A Hunters Profile
I am Darrell and I am an outdoorsman.
Ok, at least I like to think of myself as an outdoorsman. Since this site chronicles my attempts to become a better outdoorsman while allowing me to collect and document my hunting and fishing experiences, it is only fitting that I tell people a little about myself.
I was born in 1971, which puts me in my mid thirties. I could put my exact age, but then I’d have to update this page next year and chances are I’d never remember to do that. I love to hunt and fish. I grew up doing both. My dad, brothers, and I would spend a few days each fall hunting squirrels and rabbits and occasionally quail. Every November we’d head to the National Forest for some whitetail deer hunting. We’d spend an entire week each April at one of the local lakes trying to time the Bass and/or Crappie spawn.
My grandpa would take my brother and I on at least one fishing trip each summer. We’d spend a week (and sometimes longer) crappie fishing and trotlining. There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing multiple catfish swirling on your trotline. Man, those days were great!
I took my first deer at the age of 15 with a Ben Phearson 45# recurve bow that I bought at a garage sale for $10. I still have that bow and occasionally still hunt with it. I married young and my wife was a bonified city girl. No one in her family hunted or fished. I say “was” because that has changed some now.
My wife doesn’t mind either my hunting or fishing and is glad that I’m passing it on to our son. My wife’s family doesn’t look down on hunting or fishing either. In fact, a few years ago my wife’s parents bought one of the most incredible hunting and fishing areas imaginable as a family ‘retreat’. Imagine 800 acres of beautiful and completely private wooded Ozarks hills and intermittent fields, complete with private lakes brimming with 5+ lb black bass, 20+ lb carp and to top it all off – a beautiful cabin for whenever we wish to stay! It doesn’t get much better.
Unfortunately, I spent over 10 years caught up in the circus (otherwise known as commercialism) that many young parents become entrapped in. My life was consumed with higher education, building companies, trying to raise my family and keep it all together – while making lots of sacrifices including time for the outdoors (hunting and fishing).
I guess I am genetically pre-disposed to be an entrepreneur. As such, I always seem to have an overwhelming desire to start another business. I know from experience that for any business to be successful it requires lots and lots of time. There is a reason that most of the hunters pictured in the magazines are in their 50’s and older. The younger guys are out chasing their tails spending every waking hour building careers and businesses. Touché! During most of my twenties and early thirties I didn’t have much time for the outdoors. I still went deer hunting each fall (and looked forward to that trip year round) but our week long fishing trips and Saturday squirrel hunts became ancient history.
A few years back I realized that there was more to life than chasing dollars and building companies. My son had grown from a toddler to a young man in the blink of an eye. I realized that it was time to slow down just a little and enjoy my family and friends (and the outdoors) while I was still able.
Currently I am the President of a growing technology company which I co-founded. The company is still relatively young (founded in 2000) so there are always concerns, problems, and/or stress to deal with. We weathered through the really lean years of great sacrifice (when salaries for ourselves were minimal or non-existent) and we survived and grew stronger. My responsibilities, while still important, do not include operational duties. Operations are managed by my younger partner (a non-hunter but still a great guy), who realistically is better at operations than I am anyway.
My current work situation leaves me a little more time for the outdoors. I would like to clarify why I like the outdoors so much and why I want to be a better outdoorsman. It is not a love of killing. The kill itself is not what is fulfilling. In fact, I let dozens (actually over a hundred but whose counting) of harvestable deer walk last year during archery and firearm season. I couldn’t have done this during my busy ‘commercialism’ years. During that time I’d have had to harvest whatever came along in order to have some wild game in the freezer. I didn’t have time for emotion. Last year, I’d let them walk and just savored the encounters. I did end up taking several deer, but only when I was ‘ready’.
I’m not saying I don’t like to harvest game. I do take pleasure in it, but not simply from the act of killing. I enjoy the process. I love practicing my shots with friends or son, forcing myself out of bed at 4am (although early in the season I usually am so excited I don’t sleep anyway), and then spending a day in the woods or on a lake. I love never knowing what I might see. It relaxes me – not just physically, but mentally. It makes me appreciate life.
