Drake Gets Ready for Bow Season

Missouri bow season starts Sept. 15.

By now, you’ve probably fletched some arrows, practiced rattling the horns and picked out your monster buck in trail cam pics.

How many of you take your kids hunting with you?

My dad took me hunting with him a few times as a kid. I remember getting so excited heading out to the woods with him and helping him harvest his trophy each year.

In Trick or Treatthe latest tale from Drake’s Adventures, Drake and his dad get ready for their own hunt on Halloween.

Mwah, ha, haaaa! Just kidding! It’s not scary!


In the book, as Drake and his dad get their gear together, they look over trail cam pics one last time.

That’s when they see him—SPIDER!

Spider is the monster buck they’ve been tracking for a while, and knowing he might be where they guys are hunting the next day gets them really pumped up!

The next morning, Drake and his dad get everything set up for the hunt. What probably felt like hours into the morning, Spider eventually shows his face.

“And he looked mad!”

I won’t tell you how the rest of the story goes, so you’ll have to read it for yourself.

There are a couple of things I like most about this book:

  • Keith Beam goes into a lot of detail when discussing the importance of being scent free, something VERY important to deer hunting.
  • Like Spring Thunder, Trick or Treat uses detailed sounds to engage young readers, but it also had a button that will read the entire book to them.

But wait, there’s more!

There’s a spot on the side of the book for headphones, and all the parents said, “YESSSSS!!!”

One question I have for Keith—when does Drake actually get to pull the trigger/release the arrow for himself? The first two books, the dad gets to take the animal down. When does Drake get to take one down? :)

Maybe Drake and his sister, Cricket, will get the chance to pull the trigger in Drake’s next adventure, Cattail Point. Dad takes son and daughter mallard hunting. Let’s hope their crew has more luck with duck hunting than I do!

If you’re a bow hunter interested in teaching your kids more about bow hunting, pick up a copy of Trick or Treat today!


Posted in Books, Bowhunting, Fun with Kids, Hunting, Tips for Success | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Continuing a Legacy, One Page at a Time

Spring turkey hunting is one of my favorite things to do. There’s something about walking through the woods in the dark around 4 a.m. and listening to the spring peepers that makes my soul sing.

There’s a certain level of passion you must have to get up at the break of dawn to hunt, but the result is often rewarding.

Most kids simply want to make their parents happy, and that usually involves doing whatever their parents do. “I’ve Been Watching You” by Rodney Atkins comes to mind here, when the little boy mimics his days behavior from letting a cuss word slip to praying before bed.

I love books! I have a small library in my home. Eventually, I will get around to reading them all. When my daughter was younger, we read a book every night before she went to bed. I buy real books, not the electronic version. To me, there’s something about curling up with a good book.

What happens when you combine hunting, passion, children and book? A children’s book about one father’s passion for hunting and conservation and passing traditions down to his son.

Enter Drake’s Adventures.


Keith Beam quit the corporate world to pursue his dreams of writing and publishing books about hunting and conservation. His first book, Spring Thunder, takes us on a father and son’s first hunting adventure together. The main character, Drake, is so excited to help his dad get ready for tomorrow’s turkey hunt.

The night before the big hunt, Drake and his dad head out into the woods to roost some gobblers. One of my favorite things in the book is Keith’s reference to the owl call – “Who cooks for you, who cooks for all…” This took me straight into the woods where I could almost hear the owls hoot back, which in return makes the gobblers gobble!


The next morning, the hunt is on, and Drake waits patiently for his father’s wink before he sounds the first call.

This colorful and interactive sound book is a great way to get your kiddos excited about hunting. Keith does a great job of covering the basics of ethical hunting, including how to notch your tag once the bird is taken. Watching father and son walk out of the woods with a bagged bird is the ultimate reward, but Keith’s goal in writing this book wasn’t just to teach kids about hunting.


“Over the years, membership numbers of organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation have started to slide,” Keith said. “One of my goals with the Drake’s Adventures books is to help parents keep the younger kids interested.”

The NWTF does a great job promoting hunting and conservation through their JAKES program, but the program is designed for kids 10 and up. Drake’s Adventures are catered towards the younger kids who aren’t quite old enough to participate in organized youth hunting and conservation programs.

If you’re a hunter interested in teaching your kids about hunting and conservation, pick up a copy of Spring Thunder today!

If turkey hunting isn’t your thing, Drake’s next adventure is about a little boy’s first deer hunt with dad.  Trick-or-Treat comes outJuly 23. If waterfowl hunting is your thing, Drake and his sister Cricket head out on a hunt with Dad in Cattail Point, available for sale in October.


