They say couples that play together, stay together. This couldn’t be more true for Gina and Moses Oliver. Both grew up in Summerville, South Carolina, and started their outdoor adventures at a young age. Gina was an only child, and was raised as a true country girl. Her father is a farmer, and had Gina out in the woods from day one. She has been hunting and fishing since she was about three years old, and hasn’t slowed down a bit. Moses, aka Moe, has a different story to tell. He grew up without a father, and was raised by his mother and grandmother. He went to Summerville High School and played football mostly, and wrestling for a bit. After high school, he got into welding. But, he was always in the outdoors, and did have some distant family who hunted, mostly for rabbits and such. Seeing them hunt made him want to start deer hunting. He was always a bit of a loner and never needed anyone to go out in the woods with, so with a few lessons learned from family, he basically taught himself to hunt.
The two grew up in the same town, knowing of each other. But, it wasn’t until Gina was in her late teens and Moe in his early 20’s that they became a couple. With a mutual love for the outdoors, it was like a match made in heaven. From the beginning, the couple began hunting and fishing together, and it has become a driving force in their relationship since. They have been married for 29 years, and have three children and two grandchildren. Their children enjoy fishing, but aren’t as much into hunting. Their two grandsons, however, are already loving the outdoors, at just two and four years old.
From August to January, the Olivers are squeezing in as much time for hunting as possible. Gina, being a stay-at-home-mom and caregiver to her parents, makes time in the early mornings. Moses has his hunting time after work, often with Gina making her second appearance for the day alongside him. Once hunting season comes to an end, the fishing begins.
The Olivers have found a third passion, though; traveling. In fact, the couple have been to all 50 states, and have hunted and/or fished in quite a few. When asked what their favorite trip was, both excitedly answered, “Alaska!” Catching salmon and halibut in Alaska was a bucket list trip. Although, a story from a scenic drive around Hawaii may be a close second. The two were out exploring the island, taking in the sights, when they came across some locals fishing a cliff. Moe became friendly with one of the locals, and asked if he could reel one in if he got one on the line.
The man told him it was no problem, and I’m sure you can imagine the excitement when he landed a huge fish off the coastal cliffs of Hawaii.
Gina and Moses have driven cross-country, from South Carolina up to British Columbia, and prefer that mode of travel. Gina says that she would drive over flying anyday, just to be able to take in all the scenery. Every state is unique, and she loves to just absorb it all. One reason they began traveling so much to begin with, was Moe found he had less and less time working for Boeing, building aircrafts. He started out freshwater fishing, doing a lot of bass tournaments, but with his job, he couldn’t find the time to practice and continue tournaments. Now, they take vacations and enjoy hunting and fishing along the way. They have used guides in several states, from Washington to Vermont, and now consider them friends.
The next trip they will check off is happening in just a few weeks’ goliath grouper of the coast of Jensen Beach, Florida. This will hopefully be followed by a bear hunt, wherever they are lucky enough to land the opportunity. However, the ultimate bucket list trip will be to hunt red stag in New Zealand. And, for their 30th anniversary next year, they have a trip planned to Alaska. They also look forward to heading to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge, renting a corvette to drive up the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. I made sure to tell them all of the wonders available in the Pacific Northwest, so they may make a few stops along the way to go crabbing or clamming.
The couple also started these cross-country adventures because they love food. They enjoy watching the Food Network, and wanted to visit a lot of the restaurants featured on shows like Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. They have even been known to just leave on a whim, the last trip being to try out a restaurant in Chicago that they had seen on the Food Network.
After 29 years together, these two still do almost everything together. When asked what their favorite outdoor activity is individually, both said they really don’t prefer doing anything individually. They still very much enjoy each other’s company, and wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, they rarely disagree at all. I asked if they could give words of advice to other couples, and Moe answered, “Always take your time to appreciate your partner. There are a lot of distractions out there. You may have your arguments, but you just have to talk it out and work through it. You have to remember why you fell in love in the first place.” And, fittingly, Gina agreed wholeheartedly.
As I always do, the couple were asked what are some words they live by. The reply was heartwarming for me, as they said, “They really and truly do #LiveForTheOutdoors.”
**Moe wanted to add that living in South Carolina, he never knew there were that many people of color doing what they do in the outdoors. BAO has opened them up to do a lot more. The connections they have made have allowed them to reach out and make plans with other BAO members to hunt & fish in their respective areas. He is looking to connect for bear and deer hunts with other members. Mo commented that on TV he never saw people of color farming, hunting or fishing, and it put him in the mindset of being one of the few, but found out through BAO that they really aren’t alone. And, that is a beautiful thing.