Experiences With Hunting Celebrities

Welby

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This came to mind after reading and responding to the previous thread about M.A.D. Calls and their record of excellent customer service.

Have you ever met or had a personal experience with any of the hunting celebrities that frequently appear on TV or hunting videos?  If so, what was your impression of that person?  If it changed your opinion of them, was it for the better or the worse?

If you have an interesting AND TRUE story about some hunting celebrity, share it here for the rest of us.  Most of the time, we never get to see the genuine person behind the TV personality.

As for me, I can share a little bit of personal experiences.  For one, Mossy Oak's headquarters is in West Point which is only about twenty minutes from my home.  When shopping at the big Mossy Oak outlet there, it is not uncommon to run into Toxey Haas or some of the other well known Mossy Oak staff.

I have talked with some of the Mossy Oak staff on occasion, including Bill Suggs, but I have never spoken with Toxey except for a passing hello while in his store.  His reputation locally is generally that of a nice and down home guy, although there are some that claim he is quite arrogant.  

In addition, he is losing a lot of local support because of the manner in which he is buying and leasing up hunting clubs all over the place and forcing the members out.  Some clubs have been established for years, and now those members are left to fight for space on scattered parcels of heavily hunted public land.  It appears that many local hunters believe that Toxey is actually the biggest danger to their hunting rights and privileges nowadays.

My brother bumped into Toxey once while exiting a restroom at a local restaurant.  My brother, ever the quick witted one, said "Oops - didn't see ya there!" making fun of the commercial in which Toxey talks about his boyish dream to be invisible.  Toxey found the incident amusing and later paid a visit to my brother's table where he and some friends were dining.  Toxey paid for all of their meals, though it must be noted that some of my brother's friends were Mossy Oak employees.

Another person I would like to highlight is David Hale.  Although I have not met him or spoken with him personally, I felt I should share this story about him.  Walter Parrott was supposed to appear as guest speaker at an upcoming NWTF Superfund Banquet in a small northeast Mississippi town.  However, due to a scheduling conflict, he had to back out and the local NWTF chapter was left with no guest speaker.  David Hale of Knight & Hale Game Calls caught wind of the situation, felt bad about it and volunteered to come down and take Walter's place.  Needless to say, the local guys are just tickled that he would do this for them.  Mr. Hale did not have to do this and volunteered on his own.  I think that is pretty commendable.  I hope to meet him at the banquet and tell him thank you in person.

Now it's your turn.
 

Whoadog

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 My wife and I met Steve Puppe a couple of years ago.  I have always been a fan of his and he didn't let me down when I met him, he was a great guy and took the time to talk to my wife and I.  I apologized for keeping him and he said no problem and kept on chatting.  My wife was even impressed with him and that is saying something considering I have been trying to impress her for 11 years.

Brian
 

Tinhorn

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He He, Whoadog, we have the same problem with impressing our wifes, of couse mine treats me like a god and gives me burnt offerings at the dinner table all the time (or is she just an arsonist?)

I've met Mark Drury a few times on a couple of seminars he's given on both Bow hunting Deer and Hunting Turkeys and my Brother-in-Law has met him a few times too (they are almost neighbors)  He acts and talks just like he does on his tapes, a very nice guy.

I also met a guy named Mark Mueller, another really nice guy.  He showed me how to use a call called Lucky Clucker that is one of my favorites.....

Two others I've run into several times is Ray Eye and Jeff Probst.   I liked both of them too.

I guess actually there is few hunters I haven't liked tho  he he

Tinhorn
 

h2obobh2o

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I went to high School with Matt Morrett, I dated his cousin for a few years, and know him pretty well. He is the one of the nicest guys you would want to meet. I have never got to hunt with him, but because of some videos and tapes he gave me long ago, when he first started with H.S, he is who got me fired up about turkey hunting! He is having a local seminar, and donating all of the proceeds to cancer research (end of march).

