This past season was by far the best waterfowl season that Hard Core Pro Staffer Jake Gray has had in his 17 years of hunting. Gray, from Crystal, Minnesota, has been hunting for almost all of his life. 253442_372523539484169_485689885_n-300x300“Whether I was out on the water shooting ducks or my personal favorite, hunting big honkers in the crop fields, every day really seemed to bring a new experience,” Gray said. “So many days that I considered to be so successful with numbers of birds and more importantly, great memories. Last season will always be remembered and I can only hope to have another season of that quality again.” One of the biggest reasons for last season being so special to Gray was due to him taking the time to introduce new people to the sport. “I really had two hunts that stood out to me from this past season, both of which really involved someone in my group hunting geese for the first time in their life,” he said. If Gray had to choose one particular hunt, he thought of a September weekend. His father, his best friend and the friend’s father and younger brother came up to where Gray and his friend attend college at Bemidji State University in Northern Minn. Gray had set up a goose hunt that had a major impact on the younger brother who hadn’t hunted before. 185302_471708032850109_1496498603_n-300x200“When we went out that next morning the birds starting flying right at sunrise and the look on his face when that first flock of about 250 birds ate us in our decoys is one that I will never forget,” Gray said. “The entire morning was filled with shooting and action. It was easy to tell that he was having the time of his life, and that made me one happy guy seeing that. He even had a chance at a banded goose that morning but unfortunately, he missed.” Technically, hunting season doesn’t last all year, but that doesn’t stop Gray and that’s what makes him Hard Core. “In my heart it is hunting season all year round and I constantly have hunting on my mind,” he said. With snow goose hunting right around the corner, Gray is getting his decoys ready and is prepping the rest of his gear. He’s planning trips to South Dakota. Turkey season is also close on the calendar and Gray is chomping at the bit to get after long beards too. “I love to turkey hunt and have been making and tuning my own calls to produce what I consider a perfect note,” he said. Gray also uses the “off-season” to spend a lot of time at the shooting range. He also uses the time to add to the decoy spread, tune calls scouting and getting permission to hunt different lands. “I have lived by this concept my entire life, and it is the key to improving your waterfowl season; scout, scout, scout. I can’t say it enough,” Gray said. 560478_466807726673473_974706449_n-300x200Most people won’t spend nearly enough time searching for birds, he said, and it takes work to understand the patterns that the birds are following. Make the effort to go that extra mile because, a lot of the time, that is the difference between an average hunt and a truly great hunt. “Another thing I really like to tell people when hunting geese is to take your time when shooting,” Gray said. “They are big birds and make a lot of noise but they really don’t fly that fast so pick a bird out and shoot him in the head.” The main thing Gray likes about Hard Core is the vibe the company gives off. “Hard Core is really catching people’s attention and taking the industry by storm,” he said. “Hard Core products are 100-percent reliable, and I absolutely trust the success of my waterfowl season to Hard Core products.” The new products coming out for the upcoming season really has Gray excited too. “Hard Core has come out with so many new products lately that it’s tough to decide which my favorite is,” he said. “I know I will be buying the new Run ‘N’ Gunner blind as well as some of the new honker full bodies. Those things are sweet!” To any hunter that is looking to join the Hard Core pro staff, Gray said that it is more than just having your name on the website and “being a big shot.” Most people don’t understand that being a Hard Core pro staffer is a big responsibility. The number one goal is to represent the company in a very positive manner and that doesn’t just mean in the field, he said. “We put in time working waterfowl shows and selling products at those shows,” he said. “It’s not just fame and glory. If that still interests you, then go for it. Write in and tell Hard Core why you want to and why you would be a great candidate for the job. It’s something that is such an honor, and I couldn’t be happier that I pro-staff for Hard Core!” By Derrek Sigler



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