Many of hunters that we find afield today have been hunting since they were toddlers. Toting a Daisy BB in the old forest or trying their hand at traditional archery.Usually, these activities are introduced and ingrained under the supervision of their elders. An aging grandparent with years of wisdom or a loving father or mother nearby to nurture the lessons of sportsmanship.
However, there are the few hunters who were less fortunate and got into hunting much later in life.
It seems that an increasing amount of outdoor folk have been taking the field eager to learn the ropes and immerse themselves in this world. So what are these men and women supposed to do without the direct guidance of a relative or mentor? How does one get started in this rather intimidating world of guns, rods, reels, and sporting dog jargon? What are the etiquettes? or the “Do” and “Don’t do” things that one is supposed to learn?
I remember my first day afield as an early twenties bow hunter, fresh out of college with a degree and education that would do absolutely nothing for me in the woods. I had gotten my hands on a brand spanking’ new PSE compound bow and found myself on an old deer stand in the middle of a suburban neighborhood in Maryland dotted with McMansions.
I had gone out on my first hunting experience on opening day of Whitetail deer in Montgomery County, Maryland. Armed with my new bow, cheap arrows, and a drab green mil-pack full of useless items like a giant bowie knife, two gallons of water, and if I can remember correctly – some awesome new mixed and matched camo from Bass Pro Shops. I was sure to “catch” a deer! I shot and harvested my first 6 point buck that morning and I’ve been hooked ever since. A lot of Youtube videos later and a bloody shed – we had our first freezer full of venison. Looking back on it, I realized I made a lot of mistakes that day, but I also learned tremendously within those first few hours.
Needless to say, here are a few things I’ve learned to do and not to do since that embarrassing day thanks to individuals that were willing to take me under their wing and teach me their ways.
Things You Should Do:
- Find yourself a mentor
- Register for and attend a hunter’s safety course
- Learn the hunting, fishing, and firearm regulations of your local, state, and federal jurisdictions – ignorance of the law is never an excuse!
- Be ready to learn and stay humble
- Respect the quarry and the land which you recreate on
- Know what is ethical and what is not ethical
- Practice and be proficient enough with your weapon BEFORE you take the field
- Research and learn about the animal you will be hunting
- Make friends and stay out of trouble
- Volunteer and give back
Things You Don’t Do:
- Be arrogant or naive
- Show disrespect or disregard for wildlife, people, and property
- Trespassing or poaching
- Waste anything that you harvest
- Post anything on social media that would harm the image of the hunting and fishing communities (This subject will and deserves an entire post to itself!)
- Make an unethical shot or action that would maim or intentionally cause suffering to an animal
- Take the life of an animal for the pure enjoyment of killing it – the joy of hunting does not come simply from killing
There are many things that could be added to this list, but then again – these things can be completely up to your personal opinions. Regardless, I feel that every hunter that takes the field should have, up to a certain extent, high regard for life and the environment in which he or she steps foot on.
What do you think? What do you wish you would have learned earlier in your hunting career? Any advice you’d like to impart on others?
Let us know by emailing us at email@example.com!
Curated and featured content to get you through the week!
DU Films: Father’s Footsteps
A day late for Father’s Day, but we figured it was still worth posting anyway! Ducks Unlimited started their “DU Films” series a few years back, and it is a highly anticipated thing for us! Rock Road Creative does an amazing job – every single time. This short film in particular focuses on the beautiful relationships that are formed and strengthened out there in the field. Check it out and hopefully you have a box of tissues nearby!
The Canon 6D Mark II is Coming Back!
According to Petapixel via Canon Rumors, the full-frame Canon 6D will be making its comeback sooner than everyone thought! The enthusiast/pro 6D camera body was popular among its users for balancing a full frame sensor, relatively cheaper cost, and likeliness to its more expensive counterpart – the 5D. If you are looking to upgrade your current kit from an entry level DSLR or mid-level, a 6D is always a good step up – without losing a limb. Check out the article by Petapixel here.
Will Hunting and Fishing Ever Cease Being an American Tradition?
An article was posted a few days ago on Wide Open Spaces by Travis Smola regarding the future and longevity of our hunting and fishing way of life. Is it truly becoming a waning part of American life? A few statistics that were thrown in there has us scratching our heads a little and wondering what everyone else has – Why are there so few left? Give it a read here and see what you think.
450 Pound Black Marlin Eaten by Shark
Although it was uploaded in 2006, hence the relatively bad quality, this footage is just plain cool. Situations like these remind us that there is a food chain out there and it is a constant fight for survival out in the wild!
