In this episode Jason Carter and Matt Schimberg of A3 Trophy Hunts talk Arizona Mule Deer. Matt, as well as A3 Trophy Hunts, is well known for taking some giant bucks. Including a 280″+ monster named Drifter that they successfully guided in 2016. Along with the story of “Drifter,” you will also hear a lot of insight into hunting some of the better units in Arizona. If you like big Mule Deer, this is an episode you won’t want to miss.

Disclaimer: this podcast has been transcribed from the original audio and likely contains errors. This transcription does not reflect the views and opinions of Epic Outdoors LLC. Please consult the original audio with any concerns.

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It’s a real love-hate dynamic.

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Very, very difficult country to hunt.

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It has produced a few big deer in the past.

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He’s burrowed himself up under a thick, nasty tree.

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Anything to do with Western big Games.

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To the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.

00:00:22:29 –> 00:01:01:02
Hey everybody. Jason Carter here with the Epic Outdoors Podcast. Got a super awesome guest with us here today. Matt Shimberg of a three trophy hunts. Super excited to talk with him about Arizona and Deer and, and all the kind of giants that he’s been killing over the years and and guiding guys too. But before we get started, just wanna throw a shout out out there to Under Armour. We appreciate them and their sponsorship of the podcast and, and course sponsoring Epic Outdoors in a variety of capacities. And so just super appreciative of them and, and all that they do for Epic Outdoors. And so anyway, let’s see, Matt, as we jump in, are you there?

00:01:02:01 –> 00:01:02:28
I’m here. Good

00:01:02:28 –> 00:01:06:16
Morning. Right on. Right on. Really appreciate you spending some time with me to here today.

00:01:07:07 –> 00:01:08:11
Oh, no problem. Anytime.

00:01:08:24 –> 00:01:23:01
So why don’t maybe kinda, you know, give us a little bit about your background and, and who you are and then, and you know, how you got started in this and maybe a little bit of your childhood and, and how you got to where you’re at today.

00:01:23:14 –> 00:01:59:07
Yeah, okay. Well, like Jason said, my name is Matt s Shimberg. I’m a, I’m a one-third owner of a three trophy hunts here in Arizona. A three’s been been operating for, I think this is our fourth year in Arizona. I started, I started guiding in Arizona, I think about 14 years ago. I didn’t set out to be a guide. It’s kind of a funny story. I used to, I used to train and trade and work with a lot of horses for a living back then. And I, this is back when you could buy the 13, a archery tag over the counter. Yeah.

00:01:59:13 –> 00:02:02:25
And those were the good years that we all wished we could go back to.

00:02:03:15 –> 00:02:07:14
Yeah. You could just walk into Walmart and buy a strip tag and go hunt for three weeks. How about that? Yeah,

00:02:07:17 –> 00:02:18:16
It’s unbelievable. Geez. And, and, and I, you know, I actually did it a couple of times, but never, never actually put any real serious effort into it like we would if we had that opportunity

00:02:18:16 –> 00:03:12:18
Again. Exactly, exactly. I always laugh at how, at how now it’s, you know, nearly a max point draw for everybody to hunt. And and it wasn’t that long ago recent memory that you could buy that tag and go hunt. But that’s what, that was my plan. I’d always dreamed and read and, and obviously knew about the strip. Always wanted to go see it and learn it. And I, I bought a horse that I, I bought a col that I broke and, and sold. And I was gonna use that money to pay my bills up for about a month or six weeks and go to the strip and scout and, and hunt that 13 a tag and, and just really get to know the place. And I, oh, along about June or July of that year, I ran into an outfitter from Prescott there and got to talking with him and he talked me into guiding an archery hunter instead of hunting. And I think I guided 10 hunts for him that year and

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00:03:13:21 –> 00:03:15:03
And never looked back. And here we are.

00:03:15:15 –> 00:03:23:08
Wow. And so when you guided, did you mostly just guide like milder hunters on the strip 10 hunts? Or did you do like antelope elk and different things like that?

00:03:24:07 –> 00:03:56:20
Yeah, no, when we got started in Arizona, we, we did everything and anything that there was, we hunted, you know, from the, from the archery deer to the archery elk to the early rifle elk to, you know, back to the strip from, for, you know, three weeks of scouting before the rifle hunts then, and then 13 B 13 a usually it was a late elk hunt back then versus a late kibab. Yeah. And then, you know, over the counter archery deer in December, Mexico in January. Yeah. It was kind of all over the board.

00:03:56:26 –> 00:04:06:20
Holy cow. And so you went from basically training horses to guiding 10 hunters the first year you got going. And then after that you just kept cranking and mostly guided.

00:04:07:20 –> 00:04:17:21
Exactly, yep. Mostly, mostly guided during hunting season and rode horses in the, in the off season. And that’s, you know, more or less what’s still what I still do today.

00:04:18:01 –> 00:04:37:22
That’s crazy. And so talked a little bit about, like, did you always have an affection for milder? I know we’re gonna get into the milder really heavy ’cause I mean that’s, that’s how what I know you for of course I’m kind of into mule deer, and so I’ve followed over the years and, and kind of, you know, jealous of some of the giant stuff you put your hands on.

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00:04:40:13 –> 00:05:03:07
But, but before we really dive into the mul deer, so you guided antelope elk and, and different things and, and of course elk are cool and there’s, you know, always something about putting your hands on a giant bull. But I mean, you know, was it, was Mulder something you just kind of read about or did you actually, you know, always kind of have a heart, you know, set for Mulder?

00:05:03:28 –> 00:06:02:16
Yeah, I, I always had a, had a thing for Mulder. It was kind of what I could go find out my back door where I grew up. You know, I was fortunate to have a real good friend early in life that that probably taught me more about hunting than anybody else knew the value of optics. And he was just completely infatuated with mule deer before I knew anybody else that ever was. Yeah. And yeah, so spending a lot of time with him and, and, and then I worked on some ranches and spent a lot of my childhood on some, on some big ranches in Arizona that had big deer on ’em and, and, and not so many elk back then. Yeah. So big, big mul deer bucks were just always something that, that lit me up and I always just kind of gravitated towards, towards them, you know, as I, as I started guiding and started guiding more. And, and, you know, Neil, there is always where I, where I spent most of my time and kind of specialized in, so to speak.

00:06:02:24 –> 00:06:50:10
Yeah. Well, and, and so when you get started, you know, now we’re working on draw tags and it’s hard to get these tags and, you know, a lot of these guys, you know, with the non-resident limitations, it’s generally a, you know, once in a lifetime or at least thought of as a once in a lifetime opportunity for non-residents and, you know Right. I’m sure you’re working on the draw and, and somewhat tough to know if you’re gonna, you know, have full work. So you guys back in the day were, you know, doing elk and antelope and anything that was coming along. Right. But, but now, I mean, fast forward to now, I mean, you’re part of a three, of course a three is known for killing giant elk, giant der, giant mul deer, sheep, a little bit of everything. But, you know, you being one third owner, I mean, are you concentrating on the deer portion? Are you doing all of it?

00:06:51:14 –> 00:07:36:17
Yes, I, I most definitely concentrate on the deer. I I live in Fredonia, Arizona now right up here where, you know, where all of our northern Arizona mule deer hunts take place. I kind of head up the, you know, the summer scouting everything that leads up to the archery hunts and, and the rifle hunts. I do occasionally drop down south of the canyon and guide an elk hunt here and there. Okay. If, if it’s somebody, if I’m needed or, or you know, it’s somebody that I know, but it’s, for the most part it’s, it’s 90% milder for me anymore. Okay. And a little bit of cous deer in Mexico in January, December and January. But yeah, it’s about 90% mule deer for me.

00:07:36:28 –> 00:07:51:05
And so are you branching out? Like, you’re pretty much, you’ll do the kibab archery, I mean, you do Kibab 12 B, so 12 a west, 12 A East 12 B, 13 A, 13 B, is that, I mean, anything north of Grand Canyon? Yes. Is that what you’re doing?

00:07:51:29 –> 00:08:20:29
Yes, exactly. We’ve, we do, we pretty much every hunt north of the canyon. Like I live in Fredonia here. We’ve got, you know, James and Milo who live in page, we’ve got Woody and Asher who live in St. George. You know, we kind of got it surrounded and, you know, and it’s took us a number of years to get these guys put together. But, you know, we’ve got ’em now. Everybody’s, everybody’s banking years of experience and, and I feel our, you know, our mule deer offerings are better now than they ever have been.

