Josh Dutton, Half Rack, and Walleye Trip Recap

Show Notes

This week the guys sit down with Josh Dutton of Half Rack.  This newer face on the hunting landscape has provided the market with some pretty cool products from gambrels, gun slings, seats, hunter hangers and more.  Josh is one of the founding members and gives us some background on the group.  Josh is also and avid hunter who has been in the industry for quite a while so he has some great experience to bring to the table.

Paul and Andrew were joined this past weekend by some of the GoWild crew, Private Tick Dick himself, and others on a fantastic walleye charter up on Lake Erie.  The boats all limited out, while fishing Canadian water with some giant walleye to pack in the cooler.  The guys recap that experience, and thanks to Lakeland Charters for an outstanding trip!

Have a great week and enjoy the O2 if you get out into Ohio’s great Outdoors!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Okay. What's up everybody? Welcome back to the oh two podcast, Paul and Andrew here today. Paul, what's good, man? You're hanging out, you're doing your show from outside? Yeah, I'm on my back porch, man. I am. I am home Turkey season. Turkey Tour 2023 is in the books, man. So my last hunt was in New York last Friday.

Great trip, great hunt, empty handed. Didn't pull the trigger. Had a couple of opportunities, just, you need 'em at 40 and they would stay at 60. So that is life. But man, I'm glad to be back. Glad to be Start getting settled back in? I think so. Life's been absolutely insane. Good. Oh, I get that.

And we're glad to have you back. You've been traveling the world and now we're gonna settle in for hopefully a couple summer months of more stability right before we get geared up. I hope so, man. Yeah. Get [00:01:00] this show back back to some sort of I don't know, reasonable pace here and get some good guests lined up.

Good. Let's see here. So first off, I wanna say thanks to our partners. Hi. We got, sorry, se sir talking to me. That's alright. That's weird. Shit. Happens all the time. It does. Thanks to go wild. Partners over at Go Wild Time to Go Thank you for all your support. We'll talk more about them here in a minute.

But that's your online platform for hunters and anglers. You can go on there, log your walleye, trophies, or whatever else you might catch. And yeah, just part of a great community. So thank you to them. Thank you to Midwest Gun Works, Cameron and everybody over there for all your gun needs, ammo, parts actual guns, everything.

Those guys are knocked out. They're bang up crew over there. They just And they get it done. So thank you to them. Thanks to the guys over at Ex Vision for your thermal and night vision optics. Those hope to see some more stuff coming up from them [00:02:00] soon, but man, can't say enough about that.

I need to get out and use the scopes. We need to get out and use the scopes and find some coyotes. Yes we do. So hopefully in, in the downtime here this summer, we can get there after that. But let's see. We got first light. Thank you. Got the guys at first light for their support. Got that trace system again.

Super light, super comfortable. That's new on the books there. Check that out. And then half rack, Okay, because I'm so bad at this. Ohio Outdoors, 15 for half rack is the code. And then for Midwest Gun Works, I forgot, but it's Ohio Outdoors. Five. If you need those, save you a little bit of money on stuff.

This episode that we're gonna do today is with Josh Dutton and Josh is one of the founders of Half Rack. We're not gonna say too much more about them now cuz you are gonna get quite a bit here in a little bit. But Paul, let's talk about our weekend. Man. That was fun. What a weekend. Yeah, man.

A little walleye fishing [00:03:00] up north on Lake Erie outside of Port Clinton with the boys from Louisville, Kentucky. Go wild. Crew came up. We had Mike Larson, Gowa member from Michigan came up. Awesome guy. Our buddy Glenn came down from Michigan. My buddy Justin came up, man, just a great time. Just we had 11 of us on across two boats.

Phenomenal fishing. Probably the best walleye fishing I've ever had. I'd say so out there. And that was one of those things, man, we had this, we've had this plan for six months and as time got on, like you knew it was coming closer. But for me personally, like last week, it was absolutely insane with work and life.

And then I didn't leave my house until almost eight o'clock Friday to make that two three hour drive up. And it was like, mad rush, get the lawn mode, go to the gym and I coach, and all the work stuff. Everything else had to get done before I could leave. But finally, once we got up there, Oh, it was like this wonderful just moment of decompression and Yeah.

Enjoying. Yeah. It was, and anytime I [00:04:00] think you're with friends in an outdoor setting, be it hunting or fishing you know that, that camp if you will, it's a good time. And it was. That was just, that was great, man. It was much needed. We'd both been just on a tear. Man. It was cool.

Good people, good fishing, good food, drinking. All of it. Checked all the boxes, Andrew? It did. So shout out to Lakeland Charters up there out of Cata Island. Captain Chris. We had Captain Eric And What was your captain saying? JR. Jr. Yep. Captain Jr. Took us out. We went and we fished. Off of Pey Island, so technically in Canadian waters.

And for those listening we had, all of us had Canadian licenses. Yeah. We did it right. And so that was interesting to go through. That was the first time I ever bought a Canadian license, but we're good. Figured that process out. And it was a little slow to start. Beautiful morning, man.

