Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak is more than a camouflage, hunting, wildlife management and rural properties company. Mossy Oak is made up of some of the best people in the world. This week you’ll meet 29-year old Jon Lester from Washington State, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2002 at only age 18, and who spent 4 years in the minor leagues and then went to the big leagues in 2006. Lester is currently one of the best left-handed pitchers in the sport of baseball, is starting for the Boston Red Sox and has the best record in baseball for 2013. Lester, a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer, also is a hunter, a cancer survivor and a family man.
I grew up in Washington State, and fishing was my first outdoor love. My parents didn’t really hunt, but we all fished. However, as a professional baseball player, I realized that the best fishing was in the spring and summer, when my work required me to be on the mound playing baseball. One of the advantages of being a professional baseball player is that you meet a lot of people from all over the country and from other countries. I met Chad Spann when we were assigned to be roommates, while playing minor-league baseball. Later, he was the best man at my wedding and my best friend. Chad was always talking about hunting, and what he loved about the sport of hunting. We were both playing Class A ball in Augusta, Georgia, right after we signed to play pro baseball. Since Chad was from Georgia, when we had an off-day, Chad took me home with him. I went on a turkey hunt with Chad and became hooked on the sport of hunting.
When I signed with a new agent, the company that this agent worked with knew a lot of people, and they reached out to Tim Anderson, head of Mossy Oak’s Pro Staff. Tim and I talked over the telephone and developed a friendship. Tim asked me to be involved with Mossy Oak and to go hunting with him to South Dakota to hunt whitetails. We had a really-good time together and both took nice bucks. This hunt was a spot-and-stalk rifle hunt. We became good friends, and this friendship helped me develop relationships with Mossy Oak and Mossy Oak people. I’ve learned that hunting is less about taking the animals and more about the people you’re with, the time you share together and the memories and relationships that come out of a hunt. In 2010, Tim and I went on anther hunt together in Alabama. Once again I was able to spend time with my friend Tim Anderson, meet more Mossy Oak people and become more involved in the company.
The thing I enjoy most about hunting is waking up early in the morning before daylight, getting into the woods while they’re still dark and watching and hearing all the animals and birds wake up. I love to sit in my tree stand and watch the wild world come to life. Plenty of times when I’m bowhunting on my farm in Georgia, I’ll have a doe walk out in front of me and present an easy bow shot. I know we have to harvest a certain number of does off my property to keep the herd healthy. But instead of taking the shot, I’ll often just say to myself, “I want to watch that doe and see what I can learn from her.” Maybe a buck will come behind her, and I’ll get a chance to take a buck, or maybe I’ll see something in the woods that I never have seen. This year, I saw and heard some things I never had been aware of in the woods. I saw two bucks fighting. I heard a buck grunt and saw a buck do a snort/wheeze. I watched a buck walk into a field, spot a doe at the other end of the field and run flat-out to get to her. Yes, I’d like to take a big buck like any hunter, but that wasn’t what I was or am looking forward to when I hunt.
In the next few years, I’m looking forward to taking my young son hunting with me. I want to teach him the importance of hunting and being a steward of the land and the animals that live on the land. I want to teach him gun safety and how to carry a gun into the woods. I want to teach him that the good people in this world usually come from families that hunt and fish together. I want him to have the kind of outdoor experience that I had with my family. I think that hunting, fishing and being in the outdoors helps individuals become better people, and that’s why I hunt.
For more information on Jon Lester, CLICK HERE.
Day 4: Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester Compares Pitching and Hunting
Tomorrow: How Cancer Impacted the Boston Red Sox’s Jon Lester and His Never Quit Foundation