In this episode of the Epic Outdoors Podcast our host, Jason Carter talks with Robby Denning about Mule Deer hunting. Robby is the author of a book titled “Hunting Big Mule Deer: How to Take the Best Buck of Your Life.” Jason and Robby talk about what brought Robby to this point in life and how he built his Mule Deer Addiction.

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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Here’s this

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Giant buck walking over the rim. I mean,

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And the more escapement they have, the more opportunity they have to get six to nine years old. And these

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Bucks know what they’re doing and they know how to survive. And

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Anything to do with Western big games.

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To the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.

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Hey everybody. Jason Carter here with the Epic Outdoors Podcast. I’ve got an awesome guest, mule deer fanatic and freak Oh, Robbie Denning on the line with us. How you doing, Robbie?

00:00:33:17 –> 00:00:34:19
Good, good man.

00:00:35:18 –> 00:01:10:07
I’m glad you really appreciate you spending some time with us today. Anyway, I’m, I’ll let you introduce yourself to a degree, but I did wanna, you know, just kinda just give you a little bit of a informal introduction, the best of my knowledge. But I know you and I have known each other for years and years, and of course had a mutual respect for each other. And I know you’ve been knocking down some giant mule deer and kind of made that your life’s passion, which is similar to mine and, and anyway, but you’re doing it up there north usually it seems like there in Idaho and Wyoming in the high country for the most part. But anyway, I’ll let you kind of take it from there.

00:01:11:16 –> 00:01:37:17
Yeah, sure. You bet. And now, man, I’m thankful to be on and like I was saying before we got on the air, really have enjoyed your podcast. And there’s about three or four of ’em I listened to. And one of ’em is always yours learned a lot. And I’ve kind of learned from way back when that just listening to other hunters that have had similar experiences, and you can learn from everybody, it doesn’t matter if they’re no more than you or no less than you, everybody’s had experiences. And so it’s just great to be able to share ’em and appreciate you having me on. You

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Bet. Yeah, I appreciate that. And it’s, that’s right. I listen to a lot of podcasts too. In fact, they’re quite addicting. Yeah,

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Definitely makes the drive to out, out to check those trail cameras or to go scouting a lot. Go by a lot faster, huh?

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Yeah, it sure does. So well give us a little bit of an introduction, like, I mean, maybe even from birth, I guess just bring yourself, you know, bring us up to speed on who you are and, and what got you to where you’re at.

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Yeah, you betcha. Before we get into that official stuff, there, there, there’s something I wanted to share with you guys. Just take a couple minutes. I wanted to share with you this, this recurrent nightmare I’ve been having. And like you said, we’ve known each other for a long time, but the, the dream always is the same. I find this giant Idaho buck. I mean, he is a pig over 40 inches wide, you know, classic southeast Idaho buck, just a hog. Massive. I mean, his, his, his bases are as big as your ankles. And he, he’s got more junk hanging on him than Dennis Rodman. I mean, this is a buck Jason. And you know, I even better than that, I find you about a month before the season. He’s in a, in a place that I know really well. I’ve never seen a deer hunter there.

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It’s kind of one of those dumb outta the way places. And I’m, I’m pumped. I mean, there’s, there’s a good chance of me killing this buck. But typical Robbie Denning, I just can’t leave him alone. And, you know, I’m up there every day. I want to figure out where he, where he sleeps, where he eats, where he drinks, where he goes to the bathroom, where he makes love. I mean, what, whatever I can find out about this buck Yeah. I want to find out. And so I end up overdoing it and I lose my job. But, you know, like dad said, you can always get another job. You probably not gonna find another 40 incher. And I notice when I drive into work every day, McDonald’s is hiring. So I got that base covered.

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Oh, geez.

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But consequently, you know, the wife, she’s not too happy with the whole deal besides being gone and, you know, losing the job, all that stuff. So yeah, on the few nights I am home, she, she won’t even let me near, I mean, not even a kiss. And that’s all right. I figured this will be over soon. I’ll just sleep in the garage. The, the kids, they kind of feel sorry for me, so they come out and see me. They’re a little closer to my maturity level, so, so, you know, they get me through this time. But, but, but finally the day before the openers here, and you know how it’s Jason, you are just so pumped. Yeah. You know, you know where there’s a giant buck, you got a good chance of killing him. I just know I’m gonna have him in my fry pan by the evening of the opener.