Dog Power Movie Trailer
At Muddy Shutter Media, it’s not a secret that we love dogs and have an unhealthy obsession with them. Pair them with any outdoor activity where they can come along or even partake in? We’re interested. German Shorthaired Pointers competing alongside their human teammates skiing? – SOLD. Take our money!
Check out the full site here and support Dog Power Movie 2!
There comes a time in a photographer’s career where the path splits into two – hobbyist/enthusiast or professional. There are a few things that are always good to keep in mind as you switch over from a hobbyist to a professional.
1. You’re an artist – but you also have to eat.
Photography is an art and usually with art – there are three ways people will look at your work.
- They don’t appreciate it and don’t see it as a real profession.
- Some people will like your work and compliment you on it – but will not want to pay for it or compensate you fairly.
- There are people who will appreciate your work and know the value that your art brings to them.
As a professional photographer, you’ll meet some combination of the three mentioned above. You want to work with Number 3 and occasionally Number 2. A Number 2 needs selling and you, as a photographer, must sell them on the value that your photographs create for them. Educate your clients and they will have a much better understanding of the effort it takes to create your photographs. Educated clients that truly know the value of good photography will more than likely compensate you for your time. At the end of the day, it’s a job and you have bills to pay.
2. Never work for free – even for your portfolio.
This can be a heavy debate among the photography folks, but I stand firmly behind what I say here – never work for free or “exposure”. I’m not just talking about money, but also about time, effort, and creativity. When you give away any of the above, be sure that you are getting something in return. If you are doing a discounted shoot (Even if it is 80% or 90%) , ask for other things as well; a feature on their website, help with connecting to a potential client, or things that will advance your portfolio, career, and business.
It is extremely important to establish early on with clients and even family, that you are a business. Don’t work for the simple promise of “Exposure” this statement that is thrown around by clients or potential clients is a large indication that they do not respect your work or value and simply think that they are doing YOU a favor.
Don’t do it.
3. Build connections, contacts, and relationships early and often
Networking is not just reserved for bankers and brokers. Connections help excel your business and will always help your pipeline.
Connections turn to contacts, contacts turn to relationships, and relationships turn to clients.
Budget some time every month to make it to at least a few functions or even just one. Make it a goal to have meaningful conversations and networking for the purpose of finding people you TRULY want to work with. Don’t be a connection/networking junkie and be known as a person that just throws names and business cards around. This devalues your networking efforts very quickly and will make you seem very desperate for work. Stay cool, calm, and collected while introducing yourself and your business – it will pay off in the long run.
4. Stay within your means
This is a big one and can kill your business faster than you think. A business, down to its core has revenue and expenses. The difference (revenue – expenses) of the two is your profit. No profit means no money to grow. Be sure to manage all three of these at a balanced rate. Don’t be too greedy and pay yourself too much if you are in need of money elsewhere in your business. That is a sacrifice you will need to make early on, but will pay you immensely later down the road. Invest in your business and it will invest itself back to you.
On another note of expenses – don’t go buying all the latest and greatest gear until you know you truly need it or have outgrown your current kit. Balance the need for gear with the quality of work that you can deliver.
If a shoot requires you to deliver 10 photographs of a cupcake for the sake of Instagram posts and the client is only paying you $200, don’t go buying a brand spanking new full frame camera for $6,000. It will take you a long time to recover from that or if you run out of business – never.
Fit the gear to the job and not the job to the gear.
5. Be legally protected and insured
Be legally established and get insurance for you and your gear. No questions. Not establishing yourself as a legal business can have terrible ramifications later on down the road. Keep good books, documentation, and have a good lawyer draft up your contracts. Be sure that you and your clients know where your company stands on certain issues like commercial usage, intellectual rights, etc. Be sure to separate your personal expenses from your business expenses. Be sure that you have all the necessary permits, licenses, and paperwork necessary to operate within your area.
If you’re serious about turning this into a legitimate business – you have to ensure that you are able to do so on all ends.
6. Choose your clients and gigs carefully
Just as much as a client screens and chooses a photographer, so must the photographer. The amount of stress and money will not always be worth it if the client is a terrible person or organization to work with.
Turning down a potential client that doesn’t suit your style or creative process is always a smart move – just point them to another photographer/creative that is more suited for the job. Sometimes, saying no is even more important than saying yes.
