Hey everyone.  I first need to start off by apologizing for the lack of content lately.  This is unacceptable and not fair to you as followers of my blog.  A lot has been going on which has led me to sit down and write this post.  I have been thinking a lot lately about the best way to create a balance between work, family and all of my outdoor passions. All of these things are important to me and here is what is going on in these areas of my life and how I plan to create this balance to benefit you my followers!

graham-aria

Work

     A little over a year ago I had to move on from my attempt at working in the outdoor industry full-time.  Working the night shift was becoming increasingly difficult on me and my family.  I was able to obtain a position with a local utility company in their billing department.  This past summer, about nine months into my new job, I was offered a promotion to billing manager.  I absolutely love my new position and it has given me a sense of accomplishment in my professional life.  Now, there is one part of my job that has been difficult to deal with. The vacation policy leaves something to be desired, especially for the outdoorsman.  I have to use half of my vacation in January, February, March (our slow time) and can not use any during October, November, December (our busy time). Yep! Ouch! Now if I didn’t love my job so much this could definitely be a deal breaker but I am learning to adjust and deal with it.

 

Family

     Above all else, my family is the most important thing in the world to me!  The kids are growing fast and my wife and I celebrated 8 wonderful years of marriage.  With my current vacation issues, my wife has been extremely supportive and understanding.  Allowing me to hunt as much as possible on the weekends during hunting season.  I was fortunate to be able to harvest two deer this year with my new Darton bow (we’ll save the details for another post!) and limited time in the woods.  I am even more excited with the fact that I was able to get my son in the woods with me on a couple hunts as well! When I first started the blog I was spending way too much time getting things going and I was neglecting the time I needed to spend with my family.  After realizing this, I think I went to the other extreme and have neglected creating meaningful content for you! Hence, my reason for sitting down and creating this post!

Family Outdoors

The great outdoors

     This past year has really been a great year for me in the outdoors!   I have been able to harvest a few nice animals and provide food for my family as well as gain new experiences.  This past Spring I completed the Wisconsin Trapper Education course.  This was a great experience and I look forward to sharing my journey into the world of trapping with you!  To help share that journey and my outdoor adventures with you, I have purchased a small video camera and hope to put together some short clips of my experiences along with the writing! A few new Company Spotlights are in the pipeline and will be coming soon! I would also like to start posting a regular video segment but I need your help!  What do you guys want to see? Reviews, product demos, hunting/fishing tips? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at steve@wioutdoorpursuits.com

     Again, I apologize for the lack of content recently but I assure you that I am back and have a plan in place to keep the balance between work, family and the great outdoors in check!  Stay tuned for an exciting 2017!

graham-me-2

 Crosswinds

 

By Steve Wall

How did you start the company?

Crosswinds was started because as bow hunters we weren’t satisfied with the products in the market. The hunting soap products left the skin itchy and chafed even after only a couple of days of uses. We spent approximately 11 months researching and formulating soaps and added a line of scent masking lotions last season. We saw the need for a high quality, detergent free soap that also had moisturizing properties and masked human odors. We could not find anything available, so we developed our own. Our current soap and lotion offerings include: Black Earth, Cedar Swamp, Pine and Wind.

 
cw_wind_lotion__32346_1427387464_365_365 
 

What do your customers say about your products?

Hunters report that they love our products. They especially love the moisturizing properties of the bar soaps. They report no longer having problems with the itching and chafing like the products they used previously.

However, our success isn’t just measured by the verbal feedback we received, but ultimately by the number of deer harvested when hunters were using our product. The last two years of offering our products, the “results” have been extremely encouraging.

At Crosswinds, we realize we aren’t the only reason for all of the success, but we are a critical piece of not getting “winded” by that big buck.

Check out our website at www.crosswindsbrand.com and the “Adventure Gallery” page for pictures and stories of the successful hunts.

 

What are your most popular products and who is your target audience?

Crosswinds most popular product is our Black Earth scent. Everyone seems to love this scent and it is our best seller. However, it is also a scent that can be used in multiple hunting environments, whereas the pine and cedar swamp are more specific to those locations where one hunts.

