By Laura Tingo
Joe Harris of Chesterfield County, Virginia, said family and hunting are what he lives for. A retired union machinist and member of IAM Local 10 for going on 40 years, Joe has been an avid deer hunter for most of his life. These days, this USA member says he spends more time hunting goose and turkey. “I simply enjoy talking to the critters.”
Conservation and volunteerism are at the heart of the USA’s daily mission, and it is a constant focus in Joe’s life too. He is a dedicated member of Waterfowl U.S.A., and each spring, he volunteers with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on youth turkey hunts and the organization’s ‘Wheelin’ Sportsmen’ events, helping people living with disabilities enjoy activities in the outdoors like fishing and hunting. “I’ve been blessed with the good life,” Joe said. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and what I have with young and old alike.”
Joe fondly recalls when he learned the value of union membership and signed on for the first time. He was asked to join while working as a machinist for a major tobacco company. “At the time, I did not know exactly what it meant,” said Joe, “but over the years, I realized how important it was to be a union shop and an involved union member. We are like a support group living a day-to-day type of life…you get to know each other.”
The bonds of union brotherhood touched Joe and his family immensely years ago, when a house fire devastated their home. During that tough time, Joe’s union brothers and sisters were there to help comfort the family and raise donations to help them rebuild their lives in the face of the unforeseen tragedy. “They took care of me, got me back on my feet,” said Joe. “It’s another example of people helping people.”
When Brotherhood Outdoors learned about Joe’s dedication to his union and his passion for conservation and helping others, they invited him on a California wingshooting and hog hunt. Show co-host, Julie McQueen, said Joe made it clear throughout the three-day trip that he was a huge fan of the show. “When Julie called, I was like a kid at Christmas,” said Joe. “I didn’t sleep the whole night. It was a thrill to even be selected…the thrill of a lifetime.”
Let Joe’s infectious laughter and easy going, southern charm keep you smiling. Follow Joe and the crew as they hunt on 16,000 acres of prime hunting grounds at Northwind Outfitters ranch in California. To Joe, it’s the land of ‘pure heaven,’ and in his moment of awe, he quickly offers to move there to be a ranch hand.
Enjoy ongoing, laugh-along hilarity, as you watch Joe keep the crew in stitches while the birds are flying and the hogs are running. A mixed combo of Joe’s first out-of-state bird hunt with a side of hog action are all on the menu for this entertaining episode. And did we mention that Joe has never even seen a wild hog?
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.