7. Find your niche, but stay flexible while you find your feet
You may have started out with dreams of solely photographing that one subject you love. For me, it was outdoor and hunting photography. I quickly realized a few things:
- I did not have enough clients or even shoots to get me through month to month
- I was new to the industry and could not charge rates that could sustain me or my business
- I needed to be realistic and realize that I could not build Rome (my business and portfolio) in one day – or even one year.
Engagement shoots, family portraits, pets, food, retail, product, and corporate head shots soon started to fill my calendar. These types of photography, one would say, are far removed and vastly different from the photos I want to shoot personally, but until you feel confident enough to transition to a single niche – stay flexible and diversify yourself monetarily and skill-wise.
8. Be open to collaborations and different projects
Work with other photographers and creative people – it will open your business up to more opportunities as well as connections. When passionate people come together for a project – good things also come along. Usually, collaborations are personal projects for me as I try not to bring any monetary motivation to complete it. This lets you stay unrestrained from doing what you want and how you want. At the end of the day, you’ll end up with something you are proud of working on, make new friends, and have decent stills for your portfolio.
9. Always be professional and courteous
Always, always, always be professional. One thing people will remember is how you conducted yourself. It requires no money or talent and pays dividends on how people see you and your business. Be respectful and courteous to your clients and people around your during your meetings and sessions. If you’re out in a public place for a shoot and someone gets in your way, don’t push them aside and mutter under your breath – your client will notice these things.
10. Have fun, stay passionate, and keep learning
At the end of the day, you’re in the business because you love it. You have the passion, drive, and might be slightly insane, but it’s worth it. You get to deliver your work to clients that matter and you should enjoy it. Yes, you may have those long edit sessions where you want to call it quits after looking at the same 2000+ shots, but keep at it.
Stay sharp and always improve yourself – your business relies on it. Learn as much as possible and hone your skills so that you’re ready when the opportunities come. Experiment and don’t be afraid to try new things – even if you fail or said experiment looks terrible.
Keep the passion strong, have loads of fun, and as someone once told me “Keep burning pixels!”
A comparison and review of the Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak Cub and the FHF Gear medium binocular harness and why you should use a bino-harness.
Why use a Bino-harness?
All hunters have a piece or pieces of gear that they consider to be a must have, whether that be a trusty old folding knife or some modern electronic gadget. For me, a quality pair of binoculars is a must have for any hunter! Whether your perched high in a tree stand looking over the whitetail woods or glassing up some elk in the rugged Rocky Mountains – a good pair of binoculars can make or break a hunt. Although, just owning a set of quality glass isn’t the only important thing, I believe the manner in which you carry that glass is equally important. Having a $1000 pair of binoculars means very little if they are always stuffed deep down inside a backpack during a hunt, or sitting on the cabin shelf. They should be out and accessible so they may be used to their full potential.
For years, I simply used the elastic strapped binocular harness you can find on any sporting goods store shelf to keep my binoculars seated on my chest. The problem with these is that they offered no protection for my optics and were always bouncing around getting snagged on anything and everything. That is, until about two years ago when I discovered the modern style binocular harnesses that were on the market. Since purchasing one, it has changed the way I hunt and has now evolved into, in my opinion, one of the most important pieces of gear a hunter can have! It is as vital to me as a duty belt is to a police officer, it has all my essentials in it. In the following paragraphs, I will explain the importance of a bino harness while comparing and reviewing two American-made bino-harnesses I have purchased and owned and why I prefer one to the other.
Why use a Bino-harness?
Its simple, if it’s on your chest you will use it more often and more quickly. So, with that in mind, I want to keep all my essential items within quick and easy access without the need to drop my pack and dig through it. This will not only make me faster at glassing up an animal or getting a range before I take the shot – it will involve less movement.
I also don’t want these items in my pack or clothing pockets in case I need to quickly drop my pack to head in for a stalk or add/shed layers. Everything I need minus my weapon to make a kill is attached to one harness or kit. What you put or attach to that kit besides binoculars is up to you, and your needs. I will break down the gear in or attached to my harness and why it makes it.
Good optics are vital to any hunter as I said before, whether that’s glassing up a suspicious elk-like object on a far away slope in the west or getting a better look at a sneaky whitetail buck on the far side of the field. The truth is, if your binoculars are in your pack, you will hardly ever pull them out and miss great opportunities due to it. If they are on your chest, you will constantly be looking through them, and by doing so seeing much more game! Not only will you see more game, you will be able to better judge the game by seeing more detail. You will be able to tell if that buck you can barely see with your naked eye is the one you’re after, the one you would pass, or just plain legal to shoot without having to get closer for inspection. You will also be able to better observe the body language of the animal and by doing so make a better decision on how to pursue, such as those elk you see way off in the distance – are they feeding calmly or do they keep looking back as if pursued by a predator?
