Shoot the deceased ... in tribute

Shoot the deceased ... in tribute
Shoot the deceased ... in tribute

What if you could hunt with your deceased buddy? Or what if, when you're gone, your friend, son or daughter could hunt or shoot with you?

Now that's all possible, thanks to a new Alabama company called Holy Smoke.

Started by a couple of still-on-duty Alabama game wardens, the company loads ashes of the deceased into all forms of firearm ammo -- an idea that has turned out to be wildly popular. The company, which launched just last week, has its phones ringing off the hook, and has been piling up interview requests from all over the U.S. and as far away as the U.K. and Germany.

Clem Parnell and Thad Holmes thought of the idea when they were talking one night about the passing of a relative, their own demise and burial vs. cremation. Holmes said he wanted his ashes tossed in a river or spread through the woods. Parnell then uttered the fateful words:


"You know, I've thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey-load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey-hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I'll rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second."


And Holy Smoke was born -- though really not that quickly because they spent a couple years studying the idea and preparing for the company's launch. They had to plan carefully because, after all, they're dealing with human remains.

Parnell said, "We use friends who have been reloading for 20 years, and because we have to keep everything reverent, we had to pick and choose Christian-oriented people to handle this. Not everybody who loads or reloads will touch ashes," he explained, "they just don't like it. But if you have good, sound values and Christian minds, you don't have a problem with those things."

That's just one of the things they had to consider. Another is the fact that unlike all other reloading, in this case all the equipment has to be thoroughly cleaned after every order is processed so remains are not mixed.


That's why it costs quite a bit more than buying ammo at a gun store. The base price is $1,250 for a case of shells or 100 rounds of rifle or pistol cartridges. A "mantle-worthy," handcrafted wood box is another $100.

For many, that's a small price to pay for a loved one. Parnell shared a story: "We just took an order from a lady for pistol ammo. She wanted 9mm because that's what she and her daughter shoot, and it was her [late] husband's wish that someone would come up this idea [so they could shoot his ashes]. She gave us a call and she was just thrilled."

Cremated human remains typically weigh about 3.5 pounds. Holy Smoke requests 1 pound to make its product. That much ash wis enough for a case of shotgun shells (250) and many bullets, the exact number depending on caliber.


A case of tribute shells means a bunch of friends can go out dove hunting or to the range, and have a whole day of shooting, "a celebration day," Parnell said, "which is what this is about.

"We're not talking about interfering with mourning," he said. "This is after."

Remains in ammo introduces some interesting issues. Parnell said that if the ashes are in shotshells, they will not go into a game bird. But "if it's a reloaded .308 hollow point, it's a different story. Ashes are nothing but carbon, so it's not a health issue, but a competent hunter will shoot [an animal] where they're not going to be eaten anyway."

Right now, it takes about 48 hours to turn around Holy Smoke ammo from the time the company receives the remains. And yes, they also will reload the remains of treasured canine friends.

Get more info at myholysmoke.com.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Mustad

Mustad's Saltwater Jig Lineup

Russ Whisler shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the innovative features and great color schemes in Mustad's voluminous lineup of saltwater jigs introduced at ICAST 2019.

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them. Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game & Fish 2018 Gear Guide magazine. Stories

Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck supremacy? Whitetail

The Next ‘Big Tex' for Trophy Bucks?

Jordan Michaels - October 18, 2019

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck...

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.