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About Joe "Kastaway" Kulis

Joe “Kastaway” Kulis was born Joseph E Kulis December 16, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Bedford, Ohio in 1955.  He attended Chanel High School in Bedford.  After graduating from Chanel, he attended Kent State University, graduating with a BS in photojournalism.  

Besides being the owner/originator of Kulis Inc. and Kulis Productions International, and NTA member, Joe is a world-class hunter and fisherman, establishing his mark in both fields as an “Outdoor Legend”.

 At the age of 12,  Joe became interested in the outdoors and in taxidermy due to the influence of his uncle, and took the Northwestern School of Taxidermy Correspondence.  He then began to do taxidermy in his basement at home and upon graduation in 1969 he opened Bedford Taxidermy at its present location at 725 Broadway Avenue in Bedford. 

In the 1960’s, Joe was a pioneer in the freeze drying process and renamed the shop “Kulis Freeze Dry”.  He was the first to perfect commercial freeze drying in taxidermy and later sold freeze dry machines to the industry.  This led to the creation of freeze dried bait, and he has taken the freeze dry business to new dimensions, restoring water damaged books and documents for major companies, libraries and homeowners. As the business grew, so did his shop, by expanding its size and adding more freeze dryers.  The shop is still considered the largest in the country.  With over 55 years of experience, Joe’s understanding of wildlife anatomy has become highly honed giving him the knowledge to become one of the world’s premier taxidermists, having done over 27.000 mounts.  Very few artists have come close to that achievement.

He was inducted into the Ohio Taxidermists  Association Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

Joe host of "Inside the Great Outdoors"

He also soon learned that to be successful, one needed to branch out as much as possible into many areas: 

  • Deer processing
  • Live bait and tackle
  • Freeze drying pet treats
  • Freeze drying chemicals
  • Document restoration through freeze drying
  • Freeze drying flowers from weddings and funerals
  • Patented glass walleye eyes
  • Invented product for fish preparation (“Fin Fix” and “Fin Coat”)
  • Invented “Kulis Karvit” (epoxy)

During this time, as Joe ran the taxidermy, he also started a charter boat fishing business on 5 large charter boats named the “Freeze Dry Machine” Numbers 1-5 (including a 42’ Hatteras) on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario.  He met fellow captains, which helped generate more fish taxidermy business.  During his charter fishing career, and years of experience fishing on the Great Lakes, Joe saw a need for an improved trolling diver and created “Kastaway’s Magnetic Diver” …unique because it can magnetically reset in the water without retrieving.  This makes for much easier and more improved fishing.   He also created and currently manufactures fish attractant paste and oils under the Kodiak Scent label.  Kodiak also manufactures deer products such as “Doe in Heat” and “Dominant Buck”. The latest product line is Kodiak Predator Baits and Scents targeting trappers and especially the nuisance trappers of raccoons and skunks. 

Joe was also a guide for big game hunting trips in Alaska and Africa, which also promoted the taxidermy business. Notable hunting and fishing photos.

  • Big 5 in Africa with bow and arrow (lion, leopard, cape buffalo, elephant, both black and white rhinos)
  • World record Russian Tur from Russia
  • 61 trips to Alaska, 15 trips to Africa, and trips to Russia, Mongolia, New Zealand and most of the Canadian provinces
  • Prior to the internet, Joe displayed his business to the public at the Convention Center and the I-X Center in Cleveland to promote the taxidermy and charter businesses.  It generated a great deal of business.  His displays started out with a single small booth and grew into huge, realistic displays of life-size mounts in their natural settings.

Kastaway’s fame as one of the top 25 fishing and hunting outdoorsmen of all time has led to one of his other passions:  producing his television series “Outdoor World of Kastaway Kulis”. It was one of the first shows to appear on the Outdoor Channel.   For over 20 years, he has taken viewers out of their living rooms and into the wilderness, around the world in search of outdoor adventure. Now many of the older shows are available for viewing on his Youtube Channel.

The radio program started in 2012 through present (“Inside the Great Outdoors”) on WHK 1420AM as well as podcast on the internet. The show airs every Sunday morning7 to 10AM and rebroadcast at 11PM. "Inside the Great Outdoors" is NE Ohio's only LIVE call-in radio show dedicated to all things outdoors. From fishing to hunting, conservation to wildlife, birding, gardening, it's all things "outdoors". 

Whatever label he’s wearing, Joe “Kastaway” Kulis is well respected in many fields. And lends credibility to his accomplishments in all of them.  Joe “retired” from taxidermy in 2013 to pursue a farming career (raising chickens and planting crops) and a radio career. But he has not stopped. He now works at promoting and selling hunting, fishing and trapping products. Kastaway's Magnetic Divers, Kodiak Fish Attractants, and Kodiak Predator Baits & Scents are becoming really popular and successful.
 


 

 

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