An Interview with Anthony Ferro of Fetching Feathers

There are people who love to hunt over dogs and then there are people who LIVE to hunt over dogs. Bird hunting, especially upland, has a special niche carved into the outdoor industry. It’s in this niche that we find a truly special combination of hard-running dogs, flushing birds, and the camaraderie of shotgun-totting hunters. This lethal combination sinks its teeth deep into you and doesn’t let go. We’ve met one such individual and he just happened to start a business that’s thriving in this beautiful sport we call upland hunting.

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Introducing, Anthony Ferro, founder and mastermind behind the Fetching Feathers brand. Fetching Feathers is a newly-minted upland apparel company that is quickly making its mark on the hunting world. It was extremely apparent to us that Anthony displayed such a fiery passion for the sport and lifestyle of upland hunting that we decided to reach out and really get to know him and his brand.

This is quite a long interview, but we believe it is extremely inspirational and informative to see how one balances the hunting and entrepreneurial spirit. Enjoy the interview below:


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  • Tell us a little about yourself, your dogs, and your lifestyle. How do you carry that into Fetching Feathers?

I grew up South of Kansas City in the suburbs of Johnson County. With no influence in the hunting realm associated with my family, there was a strong dose of fishing, camping and lake life. By the grace of God, I was gifted some friends who introduced me to the hunting world and the rest is the man who stands in front of you today. Really diving into turkey and the uplands in my early college years, my purpose started to reveal itself. 4 years later, hundreds of ducks and upland birds, coupled with 3 mature Eastern Gold long beards, the hooks dug deep in my soul. Come my 5th year of college AKA “Victory Lap,” I purchased my first bird dog, Gnarli!

Not growing up in a country family or being blessed with land ownership, my passion guided me to the publics lands of our great nation. To this day, I have hunted and harvested birds in 8 states – all on public land. I have never been to a game preserve or paid for a kick and shoot type scenario, it’s not a knock on you, it’s an atta boy to me. I take great pride in harvesting public land habitat and public lands alone. It’s who I am and what my passion and business are created upon. Currently owning 3 German Shorthaired Pointers, the team is strong and we show up to go to work. I couldn’t imagine living any other life.

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  • How did you get into upland hunting and what do you think sets it apart from any other type of hunting or outdoor activity?

I was introduced to the uplands and gun dogs my freshman year of college. I am a member of Fiji; one of many great fraternities at Kansas State University. It was there my heart would reveal itself to me, on my first opening weekend of pheasant season in Western Kansas. It became an annual hunting trip I cherished for the following 5 years at KSU.

For me, the journey of the uplands set it apart from other species and forms of feather fetching, assuming of course we are placing the companionship of our dogs at the top of this list.

The places my feet have taken me and the sunrises and sunsets I’ve shared with my hounds and good friends, nothing else can compare.

Waterfowling, you scout for the x, set up, and lay them down – what an absolutely magical experience. To scout them, call them off their migration path, decoy them and drop the hammer…. GET SOME! Furthermore, wild turkey hunting is what got me really hooked in the hunters life, but again the journey is somewhat limited.

Scout for the roost, set it up and watch the show. Granted, if you own the land you can really run and gun, but again public and private land has property lines. The journey feels limited in this regard. I live for the subtleties of that mother nature provides, those moments that most don’t recognize, and that the majority of hunting shows aren’t capturing.

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  • How did Fetching Feathers come about? And what drove it to fruition?

Other than the moments and the palpitations we all chase and day-dream about in the off-season, Fetching Feathers was really put into motion due to the current apparel and gear available to the upland hunter. I was so sick of walking into every outfitting store (Cabelas, Bass Pro, Gander…) to discover a bleak section of drab, non functional, unflattering upland gear.

The standard tan and orange shooting shirt, made of the industries most non breathable fabric wasn’t cutting it for me so I decided to do something about it. You see, I’m a bird hunter first and an apparel entrepreneur second – opposed to the occasional hunter whose primary focus is business. The difference is really quite simple, I can’t live without bird hunting, but could easily let go of the business. I decided to create a brand based on the passion, campfire stories, and moments that are shared and experienced.

I began to ask my friends what they knew about the owner of the brand name products they were wearing or using, Carhartt, Nike, Benelli, Primos, etc., The answer as one could assume was nothing, yet they spend 100’s to $1000’s of dollars on those products annually.

When working with Ray Wolfram of Wildrum Media on building my website, it was imperative my website reciprocated MY vision, it’s like no other clothing or retail website you’ll ever visit. I take the viewers on a journey with the first 5 tabs/headers of my personal background as well as my dogs, a blog, the Journey and what FF is, photo gallery and more.

In fact, the very last tab and the least of my concerns – is the apparel and gear. The point is to make you feel something, I want to provoke the emotion of the hunt, hunters and the reader. If you so happen to “feel” the journey there just so happens to be a tangible product that reciprocates the passion of the hunt – do indulge, you wont regret it.

