Pedersoli .50 Missouri River Hawken

Why Are We Rebuilding This Website?

     For the past six months, building the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING Web Magazine has grown increasingly more difficult using FatCow as our website hosting service.  Repeatedly, there were "lost copy" issues ... and actually getting new pages published often meant having to repeatedly go back into the building program and trying to get the page published.  But , likely the worst issue of all has been the incompatibility of that hosting service with the various website browsers now being used by YOU ... the consumer ... and the ability of smart phone users to access the website.

     We're building these new pages through the Web.Com hosting service.  This actually makes the third hosting service I've used since launching the forerunner of this site in 2003, then known as HIGH PERFORMANCE MUZZLELOADING.  The first hosting service I used was known as Homestead ... which by comparison to either FatCow or Web.Com, was quite crude.  Keep in mind ... it was the need for a good muzzleloading website which prompted me to finally begin using a computer ... and to get connected on the internet.  I was as "computer illiterate" as anyone has ever been ... and it totally amazed many of my fellow outdoor writers ... book and magazine editors ... and close friends when I announced that I was going to "BUILD A WEBSITE" ... especially since I really didn't even know how to switch the computer on.  My girlfriend at the time just about gave up on me, when almost every day for a couple of months, I had to have her show me how to fire up "my computer" and get on the internet.

     For someone totally ignorant of operating a computer, learning to use the Homestead "drag and drop" building system was a nightmare ... but I finally got the hang of it ... and once I sat down to write about a hunt ... or finished a series of test shoots ... and had the photography completed ... building a new page was typically done in a single day ... or took at most two days.  Now, by the time I launched HIGH PERFORMANCE MUZZLELOADING, I had already written seven books on muzzleloading ... plus had more than 1,000 magazine articles on muzzleloading published.  My goal with the new website, or rather "web magazine", was to share more muzzleloader information than a typical article or book chapter would allow ... especially when writing for a "politically correct" or "perfect grammar oriented" editor.

     In 2006, I changed the name of the website from HIGH PERFORMANCE MUZZLELOADING, which was predominately modern in-line muzzleloader oriented,  to North American Muzzleloader Hunting, in order to devote more of the site to the traditional side of muzzleloader hunting.  The site was still being published through Homestead ... under the  web address ... until summer 2011.  After taking my annual payments for hosting the site, for nine years, Homestead decided they ... "didn't like hosting a hunting website" ... and refused to let me renew the service.

     The site was down for a little over a month, while I researched website hosting services ... and liked what I saw with FatCow ... so I signed up with them ... and have now been with them for nine years.  Until just six months ago, things seemed to be just fine.  I could get in to their building program, and whip out a fairly nice looking page ... plug in photos ... get into the search engines ... and publish - WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS WHATSOEVER!   With all the interruptions and problems I shared earlier in this article/report, what I once could normally get done in a day ... or a day and half at most ... has gotten to be a three-day-ordeal.  This morning, I could not access any of my six blog pages ... and when I contacted FatCow's so-called "Tech Support" ... in short order I was being told what I would have to do to get those pages accessible.  And ... that was the last straw for me.

     I immediately asked myself ... "What in the hell do I pay them for?"  Something has happened at FatCow ... and whatever it has been ... it's not good for those who use their hosting service.  I spent a little time on their Facebook page today, and under every post was nothing but extremely negative comments.  My renewal is not up until late July, and I have a feeling that company is on its way out ... so starting a rebuild here is my first step to keep North American Muzzleloader Hunting alive.  There are some 400 published pages on the FatCow host site ... and when Homestead pulled the plug and left me hanging, I lost some 350 pages of articles ... reports ... and load data.  That's 750 "website pages" lost or in jeopardy.  Each of those pages are the equivalent of 4 to 5 book pages.  

     So ... will Web.Com be a better service?  Only time will tell.  I've never used their building program before, but seem to be getting by okay.  Just today, as I kind of watched the Daytona 500 on television over my shoulder, I knocked out my new home page, and built this page.  As I learn more about what I can do and can't do ... I'm sure these pages will evolve with a slicker look and format.  

     I have thoroughly enjoyed publishing my lifetime of muzzleloading for all who have followed both HIGH PERFORMANCE MUZZLELOADING and NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING.  It's great to have the opportunity to share what I have learned through 54 years of hunting with muzzleloaders of all types ... along with the rifles and loads that are capable of the accuracy and knockdown power to cleanly harvest North American big game.  This web magazine also gives me the opportunity to look back at great hunts with great friends ... and share those hunts with all of you.

     Since I'm writing this as coverage of the 2019 Daytona 500 is being aired on television, one very memorable hunt has been going through my mind.  Back in 1988, while working as the Public Relations Manager for Bass Pro Shops, of Springfield, Missouri ... I had the honor of being the Captain of one team participating in the Buckmaster's Classic Deer Hunt in Alabama.  On my team were several celebrities, one being NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.  Well, my team (the Bass Pro Shops team) won the Classic hunt that year.  And it has always given me a great feeling to know that I had the same plaque proudly displayed which also hung on Earnhardt's wall.

     The plaque shown above right, and the photo next to it, hang on the wall right behind my desk as I write this.  Another good friend, Bill Jordan of Realtree camouflage, snapped this photo of Earnhardt, NASCAR driver Davey Allison and I ... during one of the mid-day check ins during the hunt.  While Ruger was the rifle sponsor for this hunt, I carried my .50 caliber Knight MK-85 ... and on that hunt, probably took the only deer ever taken with a muzzleloader during the event.  I didn't plan it this way, but maybe it was somehow "planned for me" to build this new page ... while the Daytona race sped along on the television 15 feet away.  Both Earnhardt and Allison were former Daytona 500 winners ... and regretfully ... Dale died at Daytona during the final lap of the 2001 race ... and Davey died in a helicopter crash on the infield at Talladega in 1993.  I'm extremely grateful that I have such a wonderful memory of the five day hunt I shared with them. - Toby Bridges, NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING   

                                                                                                    Published 2-17-19 - For 3-1-19 Publication