Archive for February, 2008

Get Published!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

As most of you know, I have been tinkering with writing for some time. I have about 70 articles published on Associated Content, and I continue to write for that site. Hopefully I will have a couple more articles published there in the next few days to tell you about. Recently, however, I have wondered about further possibilities. A couple of posts back, I mentioned the need for literature (such as comic books) designed by hunters for kids or young adults. Well, another Idea I have had is to try to write either a series of short stories, or a book centered around hunting, fishing and other outdoor endeavors.

The problem with a major writing project like this is getting published. Realistically, it is nearly impossible to get a manuscript into a major publishing company. Establishing a market for the book before hand would be necessary, and difficult to do. We, being virtually unknown to either the market or the publisher, would have a very difficult time getting anything past the planning stage.

This is where self publishing companies come into play. I came across one today, AuthorHouse, that makes getting your book published easy to do. From scanning their website, it looks like the company will work closely with you through the entire publishing process. You start by signing a contract, and then upload your manuscript. You maintain constant contact with representatives of the company through the whole process, including design, layout and final publication.

There are 3 levels of publishing to choose from: paperback, hardback, or full color paperback. Prices start at $698 to get the book published. that may seem like a lot of money, but it is really not much, compared to going through traditional publishing services. Once the book is published they will help market the book by putting it in their store, as well as selling through Amazon and Barnes and Nobel bookstores.

This publishing is done on demand, which means that one book at a time can be published. Each book is published, and then distributed at the time of the order. You as the author can order the books at the discounted (wholesale) price, so that you can distribute as many as you want to yourself.

This service may certainly be the answer if I ever get to where I can sit down and organize my thoughts into a coherent book. When I get to that point, I’ll dig a little deeper. Maybe some of you folks are a little farther along than I am. So, check out this Book Publisher!

EDIT:  Special Thanks to AuthorHouse for sponsoring this post…

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

Friday, February 29th, 2008

 

EDIT:  I guess everyone knows that the election is coming up quickly.  Unfortunately, I am not sure that there is much of choice between the candidates.  I’m not convinced that any of them will be particularly good for our nation.  I do encourage all hunters to do a full examination into the policies of both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, as they are going to be very detrimental to our 2nd Amendment rights.  I am hoping to have an article published very soon on my Associated Content Account that highlights some of Obama’s stuff.  In the mean time, you might check out Camo Girl’s blog to see a summary of what he has been up to in his political career!

PETA’s “Mommy Kills” Campaign

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Your Mommy Kills AnimalsIt’s been a while since I have posted a good PETA Watch article. But, as I was looking for something good to post about today, I came across this article, which addresses one of PETA’s campaigns–one that is being used in or around schools, targeting young children!

It seems that it is now acceptable for PETA to portray hunting, fishing or trapping parents as murderers to their children, when those same parents are not present to either defend themselves, or to show the irrationality of the incessant babbling of the PETA representatives. I don’t know about you all, but I find this both offensive, and irresponsible. I think the author of the article I linked expresses the viewpoint of outdoorsmen pretty clearly. We are happy to allow people to have differing opinions, but those opinions need to be expressed in a reasonable way.

I found another website that you might like to take a look at as well: Target of Opportunity. I haven’t read most of the site, so this is not a blanket recommendation of it. However, there is a rather nice write upon PETA, and this campaign. The picture at the top of the post came from this site (which is one of the comic book covers that PETA is handing out!). You can click on the image and read the comic book in PDF format. You will be sickened by what you see there! Look around the page that is linked and you will find a very humorous picture that has been created to reflect PETA’s own killing principles.

I wonder how long it will really be before people catch on that PETA and their practices are not good, even for their own agenda? Which of their practices has really done anything to help their militant agenda? Splashing fur coats with paint? Protesting naked? Handing out comic books portraying a person as a psycho murderer? None of these things will bring about the change that they desire, because most people are far too rational to fall for the insane propaganda that they are spouting. I do fear, however, that young people who come from “non-hunting” families can be turned to “anti-hunters” by this type of nonsense.

What is the solution to this? Perhaps we need someone who is artistically inclined to publish something similar that actually paints the outdoor sports as they really are, instead of as these nuts paint them! Again, I am reminded of how valuable our blogging platform is, to put out truthful, and realistic information about our outdoors way of life!

EDIT:  I just realized that I forgot to link the article at the beginning of the post.  It is now linked if you want to take a look at it!  Sorry about that!

One of Those Days…

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Well, my site has been down for most of the day today. There is some irony in the fact that I was reading Jody’s post over at the Hunter’s Wife, about being cautious online,  just this morning. I am not really worried about my personal safety, so that is not my greatest concern. However, I am not nearly as cautious with my personal information as I should be. Another problem that I have had had in the past, is that I have used passwords that are far too similar for different things online.

