It wasn’t a perfect day for turkey in Camden County, Mo., but Don Seman’s patience paid off.
They say if you can’t be good, be lucky. When it comes to hunting and trucking, Don Seman, of Republic, Mo., is both.
Hunting has been in his blood since he was 8 years old, and when he married his wife Debbie 11 years ago, the 58-year-old found a soul mate whose love of the outdoors would not only match his, but would become part of it.
Debbie knew she’d married someone who loved hunting.
“She’d never fired a gun, but she knew I loved it. I’d been on a national rifle team, and I have a shop where I load my own shells. I’ve just got to shoot,” says Seman, an owner-operator leased to American Central Transport of Liberty, Mo. “She’s learning about guns and about hunting, and it’s something special when I get off the road to be able to show her and go with her and enjoy ourselves together like that. It’s something to look forward to, and it doesn’t disappoint us whether we get something or not.”
When the couple married, Don settled in Missouri – away from his hunting buddies. Debbie decided she would take their place. “I thought I’d try and be there for him, to go with him and be interested in it because he loved it so much,” she says. “It really is special to be out there in the woods with him. And of course sometimes I just send him off by himself when I know that’s really what he’d rather do. That can be time when I get stuff done.
“I also like just sitting in his shop talking to him when he’s working on guns or shells,” she says. “Having something in common like that means hunting not only helps us do stuff together, it helps us get to know each other better. It makes his time at home much more special.”
Debbie’s first hunting success was a deer. Both the Semans think this year’s turkey season will see Debbie score in a new sport. Debbie sounds as though she’s ready. “Yes, he bought me a shotgun, so I think this year I’ll try.”
She’s been along on a turkey hunt already, in Camden County, Mo., but done no shooting, says Seman. “She likes to call them, and she’s good at that, and she likes to watch them display themselves when they come, but she hasn’t hunted them yet.”
The weather made Debbie’s first outing difficult, Seman says. “It was real hard weather. The birds were hard to call. I’d been out the first day in the rain and got nothing, didn’t even call one,” he says. “On the second day Debbie stayed back with friends again, and I went out into the cold and the misty rain. By 10 in the morning I still hadn’t called one. They’d left their roosts in the trees about 7, but I couldn’t get them to come. I’d tried to guess where they’d gone and follow them, find their pattern, but that didn’t work.
After their lives joined 11 years ago, Don and Debbie Seman made a special effort to share their outdoor passions.
“Finally, sometime after 10 in the morning, I got four of them coming to my hand call instead of just one. The trees were thick, and the brush was real high and I got behind it and out of sight, but I couldn’t pick out the bird I wanted. There were three yearlings and a long-beard tom about 4 years old with a 101/2 inch beard.”
Seman waited. He kept waiting in the drizzle and cold until the tom moved clear of the others, and he bagged his bird with a camouflaged Benelli Nova 31/2 inch, 12-gauge pump.
A deer hunter since childhood, Don bought Debbie a new Model 7 Remington .243, but Debbie’s first try at a deer was a miss. “There was a buck and a doe together, and when she missed, I shot them both,” he recalls.
“She was so annoyed with herself, I mean really upset. So she spent a lot of time practicing, working with the gun, working on being able to hit targets. She got to be a real good shot,” he says. “We went back out last year and she had a shot. It wasn’t a big deer, and it was 300 yards away. But she made a clean shot. It was a heck of a shot.”
Love of sport in the great outdoors continues to bring the Semans closer together. Don has ventured into Debbie’s favorite sports world, fishing. Debbie not only loved it, she was good at it, so he gave it his best shot.
“I was always a hunter, not a fisherman. Now we go together and that makes it special, but she’s got me beat most times,” Seman says. “We got into some trout once and I’m out there doing everything she’s doing, and she caught and released 37 trout to my five.”
Debbie also understands Don’s road stories more than most truckers would expect their wives to. That’s because she deals with OTR drivers every day in her job in the payroll department at RBX Transportation in Springfield, Mo.
Born and raised in Kansas, Seman first went hunting when he was 8, tagging along with his father. At 12, he got his first shotgun, an old .410, and went after rabbits and squirrels. As he got older he became an avid deer hunter.
At 18, he also started his driving career with a Class B chauffeur’s license, graduating to a Class A when he hit 21. Today, he hauls general freight in a dry van and the occasional hazmat load going as far north as the Canadian border, east into the Carolinas and south into Texas.
“ACT is a good company to work for,” says Seman. “They treat you decent, the paycheck is always there and always on time. They’re real good people, and when you’re an owner-operator, you need to be dealing with real good people.”
Owner-operator Kevin Komich (l) and buddy Craig Bailey hit a game fish bonanza off the Florida Coast.
When owner-operator Kevin Kocmich and his buddy, mechanic Craig Bailey, headed off the Florida coast and into the Gulf Stream, they were ready for some major deep sea action. And they got it.
Kocmich, from Avon, S.D., who is leased to Anderson Trucking Service of St. Cloud, Minn., and Bailey, sailed aboard the 45-foot charter boat Intoxication III, based in Pompano Beach. The twosome went fishing in the Florida Straits between the coast and the Bahama Islands.
Originally searching for sailfish, Kocmich was out of luck. But he managed to find plenty of other game fish – including barracuda, amberjack, kingfish and dolphin.
A seven-year flatbed veteran, Kocmich drives a 1998 Peterbilt 379.
Seman, who drives a 2003 Pete 379, estimates he’s driven about 4.75 million miles with just one chargeable accident. “Guy came right off the shoulder of the road and just touched me, left me a little dent. Cost $8.50 to fix.”