Saturday, August 1, 2009

Deadfalls and Snags, Writing About the Outdoors

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Hints for New Bloggers: Deadfalls, Snags, and Cliff Faces

Writing is a lot like hunting. You slog your way through swamps and morass, climb gumbo slick clay hills and razor sharp talus slides, you freeze your rear off and burn your shins, all to collect what is due you for the hard work. Patience, perseverance and opportunity have their payoffs.

Occasionally even after all the hard work, an elusive deer or a cagey turkey can give you the slip. Out of the corner of you eye you see a ghost flit by, and you know that was your trophy. What can you do? Head back to camp recollect yourself, go back out and do it again.

Have you ever sat in front of the keyboard with a great idea you wanted to share, only to find that the idea flits away like an autumn leaf? (Just like that eight point last year. Remember?) You know what it is that you want to say, where you want to go, but all of a sudden you lose the track. The scent, so to speak, just wafts away. What do you do?

If you’re like me you cuss like a sailor stuck on ship during liberty in Bangkok, and figure out something else to write about. Sometimes I can hold onto the thinnest of tendrils and drag the storyline kickin’ and screamin’ back into the synapses that lost it in the first place. Occasionally I’m at a dead loss. (Sort of like the time I fell asleep on the No. 7 from Manhattan to Flushing. Doesn’t happen to frequently mind you; when you’re as A.D.D. as I am, something else always pops up to distract you.)

“Ok, I have an idea what do I do now?”

I’m glad you asked.

Once the initial thought is roped and throttled into submission, you have to put it on paper. Create a starting point and work your way through the introduction first. Set the stage for what is to come. Think of it as a good bartender. He sets the mood and tone for the whole dining experience. I like to be somewhat witty. Usually I have to rework it a few times before it is even remotely amusing or even eye catching.

Usually if you can get through the introduction the rest just writes itself. If you are so excited that you just can’t put it into words, then just write down the action words that are moving you. You can always add nouns, pronouns, verbs, and the grammar stuff later!

But maybe your masterpiece has hit a dead end, or better said a bend in the road where you just can’t see what’s right around the corner. Your best bet is to approach the bend slowly and carefully. Who knows what might be waiting for you there! Coax the story out of the bend. Tell yourself the story then find the words to write it. Always be careful at this point, many people are misdiagnosed as crazy for mumbling to themselves, so try to keep it to an inner monologue.
You might have to bypass that area and go right to the end, and then backtrack your way to where you left off. I find that to be a particularly good way to outfox a cagey essay.

Sometimes you have the body of the story, and it's the introduction that eludes you. I know that feeling well. As I mentioned earlier, I try to be humorous. But you may be just as well served by introducing a fact related to your main story, or maybe even skipping to the end, and then telling the rest of the story!

One last thing. I have found that if I can let it sit a couple of days and come back to it, many times there are small things that I catch. Punctuation, clarity, or a turn of phrase come to me and really can make a difference. The scheduling function really helps, in that once you have the story set up for publishing, the pressure is off you. The work is in, you met the deadline, and now you can relax! You can come back to it at leisure and double check your work at liberty. I'm getting almost two days ahead now, and it really helps me get things in order, and turn out a better product.

After two years of blogging, these are some of the things I have learned. Remember that most of the time the story is already there. The hardest part is just getting it told!

Best regards,
Albert A Rasch

Related Links:
OBS Challenge: Preserve and Defend the Outdoors

Friday, July 31, 2009

Citizenship in the Nation

Here's a great post. It's amazing to me that more parents do not take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the local Boy Scouts.

Random Acts of Patriotism: Citizenship in the Nation

It's a pleasant diversion, so go read it.


Florida Felons Report: Turtle Traps Stolen from FWC

FWC Turtle Work Stalled By Theft

Attention all my Florida friends. Be on the lookout for these turtle traps!

Sometime between noon Wednesday and early Thursday morning, someone stole four Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) research hoop nets from Lockey Lake, off the Apalachicola River in Gulf County.

Kim Sash, an FWC wildlife biologist who works on the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area, said the 10-foot-long, barrel-shaped nets or traps were partially exposed above the waterline in the small lake across from Bryant Landing. The hoop nets are used to capture and tag alligator snapping turtles, a species of special concern.

