Meet Brantley

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I wasn’t into team sports as a kid, and to this day, don’t care much about watching them on TV. I had good buddies, but whether or not I hung out with them after school was of no real consequence to me. Hunting, for whatever was in season, was the driving force behind my daily agenda when I was young. It still is today.

Even when there were distractions, hunting was always somehow involved. My first date with Michelle, who’s now my wife, was the Halloween Dance our junior year of high school. I showed up dressed as a bowhunter (it being late October made that the most convenient costume), and, because Coolio and “Gangster’s Paradise” didn’t entertain us as much as it did the skinny white DJ, we ended up sitting on the tailgate of my truck in the parking lot. Several of my buddies were gathered with us, chewing tobacco and chest pumping as 16-year-old rednecks are apt to do when tailgates and blondes are involved.

My experiences with women were admittedly limited, and so to impress her, I pulled a bottle of Tink’s 69 from my pocket, unscrewed the cap, thrust it to her nose and said, “Hey, smell this.” Smitten as she was with me, Michelle leaned forward at the same moment and ended up with a good splash of deer piss across her upper lip.

Though I was understandably embarrassed, my buddies howled with laughter and demanded the bottle of remaining Tink's be passed around the circle for each of them to smell, recoil in disgust, and pass along to the next in line.

I apologized profusely to Michelle and handed her my camo bandana so that she could wipe the pungent Tink’s from her face. The next night, I took her to the movies and managed a kiss. So things could’ve been worse.

Point is, while this obsession with hunting hasn’t always helped me in the social arena, it continues to influence virtually everything I do to this day. And though I’m a duck hunter in the winter and a turkey hunter in the spring, deer hunting is the backbone of my year, and every season I find some new angle of it to appreciate.

I love the sight of a nice buck, but I’m far from a trophy hunter. I enjoy seeing a shimmer of green in a newly sprouted food plot. A cold beer never tastes any better than while skinning the first doe of the season on a muggy September night. A heavy blood trail quickens my pulse in a primal way, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t mind a long drag to the truck, especially if it’s on public land. I do my own butchering and all manner of deer recipes are good. But at the end of the day, I like backstrap fried in Ritz crackers the best. I’m still working on that perfect summer sausage recipe for my smoker.

I can guarantee you won’t agree with everything Hansen and I say in this blog—in fact, for the sake of keeping things interesting, I hope you don’t. I hope you’ll take the time to argue with us on here. Think of it as a campfire. Opinions can be strong, and sometimes the debates get loud. But the next morning, we’ll all be friends again. Hey, we’re all deer hunters.