Happy #huntingfamilyfriday to all of you! We are very excited to introduce you to our next hunting family for our weekly interview. We actually were contacted by several of our supporters requesting that we make contact with the James family for a Friday interview as many people recognize this family as one that exemplifies the qualities we at The Hunting Daddies hope to encourage. Read on to learn more about how the James family has inspired many people to learn more about the traditions and conservation of an outdoors life.
When we spoke to Dad Wade (26) from Johnstown, PA about his hunting family, he was quick to tell to us about his wife, Tabitha (25), daughters Addison (3) and Liv (1.5years), and baby on the way, Taven (due Feb. 2014), but he didn't stop there. Wade proudly includes many family members and friends in his 'extended hunting family.' He has learned to hunt and made memories with his own Hunting Dad Roland, numerous cousins and uncles, his Hunting Dad-in-Law Jeff, his brother-in-law Mike, and a very close family friend Dougie Bilak (12).
Wade couldn't recall at what age was his first time fishing, he said, "I started fishing as far back as I can remember. We have home videos of me at age 2 reeling in "A Yittle One" down at Hinkston Run Dam with my Dad, Mom (Sherry) and sister (Lindsey)."
At about age 8, he started hunting with his Dad and shot his first deer at age 12. Wade says that since then, "I was hooked." He started shooting exclusively with a bow in 2008 and will occasionally take the rifle out in 'desperate times.' Wade says about bowhunting, "I love archery season. Besides my faith and my family, that is the next thing in order that I am passionate about. The fact that you can get one of the smartest creatures in the woods to end up 10 yards away from you and have zero idea that you are there still astonishes me. I have nothing against rifle season, but the skill, planning, and precision that is associated with archery season separates the die-hards from the casuals."
Wade told us that he shoots his bow everyday because, "When the shot presents itself, there is no excuse for wounding a deer." As a seasoned bowhunter, his trick to share with others is to call minimally. This lesson was hard to learn when you're bored. When you think its been a while since your last grunt or bleat, wait 10 more minutes."
Mum Tabitha remembers fishing with her own Hunting Daddy when she was growing up and after marrying Wade in 2009, they started shooting archery together. Tab just hunted her first archery season this year (2013).
Wade and Tab explain that the importance of being a hunting family is, "about the camaraderie, time to unwind from work, and the meat for the table." And they even kindly shared one of his favorite outdoor recipes with us too. Simple, easy, and delicious: Whole squirrels in the crockpot with a can of french onion soup and some garlic salt. Cook for 24 hours on low.
Hunting is not only a passion of Wade's but he has also created opportunities for himself to expand on it in other areas of their life. "Making hunting videos with my team The FloodCity Hitmen and as a business partner with my wife in AdLiv Collective - I get the chance to film hunts for some great things. I'm currently sponsored and on staff with Apparition Scents and film wounded warrior hunts with the Its About the Warrior Foundation...I never thought that I would have the chance to be involved as much as I am with so many great causes that are affiliated with one of my passions. It's a blessing."
Wade is also affiliated with Stokerized Stablizers and and GORE HuntingTech for Sitka Gear clothing where he gets to try and test new items. This connection is invaluable to Wade as he is a self-proclaimed 'Gear Head,' and has even been dubbed 'Gadget' among some of his hunting friends. In terms of the gear that Wade can't go without, he says it's his Sitka Gear clothing line, "I'm always cold and I have a hard time finding hunting clothing that fits me right. The Sitka Gear is expensive, but keeps me comfortable, warm, and confident that when the moment arises, Ill be in the stand, ready, and able to make my shot count."
When asked about lessons learned through living an outdoor life, Wade opened up about a lesson that was difficult to learn as a young father eager to be in the woods as much as possible, "The deer will always be there...your kids are only young once. Keep your priorities as follows, "FAITH, FAMILY, HUNTING." and you cant go wrong. Ticking off your wife and neglecting your kids for a deer is the biggest mistake you will ever make. You cant get that time back."
Dad Wade said that he has many memorable hunting experiences of his own - shooting his own deer and spending time with family, but his favorite hunting experience has happened recently when he took a family friend, Dougie (12) for Jr. Rifle season in 2012.
Wade said it was, "the year Dougie's dad passed away and witnessing and filming him shoot his first deer...I was an emotional wreck because I know how much his Dad would've loved to see the shot he made on that deer. That day gave me a staple hunting buddy for life."
The James family's final advice is to keep your family involved in hunting. "There are ethical views that they can't learn in the classroom as far as respecting animals, property owners, nature, patience, and family time."
And to keep in mind that when you take a child into the woods, you can't hold them to the same standards as you would a seasoned veteran. "They are clay, needing to be molded into an ethical individual. They are watching, so teach them right and love them with all of your heart."
A very big thank you to the James family for sharing their hunting family with us. If you would like to see more videos from Wade's team The Floodcity Hitmen, visit their youtube channel here.
If you are part of a hunting family and would like to be interviewed for one of our #huntingfamilyfriday posts, please reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org