Q&A with Kody Smith
goHUNT welcomes a new addition: Kody Smith
Customer-oriented professional will lead outfitter directory efforts and further expand landowner tag program
Hunting season may be winding down soon, but our team here at goHUNT keeps on expanding to help us add and develop new features to the site. Our latest addition is Kody Smith, a Utah-based hunter who loves family traditions, challenging hunts, and who thinks customer service is a lost art.
Kody will be leading goHUNT’s effort to create a vast third-party directory of big game hunting outfitters, to help hunters identify trusted resources for guided hunts. He will also be pitching in on goHUNT INSIDER and maintaining our online collection of landowner tags. You can follow Kody on Instagram @splittine to see more photos from his previous hunts.
goHUNT: Can you tell us more about the outfitter directory?
KS: The outfitter directory is goHUNTs direct bridge between outfitters and hunters — the first of its kind, in fact. Our goal is to make finding an outfitter for a desired hunt as easy as finding a hotel for a vacation.
GS: Where are you based, Kody?
KS: I was born and raised in Southern Utah and I still live there today. I grew up working for a small family business and then later began working in the corporate world. Family is a big deal for me. My wife and I both have family that currently resides in Southern Utah. We have three beautiful kids: Mckoy, Mataya and Maverick, and our lives revolve around them.
GH: How do you think your professional background has equipped you for success at goHUNT?
KS: I have spent the last fifteen years of my life working and building strategic partnerships with people and businesses. I am a people person and I enjoy this process. This talent will help me as we move into a the customer interaction part of goHUNT. I have also had the unique opportunity to work with a dozen different large corporate businesses. The experience I gained from interacting and watching how these companies operate will help me contribute to the goHUNT strategy as we move forward.
GH: You’ve said your #1 business value is customer service. What does that mean for goHUNT?
KS: I think customer service is a lost art. Too many times we are not satisfied as consumers. I believe that if you can provide a unique satisfying experience to your customer they will be a customer for life. This helps when times get tough. We all make mistakes, but if I know someone is doing everything they can to give me a quality experience I will be a customer for life. I think we are all this way.
GH: Totally agree with you. Alright, enough business stuff -- let’s talk about hunting. When did you first start hunting?
KS: The first hunt I remember was a dove hunt with my dad when I was around eight years old. I was in charge of picking up the doves that him and his friends shot. Some might say it crosses over a certain line, but I really loved doing it. I can remember waiting for him to come home from work so that we could go out for the evening hunt. I have been hooked ever since.
GH: Do you like hunting solo, or do you go with friends/family?
KS: I like them both and I think I would define myself as an opportunity hunter. I really appreciate a solo backpack hunt in the high country, away from civilization. If I can find a place that has no cell phone reception, that is even better. With that being said, I also look forward to big camp hunts. I just returned from a Colorado third season mule deer hunt where we had six tags in camp. It was a riot to come back to camp every night and listen to the experiences my hunting partners had that day.
GH: What is your favorite place to hunt? What about species?
KS: I really don’t have a favorite. I am in love with the opportunities we have out here in the West. I do enjoy challenging hunts. I also really like underdog situations; if someone tells me that an area is impossible to hunt I gravitate to that hunt. That could be a Coues deer with my bow, or a general season mule deer hunt.
GH: You have mentioned that you enjoy hunts that push your limits and teach you a new skill, or surface one that you didn’t know you had. Was there a particular hunt that did this?
KS: I recently returned from the high country in Wyoming. My hunting buddy and I arrived before the season started and we were able to locate a couple of shooter bucks. These bucks were in an area very conducive to spot-and-stalk, and we knew we had a chance if we could stay above them and learn their daily habits. We had to ration our water to around 24 ounces a day. This was both mentally and physically taxing for us. I can remember being so thirsty that I would have given a hundred dollar bill for a 16-ounce Pepsi. In the end, the sacrifice was worth it, and I was able to harvest my best archery buck to date.
GH: What does hunting mean to you?
KS: I enjoy the challenge. I am a firm believer in setting goals. I believe this applies to all aspects of life. I set a goal prior to every hunt that I go on. My goals will vary depending on the area and knowledge I have. If I am new to the area, and I am hunting mule deer, I may set a goal to harvest a mature animal. If I have hunted the area a few times already, I may set a goal to harvest a trophy-class animal. However, I don’t get fixated on score. I am more interested on character and age class of the animal I am chasing.
GH: Okay, since it’s NFL season, we have to ask: which is your team? What about your favorite athlete/player (of all time, and right now)?
KS: Everyone at my house are Chicago Bear fans. We all have jerseys, and we watch the games every week. Of course, this year I have been cursing more than I have been cheering. As far as my current favorite athlete I would have to say Bryce Harper. I am a big baseball fan and I love how Bryce plays the game. He is from Las Vegas and I was able to watch him ever since high school.
GH: Are there any players that you think would be great hunters? Why?
KS: I think Brian Urlacher would be a riot to hunt with. I don’t know if he hunts, but with his speed and strength, it would almost not be fair to the animals. Baseball players in general are an easy-going bunch. I would love to be a wallflower in camp and just listen to some of the stories they had to share.
GH: We hear you’re into salsa. Tell us about your salsa garden and if you have some tips to share for the rest of us who are terrible at making salsa.
KS: My wife and I make salsa every year. We have a small salsa garden that includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc. Every spring, we plant our garden and then tend it throughout the summer. Then, every fall we will harvest the garden and make salsa. We have a family recipe that we use. We usually bottle 80-100 quarts every year. My kids love it; they help us pull the tomatoes from the vine. It is a lot of fun.
GH: Thanks Kody. Any final words?
KS: I am very excited to join the goHUNT team. We have a great product that will change the research process for hunters. What’s more, I’m excited about the particular section I’m working on because this is a much-needed tool for hunters. I believe that the outfitter directory will allow hunters easy access to outfitters in all of the units they are looking to hunt.