ago, I’ve always owned businesses and started businesses. I have this business idea I’ll run by you, it’s on this topic, your readers are getting a kick out of this. I call it Wife CRM. CRM is the Customer Relationship Management platform. It’s what salespeople use to remember to follow-up with you, things like that. Wife CRM, what you would do is you would put your hunting trips, your fishing trips, anniversary or whatever into your calendar. All the ones that you wanted to take, the CRM would work backward to remind you to send the flowers, to schedule the massage, to take the kids to daycare, to plan a date night. It’s all the things that a guy could be doing to get more time in the woods by taking better care of their spouse. This app would remind you to do it in advance. We’d laugh about the idea of Wife CRM. Once we’re done laughing we’re like, “That might work.” I hope somebody is going to build that.
It would because you could tailor-make it for hunters only. We use Salesforce as the CRM we used to use but that doesn’t matter. To help a guy get on this game and it blows his wife away. All of a sudden, Mother’s Day it’s there, birthday it’s there, anniversaries it’s there, kids’ birthday it’s there. Games, recitals or whatever, it doesn’t matter, you don’t miss it. She thinks you’re paying attention, you are paying attention.
The downside of this idea has always been, “What if she finds out you’re using the app?” You’d have to have this whole PR strategy for, “I didn’t know to send you flowers for our anniversary, I remembered to put it in this app to send it to you.” We started to run this concept by women and they always start with, “I want my husband to care enough to remember to do that.” We’re like, “Does he?” They are like, “No.” I’ve always said, “Would you rather have him do it or would you rather have him remember to do it?” They are like, “I’d rather have him do it. I like that app idea, that’s a good idea.”
We’re having a very eclectic discussion. What are your plans for the fall? Are you hunting in Nebraska or Iowa, Kansas? What’s going on?
I got a couple of trips back to South Dakota planned. I don’t have any exciting ones. I will hunt around here a bunch. Take the family deer hunting during the rifle season. We’ll set a few times to shoot one of the bows, I hope, waterfowl hunting and maybe shoot a turkey. I got a lot of hunting stock up here. Unfortunately, we went and shot an elk and that took the budget for hunting trips out for a little bit of time here. We’ll jump back on the bucket list and see if we can get a good one planned, a couple of pheasant hunting back home, otherwise a lot of stuff around here.
There is halfway decent to good hunting around within a couple of 100 miles where you live. There is no question about that.
Southeast Nebraska is a great place to shoot a deer. The deer are plentiful and there is big deer here, may or may not have one in mind.
Did that deer in the corner come out of Nebraska? Was that a Nebraska deer?
He’s a Nebraska deer. I didn’t shoot him, unfortunately. He is a big guy. He is a beautiful deer. He’s old. We have this collection going here. This is a cool story Bruce. This deer and this deer were found locked together. This is our back stature. These two were found locked together. The crazy story, we’re messing around with them to see if they would come apart very easily. Nobody was ever able to wig along and get them apart. One day I was cleaning our conference table and that always sat locked together on our conference table. Lo and behold, I picked it up ever so slightly, they have dust underneath it and it came apart. Those are two big deer and they were found dead locked together. That was a neat display piece for a long time. Not anymore, now they are a dead deer.
Eric, thank you so much for taking your time. How far off the Interstate 80 are you?
We are 5 or 6 miles, not far. If you’re ever coming through, stop by and see us. The Husker football stadium is about eight blocks from where we’re at. If you’ve ever been on Lincoln and you can visualize downtown Lincoln by the football stadium, we’re about eight blocks south.
Where all the trendy restaurants are, the bars and your law of district if you will?
There is a cool area in Lincoln called the Haymarket District. We’re not in that district, that’s where all the trendy cool stuff is. We’re south and east to that little way. We always welcome people to stop by and if you are coming through, you better show up.
I will. I was running my itinerary and I will be coming through there. You guys are going to be close.
I’m sure we will be working but I don’t think anybody will be here. On your way back, come through and show us all your Wisconsin deer.
I’ll be posting them to my social media and stuff. It will only be one Wisconsin deer and if he shows up, it will be a nice deer.
Thank you so much, Eric.
Bruce, thank you for having me.
We’re all in for a treat on this show of Whitetail Rendezvous. Ryan Broshear joins us from Nashville and he is an independent recording artist. Billboard magazine says he is doing one heck of a job. He’s got some interesting takes on what it takes to be a country and western singer. More important that he has got a whitetail heritage, tradition from his grandfather and his dad that lives with him. He always looks forward to going back to Indiana or Ohio and catching up with his families, spending a few days and sitting around and telling stories.
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