All of the turtles are released on site.

Each of the hoop nets, identified as FWC property, costs $135.

"We hope someone will have a change of heart and return the traps as soon as possible," Sash said. "If that happens, there will be no questions asked."

Sash said she could be reached at 850-827-2417.

Otherwise, taking and keeping the traps is a felony. The Gulf County Sheriff's office is investigating the theft.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922.

Kim Sash (850) 827-2417

Breeding Hogs, or Stuff I Done, and Know Better Now

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
This is from about nine years ago when I actually thought I could selectively breed and raise a herd of red colored razorbacks.

My dear hog enthusiasts,
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
In my never ending quest to further the fun and frolic quotient at the Three Bar Spear, I decided to start a captive breeding project. I thought I might share with you some of the things I have learned in the last few months.
Image Credit: berndkru
More Eurasian than not...

1. Pigs bite...hard.

2. Pigs will bite the hand that feeds them...repeatedly if given the opportunity.

3. Don't put your hand in their mouths in order to determine if they have teeth. You can rest assured that they do, even when they are little bitty things.

4. Pigs will eat anything, including your gasoline soaked, foot powder reeking, cow patty smeared footwear. They do not like whole oats though.

5. Do not send your children into a pen with hogs that are over 40lbs. They will eat them too. (Dads, a ten year old WILL clear a 4 foot field fence with room to spare if properly motivated.)

6. When sows are in heat, everything goes to Hell in a hand basket.

7. Boar hogs don't like anyone when the girls are, well you know, responding.

8. Field fence, with posts set 12 foot on center, is barely adequate to restrain a 120lbs hog. 8 foot on center with the addition of 2X6s for reinforcement on the outside, and two strands of barbed wire at 4" and 16" on the inside, might be better.

9. A 300lbs hog pretty much does what he wants.

10. You will love your pigs.

Image Credit: ricksege
Seriously, I have two litters on the way, due sometime in September. From those I'll start culling immediately for confirmation and aggressiveness. I've got one sow that has attitude, but lacks size. This might have been due to poor nutrition as a piglet though. What I need to capture is a good boar and a couple of more sows to fill out the breeding pool. In a couple of years I should have an adequate line going.

I'll try to keep you all posted on my endeavors!

Those where the days! Those first two litters, quickly turned into more than thirty head of hog! I couldn't sell them fast enough, and I even gave some away. But the real story was my father in law who despite my entreaties and appeals, could not keep himself from feeding them all the restaurant refuse he could lug home! My carefully planned diet, exercise plan, and breeding program was impossible with so much interference. The final straw was his penchant for letting them out of their pens so they could "stretch their legs" a bit more. My neighbor, seizing the opportunity, shot my big breeder boar. He shows up at my doorstep with a picture and innocently asked if maybe one of my hogs got out.

I called the local Sheriff Department and donated all the other hogs to them for their prison kitchen...

Now that is yet, another story!


The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A.L.L. = Afghan Lessons Learned for Soldiers: How to use this blog

Afghan Lessons Learned

I'm just giving these guys a shout out and a little link love. These fellows are doing what the Army command should be, and that's helping our boys prepare for deployment. When they leave to fight in Afghanistan, they really need this information.

Their most current post is: Know your IEDs. It's short and to the point; take a look at it and see what our boys contend with daily.

Stay safe, be strong!

It's About Time We Pushed Back!

Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
PayPal squelches Soldiers Angels Fund Drive

Many of you a probably aware of this, but PayPal is vehemently anti-gun. They allow anybody else do their business through PayPal, but not any identifiably gun oriented transactions.

While putting together a fundraiser, actually mid way through it, PayPal suspended the fundraiser drive that Soldiers Angels was running.

Read all about it at the Smallest Minority.

The Smallest Minority puts it well:
"I've never asked this before, but I would appreciate it if every gun- and mil-blogger on the web and every gun board picked this up and spread it far and wide. I'm tired of gun-bigots. PayPal needs to hear from US - the law-abiding gun owners of this country - that we're no longer willing to just roll over when we're abused by the companies we "trust" just because we believe in and practice the rights guaranteed to us under the Second Amendment."

Contact PayPal. Their Customer Service phone number is (402) 935-2050.

