Employment their way: Working a hobby

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Jacobsens. -- Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

From family traditions to at-home jobs to second jobs, there’s plenty of unique things about Mower County’s work

Editor’s note: This is the third in a four-part series. Look for parts one through four July 2-5.

Plenty of people own their own business. Ben Jacobsen and his family own two.

Ben Jacobsen and his daughter, Haley, 11, enjoy training their dogs behind their house Thursday afternoon near LeRoy.

Though siding and windows may be a common profession, hunting is not — especially in one’s own backyard. That’s the Jacobsens’ second profession, along with breeding and training dogs. Perhaps they will soon consider it the first.

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The Jacobsens, who live just northeast of LeRoy, opened Three Arrows Hunting Preserve last summer.

It’s what Ben comes home to every night, and what he loves.

“It’s been about 70 to 75 hours a week,” Ben said.

No problem.

Ben loves the dogs, the land, the birds and the events. But his favorite part: “The people,” he said. “It’s just the quality of people you meet and deal with. They are pretty genuine-type people. That’s what makes me enjoy all of it.”

And what better people to involve than his own family: wife, Diane, and four children: Elizabeth and Haley, both 11, Christian, 9, and James, 7.

“The biggest thing is we want to involve our kids,” Ben said, who pulled in his driveway on Thursday after taking his sons to Fairmont to pick up some more quail for training. The family aspect is evident. Ben took one dog out of its Kennel. Soon, the entire family joined in the field.

“Go grab a homing pigeon,” Ben told Elizabeth on Thursday before doing a quick training display.

Ben also trains dogs with a group of people every Tuesday at his land.

A guest at Three Arrows can buy pheasants or quail, have them placed in one of several, grassy fields and shoot to his or her heart’s content. But that same person could also buy a brittany spaniel or llewellin setter from the Jacobsens and get dog training support, as well. That’s the three-pronged approach to the business.

Plenty of people — especially the Jacobsens — enjoy Three Arrows Hunting Preserve. But more than enjoyment, the Jacobsens are using their new business venture to do good, as well. Last year Three Arrows hosted a Mower County Pheasants Forever youth hunt that helped 21 youngsters learn a little more about the noble sport. This year, the business will do that again, and go one step further, with a hunt to fight breast cancer. The Jacobsens have teamed up with Tri-County Pheasants Forever from Rochester, and all the proceeds from this fall’s event will go toward breast cancer awareness.

“We’re really looking for new ideas, trying to do different than other hunting preserves,” Ben said.

And the Jacobsens are just getting started. The trees are slowly growing, the land slowly maturing into a quality hunting ground. Nobody is more eager for fall than Ben.