Posted in Bowhunting, Conservation, Fun with Kids, Hunting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feels Like Home

I cannot believe how long it’s been since I’ve been on this blog!  Let me just say….I missed you guys so much! 

Some of you have no idea who I am, and some of you have been patiently waiting for my return. Well friends, it’s good to be home!

Two years ago, I left the shooting sports industry for a Marketing Communications job for a workers compensation company. I’m still there, and I love it, but leaving MidwayUSA was a tough decision, especially after being there for 11-1/2 years. On top of switching industries, my daughter became very active in softball, and time on the range was replaced with time on the ball fields. I love being able to support my kiddo doing what she loved, but this year she decided softball wasn’t in her heart anymore and decided stop playing. This got me thinking about what was in my heart — SHOOTING! I’ve missed it so!

This past week was the NRA Bianchi Cup. If you’ve been around the Cup, you can relate when I say the shooters who come to Columbia, MO each year are like members of your extended family. Last week, I got to spend time with certain members of that family, including Miss Diana, and even though I only get to see these family members once a year, I felt right at home.

Photo by Diana Hufstedler

Reunited! Just missing Kelli Sampsel! Photo by Diana Hufstedler

One lucky man! Diana, Jill Baucom, Trevor Baucom, April Crane and Me

One lucky man -Trevor Baucom with Diana, his bride Jilly Bean, April Crane and Me

One of my favorite Aussie's, Craig Ginger

One of my favorite Aussie’s, Craig Ginger

My BBQ date, Kim Beckwith -- thanks for letting him take me, Cheryl!

My BBQ date, Kim Beckwith — thanks for letting him take me, Cheryl!

One of the coolest cats from Louisiana, Mr. George Mowbray

One of the coolest cats from Louisiana, Mr. George Mowbray

I didn’t shoot the Cup this year, but it looks like next year might be my year. Now that I’ve got some ammo, it’s time to start getting my feet wet again. I’m shooting my first match in more than two years on June 2. I’m a little nervous, because shooting a match isn’t like riding a bike. Regardless, it will be great to get back out there. Let’s hope my gun belt still fits!

See you guys and gals on the range soon!


Posted in Bianchi Cup, Fabulous Females, NRA, Range Day, Top Shooters | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How it’s made – Safariland Group

I will admit – I’m curious. I just can’t help it! I’ve always wanted to peek behind the scenes, learn how things are made, dissect a business model or look under the hood. Curiosity is natural, but we don’t always get to feed it. Sad, I know. So what I’ve been doing here with this blog (aside from poking fun at myself) is sharing fun experiences for everyone to enjoy with me. And, boy, did I get a treat this time!

Last December while I was in L.A. doing this, I managed to sneak in a visit to the Safariland Headquarters in Ontario, CA. Yes, people, that’s in California, not Canada – they are funny about guns there…. First of all, I was psyched to receive a personal invitation from the founder himself – Mr. Neale Perkins – the man, who along with John Bianchi, started an empire by making leather holsters in his garage. A true Bill Gates story – the man’s a legend! To top it all off, it was my birthday too and, as a treat, the Safariland folks showed me some awesome hospitality. I learned a lot and here’s an insider look behind this now multi-million dollar operation:


How many lives has your brand saved? I think they are up to 1911 by now – yes, I said 1911! :)

When I stole (yes, stole) my first Safariland holster from hubby I didn’t know much about the brand. I thought they only make competition gear – after all, that’s all I’d ever seen. Turns out more than 90% of their business is from law enforcement & riot gear. Their tagline is “Together, we save lives” and let me tell ya – these people take this stuff seriously! Don’t believe me? Check out this pic of their counter of people added to their “Saves Club.” Yes, just like you guessed – this is number of LEO lives saved by their gear! It hangs in the front lobby of the HQ building and is such a huge part of their culture – talk about having a meaningful job!

And when I say they take it seriously – they do:


You know those brave men & women that jump in the front lines of whatever crazy riot is happening? This armor saves their lives!

How do they know it will stop a bullet? Because they test it – duh! They have 2 ballistic labs on the premises (soundproof, at that) where lucky technicians like the one pictured below get to blow stuff up for a living. He gave me a tour and explained the elaborate quality control process but lost me after “ballistic coefficient” and “sectional density”…. :)


I’ll call this tech a “ballistic engineer” because, frankly, I don’t know his title but it surely must be complicated. ;) It was explained to me this clay here is the same density as a human body!

Then I got to play with the water jet machine. No, not really, but pretend was fun too.