Let's raise a stink over it! It will take you less than three minutes to call them, tell them that you would like to speak to a supervisor, ask the supervisor who you should speak to, tell him, her, them, that you are sick and tired of being discriminated against.

Please, let's see if this is a battle we can take to them and win.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS
The Hunt Continues...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learn to Shoot, Learn to Hunt

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

So You Want to Start Shooting and Hunting...
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Image Credit: Grant MacDonald
I’ve had a couple of requests from folks that are asking me to contemplate ideas for the aspiring or beginning hunter. You know something, that is a great topic, and one that I will gladly write about. I think it is of the utmost importance for the future of hunting and wildlife in general, that we do everything to encourage and facilitate new hunters, fishermen, and outdoorsmen into our ranks. Every new kid that picks up a fishing rod, every new wife that takes up a firearm, is yet another person that will appreciate the great outdoors, and will be a bastion against the forces of emotionalism and timidity that are swamping this nation.

The question posed to me by the indefatigable Mr Borepatch was, “What would you recommend to someone who's never been hunting?” And Steveo UK also added, “How about something for beginners.” I would like to look at it a little more broadly, and take up your specific questions in the next part. Oh by the way Steve, is that a Hasselblad?!?!

When I am introducing folks, and especially children to shooting, I have a method that I like to use. It’s relatively inexpensive, fun for the whole family, and really sets the stage for everything else that follows. If you follow along too, you will not only start off on the right foot, but you will likely bring several other folks along with you too. This is assuming that you have never shot before, and that it is a new found interest, or you are bring someone up into the tradition and sport.

Now that I have your attention, let’s dive right into it. Go to Walmart and get two Red Ryder BB guns, and a couple of pints of BBs. They are cheap, and they are about the best introduction to shooting you will find. The Red Ryder is virtually non-threatening, and there is always the "You'll shoot your eye out kid!" from A Christmas Story to have fun with. Even mom's that are dead set against guns and things of that nature can usually be convinced to allow their precious princes and princesses to have a little fun with the BB guns.

So now, not only are we going to learn safe gun handling habits and the basics of shooting, we are going to create a safe and instructive atmosphere for others to learn in too.

I know most of you are familiar with the rules of safe gun handling but it never hurts to go over them again.

  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Do not allow the muzzle to point anywhere but down at the floor, or down range.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Do not allow your finger to touch the trigger or be inside the guard unless you are actually shooting.
  • Now your target and be sure of it. Identify and be sure of your target and anything behind it.
  • Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. Do not load until you are ready to shoot.
  • Last, assume every gun you handle is loaded. Assume every gun is loaded; do not ever take anyone’s word for it.
Ok, now to the nitty gritty. A cardboard box with a Sunday paper in it is a more than adequate backstop for a Red Ryder. Sheets of paper with a black magic marker dot are inexpensive targets. Now tape up a piece of paper with a couple of big black dots on it, and have at it, punch holes in that paper until you have grasped the fundamentals of shooting. This is the time to get those fundamentals down like breathing, positions, and techniques. There is very little you can’t learn with the Red Ryder! Before long you will be amazed by what you can do with the Red Ryder and a handful of BBs.

Have a bag full of rinsed out soda pop cans at your disposal, plenty of BBs and enough safety glasses for the whole group. Get your safety glasses at a big box store, they are much cheaper, and are the same Z-87 rating that shooting glasses are. You rinse out the cans so no bugs come out of them as you pull them out. If you won the BB gun battle, don't lose it on the bug front.

Safety first, so go through the rules, but don't make it dry and don't lecture. Have a little fun with it, but make sure the kids and adults know you mean business. I have a one warning rule, and that’s for the group as a whole. The first infraction gets a warning for the whole group, with any other infractions being immediate removal from the shooting area for the individual, and having to sit out the whole shooting match.

Image Credit: V Distortion

As far as the shooting goes, you can make up the game's rules to suit your proclivities. Get a couple of boxes and lay a 2X4 over it and line the cans up. You can tie some twine to the tabs and string them up from a low hanging branch or clothesline. Anything that appeals to you and that keeps everyone’s attention and focus is good.

Start out each person individually so you can observe the level of responsibility and attention span of each one. If you are comfortable with what you see, allow a couple of them to shoot at the same time.

