Derek McNeil has been hunting and fishing since he could walk fast enough to keep up with his dad. Growing up in Roseville California, in the middle of the largest waterfowl migration in the country. Ducks and geese, along with dove, pheasant and quail were right outside the front door. In his early years, a BMX bike was the transportation and a pellet gun the firearm of choice to chase everything from sparrows to ring necks. By the age of nine, when he graduated from his trusty Sheridan air rifle to a shotgun of his own, hunting and fishing had become an overwhelming desire forever engrained into his way of life. The Sierra Nevada mountains were a short drive away from his home town. When Derek wasn't in a flooded wheat field trying to convince pintail, mallards, and wigeon to sit down, he was in the mountains fly fishing for trout, and stalking black tail deer with his father.
Derek moved to Colorado at the age of 19, where since 1994 he's pursued antelope, elk, mule deer, and trout in the Rocky Mountains, waterfowl along the front range, and upland birds on the plains. From the first bow season to the last rifle season Derek is either trying to fill his own tags, or working hard to help others fill theirs. Along with the hunting and fishing in his home state Derek's yearly outdoor adventures include fly fishing from Colorado to Florida, upland birds in Montana, and North Dakota, along with assisting his cousin Pat McNeil guiding and hunting wild boar, waterfowl and Tule elk in California for Golden Ram Sportsman Club.
Another love in Derek's life is training and hunting with working retrievers. His family and a few close friends are his main hunting and fishing partners, but Labrador retrievers have been a mainstay in his life since the day he was born. Studying the training styles of Vic Barlow, and Mike Stewart, Derek enjoys the rewards that come with hunting next to well behaved, confident dogs. Currently two red labs, Bonnie and Ally lead the way in the search for roosters, and sharp tail or sit loyally next to him waiting for honkers to point their feet at the decoys.
Derek has always been willing to learn from other outdoorsman and share his knowledge with anyone interested in learning about the outdoors. Along with his father, Derek spends time on the water and in the woods with two nephews and a niece. He believes in the importance of passing on the traditions of hunting, fishing and conservation to a younger generation and is a supporting member of habitat conservation groups, such as Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
"Most of my big game outings are spent hiking far from roads and people. I need light weight tough gear, that doesn't take up a bunch of room in my pack. Caribou gear game bags meet all three of those requirements, which isn't easy to do. I won't hunt without them"!