Hunting for me has always been a way of life. Long before mentored hunting programs existed I’d go along with my father or grandfather just to sit in the woods with them. I can remember looking forward to turning 12 to get my hunting license more than turning 16 to get my driver’s license. I grew up with the dawn of the internet and spent hundreds of hours reading hunting magazines and learning things from online forums through our dial-up connected family computer. I even learned how to run a trap line through an online forum, which is no longer in existence.
In the fall of 2006, I sat on the front steps of my college dorm talking on the phone to renown wildlife biologist Dr. Grant Woods, and he talked me out of becoming a biologist. The man I read so many articles about and looked up to suggested that I pursue a career that gives me the freedom to enjoy hunting and the outdoors and to not make a job out of it.
I continued hunting and pursuing game as often as possible through college, and in grad school I decided to start doing some filming to pursue my dream of having a TV show. I didn’t know what I was doing, but in 2011 I built my first website and got a group of friends together to start filming. It wasn’t until we started putting content on social media that we found other hunters across the country loved what our brand was about and wanted to become a part of it.
In 2013, we began a field staff program and our social media following was now in the tens of thousands. In the spring of 2016, we aired a 13-week episode of DeerSlayer TV on Dish Network. We finally made it on TV, but I realized this life dream I had wasn’t for me. In late 2017, we began making changes to our Field Staff program and we opened up our first 500 spots for staff to join from across the country. We filled spots up much quicker than I anticipated and our name really started to grow as we began getting more diverse content than ever.
Toren ShirkSocial Media & Marketing Manager
Why do you choose to be a hunter? Ultimately every decision we make can be based off of a question that provokes us to make a response. Maybe this type of thinking stems from my background in Wildlife Biology or maybe it’s more deeply rooted.
I began hunting when I was legally able to at age 12 in Pennsylvania. I was mentored by my grandfather who helped to instill my outdoor foundation and values. To this day you can still find this in my core.
Hunting to me is more about being able to match wits with nature and the creatures that live with her. As cliche as it sounds the thrill of the hunt, the chase is what really drives me. Like I mentioned earlier, having a background in Wildlife Biology has only fueled the desire to want and better understand the animals I pursue.
Now as the Social Media and Field Staff Manager at Cervicide, my goal is to bring the things that I’ve learned along the way to inspire the Cervicide Family to grow and reach their goals in their pursuits outdoors.
Justin EdwardsContent Curator & Customer Service Manager
The outdoors for me has always been an escape. People say to me, you shouldn’t want to escape your reality. It isn’t so much a “want” because I love the life I live, it is more of a “need”. It puts me in the mindset of what I want my life to be and where I want to go. To me it is what balances my very being.
It has always been hard to explain the feeling I get when I am hunting or fishing. Those that share my addiction know exactly what I mean. I started obsessing over the outdoors like many others have. I would fish and camp with my father and brother during the off season. As soon as Fall hit I was in the woods with my grandparents and uncles. I even would go after school once I started driving. I couldn’t get enough and never even knew the definition of being “burnt out.” All I knew was the outdoors is where I always felt completely whole.
I moved out when I was fifteen years old and the lore of the mountains is what kept me on track as a wild teenager. While most kids my age were out drinking on the river or at a party, I could always be found deep in the mountains down some old logging road camping, hunting, and fishing. Most of the time I would be alone. I was just naturally drawn to the timber. I would spend days literally just exploring the woods and could sit on a ridge all day completely content, never once did I ever get bored.
I joined the Army Infantry when I was eighteen years old and left the mountains of Virginia. After one contract served, I did not re-sign. I had a personal internal commitment to serve as most of the men in my family had done. Once that was achieved, I went straight back to the mountains. I picked up almost where I had left off. The great thing about a small town is it doesn’t matter how long you are gone, everything is still the same when you get back.
Something inside me changed though. I wasn’t a teenager anymore and needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up getting some work in Florida and a few days before Christmas, packed up everything and left. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with this state, but did and fast! I knew it had great career opportunities, but wasn’t expecting what the backwood swamps had to offer.
I was completely infatuated after my first canoe fishing trip at a local WMA. I ended up putting a lot of time on the river and back creeks. I wasn’t in Virginia anymore that’s for sure! These back areas were full of huge bass, gators, snakes, deer, wild pigs, bears, turkey and about a million other critters. Don’t get me wrong, the mountains were always teeming with life, but it didn’t compare to what the swamp offered in my opinion. I would go after work and every single day I was off. Let’s just say I lost many girlfriends stating they couldn’t be with someone that spent that much time alone in the swamp.
After a few years in Florida I started getting back into hunting. I researched the WMA’s within a few hours of me and started putting the footwork in. I learned real quick Florida game and Virginia game are not cut from the same cloth! I had to almost re-learn fifteen years of what I always knew as hunting. I loved every minute of it and welcomed the challenge.
I ended up joining Angler Pros which was a sister company to Cervicide but focused around fishing as opposed to hunting. My dad had always wanted me to learn how to fly fish so when he was dying, I made him a promise that I would learn and try. That was my reasoning for signing up. I ended up becoming friends with a fellow member named Jeremy. He told me he wanted to help me fulfill my promise to Dad and invited me up for a long weekend of fly fishing in New York.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that was one memory I will cherish till the day I die. He showed me the ropes and as frustrating as it may have been having a rookie tag along, he never once let it show. An hour before I had to catch my flight, I ended up hooking into a beautiful Brooke Trout in a non stocked stream. Jeremy filmed the whole experience and as I held the fish in the water, I was completely consumed with joy. The fish swam away as Jeremy and I cried and hugged. This moment meant so much to me for Dad, myself, and being apart of a community such as this. Jeremy ended up getting me to join Cervicide that day because I knew if it was anything like Angler Pros, that is what I wanted to be apart of.
It has been almost ten years since I moved to the Sunshine State and took hold of a whole new way of life in my outdoor experiences. I have since taken employment with Cervicide as everyone knows and I am proud to say I wake up every day loving what I do. As corny as it may sound, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have lived and breathed everything Cervicide for three years now. I make it a point to meet up with members and engulf myself in the culture and community that Cervicide offers.
They always say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Creating relationships with fellow members, hunters, outdoors people, anglers and helping to create moments like I myself have experienced is what I knew I wanted to do with my life. I am so thankful I get to help others achieve what they want to get out of their outdoor experiences. I am here for every single one of y’all so reach out to me if you ever need anything!
Got Questions? Text Justin at (717) 470-7903
Unlike other members of Cervicide, hunting is a fairly new endeavor for me. My grandfather was an avid hunter so I’ve always kind of known about hunting but never experienced it for myself until the end of 2021. Now, with Cervicide, I get to experience those stories for myself, through my camera lens.
My outdoors experience is mostly camping. I’ve been camping since I was a kid and more recently have gotten into overlanding, or vehicle based exploration and travel. Really, it’s packing a truck full of gear to go eat dinner at a really cool location. Through that, I’ve gotten to see and experience some awesome things while also creating content.
Video and photography have always been a part of my life. I used to always beg my grandmother to let me take pictures with her camera whenever I would visit them in St. Louis. I bought my first digital camera for myself back in 2010 and started taking pictures, most of which were horrendous. Eventually I worked my way on music video sets and began to learn all about video, and thats where things really took off!
Video has been a full-time endeavor for me since 2018. With Cervicide, I get to combine my love for being outdoors and my passion for video, and get to share it with all of you! My goal with our content is to inspire and entertain, while helping our members achieve their goals as well.
Oh, and that’s Archie.