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  • What are you currently working on? And what is your goal for the next year for Fetching Feathers?

There is always a slew of ideas in my head and less than a lot of money to fund the dream. That being said, the future is bright and 2017 is chalked full of greatness. I am currently working with American Bird Dogs and the K9 Joint and Recovery supplements. I have recently added them to the website and I’m excited to push a quality product for our best 4 legged friends.

Jeb Choke Tubes and I are getting ready to join forces, as I will be selling them on the website, and will be representing as their first upland ambassador. Garmin and I did some turkey hunts together this season and are on the verge of joining up and pushing the upland line of product. I’m extremely humbled to be having conversations and sharing a blind with such an awesome brand and group of guys. Last but not least, I’ve got a few more blogs to write for Project Upland and we will be teaming up this fall for quite the visual project.

As for the clothing and the business of FF for the next year, hang on tight. I am currently working on exiting the graphic-tee market, as it’s not profitable nor the long-term future of the business.

Look forward for leather goods for both humans and dogs, shooting shirts, tight clean plaids, chaps, boots, vest, and so much more.

Please let me remind everyone, the success of this business isn’t based on the revenue on product. The true future of this business is the continued passion of storytelling.

More writing, video content for training and such, but most of all I aim to dive into more short films. For me, film provokes the emotion I aim to convey,  it the best way to share the true experiences of the journey.

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  • What or who is your biggest inspiration? And why? How does it help your business?

I wasn’t always this emotional wanderlust rambler you read about today. In fact, I was emotionless. I was lost, angry, vengeful and substance-less. My number one inspiration in everything I do today is Jesus Christ.

My success is his success, I aim to make a difference in his glory – not mine. Mother nature has a way of touching even the most stubborn of men, I feel obligated to share such a forgiving pastime.

Aside from our Almighty, there are a handful of gents that have made a large impact on my passion and my success. Ray Wolfram of Wildrums Media, built my website and continued to reassure my direction well before it was tangible. Ken Barentsen has been not only an invaluable teacher of the uplands and field management, but a father figure that every young man seeks.

I’m not very influenced by “famous” folks on tv or public figures of the 2017 social media streams.  I relate to the “nobodies” of the world. Small time, small social media following with big passions and dreams! I think that makes me real and relatable.

I write about my hardships and failures of the hunt and shy away from the pile of dead birds.

Everyone is a hunter when they experience the peaks, but the real hunters and harvesters, they are made in the valleys.

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  • Any tips for the aspiring hunting, fishing, and outdoor entrepreneurs out there? What would you do differently or not do differently?

I have so much advice to give, but I’ll stick to the meat and leave out the taters… STAY TRUE TO YOU! Make your logo how YOU want it, sell the products YOU want and don’t ever sell out for the “Pro Staff” title or the fame.

Don’t stage your photos of fake shooting at birds, fake drawing your bow in a stand or blowing your duck call at the clouds. Don’t worry about your hair, your gear, or your make up. Sell the passion, sell the campfire stories, and sell the ideas you think about in your plaid pajama pants with your hound on the couch.

There is so much fake in the world – in this industry in particular. Always be a person of substance, grit grind and good old-fashioned hard work.

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  • What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting Fetching Feathers?

Everyone has an opinion and most people don’t want to see you succeed. I read a quote recently that went a bit like this:

“ Support your friends business’s like you do the one you didn’t grow up with”

You will quickly learn who is in your corner and who talks about you at night in bed with their spouse. Pay attention to those who don’t clap when you hit a home run, it’s an eye-opening experience.

Adversely, I have learned just how many like-minded supportive people are out there. I’ve learned the power of sharing my passion and it goes much further than selling some hats, but changing lives.  I’ve learned we have the ability to affect people with our words both good and bad. Choose to make a difference on the good side of things and leave the bad for the rest. Lastly, I’ve learned that there is no mistake in chasing your dream, and that if you truly want something you can work it into fruition. GET SOME!

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  • In your opinion, What’s the biggest problem facing the hunting and fishing world today? And how do we solve it?

What does the majority think about when they hear the word Conservation, land management, and rehab? Game species and population management? I think the biggest problem we are facing is the idea and lack of sharing this passion and replacing yourself.

This idea of “that’s my hunting spot” is ruining the progression and longevity of our beloved sport. In my opinion, there is no greater task asked of us in the world of conservation – than replacing yourself.

The other obvious issue I see is this social media famous facade that we are experiencing. The staged photos shooting at nothing, the idea of pro staffing everyone to grow your brand, and the continuous idea of showing skin to sell a product and produce likes is disturbing. We need more emotion and reality of the hunt and less Uncle Benny Fish stories.

 

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Anthony. Good luck out there this fall!

Follow Anthony and his pack of GSPs at

@fetchingfeathers

 

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