Alton Jones Sr. and Alton Jones Jr. are the first ever father-son duo in the Bassmaster Elite Series. Alton Sr. has made 18 Bassmaster Classic appearances, including his 2008 win. Alton Jr. is coming off the biggest year of his career, having earned his Bassmaster Classic berth as well as qualifying for the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series.
Aside from fishing, Alton Jr. and Alton Sr. enjoy many other outdoor sports, and they understand the importance of protecting their hearing while participating in these activities. Let’s hear the advice they have.
Q: We know you’re both professional fishermen, but what other outdoor activities do you enjoy?
Alton Jr.: I am an avid duck hunter.
Alton Sr.: I also enjoy deer hunting and bird hunting.
Q: What sounds do you enjoy hearing when you’re out hunting, fishing, etc.?
Alton Jr.: I love hearing the sound of the wildlife while on the water. I also love hearing the water washing up on the shore in a peaceful manner. I also love hearing the ducks cup their wings as they fly over while hunting.
Alton Sr.: The sound of the breeze rustling through the trees has always been soothing to me. I also enjoy hearing waves lapping up on the shore and the sound of fish chasing baitfish to the surface in a feeding frenzy. While hunting, I’m always watching ahead, but I also listen to the sides and behind for any clue of approaching game.
Q: What noises during fishing, hunting, etc. are loud enough to damage your hearing?
Alton Jr.: While fishing, the wind noises while running your boat at high speeds can be very damaging to your ears. Also, while duck hunting, the sound of shotguns create extremely damaging decibel levels which can be very dangerous to your hearing.
Alton Sr.: The most damaging noise I face is the wind rushing past my ears while driving my bass boat at high speeds. Before using hearing protection, it was not uncommon for my ears to ring for hours or even days after making a long run in my boat.
Q: Do you wear hearing protection when participating in outdoor activities? If yes, why is it important to do so?
Alton Jr.: I always keep my hearing protection with me. While fishing, I wear my Miracle-Ear custom hearing protection to keep wind noise from damaging my ears on long runs at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. While duck hunting, I wear my Miracle-Ear Guardians, which allow me to hear normally and then blocks out any sound over a certain decibel, like a shotgun blast.
Alton Sr.: I always wear hearing protection now when I’m making high speed boat runs and when I’m hunting or shooting. I wish I had known to wear hearing protection when I was younger so that I could have protected my hearing.
Q: What would you tell other anglers or outdoor enthusiasts about the importance of protecting your hearing?
Alton Jr.: I would encourage them to research the effects of hearing loss and how to prevent it. I would also encourage any outdoor enthusiast to get tested for hearing loss. My father never knew he was suffering from hearing loss until he got his free hearing test from Miracle-Ear.
Alton Sr.: Now that I have some hearing issues, I realize how important it is and wish I would have known earlier in life that I could have avoided much of my hearing loss. Other outdoor enthusiasts need to know just how simple it is to protect your hearing and improve their quality of life as you get older.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to say about protecting your hearing in the outdoors?
Alton Jr.: If you or a loved one is an avid outdoor enthusiast, I encourage you to talk about hearing loss before it's too late. There is no such thing as too young to get your hearing checked or to begin protecting your hearing.
Alton Sr.: Hearing is the key to effective communication, and effective communication is the key to strong relationships. Take easy steps now and it will help you be the best kind of husband / father / person you can be.