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So I load all my gear in the truck. Of course, it’s been packed for weeks, repacked rifle sighted in, I’m, I’m ready to go. And I, I head for the hills. And, you know, the, the trail, it’s not even really a trail head, it’s just kind of an old sheep herders path. People don’t even really know where it is. You got a four dig up the mountain to get to it. And I pull in and there’s Jason Carter’s truck. And dude, I wake up in a cold sweat screaming, no, I, I don’t really know what the dream means, but I keep having it. And I, and I have a feeling I’m not the only guy.

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Well, I, I’m, I hope to be chasing a deer, like you’re explaining one of these days. If you find one, just let me know about him.

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No, I’m hiding, dude. I’ll disappear. In fact, when I quit returning your calls, you’ll know that’s what happens.

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Oh my gosh. That’s classic.

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Anyways, man, I, I grew up in southeast Idaho. I live in a little town. I own Idaho. It’s just outside Idaho Falls. Like you, Jason, you know, dads are the ones that kind of plant this seed. And like Garth did with you, my dad did with me. He was taking me out even before I had a license. And, you know, I was cold, I was tired. I didn’t even know if I liked it. But he kind of planted that seed. And as, as I got older, my dad was a big buck hunter. He hunted a few other species, but that was his primary focus. It just lit my fire and got me excited to do it. I realized how hard it was. And this was, you know, in the eighties when there was, you know, a few more big mule deer around, a few more opportunities to chase ’em.

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But they were still hard. They were really hard to get. Yeah. Especially the big ones. And so it was just kind of turned into a, a quest, you know, my dad always challenged me that he said, anybody can kill a big buck once. He says, guys, spend enough time in the woods, eventually they’ll probably get lined up on one, he says, but it’s, it’s the second one that counts. He says, if you can do it twice, if you can do it on purpose, then, then you’re learning. And I just kind of took that on as my, my mission, you know, test him out a little bit, see if he was right. Like you, the further you get into it, the further you get into it. And I just, it just became my passion. And I ended up changing my, my college major to English, just so I could write.

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I was inspired by a lot of the early writers of, of the eighties, you know, Dwight Shoe, you know, Chuck Adams, anybody that wrote about mules there. Kurt Garner was a big one. And I just wanted to it do that at some point in my life too. And so to my, my dad’s chagrin, you know, changed my major, changed my career, you know, definitely have made a lot, lot, lot less money than I would’ve sticking with an engineering degree. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Jason, just looking back, I’m, I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing. I mean, right now I have more jobs than I can count to just pay the bills and make ends meet. But we’re doing fine. You know, I’m, I’m married, happily married, 17 years. I got three great little kids, cash, Sophia and Grace. And you know, they’re all still home. They’re all, you know, in their 11, 11 and 15. So real busy house. Wow. Stay at home mom. But it’s all good. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t change trade, any of it for, you know, a better job or, or an easier life. I really wouldn’t.

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Wow. And so, so you graduate college, I mean, I assume you graduated college and then got a job right after college, or what do you, what have you been doing?

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Oh man, I was, I’ve always been on the, on a different plan. I, I changed my major when I was about two years into it. So I had all my generals done and everything. Changed it from engineering to English. And of course, you know, when you, when you do that, you gotta get a job right away ’cause you know you’re not gonna make a lot of money. And I started working at a health club when I was 18 years old. You know, just part-time vacuuming their floors. Well, by the time I’d made that change in college, you know, I’d been there like two or three years and working at their front desk and kind of got a passion for fitness too. And so I went on the 10 year plan for my degree because I didn’t want to go into debt at, even at an early age, I just, debt, debt scared me mostly for the chance.

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I knew I couldn’t afford to go deer hunting if I was in debt. So, sure. I just paid for school outta my pocket as I went. I, I did, I only took like one or two loans the whole time I went through school. So consequently, it literally took me 10 years to get through school. I would, I would never go in the fall for obvious reasons. You know, I, I would pack it all into the spring semester, you know, working, working my job year round. And so I never graduated until I was 33. And by that time I had kind of built a career in the, in the, in the fitness industry and Okay. And, you know, fast forward, I’ve still got that same job. That’s one of the three jobs I’ve got right now. And I manage a big crew of personal trainers.

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Oh, great. Well that’s awesome. Yeah. I noticed, and we’ll jump into this a little bit later, but in your book, you had quite a bit on fitness in there and anyway, that’s good. I I didn’t know all that.

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Yeah. It keeps me from getting fat.

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Well, that’s good. Something’s got it. ’cause as we get older, things change.

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They do.