The rule also applies to rangefinders, if it’s in your pack you will not use it or not have enough time to get it out. I keep my rangefinder on my harness so I can easily access it, range the target, and make the shot. The seconds it takes to dig your rangefinder out of a pack could be the difference between a filled or unfilled tag. It is a vital piece of gear for the western rifle or bow hunter who always has to deal with changing set-ups and distances. Even for those who tree stand hunt and keep their rangefinders tucked away after ranging a few key reference points from their stand. What if the buck does a 180 on you and comes in and ends up standing in the one window of opportunity you never ranged? You could easily pull your rangefinder out, range him, and make an ethical shot, or guesstimate yardage and risk wounding him..it’s your choice.
My GPS being attached to my harness is slightly more critical for western hunters since I use it not only to navigate terrain, but also to know where the boundaries of public and private land are. This is key when skirting the boarders of private and public on those oddly shaped pieces of public land. Also, if I ever need to mark a spot, I can easily access my gps and mark a waypoint within seconds.
There are certain things that always stay in my harness, such as spare batteries for the gps, lens cloths to clean binocular and camera lenses, off wind indicator, game calls, license and tags, and when not in grizzly country..chapstick! once again these are all items I will need to use often and don’t want to stop and drop my pack for. Other useful items if you have the room would be your headlamp and a small spare pocket knife.
Hopefully, now your sold on giving a bind-harness a try so which one? Well, the two bio-harnesses I will be reviewing are the Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak Cub and the FHF Gear Medium Bino-Harnesses. I own and have hunted with both of these harnesses and want to start off by saying they are both amazing, quality, American made products!
Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak Cub:
- Fits Binoculars up to 42mm objective lens
- Main compartment: 6.5″ tall x 6″ wide x 3″ deep
- Front compartment: 4″ tall x 6″ wide x 1.5″ deep
- Side compartments: 3″ tall x 2.5″ wide x 1″ deep
- Rear compartment: 4″ tall x 6″ wide
- Hook and Loop closure (adjustable tension)
- Two elastic band pockets on top of lid
- 7 lanyard loops
- B.T.S Bino Tether System straps included
The Kodiak Cub was my first purchase out of the two and the one I have hunted with the longest. It is a great bio-harness with a few caveats in my opinion. I like the fact that the harness is extremely well-built with rugged material and finished off with high quality stitching. I have abused my harness for over a year and a half and it has no rips or tears with only a few very small signs of wear. The main compartment of the harness is lined with a micro fleece material with a lid that completely shuts, encasing the optics sealing out any weather from coming in. This is the feature that sold me on the harness when I first purchased it, and is still one of its best features.
The front compartment is a great storage space for your head lamp or extra camera batteries as well as most modern rangefinders. However, its zipper and shape does not make it user-friendly for one hand operation. This may not be a huge deal for the rifle hunters out there but for many bow hunters the ability to access a rangefinder while only using one hand is key, at least for me it is. Now, I am not saying that it cannot be done, but it’s not as fluid as accessing a seperate rangefinder pouch. The side compartments are also nice and large being perfect for extra batteries or a bottle of wind indicator, however, their slanted zipper design makes it difficult to fit certain items in and also get them out with one hand, something that caused me much frustration.
The rear pocket on the harness is one I have no complaints about, it’s large and has a quality zipper, I used it to store my hunting license and tags so I always had them on me. The harness also has a super comfortable suspension system that comes with high quality B.T.S bino tether system straps. The wide shoulder straps of the harness help distribute the load of the harness well and comfortable under pack straps.
I don’t think there is any functional flaw to this system, but I have had to make some modifications to fit my personal preference. When I fully adjusted the harness to be as high as possible it still felt as if my binoculars where resting on my gut and not my chest. This was something that annoyed me on a daily basis. For many taller users, this is not a problem but for someone of my height 5′-9″ it may be problematic if your like me and want your binoculars high on your chest. I modified my harness by taking out the stock buckles and adding some MOLLE d-ring buckles. This modification was also for attaching P-cord lanyards that I run on my GPS and rangefinder pouches. The lanyards keep the pouches in place while the d-ring lets me take them on and off easily if needed. Like I said, there really is no issue with the harness if your taller, but I feel it lacks the ability to be seated high enough even when you crank the bottom buckles tight.