 

cw_blackearth_1bar__76969_1427383939_365_365

 

Our target audience is primarily bow hunters and individuals who want to get close to their prey. Currently, our customers are typically those that hunt whitetail deer. However, we also have many hunters who use our products that hunt wild boar, moose, elk and bear.

cw_lipbalm_web__32210_1468809920_365_365

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

We enjoy hearing all of the stories of successful hunts using our products. It’s awesome to hear the people who use our products and the positive feedback. We realize we did the right thing and are making products that people really love and are helpful to hunters. It’s also great meeting the wonderful people we’ve met the last few years that want to help our small fledgling company. We’ve met some really great, great people who have helped us get to where we are at today. People in the hunting industry are generally awesome and want to help and see you be successful.

 

 cw_cedar_lotion__35003_1427386697_365_365

 

What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?

All of them! I don’t do much fishing, but there are many memories from bow hunting and gun/deer hunting with family & friends in Wisconsin. All of them are priceless and important, but especially those trips to the “hunting camp” with my father and brothers to the “hunting camp” in Northern Wisconsin. My father is now 84 years old and no longer hunts so those are experiences and memories that I will cherish forever.

 

 

Contact Info:

Website:    crosswindsbrand.com
Facebook:   Crosswinds brand
Twitter:  @crosswindsbrand
 

 

 

This is a segment to showcase and share a little more information about some great companies!  If you know of a company that would be a great fit for this segment please email me at: steve@wioutdoorpursuits.com.  I hope you enjoy learning more about these great companies!

logo

 

By Steve Wall

How did you start the company?

Jody Simpson, our husbands, and I (Kathryn Brown) were goose hunting in Stuttgart, Arkansas with our families and friends.  We were very uncomfortable in our clothes, for the 999th time because the clothes we wore were our husband’s old clothes. We tried going to several stores to find some women’s camo but there was not a large selection and it was all the same old leaf and stick patterns.  We went to eat BBQ in Texarkana and we were discussing our dilemma.  Our husbands got fed up with the fashion talk and told us, if we were so unhappy, make our own! They were geniuses! The conversation quickly flipped to creating our own line of hunting clothes that would be fashionable and comfortable for women specifically.  We knew that we could make camo out of any shape because it’s all about color and contrast.  It was like a bolt of lightning hit Jody and I at the same time because we both looked at each other and screamed “HIGH HEELS!” The men shushed us, but it was too late, High Heel Huntress was born.  With the help of an artistic husband, we drew out the first ideas on a bar napkin.
 
Image15
 

What do your customers say about your products?

They are very comfortable.  They are versatile.  The pants come up high enough to hold you in but not so high that you are suffocating.  Husbands say that the pants make us look very skinny. Our customers love the fact that our clothing is Made in America!

 

Image-3

 

What are your most popular products and who is your target audience?

Our mid-weight hunting jacket and our base layers are very popular.  We also have studded tops that are a favorite. 

Our target audience is athletic and outdoorsy women who want to be stylish and comfortable.

picture 2

 

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Empowering women to embrace an outdoorsy lifestyle and feel feminine and comfortable.  We have a lot of fun. We love the outdoors, so getting to head out into the woods or to the lake to fish is second nature to us.  We want more women to be as happy and comfortable as we are!

 

 Image

 

What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?

I went along with my husband on his New Zealand  hunting trip with Paul Bamber, our good friend and owner of Wanganui Safaris. To my surprise, Paul offered me an opportunity to shoot a red stag.  New Zealand  looks like a storybook with its lush green mountains, but they are very steep.  After a half day of hiking and scouting I got my opportunity to shoot.  I had not ever shot more than 150-200 hundred yards so I was nervous to shoot from one mountain to another.  I made a 370 yard shot!  It was an amazing experience.  The stag was beautiful and had exceptional crowns that looked like champagne flutes.  ~Jody Simpson

 

Image-9

image-25

 

Contact Info:

Website:   www.highheelhuntress.com
Facebook:  High Heel huntress
Twitter:  @hheelhuntress
Instagram:  @highheelhuntress

 

SPECIAL OFFER: ENTER THE CODE “wioutdoor” FOR 15% OFF YOUR ORDER!!!

