When he’s not in his Kentucky blind on the Ohio River, or hunting waterfowl all over the U.S. and Canada, he’s building, tuning, and talking calls as the owner of Field Proven Calls.
“It consumes my life 365 days a year,” he says. “I am so fortunate that my love and passion for waterfowl hunting has blessed me with the opportunity to work in the industry I grew up loving.”
Clay got into the sport himself at the age of 11, eagerly absorbing all his father’s knowledge. And today, waterfowl hunting is still very much about relationships for him. “The most gratifying part of hunting is spending time with family and friends in a blind,” he says. “Fifteen years ago I would have said shooting limits was the most gratifying aspect of hunting. But as I get older, if I can go out every day and work a few groups of ducks or geese and watch my dog work, I’ve had a good day. Though, trust me, I still like to pull the trigger.”
His most memorable hunt was the first time he got to hunt an oversized decoy spread on big water. And ever since, he says, “I like to shoot ducks and geese over big water; that’s my favorite way to hunt them. I love the cold boat rides and setting large decoy spreads. And I like the anticipation of not knowing what might decoy on any given day.”
While his favorite elements of waterfowl hunting haven’t changed since he started the sport as a kid, other things have. Clay says that hunters have more access to information than when he was starting out, so learning to hunt doesn’t require as much trial and error. Hunters are more abundant, which is great for habitat and population numbers. And, he says, the quality of products has improved. “SITKA Gear has set the bar when it comes to waterfowl apparel and designs. It has changed the way I get dressed every morning to go hunting. The products allow me to wear less and still be warm and comfortable, which plays a huge role for me when I’m facing the elements on a daily basis.”
These day, Clay dreams about passing his life’s passion on to the next generation—specifically to his new son, Cameron Lee. “I can’t wait until he can join me in the duck blind.”
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