Real Name: Joe Coots III TG handle: JC Age: 36 Height: 5'10" Weight: 210 Home State: GA now TradGang member number: 143
(TG)- Tell us about yourself.
(JC)- Born the son of a hillbilly and a Creek indian princess, spent most of my life moving around cause of my Dad's job, summers and any spare time split between the two family farms. Cattle on one end and tobacco/truckpatch on the other. Always hunted always fished. Worked about every kind of job possible on the farm and anywhere else...country boy can survive kinda thing. And my family was convinced if they rode me hard enough I'd leave the farm and go to college. Went to college cause I wanted to get rich, realized how smart the people I left were once I got educated, and wished I'd listened more to em before they left this world. Now just try to be a good Christian, father, husband, friend, and hunt with my stickbows as much as I can.
(TG)- What do you do for a living?
(JC)- I am the chief operations officer for an Atlanta based company that installs high end home theaters. Yeah, it's ridiculous but it not only pays the bills but it lets me buy a Morrison and travel to Texas now and then.
(TG)- How long have you been bow hunting with traditional gear?
(JC)- About 5 years in childhood as mostly trad from 4-9, the rest guns and compounds, then just finished my sixth season as trad only.
(TG)- Any heroes? Any role models? Heros and role models?
(JC)- Yep lots of em. Jesus Christ first always, I read his words daily to remind me of what to really strive for. My father has always been someone I looked up to every way, he's the finest man I've ever known. Both grandfathers had huge impacts on who I am...I still hear their voices speaking words of wisdom to this day. I certainly don't elevate men to the level of Jesus, but these three men came the closest, even with all their faults, of being my human role models. My wife has changed my life, for the better, I admire her as highly as them. Lots of friends that help keep me straight: Terry Green (Tarzan), Charlie Lamb, Donnie Kinard(Timberghost), Curtis Keller (CK), Troy Beatty (DTala), Ken Hardee (who is an amazing bowhunter but still is "on the dark side" LOL)...lots of others. I learned a long time ago that I had a lot to learn from those around me whether I liked it or not...so I try to surround myself with people I think the Lord would approve of. Many fine friends and family here on Tradgang have helped make me a better person, and I'm very thankful for each of em.
(TG)- What got you started bowhunting?
(JC)- My great grandfather was a fullblooded Creek Indian. He just about always had a bow in his old pickup and a side quiver slung low on his shoulder. I have wonderful memories of him slipping through the woods barefoot smokin a corn cob pipe...lookin for rabbits mostly...he loved rabbits. He used to make us sapling bows and some kinda shoot for an arrow, chicken feathers and then me and my cousin would cut up old paint cans and fashion broadheads. I didn't get my first gun until 9, so until then it was always either a home made bow or an inexpensive "lemonwood" longbow. Wish I still had any of those old bows. I'm an only child but me an one of my cousins were like brothers....we hunted literally whenever we weren't sleeping or working on the farm. The feeling of self reliance, power, adventure, fulfillment we found off on our own was a seed that grew to mighty oak that now gives a restful shade to my life.
(TG)- Who first helped you get involved in traditional bow hunting?
(JC)- You shore I ain't boring you? Both my Great grandfather (my mother's, mother's father) and my grandfather (my mother's father) were bowhunters....before there were compounds. They both encouraged and hunted with me. My father was never a trad bowhunter, used a compound when I did. He loves to gun hunt, mainly for squirrels with a little .17M2 I built for him. He's a superb hunter and I learned most of my basic hunting skills from him. Anyway, we always hunted. And on the farm in Kentucky we had crop depredation permits, so we killed a crazy amount of deer to keep our fields...got to be work as I got older. I think I've killed around 160 deer, mostly with a rifle/handgun, maybe 50 with a compound...but most as the role of an exterminator. I quit huntin deer for quite a few years after I got married. I hope I never have to kill another with a gun...my heart just isn't in it any more. Compounds lost their luster eventually so I took about a 5 year break an mostly fly fished. I found I really missed the hunt. One day, in a local super walmart, I saw an issue of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine. It pulled at me, like it was callin out for me. I stood there for an hour, totally enthralled with the words I read. About men who longed for the hunt, moreso than their lust for blood. I went home and cried, I missed hunting so bad. The next day I called every pawn and bow shop in 100 miles looking for a recurve. I got a stupid deal on an old black widow for $200, used my compound arrows and got it flying pretty close with some fiddlin. Three months later I was shootin at 3D tournaments. Few months after that, Gene Sanders and Larry Holden (G&L Archery/Mantis bows) took me under their wings and really accelerated my knowledge of trad archery. Them, and all the local trad archers I met at the 3D's like Tim Flood, Allan Rosen, Dan Spier, Donnie Kinard really helped me and pushed me to achieve a level of accuracy I never felt possible without sights. That year's deer season was the sweetest in memory. That first fat doe that fell from so silent, so simple a tool...all those years of memories flooded back...overwhelming me. Somewhere along the way I lost my purpose...I'm happy I found it again in traditional archery and bowhunting. I can't imagine my life without it now.