Beautiful morning. No, it was the best. You couldn't ask for better weather. We ended up both boats, limited out. Had some monster fish come in. And then we went back and ate it. We ate some of it. Yeah. [00:05:00] And that was what was funny is you and I were on different boats and you guys, I, you and I we had a group tax.

We were texting back and forth, and I had you, I, I asked you how many fish do you need for your limit? You're like, quite a few of 'em. Yeah, we're eight. We're gonna beat your ass. You guys ended up beating us. By a, by probably 90 minutes. I if nobody knows, I'm mildly competitive.

And by my, I'm super competitive, so there was no way I was gonna go down and I would pull those fish out with my teeth as long as we were gonna win. Oh man we were trying like hell we all, no, we, no one wanted to be the second boat, but so you're Captain Radio is our captain.

Where you at? And you guys bow over to us and we're just holding fish up. And Mike Larson did this massive walleye that he was holding up and And you guys pushed, if not the biggest fish, like top three fish. That I caught in front of everyone on your boat. It was, and got the, it was awesome.

That was great. Amazing. We're coming over to talk shit. And here's Paul. All of a sudden his light is like his Rod has just bent over. He is got this monster on the other end. So You're welcome [00:06:00] Paul. You're welcome. Yeah, you're welcome. You pushed him right to me. So I'll tell you what, if you haven't fished Lake eie in a while, I know there's been some like a kind of a downturn with the population over the last 15 or 20 years.

But man, you've talked about record hatches from starting in 2018 to today. Every, everyone is just above average, record. It is a golden era of walleye fishing on Lake Erie right now. So absolutely is first book, you know what it really is. Last year we did this right, but we went August, so it was a little bit off of the peak time and I, I don't know if you remember, but we threw a lot of fish back cuz they weren't big enough.

Yeah. And big enough now. Yeah. But this year we threw, I think both boats. I think we discussed, talked throwing maybe six back or something. Six to 10. Yeah. Yeah. Not nearly what we did last year. So the size is definitely, the size per fish is definitely growing. And you can, we almost saw that one year over, Another.

But yeah, they've done, the state's done a lot of work. The, the conservationists [00:07:00] in that watershed have done a lot of work. It's, you can reap the fruits of of their labor and collectively our labor. So it's, it is, it's, it is a good time to be a walleye angler in the state of Ohio.

And then when we got back From the charter. I just got to, there's a couple things I gotta bring up here. We had some fish, right? Jacob, Ted Boogie, he put together quite the spread. He was the camp, if you call it Camp Chef. And it was really good. And we took naps.

You had, you took off and you went home. The rest of us, we mingled around for a while. We went down to the Walleye Festival, which was one of the most. Interesting people watching experiences I've ever seen in my life. I'll leave it at that. And then we came back and ate more food. And that point we had venison, backstrap, and Paul, I'm gonna tell you man, you missed out because Mike Larson.

Mike Larson pulled out this wild Turkey pastrami and Venice and pastrami, and I'm not sure I've ever eaten, I don't know if you call it like a lunch meat type of, [00:08:00] Cut, whatever. That was unbelievable. And you missed out. I might have a little bit here for you if you want, but I will take you up on that.

Mike Larson told me I'm supposed to give you hell because you did not get to enjoy the pastrami oh gosh. I saw pictures of that on Go Wild and it looked fantastic and he sent some pictures in our group texts. Man I had to get home. I was completely just beat down. I had nothing left. I'd been on the road, man.

The month of May, I think I'd been home like four days or so. Just something just insane. So yeah, I had to get home holiday weekend. Yeah, no. So yeah, that was great. Again, thank you to Captain Chris and Lakeland charters up there. We'll be back next year to do it again. So yeah, we will.

Good time, but I don't have a whole lot of news from around the state. I think I've got it in a folder somewhere, but. Yeah, we'll get back to that next week. For this week. We've got Josh from Half Rack. We'll let you guys enjoy that [00:09:00] and fun discussion, right? Yep. I wasn't there. I was doing something.

I think you were turkeying. I think so, but it's okay. We had a nice talk. And Josh, great dude. Half Rack is a great company. Check out their stuff. you can find 'em on Gow Wild. And yeah, we just, we appreciate everything and all the listeners out there. We will we'll get you some more information here.

Archery hike is July 7th and ninth archery Don't forget about that. We're gonna get Justin on and talk about more about that here soon. B hha event. The b h Yep. Get on there. Get that must in the marsh. It's July 25th, sixth and seventh. Beautiful. All right, Paul. And go. Enjoy your Your patio sitting there down sees us later.

All right, and we're back. And today we are joined with our special guest, Mr. Josh Dutton of Half Rack. Josh, how are you doing today? I'm doing great. Oh, we're just, thanks [00:10:00] for having me. We're just talking. It's like hot down here. It's pushing 78 it says now and you're are in you're wearing your sweatshirt and it's cold where you're at.

And man, what the heck is, yeah it's a little too cold for almost June. Like I think we're pushing, hoping to get in the 60 today, but we're definitely in the fifties right now, so it's not all that comfortable for, where we're at in the time of the year. So where are you at? So I'm in Racine County in southeast Wisconsin.

