Don’t be a Brand Whore

The comedian Ron White, in his special “You Can’t Fix Stupid,” said it best: “Somebody asked what I was drinking. If the company that made the stuff I was drinking was paying me, I’d have it in their bottle and not mine.”

As a western hunter, I have come to realize that nearly every piece of gear I own and use is going to be expensive. It’s the nature of the beast. My bow and its furniture is the most expensive thing I own (other than my truck, and just barely). I made the mistake of calculating the net value of the hunting equipment and clothing in my possession. Do not do that. The packs, glass, boots, tents, stove – it’s all pricy and I’m very, very meticulous about what I buy.

Being meticulous is about buying the things that are going to help me be successful in the field and keep me there longer. It’s not about being loyal to a brand that doesn’t support me. I see this far too often – particularly on social media – and it drives me nuts. I call it the “Yeti” effect. Sure, they make great coolers, but now you also have to buy the Yeti tumblers, dog bowls, wine glasses, decals, luggage and, God forbid, that bucket.

The purpose of this article isn’t to poke fun at you or a specific brand. Rather, it’s an effort to lead you towards a little introspection. Every time you make a social media post about your gear and tag the company that makes it, think about what it means. Are you desperately begging for attention from that company? Are you angling for a sponsorship or some free gear (ain’t happening)? Are you signaling to the world that you have the means to afford this equipment? How much is that dopamine hit for “likes” really worth? Social media isn’t inherently bad and it certainly has its benefits. But, much of it is slowly killing what it means to be a hunter, and you can choose not to be a part of it.

That’s not to say there aren’t great companies out there. I have the support of a couple of small businesses, and I don’t hesitate to give them a shout-out when it’s appropriate. But, I know the people that run those businesses. I have a relationship with them. I know they stand by their products. Can you say the same about the major manufacturer you’ve tattooed on your forearm? Don’t be a walking billboard if you’re not being paid to be one.

You should also be cognizant of who and/or what these companies represent. Do a little research on influencers – there are good and bad ones. It saddens me that the Bowmars still have a loyal following, even though they’re ignorant at best and criminally unethical at worst.

And, if you only stick to one or two brands, you’re probably missing out on some great gear from others. One company might make the best pants and another might make the best jackets. One company might make a bow that suits you better and you’d never know it. You probably worked very hard for your money – take a little time to figure out how to spend it.

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