Sunday, September 11, 2016

Into Africa: The Wishlist

As I plan for my African safari, I was asked to create a wishlist of animals I would like to take. This was more of a challenge than I anticipated because Africa has such a wide variety of animals, and they are all so unique compared to our North American game. Of course this list isn't set in stone but it helps the Professional Hunters plan the hunt around the right locations for particular animals. After quite a bit of thought, research and countless hours searching Google images, I've finally come up with my wishlist.


The number one animal on my list is the Impala. To me they embody the best qualities of so many Plains game animals with their beauty and grace. To me, the trip would not be complete without taking one of these.


Number two on my list is the ugly little warthog, and honestly, it may really be my number one. These animals are so smart and the behaviors I've read about them make them seem like more of a challenge than most would give them credit for. Mike Helbing, the owner of Wild Wildebeest Safaris, told me that they are his favorite African game to hunt.


The gemsbok, or Oryx, is another animal that represents Africa, and as such is a must on my list. Its long, sweeping horns and black and white face markings are a beautiful representation of the variety and beauty of plains game.


Last but not least is the blue wildebeest. Another animal that is uniquely and unquestionably African, this is another one that I feel would be a great addition to the list. It's also supposed to be some of the best eating Africa has, and I'm looking forward to that, as well as the other game on the menu.

Of course if an opportunity to take something not on the list arises, I'm game to give it a try. I've been told by several people that photos don't do many of the animals justice, and that once I see them in the flesh I may change my mind. There are so many animals there that it's bound to happen. But this list will get me started!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Utah Archery Elk


If you've followed my blog for the last few years, you know that my elk hunting has been a struggle to say the least. I've been archery hunting elk for the last few years and have come up empty handed every year. Some years the hunting was tough, some years I made a lot of mistakes, some years I missed shots, but every year I ate my tag. This year I was able to break the streak.


I moved back to Wyoming this year, but wasn't able to draw a tag of any kind. Not wanting to sit out the whole season, I decided to buy an over-the-counter elk tag in Utah. Having never hunted Utah, and with only a couple days to scout, my first days in the field were spent "bowhiking." The bulls weren't bugling at all, so I resorted to looking for sign and trying to find an active wallow. I lucked up and found a couple of wallows a few miles apart that were being hit pretty regularly. I set a trail camera on one of the wallows and got some pics of several smaller bulls, and consiering this was an OTC tag, I was looking forward to getting a shot at one of them.


On the afternoon of September 2, I decided to sit one of the wallows and hope a bull would come out for water in the heat of the day. About 6:30, a 5x5 came out and started feeding through the clearing toward me. Soon after, a small 3x4 came out behind him, acting nervous and looking back the direction they came from. After a few minutes he took off running and the bigger bull looked around and then followed after. I had ranged the wallow from my makeshift blind, but the bull finally turned broadside just past it, leaving me to guess the yardage. Miraculously, he paused for a split second in a shooting lane, and I released my arrow. My guess was a little short, but I felt good about the hit.


I gave the bull some time, then followed his trail. There was barely any blood, but I was able to follow his tracks, eventually locating him about 300 yards from where I shot him. After quartering and caping him and taking one load out, I made the trip out of the mountains to where I had cell phone service and called my parents. My dad was able to come in the next morning and help me pack the bull out. Truly an awesome experience.


This bull has been a long time coming and I'm so proud of him. He's a beautiful 5x5 and a great trophy, especially for an OTC, general area hunt. The only sad part is that my season is over already, unless I decided to pick up an OTC deer tag. But I will be able to hunt elk and deer with my dad and hopefully help him. Another blessing of being back home.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

My Top 5 Hunting Podcasts

Lately I've been listening to a lot of hunting podcasts, especially when I'm running or at the gym. I know that most people listen to jammin' music when they're working out, and sometimes I do too. But the primary reason that I'm training is to be a better hunter, so there's no better time to listen to some of the good info coming from the podcasts available now.

There are quite a few hunting related podcasts out there now, and from time to time I check out topics from most of them. There are 5 that I am subscribed to and like the most, all for different reasons. Im not saying by any means that you shouldn't listen to any others, but these are my picks. 