Another negative, in my opinion, to the harness is its size and robustness. The harness with the front pocket sticks off your chest quite a bit and if your ever anticipating getting low and crawling (which is common on antelope stalks) this harness will get in the way with how large it is. Although, this might not be common situation for most people, making the large amount of storage the harness has much more important than size. Overall, I think the Alaska Guide Creations Kodiak Cub is an amazing bio-harness that boasts tons of storage. Is it the right one for me? No, but perhaps the Alaska Guide Creations K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) model would work better for me? It is slimmer and has a lower profile. However, the AGC suspension system just doesn’t work for where I want my harness to sit on my chest.
FHF Gear (medium)
- Microfiber lining
- 2.25″ deep, fitting binoculars 6″-7.25″ tall
- 2 side mesh slot pockets
- Front vertical zipper pocket
- Front slot pocket
- Full rear pocket with flap
- Lower lanyard loops
- Bino tethers included
After running the AGC Kodiak Cub for over a year and half, I decided to give the FHF Gear harness a try. My hunting partner, Seth Morris had been running one for over a year and half with no issues and nothing, but love for it. So, when they finally came back in stock I ordered one right away. I am blown away by the feel and quality product that FHF gear is producing. Just as the AGC, the FHF gear harness was made of super high quality materials and finished off with rock solid stitching. The harness is lined with a microfiber material to protect your optics with a top flap that secures by a hook and loop. The flap does not 100% close off all the elements to the binoculars inside which is not optimal but is a very small negative to say the least.
On the front of the main pouch under the flap is a zipper pocket that runs the height of the pouch which is great for storing lens clothes or some small thin accessorizes. There is also a slanted slot pocket on the opposite side which fits two AA batteries perfectly.
On either side of the harness are mesh elastic pockets that fit wind indicator and game calls perfect, and allow for easy one-handed access. The rear pocket on the harness is also nice, however, only sports a simple flap design and not a secure zipper design like the AGC. This pocket, none the less, is perfect for storing licenses or perhaps a cell phone. The harness does come with a binocular tether system and a great suspension system. The suspension system does not come stock with padding as the AGC did, but separate padding can be purchased separately. However, it is not necessary for comfort – just an added bonus. The best feature of the system is the X design if you will, that allows the harness to be tightened and the binoculars to sit very high on the users chest, but not high enough it would ever interfere with a bow-string. This was an overall key feature for me, the harness sits high on the chest and is super low profile making it perfect for any hunting situation. The FHF gear harness may not sport as much storage as its AGC cousin but in my opinion that cost is worth the excellent fit the FHF gear sports.
I did modify my FHF gear by adding two MOLLE d-rings so I could attach my GPS and rangefinder pouches to the harness. The P-cord just keeps them up higher and from slipping around my side. Now, FHF gear does make some excellent quality GPS and rangefinder pouches that fit perfectly on the harness without those issues but I have not yet gotten my hands on them.
One modification that I did on both my AGC and FHF gear harness, that was not necessary but made taking the harness on and off much easier is an extension buckle. Both harness sport the buckles immediately on each side of the harness, however when you are running accessory pouches on either side it is hard to get the harness on and off quickly, due to the pouches covering up the stock buckles. So I pieced together and stitched extension buckles. These extensions make it easier to take the harness on and off while sporting pouches on either side, maybe a bit overkill for some but for me it is much faster and keeps my kit together.
So who won? Well, for me I will keep sporting the FHF gear bino-harness as it fits ME and what I’m looking for in a harness just perfectly. But remember, you may be looking for something much different in a bind-harness, or be built differently than me, so pick up one or both of these great American-made Bino-harnesses and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed! And even if you decide against one of these harnesses, at least pick up a Bino-harness and give it a try!
About the author: Rick Hutton is an all-around outdoorsman, hunter, and photographer based in Helena, MT. When he’s not snapping great stills or enjoying the outdoors, he works for the U.S. Forestry Service. To see more of his work, visit and give him a follow on Instagram handle @rhuttonjr.
Curated and featured content to get you through the week!
The Reward – A Hunter Mentor Film
Another film in the 2017 series of Project Upland’s epic shorts. This one particularly is one of our favorites. In our opinion, conservation’s greatest tool is the hunter him/herself. Ensuring that there are others to carry on the torch from generation to generation is of utmost importance and is one of the reasons why mentors in the field are so important. We truly believe that Project Upland is doing a magnificent job showcasing the upland world as well as educating and inspiring potential hunters. Give it a watch!
