The elk I took will be the only elk I will get to take in my home state, unless the regulations change, but I'm not just a one-hunt person. I enjoy hunting coyotes, pheasants, ducks, geese and deer. I'm often asked, “Where did you get your love of hunting?” My honest answer is that I can’t remember a time when I haven’t loved to hunt or wanted to go hunting. My grandma and grandpa hunted. My mom and dad hunt. My aunt hunts, and my older brother, Logan, hunts - although he’s not as fanatical about hunting as I am.
When I was 9 years old, I told my mom and dad I wanted to start bowhunting. I've now taken four white-tailed deer with my bow. Up until about 4 years ago, I was only taking does with my bow. I decided I would hold out for a buck, but I haven’t had a chance to take a buck deer yet with my bow.
My mom once worked for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, but now she works for the USDA Wildlife Services. So, wildlife and hunting always have been a very important part of my entire family’s life. I currently plan to make my living as a taxidermist. I have an associate’s degree in science. To be honest, I’m of going to school, and the taxidermists in our area aren’t getting critters mounted in less than a year. So, that means there’s plenty of work for someone who can mount critters in less than a year. My second cousin who lives just down from my house is doing European skull and horn mounts. I’m scheduled to attend an 8-week course to learn the art of taxidermy, and my cousin has been teaching me how to do the European mounts.
I'm really looking forward to starting my own business! I plan to start with mounting pheasants and deer, since those are two species that a lot of people in our area are having mounted. Then I plan to move into waterfowl and big game. When I get back from taxidermy school, my cousin said I could set up shop in his garage.
Becoming a Mossy Oak Pro:
I'm often asked, “How did you get to be a Mossy Oak Pro?” My first answer is I just got lucky. However, as I mentioned earlier, my mom worked for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, and she helped put together some of the volunteer programs that Game and Fish conducted. One of the volunteers she got to know fairly well was D.J. Randolph, who was and is a Mossy Oak Regional Manager. One day she asked D.J. what being a Mossy Oak Pro Staff Regional Manager meant. D.J. explained, “The Mossy Oak Pro Staff works with all types of outdoor groups to help get young people into the outdoors. They work in stores where Mossy Oak puts on demonstrations and holds seminars for the public, and they're Mossy Oak’s representatives in any and all things about the outdoors in their area.” Mom told D.J., “My daughter is into everything Mossy Oak. The license plates on her car say Mossy Oak. She made a sand collage for her senior project that had Mossy Oak logos all over it. Her comforter in her bedroom is Mossy Oak. She has Mossy Oak custom seat covers in her pickup truck. Most of her clothes are Mossy Oak. Pretty much everything she owns is in Mossy Oak. Instead of attending the prom and the Snow Ball at her school, she chose to go hunting. She works with youth programs to help teach kids how to hunt and hunt safely. In 2011 when she got her British Lab, nothing would do but for her to name the dog Mossy. So, she is already doing everything that a Mossy Oak pro should be doing. To say she is obsessed with Mossy Oak and hunting would be an understatement.”