This is what came back to bite me today. Evidently, someone was able to guess a password to one of my email accounts, accessed the account online, and sent out at least one spam message from my account. My hosting service picked it up, and shut down all of my accounts. If you tried visiting my site sometime after about 1 pm, you probably saw some nasty message about my accounts being suspended…I had violated the Terms of Service agreement, without even doing anything! They refused to open my email accounts back up until I had changed every last email password.

So, the moral of the story is: use difficult passwords to guess, and make sure that you use different passwords for different accounts and online activity. Hope you all had a better online day than I did…I had to spend over 2.5 hours on the phone with tech support and changing email addreses and passwords.

Tuesday’s Tracking: Simply Outdoors

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingToday, I’m tracking Arthur over at Simply Outdoors. Arthur’s blog is one of my favorites, as I think I can relate to most of what he writes. Simply Outdoors is about local hunting, and the outdoors. Arthur writes thought provoking pieces that really get to the heart of our way of life as outdoorsmen (and women). Every day I check Arthur’s feed to see what is new.

Recently, Arthur has written some posts that have really hit home with me. In one recent post, he challenged us all to think about who we believe has had an impact on our lifestyle as hunters and outdoorsmen. He followed that up with a post asking who our mentors were (as outdoorsmen). That made me think of how thankful I am to my dad for taking the time to include me and my brothers in his hunting time. I know that he made a lot of sacrifices early on to take us out hunting. He gave up some prime locations, and prime hunting time to allow a couple of young hunters to get some experience. He has always been thrilled with our success, and has worked hard to make sure that we get deer, even when the deer weren’t always plentiful. Now, he is there for my kids as well, willing to take them out hunting, even though he knows it means he probably isn’t going to see any deer. That doesn’t really matter at this point–they are having a blast just by going “hunting”. He can’t have all the fun though, because I too like taking the kids out hunting. Of course, starting next year we will have 2 kids to take, so I am sure we will probably have our hands full. So, thanks dad for getting me started, and thanks for being my hunting partner down through the years. Here’s to many more years!

Arthur also has a great post today about the importance of “social hunting”, and how that style of hunting will probably not lead to killing the biggest of the bucks. He talks about how he is willing to sacrifice the big bucks for the comaraderie of hunting with friends and family. I can’t agree with him more. Big bucks are certainly nice, but at the same time I am not willing to sacrifice the limited time I have to hunt with my family and friends for them. If they come by, I certainly won’t hesitate to pull the trigger, but I’m going to spend my week of hunting with my dad, brothers, and friends. If that costs me the “big one”, then so be it.

So, as you can see, I think Arthur and I have a lot in common. Keep up the good work Arthur, and I’ll be one who keeps on readin’!

EDIT: I meant to mention Arthur’s jump into publishing articles on Associated Content, but forgot. But, since he posted about his newest article, I though I would add a little edit, and tell you all (if you haven’t done it yet) that you need to go take a look at his article on Bringing Back the Positive Image of Hunting. Make sure and rate the article when you read it!

Product Review: Matthews Genesis Mini Bow

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I have been hinting at this review for a few days now, but have not had the time to sit down and write it. I am finally able to get it down, with not much time to spare before my “Tuesday’s Tracking” is due tomorrow! So, without further ado, here is my take on the Mathews Genesis Mini Bow.

The Matthews Genesis Mini Bow is a bow designed to get younger children involved in the sport of archery. In fact, Matthews has worked to make this bow available for schools to use in physical education archery classes, as well as for archery clubs in the public school system. The Genesis series bows are the perfect choice for these classes and clubs because of their flexibility. These bows are designed to grow with children, so that they don’t have to be replaced every time the child grows (like most archery equipment).

Adjustable Draw Length and Weight…

The Genesis series of bows is designed to have a very flexible draw length. Without adjustment, the draw length covers everything from 14″to 25″. This is accomplished by having a 0% let off design. This means that there is no “break over” of the cam (more detail later). The draw weight for the Mini can be adjusted easily by either loosening or tightening the main limb bolts. The weight range is between 6 and 12 pounds. Since the draw weight itself is so small, it is ideal for very small shooters. With the 0% let off, whether a child draws it to 14″ or 25″, he is holding back the same poundage. This is impressive, because the same bow can be shot as the child grows through these lower draw lengths, and having a bow with an adjustment up to 12 pounds will ensure the bow will last for at least 2-3 years before a child is ready to move on to other equipment. So, not only can you start a shooter earlier, but you can be sure that the equipment will not become outdated too soon. My dealer said that most schools use the Mini for classes up through elementary school, and then move to the regular Genesis bow for the middle school and older kids.