Cut Your Editing Time in Half with Mango Street Labs
One thing that people always underestimate in a photographer’s daily duties is editing. Editing will usually make up about 50% – 75% of your time if you’re lucky! From running around to meet clients, taking care of the books, to the actual shoot. Editing is what stands between you and the deliverables. So why not learn to cut that time in half? Mango Street Lab and their Youtube channel has a plethora of videos that will help you everything from editing workflows to social media tips. We highly recommend browsing through their channels and watching a few! It might up your game!
Warning: Graphic Image
In a world of respectful hunters, fishers, and outdoors people – there are some that are not so respectful. Some are even down-right sick. This photo and article surfaced a few days ago with the Georgia DNR asking for leads on the illegally shot deer which was then dressed, sat on a chair, and duct-taped to a road sign.
We’re sure that many hunters out there are shaking their heads and hoping that the general public and anti-hunters will not use this as ammo. The animals that we harvest deserve the utmost respect – from field all the way to the table.
Game wardens urge the public to share in hopes to generate leads.
If you have any information that will help the DNR in locating the person or persons that did this please call (912).850.8703 or contact the Coffee County Sheriffs Officer at
Anonymous Tip Line (912)383-8477(TIPS)
Great White Shark Attacks Kayaker
We’ll just leave this right here as it needs no explanation. Makes you cringe a bit thinking about the next time you’re in your kayak…
Andy Best + Treeline Outdoors = Adventure
If you need something to watch early in the week and just about every day during the week – here it is. The cinematography, music, and voice over definitely send you daydreaming about your next adventure out in the wild. Cheers to Andy Best & Treeline Outdoors!
Gear & Equipment:
The InReach Explorer+
This week’s featured Instagram handle is:
In honor of his interview this past Sunday, we’ve featured Anthony’s Instagram handle. Be sure to give him a follow if you’re into gun dogs and upland hunting.
Photo Courtesy: Anthony Ferro
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
I had set out early on Friday morning to southeastern Montana, along with my best friend and hunting partner, Rick Hutton. We had planned on one last turkey hunt that weekend to wrap up our spring turkey season. The weekend prior, Rick had filled his general turkey tag, which meant I was up to bat first. We made a pit stop at the Region Five FWP office in Billings, Montana. We were to pick up our Region Seven turkey tag for where we would be hunting. In Montana, you have the ability to purchase both a general turkey tag as well as a region specific tag within those general regions.
We arrived in Region Seven around noon and quickly scouted out an area to set up camp for the weekend. After setting up camp, we headed out on a scouting mission just to get familiar with the area. It was an area that both Rick and I have never hunted before, although we’ve always heard good things about the turkey hunting there.
It was very hot, with the mercury hovering around the 90 degree mark. The last thing I wanted to do was walk around all afternoon in the hot sun, but if we wanted to have a successful hunt – it was something that had to be done.
We weren’t seeing much activity nor any birds, but with the heat, that was expected. Slowly making our way around, we were able to get an idea for the general layout of the landscape.
As time ticked on, the sun got lower and lower in the sky, and the temperatures finally started to drop. We found ourselves perched on top of a glassing point where we could see multiple open grassy areas – it looked like perfect turkey habitat. I was making a call here and there, but nothing was answering my calls. It was later in the season and I was worried that the birds were getting call shy from being called to all season long.
Our hope for seeing a nice tom was dwindling fast, so we decided to keep pressing on and finish our loop back to camp. On our way back, I happened to take one more look out at the open areas below us, and as I did, I spotted two black dots in the middle of one of them. I threw up my binoculars and sure enough, it was a big tom and a hen that had just stepped out of the timber into the opening.
Rick and I quickly started putting a plan together to go after the big tom. He was un-responsive to calls and in the middle of a wide open meadow. Our only options were
A: To just sit back and watch him go to roost and try to get on him in the morning.
B: Deploy the full strut turkey decoy and go after him.
We decided on plan B.
There was a deep drainage below us that ran right up to the edge of the meadow that the tom and hen were in. We used the cover of the drainage and made our way toward the meadow. About 150 yards from the meadow, Rick stopped to stay behind and I left my pack with him so I could move in quietly. As I approached the opening, I carefully watched each step that I took, making sure that I didn’t crunch any twigs or pinecones. If my calculations were correct, I would pop up in the meadow, and the turkeys would be about 120-130 yards away.