Father and daughter, Mom and Dad, Mom and son teams are always a lot of fun, and I make sure that the kids win often! Nothing primes the desire to shoot like being a winner.

So now we have convinced Mom or your neighbors that at least BB guns aren’t inherently evil. Maybe you’ve made a few converts along the way, and naturally they want to expand their repertoire. In the next installment we will take the next step.

Related Links:
Learn to Shoot, Break the Flinch
Boar Hunting Calibers: Part I

Wild Ed's Texas has this! Shoot Where You Look!

Black Arts for the Good Guys

From the not-always-so-pretty-world of Corporate Security and Protection comes M with a series delightfully called: Black Arts for the Good Guys.

Straight forward hints like: "One other thing. Always...always pack a decent high lumen flashlight like a surefire , a l.e.d. headlamp and extra batteries for both." are plentiful, as are hints that you might never had thought of, "Recover the weapon and kill them right then and right there." Practical advise when you don't know what's around the next corner.

Normally I tend to stick to the sporting, but with many of us having to travel for work and occasionally for fun, being prepared is cheap insurance.

Best Regards,

Mountain Bike - A very useful tool

Photo Credit: My Favorite Marlin

My Favorite Marlin has a great post on using a mountain bike as a means of outdoor transportation. I myself have frequently used touring bike as a means of getting me around different potential suburban hunting areas, and I am glad to see MFM taking up the cause!

Best regards,

Update: He has added a part II: Mountain Bikes Part II

Really good stuff and worthy of far greater exploration. As I mentioned, I ride around on the asphalt trails and I have been giving some consideration to how I could use the bike to access certain areas around here. What accessories one would need, and things of that nature. Seriously, I think this needs further exploration!


The Suburban Bushwacker.: There’s No Tool Like An Old Tool Or BoB Sends Bushwacker Back In Time!

The Suburban Bushwacker
One from the Archives

Here is a great story from SBW's archives. I remember reading it fairly early on when I first started blogging. I think SBW was one of the first, if not the first blog I followed.

The Suburban Bushwacker.: There’s No Tool Like An Old Tool Or BoB Sends Bushwacker Back In Time!

Best regards,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Girls Can Pee Standing Up Now

Public Service Announcement
The things I post...

Look, before anyone gets all up in my personal internet habits, I received word of this as a press release! I thought it was a clever idea. I would like to see it in desert tan for the female troops. And that is actually the first thing I thought of when I saw it. Obviously it is practical for ladies in the field too...

Link: Go Girls

I don't think I can do anything else today...

Hunting Fallow Deer: Tips and Techniques

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Trophy Fallow Deer Hunting
Image Credit: Matt Burrard-Lucas
Spotted Coat Mature Buck in Velvet
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
Image Credit: Stuart
At one time, way in the distant past, even before my dad was born, the Fallow deer was native to most of Europe. An important food source for sabre tooth cats and other toothy predators, the Fallow deer was even appreciated by the fur wearing, spear wielding, deer hunting, Palaeolithic man for the tasty, low fat, and tender venison. But as the glaciers receded (or was it advanced?) and areas became more arid, their range became restricted to the Middle East, parts of the Mediterranean, and Persia. Palaeolithic man ever resourceful, shifted his diet to include more of the other white meat, Eurasian wild boar, to compensate. But we will pick up that thread later.

Easily tamed, it was the ever practical Romans that sensibly reintroduced them to the various parts of their far flung Empire. Even Great Britain was stocked with Fallow deer by those clever Romans. The Celts thought it a grand idea too! Unfortunately the Romans didn't quite make it to the North American continent, so it was only recently that Fallow deer arrived on our shores. Ranches like Native Hunt in Monterey, California have been stocking and breeding Fallow deer for many years.

