Get Hangry Outdoors
“If you don’t know where to start, go back to the beginning.” This is a quote that has haunted me since my first viewing of Escanaba in Da Moonlight. The quintessential movie you watch at deer camp with a bunch of guys before opening day. Except, I have always been the only girl with a bunch of guys. Selfishly, I have always enjoyed it that way. Until I had a daughter of my own and I saw her stubbornness and tenacity as a reflection of my own. The same spirit that says I will join you, even when I am not invited.
I’ve always been a little rough around the edges. I was raised by two parents with a younger brother. We lived in a rough neighborhood and I was guarded. I could out climb any kid in the neighborhood to the top of any tree. I wanted to hang with the guys. I followed my dad everywhere and I watched him hunt and fish. I dropped his prize lures into the lakes and rivers. I poked eyeballs out of dead fish heads on my cement driveway from the fileted carcases that he threw down.
I begged my dad to hunt. Initially, he was not too fond of the idea. But like my daughter, I was stubborn and tenacious. I was bound and determined to hunt. He gave in and this selfishiously became our time. My dad and I were often hunting on our own. We would sit outside on the coldest of days and I was determined to withstand the cold longer than he could. Hand warmers and men’s clothing. There was not much in the selection of “women’s” outdoors wear. We went out on the weekend and came back with stories and jokes to share.
My dad made a friend on a hunting excursion and at a campfire, like so many I have stood around before, I met a boy. I don’t want to sound too cheesy and I am not one for superstition or fate. However, I knew in that moment that I was going to marry this boy one day and that I did. Our relationship has been built on a foundation of comradery, trust, and the outdoors. We now walk on the same property that we walked on as kids with kids of our own. I have visions of yesteryear as we point out animal signs to our children. Trudging through tall grass, leaves, and snow.
Hangry Outdoors, to me, is what we long for in our lives. Time to just breath and appreciate the inner workings of this amazing world. Noticing the things that we do not notice on our highway drive-bys. After a long week, putting on mud boots and going for a trek in the woods with the kids to observe wildlife and the ever changing scenery. Watching them appreciate our public lands and having them leave it better than we left it. Preserving food and creating new recipes with our wild game meats. Hangry Outdoors gets me thinking about that bonfire, that night, with that boy. A life now blended with two young kids of our own and the outdoors still in the center of it during our fishing and hunting expeditions. Get Hangry for the Outdoors with us my friends. This life is quite the adventure and we want to share our learnings of the outdoors together with you.
Bountiful harvests and happy cooking,
Written by Jennifer Hiller
I’ve got court tomorrow, but tonight I dine with my wife and kiddos. I’ve hiked our banana leaf barstool up to a 3CM white granite Peninsula and proceeded to scarf down some wicked hot Thai cuisine from Bangkok Sala Cafe’. Tomorrow a Judge will decide whether a narrow strip of land we own as part of an oxbow shaped parcel of lake-front land we purchased can be adversely comondered by our neighbor. But all that tension fades away at our heirloom, white pine diner table when the kids start giggling and carrying on as they do.
My wife decorates our interiors outrageously. They’re adorned with buck mounts and yellow fin, master angler walleye, and musky mugs; shoulder mount momentos and skin-mount monuments. Fanciful reminders of beautiful, bountiful bounties of yesteryear and vacations into the wild.
It’s not the trophies or the bragging rights I cling to. It’s the time spent with family and friends. I would gladly give it all up if it came down to keeping the memories and chasing the next journey, or keeping the stuff and periodically clutter dusting. When you’re out on Big water gazing at the horizon, or setting up a tree stand for opening day, or laughing around a campfire there’s a calm that I’ve been hard pressed to find anywhere else. There’s a feeling you get. You realize in these moments what it’s like to see the forest for the trees.
Right now a quarter of the population is ‘coming of age.’ That’s 1.8 billion young people. I see a statistic like this and think about my own son. About how eager he is to grow up and be his own man. I think about the 21st century, technology, and the pressures we put on young people to succeed. We shouldn’t be afraid of what’s to come and we shouldn’t be worried for our youth. They’re going to be just fine.
I do think that we are wise if we think of new and creative ways to offer our youth more blank canvases and fewer paint by numbers. More opportunities to figure out their own coming of age, in their own way. The future will have more of everything: Not the least of which should be childhood experiences.
Historically, cultures have had coming of age rituals that their youth partake in (https://wwwglobalcitizen.org/en/content/13-amazing-coming-oc-age-traditions-from-around-th/). I myself was not raised in a religious household. Being born and raised in a sleepy little town in Northwest Michigan, our ritual was more in line with the Inuits who at the age of twelve (12) head to the woods to test their hunting prowess.
It was around this same time, having already successfully bagged my first buck (a spike-horn that was barely 3 inches, but man that is still to this day my favorite hunt), that I met Jennifer for the first time. We didn't first start dating until after completing Undergraduate degrees and beginning Graduate school, but for me there’s the time before Jen, and the days after. There’s time squandered musing about, and the fleeting moments you have once you know what you want out of life. There’s time otherwise wasted, and other occasions truly relished.
There was endless bar hopping and College partying, and then there was something new, purposeful; motivation to be and become the best version of myself. I’m not saying motivation doesn’t wax and wane: And I’m not saying we don’t all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. Especially after an intensely long week in the gauntlet of corporate America.
What I am saying is that’s what I envision HangryBrand being all about. It’s about family and foodies, about play and pranks, and about not taking yourself too seriously. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and having the courage to try new experiences. It’s about being workaholics and works-in-progress. It’s about not hiding your emotions because they may be inconvenient for others. It’s about discovering more about ourselves in the process. Above everything else, spending more time with those you love.
Happy fish and Tight lines. Welcome to the Evolution,
Article written by Mike Hiller