How to create a self-sufficient lifestyle with Henry and Lakeisha Woodard
On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your chance of survival in a world without grocery stores?
For Henry and Lakeisha Woodard, survival chances are looking pretty good, and they’re on track to achieve a completely self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle in the not-so-distant future.
For those of you who, like us, think that is pretty freakin’ awesome, you’re going to love this interview with the H.A.L.O. Hunting founders themselves! In this article, Henry and Lakeisha share some tips for self-sufficient living and an inside look at what it’s like to plan a day hunting with four kids in tow!
How did Henry and Lakeisha first get started hunting?
Surprisingly enough, Henry and Lakeisha weren’t raised as hunters. In fact, Lakeisha’s first hunt was after she was married! She says, “With both of us growing up in the inner city, Henry and I did not grow up hunting. Henry did a little fishing but his interests really didn’t pique into hunting until he graduated high school. Once we got married, that’s when he actually invited me out to the woods with him. So I naturally filmed his hunts. The next time out, he picked up the camera and was doing the filming and I picked up the gun. We have been hunting together ever since then.”
Henry shared that though he did grow up in the city, he experienced a little hint of living on land as a kid. “My mom, she was into fishing. We come from a background of farming but I was raised in the inner city. My dad grew up on a farm so we still had the land. I think I was twelve years old when he bought me my first BB gun. I would do a little small game, backyard hunting. I was fascinated and intrigued with it. That’s kinda how it got started.”
Turkey hunting is a favorite H.A.L.O. Hunting pastime
Henry and Lakeisha’s favorite animal to hunt isn’t the stereotypical choice. “I’m going to say [our favorite], so far, is wild turkeys,” Henry says. “It’s special because that’s what got us really hooked on hunting. When I picked up the camera, Lakeisha shot her first turkey. That’s really, in my opinion, what started H.A.L.O. Hunting because it wasn’t the same anymore after that.” He goes on to add, laughing, “No one in her family would have ever imagined Lakeisha being outdoors. She doesn’t really even care much for bugs.”
How did this legendary couple first meet?
Henry and Lakeisha’s relationship is a match made in heaven, and it started with one gutsy move. “I approached Lakeisha at the local mall,” Henry says. “At that moment I know we didn’t have any idea that our life was going to be changed forever. I was probably nineteen. We were young.” As a young minister at that time, Henry’s goals didn’t align with those of most girls. He says, “I was going to try to find someone potentially to date and to be my wife. I had no idea with me and Lakeisha. I knew she was funny... we really hit it off.”
When asked why he decided to talk to Lakeisha, she laughs. “He couldn’t resist,” she says.
Hunting isn’t just for the bachelors out there! And nobody lives that out better than the Woodard family. Lakeisha and Henry and their kids love to get outside and adventure as a family. “We have four kids and all of our kids actually enjoy being outdoors,” Lakeisha says. “They enjoy hunting. It can be a real challenge trying to get everybody organized and ready and getting them together. It’s like playing musical chairs like who’s going to shoot, you know, but when it all comes together, it’s some of the most precious moments that we get to spend with our kids, just being out there in the outdoors making memories with them. It’s something that they will always be able to take with them and remember forever.”
H.A.L.O. Outdoors is founded on faith
Henry shared that faith keeps the family motivated to grow and live each day with a purpose. “In everything that we do on a daily basis, we strive to exemplify Christ in every area of our lives,” he says. ”And that’s truly what it’s about, just trying to present a better me. Lakeisha is trying to present a better version of her. We wake up because of Him so we take this time to try to be an example, we try to fulfill our purpose.”
He went on to add that they feel honored to have the platform of H.A.L.O. Hunting, and don’t take it for granted. “We feel, and we know that it’s not by chance, everything that happens with us is almost like God needs a willing vessel,” he says. “Just from the acronym H.A.L.O. which means Henry and Lakeisha Outdoors, everything about it… we couldn’t have thought it up on our own. Every day opportunities come. There are plenty of people that hunt who do exactly what we do. We’re not the only family out there with kids but we really believe we’re doing what we’re supposed to do at the right time.”
Henry and Lakeisha have a unique story and they want to use that to encourage others. “We want to be known for leading a legacy of God, family and outdoors,” Henry says. “We want to be known for being great parents, for raising our kids with American, conservative values, and we want people to know that with God all things are possible. A lot of people wonder, ‘Is marriage worth it? Does it really work?’ We want to be known for saying ‘Yes! You can do it. You can make it.’ Not that we make it because we are special, but we want to let people know that we make it because we are God-centered, using our moral compass in our relationship.
