Honor one’s life with a bang

By Laura Wood

Families don’t have to keep their cremated loved ones on display in an urn if they don’t want to.

Holy Smoke is a company in Stockton, Ala., that packs deceased loved ones’ ashes into bullets as a way to honor their nature-loving life by giving them one last bird hunt or round of clay targets, according to the company’s website.

The process starts with a visit to the website, where customers can choose which of six bullet gauges they want their loved ones packed in and how the name should look on the handcrafted wooden box they get shipped in. The company then asks for a pound of the deceased’s ashes so they can be “carefully and reverently” placed in a case of 250 shotgun shells or 100 rifle bullets, and the website ensures any excess ash will be returned to the customer with the final product.


The company calls it an environment-friendly way to celebrate the lives of anyone who loved the great outdoors, or a handy way to protect the home and family even in death.

That sounds like someone gets gypped somewhere. To be dead is to be free of all the obligations and stresses that come with life. Why would someone want to keep responsibility going and make their late loved one protect a home and ensure family security even after they’ve died?

In the same respect, to have one’s ashes placed in bullets and be used to kill another living thing seems a little ironic. They say things usually come in threes, but what good is there in playing death to make it come in 250s?

What ever happened to resting in peace?

The company’s website also claims that the ecological footprint this process leaves is “virtually nonexistent,” but I beg to differ.

Let’s say, for Thanksgiving dinner’s sake, Tom the turkey just fell victim to one of old Randy Schmandy’s ash bullets and will now be served as the main dish. Sure, eating Tom and leaving his bones behind is already more ecofriendly than burying him. But bones can take up to 80 years to decay depending on soil conditions, according to the Physics Forum website.

What if Schmandy loved to hunt and his family decided the only way to honor his life was to use all 250 bullets for killing turkeys? Even if Schmandy’s family had turkey dinner four times a month for the next five years, they would be contributing a maximum 19,200 years of bone decomposition to our landfills.


That ecological footprint hardly seems virtually nonexistent when you think about it like that.

Sure, the bullets don’t have to be used strictly for killing. Using the ash bullets to give a dead loved one a final round of clay target shooting is wasteful too. Shooting a bunch of clay targets doesn’t get anyone anything but pounds of clay trash when it could have been used to make handy objects such as jars, bowls or home décor.

The only logical solution to all of this is to simply leave those sentimental shells in their pretty packages on the mantle where they belong, which could make for a greater honor anyway. Loved ones’ lives may have been taken, but they don’t have be packed into a box of bullets that could keep on taking.