Editor’s Note: Fifty-one year old Joe Shults of Newport, Tennessee, is a member of the PSE Pro Staff and a member of the Drury Outdoors “Dream Season: The Journey” TV show. When Shults was out of work due to a factory closing, he hunted and fished often. He realized there wasn’t a sporting-goods store for miles from his home, so he opened one. Shults explains, “I've been wearing Mossy Oak since 1990.”
Before I opened Joe’s Sporting Goods, I was working for GLI, a chemical plant in Newport that made a product called Socialize - a non-sugar sweetener. Today, this same product is called Splenda. We shipped the Sucralose to Canada and Mexico, because Splenda wasn’t licensed in the U.S. back then. Even though our company was working hard to get Sucralose approved as a substitute for the U.S. consumers, they were unsuccessful, and the plant shut down. Suddenly I didn’t have a job. I started buying houses, remodeling them and flipping them.
On October 1, 1993, I decided to open my sporting-goods store, Joe’s Sporting Goods. I sold Mossy Oak exclusively in my store, because the other brands of camo I had purchased weren’t selling. Today I still have the only sporting-goods store that sells hunting equipment in my town. My love of hunting definitely conflicted with my operating a sporting-goods store. But my wife, Pam, does a very good job of managing and running the store when I’m gone hunting. If not for Pam, I wouldn’t be able to hunt nearly as much as I do.
Because I feel like I need to test many of the new products I sell in my store, I’ve become very observant on how products can help hunters. One of the biggest benefits from Mossy Oak is that when a deer looks at you, if you can stay perfectly still, he won’t see you. I believe that most hunters fail to realize this fact. I'm totally convinced that if I hadn’t had the right Mossy Oak camo to match the terrain I was hunting in, I’d never have killed a big buck. Just because you wear camouflage doesn’t mean you can dance a jig in a tree stand. The camo helps you blend in with your environment and conceals little movements you have to make to get off the shot. Often, that special tree that you need to hang your tree stand on is not in the right spot where you need to hunt. So, when you know you will be skylined some, especially when the leaves are off the trees, and you don’t have good back cover, Mossy Oak will break up your outline enough that the deer can’t pick you out.