Water jet machine! I wish… But I do look like horns belong on my head here. :)

And the best part about making holsters – well, they have to fit real guns! I took a detour to one of the (many) gun safes but totally got busted stuffing my purse. Dang! Next time…



And while we are on the subject of how holsters are made – it all starts in the R&D lab with prototypes and input from heavy users like myself:


Scott Carnahan, VP of Sales and a 36-year employee of the company, demonstrates how concepts become a reality at R&D.

Then craftsmen like the man below, a 37-year veteran with the company, make the magic happen with their bare hands. Ok, maybe some proprietary machinery might be involved too – but that’s top secret and you didn’t hear it from me! ;)


The molding a leather holster. Each one goes though several cycles of quality control & inspections too!

Last but not least, I discovered that Safariland’s main facility is also the place where a ton of major car maker’s tire covers and floor mats are manufactured, including such for giants like Toyota, Chevrolet and my personal favorite – Jeep!


I’ll take the Jeep to go with this accessory, if you don’t mind.

All in all, it was a great trip and I will always be grateful to the man who “discovered” me and always showed me kindness and hospitality – the one & only Scott Carnahan (yes, he is a shooter too and a motorcycle daredevil)! Thanks for everything and see you next time.


Me & Scott in front of the main HQ Safariland building in Ontario. CA

And this, folks, is how my favorite shooting accessories (and a bunch of other stuff) is made. Where should I sneak in next?


Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,


If curious about what other products they offer, or just want to learn about their initiatives, visit: www.safariland.com

Posted in Everything Else, Fabulous Females, Fun & Games, Gear, My Life, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Behind the Scenes of the Femme Fatale Photoshoot of the Century

Hi, my name is Diana Hufstedler. You may know me as the team TTI 3-Gunner who likes fashion or the potty-mouth blogger who tells it as it is. But in my 8 to 5 job I’m a marketer, and a good one (tell my boss).  Today I will reveal to you the secret recipe to a killer marketing campaign & will bring you behind the scenes of the 5.11 Media production that can easily be described as the photoshoot of the century!


Team TTI (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Ballistic Angels” or simply “Taran’s Angels”). Members featured: Michelle Jean, Corinne Mosher, Allie Barrett, Diana Hufstedler (yeah, I’m always in black), Sammi King, Jessica Hook, Janna Reeves & our fierce leader Taran Butler. All images: courtesy of 5.11 Media

 1. Start with 7 Kick-ass Female 3-Gun Competitors

Sure, you can hire models. But where is the fun in that? First of all, viewers are not stupid – they can spot a phony from a mile away. Second, it will build your credibility & prove your products really are designed for running & gunning, because that’s what we really do. Last, but not least, your pretty pictures will actually say something. Female shooters have long battled stereotypes: either we were perceived as manly tomboys or gun bunnies posing with firearms in their bikini (nothing against that, I love a hot gal with a smoking gun as much as the next guy). However, the fact is, many of us are serious shooters & competitors who leave most men in the dust. Funny thing is, until recently, the firearms industry not only fueled the misunderstandings, they ignored one of the fastest growing segments – women! Not anymore.


The girls & I sharing an umbrella right before it was my turn with the cameraman…
Janna Reeves, Jessica Hook, Michelle Jean, Diana Hufstedler

 2. Hire a Killer Production Crew

Enter 5.11 Tactical & the 5.11 Media crew (with team members who produced some of the best gun shows on the Discovery Channel) for a production that will blow your mind! There is a reason the photos you took with your cell in the garage, *cough* office, looked like crap. Simple, really, if you want high quality anything – hire professionals! So, to the point: a couple of weeks ago Taran Butler, a multiple world champion & TV personality, who also owns Taran Tactical Innovations (a top-notch provider of gunsmithing services & shooting accessories and the first & ONLY company with a largely female-dominated shooting team, myself included) teamed up with the leader in tactical apparel & gear – 5.11 Tactical, for a photo/video shoot in the Hollywood Hills just outside LA that can make even the most battle-hardened dude blush & sweat with excitement. And (still pinching myself), I got to be a part of it!


