Editor’s Note: Ashley Jay will be the co-host of Knight and Hale’s “Ultimate Hunting” TV show, which will air this fall on the Outdoor Channel. Where did Jay come from, and how did a young lady who didn’t grow up in a hunting family find her way into the outdoor television business? Since more and more women are coming into the outdoor industry, we wanted to learn how Ashley Jay made it.
I didn’t grow up in a hunting family or in the country where I would have had a lot of opportunity to hunt. I was born in Miami, Florida, just outside the Everglades. But I always had a passion for the outdoors and being outdoors. So, my parents bought me a horse. I’d go to rodeos every Wednesday night, and I’d work in the horse barns. During the summer months, I’d teach children with disabilities to ride horses at day camp.
I was a city girl with a country heart, something my friends really never understood. A lot of them would pick on me, because they didn’t understand the outdoors and my passion for everything outdoors. Since the Everglades were so close to my home, I got in a lot of trouble sneaking off from school to fish in the Everglades.
When I moved to South Carolina, I wanted to learn how to shoot a bow, although I didn’t know where my passion for shooting the bow had started. I had help learning the basics of archery. I started shooting in the backyard as often as I could. The next natural progression was to become a bowhunter. I spent an entire year going to the woods and sitting in tree stands to watch animals and try and learn what I needed to know to take a deer with a bow. I wanted to learn how to track deer and how to pattern deer. I wanted to learn where and when deer moved. After I’d been shooting the bow for 2 years, and after a year of sitting in tree stands learning how to pattern deer, then finally, about 3-years ago, I went to Kentucky and took my first deer with a bow. I had a friend go with me to video the hunt, and I posted the hunt on YouTube. That’s how my career in the outdoors started.
I was pretty much self-taught. I didn’t have a mentor to teach me the things I needed to know about shooting the bow and bowhunting. Although my cousin, Ryan, hunted, he and I never were able to get together, until after I already had started hunting. Then, we both discovered that the other shared the passion for hunting. Today, he and I travel a lot together and hunt together. I don’t really know how to explain this passion I have for the outdoors and for hunting, but I’m determined to learn both.
I have taken four deer with my bow and three turkeys. This spring I went on a hunt with Harold Knight and David Hale and took a monster gobbler that weighed 25 pounds and had 1-1/2-inch spurs and an 11-inch beard. We took the bird on Harold’s and David’s farm right behind David’s house. On the morning of the hunt, the weather was terrible, but David said, “I know a spot where Ashley should go.” So Harold took me to where David had suggested. Harold was calling, and I was the shooter. We were both dressed in total Mossy Oak camouflage. After the hunt, we came back and told David the story of the hunt.
Since I’ve come on staff with Harold and David, I’ve also became a Mossy Oak pro. Mossy Oak really has been good to me and has sent me an entire wardrobe of Mossy Oak clothing to wear. I think Mossy Oak has a great pattern. I'm so excited to be hunting in Mossy Oak this upcoming deer season.