While sitting in the woods turkey hunting last week, it dawned on me that I have no idea where the majority of my hunting gear is made, how it's manufactured, and under what conditions the individuals making this gear are working in. For all I knew, some six year old in Thailand has assembled the three-legged stool I was sitting on. Who the hell was I to enjoy the pleasures of a morning spent turkey hunting, at the cost of a child's well-being?
According to a poll conducted last year by HunterSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com, I am not the only one who has begun to think about the origins of my hunting products. 95 percent of those surveyed indicated it was very important (54 percent) or somewhat important (41 percent) for sportsmen to buy products made in this country. But as the cost for an American made product rose 20% over that of a similar product made overseas, more than 50% of sportsmen said they would buy foreign made.
As a small-scale farmer and business owner, I have already begun to advocate for buying local foods. Why could this not cross over to hunting products? I looked at these trends and knew something had to be done. I needed to get the conversation rolling around the products available to sportsmen, and why we choose to immerse ourselves in a market filled with cheaply made foreign products that serve one purpose - higher profit margins for big-box hunting and fishing outlets. Thats when I came up with the idea of telling the story behind hunting products made right here in America.
Many of the owners of these operations are sportsmen, just like us, and are trying to make it work through good old fashion entrepreneurship, with a little craftsmanship and ingenuity sprinkled in. You can show your support by following the blog series right here on the "Conscious Hunter", and by searching the #HuntAmericanMade hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Tomorrow evening, I will be rolling out the first of this blog series, in an interview with Kyle Green, co-owner of HillJacked. HillJacked is an innovative chair that allows you to hunt and fish on sloped surfaces more comfortably. Stay tuned, and don't forget to use the #HuntAmericanMade hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to share your favorite American made hunting products!