00:08:21:14 –> 00:08:45:12
Man, that’s crazy. And I know, I mean, you’ve obviously spent, you know, as much and probably more time than any other, you know, significant deer hunter that’s guiding out there that of anybody I know. And, and you know, so now to be able to put it together and have a good crew and, and then move, move up to Fredonia. I had just heard recently, maybe the last six months you’ve moved to Fredonia. How long have you been there?

00:08:45:29 –> 00:08:50:18
I moved to Fredonia last September. Oh, okay. Yep. Right after the, right after the archery deer hunt ended.

00:08:51:02 –> 00:08:57:12
Okay. Alright. And that’s just pretty much following deer Deer, like you’re moving to where you’re hunting deer.

00:08:58:07 –> 00:09:10:23
Exactly. It’s just now I can, you know, I can literally be looking at looking at deer within, you know, 10 minutes out my door and, and before it was a, a seven hour drive. So I I’m definitely closer.

00:09:11:06 –> 00:09:56:01
It’s unbelievable. So, so tell us, talk to me a little bit about, you know, what it’s taken over the years to get to the point you’re at, some of the deer you’ve put your hands on, but just the effort go, you know, from Right. 14 years ago. I mean, a lot has changed, you know, I mean, let’s face it. I mean, you and I, I have seen everything from, you know, guns that barely shot 300 yards to now we’re shooting 1300 yards and Right. You know, same with archery equipment, trail cameras and glass, and an optics. And, and we’ve learned a lot Exactly. Back in the day. You and I, I mean, we both tracked deer and, and a lot of different things. Right. You know, but, but talk to me about when you first started, like how all that went down and, and what your days looked like and how much time you spent out there and all of that.

00:09:56:25 –> 00:10:40:15
Yeah. You know, when we first started, it was obviously before the trail camera boom, I don’t think I even knew what a trail camera was. And so it centered around obviously, you know, early morning, late evening glass. And so a typical day back in the day was, you know, we’d usually just camp outta the truck. We’d always camp someplace, you know, close and handy to where we wanted to look that morning. You know, we’d wake up, hike our knobs, give it a good glass after the morning glass was, was burned up. We spent a lot of time running roads, checking waters, finding big tracks of unknown bucks that we thought we wanted to find and see.

00:10:42:17 –> 00:11:54:14
So, you know, there wasn’t a lot of downtime. We, you know, the strip is a gigantic place. You throw the kibab and 12 B on top of it and it’s huge. It’s even bigger. Yeah. So we spent, you know, midday were, we spent a lot of time checking waters. I mean, that’s what we did. Finding tracks that were big enough to catch our interest and make us wanna find the deer that was making ’em. So we, you know, we track a lot of fresh tracks in the middle of the day, see if we could jump back, see what they were, you know, check waters, put plans together where we wanted to, where we wanted to look that night in the following morning. We did do a, a decent amount of spotlighting in the middle of the night back then. Still do, but, but even more so then it was funny, I used to keep a journal of, of every, you know, at my, every day that I spent out there, at the end of the day I’d write down what I did. And, and I was reading through it the other day and there was an entry in there that I think I was in 13 B and it was mid-July and I’d I’d glass that morning and that night, and I think I’d, I’d seen a total of, of like two bucks that day. Gee. And, and then went spotlighting that night and saw almost 40 bucks.

00:11:56:08 –> 00:11:57:00
That’s crazy.

00:11:57:22 –> 00:11:58:18
Right, right.

00:11:58:29 –> 00:12:05:20
And so how, tell me about the journal like this. Like how many, did you keep it for multiple years? Was it something you wrote in every day?

00:12:06:17 –> 00:12:28:23
You know, I I, I wished I still kept it. I don’t, I kept it for probably the first three years. Yeah. And it wasn’t anything elaborate, it was just a jot down as to, you know, where I was that day, what I saw. Sure. More or less that was it. But it is kind of funny to go back and read it when, when Yeah. Gla glass two bucks in s spotlighted 40. That’s

00:12:29:10 –> 00:12:38:27
Unbelievable. Well, you know, as you know, I mean the, that desert country, it’s, it’s hot in the day. Even it’s hot in the morning. They’re right. They’re just out at night, you know, and, and

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00:12:39:25 –> 00:13:04:02
And well, so what, back then did you spend, you know, the entire month of July, August, September? Like, I mean, I know, you know, you’re probably, you don’t know, you didn’t know it back then like you do now. Of course you’ve had 14 years to really, you know, get after it. But you know what I mean. How much time did you spend and, and trucks that you went through and gear?

00:13:06:08 –> 00:14:25:03
Yeah, you know, back then I would land on the strip about, about July 1st. That was always still is my most favorite part about, about my whole career is the summertime scouting when, you know, you’re, you’re either often by yourself or with good friends or however it may be, but just velvet bucks and summer days. That was always the highlight of my year. So I would start, we would start about July 1st, give or take, and really, really put a good, you know, a good effort in prior to the start of the archery hunt. And as well as all that scouting rolls into, you know, the rest of the year as well. So we would, we would wrap up the archery hunt and we would drop back down. We’d guide archery elk and generally early rifle elk, which would free us up again in early October. We usually just go straight back. Me and a good friend, his name is Brian. You probably know him Jason. Yeah. In fact, I’m sure you do. But yeah, this was all me and Brian back then, and go straight back up, you know, early October and, and just scout, scout, scout right up until about three weeks or a month, right up to the start of the, you know, the 13 D rifle hunt, which was generally around the, started roughly around November 7th or so.

00:14:27:13 –> 00:14:54:24
And yeah, we would, you know, back then I was getting, I was getting about three years out of a truck at the most, of course we rode quads everywhere. That’s what you did. There wasn’t any side-by-sides or Suzuki Samurai or anything. It was a quad. Yeah. And yeah, so we wore out, we wore out a lot of quads. You know, I can definitely give Honda Quads a, a good plug and say you can get 35,000 miles out of one.

00:14:54:29 –> 00:14:58:26
Come on. Much of anything. Are you serious? 35,000 strip miles we

00:14:58:26 –> 00:14:59:26
Have in the past. Yeah.

00:15:01:17 –> 00:15:41:25
Holy cow. Well that’s cool. And so, yeah, Brian, all I remember from you guys is seeing like sunburnt pictures, you guys were both just, you know, skins falling off sunburn from spending days out there. And it always made me wonder, you know, I, I mean, you could see it on your faces, of course you’re kind of grinning ’cause you’re sitting behind a giant, but Right. You know, those sunburnt faces told me, tell the story that you basically lived out there for two months. And I always wondered how much time, like, did you guys have a family life? Did you just, I mean, leave mama at home or, I mean, were you married or, or did you just live out there like for 30 days out of the month? You know?

00:15:42:18 –> 00:16:21:11
Yeah, I mean, back then I, I was not married. I was single and I, I lived out there. I mean, I, I hated to leave the strip and when I got home, I couldn’t wait to go back. Geez. And you know, of course the guy, the guy does get a family and it kind of, that all kind of comes into regulates itself, but Yeah. But yeah, it was, that was really all I wanted to do. It was all I thought about. I was at my happiest just out there, you know, alone a lot of the time and just doing whatever I wanted to do that day and seeing what we could find and how big we could find and Yeah. Yeah. That was,

00:16:22:02 –> 00:16:54:06
Is there, how has it changed over the years? So like, I mean, back then obviously you glassed up a few great bucks and maybe, maybe a few of them you got to put your hands on, but it also, it just feels like people are more successful nowadays. You know, we’ve all taught each other a little bit about, you know, being persistent and hunting one deer for a month or hunting one deer for the entire season if they draw a tag and, and Right. You know, versus a governor tag or something. But I mean, how has that changed? I mean, are you putting your hands on more big deer, do you feel like Yeah,

00:16:54:29 –> 00:17:36:11
You know, I, I think that it’d be possible to talk about the changes today without talking about the trail camera. And you know, that, that as, as well as all the things that you just mentioned, the, you know, we’ve all learned how to be better hunters. We all have better equipment. We all have a lot more options and things in our arsenal that we might not have had back then that makes everybody more successful. But the, you know, trail cameras have changed the, as you guys well know, have changed the Yeah. The landscape completely out there. I mean, it’s a completely different dynamic as, as to what it was, you know, prior to ’em. There’s, you know, of course not, not, you know, everything doesn’t get found out there.

