Both Brandon Martin and Buck McNeely, shaped by their experiences at SEMO, showcase Southeast Missouri State University's dedication to fostering individuals with the "Will to Do" – individuals who not only learn but actively apply their knowledge in the real world, leaving an indelible mark on the landscapes they explore.



Brandon Martin, a 2017 SEMO graduate with a degree in agribusiness, represents the new wave of outdoor storytellers. His YouTube channel, "DayBreak Outdoors," has become a haven for over 40,000 subscribers, showcasing the complete narrative of duck hunters, blending drone footage, music, interviews, and a compelling storyline. Brandon's success echoes SEMO's commitment to practical, real-world experiences and innovative storytelling.

Rooted in the heart of Dexter, Missouri, Brandon's love for duck hunting began in his formative years.

"Freshman year of college, we'd wake up to duck hunt, take the video camera to film, and then we'd get back to go to class, obviously. After class, we would head back and throw the hunt that morning on the television, and we'd all just watch it," recalls Brandon.

Early mornings spent in pursuit of waterfowl seamlessly blended with his SEMO classes. His  eagerness to return home and review footage was a constant motivation and helped him recognize an untapped niche on YouTube. Brandon launched "Daybreak Outdoors" in 2018, a venture that quickly gained traction with 60,000 views within the first three days of its debut.

"A lot of hunting shows just feature the kill. But we take time to show every bit. Whether it's planting food plots, getting ready in the mudroom, cleaning decoys, whatever it is, outside of duck hunting - that's what most people can relate to. That is why we call it ‘The Full Show’."

Brandon's SEMO education played a pivotal role in shaping his narrative. His agribusiness degree not only deepened his understanding of soil dynamics for duck attraction but also empowered him to create a sustainable business. Sponsors were drawn to the authenticity of his story, allowing him to share his experiences with a global audience.

"The Outdoorsman"

Brandon isn’t SEMO’s only outdoorsman success story. We also remember the late Buck McNeely, another SEMO alumnus whose pioneering work in outdoor entertainment left an indelible mark. Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Buck's journey began at SEMO, where he produced "The Outdoorsman" as a college project. The show, which started in 1985, eventually reached TV stations across the globe, solidifying Buck's legacy in the outdoor TV landscape.

Buck's recent passing is a poignant moment for the outdoor community. His legacy lives on through the continuation of "The Outdoorsman" by his son, Max. Buck's journey, from a college project to a globally recognized show, mirrors the ethos of SEMO – a testament to the enduring impact of the University's commitment to experiential learning and a hands-on approach.

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