SportingDog Adventures is committed to being family-oriented. We want to get the whole family excited and involved in the outdoors, whether you have two legs or four, male or female, young or young-at-heart. Our shows include a youth segment, designed to inspire and motivate adults to pass on their love of the outdoors. We also feature ladies segments, designed to address the questions, concerns, and interests of the new female outdoor enthusiast.
What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
Jeff: One of the hardest lessons I have learned is that the work prior to your hunt is more important than the hunt itself. Rushing out to get into the woods, field, or marsh without scouting has cost me countless days of watching everything in nature other than what I meant to hunt. Invest the time before your hunt so you can be in the best position for success when you hit the field.
How were you introduced to hunting?
Jeff: My father introduced me to hunting. Hunting is part of my family heritage. Now I have the opportunity to take my three boys out and get them hooked on the outdoors. We are an outdoors-oriented family, and I think it really bonds us together, in addition to keeping us physically active and mentally curious.
What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
Jeff: Hunting is a great sport to get into, but make sure it remains fun. My belief is that any animal, bird or fish taken is a trophy. Don’t let TV shows and pro hunters that define trophies as an animal of a certain size curb your enthusiasm. If a hunter only strives for a “trophy” animal, as defined by others, they will never fully enjoy the outdoors.
What is your most memorable hunt?
Jeff: My most memorable hunt was with a good friend on an archery elk hunt. Neither of us knew how to call or had ever hunted without a guide on an archery hunt during the rut! We watched DVD’s to pick up on calling, and quickly learned through trial and error on our trip. I eventually took a great bull and we almost got a second bull on several occasions. It was most memorable because we pulled it off on public land with no help.
What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
Jeff: I am a huge proponent of Pheasants Forever and Vanishing Paradise. I annually hunt with both groups and try to help them connect their message with our fans. This isn’t intended as a slight to the other organizations, as I could name off so many that are integral parts of the conservation movement and all of us who hunts reaps the benefits of their hard work.
What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for small game?
Jeff: Hunting small game with a dog is my passion. My biggest tip is to invest your training time into your four legged buddy before the season begins. Once you have your canine champion ready for the field, trust in their training and instincts! And lastly, never be afraid to go back and work the basics. All professional athletes do it, so why should it be any different for you and your sporting dog.
In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
Jeff: The most important lesson I have learned from the outdoors is not to take it for granted. We, as hunters, need to have a high standard when in the field. Respect needs to be paid not only to our fellow hunters, but also to land owners and the quarry we chase. Bad publicity from any of the above affects all of us in the end through the eyes of non-hunters.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Jeff: We are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
We run a social media contest each season, where we encourage people to Tweet during the show during third quarter. During the re-airs of the episodes in fourth quarter, we feature the best Twitter commentary that we received, and those people are eligible for some really nice prizes. Last year’s prizes included a 64-gun Liberty safe, a MobileStrong vehicular storage unit, and a Soggy Acres puppy!
Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
Jeff: The fourth season of SportingDog Adventures begins the first week of July, 2014. We are on The Pursuit Channel, airing on Tuesdays at 9:00 am, Wednesday at 11:30 pm, and Saturday at 9:30 pm, as well Tuff TV on Saturday at 10:30 am (all EST). We will also be featured on both The Walk Christian network and Wild TV Canada. If you don’t receive these channels, you can also watch episodes online at http://www.carbontv.com/shows/sportingdog-adventures/.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter/huntress?
Jeff: I would hope after watching the TV show people would realize that I love the sport. I love working with dogs in the field, as well as getting youth and new hunters involved in the sport. Our crew is just the average family when we hit the field. We strive to have fun as a group and enjoy the outdoors.
When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?
Jeff: I hope that people find me approachable and down-to-earth, and that if they remember anything, it’s that we are family-oriented. When we’re not on TV, we’re cleaning kennels. Keep that in mind, and you’ll remember that we’re just average Joes here at SportingDog Adventures. Average Joes that feel privileged to hunt on TV with the people and dogs we love.
Do you feel any need to overcompensate or overachieve in the hunting/shooting industry because you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?
Katherine: I don’t, personally. My full-time job is in the construction industry; this year marks exactly one half of my life in the business. I learned long ago how to just “be myself” in the company of all men. The construction industry also taught me that there will be people that recognize your accomplishments for what they are, and others that simply won’t. You can’t let it get to you.
Have you ever experienced any discrimination (or on the flip side, any benefit) because you are a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?
Katherine: I don’t know that I would call it discrimination, but there have definitely been plenty of situations that weren’t “female friendly!” At least one lodge we’ve stayed at did not have separate ladies showering facilities. I had to wait until everyone else was done, and then shower while Jeff kept guard at the door!
How do you feel media portrays women in the hunting/shooting industry? Do you feel there is a double standard?
Katherine: I think there is still a double-standard, but I also think some facets of the industry are becoming more equitable. I think more now than before if a woman bags a big deer, she’s credited for getting a big deer, and not a “big deer, for a girl.” On the other hand, let’s face it, as women, the media still has expectations for us to look a certain way in the field, regardless of the temperature, wind conditions, how long we’ve been hiking, etc. Women still get better press (and better ratings on shows) if they look “pretty,” whereas the men can appear as-is and advance purely based upon their hunting performance.
When it comes to hunting gear, how do you feel about gear specifically designed for women (guns, clothing, packs, etc.)?
Katherine: It’s come a long way! I was forced to wear larger boys’ clothing until recently when Cabela’s came out with their OutfitHER line, which is finally a performance clothing line comparable to high-end menswear. The boys’ clothes were ill-fitting, and many of the female-oriented lines were too lightweight or lacked in performance features. I still have issues with some of my other gear, but I hesitate to credit the issues only to gender. For example, I’d like to see advances in materials that make for lighter weight firearms for long hikes in to the blind and long days on upland hunts. But that could benefit a variety of hunters, not just women.
Have you been personally attacked by anti-hunters and how has this influenced you? Where do you believe such hate comes from and why do you think it is aimed at you in particular? What do you feel is the most appropriate response to such personal attacks?
Katherine: I, fortunately, have not had this experience (yet). I think hunting, like other issues such as abortion or homosexuality, are very charged, and because they are, people feel as though they have a right to attack the other side and behave in ways that wouldn’t be acceptable in other contexts. I firmly believe that what makes our country so great, is that everyone has the right to believe what they want to. That’s my response to anti-hunters: you have a right to be anti-hunting. And I have a right to be pro-hunting. So let’s just be cool with each other and not act like we’re going to change each other’s minds.
What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter/huntress?
Katherine: I’d like people to know that, more than anything, I’m in this to enjoy the outdoors and to have a good time. I work a desk job the rest of the time, and don’t get to enjoy fresh air and sunshine as often as I would like. For me, it’s just as much about enjoying the walk in, as it is about bagging a monster turkey. It’s also about seeing the joy on the faces of my husband and my stepsons when they get an animal, and about us spending time together as a couple or as a family. That time together is priceless to me, and it doesn’t matter if we get two ducks or twenty.