Please consider being a business sponsor for our 2024 Sportsman Banquet scheduled for March 19 & 20, 2024. We are looking forward to having guest speaker Dr. Grant Woods join us this year! This is a family-friendly event. Stay tuned for business sponsorship and ticket details coming soon!
I was raised among hunters. My mother always gave my father, my brother-in-law, and me hunting licenses for Christmas. Before I was even old enough to need a hunting license, one of my favorite toys was a double barrel, side by side, spring-action dart gun and a wind-up rabbit. I spent many hours shooting at that rabbit. As my skills progressed, I would place the rabbit where it would “run” between chairs and other furniture to limit my shot opportunities.
When I was in third grade, my Uncle Joe loaned me a single shot .410. My father, grandfather, and Uncle Joe were present when, after many, many misses, I harvested my first rabbit with that gun!
My father, grandfather, and Uncle Joe taught me how to hunt. The days we spent hunting rabbits, quail, dove, and groundhogs were the foundation for my career. My lessons in wildlife “ecology” began before I knew what ecology was. I began learning from my mentors where rabbits and quail could be found based on the type of plants present. Their observations about game behavior and use of habitat have certainly proven invaluable.
These men were always present in my life. They were my friends and hunting buddies, but more importantly, they were my mentors. They led, not only by what they said, but by the example they set. These men taught me to obey hunting seasons and limits. However, seasons and limits were not their guide. Doing what was right was their guide.
I have been blessed in many ways, including following my boyhood passion, by becoming a wildlife biologist and working with white-tailed deer. I attended Missouri State University, University of Georgia, and finally Clemson University where I received my Ph.D. in Forest Resources. I have worked as a wildlife biologist on projects from Canada to New Zealand.
I now help landowners and hunters create quality habitat and hunting opportunities throughout the whitetail’s range. It’s a dream life for me. However, there were many times along the path of life when I literally lost my way. I was like a hunter lost in unfamiliar territory. However, the many hours that I spent with my mother, father, and others who recognized Christ as their Lord and Savior and “always strove to do what was right” helped me find my bearings in life. My life is now dedicated to helping others enjoy Creation and more importantly having a personal relationship with the Creator – Jesus Christ.