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.”
I started wearing Mossy Oak because I saw and liked the pattern. When I first started hunting, there was only military camo and Jim Crumley’s Trebark camo. But then I saw Bottomland and fell in love with it. I’ve owned a sporting-goods store, Joe’s Sporting Goods in Newport, Tenn. for 22 years. Our store always had sold Mossy Oak camo. My store is in the Smoky Mountain region of east Tennessee, and we've got just about every variety of oak trees known to man. I’ve learned that when all the leaves come off the trees, the Mossy Oak pattern seems to blend in better in our part of the woods than other patterns do. Mossy Oak didn’t have as much green in their patterns as other camos. Our customers seemed to really want Mossy Oak.
I've been a member of the Drury Outdoors “Dream Season: The Journey,” since the start of the TV show. A couple of years before Dream Season came out, the Drurys had a TV show, “Dream Season Couples.” My wife, Pam, and I helped co-host that show. When “Dream Season Couples” was replaced by “Dream Season: The Journey,” I was selected to work with that show. I've been part of Drury Outdoors for 17 years. The Drurys have been working with Mossy Oak since Mark Drury was in college.
Years ago, the only educational vehicles for sportsmen to learn how to hunt were VHS video tapes. So, I bought the Dan Fitzgerald, Primos and Drury tapes to rent at my store where the Drury tapes proved to be the most popular. When Mark and Terry Drury started MAD calls, I went to the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show and met Mark and Terry. Once I introduced myself as the owner of Joe’s Sporting Goods, Mark recognized the name of my store, because of the number of VHS tapes we had bought. Mark and I started talking. He asked me if I hunted. I answered, “Sure, I do.” The next question he asked was: “Are you going to the SHOT (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade) Show?” I said, “Yes, I’ll be in attendance.” Mark asked me to bring some pictures of some of the deer I had taken from all the places I’d hunted, and said, “We’ll have lunch together.” At that luncheon meeting a week later, Mark looked at all my pictures and asked, “Have you ever thought about videoing your hunts?” I explained that my hunting buddy, David Caughron, and I had talked about doing that, but we didn’t know what type camera and equipment we needed to use to video the hunt and didn’t know how to use the equipment. Mark asked, “If I give you a list of the equipment you need to video your hunts and teach you how to use the equipment, will you be interested in doing some videos for me?” When I answered yes, Mark shook my hand and said, “Welcome to Drury Outdoors.” I've been working with the Drurys for 17 years now.