The Gritty Bowmen

The Gritty Bowmen is a podcast by Brian Call and Aron Snyder and is probably the most entertaining of the bunch. These guys and their guests bounce around lighter side of hunting while still giving you an hour or more of solid information every time. From gear recommendations and shooting tips, to interviews with high profile hunting celebs, and a steady stream of Snyderisms, this podcast is a hoot.

Hunt Backcountry

My buddy Mark Huelsing, blogger at SoleAdventure.com, and Steve Speck of EXO Mountain Gear churn out some great info that is usually tailored to the backcountry hunter, but can truly be applied to almost any type of hunting. With a heavy emphasis on gear and preparation, this is great listening as you get ready for a hunt out west.


Nock On Archery

John Dudley has been one of my favorite writers for many years, and his podcast is also one of my favorites. John is an absolute genius when it comes to tuning and shooting bows, and he shares his ideas, tips and tricks with anyone who will listen. I have a lot of respect for someone who is willing to put information that it took him years of trial and error to acquire out there for everyone to hear. If you're an archer, you will benefit greatly by listening to him.


Jay Scott Outdoors

The Jay Scott Outdoors podcast is a wealth of knowledge for the western hunter. Jay covers draw odds and strategy, recommends areas for each species and gives hunting tips backed by many years of guiding experience. Jay is a guy in the know and you will be too if you listen to him. 

MeatEater

Steven Rinella's TV show Meat Eater broke new ground by focusing on not just the hunt, but the culture around hunting that includes eating what we kill. His podcasts tackle a variety of issues from conservation to squirrel hunting with dogs and like the Gritty Bowmen, are both informative and entertaining.

Do you have a favorite podcast that I didn't mention? I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Advent by HunterVids


At the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention back in Februaury, I had the opportunity to meet Todd Roark, the CEO of HunterVids.com. We struck up a conversation based on the fact that I was wearing a KUIU shirt, and KUIU is the official sponsor of Todd's site. That conversation led to an opportunity for me to work with HunterVids writing some web content, but this post is more about the website itself than that.

HunterVids is an online destination for  a huge collection of high quality hunting films. Some of these films are available elsewhere on the internet, but many are created specifically for the HunterVids network, and all of the films showcased are top-notch. They're all sorted by categories, so depending on what type of film you're looking for, you can find a bunch of them based on the species or geographic region you are interested in. 

In addition to the collection of films available on the site, HunterVids has also created the very first online hunting film festival called the Advent. These exclusive films are available On Demand through HunterVids.com for $10. The films vary widely in content and scope, and feature hunts for several different species over several continents. It is truly worth your time and money to watch these films if you enjoy and appreciate quality hunting productions by talented people.

To sweeten the deal, HunterVids is giving away some awesome prize packages, and you're eligible to win them just for signing up to watch the films. For example, here is the list of items that will be given away this November:

KUIU T-Shirt & Hat
KUIU Merino Base Layer
KUIU Super Down Jacket
Wilderness Athlete Performance Pack
Maven T-Shirt & Hat
Maven Vacuum Bottle
Maven Binoculars
Girls With Guns Hat
GWG 1 pk Shooting Targets
GWG $30 Gift Card
Xpedition Archery T-Shirt & Hat
Ripcord X-Factor arrow rest
NWTF One Year Membership
NWTF Bass Pro Shops Promo Card
DeLorme Earthmate Hunt App

As you can see, that's an impressive gear list and you get an opportunity to win by signing up to rent the Advent and watching it. It's pretty hard to pass that up.

Again, this is all available at HunterVids.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Headed West


I recently had the opportunity at work to move back to my hometown of Green River, WY and recieve a promotion in the process. While I've given thought to moving back home over the years, I never dreamed it would all work out the way it did. I am really blessed to be back close to my family, as well as back in the West which feels like home to me.

Since I didn't draw any tags this year, I'm looking forward to having the ability to hunt Wyoming as a resident next year. In the meantime, I have a nonresident fishing license that I've got to get my money's worth out of!

I'll be posting more regularly from now on so be sure to subscribe for notifications of new posts.