Other Specs…

This bow is very well made, which is surprising for the price that it sells for. Compared to other bows that are designed for smaller kids, this one puts the others to shame. This bow is designed for durability, and I believe it will hold up to the task of providing hours of recreation for children who are notoriously hard on equipment. Some of the specific features that make this bow top notch include:

  1. Aluminum idler wheel, and cam. Matthews did not use plastic wheels, like some other manufacturers. This would easily be a place to cut cost, but it would also cut quality. These wheels should hold up to any use that a child could put it through. Simply put, they should last longer than a child will using the bow (even if it is several years).
  2. High strength, durable strings. This is another detail that could have easily been overlooked. But, lets face it, kids will be hard on a bow string! They could have gone with a cheap imitation of a bow string, but this is very similar, if not the same as, the string material used on other adult bows. With the low poundage, this string should last for years (if properly maintained).
  3. Split Composite Limbs. The limbs seem to be very well made. The composite material is very durable, and will , like the rest of the bow, be strong enough to last for years. Again, the low draw weight will also help here, as there will not be much strain on the limbs.
  4. Molded Competition Grip. The grip is not overlooked on this bow. For some equipment designed for kids, comfort elements are often bypassed for cheap materials. Again, that has not happened with this bow. Every detail has been addressed in the design of this bow.
  5. Quick Replace Rest. If there is a weakness in the durability of this equipment, it has to be the rest. However, this rest is designed to be able to be replaced quickly and easily. It doesn’t take anything but a wrench, and it takes very little tuning. Basically, it only has to be level with the knock point. It can be replaced easily, and very inexpensively.

That summarizes the main characteristics of the bow, and shows just how durable the bow is. Here are a few of the general specs that you may be interested in:

  • Axle to axle length: 29 1/2 inches
  • Riser length: 16 inches
  • Brace height: 6 1/8 inches
  • Draw Weight: 6-12 pounds
  • Draw Length: 14-25 inches
  • Let off: 0%
  • Colors (or Flavors as Matthews calls them): Red Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Black Licorice, Hardwoods Camo

My Take…

My son shot the Matthews Genesis Micro at the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show at the Ohio DNR booth. He had an absolute blast doing it, and I was very impressed with the fact that he (at just under 5 years old) was able to shoot the bow unassisted, at least once he learned what he was doing. After looking into the bow itself, I decided that I would get one for him. Though he has not had the chance to shoot his own bow yet, as the weather has been too cold and rainy, I am sure that he will love it. I also believe that the quality is so good that I am planning to hand down this bow through all three of my kids, as they should be spaced apart at just the right intervals to be ready for it as the older one grows through it. I recommend this bow highly for anyone with younger children (4-8 years old) who want to get them started in archery.

Notice, that this bow comes in several colors. That, I think, is important because archery is not about hunting. My son got the camo bow because I know that is what he would like the most. However, he has already figured out that his bow is too small for deer hunting, and has started calling the bow his “target bow”, since that is what he will be shooting with it. Archery is a sport that anyone can get into, even if they never have any desire to start hunting. In fact, hunting is only a small part of the sport. Archery is a sport that you can get your children involved in with you, so that you can have “family time” together. I know when I was growing up, I loved spending time with my dad on the range shooting. Often, in the late summer, and fall, we spend Saturdays at various archery clubs shooting 3D tournaments. I’m looking forward to getting my son involved so that we can get started in shooting tournaments such as that.

Where to buy…

The Matthews Genesis Mini is available in many places. Cabela’s has the black version available in a package deal for $199. I called Gander Mountain and found that they sell the bow, by itself, for $129. I found it at a local dealer for $159, so that is where I bought it, as it would have cost me more than $30 to drive to the Gander Mountain. You can also find a retailer at the Matthews web site.

Final Word…

If you have a child somewhere between 4 and 8, you have to check this bow out. For older children, check out the regular Genesis–Same quality, with a little larger frame!

Jacob’s Birthday Bow…

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Jacob's BowI started off thinking that I would do a two purpose post, telling you all about Jacob’s bow, and his reaction along with a product review of the Matthews Genesis Mini Bow, but decided I would do that in two separate posts. It is just too difficult to write up a good review and interject such personal information in with it. So, here is a look at Jacob’s birthday party, and the bow that he received as a gift from his mom and me. You can click on any of the pictures to see larger versions of them!

Jacob has been learning to read, and is doing very well with it. So, I printed a picture of his bow, with the arrows, quiver and finger guard, along with the following text: “Jacob, if you can read this, you can have this.” He had no problems reading the caption, and then, without any surprise at all, he simply said, “Well, where is it?” He was very happy to get the bow, however it was extremely rivaled by the plastic toy horse that his sister gave him, and some monster trucks that some friends gave him!