“We wake up every day thinking about what can we do to brand ourselves with H.A.L.O.” and what can we do to be a positive light,” Henry adds. “Just trying to be a better person and make this world a better place. That’s where our heart is.”
What is it like to be a hunter in 2020?
“A normal day consists of us interacting as a family and pretty much training and preparing for the next day’s hunt,” Lakeisha says. “Throughout the day, we’re just trying to be an inspiration whether we’re doing it on social media or in real life.”
Lakeisha goes on to add, “Each hunting season has a certain amount of times that you can or can’t hunt so when those times are open during Turkey season or deer season we try to get out there at least two days per week at the minimum. Most of the time, at least three. It depends on what we’re hunting and how desperate we are. There are bag limits and tag limits of deer or turkey that you can take so that’s going to play a part in how often we actually get out there.”
“I’m going to be honest with you, [we hunt] every chance we can get,” Henry says. “[In 2020] we’ve probably hunted just as much and maybe more than usual. We’ve had some hunting events cancelled but besides that, as a family we still got out there because we have certain goals and I really try to make sure my kids - the ones who really show an interest in hunting - get out there even more.”
Henry added that he has seen a different perspective in hunters over the past year. “I will say that I notice that people are looking at hunting as essential now,“ he says. “To me, hunting is totally essential. There has been an increase in firearm purchases. I’m pretty sure some of those people are going to go start on hunting. It’s definitely sparked some people’s interest now.
“Hunting and fishing, it all goes hand in hand so I'm pretty sure if they’re not hunting, people are doing more fishing.”
Henry also shared that while 2020 was a tough year, some good things did come out of it. “Even though it wasn’t the best year for a lot of people, 2020 was really an eye-opener that we shouldn’t take our freedoms for granted and that we should value and cherish relationships and interactions with people, realizing that nothing else matters more than having friends and family who support and care for you. That was really what I pulled out of 2020.
“We are social creatures,” he says. ”It was so different. Some people lost loved ones and never saw them again. We really have to value being social creatures. That’s just who we are by nature. It’s weird not to see smiling faces and to not hug or to shake hands. It was different. It really was.”
Fun facts and tips on sustainable living
While the rest of the world rushed to the stores to stock up on toilet paper and food last year, Henry and Lakeisha didn’t skip a beat. With a freezer full of wild game, they knew they’d be able to make it through anything. While the Woodards are well on their way to a fully self sufficient lifestyle, they do still visit the grocery store. “There are some things that we just have to buy at the grocery store,” Lakeisha says. “However, it is our main goal to be as self-sufficient as we can, whether growing our own food or hunting and filling our freezer with deer meat. Our main goal is in whatever area we can be the most self-sufficient, we’re going to do it.”
“There are some plans and some things we have in the future that probably will increase the amount of self-sufficient living activities that we do,” Henry adds. “I really want to be 100% self sufficient to grow everything. We garden. Last year we didn’t grow a garden but I have seeds just in case. That’s one thing I did pick up. A lot of people were buying other things like toilet tissue - we were buying seeds. This year, there are more things that we plan on doing because that is our ultimate goal.”
Advice for sustainable living newbies
Lakeisha shares some advice for those who are getting started on the journey to living sustainably. “Just go for it! Don’t give up. It’s a learning process and it’s only going to get better with experience and time. It’s an eye-opening, soul-cleansing, freedom-laced experience that will bring you inner peace and self-gratification. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. And just don’t give up.
“We really just want people to find out what God’s purpose is for them on this earth. When you find out what your purpose is, run with it and don’t look back and don’t let anyone stop you. And with it, use it to make the world a better place. Whatever your purpose is in life that God has for you, use that purpose and make the world a better place! Be better and help other people to become better.”
Henry shared some tips for finding that passion to motivate your life. He says, “I think a person would really have to stop, isolate themselves, evaluate themselves, take a close look and really pray about it. God has given everyone a measure of faith but I believe that if you really just take that moment, pause… I think that’s the beginning. Put the phone down, stay off social media, and try to be open minded about everything that is going on instead of being close-minded. I think that’s the start.”
“I think the world is moving more toward sustainable living,” Henry adds. “I think that the pandemic has opened a lot of people’s eyes about food shortages and the importance of becoming more self sufficient. What we’re doing… we’re stocking our freezer more than ever with wild game and just trying to be prepared for whatever hits. Anything that we can stock up on, it’s almost like you’d better have a reserve, regardless.”