The dream team! Top row: Michelle , Corinne, Allie, Diana, Sammi, Jessica & Janna.
Bottom row: Videographer (so sorry, I forgot your name), Kevin, Hawk Vacarro, Jesse Clements, Taran Butler (TTI owner), Eric Katzenberg, Kenji Sweeney, Mariva England, Matt Frederick, Lyndsey Grove, Nabil Khattar

3. Add Drama

No, not THAT kind of drama (if you want that – go back to the models). Striking sunsets, high contrast, rumbling skies, extreme angles, hero shots, badass guns, a shootout (or shot-out) car, the rugged desert & the juxtaposition of a traditionally very manly sport and the ultra-femininity of the women 3-Gunners. If you are not familiar with the athletic discipline of 3 Gun – let me enlighten you: it is a grueling, adrenaline-filled sport, which requires skill, speed, power & accuracy with all 3 firearms – pistol, rifle & shotgun. It takes the concept of “run & gun” to a whole new level and females have been fighting with blood, sweat & tears for their place. “Femme Fatale”, indeed (yep, that really is the working title of the campaign for 5.11’s new women’s line)!


The ladies of team TTI. Sunset, end of day one. Can you guess who is who?

4. Slow Motion For Me

No self-respecting promo video is complete without slow motion. You wanna make even the most trivial of things (like arriving at the range or double-tapping 3 targets in a row) look super cool – slow-motion it. Bam, you just went from “I blinked & missed it” to “Reservoir Dogs & “The Matrix”! Plus, brass flying at the camera just brings the viewer in on the action like nothing else. Want to kick it up a notch? Add a smoke machine and you’ve officially entered into super badassery (admit you like my made-up-words).


I cannot even begin to explain how cool this slow-motion video of us arriving at the range at sunrise is! (our awesome cameraman Hawk let us preview footage briefly)

5. Make It Rain Brass

Duh, I should have started with this one! And rain brass it did; as a matter of fact I feel sorry for whoever had to pick it up after we were done. Let me tell ya, none of us had a clue we were about to change history for women shooters. We were just a bunch of friends who got together to do what we do best – shoot a lot & do it really, really fast! Photographers, cameramen, art directors & stylists followed. There was laughter, jokes, goofing off & even some friendly competition. Next thing you know – magic happened! There were hero shots, product close-ups (of course), real action video, a shoot-house with multiple high-tech cameras at weird angles and even a gag reel. The truth is, it was good because it was genuine, because we all love the smell of gun powder more than that of our morning coffee… The final result – dunno, what I’m sharing is all I’ve got but it MUST BE EPIC because 5.11 is keeping the final promo top-secret until spring! Ah, the anticipation…


On the last day of our photo shoot we got to play around & do what we usually do: SHOOT FAST. I was pretty stoked with my 3.12 sec run on the plates (pictured here) until my teammate Allie smoked us all with under 3 sec. Fun times!

All in all, we worked hard ( I know, somebody had to do it, lol) – shot from sunrise to sunset for 3 days straight. We were cold, we were hot, we were tired & hyperactive all at once. We laughed, drank coffee, ate & even celebrated my birthday together! The experience changed my perception of the industry. They DO care about females; they are starting to make products that actually fit our bodies & lifestyles and they are noticing our presence on the competition circuit. It was refreshing to work with a company that wanted to feature real female shooters, not just models. And it was refreshing to get our voice heard. As far as the photo-shoot itself; it was a blast! Most of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We have jobs like everyone else, we take our kids to Girl & Boy Scouts, we do laundry & then we put on our competition rigs to lock & load with the guys. So being a part of such a monumental project that will assert women shooters’ badassery (there’s that word again) worldwide was a major treat. It was a memorable experience for all of us & we hope our message comes through in the campaign this Spring.

So when it comes out – like it, share it, show it to your friends & the women in your life & tell everyone I said: “Watch out boys, female shooters aren’t just a bunch of pretty faces. We are here to stay and the industry is taking notice!”


It’s a wrap!


Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,


Facebook-Diana-HufstedlerFor more shooting adventures, join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diana.hufstedler



And since I’m a major believer in giving credit where credit is due, here are my acknowledgements. Major thanks to the following people/entities:

Taran Butler & the entire staff of TTI for hosting the event at their range & providing our team with top-notch guns & gear. Also, for being genuinely awesome all around!

Federal Premium for the piles of ammo we burned through ;)

5.11 Tactical’s leadership team not only for featuring real female shooters, but also for making clothing that is actually designed for women. Stuff actually fits AND looks good: mind blown!

The 5.11 Media crew, who were a hoot to work with:

Eric Katzenberg, the ultra-fun, uber-talented, multitasking “Boss-man”, aka Director of Media Content. Thanks for doing it all & having a great sense of humor.

Matt Frederick, the quiet but amazingly insightful Art Director. Thanks for ensuring we all look good and our genuine badassery (I can’t stop saying that, I think I stole it from Eric actually…) comes through.