Last year I started using game cameras. I love them! I might get as much excitement out of capturing game on a camera as I do from hunting them (this might be a slight exaggeration). I love getting cool pictures of deer and other animals. Finding a game trail, setting up a camera, and then coming back to find pictures is really, really cool. You’ll probably notice me posting continually about game camera related stuff – including posting some of my game camera pictures. I’ll take the first step and admit I’m totally addicted to outdoor voyeurism!
I’ll cut to the chase and get straight to the demographics for those marketing inclined readers. I’m mid thirties and happily married to one wife for over 15 years. We have two children, our eldest a son, Caleb (who is 12 in 2007), and youngest a daughter, Emma, (who is 9 in 2007).
I live near and work in Springfield, Missouri. I’ve always lived near here and don’t imagine myself ever leaving. I spent several years traveling for business, throughout the continental USA and throughout much of Western Europe. My family and I still enjoy traveling together. We tramped all over the place with our children from the time they were infants and they are accustomed to travel. Traveling to hunt is a relatively new pastime for me, but one I already have great passion for.
Like most entrepreneurs that have successful companies but haven’t yet sold out, we are not rich. Financially, we are your typical middle-class entrepreneurial family. Our ‘investments’ and ‘wealth’ per say are tied up in a company. We have the same financial concerns and the same bills as any other family.
As such, I do not have bottomless pockets with which to buy any equipment or gear that might strike my fancy. I’m relatively careful with what I buy and truly look for value as a combination of price and quality. I am too confident and comfortable with myself to be embarrassed about any gear or equipment I have – no matter how old, ugly, or just un-cool. If it works and is reliable, I’m probably happy with it. In my secular life, I’m often surrounded by state of the art equipment; yet, I do not have to have the latest and greatest (or most expensive) hunting and fishing gear to feel like a man (or an alpha male). I’d rather spend my time enjoying the outdoors, instead of working to pay for newer and better gear.
My outdoor pursuits are fairly diverse. I still mainly fish for Black Bass and Crappie, although I now enjoy some trout fishing from time to time. I love bow fishing for Carp, although I’ve still never done it officially with someone who really knows what they are doing. I took up Scuba diving a few years ago which is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Spear fishing (while scuba diving) for catfish and walleye has to be one of the most exciting activities on planet earth! Thanks Billy, Wayne, Michael, Jeff, & Zach for teaching me this radical sport.
I have hunted small game and whitetail deer most of my life. I still love spending a day in the woods with Caleb and Emma hunting squirrels. I now probably spend too much time in the woods during whitetail season and have made a vow to be more balanced. I took up bow hunting again last year, after a fifteen year hiatus, and probably went a little overboard. I hunted Colorado for Elk during the second rifle season in both 2005 and 2006. Both trips were completely DIY and were lots of fun. However, I still haven’t gotten a shot opportunity on an elk. I drew a mule deer tag in 2006 and took my first Colorado Mulie. It wasn’t a trophy by most people’s standards, but for me represents two years of hard hunting in Colorado – so I’m extremely proud of it. Chuck Strauss, the infamous Molina Colorado taxidermist and big game hunter extraordinaire, is preparing that mount for me.
In 2007, I am again returning to hunt Elk in Colorado. This time, though, my friends and I have booked an ‘economy’ hunt with an outfitter on public land and will be there during the heat of the rut for September archery season. Instead of putting in for a mule deer tag, I put in for a preference point. I applied for a New Mexico guided elk hunt via Cabellas TAGS and am looking forward to finding out the results of that draw. In June of 2007 Caleb and I are going on an Alaskan Coastal Black Bear hunt and fishing expedition with Ocean Point Alaska Adventures which we are both excited about. I’d love to fit mountain lion hunt in this coming winter, but we’ll just have to wait and see if it transpires.
I spend some time outdoors doing other things besides hunting and fishing, such as bike riding, participating in a couple triathalons a year, riding atvs, and hiking. Hunting and fishing though are my favorite pastimes. I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot that I haven’t yet experienced. I plan to document it all here on this site. If you enjoy my antics, please share this site with your friends and feel free to link to it. If you don’t enjoy the site or disagree with something, please feel free to post your comments. Like I’ve already said “I have a lot to learn”.