Jacob's BowSo far, we have not had the opportunity to get out and shoot. The weather has been terrible since his birthday, with a lot of rain, snow, sleet and ice. We are hoping to get him out very soon so that he can try it out. I have to make sure that the bow is cranked down to the lowest level so that he will be able to pull it back and shoot it. We don’t have any room at our house to shoot, since we live in the middle of town. However, I am hoping to take him over to a nearby park that has lots of room, and some safe places to set up a target for him against a flood wall. We may also go to a friend’s house, where there is plenty of room to get out and shoot. I am hoping that we will be able to join an archery club by this summer, so that we will be able to get out and do some 3D shooting. My wife has a bow that she has not used since Jacob was born, but I think we may even be able to get her out there with us! Archery can be such a great family sport, and I hope to make it something that we all can do together for years to come!

Hopefully, I will be able to get that post on a review for this bow done soon.  It really is such a great bow for young folks who are just starting out.  They had nothing like this for us when we were growing up!  We got into archery about as soon as we could, but I know I was much older than Jacob is!  I will leave you with one more picture from Jacob’s party.  This one came right after he unwrapped the bow, and I think you can certainly see the excitement in his face!  Thanks again to everyone who wished Jacob a happy birthday!

Jacob's Bow

The Lunar Eclipse…

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Lunar EclipseYesterday, I heard that there was to be a full lunar eclipse. That means that the moon would fall completely in the shadow of the earth. It is a very impressive sight when there is a full moon, and suddenly it starts to go black. We heard it was going to be later in the evening, so we almost missed it. When we got home from our church services last night, I looked up through a hole in the clouds and saw that the eclipse had already started. This was the first time that Jacob or Skylar have been able to see such a lunar event. Jacob was very interested in it…Skylar not so much so yet. But, at least they got to see one.

Lunar eclipses are not as rare as solar eclipses, but they still don’t happen every day. I have seen the date of December 10, 2010 on a couple of other blogs, as the next time there will be a full eclipse, but have not researched it enough to see if that is accurate…I suppose it is since it consistent across the blogs.

Anyway, I just thought it was cool to see such a wondrous site, and I hope it was clear enough in your neck of the woods to be able to see it!

I will be trying to get the pics of Jacob’s birthday loaded up so you all can see him with his bow…hopefully by tomorrow!  Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes!

Tuesday’s Tracking: Outdoors With Othmar Vohringer

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingTuesday’s Tracking today goes out to Othmar Vohringer and his great blogs. As with last week, I have to point out that Othmar has several blogs that he writes, or writes for. Looking at his Blogger Account, he has six blogs identified:

  • The Outdoor Bloggers Summit
  • Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer
  • My Stand
  • My Wild Outdoor Kitchen
  • Wild Turkey Fever
  • Whitetail Deer Passion
  • I have to admit, I have not read all of those blogs. In fact, I did not even know that the last 3 existed until I started writing about Othmar! I am sure, however, that I will be subscribing to all of these blogs, as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Othmar’s work. The subject matter certainly encourages me to take a look. So, don’t be surprised to see the rest of those sites show up on my blogroll in the next few days.

    Othmar’s blog, Outdoors with Othmar Vohringer is a must read blog for outdoorsmen. This blog is full of valuable information, and it also keeps us posted on a lot of legislation that will be either helpful or detrimental to our outdoors heritage. Othmar seems to be well informed about the stories he writes about, and writes in such a great manner that it certainly helps the rest of us be more prepared for the challenges we may face.

    I also have to mention how much Othmar comments on blogs. As I began the process of publicizing my little corner of the net, I couldn’t help but see the many helpful, and insightful comments made by Othmar on various blogs. It also didn’t take him long to poke his head in here, and start contributing to the posts that I have made, and some of the discussions that followed. It’s always great to know when folks are reading what you write, and are willing to comment (whether they agree or disagree).

    So, if you all have yet to read Othmar’s good work, make sure and click on the links and visit his sites. It will be well worth your time to poke around, and see what he has to offer. Thanks Othmar for the great blogs, and I look forward to continuing to ready your stuff!

    And the Plan Moves On…

    Monday, February 18th, 2008

    Watching the local news tonight, I learned that the State House has approved the plan to start hunting safety courses up in the secondary schools. The courses proposed are for hunting safety, ATV safety and survival skills. Now, it must go to the Senate for final approval, and passing to the Governor to sign into law. So, the first step is completed, and two more to go. If it can get out of the Senate, I am sure that the Governor will be signing it. So, I become more confident that this legislation has a chance with every step!

    Be sure to see my other two posts on this subject for more background: