Enjoying The SHOT Show After Hours Is Also Important

I belly up to the bar just to give my aching feet a much needed break.  The SHOT Show will do that to ya, you know!   Okay, maybe the rest of me needed some relaxation in the form of an adult beverage, but the point is I started a conversation with the bartender.   It went something like this…

“I bet you’re happy the gun folks are in town for business, huh?”  I casually broke the communication ice with the barkeep.Manbar

“Oh, you bet!” was his quick reply.   “Heck of a lot better than last week here when the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was in town.”

Puzzled, I asked, “How could that be?   The CES is the largest trade show probably three times the size of SHOT?”

“No doubt,” was his quick reply,  “…but those high-tech geeks come into town, go to their show, maybe catch a bite to eat in a restaurant afterwards, yet they are more likely to hole up in their hotel room playing with their electronic toys ordering in room service.   They don’t sit in a bar to unwind.”

Shaking a cocktail in his hand, he continued on, “You probably think the gun folks like to drink and have a good time (after hours), hell, you should see the cement guys when they come in for their trade show in a few weeks.   Now, those guys know how to have a great time!”

As I brought my beverage to my lips, I pondered the possibility of how different trade shows attract different personality characteristics.   I had no clue the nice folks in the hospitality industry profile all of us patrons quite that way.   As for party animals, it appears SHOT Attendees are merely “middle of the road” when it comes to knowing how to have a good time when the floor hours end.

And that’s okay!   The daytime hours might be very business-oriented, but the after hours can combine a bit of fun along with business, in many circumstances.   It used to be finding a party to attend after the show each night was somewhat of a challenge without certain “connections.”   Well, no more.   Finding places to go or people to mingle with is as easy as joining social media.

In recent days I have seen more than a dozen different invites to private parties extended to folks who dare to venture on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other similar social mediums.   Still at a loss for how to have some fun when the SHOT Show is not currently experiencing business hours?

Come to the Tweet-up below:

I’ll be there and I’d love to meet you in person.   Besides, if that isn’t enough…my understanding is the Sportsman Channel will be giving away some SWAG and you might even find a free beverage or two.   No promises on the last statement, but past experiences has proven that it pays to get out of your hotel room and rub elbows with your SHOT Show peers during the nighttime hours.

©2014 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor Over A Bad Day Spent Outdoors

I’ll choose a fun bunch of hunters or fishermen any day over a group who takes their task outdoors far too seriously.   In fact, it’s the group of sportsmen who know how to laugh and tease one another before, during and after the outing whom I want to be around.   Those who are so focused and serious on achieving some lofty sporting goal…want little to do with them.

You can’t assemble a group of hunters like this in close proximity without the BS flying and the laughs flowing non-stop.

Perhaps that’s why I watch very little outdoors television.   It just doesn’t inspire me to watch edited video of hunters performing at the top of their game show after show as if they were some super hero with a bow.   I want to see sportsmen razzing each other for a missed shot or a fish that didn’t quite get landed in the boat.   The real outdoors contains more misfortunes than achievements and laughter is one of the best medicines to soothe the sometimes painful sting of that reality.

And that’s why I like deer camp.

It certainly doesn’t take meat hanging from the deer pole to generate a good story.   In fact, some of the best stories often end with an unfilled possession tag still in the hunter’s pocket.

This past weekend my buddy, Mitch, had taken several shots at deer with no luck.   Of course, the obvious banter revolved around the fact maybe at the age of 52 he finally needs glasses to see things better.   After some good-natured teasing Mitch’s son whispers a confession to me.   “Dad just got glasses but he doesn’t want you guys to know about it.   He was having trouble in the deer stand keeping them from fogging up.”

You know what that’s called?   That little tidbit of disclosed information in secrecy is called fodder.   Fodder for continued harassment and amped up commenting about needing glasses.   Oh, Mitch has shot and missed a deer since that information discovery…and you can believe now with renewed enthusiasm we commented about his eyes obviously going to hell quickly considering he’s reached middle age.

