An Interview With Huntress and Entrepreneur – Mary Hagen
Posted by

I met Mary at a recent fundraising banquet for the Mule Deer Foundation. The MDF is a great organization that does a lot of amazing work, especially in the western states. Theor conservation projects don’t just help mule deer – they usually help all of the critters in that area – from bugs to birds! Mary was kind enough to support the event not only by being there, but with a generous donation of a set of her amazing Ladies’ Camo

I learned that Mary is an amazing young lady – not only because of her hunting, but she is an active entrepreneur as well, owning several small businesses. I thought my readers would enjoy learning more about her! I do appreciate Mary taking the time out of her schedule to answer some questions! ~DesertRat

1. You have several companies on the go! How on earth did you get so many? Could you tell us about them?

Hagen Hunting is my pride and joy, and my passion. But I am what you would call a serial entrepreneur – - I just can’t seem to stop developing businesses! I got into business consulting about 5 years ago with a handful of clients, all with basic business development needs (mostly technology related). I had the right relationships in place to take the jobs, so I pulled together a team of developers, designers, and various consultants and we started helping startups get off the ground. Now, to answer your question; I have so many businesses under my belt because that’s what I do day in and day out. I build businesses – - some for myself, some for others on the clock. It’s a blast! These are my companies, (though I currently work full time on Hagen Hunting and a few select clients):

2. Which company is the most exciting for you?

Hagen Hunting, without a doubt. This business is so much fun, and it gets such a positive response! This is the first company that I’ve developed where investors come to me wanting in. I don’t have a background in fashion, manufacturing, or design. But I am a bow hunter, and a business woman. This company is so fulfilling for me – I am really solving a problem in the marketplace and making the magnificent outdoors more accessible to women with my gear. I absolutely love it.

3. Talk to me a bit about Hagen Hunting; how did you decide to jump into the camo business?

As a bow hunter myself, I have designed gear that solves all the problems that I was having in the field (wearing men’s gear more often than the limited women’s lines that were available). I started hunting about 4 years ago. When I went shopping for something to wear for my new hobby, I realized that my options were terribly limited. So frankly, I was just unhappy with the current options and I knew I could do it better.

4. What has been the biggest surprise or challenge about your venture into camo?

I quickly discovered that a good pattern was going to be crucial for the business to be a success. I needed to bring out something effective, flattering, and NEW. We considered designing our own pattern, licensing one of the big names (Kryptek, Sitka, Kuiu), but ultimately I wanted to do something totally unique, and just for women! We went forward with a pattern called Desolve Camouflage, and it is phenomenal. But tracking that down was a bear.

5. What’s next for your ladies camo business? Where do you go from here?

I’m just looking to grow the business at this point. We have an incredible media plan lined up for 2016 that will get my brand a lot of exposure in the US, and to support the huge influx of sales that we fully expect… (snicker, snicker) … I will be growing the internal executive team and support staff.

6. You’re a hunter; what’s your favorite thing to hunt?

Bull elk. No question.

7. So what’s your dream hunt? The one on top of your bucket list?

New Zealand, bull elk and red stag archery hunt.

I really, really would like to thank Mary for taking the time out for my readers. We wish her all the best and it will be exciting watching her companies grow!

You can learn more about this great line of camo – made specifically for ladies – here: About Hagen Hunting

Hunting in Newfoundland with Arluk Outfitters
Posted by

While at the Phoenix ISE Show in March this year, I was happy to stop by the booth of Arluk Outfitters. There I was able to shoot the breeze with Keith Payne and his wife. Being from Atlantic Canada originally, I always get a little nostalgic when I run into someone from that part of the country and it was nice to visit with the Paynes about their Outfitting Service in Newfoundland. I asked Keith if he’d be willing to do an interview for my site, and here we are!

1.It seems like people tend to know a little more about Newfoundland than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Do you think that’s the case?

Newfoundland is now definitely better known worldwide than we were 10 or 20 years ago. We are one of the best, last wilderness places left in the world and people are finding out about us by word of mouth, through social media and through the marketing efforts of our Provincial Department of Tourism. We are also unique geographically and culturally, and our Tourism department has done an excellent job of telling the rest of the world about us. It’s amazing how many people drop by our Arluk Booth at trade shows and tell us that visiting Newfoundland is on their bucket list.

