Founder of Watlington Outdoors and Watlington Outdoors Pro- Staff Member
Hunting! – It is a passion that is in Duane’s genetic code. A passion that burns so deep in him, he created a service to help hunters plan and book their hunting adventures. As the founder of Watlington Outdoors, Duane takes great pride in researching and planning hunting trips for his clients. With more than 25 years of hunting experience and dozens of successful trips afield, Duane has the experience and knows how to set up enjoyable adventures.
Duane was born and raised in the agriculture rich area of Central New Jersey. His grandfather, Ray Baker, was an avid outdoorsman who hunted all over the world and even hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. However, it would be a childhood friend who was responsible for getting Duane hooked on hunting.
“It all started with a squirrel hunt” Duane recalls. Back in 1978 Duane accompanied his good friend Billy Schmidt and his dad on an afternoon hunt for squirrels in Jamesburg Park in Helmetta NJ. It was that small game hunt that motivated Duane to take his hunter education course. With a shotgun loaned to him from his uncle Ray Banko, Duane passed his course and started his hunting career.
Each day after school, and on Saturdays, Duane and his “hunting buddies” would prowl the fields, swamps, and ponds that made up South Brunswick, NJ. From ducks and geese to pheasants and rabbits if it was in season, it was being hunted. But the season that got Duane most excited was deer season. Duane loved deer hunting so much that at the age of 16 he took his archery test so he could extend his “deer hunting” season. When Duane took his first deer with the bow later that year, his friend Billy was there along with his good friend and hunting buddy Joe Melchisky.
Over the next 25+ years, Duane had the good fortune to be able to hunt all over the world. Thanks to a successful business and supportive family, Duane was able to take a couple of hunting trips each fall. While planning these trips, Duane noticed that it was a challenge to find a good reputable outfitter, one that you could believe and one that would deliver what was promised. Seeing this “need” for this type of service and having that “passion” for hunting inside him, it was a natural choice for Duane to become a Hunting Consultant.
Duane still calls New Jersey his home. He currently lives in Monroe Township, NJ along with his three beautifully girls, his wife Kathleen and daughters Kerianne and Kylie. Duane’s girls support his passion for hunting and his commitment to his clients. In return, Duane supports their passion for All-Star Cheerleading and shopping, so everyone stays happy!