00:17:38:14 –> 00:18:11:09
The majority of it does. And when, you know, when you have, you know, multiple, multiple people trying to accomplish the same goal, finding the same animals it, or most of the same animals, I should say it, you know, it does, it changes the whole dynamic of the hunt. And it’s in both positive and negative ways in my opinion. It’s, you know, everybody’s, everybody is, is hunting giant deer these days, you know, very, very few people are starting out, you know, starting out without a really solid plan to do, you know, in front of them. Yeah.

00:18:11:12 –> 00:18:11:21

00:18:12:10 –> 00:18:28:08
It’s, you know, it increases the, it’s increased the pressure on the top end bucks just enormously. It’s increased the, the the competitive aspects, so to speak, amongst, amongst all of us and Sure.

00:18:28:10 –> 00:18:28:19

00:18:28:26 –> 00:18:37:11
And so it’s, it’s just a, there’s just a different, it’s just a different hunt now than it, you know, than it was before the trail camera got involved in.

00:18:37:20 –> 00:19:16:23
Well, and that’s the thing, you know, we’ve seen a lot of change. I run a lot of cameras. You run, you know, a fair number of cameras, I’m sure. Right. And, and that’s just part of being, staying competitive. And of course we wanna put our hands on the biggest animals and, and some of it comes almost an expectation. You’ve got hunters that draw once in their life. They expect you to be the best at what you can, you know, at what you’re doing Exactly. Compared to your competitors. And it’s, and it is, it’s an industry and Right. And so yeah. Like you’re saying, it, it, it sometimes, you know, I feel the same way. There’s nothing like coming up to a trail camera and, and seeing what’s on it. It’s like trapping,

00:19:17:11 –> 00:19:18:19
You know? Right, exactly. Like,

00:19:18:19 –> 00:20:00:27
What have I, what do I got on this thing? And, and you know, a particular buck you’ve named, you know, you know, what is Joe gonna be this year? Right. All kinds of that. And there’s, it’s like Christmas, I freaking love it. Exactly. You know, but having said that, and maybe you can share part of this is I love the deer more than I’d love that, you know? And so if the trail camera is hammering on deer, I would rather see more deer live and die, die of old age and live at a complete life rather than, you know, be hard on the deer. I really, I really love the deer, even though we’re killing ’em and we’re responsible for a certain amount of ’em dying. You love ’em and respect them and, and

00:20:01:07 –> 00:20:01:21

00:20:01:27 –> 00:20:29:05
Yeah. The truck cameras changed that dynamic and you and I, you know, were hunting big deer before the truck camera came around, you know? Right. But having said that, when you’re running that trap line, I call it my trap line, when you’re running the truck cameras, of course we’re glass in morning and, and evening and then running trail cams midday even into Right two in the morning, we’re running, trying to get everything caught up. But it is so exciting to see what’s on there. And so it’s a real love hate dynamic.

00:20:30:04 –> 00:20:53:29
That’s exactly what it is. I mean, it is extremely exciting. It’s, you know, one of the coolest things is knowing, is knowing what’s really out there and what’s, what’s young and what’s coming up and what’s old and what’s going over the hill and what you’re focused on that year and Yeah. And, but yeah, the old, you know, the older, the older day and the older way is still holds a pretty fond place.

00:20:54:18 –> 00:21:22:02
Well, for guys like you that spent just months out there at a time and, and endless days and hours and stuff, you’re still, you’re still gonna be successful. You’re gonna go out there and find giant animals. And so, you know, it just changes things, you know, the strip and, and I, and I’ve been out there a little bit, nowhere near what you have, of course. But it was one of those places that even though there was access and there was roads, it was still crazy wild. It was

00:21:22:08 –> 00:21:22:23

00:21:23:04 –> 00:21:42:29
Deep desert in the middle of nowhere, don’t want, you know, take three extra spare tires. Right. You know, and one of those wild places that you, that we all had a huge amount of respect for now, it feels like, I mean, it might as well be a paved road out there. It’s not, obviously, but there’s a lot, a lot of activity, you know?

00:21:42:29 –> 00:22:37:11
Right, exactly. Yeah. Back in the day, I mean, you could go, it wasn’t nothing to go eight or 10 days and not even run into another human to talk to, you know, now you might run into three or four a day and I mean, it’s just changed. It’s more popular. And I, I understand that everything, you know, everything evolves, everything changes, and younger guys grow up and, and it all changes. But yeah. Yeah. There used to be something just to be said for, you know, you could crawl up on any knob you wanted out there, any mountaintop, any, any high point and sit down and, and you just get that feeling would set over you as, you know, as to what, what might I possibly see today, you know? Yeah. More than likely nothing. But there, there was a, yeah. You know, there’s just always the chance of seeing something that, that makes your dreams come true. And, and of course we, we still have that. It’s just, yeah, it is just, it’s just different.

00:22:37:16 –> 00:23:16:20
It’s different. Yeah. So do you find yourself, like, if, and I don’t know, you know, and you and I haven’t talked much prior to this podcast or anything like that, but like, I find myself, like, I wanna find a deer that nobody’s found. I wanna be in the middle of nowhere. I wanna find a new waterhole. I wanna find a new, a new spring that pops up, or different things, things Exactly. You know, the earth changes and, and I like to be on top of that. And so do you find yourself, like, I know the far south country of the strip or somewhere just man, like people are not gonna come this far and work this hard. I mean, do you find yourself self still doing that? It’s, you know, just keep pushing the limit?

00:23:17:26 –> 00:24:19:06
Yeah, and, and I do. And in fact, me and me and Beth were just, just the day before yesterday, we’re out in some stuff that I’ve spent very little time in up here, and it was, and we found some big buck tracks, so we’re, we’re excited to go back. But it’s, it is shrinking. You know, when you, when you talk about the, there, there is still some of that exists. The, you know, the, the little, the little pond that doesn’t see much, it doesn’t see many people or the spring or the, the seep or the way, you know, the far outlying areas where, you know, deer density’s so low that nobody in their right mind would go. Yeah. You know? Yeah. But it’s still, that’s still shrinking today. I mean, there’s, there’s still, you know, it’s still encroaches a little more each year. People’s people’s efforts are efforts. So that’s a finite deal. I mean, it’s gonna, the dark corners are, are gonna go away at some point in time, but yeah, as of today, there’s still, there’s still places you can go and find some deer that nobody else has and, and, you know, hunt alone if you want to.

00:24:19:12 –> 00:24:47:20
Right. Tell me a little bit about, now that you’re working on the Kibab, pretty heavy, of course, you know, you probably always have, there’s, there’s big deer on the Kibab and, and of course the genetics are amazing and, and whatnot. But seems like the strip’s always kind of been the place to produce a right little better deer, but, or at least higher numbers of them. But like, how does that change now are like, are you, are you fond of the Kaaba something you’re working hard at as well as the strip? Yeah,

00:24:47:25 –> 00:25:07:27
Yeah. We are. And, and, and mainly through guides that we’ve, you know, guides that we have working with us now, the Kaaba is, is obviously it’s got all the potential in the world. It’s got, is good or better genetics in the strip. It’s always had a tag number problem. It’s always had an age class problem, or not always, but in, in, in my recent

00:25:08:08 –> 00:25:10:05
You mean too many tags? Too many tags,

00:25:10:06 –> 00:26:33:24
Yes, exactly. Too many tags issued, didn’t they have, you know, adjusted those sum and, and putting the archery on a draw, I believe helped as well as I think we’re, we’re going into about our fourth year in a row of, of, you know, average or above precipitation, at least in the springs and the summer. So, you know, it’s still, it’s still, it’ll never be the 13 BT tag, you know, if it, if it keeps going the way it’s going, it could, yeah. I mean, it’s getting better every year. I mean, it’s, it’s gone from a 180 to a one 90 to a, to a 200 plus type hunt these days on the, on the late hunt. There’s just, you know, the age classes growing and the number of good bucks rounder are increasing, hopefully that yeah. Hopefully we can stay that course and keep, you know, the tag numbers are the big thing. And that’s, that’s just like on 13 a, you know, this year there’s, I believe there’s a 10, a 10 tag reduction on archery and a 10 tag reduction on, on the rifle hunt, which doesn’t sound like a lot on face value, but you know, that’s outta those 20 tags reduced, there’s probably, you know, 16 bucks that’ll live on, and that’s, that’s, that’s actually significant, especially in that country. It’s a

00:26:33:24 –> 00:26:35:20
Pretty big deal out there with low densities.

