Duck Dynasty and the Future of Duck Commander
September 30, 2015
G&A: You guys are both golfers if we're not mistaken. If you had to choose one activity for the rest of your life, what would you do: shoot guns or golf?
Willie: I can't end up eating after playing a round of golf, so I choose shooting.
Jase: If someone said we're going to take your guns or golf clubs, I'd say, Here's my golf clubs.
G&A: How big was your first deer?
Willie: My first deer was a doe, and they don't get very big down here. We used to not have any property, so dad would drop me off and have me sit and hunt off a tree stump.
Jase: I do not remember, but I was young. I only deer hunt for supper and use my deer tags for the best tasting deer. Everyone lets me hunt their stands because I always pass on big bucks.
G&A: What does the 2nd Amendment mean to you?
Willie: We are a family that hunts and works in the gun business. It's our life and our livelihood. We've always been about the Second Amendment.
Jase: The Second Amendment means freedom to me, freedom to provide for your family and protect yourselves from evil.
G&A: Are you NRA members?
Willie & Jase: (Simultaneously) Yes.
G&A: Do you concealed carry?
Willie: Oh yeah. I have my concealed carry permit and carry everywhere I can.
Jase: If I told you it wouldn't be very concealed.
G&A: Willie, I hear you have several safes containing an impressive gun collection. How about some highlights if we were to peek inside?
Willie: You would see a vast array of weaponry; swords, guns, hatchets '¦ There's a lot of stuff people send me. You may have seen the show where someone sent me a ninja sword, as an example. I've also bought a lot of guns at charity events. It's funny. I'd speak at an event, and then I was the guy that spent the most during the auction. I have a lot of shotguns. And then there are guns that I get through sponsorships. I also collect guns that become a part of the business. Once we get a good partnership, I tend to collect their products. Right now my collection has a lot of Mossberg shotguns.
G&A: What was the last gun you bought on impulse?
Jase: I have a lot of guns, I don't remember.
Willie: '¦ and an AR pistol '¦
Jase: My wife just bought me an over/under shotgun. I'd never had one before. I always liked having 3 shells in the blind, but now I figure two would do.
G&A: What about Phil? Some of us remember your dad shooting a Beretta a few seasons ago.
Willie: That one was where a gun manufacturer wanted our thoughts on a gun. Let it be known '¦ any gun company that wants our opinion on guns, just feel free to send them to us here in West Monroe, [Louisiana], hehe.
G&A: Camo seems to be a part of your family's everyday wardrobe. What are your thoughts about camo's usefulness in the field? Do you really need head-to-toe camo when hunting or even face paint?
Willie: Of course! If you're Caucasian, I can see you 200 yards in these woods. I think it's more important to be hidden than to shoot well or be good on a call. We meet with Realtree about the latest and greatest patterns they have and how we can match up better with the terrain.
G&A: Because of your fame, duck hunting has never been more popular. What do they think about this new generation of duck hunters getting into it, particularly mature adults getting into it at an older age because of Duck Dynasty on TV?
Willie: It's great for business as well as the industry itself and managing the animal kingdom. Hunting is a productive thing.
Jase: It is great that there are more people who can manage the process, from habitat to hunting. It is not just about shooting. Just this morning we saw hundreds of teal and various birds of all sorts at our place and the season is not open. They stopped to get a drink of water and a bit to eat, and then they're moving on. Most people just content sitting in cubicle that never get outdoors don't know that happened this morning.
G&A: The fourth season premiere of Duck Dynasty drew 11.8 million viewers, the most watched nonfiction cable series in history. What did that moment do for your family and your business?
Willie: [Turns his head to look at Jase and jokes] Wow, was it that many? It certainly made us way more recognizable and when you look like this, its hard to hide. By the time it hit that many viewers, we knew it was "blowing up." It was humbling to set that record for sure. We spoke at events more and each wrote books. We still are writing books. Of course then we went into music. (smiling) It seemed like the obvious next step.
G&A: Yeah, I heard you guys tried your hand with singing. How did that work out for you?
Willie: We went platinum, so you tell me'¦ I think people tend to underestimate our abilities, but our family has been singing acappella since we could talk. (Willie starts singing) Daddy sings bass, mamma sings tenor, me and little brother would jump right in there.
Jase: You know, it's funny come to think of it '¦ there are 1,200 people singing at church and you can hear Si over everyone.
G&A: Phil has said that he has a fear of his grandchildren becoming yuppies. How is that working out these days?
Willie: That is a challenge. He says we're crazy for living in a neighborhood. He doesn't like it at all since we grew up country living.
Jase: I live in the wooded part at the back of the neighborhood, so I think that's a good compromise.
G&A: You recently traveled to Scotland to golf and learn about your family history. What's the most interesting thing you learned about the past?
Willie: That we don't have a real big family museum over there. It's about the size of a 7-Eleven. There was also some pretty rough terrain and weather that made think that part of our Scottish heritage is where we get our toughness.
G&A: What would you tell your younger selves?
Willie: Outside of buying stock in Apple [computers] and Chipotle? I guess just to be patient '¦ patient, happy and content. Stay content and good things happen. We were happy before the show. I think some people lose where they came from if they get rich and famous. We say, let's be ourselves. If people like it, we will stay on TV, when they get tired of it, we will go back to our normal lives. I would also remind myself that it's easier to stay in shape than to get in shape.
Jase: Be yourself and focus on your relationships. It is not so much about where you are going but whom you are with.