Alice Lloyd College had the opportunity to speak with ALC alumnus, Mr. Todd Duff. Duff has recently landed his show, Jak’d Up Outdoors, on the Hunt Channel on DISH Network. Jak’d Up Outdoors premiered on October 3rd. The show airs every Thursday at 7:00 AM (or check your local listings). Duff also has a professional hunting and fishing guide service called LowGap Outfitters. What follows is an interview with Mr. Duff, conducted by student writer, Adele Williams.
Alice Lloyd College: What made you decide to start LowGap Outfitters?
Todd Duff: While attending ALC, I made a lot of friends who enjoyed hunting. Because I was from the area, I knew the good places to hunt; so, my friends and I would go out together to hunt and fish. Eventually, this evolved into Lowgap Outfitters because so many people wanted to hunt with me. I became experienced with hunting in Tennessee, West Virginia, and in northern and western Kentucky. Now, I have over 10 years of experience in the field, including scouting, calling, retrieving, and field dressing.
ALC: What inspired the idea to create Jak’d Up Outdoors?
TD: Well, I’ve always watched the Hunt Channel, and hunting had always been a passion of mine. After guiding several hunts, we began to film them and would post the videos around the Internet. Since so many people were watching the videos, we decided to find sponsors and actually get it on television.
Determination and persistence got me to where I am today. Hosting a hunting show was always a dream of mine. I love that I get to do what I love, capture the moment, and share the knowledge of hunting with others. I especially want to get young people involved.
ALC: How did you proceed to get Jak’d Up Outdoors to a wider television audience?
TD: We started out at TVS 24 out of Hindman, Kentucky, and found that there was a big interest from people. The show kept progressing — we continued to get sponsors and great ratings. More and more people were interested in Jak’d Up. Now, we have a national contract with DISH Network’s Hunt Channel, and we will be reaching 14 million homes.
ALC: How does that make you feel?
TD: I mean, 14 million homes … that’s a lot of people! I’m nervous, but at the same time, I couldn’t be more excited. Reaching your goals and dreams feels outstanding.
ALC: What do you have to say about being selected as a finalist in Eastern Kentucky University’s 2013 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards Program?
TD: It’s an absolute honor to be selected as a finalist. I’m so glad that I have such wonderful support from my alma mater and hometown, and I can only hope that I’m making everyone who’s supporting me proud. It’s a privilege to be representing Kentucky and Alice Lloyd College as an alumnus. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of everyone, as well as the knowledge that I gained from Alice Lloyd and from growing up in Appalachia.
ALC: How did attending Alice Lloyd College prepare you to become an entrepreneur?
TD: Alice Lloyd College is an amazing school. I was disciplined in classes, and was taught not only my lessons, but how to apply those lessons in the real world. The work-study program taught me how to be a leader, skills I use on and off the set.
TD: The classes I took to finish my biology degree have been invaluable to me, because I know so much about nature. I can scout better due to the fact that I understand the habitat and environment of the animals I am hunting. Also, I know the anatomy of these animals and other useful information.
ALC: What advice do you have for other students who are interested in starting their own business?
TD: Keep your head up. Never give up on your dream and always work for what you believe in. I always say that my successes have come from my desire to succeed, from hard work and experience. Yours will too!
Visit Jak’D Up Outdoors on Facebook.
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