So the best way to explain it is like halfway in between Chicago and Milwaukee. Gotcha. So you're up there by where we had the or you had the conservation event last year. Yeah. Yep. So that's actually my hometown. That's my hometown bar right there. Now it all makes sense. Yep. Exactly. Josh, thanks for coming on today.

Actually, your second time on the show because we did do our shenanigan show there at the 2% Cons for conservation event. That's what it was, right? No, yeah. 2% for conservation, right? Yeah. I forgot you guys actually recorded that. I don't know that there was anything usable in that whole deal. We talked a lot about [00:11:00] hunting kangaroos.

Yep. And wallabies and. All kinds of fun stuff. So my the game warden there, Mike, who was I think he was part of the conversation with the kangaroo part. He was over at I saw him probably, I don't know, like a week ago. And we actually were just revisiting that and he was asking if we were gonna do that again this year.

And I said, yeah. We'll try to keep the questions a little bit more On topic for the game warden this year's. But it was fun. It'll be good to actually get everybody back up here and do it again. Next time you talk to him, you tell him that was our most downloaded episode. Was it really?

I don't know, but you can tell him that. Yeah, it it I. I think it took me, Glen told me, which you guys have a relationship with Glen Ike. And he told me that you guys dropped it and I listened to about the first 15 minutes of it and I was like, oh my gosh, no one's getting anything from this, which was actually like the second 15 minutes because Paul forgot to hit the record button but whatever that, you know what's funny is I actually had a conversation with a guy earlier today. And he told me that in western Ohio, and I cannot confirm this, so nobody jumped me for this, but [00:12:00] supposedly there was an alligator or two shot in Western Ohio that we're in one of the rivers.

So what, dude, it's like when we get on the phone or get to talking, weird stuff happens. I think it's Ohio, to be honest with you, man, a lot of weird news stories come outta Ohio. I can't, I cannot. Debate you on that. All right. It's that's definitely seems to be true. So y'all are rare breeds down there, we're special.

We'll just leave it at that. All right, Josh, so you are part of half Rack and will you give us a quick rundown just of what Half Rack is I know you guys, work with us on the show and we've developed nice relationship there and you got some really cool products. But can you just give us a rundown to the company o overall?

Yeah, absolutely. So we sprayed all fields. We, generally, what we do is we wanna en enhance the end consumer's time in the outdoors. So that can be in a lot of different things, whether it's hunting, camping, outdoor, just general walks, hikes, whatever it may be. Most of our products are around honey products, but yeah, so we, what we wanted to do is [00:13:00] offer a brand that we say people can cheer for, a brand that has a soul to it is something that we've used a lot in some of the ways that we've described.

Half Rack is it's a brand that means something. We're hopeful that people wanna put the know a half rack sticker on the back of their on the back of their truck. And in the categories that we play in, there's really just not too many manufacturers that have that kind of soul to it. Day one, when we started, we became affiliated with 2% for conservation right off the bat.

So that's one of our core pillars is to give back. We're all very passionate, outdoorsmen and care a lot about the resources that are out there. So we've, from the very beginning, wanted to do something special and make sure that we were able to keep that for the next generation and do some things that are built around that.

And again, we try to take a lot of those items that you need. And you're buying, and you probably don't even know who you're buying it from, but you're going to the store and you're grabbing it and you're like, Hey, I need a bow, rope. Hey, I need a bow hanger. I need, a gamble. And we want to do and take those items and make a small tweak to 'em, make 'em a little bit more user friendly.

Give it to the consumer at a competitive price and then [00:14:00] also, have some kind of fulfillment from buying that item, knowing that you're giving back to conservation. So that's really how we set the company up and we started in 2020 and it's honestly just been a rocket ship since then.

So it's been fun. I think one of the beautiful things about your products, sometimes they're products you don't even know you need. Snack pack is one that comes to mind. And the hunter hangar that you guys released here earlier this year, we were just talking about it, but it's very simple design, but man, it's it's so just functional and it's easy.

Oh, yeah. Easy. And it hangs everything. And that snack pack, man I can't remember which trip I was on last year. But I remember I had this pocket and peanuts and then a granola bar and something else. All these different things all over the place. And then that was on like day one.

And then day two, I'm going to get ready and I look in my box, I'm like, You idiot. You have a snack pack that is what it is for. You put the snacks in the bag and then you don't have things all over the place. Yeah that's what it started as. Everyone brings a snack to the woods. It seems like that was a big trend [00:15:00] over the last couple of years and stuff.

So it started almost off as a cheeky thing that we did that was just more for laughs than it was anything else. But it's been fun to see how people have adapted. That item and they're using it for all kinds of different things. I use it to keep my, like wrist wrap my wrist release or my thumb release in it.

And I just, you can use, there's so many different ways you can use it, keep your batteries organized. It's just, it's an opportunity for you just to keep stuff organized in a pack. And it's it's been one of our more popular items and I, I. Was a very big skeptic of that item before we launched it.

I was I'm like, no one's gonna buy this man. And I was wrong. It's, it is funny. I have two of 'em and one of 'em does batteries as well. So as long as I make sure that I have the right one at the right time, cuz if I go to snack on some lithium, that's not gonna be, that's not gonna be good. But yeah, or like the little gear hangers that you put in your tree and stuff like that, if they're just all floating around your bag, you always stab your hand when you're reaching in there in the dark trying to find 'em.