Wish I could meet...Ray Eye, Will Primos,

My buddy tried to get Dick Kirby's autograph for his eight year old little boy on a Quaker Boy hat, and he turned around cursing, and walked away. (True story)

Tinhorn..how did you get to meet Jeff Probst?
 

Gun Docc

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Howdy fellers,

i once met Will Primos at a turkey seminar and calling contest and spoke with him a little

i had a booth set up selling choke tubes and advertising my gunwork business and he had a booth set up across the aisle from me with his calls and he was to be one of the judges for the calling contest

to my dissapointment he was quite unfriendly and quite arrogant.
like he didn't have time to even acknowlede you

i had a Remington 870 there with me that is one of my match guns and it has a 60 inch long , one inch diameter bull barrel which every once in a while i would take with me as a crowd attention getter.

after i drug it out and put it together at my table ole Will just had to come over and see it to ask if it was real and if it would even shoot. he even held the gun and was asking if it was even real.

i told him that is was a real operating gun and that it did fire live rounds which was used only for shooting at targets at shooting matches .
to this day i think he never did believe me....lol

i jokingly tried to get Will to use it in one of his video's as a food plot gun......lol

he wouldn't even talk to me no more the rest of the show with him just across the aisle but he did make several smart remarks to people that was looking at the gun as they walked by.

needless to say i  used to  use his brand of mouth callers but to this day i have never bought another one and that has been many years ago.

some of the celebrity's that have made it still seem to be down to earth but some let it go to their head....lol

i used to talk to Neil Cost at a lot of the turkey shows as he used to travel the circuit selling some of his calls and he was a very nice guy to say the least and also he was always willing to show you a trick or two.
he made some of the best box calls around in these parts.

later,
 

trkyhntr

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I've met and talked with Matt Morrett a few times at calling contest.He's a great guy. He will answer any questions you have.
 

Welby

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I am disappointed to hear that about Will Primos.  I had heard that he was nice and down to earth.  

He's another Mississippi native, don't know why he would act like a yankee.
 

MBullism

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I'm not so sure I can let that "yankee" crack slide...  I've hunted with jerks, and I've hunted with hunters, and have come across both from north and south...

M
 

flahunter

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You know alot of these so called celebrity's are nothing more than guys and gals that liked hunting and just wanted to make a living at it. But I think alot of them have let it go to their head about being on TV.
Alot of the pro bass fisherman are real AHOLES too!
I have talked to Bill Jordan a few times and I get the empression that he is in it for nothing more than the money and he could care less about promoting hunting. Money! NOOOOO! not Money?
 

Welby

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Mbullism, you're right....jerks come from everywhere.  You'll have to forgive me for just voicing a local saying.

No offense intended, promise.
 

Welby

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Previously, I mentioned David Hale as a person I hoped to meet.  Well, I did get to meet him....let me tell you about it!

When I arrived at the NWTF banquet which I attended last night in little ol' Tishomingo, MS, I was eager to meet Mr. Hale, but reserved my excitement for the knowledge that most likely I probably would not get to speak to him very much.  After all, I figured that as any well known personality, that there would be many turkey hunters scrambling to talk to him.  Such was not the case.

I almost overlooked him.  In fact, I did overlook him at first and walked right by him without knowing it.  When I did notice him, I was surprised to see that absolutely no one was talking to him as he was largely ignored.  This has to be evidence that the majority of attendees to NWTF banquets nowadays are not only not turkey hunters, but probably not hunters at all.  No kidding.  When I first spotted him, he stood off to himself smiling here and there to those who passed him by.

I approached Mr. Hale with my hand outstretched and introduced myself.  He introduced himself as well.  I told him that I had been buying and watching his videos for so long that I felt like I already knew him.  That's all it took, as he seemed to appreciate that comment very much and we began a conversation that off and on lasted much of the evening.  He genuinely seemed as excited to meet me as I was to meet him.  I reckon I talked to him more than anyone else did.

We talked about turkey hunting and turkey calling at great length as I fired many questions at him about different aspects of the sport.  I assured him I had many more questions in store and he in turn welcomed them all.  

