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Tennessee Hunter Shoots 33-Year-Old Sandhill Crane

Austin Davis took the impressively old banded bird on a DIY hunt earlier this year 

 Austin Davis recently bagged the bird hunting trophy of a lifetime when he shot a sandhill crane that was banded in 1989—one of the oldest specimens on record. “When I looked at the band, it didn’t have a phone number or website on it, I knew it was an old one,” the 28-year-old Davis tells F&S. “I reported it and found out the bird was older than I am. I freaked out. Who knows what this bird saw in its life and how many hunters and predators it had to avoid before I shot it?” Davis, of Lebanon, Tennessee, drew his two-crane Tennessee permit this year after missing out the year before. He had drawn in previous seasons but had always used an outfitter for crane hunts. This year he and his best friend, Bradley Buchanan, decided on a DIY public land adventure. About 14,000 cranes winter on the Hiwassee Refuge on Lake Chickamauga in southeastern Tennessee every year. “Outfitters have all the crop fields leased up around the lake, but we thought we could get into the public area between the refuge and the crop fields and decoy some cranes ourselves,” says Davis. Over the summer, the pair invested in four-dozen crane silhouettes, and they spent a day scouting public land to find a mud flat where birds often landed to gather and loaf before and after feeding. When the season rolled around, they set their spread in the mud, hid in cattails on marsh stools, and waited for the cranes to fly. Before the shooting started, there was one thing they had to settle. “We decided to take turns shooting, so we played rock-paper-scissors to see who got the first shot,” says Davis. He won. Most of the cranes passed overhead without stopping, but one bird split out of a flock, circled the decoys warily, and came in. Davis shot it and ran out to make the retrieve. It had a plain red plastic band around the knee, and an old, worn metal band as well. Excited, Davis ran back to the blind and jumped in with his prize just as another single committed to the spread and Buchanan shot it.

“After that, we waited, says Davis. “We could have shot birds passing overhead all morning, but we wanted to only shoot birds in the decoys.” At one o’clock the pair was thinking about picking up but decided to wait a few more minutes. Not long after, both hunters shot their second birds. “My second crane was a juvie,” says Davis, “I shot the oldest and the youngest crane of the day.” 


Make a Wish Foundation - Wish Comes Through for Cody Files


Mud Buddy & Excel Boats is proud to have the chance to impact someone's life in a manner that is as positive as it gets. Cody Files is the recipient of a wish granted thru the Make A Wish foundation for those that are battling health issues. To have the opportunity to donate a boat and motor to such an organization that impacts the life of someone like Cody is the pinnacle of support that all of us can and need to be a part of.


Make A Wish Excel Boats


When Cody was asked why he would choose this over anything else he said that hunting and fishing was his life, it's what makes him whole and this boat would allow him to be able to hunt and fish in places he has never had the opportunity to do before. 


Cody is a typical 17 year old country boy.  He was living a normal life as a Senior in high school when he was diagnosed with cancer. Of course his whole world changed, as he spent the months in and out of hospitals, hours away from his home and friends.  Cody loves to hunt, fish, watch The Diesel Brothers, he idolizes Facebook Freddy King and Echo Calls Multi World Duck Calling Champ Rick Dunn, he drinks sweet tea, wears cowboy boots, and loves cheeseburgers. This boat will be life changing for Cody.  Cody says he has more knowledge of Excel Boats and Mud Buddy motors than many sales reps.  Cody's wish for his boat gave him back the joy that his illness has taken from him and the hope and strength to win his battle.


From Everyone at Mud Buddy and Excel Boats - Enjoy your new ride Cody!!!


Make A Wish Excel Boats


Cody's chopper ride to meet Rick Dunn and Freddy King.

Make A Wish Excel Boats

Rick Dunn - Cody Files - Freddy King



Excel Team Wins Extreme Cat fishing Ohio River Tournament


Catching Blues on the Ohio River in the Extreme Catfishing Tournament Trail event in Madison Indiana. Team Excel Boats with the win! Larry Black and Chad Waugh making it happen out of an Excel Catfish Pro.


Excel Catfish Pro

Excel Catfish Pro


Steve Douglas "Catfish Dude" and Owner of Monster Rod Holders Joins Excel Pro Staff



Watch the Catfish Dude on You Tube. Steve Douglas says, " I've really put this Catfish Pro 24 to the test while filming Wild Catter's TV on You Tube. We have run this 24 footer in all weather/water conditions, on many bodies of water throughout the south east and it has performed very well?


Excel Boats Catfish Pro.