It's just so much easier to have it in a spot that, you can find it and. Be a little bit more guess prepared when you're getting set up for the [00:16:00] day. Absolutely. So your position within the company is what? I'm one of the founders. So what I do is I just help out in regards to product development sales and marketing's really where I focus in on most of my efforts.

They try to keep me out of product development. I come up with some ideas from time to time and they they call it j marking ideas, which they put it out there yeah, they're gonna do lip service for me more or less. And Possibly look at doing it, but most of the time, like the heavy lifting in regards to like product development and, the actual development of the items was done by my other two partners.

And they let me just focus on sales and marketing. I'm not gonna turn this podcast into a business development discussion, but I am a little bit curious. So what is it like developing essentially a new brand and all the products that go with it in today's market? Everything that I can see from your guys' perspective, it's beautifully done.

The website your booths at the different shows all the products along the way, but. It's not marketing and stuff like it [00:17:00] was back in the nineties. It is. Some of this, the social media stuff, the online, the cookies and all these, whatever, I don't even know what all this stuff means.

But it's gotta be a unique. Approach as things continue to evolve? I honestly think it's our competitive advantage. So I, there's a lot of companies that we go up against and they make a good product and they're out there doing it, but they've been doing it the same way forever.

And I don't even know that they spend a lot of time thinking about marketing because these are items that people don't really think about. They're impulse items when someone's going to buy shotgun shells or new arrows or whatever. So I think that the opportunity for us has been to actually speak to a customer and, give 'em a little bit of education about the products that we're selling so that, we can influence that purchase decision.

So it's, from the start of it, it it happened really organically. Been in the outdoor industry for 17 or 18 years. And then the two other partners I have and have been in for just about the same time, and we've all kind of been. Doing different things for different companies, but in our positions that we do or we have for half [00:18:00] rack.

Like TJ's been developing and designing products and engineering stuff for a lot of different companies. I've been selling and marketing products since, oh eight I think, or oh seven. And then our last partner's been sourcing and designing and developing products for about the same time.

We were always friends and we just chatted and kept in touch. And it just turned out to be one of those things like, why aren't we doing this? And it became pretty clear when we had some connections with some retailers that came out and a marketplace had opened up like a spot in the marketplace where they were looking to me for a solution to fill that peg, basically.

And there really wasn't one that wasn't already established out there. So I, I brought it to. The guys and we sat there and talked about it a little bit and, I think it happened so quick. I bet it was less than two months later, we had 20 something items and we were off and running.

And building the brand is the hardest part. Obviously we started from nothing, right? So we started from absolutely nothing. The good thing is we've got some awesome friends in this industry that we've worked with for a [00:19:00] really long time that frankly we would've never been able to do.

Anything compared to what we're doing now if we didn't have 'em. Because, these are guys that are typically, asking for a fair amount of money to rep a brand or going out there and, use a different brand. And a lot of 'em just wanted to help us out and they supported us through that.

And, they gave us a lot of credibility right off the bat. And it just started to snowball, we had some things out there that, caught fire a little bit and we had a couple of retailers that jumped on right away. The way that we go to market's a little different.

We really wanna support the mopa type retailer stores versus the bigger chain stores. Not that we won't. Ever, sell to those guys. It's just our focus is trying to get those farm and home stores, those independent dealers, and give them a good product at a good quality price that they can sell out and sell to their customers and not have to worry about what it's being sold at Walmart or something like that.

That's just not our game and that's not really where we wanna be. And that mindset or that philosophy is really caught on pretty [00:20:00] well with a lot of the, our dealer partners and stuff like that. And we've got a, a real good grassroots group of people that are pretty cult-like and following us.

And we're real happy to have 'em. And we like our community and we, every chance we get to try to grow it, we're gonna do it. And it's been it's been a lot of fun, but we wouldn't. Be where we're at if we didn't have so many people, even like yourselves that are giving us a platform to talk about what we're doing and why we're different.

Oh, and we've met you guys and everything. It's, that's easy. This is that's easy on our end, but definitely a cool industry and it's small, a lot smaller industry than it might seem, but, okay. So I have to ask from a product development side of things, and you can say this, I think as a marketing guy, How often or if ever, do they come to you with a product in your outside of the snack pack and you're just like, Nope, not doing it like this all the time.

Yeah. This is the failure. We're not doing this. Yeah I'm probably the most pessimistic person on the group in regards to the guys will get excited about an item and I'm like, it's just not gonna. That ain't gonna take, and I try [00:21:00] not to let, like some of my preconceived notions or whatever dictate what I'm, let you know.

The old adage in our industry is let the buyer be the buyer. So in a lot of cases, there's times where I've been like, you know what? I don't think so. But the two of 'em are so adamant about doing it that we've gone forward with it. And then you have the snack pack and it's like one of our top selling items.

Hey man, it's a, there's some things I will be more of a stick in the mud on if I know. From my years of selling and looking at what's out there in the marketplace and, if we're not that different than what's out there or if there's a price point that's, owns that marketplace, then I'll stick to my guns a little bit more than most cases.