At one point, I just had to ask about a hilarious near blooper* on one of his videos, "Calling All Coyotes" in which Bill Bynum grabbed his arm unexpectedly when demonstrating how to use a dying rabbit call.  Mr. Hale seemed to be surprised that I even noticed that, but he laughed and said "Yeah, I wasn't expectin' him to do that.  He scared the devil outta me!"

I talked to him as much as I could and he seemed to enjoy it.  Later, during his two different mini-seminars, he would refer to me twice.  First for our conversation about tube calls, and the second time he laughed and referred to me as "The Question Man".  This was not only exciting and a personal honor to me, but it elicited quite a few snickers from my pastor and several of my friends from church that attended the banquet with me.  They already knew what a talker I can be.

All in all, I really enjoyed meeting him, talking to him and finding out that the person behind the hunting personality is every bit as genuine and friendly as he appears to be on TV, if not much more so.  In our one on one conversations, he gave me some great tips on calling that in his words "made me wonder why I never figured that out before".  Also, he went one step further by giving me two packages of latex reeds for my homemade tube calls.  He also seemed to be impressed with the homemade diaphragm call that I demonstrated for him.

I have always believed that Knight & Hale was a great company with great personalities at the helm.  And I believe it much more so now.  If you ever get the chance, do meet and speak with these guys.  You will not be disappointed.  I came away last night feeling not like I had met a celebrity, but like I had made a new friend.  And with just the advice and tips that he gave me personally, away from the seminar crowd, I feel much more confident about my upcoming spring turkey season.

The last thing he said to me as he left was "You get 'em this spring, alright?"  Mr. Hale, I am going to do my very best to wear them out!


* (In the aforementioned "Calling All Coyotes" scene, Mr. Hale's left arm is the only visible part in the frame.  When Bill Bynum grabs his arm very quickly (simulating a rabbit being attacked) it is evident that from Mr. Hale's reaction that he was not expecting it.  If you watch very closely you can see Mr. Hale's arm jump violently as if he nearly jumped off the bench he was sitting on.)
 

Arrowhead

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Welby >> That is a neat story. I got a chance to talk to David in Charlotte last week. Probably because of the different seminars going on it wasn't too crowded in his booth.Very easy and pleasent to talk to. Harold Knight as well. I had met Harold before here in Raleigh at an outdoor show. It was this time of the year and he was leaving for Florida after the show to turkey hunt. Both very genuine folks.

Most of the Hunting "celebrities" I have met have been at shows. Most have been pretty nice.

I was talking to a callmaker in Charlotte when I guy walked up and blurts out, "Did you know XXXXX, He was my father". And then just stood there and staired at the callmaker. The callmaker said he had heard of him but didn't really know him. Then the guy just wanders off.
This guys father was pretty well known in the NWTF but has since passed away. It was like he wanted something for free because of his Dad. I didn't understand where the guy was coming from. Seems like there could have been a better way to introduce yourself if you were trying to meet friends of your fathers. It was wierd.

While Dick Kirby was putting some artwork on a call for me a guy come up and looks at some of the Neil Cost repro's he's got and says "Do you know Neil Cost" as Dick begins to answer the guy goes on to explain how he grew up in the same town and has known Neil since he was a kid. Bla bla bla....
Dick just smiled and listened, when he replied that he has known Neil a long time too, the guy smiles and says that's cool and walks away.

I think these guys have to put up with all kinds of personalities 24/7. Not sticking up for them. Seems like if your polite and courteous they are too. I don't buy products because a "celebrity" endorses it. It means more when someone at Jesse's sight recomends a product.

One of my favorites is Hank Parker, Fisherman. When I lived in Florida back in the 80's, B.A.S.S. wuld hold tournaments on Okeechobee on Wed, Thur and Fri. I would take Fridays off and go to the final weigh-in's. The only person of all the fisherman I ever met that had an attitude was Roland Martin. Not real socialble unless the camera is running.

