Having grown up in Western Illinois, I was truly blessed. I was introduced to the outdoors as soon as I could walk. My father was an avid outdoorsman and owned an archery shop/check station in our garage. He often tells stories of me wearing nothing but a diaper while in the bow shop “helping” along with climbing into the back of trucks to check out customers big deer that they harvested.
As I grew, I was able to tag along with dad to the timber joining him in the deer stand or turkey blind. I will never forget the first time I heard a long-beard gobble, or the first time I witnessed my dad harvest a deer. Those are by far some of my fondest childhood memories that put me on the path to my passion for hunting. In 1997 and at seven years old I harvested my first turkey. In 2000, I was finally able to pull the minimum draw weight for my then bow, the High Country Machine Supreme. At that time, I harvested my first whitetail doe. Those two hunts alone ignited a fire in me and I knew at that point in my life I was hooked and saved every penny for, “hunting stuff.” Over the last 22 years I have been very fortunate and blessed in my hunting career harvesting many whitetails and turkeys.
In 2003 we started managing our land intensely doing timber stand improvements, selective tree harvesting, as well as planting summer and winter food plots for wildlife. It was then that I realized the true passion I had was not only for whitetails and turkeys, but for all wildlife and habitat. Having the opportunity to watch deer evolve and grow, witness how all wildlife react and thrive within something you specifically implemented for them is truly an unexplainable feeling.
Managing our land has paid huge dividends. Now my passion for the outdoors and wildlife is as strong as ever. I still enjoy every minute I am given in the woods. With that being said, my focus has shifted to introducing my fiancé Jenessa, our three children Avery, Liam, and Huntleigh to the outdoors. There is no greater enjoyment than instilling the ways of the outdoors into new people. Making memories and watching them have success and excitement afield is truly an irreplaceable feeling I will never forget. I can only hope that they will continue their drive and passion for the outdoors like I do.
Illinois Counties: Adams, Brown, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Mercer, Schuyler, Warren