(TG)- Do you remember the first animal you took with a traditional bow? Tell us about it!
(JC)- I'm sure it was a frog around the pond about the age of 5 or so they say. I vividly remember my first rabbit at about 6 or 7....I was so proud I left my bow and arrows and ran with that rabbit all the way to the house. They were all so happy for me, I was truly hooked on bowhunting from that moment on. I remember that sound like it was yesterday.... I remember the clean woodsy smell of the rabbit as I ran...and the bitter-sweet feelings that coursed through my heart while I watched the life blood drain from the wound I made. Romantic? You bet I am.
(TG)- Do you prefer a glove or tab?
(JC)- Glove by far, specifically the American Leathers Bigshot. Got 3, just in case.
(TG)- Do you have any favorite memories or kills that stand out? Tell us about it!
(JC)- There's so many, I don't want to bore ya'll. I live for the memories that traditional bowhunting has given me. One of my finest hunts was in '04 at Brian and Debbie Keeling's Bugscuffle ranch in Vanderpool Texas. I hunted hard for 2 days without getting on the hogs and finally found a herd of Corsican goats lead by this monster billy. I hunted in a bowl for 7 hours my next to last day, stalking and getting multiple shot ops on every goat in the heard until everything fell into place and I placed the perfect shot on that old goat. I haven't ever done or had so many things go right in one day my whole life. As I was draggin him down, there were 4 people coming up the bowl hollering my name...they were worried I had gotten hurt cause they had been glassin that bowl off and on all day and hadn't seen me. I knew then I had done it all right. Yeah it's high fence, but I was there and it was a worthy challenge, I'm right proud of that ol goat. One of the few things I actually have mounted. Texas sweat last march, and Troy, and my time this past september with Terry and Curtis were all very sweet memories of recent big hunts. Then there's the mornings I watched a fawn nurse it's momma in spittin distance....on my own land. I'd die a happy man today with all the wonderful hunts I've had. Hope it don't happen, but there would be no regrets here if it did.
(TG)- Can you tell us a bit about your preferred hunting combo?
(JC)- It's a well known fact I'm a huge fan of Bob Morrison's takedown recurve. My current favorite is a 56" model, "A" riser, of bacote and macassar ebony, Bob's newer style recurve "B" limbs with canebrake skins, about 64# at my 27". It's grip is by far the finest tool I've ever had in my hands. Carbon Express Terminator Hunter Selects or Carbon Tech Rhino 50/85's at about 29 1/4", usually 4 4" all white shields, cap dipped white and crested, 200 grain STOS (160+40gr insert), 190 Simmons Interceptor or Ace Hex Head depending on what I'm hunting...bout 650gr total with the CT's. I kinda collect R/D longbows and really like to play with em, but there is one bow in my hand 99% of the time when I get serious.
(TG)- What is the one piece of advice you would give a new hunter to aid him on his hunting ventures?
(JC)- As an archer, don't accept mediocre accuracy. Given good equipment, I'm convinced everyone can regularly hit a coke can at 20 yards, at least that...and most can do better. Shoot every day you can, 50-100 arrows a day. Try every variation of everything in your shot. Really get to know your shot. Use a video camera and compare yourself to the form thread...that thread and shooting with some excellent shooters has made me a much better archer. Don't ever let anyone tell you there is only one way to shoot well, no matter what their credentials. Watch everyone, listen to everyone, take what works for you, discard the rest, and make a style that fits you. But mainly, don't accept paperplate accuracy at your hunting distance, cause when it's fur or feather, that ain't gonna be near good enough. Your mileage may vary, but it certainly has rung true for me.
As a hunter? Shoot, go talk to Terry, CK, Troy, and Charlie Lamb...they are much better hunters than me. I will say patience and perserverance ranks high on my list of must haves. Pick a freakin spot, don't leave it till the arrow sails through it...that's probably the best advice I can give. Get out there an hunt em when you can, cause I work so much and often it's not at the best times but I still bring stuff home. Enjoy the hunt for the hunt's sake or go back to shootin rifles. You want to kill big game? Kill a bunch of small game and work up. The best way to get good at killin critters is to kill critters. You can shoot all the foam you want but it ain't like fur, least not for me. Find someone who regularly brings home game and grease his boots, or cut his grass or bring him his favorite barley pop....ask him to teach ya...I guarantee you if he's a trad bow feller, he'll step up. Do that for 10 different fellers and you'll be buyin new freezers to hold what you bring home.
