ANIMALS

University of Mississippi student is Following the Flight Outdoors

Robert High
Oxford Stories

There are many premiere duck hunting destinations all over the world. Many people like to hunt in Canada during the early season in October. Others like to hunt in Arkansas. Some travel all the way to Argentina to hunt a completely different species of ducks.

However, it can be argued that Kansas has the most underrated duck hunting in the entire country. Owners and team members of Following the Flight Outdoors saw this growth and decided to capitalize on it as a business opportunity.

Following the Flight Outdoors is owned and operated by four young entrepreneurs: Nathan Garrett, Wright Simmons, Walker Diab and Jackson Diab.

According to the company website, Simmons is a full-time student at the University of Mississippi majoring in business finance, who has been hunting since age 14.

The four took a trip together to Kansas for a recreational hunt four years ago. They realized it was the best duck hunting they had ever seen.

According to American Hunter’s Shawn Skipper, Kansas is a major stopping point along the central flyway for ducks heading south for the winter. That’s why the four company owners realized they should move to Kansas in the winter months and host duck hunting trips for clients. Word got around quickly, and they filled their calendar with duck hunting enthusiasts.

“We knew once we handled the logistics of housing and locations to hunt, the trips would sell themselves,” Simmons said. “This is truly the best place to hunt in the United States.”

ftf-wright

Wright Simmons

Guide Jackson Diab said that after they take groups on their first Kansas duck hunt, it isn’t abnormal for them to say it “was the best duck hunt of their life.” “That is what we want to hear, and that is why we created this business,” he said.

One of the most interesting duck hunters of them all is head guide Nathan Garrett. Garrett is the most experienced guide of the group, and is actually considered a celebrity by some in the industry. He chose to be home-schooled at the age of 12 so he could begin guiding hunts. Even at such a young age, he successfully led clients on countless hunts.

On top of this, Garrett has blown duck calls in national competitions for most of his life. His most prestigious award was winning the youth national championship for swan calling only using his mouth. This is extremely rare because a swan call usually requires a calling device.

For Nathan, guiding ducks is more than just a business venture. He loves hunting and credits his father for instilling that passion. Sadly, Nathan’s father passed away in 2012. On the Following the Flight Outdoors website, Nathan said he now wants “to share the passion my father and I shared for water fowl hunting.”

nathan-ftf

Brothers Walker Diab and Jackson Diab grew up hunting along the coast of North Carolina. They wandered the vast marshes of Wilmington, North Carolina. It did not take long for them to become known as some of the best hunters and fishermen in the area.

Garrett and Simmons are also from Wilmington, and their passion for the sport brought them together as best friends and business owners. Garrett and Simmons recently moved out to Kansas for the 2016-2017 hunting season. Wright and Jackson Diab joined them in December after finishing their academic semester at their respectable schools.

The four will chase ducks through the central and eastern sections of Kansas, and there will be little rest until duck season ends on Jan. 3. Then the team will turn their focus to strictly goose hunting.

Not as many clients are interested in geese, but these young men hope to change that. “Most of the clients we get are strictly interested in ducks, but an open field goose hunt is about as fun as it gets,” Walker Diab said. “Once we convince our clients to give it a shot, they are hooked for life.”

kansas

It has been said that people who love their work never work a day in their lives. That is exactly what Garrett, Simmons, and Walker and Jackson Diab are doing. They have a passion, and they have found a way to make a living doing it.

The ducks keep flying, and Following the Flight Outdoors keeps growing. This might be bad news for ducks, but it is great news for hunters.

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