But, honestly it's a, it's a cool team effort cuz we'll bring ideas together before they even really get to that point. We're talking about it and, we pretty much have a good idea that if that item's gonna go forward or not, and. We probably have. I would say no less than 50 items that are just on the back burner, like tweaking and thinking about.

We bring it up from time to time and we're, the [00:22:00] roadmap, I think for next year is we're gonna try to introduce another, I think it's either five to 10 new items next year with some cool innovation. We've got, that's the thing that I'm the most excited about when I look at Half Rack is, we do a lot of items.

That are out there, like we've, a lot of other manufacturers might make something very similar. We tend to think that we offer a better quality product and maybe a little tweak that makes it a little bit better. But for what's coming in 2024 is truly like groundbreaking. There's nothing out there like it right now.

We're really excited about that. And the more momentum we get as a brand, the more of those types of opportunities and product we can bring out. Cuz, just. Being frank, it's expensive to, do something from the ground up and try to bring it to the, to, to the show, to to a store.

It's it's a pretty big investment. Yeah. And sometimes those dumb ideas that you they turn out to be okay. Cuz I'm pretty sure there's some guy probably sitting on a private island right now that created the Snuggie and yeah. Oh yeah. You never know, no doubt.

It's like you were talking about the hunter hangers an [00:23:00] idea where I. The first time I saw it I was like, yeah, okay. It's, I can see why it would be got, has some kind of use, but it's that, the more that I looked at it and the more that I personally played with it, I was like, this is a no.

This is just a duck. Like why hasn't this thing been created already? Yeah. So it's been, and it's, that's proven itself too, already at retail. We launched that thing like probably about a month ago, and we've had a tremendous amount of success with it. Good. Good to hear. And Paul and I always talk about the one of the next things coming out, the meat lu.

Can you give us, yeah. And I promise we won't, I told you we won't make this a complete half rack commercial, but now like everything, all these ideas are coming to my mind. But tell us about the meat lug. What do we got there? So the meat lug was came to be because we were, TJ and I were hunting on my family's property up in western Wisconsin and he's in Indiana.

And so he's always had a little bit of a cruise. And I can tell you one thing about if you've ever hunted with tj, he is going to go home with an animal. It doesn't matter if it's a doll, a faw, whatever, he wants meat. So dog he he's, [00:24:00] I think he's bating a hundred every time he is come up here to go bow hunting with us.

He's gone home with meat in the freezer. But yeah, he we were, packing up his truck or whatever and it was pretty tight cuz we had a couple other hunters that were in camp too. And, we were throwing a bunch of ice in a, I think it was like a Yeti. 65 or something like that, and.

We're like, man, it's just, there's gotta be a better way to compact this and do this. And like we started looking around at, some of the other soft sided coolers that were out there. And honestly, there's just a lot of improvements that you can make to it to make it more specific for actually hauling meat, like a wider mouth seals the zipper so you don't have the blood or water or something leaking out.

So we just really over-engineered a cooler to make it more compatible for hauling your meat. So this is, there's two different sizes that we're gonna have. We're gonna have an airlines size, which is gonna be big enough to fit in your carry over or your head or whatever. I think it's a overhead carry spot, whatever on a plane.

So if you're hunting, last or whatever, and you're successful and trying to find a way to get your stuff back from a [00:25:00] flight, you can bring it right on the airplane. Which is nice. Obviously if you shoot an elk, you're probably gonna have more work than that cuz you're not gonna get an elk in there.

But we we weren't able to get a full size Wisconsin doe in one of the prototypes, so that's de-boned. And a lot of laws in most states make sure that, or I think they call for you to have it, the meat de-boned anyway yeah, it's just one of those things that we we've been kicking around a little bit for a while and We actually toss that idea out to a couple other people in the industry that we trust a lot.

And they're like, yeah, you're onto something here. So we launched that first version at a t a this past year, and that's been one that's been really well received as well. And we should have the bigger one in stock, I think, on our website at the end of this month. Yeah, I'll tell you, I'm I do love coolers.

And I don't know why, but they are slick looking and you almost could never have enough of 'em when it comes to a cooler because when I went down to Oklahoma, I learned real fast that you could only fit so much hog [00:26:00] in whatever I had with me which wasn't enough. And I ended up and really chap, chat my ass because I hadn't up at Walmart buying some, $85.

Po Os Coleman or something like that. And I'm like, man, I would just rather have a nice one that I could then use again. Oh yeah. It was actually gonna hold ice. Yeah, that's, and that's the beauty of what we've been able to do is we truly do have an over-engineered soft side of cooler. I will tell you that we've tested it against some of the biggest brands in the industry, and I think you can probably figure out who that would be and, We're better.

It's a better product. And the beauty of it is that we're fairly confident that we're gonna be able to go out at a retail of 169 bucks, which is just, it's. Really low and comparable to products of the same size that are out there. So it's affordable for everyone. It's something that people can use for, whether you're using it for its original purpose, pack and meat out.

Or if you're just, going down the lake and you wanna throw a bunch of beers in there, you can throw, I, TJ actually did, I wish I had the numbers. He actually did a he both sizes, I think he put 90 something, [00:27:00] beers, don't hold me to this, but like the big one holds 90 something cans of bush light.