(TG)- What is your favorite animal to hunt?
(JC)- Well, first answer would be anything with fur. Next would be hogs, then probably....hogs. Deer probably take more of my time but only because there are a lot more where I live than hogs. I love rabbits and frogs in Texas too. Killed an elk with a handgun, would like to hunt them with my sticks. Big dreams of moose too. Big Mulie out west somewhere in rolling hills. Would love to take a bear, over bait would be fine but really hot for one spot and stalk or ambush. Heck, did I say anything with fur...that's more the right answer.
(TG)- Do you have or prefer a certain method of hunting?
(JC)- Spot and stalk for hogs is my favorite hunt. Anything spot and stalk really. Most of my deer hunting is by stands, hunting acorns, food sources in the woods, and travel routes. I love that too. I'm learning a little more and more about hunting stuff on the ground thanks to Terry and a few other patient souls.
(TG)- Does any of your family hunt or fish? Just about every single one is a woodsman/woman of great skill. I'm very fortunate to have had such good teachers. My dad doesn't hunt much anymore but he lives on the Little Red river in AR and flyfishes bout every single day. He has some of the trout named.
(TG)- Do you have any bowhunting goals or plans for the immediate future?
(JC)- I'm going with Terry back to the Paradise to try and chase deer and hogs, with Ray Hammond to try and get some vindication on the hogs that won our last meeting, Texas Sweat in March, bears with Tippit in Jun, Iron Bulls place for mulies/pronghorn in Sept....heck I got a lot more plans than time. I plan on doing a moose float hunt in the next few years, and absolutely go back to Africa by hook or crook.
(TG)- Do you make any of your own gear?
(JC)- I build my own arrows cause I really enjoy it and I can be all anal retentive about em and see a difference. I ain't talented enough to make anything else really, so I just try to find the best feller makin whatever I need and save up for it.
(TG)- Where is the one place you would really just love to hunt?
(JC)- Austrailia! I hear they got so many pigs down there you'd get tired of killin em! Now THAT I want to experience.
(TG)- Do you primarily hunt private or public ground?
(JC)- Well, up until this season while hunting with trad gear, public. I've hunted two WMA's, Dawson Forest and archery only McGraw Ford here locally quite a lot. My buddy Ken Hardee has really taught me a lot about both spots. I actually killed fewer deer on my land these last few years than previous years on public land...course I was saving some...but we have no shortage of deer on public land here in GA if you are willing to walk more than 100 yards off a road :-)
(TG)- Do you prefer evening, mid day or morning hunts?
(JC)- I've killed more animals in the morning than any other time by a guesstimated margin of 4 to 1. Could be cause I hunt a lot more in the morning and have a lot more confidence in the morning. I love to see the woods come alive in the morning...I never feel closer to my Master than those moments on the stand or slipping through the woods.
(TG)- What is your favorite type of camo?
(JC)- Predator by far. Bout any color, but green in spring and most of bow season, a mix of brown and gray (whatever is clean) in the colder months and after the leaves fall. Fallin in love a ghillie suit I got for Christmas, just need more shooting experience in it. I love wool but don't own much of it, saving for some now. Got lots of fleece for most of the brown and gray predator. I ain't good enough to go without like Mickey....yet :-) I like ASAT too, used to have some of that old original fleece stuff. Wish you could still get that.
(TG)- Do you do any small game hunting?
(JC)- Love it! Specially Texas for rabbits and frogs. I've been known to go down there JUST to hunt rabbits and frogs. I also enjoy the social aspect of it...you can hunt and still be right beside yer buds at the same time.
(TG)- Tell us what your dream hunt would be.
(JC)- Honestly, I've already experienced it...Texas sweat. Lots of great friends in camp, lots of game, just not long enough! My next dream hunt goal would be with my sons and a bunch of trad brothers on a massive pig expedition, Austrailia maybe, for a month or more, doing nothing but hunting and story tellin, sharin the fire and fine company the good Lord gives us. Hear they are over run with rabbits and foxes and all other kinds of critters too. Yep, that'd be the dream.
(TG)- What is it like to finally get your own place to hunt and take game from it?
(JC)- I grew up hunting "family" land....but I'll tell ya, nothing compares to taking the jump to purchase your own land, working hard to make the payments, and then actually getting to hunt on it. Something about hanging a treestand and thinking "this is MY tree" that feels pretty darned cool. Killing game on it is just icing on the cake...but I will say I have become much more of a conservator now that I think of them as on "my" land and in my care. I'm really gonna try hard to improve the habitat for not only just deer, but would like to have more rabbits too. Did I mention I like to hunt rabbits? LOL . I'm now constantly torn between saving money for trips/bows etc. and buying more land. My wife jokes about me arguing with our builder as we build our house "$3000 for that!? Why, that'll buy an acre of land...forget it!". We may end up sleeping in our tents inside the cabin just to get more ground :-)
(TG)- Tell us a little about your heritage and what it means to you.