Fallow deer prefer to graze on grasses in open areas, but they do like wooded and shrubby areas to shelter in. Winter browse consist of the same woody brush and trees they shelter in. Weather plays an important part in the overall health of the deer and quality of the buck's antlers. Good spring weather followed by a summer with occasional precipitation that creates quality browse and grazing conditions will promote big bodies and maximum antler growth.
Image Credit: oggywaffler
Admired by many for their impressive palmate antlers, fallow deer bucks are a must have mount for any hunter, exotic or otherwise. The Fallow bucks start, like most deer, with "spike" antlers during their first year. For the first three to four years, their head gear consists of primarily a main beam with points similar in shape to a mini elk but without the graceful curves. Depending on genetics and nutrition, at about three to four years of age the bucks start to develop palmations. Some have narrow longer palmations, while others grow deep, wide palmations. Trophy Fallow deer antlers are broadly palmated with several small tines. An exceptional set of antlers will measure in excess of 28 inches in length with an inside span of at least 24 inches.

They are relatively small bodied. An adult male Fallow Deer stands between 32 and 48 inches high at the shoulder and can weigh upwards of 200 pounds. They also exhibit a wide variety of colors. When I asked Mike at Native Hunt about the different colors available he said their Fallow deer come in a beautiful white, a warm chocolate, and the spotted variety.

Image Credit: alesimba

Hunting trophy Fallow deer is not necessarily for the sedentary or armchair hunter. The terrain can vary from sun baked scrub, to brush choked ravines, making the physical challenge one to remember. There are hunts of course that are less physically demanding. Blinds are set up identical to a deer stand, along trails and near meadows or pastures where the deer may pass or congregate. Just ask your outfitter for the different opportunities available.

Rifles can be on the light side; anything from a 24 caliber on up is more than adequate. I would suggest a lightweight 243 Winchester, a 6.5X55 Swede, or a 257 Roberts. Of course if all you have is a 308 or 30/06 then by all means bring that! If you are going to hunt wild boars at the same time, then perhaps a minimum of 30 caliber would be prudent. The range that they are shot at can vary substantially, so check with your outfitter to determine the conditions you are likely to face, and what they recommend.

My good friend Mike Riddle at Native Hunt has been managing several herds of Fallow deer on his properties for many years. He has SCI Gold Medal Fallow deer that you will be proud to hang on your wall. But even the management deer are trophies in their own right.

"At Native Hunt, we focus on providing guests with absolute Tier I service. Our goal since we began operation in 1990 is that guests should be able to spend their days in the rugged outdoors hunting exotic game or exploring the property with one of our adventure tours, yet still be provided with great comfort and luxury in the wilderness. Native Hunt’s focus is entirely on the guest; giving them a memorable, successful hunting experience, while at the same time providing an extravagant retreat."
Mike Riddle, CEO Native Hunt

If you are considering a trophy hunt for Fallow deer, or perhaps a mixed bag of exotic game, give Native Hunt a call and book a hunt. Mike runs an exceptional operation that caters to his clients needs and desires. Native Hunt is a licensed, state-bonded, and insured hunting guide service. They have been in business since 1990 with ranches located in beautiful Monterey and Fresno counties. A hunt at Native Hunt will be a hunt to remember!

Native Hunt

Contact Native Hunt with any questions or to make reservations:
General Questions:
Hunting Questions:
Bookings: 408-837-0733
Or call toll free: 1-888-HUNT-321

Related Links:
The Hog Blog: Busy Weekend!
Phillip takes a Fallow

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

The Chronicles Index

© 2009 Albert A Rasch
I thought it was time I put together an Index to all the great posts on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. With over 250 individual posts, some of them are becoming increasingly hard to find. This should help! I will update it regularly to keep it current.

The permanent link to the index page will be over there to the left.

Top Ten Posts!

Disassemble, clean, and reassemble your Ruger 10/22 magazine

Part I: Disassembling the Ruger 10/22

The Range Reviews: 416 Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan

Boar Hunting Calibers Part I

SiegeWork Creations American Longbow

Part II: Cleaning the Ruger 10/22

Hog Hunting Rifles Part I

The Range Reviews: YHM Black Diamond Upper

Boar Hunting Calibers Part II

Where do HSUS Donations Go?