Wow, that's heavy. Don't ask me why. TJ had 90 something cans of the bush light laying around. But yeah, he so he, yeah, he did test that. And I think that, we've got so much fun marketing material that's gonna come out from that too. Cool. Just to have fun with it. All the different ways that you can use it and whatnot.

It's gonna be, it's gonna be a lot of fun. Yeah. And keep us in the loop. We definitely want to know. When that's, about to come out and we'll let everybody know. Cuz like I said, we saw it at ata. Super excited. Thought that was a very slick piece of of gear that you, again, maybe you didn't really realize you needed, but you do.

Okay, so tell us, I wanna know a little bit more about Josh and you said you've been at the, at this for 17, 18 years. 2008. Started in the sales and marketing side of things. Did you grow up in a hunting family? Did you start in the hunting industry? Like how did that ball start rolling? Yeah, I did.

That was a big part of our upbringing [00:28:00] was around hunting. And in, Wisconsin, there's a big heavy gun hunting community and, literally schools shut down for gun season in Wisconsin. That's that big of a deal. I really didn't even get into gun hunting until I was probably in my late teens.

I started out bo hunting and my uncles did it. My grandfather did it, my dad did it, my brother did it. And from as early as I can remember, I was ate up with it. Like it's literally all that I cared about. It's all that I wanted to do. I literally, I didn't even go to homecoming or I think it was homecoming cuz I'd rather go deer hunting or prom when I was in, in high school cuz I'd rather go Turkey hunting.

There was like, it was that big of a deal to me that it just, it. That's what I was all about from the start. So I knew that I wanted to somehow find a way to work in that industry. And I wanna say I was about 12 years old and I have no problem, like name dropping this guy cuz I'm so grateful for everything he's ever done to me.

He's a family friend. Marty Fry, who? Went to church with my family and we went fishing together, went hunting together and just became [00:29:00] like a really close friend of our families. And he was working for a company called Marie Sports at the time, and they were a distributor out of Northbrook, Illinois for hunting and fishing products.

So I can remember one day he's Hey, can you get down Northbrook? I don't know. I was probably 13 or 14. They were doing a sample sale, so like all the samples that they had were collected in this back warehouse and they were selling 'em for pennies on the dollar. I'm 13 years old. I probably brought down my 30 bucks that I scrounged up somehow cutting grass or whatever.

And I remember leaving there with three or four boxes of lures, deer hunting stuff. And, Marty walked me around the building and introduced me to some people. I'm like, this is what I wanna do. What Marty does is that's what I wanna do. And so I, ever since that moment, I've done everything and whether it's my education or whatever to try to.

Get a path into there. And Marty was, again, first on the scene to help me once I graduated college, to get me in a position working for a company in North Dakota selling [00:30:00] the NRA apparel line. And they had an ice traction aid too. And one of my customers initially, right off the bat was Marie Sporting Goods.

So the company that I went down and did this whole thing well, I got to know. A couple people there pretty good or pretty quickly, and I think within three months they offered me a job to go work at re Sporting Goods. So literally I was working at the place that I decided in my head and wheeled into the.

Ha happening when I was 12 years old going down there for a sample sale. It's just, it's a cool story I had, again, like everybody else, I think anybody can look back and say, that person or this person was, pivotal in me getting placement or where I'm at now.

And I had a lot of people that helped me along the way, but I'll forever be indebted to Marty Fry, who got me hooked up in this industry. And it's just been a, a. Gone to the races since then. It's been fun. Nice. No, that's awesome. Awesome. So where'd you go to college? I went to ca which is [00:31:00] a it's a technical school that's in the Wisconsin program.

Okay. But you went for sales, marketing, something like that? Yeah. Marketing. Yep. All right. Interesting. And then onto the nra, selling the NRA apparel line. That sounds challenging. It was like a, I don't even know that it lasted more than a year and a half. The company. Trying to remember the parent company.

It was called Surefoot and the brand was due north and they had like outerwear that was price point focused. And it was, looking back now, it was a tough sell even back then. But it it was fun. Cut my teeth and got me into, getting, starting relationships with a lot of the major retailers in the area.

And obviously it was a opportunity for me to get, the. Job that I wanted, which was at Marie Sporting Goods. And I worked there for I think about 10 years or so, just a little bit under. And it, and that was a great learning lesson, time in my life too, and met a ton of great people there that helped me advance in my career as well.

And then you [00:32:00] get to this point now where it's, I still work for a sales agency called Kelly Van Management. We represent some. 38 different honey brands that are out there. And it's, it's just been a blast. I've really been extremely fortunate in the fact that I've had the opportunity to work for the companies that I have and met the people that I have in this industry.

Cuz it's a really cool industry. Like you're saying it before, it's it's incredibly small. And, you see a lot of the same people that are just cycled in and out and they're, even some that leave the industry for a couple years and some work their way back in. It's, I can't envision myself doing anything other than this.

