Mike and Zac are father and son - and turkey hunting fanatics. Mike's hearing isn't what it used to be so he tried TETRA AmpPods. Here's Mike's firsthand account, along with Zac's perspective, as Mike used AmpPods in multiple states chasing gobblers this past spring.
Interview with Mike
Q: As a lifelong, successful hunter who’s relied on all your senses to be successful, when did you notice your hearing had regressed?
Mike: I’ve deer hunted all my life and as I got older it was clear I wasn’t hearing deer coming through the woods like I used to. It really came to light during turkey season when Zac and I would go together and he’d point and say, “there was a gobble,” and I couldn’t hear it.
Q: How does that affect your enjoyment?
Mike: It’s frustrating because I want to know where we’re headed and why we’re headed there and participate in the decision making and the excitement. Of course, I trust Zac that he heard a turkey, but I’ve led Zac all my life and it was frustrating to feel like I was just following him around.
You end up feeling disconnected from the hunt.
Q: What did you do initially to try to improve your hearing in the woods?
Mike: I tried buying some electronic devices off a store shelf and they just didn’t work for me. They amplified EVERYTHING. Song birds were too loud, talking didn’t sound normal, wind noise or walking on gravel was unbearable. I might have been able to hear a gobble better, but they were frustrating to use. I ended up not using them and then I was back to square one.
Q: So you ended up trying TETRA AmpPods. When did you know AmpPods was the solution you’d been looking for?
Mike: I could tell they were different as soon as I put them in because normal conversation and normal background noise sounded … normal. It was cemented when Zac and I went turkey hunting and I was hearing distant turkeys gobble just like him. I wasn't just hearing them; I could tell the direction and how far away the gobbles were.
And then when gobblers started coming in, I even heard them spit-n-drum. It’d been a long time since I’d been able to hear gobblers make that particular sound, so for TETRA AmpPods to give me that thrill back, it’s been great.
Q: How are TETRA AmpPods helpful with conversation and other sounds of the hunt?
Mike: Zac and I really like to sit together when we turkey hunt. We just enjoy it more together than if we hunted alone. TETRA has made all the difference in the world when it comes to sitting at a big tree or a couple trees apart and whispering back and forth about what’s going on and how we need to maneuver.
Then, of course, one of the most enjoyable things to me about hunting is hearing the woods wake up. And while TETRA AmpPods amplify a gobble at a distance, the songbird right above me in a tree at sunrise sounds natural.
Q: Would you recommend TETRA AmpPods to another hunter battling hearing loss?
I couldn’t be more satisfied with TETRA AmpPods. They’ve brought back an aspect of hunting that I had lost. AmpPods have enhanced my enjoyment AND my success. I would definitely recommend TETRA to anyone who has lost a portion of their hearing and the ability to enjoy hunting the way they would have when they were younger.
Q: What’s your point of view when it comes to your dad’s struggles with hearing and hunting?
Zac: It was frustrating because in the heat of the moment, I’d hear one thing and either dad wouldn’t hear it or we’d have to sort out what we heard and where it came from … and it made us less effective.
But the main thing, of course, was that we both love turkey hunting and when he can’t hear all the spring sounds, I’m experiencing that by myself even though he’s right there with me. You know we all turkey hunt because we love the sound of the gobble and it was sad to think about my dad missing out on that.
Q: When did you know your dad was on to something with TETRA?
Zac: There was a moment when we were running-n-gunning looking for a bird, and one gobbled way out in the distance. I looked back at dad and his eyes told me he heard it, and before I could even say anything he was pointing in the same direction I heard the gobble. That was when it clicked for me. I knew the TETRA devices were working for him.
And keep in mind, that was the first experience. There’s many more since he’s been using TETRA AmpPods.
Q: And you believe he’s clearly hearing better and more accurately?
Zac: 100%. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s hearing more turkey gobbles and he’s able to determine direction and distance way more accurately. He used to only hear maybe 35% of the gobbles that I would hear. Now it’s rare he ever misses one that I hear and even sometimes he hears one that I don’t. It’s incredible.
Q: What’s different about how you guys can hunt now?
Zac: One big thing is that we can scout and roost birds separately. Before, it didn’t do any good for dad to go out listening on his own because neither of us were confident in his hearing. With the TETRA AmpPods, we can split up and cover twice as much ground trying to locate birds to then go back and hunt together. That alone - covering twice as much ground to find turkeys - is a big deal for us.
Q: So from your shoes as the hunting partner, are you recommending TETRA to other sons and daughters out there facing the same thing as you’ve been through with your dad?
Zac: I would 100% recommend TETRA. I’ve seen the difference that it’s made with my dad. It’s night and day. He’s got that edge back that he used to have and if he’s enjoying his hunting more, then I’m enjoying my hunting more. If anyone out there is having the same struggle as my dad and you try TETRA, you’ll be satisfied.