00:26:36:09 –> 00:26:37:06
Right, exactly.

00:26:37:13 –> 00:26:58:10
So yeah, that 13 a archery’s looking at like 15 total tags, which is pretty cool. Like, I mean, it’s, you know, bad for the opportunity and, and for the drawing odds, and of course, you know, all of that. But at the same time, like if you love deer, which we love deer, right? It’s, it’s good for seeing a few deer live and get another year or two, three years of age.

00:26:59:13 –> 00:27:24:19
Exactly. Yeah. The opportunity, the, the opportunity, the opportunity crowd is, they probably don’t like me much. I’m, I’m, I’m all for reduced opportunity and bigger deer or, or older deer, and they’ll probably hang me for that. But that’s, and you know, and when the guys finally end up with the tags, they like, they like, you know, less opportunity in older deer too. Yeah.

00:27:24:26 –> 00:27:44:22
Well, to maintain these older deer, you know, to maintain a good age structure or at least old deer, and I love deer that die of old age. I love that. But you definitely, you know, you definitely have to reduce tags if you’re gonna have the latest technology, you know, if you’re gonna be using truck cameras using

00:27:44:22 –> 00:27:45:13
Long it’s out question,

00:27:45:27 –> 00:28:01:27
Using long range driver, using the big, the big eyes and, and all of the state-of-the-art equipment as well as, you know, feeling like nobody has a job and everybody can spend 30 days out there, you know, and Exactly. A team that spends 30 days a team of guys that don’t have a job and unlimited gas funds.

00:28:02:29 –> 00:28:03:21
Right, right.

00:28:04:01 –> 00:28:05:10
And so anyway, it

00:28:05:10 –> 00:28:27:15
Just, and that’s an excellent point as far as the, you know, tag numbers matching the advances that, that we’ve all made with technology and all that. That’s, you know, and that’s something we’ve really not seen. We’ve seen, we’ve seen advances in technology a bunch and, and advances in tag numbers as well. So it’s, it’s, it’s good to see that they’re leveling off and potentially coming down with the tag numbers.

00:28:27:28 –> 00:28:42:07
Yeah. Yeah. I wonder if maybe they’re just listening to everybody and, and when it’s hard to get an accurate count of how many deer are out there and it’s hard to do a accurate, you know, average age and, and get all that data. And so it’s almost a social thing, you know, listening to people.

00:28:42:09 –> 00:28:43:23
Exactly. Exactly.

00:28:44:07 –> 00:28:59:08
What’s your opinion on like the 12 A East nobody ever talks about, and you know, and I know it’s, it has produced a few big deer in the past, but I mean, is it, what’s your opinion on that? Is it, is it come looking on as an upswing as well as the 12 a west side, 12 B?

00:29:00:18 –> 00:29:54:14
Yeah, I think, I think that it’s all in an upward trend. We usually, you know, we usually take a couple guys on the east side each year. We’ve done really well in recent years. You know, they keep the tag numbers about where they ought to be on the east side. And, and I think it’s got, you know, with some of the guides that we’ve got that, that spend a lot of time in 12 a East, you know, and hunt that hunt each and every year and also live right there. It’s, it’s, yeah. I mean, I would take it over the west side personally, I don’t know that it’s, I don’t know that it’s leaps and bounds better, but, but less people and, and less tags and less competition and less activity, you know? Yeah. They just, they keep those tag numbers about where they ought to be, I think.

00:29:54:20 –> 00:29:58:01
Yeah. There’s not much, I mean, you’re talking that late hunts running 30 tags.

00:29:58:23 –> 00:29:59:03

00:29:59:11 –> 00:30:06:25
You know, there’s just not a lot of, not a lot of pressure. Whereas, you know, the, the west side on that late hunt’s running, you know, a hundred.

00:30:07:21 –> 00:30:13:03
Exactly. And I think the early is like 500 on the west and what is it, 130 on the east.

00:30:13:08 –> 00:30:25:11
Yeah. They’ve actually changed. It looked, well, it’s, it’s actually hovering around 95, you know, 9,500 like you say. Right. I mean, they basically summer are up on top together, roughly, you know? Right,

00:30:25:17 –> 00:30:25:27

00:30:26:11 –> 00:30:37:14
And, and so anyway, but it sure does seem like, you know, it’s, I don’t know that east side’s always kinda intrigued me. I don’t know anything about it. Never have spent much time on it at all, but Right.

00:30:37:22 –> 00:30:49:23
And I, I haven’t spent as much time on it as I, as I would like to, but I know that some of the bucks that George and them have killed off their last few years, it’s, it’s a fantastic hunt.

00:30:50:00 –> 00:31:25:10
Yeah, you bet. Well, good. And so I know you did bring up precipitation, which is huge. Where I hunt, of course, you know, there’s high country guys that love, you know, region g h and in, in Wyoming and then Right. High country in Utah, high country in Colorado. And, and that’s good. And it doesn’t, but it doesn’t feel like maybe they’re as drought sensitive as, as we are where we hunt, which would be Arizona and Nevada, Southern Utah. Right. Even New Mexico, some of it. But just wondering what your opinion is. I mean, like this year you gotta be so freaking excited to get out there on the trip. Oh geez. And

00:31:25:10 –> 00:31:25:16

00:31:26:01 –> 00:31:51:05
Absolutely. You know, watch 200 inch deer grow to two 40 in one year, you know? Right. Or even I’ve had exactly 187 inch sheds go to 2 37 girl. So it’s just crazy. I know you get a deer that jumps from four to five plus add moisture. It’s just crazy. And just some of your thoughts on that. I know you said, you know, of course we had four good years and last year was a good year in some of the country I hunted. And it feels like this year’s teeing up to be better, you

00:31:51:09 –> 00:32:49:23
Know? Right. And I, I think that it is, I mean it’s, we’ve been, we’ve been pretty much all corners of the strip already this spring. It looks, it looks, you know, a scale of one to 10. It’s a between an eight and a 12 about everywhere you go out there. So the spring is, the spring is gonna be phenomenal. What’s, what’s equally as important in my opinion, is the, the prior year summer, and how the deer, you know, the feed they had going into the winter, which, you know, we’ve had some really good summers in a row out here, which just in my opinion, as far as it relates to antler growth and precipitation, it’s all, it’s kind of a big, a big snowball effect, so to speak. I mean, you, you build off the prior year and roll into a spring like this where, you know, everything this spring is gonna be as fat and as sassy as it can possibly be. They’re not gonna have any body condition worries. They’re gonna be able to pump everything into their antlers that they possibly need.

00:32:52:03 –> 00:34:03:01
So as far as the, the condition of the, you know, the habitat and the range for these deer up here, it’s, it could not be any better. The kebab looks phenomenal. Both the, you know, the winter range is, has just got headed out feed just blowing in the wind right now. And, and the top is, is, you know, already green as a gourd as well. So it’s, it’s nice to have yours when antler growth worries and concerns are not a factor. Yeah. And you don’t, you know, you’re, we get a lot of guys calling and consulting with us about, you know, should we apply, should we buy a point? And, you know, just to just eliminate antler growth as a, as a problem is, is really nice. And this year is definitely one of those years. I don’t think we’re gonna have any, any antler growth problems whatsoever. I expect all units up here to have, you know, really phenomenal, phenomenal hunts through all the seasons. You know, even some of those, even some of those early seasons should probably show some, some improvement just ’cause, you know, it is, it is so healthy. And these deer have literally shed their antlers into inch deep green grass and, and you know, they’ve just been packing it on ever since. So

00:34:03:02 –> 00:34:04:22
That’s crazy. I did spend some, we’re

00:34:04:22 –> 00:34:05:04
Super excited.

00:34:05:13 –> 00:34:33:07
I did spend a little time Turkey hunting up there this last past weekend, of course, on the youth hunt with my kids and Oh yeah. And it was, it’s unbelievable. That mountain is, is crazy. Of course, I’m up there and up on top, you know, especially on the west side, there’s no understory. There’s just like trees and it’s just a clean forest, you know, and I just wonder what these deer eat that make ’em so big. Like, I don’t see fields of bitter brush like you have out there on the strip, you know? And I

00:34:33:07 –> 00:34:34:00
Know, I know.

