Co-founder and CEO
One of my earliest memories is camping with my siblings and dad. When you grow up with four brothers and two sisters in a small town, your house rarely can contain the chaos. We usually ended up outdoors playing sports or exploring the woods. My brothers and I lived for the weekends with our dad. We would stay in a small single room shed that had a wood burning stove. We would spend our days hunting whitetail deer and our nights sitting around the campfire. These memories with my dad and brothers are some that I cherish most from my childhood, and are the roots to my passion for hunting.
As we got older, our lives started to branch off into different paths. Our group hunting trips happened less often, and we found ourselves hunting whenever we could, separately. One afternoon, a buddy and I were squirrel hunting on his dad’s property, when we stumbled upon some wood ducks. Both avid hunters, but with no waterfowl experience, we started coming up with a plan to hunt the swamp. I called Rhett to join us the next morning. Needless to say, we had a successful morning and were from that moment hooked.
There was a running joke in high school with my now wife’s family, that I would go around to houses, knock on their door, and say “Hey, my name is Hunter Strickland. Can I hunt your property?”. Sadly, there was some truth to this! If you have not gotten the idea yet, I sort of love hunting! Since majority of Georgia hunting takes place on private property, and we had no money to lease property, my brothers and I learned the art of asking. After school, we would drive around the county, knock on doors, and try to get permission to hunt as many swamps as possible. One benefit of living in a small town is community and generous people who did not mind helping out a bunch of hometown kids.
In 2007, I was drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of high school. At eighteen years old, I packed a few bags and headed out to rookie ball. After two and half years with their organization, I was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Packing up and heading to a completely new organization can be intimidating. Fortunately, no matter where I went there always seemed to be other players who shared the same passion for the outdoors. I have always found baseball and hunting to be very similar. For example, just as it is important to stay alert while hunting so is it with baseball. Because when you least expect it you may find yourself in another transition. This is exactly what happened to me in 2013 when I was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants. My wife was about to graduate college, when suddenly we find ourselves moving across the country. Then, two months into my best season, my elbow popped. This led to Tommy John surgery, and as you can imagine, a disappointing end to my season.
Another similarity between these two sports is perseverance, especially when facing adversity. Ten and a half months after my surgery I appeared in my first minor league game. Later that season, I received my first call to the Major Leagues. Pitching against the Colorado Rockies that day, I finally accomplished my childhood dream of reaching the majors. My whirlwind month in the big leagues was followed by an even crazier October in the playoffs. In the end, we won the World Series. I am grateful for those first two months in the League, both the hard and the unbelievable memories because I believe that through adversity is when you learn the most about yourself!