Anyway after a tournament my friend and I stopped at a Burger King to eat and Hank Parker comes in. He's with his brother and another guys. They sat at a table next to us. We said hello and started talking about where he fished. He introduced his brother and the other guy and we talked for at least 45 minutes. The guy seemed very genuine as well.

It was neat because we weren't around the tournaments, sponsors, or a bunch of other people and we just ate and talked about fishing.
 

h2obobh2o

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Hey Welby...Great Story!!That is the exact impression I get of David Hale from watching his videos! Seems like a good ole boy, down to earth, easy to talk to!! That's why I am dissapointed to hear that Will Primos is like that! I never would have thought that! Bill Jordan I could believe was like stated above! Some of these guys should keep their attitudes in check....if it weren't for pee-ons like us, buying their videos, calls and camoflauge, they wouldn't have the celebrity status they have achieved in the first place.

Do you boy's down south really still hate us Yank's?

(Edited by h2obobh2o at 11:06 am on Mar. 3, 2002)
 

tomturkey

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It's good to see some positive responses to this post. I have also had the opportunity to meet several of the above mentioned "personalaties and have found them to be very friendly and personable. For the most part, I'm sure they wouldn't remember my name or even my face if I saw them again, but you must understand that these guys travel around the country and meet & greet so many faces & names every year it would be impossible to remember them all. ALso when they are working in their respective booths, they can get very busy with many people approaching at once.
Last week at the NWTF convention, one of the most positive experiences I had was at the realtree booth. I stopped there to pick up a Ward Burton hat nd was surprised when several of the pro staffers actually approached me to strike up a conversation. Seems they had friends in my home town and wanted to ask about them and we talked for several miniutes about hunting in the area. It wasn't very crowded at  the time and they seemed to be wanting to talk.  Also got to spend about half an hour talking with Tim Herald & chuck Tirranno at the K&H booth. they are also great guys as well.

tomturkey
 

Welby

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"Do you boy's down south really still hate us Yank's?"

h2obobh2o, no, we don't...but if the South had've won, we'd have had it made! ha ha
 

EL CAZADOR

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I met Dez Young and Hank from "Hunting with Hank" on OLN.  He is a really nice guy, very proper and estute.  I wouldn't say he's your typical hunter.  He worked in media for a while and then decided to combine his two passions.  The way he is on his show is the exact way he is in person.
 

songdog

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I met Jesse this weekend for the first time and he's as down to earth as I've always thought :wink-yellow:
 

KIDKY

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Hank Parker hunts on a freind of mine's farm in NE KY.  Haven't met him personally but my buddy says he's just like he is on the show, kinda laid back and easy going.  also met Davy Hite at a Bass Pro Grand Opening in Ohio, he's a really nice guy answered my questions and seemed genuinely freindly
 

Don

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Great info guys.  I have never met a celebrity but I would assume they would treat me as each of you have been treated.  This also influences  my purchasing decisions.  If a guy can't talk with everyday people about his products maybe we should buy another product.

Might be a good idea to extend this thread to some of the other forums.
 

mudhen

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I guess it just depends on whether these guys are real businessmen or just tailoring a business venture to enhance their love of hunting.

I spend two days at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas last month.  I saw just about every hunting "celebrity" you could think of.  BUT, this was a business show and the business is SELLING.  

So logically the biggest players were a bit busy trying to SELL things, that being the nature of their BUSINESS.

Phil Robertson (The Duckman) was hawking his product line.  He signed a few autographs - but it was clear he was selling.  I bet he runs a profitable operation.

Toxey Haas was visable and pleasant to all who entered the Mossy Oak booth.  But these guys were obviously keeping an eye on Jordan Enterprises the whole time, so they were always a bit distracted.

Jordan's whole crew were on the highest sales alert.  Only big dealers allowed in their secret office area.
No sign of Bill for the most part.

The guys at Hunter Specialties would look at your badge to see who you were.  If you were not a big dealer - you were not given a second glance.

Ted Nugent was walking the show.  He was extremely decent to any fan who wished an autograph or just wanted to chat.

I guess it just depends on the setting.

mudhen-CA
 
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