Hunting, Shooting, and Ballistics

Terminal Ballistics and Hunting

Learn to Shoot, Break the Flinch

African Lion Hunting

Know Your Limits: How to Avoid Being Neutered

Trampled and Gored: Hunting Hogs in the Long Grass

Skewered: Scouting for Hogs

Hogs and Dogs

Boar Hunting Calibers: Part I

Boar Hunting Calibers: Part II

Hog Hunting on Horseback

Whitetail Deer Season Prep: June

OBS Challenges and Other Blogging Challenges

Bloggers: Defenders of the Great Outdoors

Why I Joined the OBS

The Range Reviews of 2009

SiegeWork Creations American Longbow Pt II

SiegeWork Creations American Longbow Pt I

Revision Eyewear Sawfly-TX

OTB Ferdelance Boots

Nikon Monarch ATB 8X42 DCF Review

The Last Ivory Hunter: Book Review

Individual Battle Pack by Tactical Medical Packs

Squishy Bowls by Guyot Design

AGI Armorer's Course Colt 1911 45 Auto Pistols DVD

Quaker Boy Typhoon Turkey Call

Precision Bowhunting Book Review

Tuff Products Quick Strips

Eureka Timberline 2 Tent

Century Deluxe Stainless Steel Stove

Buffer Technologies: 1911 Recoil Buffer

SpincoUSA: 1911 Recoil Springs

Combat Application Tools: The C.A.T. M-4

AGI: AR-15 Armorer's Course

Tool Logic's Survival II

Tac-Pack and Tac-Pack QC

ClearShot Lens Cleaning Kit

TriSquare eXRS TSX 300

WR Case and Sons Ridgebacks and Hunters


Pineapple Jerky from

Buffalo Bill's Beef Jerky

CMMG Immortal Magazine

YHM Black Diamond Specter

Darn Tough Vermont Socks

Sterling Sharpener

SOG Twitch I

Otis Advanced Bore Reflector

SOG S62 PowerLock with V-Cutter

Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan 416 RCM

Hunter's Rights and Second Amendment Issues

PeTA: Child Abusers

How to Support Animal Rights Groups

Where do Donations to the HSUS Go?.

Instincts and Hunting

Real Men Hunt

Why I Carry a Gun

Game Reserves, High Fence Hunting What are the Facts?

Ethical Question: Hunting or Shooting

High Fence Hunting

Chronicles Projects

We build a Pirogue!

A Ruger 10/22 Rotary Magazine Tutorial

Learn to Shoot, Break the Flinch

Hogs and Dogs

Boar Hunting Calibers: Part I

Boar Hunting Calibers: Part I I

Hog Hunting on Horseback

I’ll Have My Coffee Now If You Please

Making a Powder Horn Pt I

Care and Cleaning of your Sleeping Bag

Making Snap Caps

Guest Posts

Whitetail Woods: First Aid for Hunting Sportsmen

Assorted Other Posts:

Protect Yourself from Plagiarism: Part I

Protect Yourself from Plagiarism: Part II

Why I Carry a Gun

Real Men Hunt

Trophy Merriam’s Turkey

Chronicles Interview: JS Croner Part I

Chronicles Interview: JS Croner Part II

Fallow Deer: Hints and Tips

Better Blogging!

Bayside Biology: Mangroves

This should even help me find stuff more easily!

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Monday, July 27, 2009

Better Blogging or What if my Brain Explodes?

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
"With some luck, the framework you have built will stand up to the pressure and keep you from becoming another skid-mark on the underwear of life experiences."
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Things have been a little different lately. With over 8000 unique hits per month and almost 12000 page views, I’m beginning to feel some pressure to up the writing ante a little more. After a long discussion with my good friend Mike Riddle of Native Hunt on the music industry and issues of marketing, and then working with and doing the interview with Scott Croner of Nebraska Hunting Company, I was doubly convinced that the time had come to really push and try to create something with even more value for my readers.

My buddy Rick over at Whitetail Woods happened to respond with a comment on the interview post. It got me thinking deeply about the following. I’ve been blogging seriously for about six months, and the question before me now is where and how do I go from here.

Rick made the comment that we as bloggers can bring business to people in the outdoor industry, and the unspoken converse is that we can just as easily demolish them. I hadn’t really thought of that with any intent. But as many of you know, I did both over the last few weeks. And when you stop to contemplate that, you find yourself realizing that you wield an enormous amount of influence when you write about someone or something. That’s quite a bit of responsibility. It is a lot of responsibility not only to the subjects of your articles, but especially to your readers.

The folks that read your blog are certainly expecting you to give them something of value. The desires may be different, and whether it is information, a respite from the day’s trials, humor, or moral support, they want value for their time. You have worked hard to build up that trust and relationship.