One of the things we talk about, if you're like a warden or O D N R officer or whatever, Sometimes the best times of the year are spent in the woods, not because you're there hunting, but because you are doing your job. With being in the hunt hunting industry, have you had a good number of opportunities and stuff to get out and hunt, or is it one of those things like you're grinding at work when everybody else out having fun?[00:33:00]

I'm gonna start by saying I grind all the time, so always grinding. But kids, I figured it out. Anyone that's listening, if you wanna work in the outdoor industry and hunt and do those things, this is the path because there's just a lot of opportunities to do it. Whether that's taking customers or clients out on hunts or something like that.

I've been able to do some things that I would never have been able to do on my own if it wasn't through a work trip or something like that. So yeah, I do get the opportunity to get out and get a lot of hunting done in the fall of the year, and, most of it's, most of it is still personal stuff where I just go out there by myself and, I hunt on a property that's literally 15 minutes from where I live right now.

And that's my home piece. And then my family's got property and west Central Wisconsin that, we get to quite a bit. And that's the core of my hunting, but I still do get the opportunity to do some fun hunts that are more business related. And I'll tell you though, I still enjoy going up to my family farm and hunting there over most.

Anything else? What's the best one you've been [00:34:00] on? The best hunt I've been on? It's a good question. Man, I. Got the opportunity. So I got an opportunity to hunt Osceola Turkeys in Florida, which was a lot of fun from a friend of mine. That was a great hunt, great experience. Totally different from what I've ever done before in my life.

I dunno, that was the best hunt I've ever had in my life. I ended up missing a Turkey at Three yards. But it was a lot of fun and it's just totally different. Saw a Turkey thing I've ever done. Seen the Turkey, so yeah, three yards with a shotgun. That wasn't my, I got all the excuses in the world.

I still should have shot it, but, and that would've, I needed a naci. I still need naci. But that was probably one of the more cooler, unique hunts. There's a hunt that I do with a good group of friends that's in North Dakota. And that's a either or a tree draw. Tag for a deer. And it is just one of my absolute favorites.

And it's not a business hunt for the most part. There's people in the industry that come on that hunt, but it's not, nothing's getting, no deals are getting made out there or anything like [00:35:00] that. We're just out hunting. And that's probably my favorite hunt that I've been on, I would say is just that North Dakota hunt, just cuz it's Open, it's just a different style of hunting.

I'm a Midwest guy like yourself, so I spend a great majority of my season and a tree stand 20 feet up in the air chasing deer. So to have the opportunity to do stuff that's more spot in stock, I really enjoy. Yeah, I would say either that or I've hunted, I've gotten the opportunity to hunt Kansas whitetails quite a bit and that's a awesome place.

I enjoy that quite a bit too. That was a lot of fun. Hard not to, but I would say just maybe it's more cuz the camaraderie and everything. And it is one of my favorite places on earth is where we hunt in North Dakota. Careful not to to give too much of a details on it cuz it's one of those spots that pretty much anyone could go hunt and it's awesome.

And it's it's just a really great spot and we have just so much fun out there, and it's just low key and it's cool terrain. Especially if you're from the Midwest, it's like on that, it's on that north end of the Badlands around the south end technically, what's the, so it's a cool area.

What's the [00:36:00] deer population like up there? It's cool. It's changed quite a bit. When we first started going out there, it was heavy whitetail deer and like good numbers, like really solid numbers. Over the past two years, it's really pivoted to more mule deer, like we see far more mule deer than we see Whitetails and the whitetails are actually.

They've been on a decline out there for, I think the last two or three years. They've been hit pretty bad with I think it was blue tongue that got 'em. But the numbers were really low. A couple years ago when you'd walk any aroyo or washout, you'd find all kinds of deer bones and stuff like that from, the kill off that happened that year.

So they've the whitetail numbers have really taken a hit out there. But the meal deer seem to be doing really well. The mill, mill deer out there, the numbers every year seem to be really stable. We always see deer, we always see good bucks. So it's good air. It's like one of those things.

It's just the target rich atmosphere we say, cuz there's so many deer, you can see 'em. There's no place from really hide in a lot of ways. [00:37:00] So if you see like a cluster of three or four trees, There's probably a couple deer in there. Yeah. And if you spend some time just glassing it, you're gonna see animals.

You can go on a hunt here in Illinois or Ohio or Iowa, Wisconsin, probably not Iowa, but in Wisconsin and not see anything and have two or three days of that in a row. That's just not happening out there. You're gonna see animals just cuz it's so wide open. That's awesome.

Yeah, I've watched videos and stuff of people out that way and I just, I haven't figured out how to I just, I'm not comfortable enough to thi think to myself, all right, I'm gonna plan a trip to South Dakota or North Dakota, or whatever. I get my little comfort zones, and I don't I would tell you, man, I would just do it.

That's what people, because don't put pressure on yourself to produce something or another and let it yourself. There's a lot, I learn every year different things, and I become better at hunting that type of train every year, but I, just go out there and experience it, and I think you would [00:38:00] realize that it's probably not as daunting as you think it is.

If you've got. Like a core understanding of how to bow, hunt, and understand how to play train, and how to play wind and stuff like that. You're gonna have some decent success. And when I say that, meaning you're gonna be able to put a stock on an animal, right? It's a different game, just like it is here in the whitetail woods to kill a mature buck out there as it is, same. It's still hard to kill one of those bigger mature deer because that's just how they got bigger mature, right. They're better at, surviving. Whitetail, is that your number one? Yeah, for sure. Okay. So what, yeah, what's number two? Or go down that list a little bit.

