Sep 10, 2015
Hunts More Than Da' Bears
By: Josh Sitton
Visualize a 318 pound, 6 ft. 3 in. man busting brush in the wee hours of the morning in pursuit of an unaware turkey. Now picture that same man in full Green Bay Packer pads and uniform as one of the protectors of the most prized possession of the, “Packer crazed state of Wisconsin.” What you have is a perfect fit. Josh Sitton not only dominates defensive linemen on Sundays, but is an avid and devoted outdoorsman. In our discussion, we learned that Josh Sitton has a love for pursuing big game, the Packers (and fans), and Wisconsin (and cheese). The Packers offensive guard, convinced us of what a great fit he is for the Green and Gold, camo and blaze orange, and the State of Wisconsin.
Josh Sitton as many know, played football in Florida through his high school and college years. It was in Florida that he began his knack for flattening the defense and finding a passion for the outdoors. While at the University of Central Florida, Sitton helped his team to a record of 7-1 his senior year and a conference championship climbing up from an 0-8 conference record as a true freshman. He is also one of only two UCF alumni to have played in 50 career games, starting 43 of them. Hunting wise, Sitton told us, “It was in high school that I started to get into hunting. Mainly with friends and buddies of mine and it has just taken off from there.” While Sitton enjoys both fishing and hunting, he is, “Much more of a hunter than fisherman.”
Sitton gave us a great story involving a spring turkey hunt in Buffalo County with Ryan Taylor (former Packer), Matt Flynn (former Packer), Sitton’s cousin, Will Tomes, and Coulton Seifert (turkey caller). Sitton started off telling us, “So, first of all, we get up at like 4 a.m. -which I am totally cool with, but other guys are always asking me, ‘What are you doin’?, 4 a.m.? You’re CRAZY!?’ and I tell ‘em, ‘you just don’t get it man’ (Badger Sportsman and our readers do). So, we head out to the spot in Buffalo County, which by the way, Buffalo County is beautiful. When we get there, they (our group) have this ‘great idea’ to send ME, the biggest guy in the group, up to the top of this ginormous hill. I look up at it and I’m thinking, Huh?? Great.”
“So, it’s about 35 degrees and I am climbing this mountain- just scratchin’, clawin’, sweatin’, gruntin’, and making my way up the side. By the time I get to the top, I can barely get a breath. I mean, I am huffin’ and huffin,’ my heart is racin’…… I’m sweatin’. So, I start peeling off layers of clothing as fast as I can. I’m thinking to myself… ‘there isn’t an animal anywhere that is going to come anywhere near us.’ It was not good.”
“But then, about two hours later, just as I thankfully start to cool down… ‘Crunch, crunch, crunch’….and now my adrenaline is ALL fired up. I KNOW what that is. My heart is pounding in my ears as I slowly turn my head and… now I am sweating- again….two toms are struttin’ in, all fanned out, really beautiful. I size ‘em up, breathe –which is not easy- and BANG! Feathers fly. Bird is down. I’m still shaking, my heart is pounding, when I realize the other bird is, STILL THERE!”
“We would have had the second one too -but my cousin Will, who has never used a shotgun with a scope before, was fumbling all over himself, and couldn’t get it figured out before the bird took off.”
Well, the bird turned out to be a 27 lb. double bearded Tom that was a bigger bird than Coulton Seifert, who has been hunting turkeys “for years,” had gotten in his life. Beginner’s luck? Ha! We think the poor bird dropped over dead when it caught a glimpse of the guy sitting in the ground blind. The flying feathers we are sure were after the fact. To Sitton’s credit, he got his first Tom that day and as a bonus shed some early morning poundage. Sitton was understandably thrilled with the harvest of a beautiful turkey that day.
The question we had was how does it compare to Packer games?
Now, speaking from experience, we, as fans, know that the excitement right before a big Packer game can be almost too much to take. We (Badger Sportsman) could only imagine what it must be like for a player in the locker room or tunnel. So, we asked Sitton to compare the excitement of harvesting a turkey or deer in the early morning hours to getting ready for a big Packer game. Sitton told us, “I get waaay more jacked up when I am out hunting vs. a game. I used to get really nervous and excited for a game, but still nothing like what it is like in the woods. No matter how many deer, or turkeys I see, every single time I see one in the woods my adrenaline goes off, my heart races, I sweat and shake-hunting is a true adrenaline rush.” Sitton, told us that his experience and preparation have gotten him to a point that games are really about him, “Doing my thing, and knowing what I have to do.”