I held up the decoy in front of me, and crawled out into the opening. There was a little rise in the middle of the meadow and I assumed the tom was just on the other side of it. I slowly made my way to the top of that rise. As I approached it, I carefully peaked out around the decoy to try and get my eyes on the tom and hen. However, they were gone and I could not find them anywhere. I started to second guess myself – Did I make too much noise? Did they somehow see me making my approach to the edge of the meadow? All those things were going through my head.
As I was trying to figure out what had happened, I heard a turkey putt about 50 yards away off to my left. It was the hen and she had me pegged. The gobbler was about another 50 yards behind her and I thought the hunt was over.
I wasn’t going to give up just yet though.
I slowly turned the full strut decoy toward the big tom and started army crawling in his direction. This thoroughly pissed him off and he immediately went into full strut and gobbled at me. I was back in the game. He started moving in my direction, but I lost him in a small depression that was between us. I kept crawling toward him. He gobbled two or three more times, but I could not see him. I didn’t know if he lost interest and kept following the hen away from me, or if he was still coming my way. I crawled another five yards and noticed something out of the corner of my eye to my left. There he stood, 20 yards away.
I dropped the decoy, raised my shotgun, and a single shot rang out in the air.
I had hit my mark and as the bird flopped, I turned and gave Rick a “Yee Yee!” to let him know that the shot was on – and the bird was down. He quickly made is way over to me to see the big tom and I recounted the story of how it all went down. The sun was perfect in the sky that made for some amazing photos.
Exactly one year prior, Rick and I drove across the border into Montana with two loaded down U-haul trailers to embark on a new crazy adventure. I never would have thought that precisely one year later to the day, I would kill my first Merriam’s turkey in Montana.
It is important to note that if it weren’t for our amazing public lands, this hunt would have never been possible. As of right now anyone can have the same experience that Rick and I had. We were hunting a national forest that is open to the public for all to enjoy. If we don’t fight to keep our public lands in public hands, we could have opportunities like this ripped away forever.
About the author: Seth Morris is a hunter, angler, and photographer based in Helena, MT. When he’s not behind the camera or behind the wheel scouting, he works at Windswept Wildfire, LLC as a Forestry Foreman. To see more of his work, visit and give him a follow on Instagram handle @signswest.
Curated and featured content to get you through the week!
The Opportunity – A Project Upland Film
Presented by: The Ruffed Grouse Society
Last week, we featured Project Upland’s short film trailer for 2017. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be featuring their epic short films series. This particular short film follows Regional Biologist Meadow Kouffeld from the Ruffed Grouse Society. Set with a beautiful and colorful background of a fall woodcock hunt, Meadow shares her thoughts on conservation, stewardship, and the value of time out in the woods. The short film definitely captures the serenity and peacefulness of being out in the woods with a shotgun in hand, a loyal bird dog, and the occasional flush of a wild bird.
Film photography down to its core is the complete analog method of capturing a photograph. No batteries required in most cases – just a lot of patience, chemicals, and more patience. Understanding the basics of how a film camera will not only give you a better understanding of photography, but improve your digital game as well. This short video, among others in the series “Introduction to Film Photography” by Ilford explains everything you need to know about film, formats, settings, and even processing your film. Check it out!
Every Hunter’s Dream: A Mobile Tiny Log Cabin
Tiny house movement – A super small home on wheels or built on the back of a trailer/hauler. It takes a certain type of person to be able to live their lives in one of them. However, make it a tiny log cabin with a hunting theme to it – and every hunter is going to dream about having one in the woods come fall! Check out the video and see what you think!
A Deliberate Life by Rockhouse Motion
Before Muddy Shutter Media was started, we looked to many sources for inspiration. Rockhouse Motion was a company that we followed closely and whose work inspired us, among many others, to share our own stories. A Deliberate Life is a short film that goes to the core of what makes the outdoor, hunting, and fishing people tick. It is the lifestyle and mentality portrayed in this short film that has us nodding our heads and applauding that someone has captured what we all feel in words and visuals.
Listen to the River by Wild Confluence Media
Summer is soon upon us and many of us will start to pack our canoes, kayaks, and rafts in search of adventure. Grab some friends and watch this short film from Wild Confluence Media. It is sure to pump you up for what’s in store for you in the wilderness. Good ice-cold beer, soothing (or not so soothing) sounds of the on-coming rapids, and great friends. Life on the water is a good life.
