Learning Curve

This November trucker Ron Shrout will take his bow back into northern Pennsylvanian hunting country and “forget about everything but the woods.”

Thinking back on his youthful days in Pennsylvania, it hasn’t escaped Ron Shrout’s memory that the opening day of deer season was an official day off from school. Truth be told, he wouldn’t have turned up anyway.

“Neither would any other boy over 12 around where I came from, so I guess the schools had no choice,” he says today, laughing.

But Shrout, 47, of Gillett, Pa., learned well how to add two loves together and blend them into the life he has today. He and wife Peggy drive team – but they take the last week of every month off, the whole of November and the first two weeks of May.

“I want to be out of the truck and in the woods,” says Ron. “Most of those weeks off I’m mainly fishing, and sometimes I’ll be hunting if a season opens. All of November I’m after deer, and in May I’m looking for turkey.”

As owner-operators, Ron and Peggy roll 6,000 or 7,000 miles a week, but as efficient businesspeople, they also manage to take the time off they want. The key to the couple’s business success is the same as the key to successful hunting: “plan ahead and prioritize.”

Ron and Peggy drive a 2001 Freightliner Classic with a 460 Cummins pulling a dry van coast to coast. But north-central Pennsylvania is their home. Ron grew up there, hunting and fishing from the start.

“We’re close to New York, so I hunt both sides of the line, but I need two licenses,” he says. “I started hunting around here with my dad when I was just a kid. You have to be 12 to go out, but I was going way before that. I couldn’t shoot until I was 12, but my dad was showing me things and started me learning.

“I remember I wanted my hunting license more than I wanted my driving license.”

Hunting was a family affair in the Shrout household. The eldest of three brothers, Ron was the first taught hunting basics one-on-one by his father.

After his dad showed him the ropes, Ron would hunt and fish with his uncles. Now Ron is passing on the family’s knowledge to his nephew Jay. “I think families that hunt together like to pass on down all the good things there are about hunting,” Ron says. “You want to make sure they learn right, respect the woods and the animals, they’re safe, they’re good hunters.”

But Ron’s father trained him in more than just hunting; it was his big, trucker footsteps that led Ron into the business. The senior Shrout drove a truck for more than 20 years, hauling, among other things, steel from Pittsburgh or produce from Florida to California. “When I was a kid, he was driving a Mack,” Ron says. “Mainly at the end he ran the northeast to be home at the weekend.” Sadly, his father died while Ron was still in his 20s.

“I wanted to be like him,” Ron says. “Driving a truck was the only thing I wanted to do, knew it in grade school it was the only thing I was going to do. Of course, if I knew then what I know now

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