00:34:34:06 –> 00:34:35:05
It’s a crazy place.

00:34:35:26 –> 00:34:52:13
Yeah, it is. It’s, you know, whether we see it or not, they know where it’s at and they go to it. So Yeah, it’s, yeah. No, we could not be more excited and fer our elk too, you know, it’s, it’s shaping up to just be one of them, one of them good old years where yeah, everything’s fat and happy.

00:34:52:16 –> 00:35:05:15
Yeah. Especially with those elk seasons, the archery season being dark part of the moon, latter half of September, it’s just gonna be incredible. Of course. Yeah. You guys, you guys know all that and probably have named bulls that you’re excited to look at, so.

00:35:06:13 –> 00:35:07:06
Right, right.

00:35:07:19 –> 00:35:35:23
Tell me about the different season options. So of course we’ve got the early archery, we got the, you know, on the Kaibab we’d have, you know, in, in 12 B we’d have, you know, kind of an earlier rifle, and then you’ve got the late rifle and, and then on the strip we’ve just got archery and one rifle season. But, you know, tell me about the different options on those. What’s, you know, the good, bad, what you see if serious Archer should really consider doing archery? Or does he wait to do rifle? I mean, what’s your opinion on some of that?

00:35:36:22 –> 00:37:02:00
You know, know, my opinion on the, on the archery hunt is, is that if a, if a guy is an experienced archer, or even if he wanted to become an a, an archer, the archery hunt on the strip is, is in, in my opinion, as far as being able to target a big deer and, and likely get it killed, the archery hunt is, is better, in my opinion. I prefer it for, for going after a particular deer and getting it killed. Guys that, you know, we do run into, you know, a certain number of guys that are discouraged with applying for Arizona, you know, say the 13 D rifle tag year after year and getting rejected. So they’ll, they’ll draw the archery tag as a means to acquire their tag, you know, less than the fact that they’re, they may or may not be an archer and, and guys like that have trouble, but if, if a guy is at, got any sort of confidence with a bow at all, the archery hunt on the strip is a phenomenal hunt. Much easier to, to get lost in some country by yourself and have a big deer to hunt that, you know, you kind of have to yourself more or less. And, and they’re just obviously a lot more patentable that time of year. You can find them, you know, usually more days than not, the season is three weeks long versus 10 days. So for guys that like to shoot a bow and, and shoot a bow, well the archery hunt is the best hunt in Arizona, in my opinion. Wow.

00:37:03:21 –> 00:37:38:26
You know, where obviously the, you know, the trade offs to the rifle hunt are obvious, but, you know, the rifle hunt is, is, you know, we lose a certain number of bucks to the rutt. We also gain a few bucks, a few bucks to the rutt, and we still do obviously target, you know, particular deer and, and generally get ’em killed on the, on the rifle hunts as well. But me personally, you know, for the extended season dates, the patentability of the deer and the effectiveness of archery equipment these days, I mean, the archery hunt is, is it is a one in a million kind of a deal.

00:37:39:06 –> 00:37:58:21
Wow. You know, and we find that in Nevada and southern Utah as well, but it’s always kind of interesting. Well, and just to expound upon maybe what you’re saying on losing deer to the rutt is basically, I mean, you pattern them, they take off, they’re, they’re within 10, 20, 15 miles looking for a hot bow. Right. But you lose them, you lose track of them and then, yeah. Okay. Yeah.

00:37:58:27 –> 00:38:46:06
You know, those strip seasons, you know, they, they coex, they, you know, they coex side more or less with the rutt pre rutt leading into full rutt and yeah, like you just said, I mean, you can, you can pattern these bucks, you know, more or less all year long. And then, and then the month of November they might just be gone on you, but, you know, and some bucks will, will summer and, and rub and rutt and shed the rattlers on the same ridge it seems like, and not, you know, it’s just every deer’s an individual. Some seem to roam a lot, some don’t, you know, even in country where, where dough den, you know, equal or, you know, so they’re just, they’re like people, they’re individuals. They all get a wild hair and do this or that, but, so we always lose a few bucks during the rutt, but we also

00:38:46:19 –> 00:38:52:25
Find a might gain few you didn’t about Exactly. Yeah. And you always probably wonder like, where’s that thing water? You know?

00:38:53:12 –> 00:39:01:06
Exactly. If I had a nickel for every time I would scratch my head and go, I wonder where that deer’s water, I would, I’d be rich.

00:39:01:17 –> 00:39:24:23
Tell, tell me, like these archery hunts. So it can be tough too when it rains out there, it spreads ’em out. They can do a walkabout for a minute and they’re not so tied to water. And of course the heat keeps ’em tied, you know, a little closer to water at times. And so, I mean, what, how does your hunting tactics change when, when all of a sudden you get monsoons come in right before that archery hunt? Would you still say that’s the best hunt, or do you, or does that make it tough? Yeah,

00:39:25:14 –> 00:40:14:29
You know, and that’s, that’s funny because I think that this last season was the third year in a row that we have not killed any archery bucks on a water hole. Yeah. We’ve killed almost everything in the last three years, which is some of the biggest deer we’ve ever killed. All, all spotting and stocking. You know, I, I tell guys, you know, guys that are thinking about applying for the archery run, I, I I tell ’em that we, you know, we are not tied to waterhole hunting in any way, shape or form. In fact, it’s, it’s, if, if we think we can kill that buck sitting in the water, we absolutely will. Odds are probably not in our favor that we’re gonna be able to hunt that buck off water. He is either gonna, because the monsoons are, have been real consistent the last four years. Yeah. And like you say, you get, you know, you get a half inch storm and, and nothing comes to water for a week if it stays hot.

00:40:17:01 –> 00:40:57:22
You know, either that or, or just those big deer as they get towards the, you know, towards the end of their velvet cycle, they, a lot of them trend more towards being nocturnal on water. You know, the increased, you know, the increased activity from, from just the hunters and the scouters leading up to the archery hunt can, can make some of these deer go nocturnal or switch water. So we, we don’t really base our archery hunt around water hole hunting at all. It’s almost all based around spot and stock and you know, and, and, and that being said, if that buck’s hitting water at daylight, you can bet we’re gonna be sitting on the water for him. But, but it’s just usually doesn’t pan out that way with the ones that we choose to hunt.

00:40:57:27 –> 00:41:06:19
Yeah. So even with, you know, not even with monsoons coming in, you just hunting glass, deer, deer, you’re just glassing ’em, right. Glassing ’em up, bedding ’em, stocking them.

00:41:07:06 –> 00:41:07:21

00:41:08:01 –> 00:41:11:03
Is that kind of what you’re doing? Just beding ’em, wait until they bed and then stock ’em.

00:41:11:17 –> 00:41:17:11
Yep. That’s, that’s, you know, and, and, and not necessarily wait till they bed, but all but all centered around spot and stocking. Yeah.

00:41:17:18 –> 00:41:34:12
Yeah. Okay. Well that’s awesome. And then, you know, it’s just, it’s crazy to see how these different seasons pan out like that. I know there’s been some giants, you’d mentioned that the last three years you had some of the biggest deer you guys have ever harvested. I’m sure that’s over 160 inches.

00:41:36:12 –> 00:41:36:28
A couple of them.

00:41:38:01 –> 00:41:44:04
What, give us a little rundown, like, you know, how big a deer you guys been putting your hands on last, last little while?

00:41:45:04 –> 00:42:09:12
Oh, well, last, you know, the archery season, just last year we killed three bucks that averaged over over two 20. I think one was in the, in the teens, but two of ’em were in the mid to upper twenties days, two twenties. And, and two of the, two of the three were, were typicals. I, I imagine you guys maybe seen a picture of’em, but we killed two gigantic typicals ly, both of them.

00:42:09:29 –> 00:42:10:11
Oh yeah,

00:42:11:02 –> 00:42:35:16
Yeah. Both of ’em net over 200, one of ’em net so big. It’s scary. He actually jumped off about a 25 foot bluff when, when he got arrowed and wound up breaking his skull plate completely in half. I mean, it could, you know, cape the deer and the antlers fell apart more or less. But, but we’d probably, we’d probably be hearing a lot more about that deer had he not broke his skull plate.

