What ever happened to total outdoorsmen, the guys who could cast a fly as well as they can shoot a bow or paddle a canoe? To celebrate the idea of being able to do it all in the field, Field & Stream hosted the 3rd annual Total Outdoorsman Challenge presented by Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey in early September in Nashville, Tennessee, at Long Hunter State Park. Sixteen hunters and fishermen from across the country were invited to test their skills in a competition designed to replicate the challenges sportsmen face in the field. Field & Stream Online Editors
The competitors were a mix of 12 professional and 4 amateurs selected from Field & Stream readers. Among the pros was Sean Hoernke (above), a professional Bass fisherman, and Matt Emmons, an Olympic gold medallist. Many of the others have competed in various outdoor competitions. Field & Stream Online Editors
Erik Tirpak from Somers, New York, and one of the four selected readers, shooting on the Daisy Air Rifle range. Competitors went head-to-head and had 2 minutes to knock off as many targets as possible. Field & Stream Online Editors
For the archery competition, 3D targets were placed in a way that replicated common hunting scenarios. Competitors shot from a tree stand and ground blind, and had the choice of taking a standard kill shot or a high-risk, higher scoring target. Field & Stream Online Editors
J. Paul Jackson, a retriever trainer and duck hunting guide from Tennessee, celebrates his perfect score which put him in first place of the archery skill challenge. Field & Stream Online Editors
The shotgun competition was designed and administered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Jon Ogilvie, USA Olympic Shooting Coach, provided tips on scoring in the unique course. The competitors shot Cortona 12 gauge shotguns, a new over-and-under being imported from Italy, by Kalispel Case Line. Field & Stream Online Editors
The ATV challenge tested competitors on both packing and ATV handling. They had to load a bunch of gear like treestands, sleeping bags, and bows on an ATV using only bungee cords and then run through an obstacle course without losing any of their load. The competitor with the fastest time won. Field & Stream Online Editors
The Endurance course required competitors to run with heavy backpacks, paddle a canoe, and scale obstacles. Here Matt Stedina, from Stockbridge, Vermont, tries to get back in his canoe after rolling it shortly after the start. Field & Stream Online Editors
At various points during the Endurance course, competitors had to stop and make casts and shoot accurately with a bow and an air rifle. Matt Emmons, an Olympic medalist in men’s prone event, isn’t used to competing while out of breath. Field & Stream Online Editors
There were activities for everyone who attended the event, including a few four-legged friends who took turns seeing how far they could jump in the Big Air dog pool. Field & Stream Online Editors
While everyone was ultimately trying to win, the outdoorsmen still developed a strong feeling of camaraderie and often rooted for each other throughout the competition, which reflects the spirit of the Field & Stream’s Total Outdoorsman Challenge. Field & Stream Online Editors
It was Paul Thompson (middle) a flyfishing and hunting guide from Marion, North Carolina, who took the top spot (and $4,000). Rick Hartman (left) a Fishing Guide from Harlington, Texas, placed second and Jay Moore (right) a Wildlife and Habitat Manager from Millbrook, New York, placed third. Wearing their medals, they pose with Sid Evans, Editor-in-Chief of Field & Stream and Jennifer Motlow Powell, Assistant Brand Manager from Jack Daniel’s. Field & Stream Online Editors