2. As you travel around and talk to folks – what is their perception of Newfoundland?

Because of the great marketing effort that I mentioned, there are fewer misconceptions now than there once were. Yet, people are still surprised to hear that our climate is quite moderate and we are in fact not far north. Our capital, St. John’s, the oldest city in North America, is the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington. If you speak to anyone who has visited Newfoundland, they inevitably talk about how friendly the people in Newfoundland are. In terms of our big game, Europeans were not aware that we have the highest density of moose in the world and that we have large, trophy class moose. They are comparable in size to moose in British Columbia and Alberta.

3. As a guide – what is your favorite species to hunt with your customers? Why?

I love moose hunting but I also enjoy caribou hunting. The thrill of hearing a bull moose respond to your call never gets old. The anticipation as you hear them grunting and raking the trees on their way toward you will get your heart pounding every time. They are magnificent animals and I have great respect for them. Moose meat is also a major part of my diet.

4. Besides great hunting, what might people be surprised to find when they get there?

Newfoundland is well known for its sparsely populated wilderness areas, beautiful seascapes, icebergs, whale-watching and quaint outport villages. Less well known is that Newfoundland is also rich in music and the arts. Every region of the province has festivals from the “Opera on the Avalon” festival on the east coast to “Trails, Tales and Tunes” on the west coast.

5. Best advice for people coming in to hunt with you?

Plan to come a few days early or stay a few days longer. We are much more than just one of the best places to hunt and fish in the world.

6. What about fishing?

More than 50% of all Atlantic Salmon rivers are in Newfoundland and Labrador and some would argue we have the best brook trout fishing in the world. At Arluk, our fishing lodge is located on the site of Lee Wulf’s former tilt on the pristine Main River, one of the province’s best salmon rivers. We have spectacular dry and wet fly fishing for Atlantic salmon and brook trout. Because of our remote location, access is by helicopter, so guests of Arluk will be the only anglers on the river. There are numerous pools with several prime pools adjacent to the lodge and others that can be reached after a short boat ride.

7. As an Outfitter from Newfoundland, what is your biggest challenge when competing with Outfitters from other states and provinces?

Our biggest challenge is letting people know that we are not that far away. We are the most eastern part of North America, but we’re still less than 3 hours by plane from Toronto and we’re the closer to Europe than anywhere else in North America.

8. Do you get to hunt much yourself? What’s your dream hunting trip?

I hunt moose every year and I’m also an avid upland bird hunter, but I don’t get to do much bird hunting these days. My favourite hunting trip involves moose hunting while paddling a river in canoe. When I was a boy I read a book about hunting in Newfoundland that was published in 1907. It’s called “ Newfoundland And Its Untrodden Ways” and it recounts the author’s experiences of paddling into the uninhabited interior of Newfoundland to hunt caribou. Now, whenever I get the opportunity, I combine my two favourite outdoor activities, hunting and canoeing.

Thanks again to Keith for taking some time out to tell my readers about hunting in Newfoundland.

To learn more about hunting with Keith, visit Hunting with Arluk

To learn more about fishing, check it out: Fishing in Newfoundland

The Arluk Experience

Getting There

I’m back in the saddle and raring to go!
Posted by

Although I never abandoned this site, I did slow down considerably over the past year or more. The major culprit has been homework, homework and more homework – as I worked on completing a couple of degrees at Northern Arizona University. I graduated two weeks ago, rearranged some priorities and obligations, and am ready to hit writing again, full bore.

So, stay tuned for stories, reviews, interviews with interesting folks and profiles about interesting companies.

You can subscribe to this site so you don’t miss a thing. If you like it, I’d encourage you to share on Facebook and with your friends. If you’re a company and would like to be featured, please contact me.

If you like BBQ, smoking and other outdoor cooking, check out my sister site, The Dry-Rubbed Rat

If you’re a company that needs writing, editing or marketing help, please check out my site Desert Rat Outdoor Marketing and Media Services

If you enjoy Facebook, please feel free to like my Facebook page

Finally, if you’re into Twitter, please follow me

Desert Rat Reviews – Soft Science Flip Flops?!?!
Posted by

So, admittedly this is a first for me. I don’t wear flip flops. Never have. Well, at least the kind with the thong thingy that goes between your toes. I can’t stand that sucker wedged between my toes. That being said when I get a Press Kit stating they are the “most comfortable flip flops you’ll ever wear” (and they come in camo!) – how could I resist??

I really need to thank Lauren Holzman from Mint Publicity, along with the good folks at for sending me a pair to try out.