00:42:35:29 –> 00:42:43:09
So I know Boone and Crockett accepts broken points. As long as you have that broken point, you got both sides of the skull plate. They’re not saying they’re not letting you do it.

00:42:44:15 –> 00:43:06:07
Well, I haven’t, the last time I checked to my knowledge, broken skull plates were unacceptable, both Boone and Crockett and pop and young, pop and young. I don’t, yeah, I don’t think they operate off the same basis as a broken point, which yeah, I guess this, you know, with that inside spread credit always being somewhat of a Yeah. Quote unquote unknown. They just don’t allow it. Yeah.

00:43:06:15 –> 00:43:44:23
Yeah. Geez, that’s unbelievable. I did hold one of the typicals up there at the Expo, I think another deer that you guys killed. Drifter was up there. Yeah, yeah. Put my hands on him, which pretty much took me about an hour to get my jaw off the ground. Right. But tell me, tell me a little bit about drifter. Like let’s talk about this deer, you know, I know he is a even somewhat of a famous deer among you guides to a degree over the past few years, and then you guys finally ended up putting him on the ground. Tell it, tell me, give me a little rundown. Start with maybe when you first got him and then started following him, and then what it took to get him knocked down.

00:43:46:06 –> 00:44:20:09
Yeah, yeah. Drifter was a deer that I originally found in 2010, I believe the summer of 2010 in a spot that was actually the deer when I originally found him in 2010. He lives right by right by the most main road that runs right down through the center of 13 B. In fact, any, any given summer morning, you could stopped on the road and looked out the window and saw him come on. But he just wasn’t, he wasn’t big yet. You could see that, you could see that Paul Mason in that mask kind of

00:44:20:25 –> 00:44:21:17
Coming on

00:44:21:19 –> 00:45:01:22
Kind of set in there. But he was just a baby. And then the following year, which would’ve been 2011, the the deer moved and had I, had I not used trail cameras, I would not have known that he moved and he moved actually from, from, from the summer of 10 to the summer of 11, he moved about six miles, which doesn’t sound like much, but it kind of is for a summer deer Yeah. In on the strip. Yeah. And he, he basically found a spring up on a mountain that, that not too many people knew about. If they knew about it, not too many people ever took the time to go there.

00:45:04:10 –> 00:46:11:15
And so the spring he moved on to is basically just a, a little seepy, just a little seepy muddy spot on the, on the side of a giant thick mountain that breaks off into some giant thick canyons and just, you know, very, very difficult country to hunt. So he would, that’s when I named him drifters, when he drifted on over about six miles this new spring. Yeah. And, and started looking pretty cool. But, so he would come and, and he would, he would hit, he would only hit water about twice in a year, maybe three times if you were lucky, as far as where we had cameras. And he would, he’d usually make his first appearance like in the latter part of June. And then he’d hit it, you know, he’d come in in late June, he’d come in early, early July. And then about the fourth, or you know, about the more or less the monsoon start, give or take, around the 4th of July around here. And, you know, once you got a couple of good monsoon storms, the deer was just gone and, you know, obviously had another water source out there. And if I,

00:46:12:06 –> 00:46:15:14
You’d give anything, didn’t know that water source, you’d get everything. Well, there’s everything you,

00:46:16:15 –> 00:47:55:11
And there’s no way to express how much time and miles myself, you know, my friends, my associates spent hiking and looking for another water sources this deer could be using. And we just never found it. We just could not find one. And so oftentimes some of those years he would disappear in early July and he wouldn’t resurface again until the following June. Geez. But then as he, you know, and he went from, I don’t know if, lemme see if I got my years correct. I think in 2013 was his first big year. He was over two 50 in 2013, 14. He was down, he was down to around 2 30, 15. He was, he was stayed about the same, actually, he was about, I think those sheds were Oh, those sheds at that, that that guy picked up from him last year. Those sheds, unbroke, I think they said they were like high two fifties maybe in 15, and then 16. He, he was what he was when we killed him. And he, so in 15, to back up just a little bit, this is after, you know, minimal, minimal pictures of the deer. One, one kid that was helping me saw him in 2015, he actually got, there was, there was a guy down there that was scouting and jumped the deer and he just happened to be sitting in the right spot to watch him run off in a canyon, come on.

00:47:56:12 –> 00:47:59:06
And saw him put his own eyes on him, didn’t video him, just saw him,

00:47:59:20 –> 00:48:04:25
Just saw him tear off this rim and, and could tell it was him and then gone. And that was it. So

00:48:04:25 –> 00:48:13:09
Now you’re starting to put the pieces together, like now, you know. Right. He was betted over here or, or he exactly. Went here from some water source.

00:48:14:25 –> 00:48:51:05
Exactly. And, and that was actually when the kid that saw him, his name was Matt also, when Matt saw him, that was two days before the, the 13 B rifle hunt started. Okay. So we were obviously the, you know, all time excitement and we, we, we went down there with every trick we had and, and never laid eyes on the deer the entire, the entire hunt, which was, you know, becoming commonplace with this buck for him to just, you know, we knew he was around, we just could not Yeah. Just could not find him.

00:48:51:17 –> 00:49:15:16
So he’s got, so at this point in time, this is 2015 November-ish, and you’ve got, you’ve got clients and you’re trying to kill a deer. That’s, that’s an absolute freaking monster. Does somebody s hold out and eat their tag hunting this one particular buck? Or is it something you, you gave up and, and killed the consolation buck or how’d that go down?

00:49:16:08 –> 00:49:43:02
Yeah, you know where this buck, where drifter live, there’s, there’s usually always another good deer or two around there. And when I say good deer or two, I mean, there’s usually a couple, you know, a couple bucks north of two 20 or there was back then, so the constellation bucks were still pretty good Giant, yeah. Pretty good bucks. Yep. So it was kind of handy to be able to always look for drifter as well as these two other, two or three other bucks that might be around as well. So,

00:49:43:08 –> 00:49:43:17

00:49:45:11 –> 00:50:01:13
You know, it was that deer had made a clown out of us for so many years that we never, we never had somebody that was willing to just fully commit 10 full days to that deer or nothing. Yeah. Mainly because the constellation deer were, were great also. Well,

00:50:01:13 –> 00:50:23:19
They’re big and they got a once in lifetime tag and they deal and, you know, 220 inch deer are freaking giants, so, you know, or 200 inch deer, 210 inch deer. And so I, I get that, you know? Right. You do that. Only a few guys out there that could eat a tag and not kill a two 20 buck hoping to kill drifter. It’s rare, in fact, if anybody can. But

00:50:23:28 –> 00:50:37:23
Especially on about, you know, the evening of day eight when one of them, them two twenties stands broadside out there about 200 yards. And, and it’s pretty hard to turn that deer down when, when the, the one you’re hunting hadn’t been seen for three years. Yeah. Or, or whatever.

00:50:37:23 –> 00:50:42:22
Exactly. So, alright, so 2015 you end the season. He, he lives on,

00:50:43:27 –> 00:51:47:08
Oh, backing up just a little bit, back into 2015, one thing that the deer did that he had never done before, at least in our knowledge, was he, he moved down, he moved, expanded his country and moved down into some stuff that’s a little bit more huntable. Not great, but, but better than where he was. And he made a couple appearances on a, on a cow pond down there. Yeah. And then going into 2016, this last season when we found him the, the first time he was back up in his old haunts up in the dark timber up in, you know, just where we didn’t want him to be, but he, by the first part of July, he had moved right back down into some of this better country and he stayed down there. He would still disappear through the summer. He would still disappear for, for three weeks or a month. I think the day we killed him. We had not had any trail camera pictures of him in about 18 days.

00:51:49:15 –> 00:52:35:26
But he, so as he got older, you know, he just changed his habits a little bit and started spending time, you know, in a little bit easier type country and, and a little bit better overall, better type deer habitat countries just more feed and more just easier living. Why he did it, I don’t know. But he did. And, and you know, we were able to, you know, through our scouting, we were able to know that he moved down there, was spending his time down there. And so, you know, come, come Brock’s hunt. Last year we, you know, Brock was the first one that, I mean, it was drifter or nothing for Brock. I mean, he was just solid as stone. I mean, there was no other deer that was gonna Yeah. Even, you know, that was even gonna, and he was interested at all. So that was, you know, we needed somebody like that.

