In today’s economy, few people get to do what they love, but Jase Robertson has a love of life, work and family. The American TV star became famous for the A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty”, which highlighted the trials and tribulations of his close-knit family and their business, Duck Commander.
The show was a hit on A&E, breaking ratings records for the network and launching the Robertson men—brothers Phil and Si, and Phil’s sons Jase, Willie and Jep—into the mainstream.
Although “Duck Dynasty“ concluded its run in 2017 after 11 seasons, Duck Commander recently finalized a shotgun wedding of sorts with Benelli. The shotgun maker had previously been a title sponsor of Benelli Presents Duck Commander, the Robertsons’ previous show on the Outdoor Channel, and was instrumental in the global launch of the Duck Commander brand. The companies will continue to work together with a common goal of providing hunters and shooters quality products.
Q&A with Jase Robertson
We recently had a chance to talk to Jase, now the COO of Duck Commander, to learn more about his family’s past and future.
Is it safe to say there is more for hunters to be thankful for given that Hillary Clinton isn’t in the White House?
Oh yeah. I think Mr. Trump is doing a good job as our president. I had the pleasure of taking Donald Trump Jr. hunting last year.
You have some history with the Trump family?
That we do. It’s kind of a famous story now between our two families. We were in New York promoting the show, and I had to use the bathroom, so I went into a Trump-owned hotel. It was very nice, but I got escorted out because the security thought I was a vagrant. They weren’t fans of the show. But afterward, the Trump family found out, and we got on quite well. I’ve played golf with Donald Jr. and his brother, Eric.
Have you ever gotten the chance to go shooting with the Trump family?
I actually have. Don Jr. is quite a shot and did quite well. It was really a pleasure to shoot with the Trumps.
You’re part of the Robertson family, so you obviously grew up around hunting. How did it all start for you?
I was 7 or 8 years old the first time I went out shooting, and my family taught me to respect guns. The first time I was able to shoot while hunting was with a magnum 12 gauge—that’s a pretty big gun. But I loved it, and I’ve been shooting and hunting ever since.
Duck Commander and Benelli are working together again. What can you tell us about this renewed partnership?
Honestly, I’m thrilled that we’ve joined forces again. We owe a lot of our success to Benelli.
Benelli was one of the first sponsors you guys had when you started making duck-hunting videos, correct?
That was how we were discovered. We did the first Duck Commander in 1987, and not much happened. We hunt every day, and we reached out to a few companies and basically said, “Send us your products and we’ll use them in our videos.” Companies then started to come to us, and Benelli was the sponsor of our first show.
You did a commercial with Benelli, but it didn’t go as planned. What happened?
Not at all. We were shooting their shotguns, and they wanted a commercial. They had a script with lines that my dad was supposed to say. He just looked it over and said, “I got it.” Then they turned on the camera, and my father, instead of reading the lines, said, “The best shotgun is the one that goes boom, boom, boom!” Benelli loved it and said that slogan is better than anything they had. This proved that we knew what we were doing and were really good off the cuff. From there, we did the show. I have used different shotguns, but I wanted to get back with them, and we’re happy to be home.
What makes a Benelli shotgun special?
That’s simple. The No. 1 thing is that Benellis are easy to disassemble. Honestly, the only time I clean my Benelli shotgun is after I hunt when it is pouring down rain. No matter what you do, everything gets wet, and that is not good for a shotgun. Benellis are easy to clean. They disassemble in about 15 seconds, and with a couple of squirts of oil, I’ve had no issues. I’ve been shooting with these for almost 10 years.
Do you consider yourself a gun guy?
I have to admit, people think I’m a firearms expert, but I’m not. I can shoot guns quite well, and I’m really into hunting, but when it comes to breaking down a shotgun, I’m not as confident.
So you’re a hunter first and foremost. Is it safe to say there are only two times a year: hunting season and the rest of the year?
That is very true. We hunt 70 days each year. A lot of it is in Louisiana these days, but we hunt anywhere we can.
You must have a lot of memorable days afield, but are there any that stand out? Maybe tell us about the best and worst days.
The worst hunt I’ve been on has to be when I was a teen hunting with Uncle Si, and we didn’t fire a shot from daylight to dawn. He also made us lunch from various nearby critters that caused irreversible damage. Like all duck hunters, my best day is always tomorrow.
What about other firearms? What is your take on so-called “black guns”?
I do own an AR-15 and shoot it often.
Is there a particular gun that you couldn’t live without?
No. The reason I own a variety of weapons is so I can continue living with them.
There are people that watch the show that never picked up a firearm, so how do you handle taking out the new guy shooting the first time?
The best way to treat the new guy in the blind is to give him a thorough safety briefing, say a prayer and put a lot of brush on top of him.
Few people get to have their passion for life be their business, but for the Robertson family, your passion and business are one and the same.
Yes, but it took effort to get there. My dad made the first duck call in 1972, when I was just 3 years old. He had a design, and for two years he traded fish—he was a commercial fisherman at the time—with a friend who had the machines to turn the wood.
That first call was patented, and the Duck Commander company came from there?
That’s right. My dad got his own equipment in 1975 and tore down a wall in the house. I was a little kid, and I watched the machinery go into the building. We grew the business from there.
You’ll keep making the calls in America?
It is important to us that we support anything going on in the United States. Anyone who knows our family knows we support American business, and we support the military. It is because of the military that we’re the great country we are today. What is unfortunate is that all this outsourcing has made it difficult for our businesses to survive. It seems that a lot of businesses have felt penalized by making products in America and have had to go overseas. It shouldn’t be that way. I’m glad it is headed in the right direction again.
Hunting isn’t just about the sport—it’s literally about putting food on the table. Do you have any favorite recipes to share, and if you could only eat one type of wild game, what would it be?
If I had to pick one, it would definitely be frog legs. As for a recipe, I’ll give you a quick one for green-winged teal wraps:
- Butterfly the duck breasts and soak them in saltwater brine for two days.
- Stuff the duck breasts with cream cheese and some jalapeño pepper slices.
- Cover each breast with a rib rub.
- Wrap the breasts in bacon, secured with a toothpick.
- Cook them on a charcoal grill until the bacon is crispy on both sides.
- Finish them with a honey glaze.
- Make sure you don’t eat the toothpick.
Now that the show has wound down, what’s next for you guys?
We recently came out with Jase Robertson Pro Series duck calls. I asked to have my name on the new line, and even though I was kidding, the guys went ahead with it. I love it that much. Basically, I hunt with and design these calls. That is what I do.
While we’re sad to see “Duck Dynasty” end, it does mean we’re going to have a lot more time to do other things. It’s fun right now to figure out what we’re going to do. I know it will involve Duck Commander and hunting. Honestly, it was tough to run the business and do the show. Now I can take hunting even more seriously. What could be better?
This article is from the fall 2018 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.