Jesse Clements, the photographer that will roll around, lay on the ground, stand in front of our (EMPTY) guns and just altogether do anything to get the shot. Thanks for being patient with us, non-model models. :)

Hawk Vacarro, our favorite cameraman who, aside from having the ability to somehow loop around you no matter what you’re doing, is also one of the most genuinely nice guys I’ve ever met. Thank you for being so good to us & making us feel very relaxed. We owe you a birthday celebration! ;)

Mariva England, the sweetest, coolest, most adorable makeup & wardrobe lady. Thank you for ensuring we always looked good and bringing light into this world with your beautiful smile!

Lyndsey Grove, the Marketing Manager who did not hesitate to drive to the location and bring more needed clothes & supplies. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about what really matters to female shooters!

Nabil Khattar, I’m not sure what your title is but all I know is that when something was needed – you were always there. Thank you for not gassing us to death with that smoke machine! :D

Kenji & Kevin, I did not get to talk to you as much and that was because you were so busy capturing the magic. Thank you!

And now, a little bonus because you scrolled all the way down: a teaser behind the scenes clip of Jessica Hook & I shreadding with our AR-15’s. We were having so much fun that it was sad every time the director yelled “Cut”. It was cool, though, cause it made us feel like movie stars or something. ;)

Posted in 3-Gun Fun, Fabulous Females, Firepower, My Life, Range Day, Tips for Success, Top Shooters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Shooter Stereotypes I Hate

Shooting, hunting, going to competitions and all together safely handling firearms is something very normal in my household. However, as I continue to advocate for the shooting sports, I have discovered that there are many misunderstandings and stereotypes about shooters. Here are the top 5 I hate most:


Crazy gun lady? I don’t know – you be the judge. Photo credit: Ralph Horne

1.   Shooters are violent

Seriously, did some delusional psychologist somewhere test some rats or monkeys to come up with this hypothesis? Give me a break! If you’ve ever had a chance to enjoy some time with competitors or recreational shooters, you know exactly the opposite is usually true – we are very “chill” people who are mostly family oriented, love the outdoors and are very mindful of the safe use of firearms. Part of it is because we’ve released our stress & frustrations on the range already; and part of it is because we do not take the responsibility of carrying a weapon lightly. 


Jim Carey, I liked you a heck of a lot better before I discovered you’re rudely anti-gun. Photo credit: breitbart.com

 2.   Shooters are ultra conservative

Just because I love my guns doesn’t mean I will necessarily vote Republican. Believe it or not, there are other issues that matter to us. And even if I vote republican (for lack of a better alternative), there is a whole spectrum of levels of “conservative” or “liberal”. As the chart from Pew Research below suggests, despite the trend towards increased polarization over the last few years, there are still a TON of people who fall somewhere in the middle grey area, myself included. 


Image credit: Pew Research

3.   Shooters want to walk around with AR-15s on the street

Somewhere along the way of the Open Carry debate, a small but jointly misguided segment of folks decided it was a good idea to strap AR-15s or AK-47s on their backs and stroll around the neighborhood. Propagating open carry is a lame excuse for simply wanting attention. These people are silly if they think this will evoke a positive change and the shooting community at large does not support or condone such behavior! Equating gun rights advocates like myself to these people is just as ludicrous and I will have none of it. Bitch out done.


The “activists” walking around Portland with their rifles last year. Photo credit: Fox 12 Oregon

4.   Shooters are a bunch of redneck hillbillies

Some may very well be. But then again some liberals may be communists, while certain conservatives may be fascists. Some politicians may actually tell the truth… Please don’t equate the whole to a small segment, people! Because many of us – who have post-graduate degrees, prosperous careers, own homes without wheels and enjoy the company of our families without in-breeding – tend to get rather pissed off when called something we clearly are not (nothing against hillbillies here – they are a victim of stereotypes too plus I love all of God’s creatures).


Talking about stereotypes….. Photo credit lipstickalley.com

5.   Shooting is only for men

I double dog dare someone to come say this to my face! :D

The very fact you’re reading this blog (and probably shaking your head in agreement or at least laughing) proves gender roles are not as clearly defined and straightforward as they were, let’s say, 50 years ago (Reminder: this is a shooting blog ran by women). While I am not huge on feminism (isn’t that another form of polarization?), I firmly believe both men & women can and should enjoy whatever hobby or occupation their heart desires. Period.

6.   Shooters get aroused by guns

No, wait, this one is actually true. Sorry, we can’t help it! :)

These are just some of the shooter stereotypes that really push my buttons. What stereotypes drive you nuts?

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Your friendly neighborhood gun lady,


Posted in Everything Else, Fabulous Females, Fun & Games, Gun Laws, My Life, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 55 Comments