00:52:35:26 –> 00:53:20:05
And Brock was perfect. We went down there and, and started hunting on the 15th, like I said, the deer, you know, we’d have, we’d had no visible sightings of the deer with our, with our eyes or our binoculars, despite having, you know, good team, plenty of eyes on the highest things around. Yep. Still no sightings, no trail camera pictures, just kind of, you know, tracking tracks in the middle of the day and seeing if, geez, that might be him. And just, I, I’d like to say that there was a big grand, you know, military type precisionist plan to kill this deer, but it was more or less it was, it all boiled down to just, we know he is here somewhere. Let’s just spend all our time here till we find him.

00:53:21:00 –> 00:53:29:18
Just old school. This old school we’re talking Matt Berg of, you know, 14 years ago, started to trash bucks and just old school.

00:53:30:09 –> 00:54:00:02
Exactly. And, and oddly enough, the day we killed him, he, one of the guys helping us glassed him up just out in the, on the end of an open point for the whole world to see Glasson from the same spot where we’d had somebody morning and night for the previous eight days, he just, there he was with, with another buck just out in the wide open. He, geez. So we were all scattered out, you know, a fair amount and, and

00:54:00:20 –> 00:54:02:29
Five miles, like a five mile perimeter

00:54:03:20 –> 00:55:03:29
Or, yeah, exactly. Yeah. That, that, that pretty much, that pretty much sums it up. But, so the, the Brian who was watching the deer feeding on an open ridge top went over a ridge outta sight. So we’re, we’re scrambling to reposition to, you know, get more eyes on him, get one guy moved around across the canyon and, and he picks him back up. Him and him and another buck kind of go into a little pocket and bed in the bottom of a pocket where nobody can, nobody can see the deer. Multiple people can see the pocket. Yeah. And I ran around and got multiple different vantage points trying to cut into this pocket and get a, get an eye on the deer. Lots of thick country around, you know, the deal, Jason, where Yeah. You know, there’s, there was a couple avenues where the deer could have got away without anybody seeing him. We didn’t think he had, based on the time of day that he went in there,

00:55:05:17 –> 00:55:08:14
If he reeds, it’s gonna be 10 yards or around the tree or

00:55:08:21 –> 00:55:20:10
Whatever. Exactly. Right. And so got with Brock and, and started walking Brock in there, and Brock and George.

00:55:20:10 –> 00:55:27:22
So you’re going blindly, I mean, you don’t have anybody with eyes on him, so you’re just, you’re going in there like, you’re gonna go in there and whatever happens, happens kind of thing.

00:55:28:08 –> 00:56:16:08
Right. I’m across the canyon. I, I, I exhausted every option I had as far as trying to glass the buck up. And Brock and George are on the other side of the canyon on the same side of the canyon as the deer. And at this point in time, we’re just like, yeah, let’s, let’s just walk in there and, and kill him. So they start in there and it’s tight and it’s close and they get about 125 yards. Still can’t see anything. Yeah. The buck that was with drifter blows up and out of the pocket, rattles a bunch of rocks, rolls a bunch of rocks, makes a bunch of noise, runs up and out through the saddle and out the back. And, and Brock and George, they get up there in position where they can see the back of the hole. And, you know, they’re just waiting.

00:56:16:09 –> 00:57:09:08
They’re just waiting. Brock’s sitting on a tripod at the ready, just waiting for drifter to go up the hill. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. And I was, I was certain at that point that he was, that he was still in there. Those guys went around about two more trees. And, and as you guys will see on the video, when we, I think that video’s about done here soon, but drifter’s laying up under a tree, he’s not bedded up under a tree like you would expect most bucks to bed under. He’s, he’s burrowed himself up under a thick, nasty tree. And he is like laying right at the trunk of it where he can’t hardly even stand up and get out. So he’s, he’s hiding in there and he is just laying there, kind of, you know, just shifting and ear back and forth. And, and Brock shot him right in his bed. You know, the deer was still unsure of, of who or where we were when we killed him. And

00:57:10:25 –> 00:57:12:08
How far, how far was he,

00:57:13:07 –> 00:57:15:19
He was like 110 yards when Brock shot him. Come

00:57:15:19 –> 00:57:30:16
On. So, so his buddy blows out, he knows you’re there, means you’re a hundred yards. Right. Got a couple people. And so he, you know, he’s just not, maybe doesn’t have exactly eyes on you, but he’s holding tight. Right. Like he’s holding tight.

00:57:30:21 –> 00:57:32:15
He’s he is not getting up. Exactly.

00:57:33:05 –> 00:57:33:14

00:57:34:17 –> 00:57:44:27
Wow. And that’s, you know, it makes me, you can’t help but wonder in hindsight, how many times that deer held tight on us or somebody else for that matter. And, and just,

00:57:45:22 –> 00:57:46:13
Yeah. He knew,

00:57:46:16 –> 00:58:08:20
You know, just let us go right on by. Let us do our thing. Let us make a mistake that let him live. But yeah, that, that’s, that’s some of the coolest stuff to me is, as far as hunting mule deer goes, is how some of these big old bucks act and how, you know, it takes a lot of, it takes a lot of self-control to let your 185 inch buddy blow outta there and roll rocks and

00:58:09:10 –> 00:58:09:16

00:58:10:22 –> 00:58:15:02
You know, and, and you just lay there and trust what’s always gotten you by up until this point,

00:58:15:12 –> 00:59:20:26
It’s unbelievable what those deer will let you do. We were glassing a deer one time and, and washed him bed. Some hunters came down the ridge. They’re within I would say like 25, 30 yards. They see, you know, a forked horn, deer down in the bottom of a draw. And they shoot nine times at this deer. And this deer never moved. He’s 25 yards from him. They’re, that’s crazy. Cranking off rifle rounds. We’re watching the whole thing. And then we move in on this deer after the guys leave, they go down, you know, grab their deer, throw ’em in the bike, and they all leave. Then we go in and make a stock and shoot this deer. And, and almost felt bad doing it ’cause he’s so freaking cool. You know, like he just taught you something and you watched it. Right. And, and he deserved to live. And anyway. But tell me about walking up to drifter. Like tell me about, you know, I mean there we’re in the business to, you know, find deer and, and put our hands on deer and, and, but the respect level you had to have had for this deer and just all of that.

00:59:22:15 –> 01:00:26:14
Yeah. I mean it was, you know, he is him and one other buck are, are most definitely the, oh, the pinnacle of my career, I guess you should say. Thus far, walking up on drifter was, was a whole different range of, of emotions, I guess, if you will. Obviously thrilled beyond belief for Brock. Sad that, sad that the buck was dead. Although there’s very few deer I ever walk up on. I’m not, I’m not sad that they’re dead, but he was, and let me, let me elaborate on that. When I say sad, it’s just like you say, it’s comes from a, it comes from a level of respect. It comes from how much, how much appreciation that I have for these deer and what they have to go through seven days a week, 365 days a year just to live. You know, when our, when our hunting season is done, we go, we go back to our heated house, or when it’s too hot in the summer, you know, some of us go back to our, our air conditioned house and these, you know, these deer, they’re just, I hold a lot, a lot of respect for these, for these animals.

01:00:26:14 –> 01:01:18:23
And drifter was the fact that he went so long without being seen. So there’s, there’s three people that I know of that, that saw drifter on the hoof. Two of ’em are, are with us and one of ’em is not. You know, the, despite what a lot of people would like to think, there was very few people that knew about that deer. A lot of people knew about that deer’s existence. Yeah. As far as where and what it was, not hardly anybody knew about ’em. Yep, yep. And so that was, you know, that was special too, just that in the day and age that we live in with the, with the hundreds of trail cameras and, and all the technology, this deer was still able to almost, not quite, but almost almost go undetected and live a, you know, and die a natural death almost. But yeah.

01:01:18:27 –> 01:01:20:13
How old, how old do you think he was?

01:01:21:17 –> 01:02:26:22
I think he was nine. Yeah. I think he was, I think that he, you know, I think that he was still so big at that age and that’s, you know, I’m not a tooth expert. I got my, I I, you know, there’s not been a lab tooth sent in that’s been, that’s been cross cut off him that I know of. But just, you know, based on how many years I knew of the deer, what he looked like all those years and how he didn’t, you know, the deer did not, in my opinion, go rutt real hard each year. I think he probably had a small little, a small little spot with a dough or two that he went and that’s where he spent his rutt. He surely wasn’t out there, you know, traveling a lot and ricocheting around all through all that country rutting, all the doze. ’cause we would’ve killed him a long time ago if he was Yeah. And, you know, so I think that that the fact that he didn’t run himself ragged Rutten every year, I think helped him, you know, be so, so big later in life. You know, I think the deer was, was for sure eight, if not nine. Yeah.

