It seems like I grew up in the woods. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on Dad’s lap during turkey season, and shooting at squirrels in the backyard. I killed my first deer, a 7-pointer, on a Christmas afternoon. That was in Alabama, and I was 9 years old.
Of course, we’d opened presents and spent time with family that morning. But Dad had other plans for that afternoon. We climbed into a box blind over a field with Chuck Sykes, a friend of ours who managed that property, and who had been seeing a nice 7-pointer for several evenings.
Young kids, me included, don’t like sitting still. But I did my best and paid close attention. Some does came into the field and then, just at dark, there was the 7-pointer. By the time the sun set on Christmas Day, I was holding the antlers of my first deer. I know my dad was proud. I saw tears fill his eyes. I don’t think a memory like that ever goes away, or even fades. I’m sure many of you know the feeling.
Hunting in front of the Realtree cameras has been a huge part of my life. It’s how I’ve grown up. I can’t express how blessed I’ve been with a great family and the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve met so many cool and interesting people along the way. To me, at the end of a trip, it’s not about what you accomplish or kill. The journey, experiences, friendships and memories made along the way are what really matter.
For about a month now, I’ve had a little more insight on what goes on off-camera at Realtree, too. I’ve been working in the Marketing Department and reporting to Ray Lynch, vice president of marketing. My day-to-day routine may range from kicking around ideas for a new campaign launch to cleaning up Ray’s office. The papers and magazines piled into that small room are a sight to behold!
I’ll be a sophomore in college this fall, majoring in PR at Columbus State University, which, conveniently enough, is about 20 minutes from home and from my favorite deer stand. I’ve been given the chance to do some writing on Realtree.com and here. I’m looking forward to contributing. My goal is to give you an inside look at not only my hunts and those of others on the Realtree crew, but also general thoughts and insights on life in the woods. A lot of what I write will come from my personal experiences. Some will be about the experiences of others. I want it to be fun and interesting.
But I’m a young hunter, and I learn new things as each season comes along. I want to share tips and strategies that I learn from experts in the field along the way, and I want you to do the same. Hopefully, we can all become better hunters in the long run.
Shoot straight and God bless. – Tyler Jordan