And that’s what the outdoors should be about.   Not bullying or relentless griping about how someone is a failure in life, but a friendly give and take that is interrupted occasionally by smiles and laughter.

These fishermen have a contest ongoing…and that is to see who can score the best insult on the others in fish camp.

Honestly, when you take the fun out of the outdoors for me it becomes a chore.   I don’t voluntarily get up early and go sit out in a boat during the rain just to catch fish.   I do it to both catch fish and to experience the process of catching those fish.   Often times its the happenings and down-right discomfort about the experience that gets long remembered afterwards.

Certainly, I’m not saying how a person shouldn’t go out on the lake or into the woods focused and serious about why they are out in the first place.   But, I do think that today more than ever there is a pressure on sportsmen to succeed.   That pressure comes from TV, it comes from industry experts giving seminars, it comes from an array of products promising the world if they get used in the field or on the lake.

Truth is, the savvy sportsman knows when to funnel the mental energy into concentrating and focusing on the techniques that put them in the best position to score.   And at the end of the day, rather than beat yourself up because expectations were not achieved…find a way to laugh at yourself and others.   For it is the mature hunter who best appreciates how laughter is the best way to decompress from a stressful day spent in the outdoors world.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Be Careful What You Say On Social Media About Hunting

“#BowHunt Cuz any monkey can hunt with a gun.”

Seriously?!!   This is what I read today on my Twitter feed this morning.  I gotta tell you I have a growing pet peeve that I need to rant about.   It’s sportsmen who make such disparaging remarks about other sportsmen just because they can be such a smart ass on social media.

The problem is this flawed thinking doesn’t always end while sitting with some electronic device in-hand tweeting nonsense.   In fact, for some it seems to be an underlying belief how the way they do something is better than how others hunters may opt to do it.   Quite frankly, such an attitude really rubs me the wrong way.

In my younger days I spent many years hunting with a bow.   A bow, I might add, that is a far cry from the sophisticated mechanical equipment many folks employ in the woods today.   So, if these days I choose to hunt with a shotgun, a rifle or any other legal instrument to kill game, why should I listen to some judgmental person who thinks they are holier than thou talk to me in such a condescending manner?


Don’t be a FOOL like this caveman and think the only proper way to hunt is with a large wooden club.

Personally, I don’t judge an animal killed by a sportsman on the basis of what mechanism was used to accomplish the task.   Oh, sure, it takes greater skill to achieve the end result by using one method over another method.   I get that!   I can appreciate that!   But I would never belittle another sportsman for killing a critter in some manner that might differ from how I currently choose to hunt.

Honestly, it is time for all sportsmen to do some introspection and if you determine you are guilty of this, then learn to grow up.   The downright silly, sarcastic, and sometimes very demeaning speak used by some folks has no place in our online social exchanges.   It’s one thing if the talk is friendly banter among friends inside a small social circle at deer camp.   But such words uttered in the realm of social media where many strangers read and form opinions about our sport only feeds negative attitudes.   It’s totally irresponsible.

If you hunt with a bow and you have synapse activity in your brain that prompts you to believe bowhunting is the only honorable way to hunt, this post has been written for you.   On the same token, if you do anything outdoors and can not show tolerance and respect for other individuals who participate differently, it is time to change your attitude.

We are all sportsmen in a tight community of individuals who love the thrill of the chase.   Just because you deem an extra challenge and excitement by one means of hunting (or fishing, for that matter) in comparison to another way…doesn’t make your way any better.

It’s high time we all do a better job thinking about the meaning behind the words we post in social media.   It used to be our actions were only on display to the non-hunting public when we were afield participating in our beloved sports.   Not so true today.   In fact, many non-hunters are more apt to form opinions of what we do by reading and watching our interactions online…whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it.

If you truly believe any monkey can hunt with a gun and want to stand behind the validity of that asinine statement, well…then say goodbye to being included within the sportsmen ranks.   We don’t need such rhetoric now or at any time ever.   A true sportsman always displays tolerance and respect to his/her comrades both online and in the hunting fields.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.