Henry added that hunting is a very fulfilling activity. “I feel like we’re doing our part because hunting is not all about taking,” he says. “It’s about giving back. Other animals benefit from what we do. Being able to go out there and take an animal and respect the animal and see the end result - you’ve brought this animal home and it’s on the table. You know how it lived and lived a good life. It’s just a rewarding experience to know that you were able to do it on your own.”
For those who are getting into hunting, Lakeisha has a favorite recipe to share. She says, “Our kids actually love the wild game. They love it. And one of their favorites and our favorites is our Bacon and Cream Cheese Wrap with venison steaks or wild turkey breast. We cook that on the grill and it is just so delicious.”
Henry says, laughing, “Some of the kids are picky when it comes to appetites, but they’ll actually eat wild game quicker than other food.”
What are some hobbies Henry and Lakeisha love that people wouldn’t guess?
Hunting isn’t the only activity the Woodard family love to enjoy together. “One thing that we do like to do as a family is we love to cook desserts together,” Lakeisha says. “From cookies, cakes, brownies… you name it! The kids just love getting their hands in something. I always try to make sure that we get some time on the weekend to cook some desserts together because they love participating in getting to help with the food and cooking.
“Another thing that people may not know is that Henry likes to sing! Henry can sing and I also have a gift for writing songs as well, so that’s a surprising fact that some people may not know about us,” Lakeisha says.
“Lakeisha, she also is a Christian rapper, Henry says. “She really is a rapper. At one time, she actually had a group and everything, and that’s a fact that no one would have known.”
Lakeisha went on to hint that there may be some music in the couple’s future. “I’m hoping that eventually Henry gets into some singing and actually does some country singing and guitar playing,” she says. “I’m going to push him that way. I’m already working on a song, so you never know what might happen!”
Why should hunters wear Groove Rings?
Henry and Lakeisha have some crazy stories to back up their choice to wear Groove Rings! “I’m an electrician by trade,” Henry says, “so I would have to take the ring off. I wasn’t really wearing a ring at work because one day I was wearing my wedding band and got caught on a lift as I was walking down. And, I mean, it actually hung me up all the way. I’ve known electricians to get hit with voltage because it conducts electricity.
“When I say we wear them, we wear them every day,” he says. “I don’t ever take my Groove Life ring off except to maybe change to a different one. It just depends on what mood I’m in, which one I’m wearing.”
“Yeah, we don’t have to worry about our rings getting caught or anything, it doesn’t cause any irritations,” Lakeisha says. “I didn’t even really wear my ring for a long time until Groove Life came out. That’s when I started back wearing a ring at all. I couldn’t wear certain metals because it would cause my finger to get irritated or if I wear a watch, it would cause my wrist to be irritated. With the Groove Rings and watch bands, I don’t have that issue. I can wear it everyday without any problem. It’s a game-changer there! And of course we like all of the different designs and colors that they come in. Sometimes I like to match it with the outfit that I’m wearing.”
For Henry and Lakeisha, traditional wedding bands are only a simple symbol of something deeper. Henry says, “When Lakeisha and I first got married, we didn’t have a lot of money or anything but we had some wedding rings. To be honest with you, I really can’t recall what happened to my wedding band. The point is, our marriage is really based more on love. The ring is an object of affection and we’re not taking away from that. It’s a symbol of what we have on the inside. But we’re just as happy wearing a Groove Life ring because you don't have to worry about losing it. I’m just as satisfied wearing my Groove Life rings as our original bands.”
I like the leopard print. I don’t know what girl doesn’t. It depends on what outfit I’m wearing but I really like pretty much all of the designs. I like colorful watch bands. I just kinda like to mix it up sometimes so I don’t really have just one favorite but I really do like that leopard print! I know Henry’s favorite is the Mossy Oak Bottomland ring.”
Do Henry and Lakeisha like The Groove Belt?
“We wear The Groove Belt religiously with our hunting pants now,” Lakeisha says. “It’s a game changer. It’s simple, snaps right on… we wear those all the time now. We really love those belts. I think it’s the magnet. How it snaps so quickly and easily versus with the loops, trying to keep changing the loops. It’s quick, fast, and easy!”
“Yeah, I have a Mossy Oak Groove Belt,” Henry says. “I just leave that in my hunting pants so whenever we change into our hunting clothes, they’re already ready. It feels like it’s well-made. Durable, strong too.”
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