So, I received these shoes, and I really kind of ran them through the gauntlet. I had coworkers try them on. I had my teenage daughter walk around in them. They provide support in such a way that is hard to describe, even for a writer. They are firm, but squishy. They are supportive, but soft like pillows. I asked my daughter to describe them and she was stumped too – “It’s like they are crazy soft, but as soon as you put weight on them, they are firm”, she quipped. Maybe SoftScience said it best – “These new flip-flops are like standing on millions of microscopic pillows
which cushion every step, while providing the appropriate level of arch and
heel support to help reduce heel, knee and back pain.”

Granted, I had to schlep around the house in them for a week or so, in order to get used to that confounded thing stuck between my toes – but they felt amazing out of the box, and now are my go-to footwear around the house, and around the neighborhood. Once I was used to them, I walked the dog a couple of times in them to make sure they could stand a longer journey than the triangular route between the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen….

Excuse my pasty white, ugly feet but here’s the deal – I wasn’t going to hire a foot model or get a pedicure for my review. So there you have it!

These shoes are well made, and sturdy. They have a great, non-slip tread which would certainly be great on wet docks and boat decks. They have a raised, bumpy surface under your foot which keeps your sole cozy. I admit it, I’m sold. Not only am I wearing flip flops with that thing, but I enjoy wearing them. Not only do I enjoy wearing them, I recommend them! has a great variety of men’s and women’s shoes and are 100% guaranteed.

Follow SoftScience on Facebook

More info from their Press Release:

Designed by lifelong sailors previously with Crocs®, Sperry® and Reebok®, the flip-flop will be available for boating enthusiasts to experience first at the Miami International Boat Show, February 11-15, 2016.

Slip-resistant and non-marking outsoles are key elements built into the Skiff Canvas, an innovative flip-flop that provides supreme all-day comfort. Constructed from proprietary Trileon™ technology, these new sandals are like standing on millions of microscopic pillows, cushioning every step.

“We believe the Skiff is the most comfortable, supportive flip-flop people will ever wear,” said John Duerden, SoftScience chairman and CEO. “We created a shoe that is lightweight and superbly cushioned – ideal for fellow boaters in and around the water.”

The Skiff Canvas features optimal arch and heel support to absorb the shock of a hull pounding the waves, engine vibration, a rocky coastline or the impact of a full day walking on a hard sidewalk. They have durable toe posts and straps for secure wear and are available in bold brights, soft neutrals and Mossy Oak Treestand®, all in natural canvas.

Reviewing the GoTenna
Posted by

I’d really like to thank Maggie Philbin from VSC for reaching out to me and asking me to review the GoTenna – an antenna system that works with your smart phone to let you communicate off-grid, when there is no cell phone service. From their How It Works page: goTenna is a cognitive digital radio combined with an app that generates its own signal and automatically coordinates with other units within range. It does all the heavy-lifting, so you can chat 1-to-1, with a group, or even broadcast openly to anyone nearby.

I was trying to coordinate delivery of the units for a javelina hunt that a friend and I had planned but we had some challenges with timing and schedule. Not to be discouraged, I enlisted the help of my co-worker Amy and tested the units in a complex urban environment, instead of craggy canyons in southern Arizona.

The units come nicely packaged with suitable instructions. You have to download the goTenna app for your phone, and it is the app that really tells you the instructions. The app works nicely and instructions were clear, even for a non-techie person like myself.

Amy had one glitch where a message telling her the firmware needed updating wouldn’t clear from the screen in spite of lots of tapping “ok” and even resetting her phone. It worked out OK though as it was updating in the background and the message window cleared once it was finished.

You use these units to communicate via text message, and they can also provide offline maps. Amy and I wandered all over our 28 acre campus and were able to communicate the whole time, even in buildings. At one point, I was on the bottom floor of a parking structure and she was on the 8th floor, and they still worked. This type of environment gives me great confidence they would work in most outdoor environments, very well. Tall buildings in downtown Phoenix didn’t phase the goTennas in the least.

There are a ton of uses for these, and they provide a great peace of mind for wilderness communication, or urban communication when cell service fails. Think natural disasters; think hiking out of cell range; think hunting in rough terrain. They are easy to set up and use. They aren’t bulky. They are well designed and sturdily built. A pair of them will run you about $200 which I think is well worth the money. The offline map feature is valuable as well, and the App is free to download. The offline map also enables you to communicate your location.

Now this is important. For my readers, if you want to buy a set enter the code “outdoorhub” when you checkout and you’ll save $15. This offer is only good until 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, April 2nd.

Don’t take my word for it. If you go to their store page, you can read a ton of impressive testimonials.

Have questions? You can visit their FAQ page here: goTenna Questions?