Editor’s Note: Brad Davis from Houston, Texas, one of the newest Mossy Oak pros, is living the dream of every youngster who plays soccer, and every soccer parent who takes sons or daughters to soccer practice every day and games on Saturday. Davis plays for the Houston Dynamo (www.houstondynamo.com) a major league soccer team, and is a member of the United States Men’s National Team. Davis, who played in the World Cup representing the United States this year, is an avid bowhunter and a gun hunter.
When I talk to young people, one of the questions they always ask is, “How long is your season in professional soccer and playing on the U.S. National Men’s Team?” Our season lasts for about 10 months - sometimes 11 months. Luckily, my off months are November and December, which gives me 2 months to hunt. Another advantage I have is that I live in Texas. I have a lease that’s only about 45-minutes from my home. So, I'm able to hunt teal in September, I also hunt when regular duck season comes in, and lately I've really become interested in hog hunting – hunting them with both a bow and a rifle. Too, this year I took my first alligator with a bow.
When we’re training, we’re usually at our training facility from about 9:00 am until about 1:00 pm. I usually don’t go to my lease on the days that I train. But if I have an off day, I’ll generally drive to the lease after I finish training. I’ll spend the night at the lease or drive back after I return from hunting. We have 25 members with 20,000 acres to hunt. So playing professional soccer, living in Texas and having a hunting lease close to home allows me to be able to do everything I like to do all the time.
The best buck I ever took was a main frame 8-pointer that scored between 135 and 140. I took him with my rifle at our family’s farm in Missouri. In November, we have 10 days to rifle hunt in Missouri. During those 10 days, I hunt with a rifle. The rest of hunting season, I'm usually hunting with a bow and arrow.
I'm often asked, “Why do you like to hunt with a bow?” My answer is that I like the challenge of having to wait until the deer comes in close. I also know that unless I do everything absolutely right, I won’t make the shot. Just like playing professional soccer is an extreme challenge for a soccer player, for me, bowhunting deer is the same kind of extreme challenge that I enjoy. In soccer, to steal a ball, block a shot or try and take the ball away from an opponent, we have to play up-close and personal. Deer hunting presents that same kind of challenge to me. To take a buck with a bow, you have to get up-close and personal and do everything right to be successful. But bowhunting is far more than preparing and taking the shot. Just as in the game of soccer, when we study strategies, tactics and ways to perform at our best, when I deer hunt, I like studying the woods, determining where I need to put a tree stand, learning the wind condition I need to have to hunt from that stand and being aware of all the little small details that are required to be a successful deer hunter. Although you’ve done everything right, the deer still may spook when he sees, smells or hears you.
Soccer is the same way. When I’m playing against the best in the world, I can do everything that I’ve been trained to do all my life and still get beat by a better player. In the woods, regardless how good a hunter you are - especially a bowhunter - you'll still get beat more than you’ll be successful. I guess that kind of challenge in both soccer and deer hunting is what I love the best. Even when you're playing the best game of your life, and you’ve done everything right, whether your opponent is a mature buck or another soccer player, he still can beat you. However, at the end of the day when you win, that victory is much-more rewarding than if you always win when you play.
About 3 days per week, I'm on the road playing soccer in 20-different cities. We fly in the afternoon before the game, we play the game and fly out the next day. Our season starts January 20. Depending on how far our team gets in the MLS (Major League Soccer) Playoffs, the finals are on December 7. So, we can get as much as two months off or as little as 3-1/2-weeks off from professional soccer.