Editor’s Note: Bill Epeards of Goshen, Ohio, has been wearing Mossy Oak and has been a part of the Mossy Oak family for 28 years, almost the entire time since Mossy Oak was created 30-years ago. Bill has been featured on various hunting videos, and has been a regular guest on many outdoors TV shows and is on many companies’ ProStaffs. Bill has harvested record-book deer, bear, antelope and mountain lion, plus many other species, such as moose, elk, caribou, mule deer, javelina, wild boar and wild turkey, all with a bow and arrow. Bill also has several Turkey Grand Slams to his credit, and has harvested eight Safari Club International record-book animals in South Africa. Not only does Bill travel the world hunting, he also teaches the latest hunting techniques through his Bill Epeards’ Outdoor Adventure Seminars.
A friend of mine, Dick Kirby, the founder of Quaker Boy Calls, and I were friends for 40 years before he passed away. Dick called me one night and said, “Bill, there’s a new camouflage company called Mossy Oak. I'm wearing it now, and this stuff really works. Would you be willing to try it out?” I answered, “Sure.” So, within the next few days, I got a package of Mossy Oak clothing.
The year after I got the camo, I received a phone call from Tack Robinson - one of the field producers for Mossy Oak’s videos and TV shows. He said, “Bobby Cole - the other field producer for Mossy Oak – and I would like to start working with you and filming some shows for television and video. Can we come up to your house and film a turkey hunt?” I said, “Sure, come on up.” Toxey Haas, the creator of Mossy Oak, Bobby Cole and Tack Robinson came to my home, and we harvested some turkeys. Toxey told me, “Bill, I’d like to have you working with me all the time.” So, I signed a contract with Mossy Oak, and I’ve been a part of the Mossy Oak family ever since.
On that hunt, I guided 7-year-old Chris Turner, who harvested his first turkey that I was pretty sure was bigger than he was. Toxey took a turkey, and so did I. Bobby and Tack filmed all three hunts and produced a show for “Mossy Oak Hunting the Country.”
I've also been on many hunts with Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland back when he was running a video camera and doing PR for Mossy Oak. Today Cuz is Mossy Oak’s Senior Vice President of Media Services. On one hunt, I took a moose, a woodland caribou and a black bear, and Cuz got all three of these hunts on video. That trip really started off badly, but ended up being one of the greatest hunts ever. When we arrived in Newfoundland, all our connecting flights had been canceled. We finally got a flight to where we were supposed to meet our guide, but the airline had lost all my equipment, including my clothes.
I've been shooting a bow for PSE Archery for more than 40 years, and most of my hunting has been done with a bow. So, I didn’t have my bow or my Mossy Oak hunting clothes. We called Toxey on the satellite phone, and Toxey asked me, “Bill, would you mind taking some animals with a gun?” I told him, “No, if that’s what I need to do, I will, but I don’t have a gun either.” This show was supposed to be for the “Remington Country” TV show that Mossy Oak was filming and producing at the time. Toxey said, “Does your guide have a Remington rifle?” I asked my guide, and he said, “Yes, sir, I have a Remington rifle.” We went out that first day, and I took the woodland caribou, the moose and the black bear all in that first day. The weatherman said there was a hurricane coming in, and it should hit right where we were staying. We managed to get a flight out and made it back home safe and secure with a great TV show, after harvesting three fine animals in one day on a hunt that only lasted two days. That was just one of the many adventures I've been on with Cuz and the video crew at Mossy Oak.
I've had a great time being a part of the Mossy Oak family and representing Mossy Oak on TV shows, at trade shows and consumer shows and at archery tournaments all over the country. Many of the people you see and know from Mossy Oak today started working with and representing Mossy Oak when they were young men and young women. None of us ever has found a reason not to continue to be a part of the Mossy Oak family. Not only does Mossy Oak produce great camouflage, but they’re great people to associate with and be friends with for the long term.