Passion for hunting leads to career

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If Jayson Bentcik wasn’t in a desk on the first day of school, chances are you’d find him in the woods.

“Me and my buddy Vern were always out the opening day of whitetail season. We’d skip the first day of school to go hunting,” he said.

Jayson Bentcik, a 2001 graduate of St. Maries High School, has turned his passion for archery and hunting into a career. Mr. Bentcik works for Victory Archery in San Diego, Calif. and is working to start his own company as well.

Jayson Bentcik, a 2001 graduate of St. Maries High School, has turned his passion for archery and hunting into a career. Mr. Bentcik works for Victory Archery in San Diego, Calif. and is working to start his own company as well.

Mr. Bentcik has always had a passion for the outdoors and has especially enjoyed archery and hunting. Through hard work, dedication and study he built a career out of his passion. He said he encourages young people in school to pursue a career in a field for which they are passionate. He said it will take hard work, but will be worth it in the end.

“I didn’t start out where I wanted to be. It took hard work and networking. Networking is a big deal and it really helps to get your foot in the door,” he said. “Keep your nose down and head high. Stick to the grindstone and make it happen.”

Mr. Bentcik started shooting a bow when he was four years old. Not only did he use it to hunt, but he shot competitively as well.

“I still remember my first bow. It was an old 20-pound bear bow and you just shot off the handle of your riser. It started from there and literally became an obsession,” he said. “I grew up hunting and fishing and absolutely loved it. I grew up watching hunting and fishing on television and had always wanted to be on TV and be the host and own my own sporting goods store.”

However, after Mr. Bentcik graduated from St. Maries High School in 2001, he chose a completely different path when he started school at the University of Idaho. He decided to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

“My dad didn’t necessarily push it on me, but he recommended it. He knew I could make money there and wouldn’t have to bust my hump to do it,” Mr. Bentcik said. “Going into college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and pharmacy sounded interesting so I thought I might give it a try.”

A couple years into it, Mr. Bentcik knew his chosen career path wasn’t for him. He said he changed his major several times from fire ecology, to forestry to natural resources to education. He eventually ended up in business.

“Once I started in business, I knew I wanted to have a management background,” he said. “There wasn’t any kind of emphasis in management. There was human resource management, and I actually ended up finding out that’s what I liked.”

Mr. Bentcik graduated from Gonzaga University in 2006. Following college, he worked as the manager of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Coeur d’Alene and was later transferred to Medford, Oregon. He and his wife, Jennifer, were married in 2009 and the couple decided to reside in San Diego.

“Once I got married, I wanted to be with her and I figured since she was making more money than I was I should just move,” he said.

Without a job, Mr. Bentcik visited Performance Archery to see if there were any open positions.

“I had known the owner from my time with Sportsmen’s Warehouse. I told him I had a background in archery and unfortunately he had just hired a guy a week ago. But he said he would keep me in mind.” Two days later, Mr. Bentcik’s networking paid off. He learned about a job with Victory Archery.

“That’s how it all started. I called the general manager and had an interview and two hours later he offered me the job,” Mr. Bentcik said.

The company, which is in its seventh year, is fairly new, Mr. Bentcik said, but sales are growing each year. His official title with Victory Archery is senior technical sales representative and specialties coordinator.

“That’s my title, but I wear a lot of hats,” he said.  Mr. Bentcik is involved in the marketing, production and sales of the company’s carbon arrows. As part of that he is taking orders and interacting with clients. For three months of the year, he is traveling across the United States and to other countries to trade shows.

“In the last three weeks, I’ve been to Canada, Wisconsin and Kentucky,” he said. “I’ll be going to show in Nashville, Tennessee and then to Australia next month. I’ll also be traveling to Dallas and Reno.”

Mr. Bentcik said he enjoys working with clients and striving to meet their needs.

“Eventually they aren’t your customer anymore, they’re your friend. I like taking care of them and really enjoy the sales side of my job.”

When he was in high school, Mr. Bentcik said he could only dream about getting paid to go hunting. Today, it’s reality.

“Entertaining clients goes along with the job and so we will go on hunting trips. I’m getting paid to hunt and fish. How can you not like that? My last big hunting trip was in Hawaii and we hunted two different islands for a week straight.”

Mr. Bentick has also had the opportunity to be in front of the camera as well. He said outdoor networks are often at the trade shows and go around to interview those companies who have booths.

“I also appeared on American Archer, which is a nationally televised show, with Tom Nelson. That was on an antelope hunt in Wyoming and he and I both killed antelopes on film and it was fully televised.”

In addition, Mr. Bentcik is also working to launch his own line of archery equipment through his newly formed company 365 Archery.

“I have my own patent pending designs and have been very busy,” he said. “But when you’re doing something you have a passion for, it doesn’t feel like you’ve worked a day in your life.”

Jayson is the son of Jay Bentcik and Denise Bentcik-Foster. He and his wife are expecting their first child next year. They reside in San Diego, Calif.

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