 

Comments from Wisconsin Outdoor Pursuits:

With the growing number of female hunters, the hunting community as a whole needs to make sure that these women feel comfortable and happy to be a part of this great sport that we all love!  High Heel Huntress is doing a great job of making clothing that looks good, is practical and that women feel comfortable wearing! Keep up the great work ladies!

 

This is a segment to showcase and share a little more information about some great companies!  If you know of a company that would be a great fit for this segment please email me at: steve@wioutdoorpursuits.com.  I hope you enjoy learning more about these great companies!

x_logo_w-o_anniversary

By Steve Wall

How did you start the company?

I have had a bow since I was a little kid but in the rural area where we live archery resources were very limited. Years later when I started hunting the bows were heavy with cast risers and steel control cables.  I was working for a machinist and heard about a company who was making archery components for a variety of companies such as Martin, Tenpoint and more.  I applied and started working there within a couple of months. Risers were then starting to be made in CNC machines instead of molds. We were making risers, cams and many other machined archery components. They also had an extrusion line that was producing vanes. I was asked to give the extrusion line a go.

IMG_1043

For the next 8 years I ran the extruded vanes for them, during that time we made vanes of softer materials that had great adhesion properties but lacked stiffness and tore easily.  The company was a bit resistant to change even though a need for a stiffer stronger vanes was there. The urethane I wanted to use required more specialized equipment to process.  Sometime around April of 2002 I left the company.  Wanting to stay in the area with a declining economy ( lack of logging) I teamed up with one of my last employers previous owners and we wrote up a business plan.  Shortly after we started building machinery to produce a stiffer, tougher and more consistent vane. Our process allowed us to process the urethane without any plasticizers or mold release that could affect adhesion.

What do your customers say about your products?

Without a large advertising budget it was hard to convince people of our quality so for the next few years we offered free samples to anyone who requested them. Word of mouth worked well for us.  We are not typical salesmen, the products we wanted to offer were products that we would be proud to have in our quiver.

IMG_0318

With 12 sizes , 5 profiles and 13 colors we now have a product for any style of shooting. All made with the same size and weight consistency as the next.  Our customers expect the vanes to be quiet, durable and extremely accurate while keeping weight to a minimum. The efficiency of our process also allows us to keep our prices comparably low.

What are your most popular products and who is your target audience?

Our most popular vane changes almost every year. In the past 4-5” vanes were very popular.  With the stiffer materials now the most popular sizes typically range from 2-3”.  Everything in archery has become more accurate and streamlined to allow these smaller sizes of vanes to achieve the same or better flight than the longer heavier vanes.

IMG_2612

We have vanes for everyone but we really enjoy feedback from the most critical archers, hardcore bowhunters to top level pros. These archers tend to pick apart every aspect of the vane and if we can meet their needs we know that every other archer will be satisfied.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I like a lot about what we do here, there is a lot of satisfaction building a product you truly believe in but I have to say our favorite thing is product testing. Our very first prototypes killed an elk before they were sent to any customers. The Urethane 3” I shot was quiet enough for a 75 yard shot on an unsuspecting animal and I was able to use the arrow, vanes included-again.

PICT0956

What is your favorite hunting or fishing memory?

As far as my favorite hunting and fishing memories…Very tough. That is primarily what we do.  Watching the twins shoot their first bear, or land their first salmon would be up there.  Packing a toddler to a downed bull elk and watching their expression as you approached is pretty priceless too.  We are a family run company, all of us are dedicated to archery and the outdoors. This used to be very common throughout the sport, but unfortunately less and less all the time.

Caleb 2014

IMG_0525

Contact Info:

Website:  Vantec.com
Facebook:  Vanetec Inc.
Twitter:  @VaneTecInc
 

IMG_1063

 

 2011 Tom

Comments from Wisconsin Outdoor Pursuits:

When looking at archery equipment, vanes can sometimes be overlooked as one of the most critical components.  Strong, durable vanes will improve your shooting consistency. If you are interested in some of the best vanes on the market be sure you check out VaneTec!

 

This is a segment to showcase and share a little more information about some great companies!  If you know of a company that would be a great fit for this segment please email me at:  steve@wioutdoorpursuits.com.   I hope you enjoy learning more about these great companies!