The Average Joe

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The Average Joe

Hi, my name is Joe and I’m average. Although I am normally pretty self-deprecating, the aforementioned statement is not meant to be so. I am just your regular, middle-class American guy with a family. I am the Average Joe.

While the barrier to entry into hunting isn’t high, it would certainly appear that way if you are just starting out and doing any sort of online research. You’ll find articles, forums, and various other talking heads arguing about buying high-end optics and tripods (guilty), hunting out of state, private vs public land, shooting custom, or semi-custom rifles, and spending a mortgage payment on a bow.

I might lose my job for this, but I’m here to tell you, you don’t need all that stuff. At least, not to get started.

I’ve been hunting since I was a little kid. My dad started taking me along with him when I was about six or seven years old. He handed me an old blue knapsack and a pair of K-Mart special Bushnell binoculars. I was double-socked up in boots that I would grow into, outfitted in Lee Jeans, and stacked with as many layers as it would take to keep me warm. I glassed with elbows on my knees, and I spotted game.

I used those Bushnells well into my 20s when I “upgraded” to a pair of Leupold Mckenzies . Then, in my early 30s, I picked up some Vortex Diamondbacks. I didn’t even start using a tripod until I was 33 years old.

I’m 38 now and am in a better position in life. I can afford some of the nicer things out there. However, if the question is, “Do I need to spend thousands of dollars just to get started?” The answer is a resounding NO.

I love hunting – I’ll be out there every chance I get, and the only way I can afford the opportunity to hunt is to keep it to a small budget. I have too many kids and other responsibilities to spend money on out-of-state tags, custom rifles, and every other lightweight gadget to give me an edge out there.

That’s what this regular column is all about – how to get along without spending too much and creating tension with your spouse. Granted, I am lucky to work at Outdoorsmans, and my job does come with some benefits. However, I’ve been hunting on a budget long before I started working here, and I haven’t forgotten my roots. Further, my lovely wife doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for gear, and I’m not too fond of taking family fun money and spending it on just myself.

In this series, I will share some ideas about how you can hunt every year without breaking the bank or your marriage. I will talk about the benefits of hunting with your kids, challenging yourself, working hard, and finding success even if you don’t pull the trigger or release an arrow.

For those of you who value informative gear reviews, tips and tactics from professionals, and exciting adventure stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I’d recommend looking into subscribing to Western Hunter Magazine. It’s jam packed with invaluable information to learn from at any level.

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Joe Mannino

Packs. Tripods. Optics. Gear Up
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