(JC)- My mother's side of the family is Creek, originally of the Muskogean Nation and some cajun and southern redneck melting pot thrown in. My father's side of the family is a mix of Scottish, English and some melting pot. All were tied to the land and woods and taught me most of what I know as a hunter and fisherman. But deeper than that, it's very important to me to recognize my ancestors for everything they did to put me where I am today. If they had made different choices, poorer choices with thier lives, I would not be where I am today. I firmly believe I owe everything I have to first the blessings of the Lord, but secondly to the teaching and sacrifices of those who have come before me. Most of my family had little or no education, just hard working cattle and tobacco farmers, coal miners, and timber cutters. But they all strived to do better for their families, no matter what the personal cost. Their goal was always to see the next generation not only excel to a higher level, but be better people than they were. I really try to honor that in what I do and the decisions I make. Seems many today have lost the concept of family honor and the responsibility you have in one as a son/brother/father etc.....I'm just trying to pass that along to my boys.
(TG)- Give us your favorite recipe for groundhog,frog,possum, or coon.
(JC)- Don't care too much for possum or coon but dadgum ground hog and froglegs get my attention! Frog legs are pretty easy: skin em, chill em, dry em; I like to dip em in a egg/milk wash, roll em in a mix of light cornmeal, white all purpose flour, and pretty heavy spicing to taste (cayenne, cavender's seasoning, garlic). They are so delicate, it only takes just a quick toss in a pan of hot oil for a minute or so to get em right....don't overcook em. Add hush puppies, fried taters and cold slaw.....mmmmmmmmm, now yer talkin viddles! Nuthin better than a young groundhog, cleaned up and grilled with a dustin of dry seasonings (we have a dry barbecue rub that's awesome). I've posted a couple of other recepies for groundhog on the recipes forum: mtn dew/heinz 57 in a crockpot, cream of mushroom soup and dirty rice, etc. Groundhog is fine eatin...just get that musk gland off of em and chill em before they spoil. If you can hang em clean in a cooler like a deer for 4-5 days they are really, really fine.
(TG)- Tell us a little about you trip to Africa.
(JC)- I won't go into too much detail cause ya'll are tired of readin by now but it didn't turn out too well. I went with an outfit offering a very inexpensive package deal. When I got there, the other group was going out and they had apparently killed like 45 animals among 9 guys...all compounds...just hammered the game. I arrive to find I was the only guy in camp, and as such, things were a little "minimalist" with only one guy to take care of. I wasn't real happy cause I had been told some things that didn't come true, but such is life. I had 2 good days of hot weather, the first and the next to last, all the rest the wind blew like crazy and it was quite cool most of the time. I saw some game, most of it jumpy like fleas, no shots presented less than 25-30 yards. I did kill one impala from a treestand and hit a warthog that ran under his fence to the neighboring concession....can't follow them so I was outta luck on that one. I missed about 5 other warthogs....fastest dang thing I've ever seen. Missed 3 impala's before I connected too. Arrows were usually on, the animals were just flat gone. Course that was before I shot a Morrison, HA! On departure, the outfitter offered to let me return for an extended hunt at reduced rates so he obviously felt some responsibility. No hard feelings, I just won't go back that route. Despite the issues, I WILL return Africa, Lord willing, and with a bigger named outfit that is not so heavily pressured and of course more knowledge about what to expect/do. I've been saving since I got off the plane from the trip back. Now just torn between pouring it into my place or running back to the greatest adventure I've ever taken.
(JC)- I just want to say, I'm honored, and truly humbled by being chosen for an interview. Hope I didn't ramble on too bad but the Lord filled me with passion for this stuff and I just can't hardly hold it in. Thank ya'll.God Bless all Ya'll and your'n
-------------------- TNGIRL.... >>>>>>>>------------>> Ye Olde Fartes and Sore Losers, NGTA, TBG, TGMM Family of The Bow, Compton's Traditional Bowhunters Posts: 1182 | From: S.E. Tenn. | Registered: May 2005
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Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your life with us Joe, some day I hope to meet you.
-------------------- TGMM Family of The Bow PBS Associate Member Comptons
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell Posts: 4783 | From: Somersworth, NH | Registered: May 2003
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That was one fine interview Joe! I'm really looking forward to finally getting a chance to meet you in March! I just picked up one of those fur ball on a stick type predator decoys last weekend - hope we can use it to lure in a kitty cat!
-------------------- PBS Regular Member WTA Life Member In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln. Posts: 10438 | From: Lake Mills, WI | Registered: Mar 2003
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