Your turkeys after that or? Yeah, turkeys. I love Turkey hunting. This is probably one of my, the most disappointing Turkey seasons I've ever had. I think I spent. I probably spent five days hunting turkeys this year. Wisconsin does their seasons a little wonky. You have to apply for a permit and you only get a week to hunt.

And the week that I hunt I had was terrible. It was like blowing [00:39:00] 40 and it was snowing and it was just terrible. So it was really tough. The birds were on a flock. They were all flocked up. We'd see, flocks of 'em, of 30, 40 plus birds walking through fields and stuff. You're just, it's.

They're not playing the game at that point in time, so it's a little rough. But yeah, I like Turkey hunting. I would put Turkey hunting up there pretty close. Mule deer, I would probably save as a close two B. I love to go mule deer hunting. I like antelope hunting. I like elk hunting, although I've had not had.

Really good results with elk hunting. I've gone on probably four hunts now, I think four or five hunts and it's just been, I've gotten my teeth kicked in every time I've gone out there, so I'm going, I have an elk hunt this year, so maybe I changed my luck on that, but we'll see what happens. I I can see where it would be a lot of fun and that could quickly jump up my list if I have a good experience.

I think just because it's, Just the, when you're out in the mountains, it's a totally different scene than what you're used to in, southeast Wisconsin. So I could see that quickly moving up the list, but I, for now, it's gonna sit [00:40:00] down a little bit lower. Gotcha. Have you ever done any of the thermal hunting at night?

I, our listeners are probably like, this is stupid. He is talking about it again, but, Yeah ex vision good. Yeah, I have done a little bit of that in Texas. It's a lot of fun. It's a totally different thing. It's completely different. It's it is a lot of fun. I it was just more or less, I've only actually, I use my thermals for a lot of stuff.

I've used them before. Even up here, thermals are night vision for coyote and predator hunting, which I don't do nearly enough of. Used to do more, but need to do more. But yeah, the pig hunting with the thermals is a, that's a totally different, that's a totally different game. What. I just, when I did it for the first couple times I just I got hooked instantly and it's so different going, you're like getting ready to go out and the sun's going down versus every time, when you're racing to the woods for white tails to get there before the sun comes up. And then obviously the fun that entails after that, but and there's a lot of [00:41:00] camaraderie with that too.

Oh yeah. You're usually out there with a couple guys and you're having a good time and, Talking it up and laughing and yeah. And I tell you, I've done it a couple times solo back here in Ohio, but when we were, like in Missouri or Oklahoma, you got three or four guys there and everybody's scanning and just, it's just this like teamwork, to actually be successful. So it's definitely, that's, it's a fun, fun deal. Yep. It's up there. It's fun. Yeah. Let's see here. I guess before we leave you is there anything else on the half rack horizon that we need to be aware of? We got meat lugs dropping later here this summer, and can you fill us in on anything past that or.

Just got, yeah, so the meat log, we just, we did drop, I think we talked a little bit about the hunter hangar. We dropped that probably about two months ago, maybe a month ago. So that was another item that we had. And then we've got a few new items that are coming out more on the buff side of things than Gators and things like that.

That'll be at stores this fall. I'm trying to think if we've got anything else outside of that. But a lot of cool things like on the horizon. [00:42:00] That we're working on. I'm really excited for some of the products that we're gonna be launching next, a t a it's just the cycle of things, right?

The new products like you're talking about. Like I, they almost not in a way lose their luster cuz we've moved on. Everyone's still oh, those are new. To us we've been working on those for two years. We're on to, the next thing. But yeah, we're excited about the meat love.

We think the meat love's gonna do really well for us. And the hunter hanger is a beast and we'll continue to be, and. We're just excited about filling out some of our core assortments, like I said before, with the buffs and the gators and things like that too, that are, I think, pretty cool and certainly at a need.

I think that's out there for for that particular type of category. Heck yeah. But yeah, I would say just, keep looking like our social media and stuff like that, and we're trying to do some giveaways. I, if you're not following us, give us a follow on Instagram and we've put out some pretty entertaining content.

We've got some great people that are support like y'all who support the brand that put out some. Pretty good stuff. It's a fun, it's a fun site to follow. I would say. Do you wanna go ahead and give everybody where your Instagram and all that stuff and [00:43:00] they can find you on Go Wild too, right?

Yep. We're on. Go wild too. Let me look and make sure that I will. This is terrible, but I have to do this every time. Hath. Rack is our Instagram and then I think you could just find us for half dash rack at Facebook. I'm pretty sure we have a TikTok, but I don't do that. So if you search out half rack, we're probably out on there as well.

But, and then our website's And all the information you can email us on that, you can sign up for a newsletter and then any other additional social media platforms that we have for on there too, so you can give us a follow on there. Cool, Josh. I appreciate your time. We're looking forward to seeing what Half Rack continues to grow into, and we'll stay in touch, man.

Yeah. Appreciate it. Thank you.[00:44:00]