Gear & Equipment:
A Backcountry Photographer’s Must-Have: The GNARBOX!
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you suddenly lost your camera or dropped it into a rushing river mid-trip? How you would be totally done for should you lose your hard-earned photos that your clients are expecting when you get back from your week-long backcountry trip? Well – don’t sweat it any longer! Introducing the GNARBOX, the answer to backing up your data without the use of a laptop. Another perk is that you can edit images and even 4k (yes, 4k…) videos on your phone! Head over to GNARBOX.com for more detailed specs and videos on this amazing device.
This week’s featured Instagram handle is:
These talented individuals are responsible for some of the coolest, hair-raising short films and visuals in the hunting industry. Be sure to check out their Vimeo channel too!
Photo Credit: Cana Outdoors
For many, the state of Maryland is known for it’s Chesapeake Bay, delicious blue crabs (don’t forget the crab cakes…) , and according to the movie Wedding Crashers – football.
However, to hunters and avid bird hunters, Maryland brings one word to mind – Waterfowl.
Situated in the Atlantic Flyway, Maryland is steeped with decades of waterfowling tradition. From hunting out in the Susquehanna Flats to the famed Blackwater National Refuge, this place does not disappoint.
This past season, we had the opportunity to work with a group of gentlemen out of Chestertown, MD. This is our photo essay dedicated to them, our fellow waterfowlers, and of course – Maryland.
Curated and featured content to get you through the week!
Project Upland: 2017 Short Film Trailer
If you haven’t heard of Project Upland or have not seen any of their short films yet – it’s well worth your time. Project Upland is definitely taking upland hunting storytelling to the next level. We thoroughly enjoy their work and watch them over and over again when we have the itch for fall to get here!
Lucky journalist’s GoPro Deflects a Sniper’s Bullet
This is definitely not in the realm of hunting or outdoor photography, but we thought this was pretty mind-blowing regardless. Check out the video – it’s definitely a “holy [insert choice word here] kind of moment.
Cameron Hanes has always been at the fore-front of hunting, fitness, and overall outdoorsmanship. As an athlete of this sport, we find that he is role model to many aspiring hunters.
Recently, Cam received a pretty serious, if not straight forward, death threat on his social media channel. As the image has explicit language, we’ve decided not to post it here, but click the link above to see the message that Cam received.
Below was Cam’s response.
“So tolerate and loving huh? When do you suppose the last time was a hunter threatened the life of a non-hunter. Never. Know why? Because hunters have respect for life. And, because hunting takes skill, dedication and hard work and teaches one how to deal with failure as most days afield end with nothing more than a pure experience and appreciation for the beauty of the wild, hunters are repeatedly humbled. Being humble is good. To be clear success, i.e., a dead animal is rare for most, so a hunter spend most days learning and becoming more well-rounded. For those that don’t know, for a hunter the kill is not the true reward, it’s the pursuit and the journey. If blessed with success, the animal is cherished because it means meat in the freezer. Thusly, hunting also teaches honor. While conversely, making on-line death threats is cowardly. Either way, for me messages like this are telling. With no honor, hard-earned success or out-of-your-comfort-zone living, one can get spoiled and soft. When someone like this sees something they don’t understand, like or agree with they throw a tantrum and say things like, “I’ll kill you…” Makes me even more #proudtobeahunter PS, don’t worry I’m not “down” from receiving messages like this. Not in the least. I post it to educate and hold people accountable that break the law by making on-line death threats.”
It is not a surprise to us, that when faced with a serious death threat from an anti-hunter, that he responded the way he did. Way to go Cam – Keep hammering!
Californian Salmon and Trout May Not Exist Much Longer
According to a report by California Trout, a large majority of salmon and trout will become extinct in the next half decade. In the 2017 report, it is outlined that 45% of these beautiful fish will indeed become extinct to California. This report is eye-opening and sheds light on how fragile our ecosystems really are.
Read the report here.
Gear & Equipment:
Need Gear? Go Check Out REI’s Anniversary Sale!
REI is having their anniversary sale and we see some great deals on their website. From May 19th to May 29th, you can save up to 30% off on the listed items. It’s online and in-stores so don’t feel like you have to do your shopping all online! Go into your nearest REI and try things on. We always recommend looking and playing around with the gear before you buy it!
A photographer’s Instagram we love is @fordyates . He has absolutely amazing content and is extremely talented. His portfolio is nothing short of amazing. Check out his work and website to see for yourself.
Photo Credit: Ford Yates