At a certain point though, you have to determine what it is that people come to you for. I really like the issues related posts like the high fence ones, and product reviews remain a favorite too. People really like the gossip ones, and the how-to articles also. It is the combination of those genera though that has made me a somewhat popular blogger. And it has brought me some attention from the bigger fish in the outdoor industry pond.

The one thing I have tried to do is stay honest with my writing. I write in my own voice, from my own experience, and using a style that I have developed over time that communicates in what I think is an effective manner. Now as my writing has matured, and the demands become greater, I find myself wondering how am I going to keep the Albert Rasch that everyone knows and either loves or hates, speaking to them.

When I found myself this past weekend wondering about that, I stopped and considered the ramifications. As you start to push the envelope, one of three things will happen: you throttle back to a comfortable range, keeping satisfied with what you have and the status quo. You break through and find a new pace in this new region, completely foreign to you, but exhilarating in its new opportunities and horizons. Or you get torn to pieces, burning up through the atmosphere as you splatter and crash in an uncontrollable wreck of furious destruction, to be forgotten in a couple of days.

Well, I’ve done the latter all together too many times, and the former is not that appealing; I mean really, I’m middle aged not dead. The middle choice though seems just about right. Fortunately having just about made it to the mid-century point, I have learned that it never hurts to lay off the throttle a moment, size up what is going on around you, then punching the afterburners. With some luck, the framework you have built will stand up to the pressure and keep you from becoming another skid-mark on the underwear of life experiences.

You might have noticed that I’ve been feathering the throttle on occasion here and there. Link posts, silly post and things of that nature. Those are the days when I am either working my way through another project, or setting up a project. Those lightweight posts, they serve a purpose too, they don’t just take up space. The link posts in particular are important in that they are there to help everyone, but they are pretty easy to put together and they give me time to work in depth and breadth on other things.

Going back to the framework, I think that as you mature as a blogger, and the assignments get tougher, you really have to sit down and decide what your core values are. I think I am fair, honest, flexible, hard driving, combative, credible, and honorable. And I think my writing reflects that. When you’re wondering how you should handle an opportunity or assignment, your stated values help you determine how to handle them. It really has made a difference for me to frame and build a structure around many issues by falling back on these values. I’ve also avoided a few things because there was no way to work within my values. The ability to walk away from things is what keeps you credible.

I have had the opportunity to work with several professionals in the outdoor industry recently. What I can tell you is that the last three weeks or so have been an altogether cram course in Al Gore’s Internet, marketing, SEO, Google, and stuff that I can regurgitate if not expostulate. I have learned about e-mail, g-mail, snail mail, and chain mail. The last one was coincidental by the way… along with SEO, B2B, B2C, CNC, NBC, AWHFY and assorted and sundry other shortcuts and what not. This past weekend though I hit the saturation point and I just had to slow it down. There are only so many acronyms you can remember, and only so much ingenuity at any given time in this brain.

Working with others in the outdoors industry has been a great experience for me and has added immeasurably to my ability to communicate with my readers. I am on my way to being able to put together better and more useful content that helps you be a better sportsman and outdoorsman.

A little introspection, some analysis, defined values, and a few clear goals will really help you focus on any project you may have in mind. Whether it is the next step in your plan to conquer the Internet, or your next post, having thought about it with a little more structure in place can only make it better, and perhaps easier on you. Reach out for advise, and be willing to stretch and learn new things. As I am fond of saying, the best investment you can make is that in yourself.

And of course I invite all of my fellow outdoor bloggers to always feel free to ask me about anything. Any time you need a hand I am always available and ready to assist, if you want to do a guest post, if you want me to do a guest post, blogging advise, some linking, or just to throw the bull around. The campfire always has space for one more, the pot of coffee is always fresh, and a tumbler of Bourbon is always handy.

Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

Whitetail Woods: Nate Collelo and his Muzzleloader Buck from 2008

Whitetail Woods with Rick Kratzke

Rick Kratzke does a nice casual interview with fellow Northeast Big Buck Club member Nate Collelo. Nate retells the taking of his super nice deer on the last day of muzzleloader season!

Whitetail Woods: Nate Collelo and his Muzzleloader Buck from 2008

Best regards,