FORLOH Ambassadors, Maranda & Travis Hough with Remmi & Kate.
How Two Members of the FORLOH
Team Put Our Gear Through
a Truly Special Hunt
In early 2020, Travis and I joined the “Made in America'' journey and started working for FORLOH. Before a product was even on the market, we fully believed in their mission and values, and knew we wanted to be a part of it right from the start. When we drove up to FORLOH headquarters in Whitefish, Montana to attend the employee launch party, we were greeted by some of the kindest, funniest, most inspiring people we have ever met. All these people were working to make the “Made in America'' technical outdoor apparel dream a reality, and Travis and I knew that we had found our people.
Travis and I have always been avid hunters, and being outdoors is one of our biggest passions. That’s why joining the FORLOH team was a no-brainer for us. Fast forward to December 2020, and through all the craziness of the past year, Travis and I were engaged and trying to plan a wedding for the following year. Making things even trickier was that four of our closest friends were also getting married in 2021. Fair to say that scheduling was going to be tricky. We wanted something that felt unique and genuine to us, and summer wasn’t going to be an option for us.
We decided to plan a wedding for the middle of February; which ended up being absolutely PERFECT.
Maranda & Travis could not have asked for a better day with friends and family.
We rented a beautiful, rustic log cabin in the mountains, with master suites for all of our closest friends. We stayed for three days and our families came up for the ceremony and celebration. There was a grand total of 18 people at our wedding, and honestly, we wouldn’t change a thing. It was quaint, beautiful, intimate, and exactly what we wanted: the perfect winter wonderland for an elopement wedding.
When it came to planning our honeymoon, our options were kind of limited. With such little time to plan our big day (not to mention all the travel restrictions that were still in place), we didn’t have the time (or opportunities) to plan any tropical vacation or international hunting trips.
Instead, I followed Travis to South Dakota while he guided snow goose hunts for a month. I was able to get out with him for a couple of days and managed to shoot a beautiful snow goose and blue goose, the latter of which is proudly mounted in our home.
Still, that trip didn’t lend us much time together since Travis was working. So when we had the opportunity to take a road trip to Nebraska for a wild turkey hunt, we jumped at it.
We couldn’t wait to get out and spend some quality time together doing what we both love to do the most: HUNT!
And the best part? Shortly before we left for Nebraska, we both received our full kit of FORLOH hunting camo, and that made us even more excited. We already believed in FORLOH’s mission, and now we were going to put “Made in America” garments to the ultimate test.
Nebraska is nicknamed the “turkey capital” of the United States among hunters. It is widely known for its density of turkeys, and is the only state to hold three of the five turkey subspecies in the US - Merriams, Rios, and Easterns. As avid hunters, Travis and I had always dreamed of hunting for turkeys in Nebraska, but never had the chance —Until our honeymoon.
We arrived at the property we intended to hunt and set off to scout for turkeys. Almost immediately, we found a flock making its way back to their roost for the night. Barely believing our early luck, Travis and I noted the location and hatched a plan to catch the birds before they left the roost in the morning, eagerly awaiting our 4:30am wake up call.
Unfortunately, the birds flew out earlier than we expected, and we missed our opportunity. Still, we persisted, and eventually spotted them flying nearby. Turkeys always return to their roost, so Travis and I quickly developed a plan of attack for their return that evening.
Once we were sure that all the turkeys had disappeared for the day, we set up a jake and hen decoy, camouflaged ourselves in some trees, and waited for the birds to start making their way back to the roost for the night.
Around 7pm, we heard the first gobble and knew the birds were on their way. Travis began calling to them, and the toms responded. About thirty minutes later, the first tom came running in, sized up our jake decoy, and began beating him up. Not thirty seconds later, two more toms strutted in and joined in on the attack.
While this wasn’t my first time hunting turkeys, this hunt was my first experience watching birds spit and drum their way into the decoys. I have to say, it got my blood pumping and my heart racing like no other turkey hunt before.
After watching the most mature tom beat up the decoy for twenty minutes, the bird finally stepped away from the decoy. Without hesitation, Travis took his shot and dropped the tom instantly as the others scattered.
Travis was the first to fill his tag!
We ran up to the bird, all adrenaline and smiles as we laughed about how frustrated the tom was that the jake decoy didn’t fight him back. We took lots of great photos, hiked with the bird back to our truck, and let the dogs out to celebrate our success. Kate, our 6 year old black lab, was afraid of the turkey, but Remmi, our 3 month old yellow lab, couldn’t help but let her teeth sink into the wings and get a mouth full of feathers. You can probably guess which one of these pups is our bird dog.
Now that Travis had punched his tag, it was my turn. Since we hadn’t had a chance to scout the rest of the property, we decided to return to the same spot tomorrow. Unfortunately, when we got there that morning, we found that the turkeys had taken a different route that day. So we packed up and headed back to our site to make some breakfast.
Back at camp, as I was making us a couple sandwiches, we were startled by a gobble in the trees overhead. Travis and I looked at each other wide-eyed and smiling, quietly grabbed the decoys, and sprinted over to the edge of the treeline.
We set up in the field next to the treeline, hoping to lure the turkeys out. Unfortunately, we realized pretty quickly that the thick trees they were roosting in were their “safe haven,” and no matter how much we called them, they weren’t leaving their comfort zone.
Thinking quickly, we quietly snuck into the thicket, set up the hen decoy, hid behind some thick pine for cover, and began lightly calling.
Not twenty minutes later, a strutting tom, with a bright red head, made his way into my shooting lane. I took a deep breath, steadied my gun, took my shot the instant the bird stepped into my narrow shooting lane, and watched with satisfaction as the bird flew a few yards and hit the ground.
Maranda took one, clean shot at 35 yards and her turkey dropped.
Adrenaline pumped through my blood as I walked up to my bird, and as soon as we got to its spot, reality sank in. I had just taken down my first turkey of the season from 35 yards out. The previous season, I missed three times before I finally harvested my first turkey, and that really hurt my confidence. That clean, one-shot-kill in tight quarters, changed all that.
Even better, I was able to share this hunting experience with my new husband and our pups, and that meant the world to me. Cooking over the CampChef, having a beer at the end of the day, and reminiscing how outrageously cool our experiences had been over the last few days was everything.
This was our first hunt fully outfitted in FORLOH Deep Cover camo, and we were blown away with how well it performed. In one instance, two intelligent toms came after our decoy traps as we hid at a distance. The toms stared straight at us and didn’t see a thing. Best of all, it was comfortable to wear all day. The AllClima pants were tough and durable as we hiked through bushes and thickets. And the ThermoNeutral Down jackets kept us warm in the mornings when it was very cold.
Having seen them in action once already, we are excited to take this gear into the field this fall as we embark on an exciting fall hunting season ahead. We both have antelope, mule deer, and elk to harvest with our bows in Montana, as well as a few out-of-state hunts on the horizon.
Fall 2021 hunting season is going to be an amazing time for Travis and I, and we’d love for you to share in our experiences! If you’d like to follow along with our hunting season (and potentially a late tropical adventure honeymoon this winter)... you can find us at: @maranda.hough and @travishough_ and of course, posting on @forloh_official on Instagram!
Good luck this fall!
Rethinking Camouflage: How FORLOH is using leading game research and cutting-edge technology to make you invisible to prey.