01:02:27:03 –> 01:02:42:17
Well, you know, in 2010 when you’re starting to, you know, you’re starting to see him, then of course, you know, you can kind of figure that might’ve been his four year old year, you know? Right. It’s not hard to get to 10, you know, eight Right. Nine, 10, somewhere in there.

01:02:43:05 –> 01:02:43:19

01:02:43:26 –> 01:02:51:10
And then you, you know, of course you hit your 2 50, 2 thirties, two fifties, and then what did he end up, what did he end up on the ground?

01:02:52:04 –> 01:02:55:03
He was, he was 2 88 and change on the ground green.

01:02:55:20 –> 01:03:26:14
Geez. Unbelievable. Just, I know, I saw just one trail camera pick a random, didn’t even know really the deer’s name. And I, I just, I’ve never seen a picture like that. And I think it was the sheds that the kid found. Of course, it just looks like a wall of antler. Right. Just inlines. And there’s something about, I used to kind of be into those cheaters and, and of course we, we are like, we’re into anything that grows off the head. Right. But, you know, nothing like those big inlines, just tons of inlines, you know?

01:03:26:25 –> 01:03:29:00
I know. It’s crazy And big long ones, right. Yeah.

01:03:29:23 –> 01:03:54:08
So well just wanted to tell you guys, congratulations on such a great deal, but, you know, thank you very much your whole career and, and all of that and, and tell Brock the same thing. You know, maybe he’ll listen to this, but just couldn’t be happier for you guys and takes a special client to, it takes the right team and the right deer and the right client and, and congrats to you guys for that. So.

01:03:54:23 –> 01:03:56:17
Well, thank you very much. We really appreciate

01:03:56:17 –> 01:04:05:02
It. Yeah. Appreciate you sharing the story. Tell me, as we, you know, wrap it up here a little bit, just a little bit about your personal hunting. Have you ever had a strip tag yourself or

01:04:05:15 –> 01:04:11:23
No? I, well, I have, I’ve had a, I had a strip tag last year, except it was for bighorn sheep and not for deer.

01:04:12:03 –> 01:04:13:19
Okay. All right. For spikes.

01:04:14:14 –> 01:05:10:09
Yeah, exactly. For big, big old heavy spikes. I no, I’ve, I’ve never drawn the strip myself. I’ve got, I’ve got quite a bank of points. I don’t quite have Max, I think I’ve got 15. Yeah. And, you know, some years I apply for a tag. Other years I, I buy a point kind of based on everything we’ve really just talked about precipitation. Yeah, sure. Inventory of bucks we know to be alive. But I’ve yet to draw my, yet to draw my own dear tag out there. I’ve, I’ve got a daughter that’s now almost seven and I’ve waited this long. It’s, this might sound funny to some folks, but you know, if she, if she has the interest when she’s, you know, 10 years old or older, I’m probably gonna hold out and draw that tag and then give it to her. I think I’d get a lot more, a lot more enjoyment outta watching her shoot one if she wanted to then I, then I would if I, if I killed one myself. So that’s kind of my plan.

01:05:10:17 –> 01:05:24:24
Well, that’s awesome man. And yeah, I agree with you. But it’s gotta be a little, little nerve wracking. I mean, you’ve been, i I don’t know how many, you know, 200 inch deer you’ve held over the years. How many deer have you held over 200 inches? Let’s just ask that.

01:05:25:22 –> 01:05:46:12
Oh, held, I think myself, guys that I’ve personally guided or been directly involved with the hunt, it’s, it’s probably around 35 bucks. Yeah. Over 200 and then with a three and every, all of us put together, I think we’re somewhere around 70 bucks, over 200 harvested in all of our years.

01:05:46:18 –> 01:05:53:03
Just a significant amount of big deer. And, and thankfully there were renewable resources, there wouldn’t be any left. Right,

01:05:53:05 –> 01:05:53:20

01:05:54:23 –> 01:06:08:11
And well, so it’s gotta be a little nerve wracking. Like what would you hold out for a tag for yourself? I mean, is it something, do you have a specific kind of deer in mind that you’d like to kill? Or is it just almost, you know, you’re probably a little nervous to draw it yourself?

01:06:09:14 –> 01:07:11:24
Yeah, yeah. I, you know, I I I might differ from a lot of guides in, in the respect that I, I, you know, I get, I, I’ve got to hunt and find scout and find and hunt and harvest so many of those big old deer that we fell in love with and we’re infatuated with and respect respected so much that I just, I think that if, if I can sit next to my daughter and watch her shoot one, whether that’s 185 or or 2 85, I think that Yeah. You know, that’s what’s gonna be the highlight for me. I, yeah. As far as a certain deer that I wanna, that I wanna harvest myself at some point in the future, I don’t really have one. I get to go and scout and find and hunt these deer every year. Yeah. You know, and when you, when you’re blessed enough to be involved in taking some bucks like drifter and, and a couple of the other ones in the past there, it’s, it’s like, where do you, for me personally, it’s kinda like, where do you, you know, what do you, where do you go from there kind of as far as, yeah.

01:07:11:28 –> 01:07:13:22
You know, I guess we could kill a 300 inch, but

01:07:13:29 –> 01:07:20:23
Yeah. 300 inch hard horn official. Right. There you go. In the book, you got, hey, you gotta have goals, you know, Matt, you gotta have goals. Exactly.

01:07:21:08 –> 01:07:23:20
And hey, those 300 inches are out there, here and there. So they

01:07:23:20 –> 01:07:36:20
Might be, you just gotta hit ’em on the right year, you know, so. Right. Anyway, will, is there anything, as we wrap up, is there anything that you feel inclined to visit about real quick or that we didn’t cover?

01:07:36:26 –> 01:07:48:08
Yeah, you know, I would, I might just say in closing that, you know, we’re gonna start our, start our scouting out there about May 25th and, and gonna hit it harder than ever. So

01:07:49:02 –> 01:07:49:11

01:07:49:21 –> 01:07:56:17
Anybody that’s, anybody that’s got the points or has the tag and, and wants to talk about going hunting, we’d sure, we’d sure like to talk to ’em.

01:07:56:17 –> 01:08:00:29
That’s awesome, man. We’re not gonna find you down there scouting elk or anything in mid-July, are we?

01:08:01:18 –> 01:08:03:21
You will not find me scouting elk in mid July.

01:08:04:26 –> 01:08:06:28
Alright. Alright. We got

01:08:06:28 –> 01:08:07:17
Other people that’ll

01:08:07:17 –> 01:08:29:10
Do that. That’s right. Well good. Well, I just can’t tell you thanks enough for spending a little bit of time. This story freaking had me on the edge of my seat. Of course. I’m into Big Deer and, and most, there’s a lot of people that are into big deer, you know, that’s the one species we all kind of grow up on out here and Right. And even sheep hunters are deer hunters if you’re from the west, you know?

01:08:29:28 –> 01:08:31:13
Right, right. Exactly.

01:08:31:29 –> 01:08:48:28
So anyway, sure. Appreciate it. Maybe I’ll have you on again, let’s, I know there’s, I want to dive into like 14 other dear stories and so maybe we’ll Right. Maybe we’ll visit when you’re in, in between scouting days or something, trying to catch up on some rest or something, so. Sure.

01:08:49:00 –> 01:08:53:06
Anytime. And we, we really appreciate the opportunity to come on and, and talk with you guys.

01:08:53:14 –> 01:09:25:08
All right, sounds great. Well appreciate that and appreciate Under Armour for sponsoring this podcast here today and, and helping us with a lot of different projects that we’re working on. We’re always growing and moving. We do publish a monthly publication from December through June and then bimonthly for the rest of the year for nine total issues a year. You can get on epic to join or give us a call, be happy to visit with you, help you with application strategies and, and whatever it is you need for Western big game hunting. So with that, we appreciate it and we’ll talk to you soon, Matt.

01:09:26:01 –> 01:09:27:26
Alright, Jason, thanks a lot. All right. You

01:09:27:28 –> 01:09:28:05

01:09:28:26 –> 01:09:29:06

01:09:29:06 –> 01:09:29:25
See. Bye.