Humboldt, South Dakota
Travis was born on a small farm in extreme Northwestern Minnesota, just a few miles from Canada. His earliest memories in the outdoors are dusty, hazy images of taking out the single shot 22’s after flickertails in old pasture with his grandfather, Frank. He, along with himself and brother Mike and sister Cheri spent hours driving the old Ford Maverick around through the sagebrush on the gravel hilltop, protecting their cows from busted legs by sniping those little gophers. Later, in the poplar forests so common to the Red River Valley, Travis collected his first gamebird, a woodcock, over the back of his little springer, Bandit. He fell into the natural routine of a Minnesota farm boy, hunting ruffed grouse and whitetails throughout his high school years, along with occasional bear hunts.
Life took Travis to South Dakota and its wide open spaces, at the lower end of the prairie pothole region. Upon his first arrival in the state, He was taken by the challenges of elk and antelope and mule deer hunting, as these were new to him. He enjoyed hunting pheasants, the state bird, and partook in the great opening day, South Dakota’s version of Minnesota’s grand deer opener. Little did he know, there was one more surprise awaiting him that would turn my outdoors career on it’s ear.
A neighbor offered to bring Travis on a duck hunt, and so with a borrowed pair of leaky waders, an old shotgun, and some ancient burlap decoys, they waded into the swamps around Lake Thompson. Walking towards the slough, He heard the sounds of quacking, so much quacking! His heart blew right through his chest, he raced through the reeds on that sunrise long ago, black silhouettes of little fighter jets (the SHHHHHHHHHWOOOOOOSH noise included), circled him like a giant horde of bees, the entire sky buzzing with chaos. They were late into the swamp, and Travis jacked his gun full of shells and shot until he was surrounded by a big pile of floating empty hulls before he finally got his limit of teal, gads, and mallards. He was hooked!