This led us into Sitton’s time with the Packers. Packer fans everywhere know the mystique of Lambeau field. But we were curious about a lesser known fact about Lambeau involving its basketball court. One little known fact we learned about Sitton and his line mates is that he, TJ Lang, and Bryan Bulaga have a weekly game of P-I-G. However, Sitton did tell us, “We really wanted to start having a weekly game of H-O-R-S-E, but TJ couldn’t spell it, so we settled on playing P-I-G instead.”
Which made perfect sense when we also found out that Bulaga and Sitton finished tied with the best season P-I-G record, and as Sitton followed up, “Yep. Lang can’t spell or shoot.” Further we learned that, “Bulaga is the best shot.” But, Sitton said he has the best, “crazy, trick shots.” TJ did win one game (Sitton still doesn’t know how). Not only those little known insights, but we aslo learned that Sitton, who played basketball in high school, can still dunk. Impressive feat tipping the scales at 318 pounds and standing 6 ft. 4 in. Our advice is to not to get between him and the basket or him and Aaron Rodgers.
Sitton then shared some of his on field experiences with Aaron Rodgers. Sitton who has been selected for the Pro Bowl, named All-NFC, and is an all the time buddy and brick wall in front of Aaron Rodgers, has had his share of “moments” on the field. Despite an already great career, even Josh Sitton has zoned out on a play call or snap count at times. But, as Sitton told us, “I figure it out once he (Rodgers) starts barking out the play.” Sitton explained, “We have been playing together so long now that once I get into my stance I can more or less sense the play and then of course I listen closely to Aaron. Everything becomes real second nature after you have been doing it as long as Rodgers and I have.” Or, when that doesn’t work, “…I just watch the ball.”
But, he did tell us it is much different when Ndamakung Suh is on the other side. “He is the guy I least like to block-he is just really good (and to most of us Packer fans…really dirty). So, in games like that I know if I do miss the snap count…, I tell myself, I gotta be reeeal careful here.” So, while Sitton and Rodgers have a comfort together, when all else fails- All-Pro Josh Sitton still leans on most coach’s great advice, “…just watch the ball.”
In wrapping up his time so far with the Packers, Sitton relayed to us that the most impactful experiences have involved the fans. We asked him how the fans at Lambeau compare to those of other places and without hesitation Sitton emphatically responded, “There IS NO COMPARISON. Not even close, it doesn’t even compare to anywhere else. I mean, c’mon, 70,000 people for a scrimmage? When I came out of the tunnel for the first time and saw that, I just thought to myself, ‘Good Lord-this is unbelievable’.” Sitton loved to talk about the fans as he continued by saying, “Where I went to school, we weren’t a huge football school, but man, 70,000 for a scrimmage, c’mon. Packer fans are not comparable anywhere. I mean they are to the point where they are almost crazy. There is nothing like them anywhere.” We agree.
Along with his great love of Packer fans, another love of Sitton is, “anything cheese.” Sitton told us his love of all things cheese, started at a young age and has been with him his whole life. Not only that, but being in Wisconsin, he gets the best cheese in the country. “So, you love cheese too huh?” Hunting, Packer fans and cheese? Welcome to Wisconsin. Talk about even more of a great fit. We figured there was something in the stars that Sitton who loves the outdoors and namely hunting, relishes our fans and sees them as “borderline crazy” (which-I guess we are) and LOVES cheese -ended up in a Packer uniform. What a perfect fit for Wisconsin, the Packers, and the fans that root him on every Sunday.
Sitton has also worked hard to give back to the communities that have embraced him as a player. He has hosted the Josh Sitton Holiday Shopping Event each of the past three years, buying gifts for children to help support the PALS Program of Brown County. He also returns to his native Florida each year to host a football camp in Pensacola. Sitton not only talks about his appreciation for his fans and those that support him, he shows it by giving back each year. Just another way that Sitton has proven to have the characteristics of both a player and community member Wisconsin and the Packers can be very proud of.
After sitting down with Josh Sitton, we, at Badger Sportsman Magazine, strongly recommend you don’t get between Josh and Aaron Rodgers, Josh and the rim, or Josh and a cheese plate. And we mostly came away with a great feeling that we have this outstanding athlete and individual on our side of the line every Sunday. We (also crazy) Packer fans are looking forward to cheering on Sitton, and the Packers as we take more North Division titles, NFC Championships and Super Bowls.
Get out and enjoy the outdoors and GO PACK GO!!!