00:09:23:06 –> 00:09:39:06
Well, good. And so you got cranking and then you were always hunting big deer through 18 years old through 33 years old. I mean, or I mean, when did, when did you, you know, when did that passion really, really gain some traction?

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It hit hard when I was about 23. And, and, and I talked about this in my book too, and read Kurt Garner’s book Kind had already had that passion. And then when I saw somebody doing it on purpose, getting it done, it just, it just sparked me up. And, and, and you know, I know Kurt has had some problems. I, I don’t want to gloss over that. I realize he has, you know, he’s, he’s put all that behind him. He’s hunting again. But, but he, the guy still knew deer hunting and I kind of became, he kinda became a mentor to me over the years and him and, and other guys. And so by the time I was about 23, it was pretty much all I could think about to a fault, you know? Yeah. To a fault. And yeah, that was when I changed my major over and everything.

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But I, I really focused on it from the time I was about 22, 23, really wanted to take a big buck, you know, up here everything’s width and, you know, wasn’t really score back then, it kind of is becoming that now. But, you know, just looking for wide bucks, heavy buck, nasty bucks. Kinda like the one in my nightmare there I told you about. Which by the way, I’ve never seen one. And when I was 20, 26, I found, lemme back up just a tiny bit. That winter in 92, 93 changed everything. Yeah. It was really hard to find deer. Yeah. In, in, in those years after that. And you know, I was scouting from Colorado to Idaho and it was still tough, but it’s kind of like, it is after those hard winters, a few giants show up and yeah, I don’t know if it’s just, they’re genetically, they’re the best bucks that make it through the winter.

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They were heavier in the body. Yeah. Maybe they didn’t run as hard, I don’t know. Just more prepared. I, yeah, exactly. But it seems like, you know, a couple of years after those winters, I’ve seen this a couple times, you just see some pigs. And so in 95 I found a, a 35 inch typical just in an O T C unit here in southeast Idaho. And he was awesome. Jason, he’s one of the few Boone and Crockett typicals I’ve seen. I threw everything I had at him. I found him in late August. I ended up hunting the buck like 24 days between the end of August archery and the rifle, which was the end of October. You know, I come off of that mountain a changed man and I didn’t get him, I didn’t even see him once after I doubted him. Geez, that makes it hard.

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I, that kind of buck and living in the kind of place that they’re really just hard to refind, you know, a lot of cover. But I came off that mountain a little disheartened, but I remember, you know, all my uncles, my dad, everybody, you know, they, they were all buck hunters, but every one of ’em was like, our hat’s off to you. Yeah. We’ve never seen anybody put forth such an effort. And it just kind of encouraged me along the way. And that same summer when I found that buck, I had found about a, a 200 inch, kind of a nasty looking buck, pretty heavy up and coming. You could tell he was a little bit younger. Buck didn’t even end up hunting him. ’cause I liked his 35 inch or better. So the next summer, which is when I was 27. So I’m, I’m on, I’m back on the story here.

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I promise I was 27 that summer. I, I started scouting for that buck checked, checked up there a couple times, didn’t seem and went back, you know, late August was kind of deciding like, where am I gonna hunt? You know, season’s gonna open here in a few weeks. Our, our two season opens August 30th and I found him and oh man, he had just exploded. And I’ve heard you talk about bucks like this Jason, that, you know, they just kind of limp along 3, 4, 5 years old. They’re looking pretty good. You’re, you know, you’re kind of hoping you see him again and then when you do, you just almost don’t even recognize him. Yeah. They go 40 inches and I gotta to look at him about a half an hour out of, on a, on a fairly open slope. He was with like 10 other bucks. And like the big ones always are.

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He kind of stayed back in the trees. But I could, I could still see him. He beded down on a little knob and as the sun kind of come around the mountain, I got about a minute where I got to look at him in the sunlight and he was awesome. I could tell he was at two 20 to two 40 range. You know, not, still not the best at scoring. But you know how it is when you see a buck like that. You don’t, you don’t really Right. End up scoring. You just know that’s the one. So I hunted him during archery season. They put a big herd of sheep in there. Got to know the sheep herder pretty good. Didn’t really see the, never saw him, saw some of his compadres. You know, you’re wondering if they ran ’em all out of the country.

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There’s a couple other toads in there too. ’cause you know, this is about, what, three years after the hard winter? This is 96. And yeah, there’s another buck in there that looks, he’s got Christmas tree growing out his head. He’s probably got 30 points on his antlers. I think his mainframe was like a two point, you know, that kind of buck. Just a stag looking thing. Yeah, exactly. And he, and, and you could tell he was a really old buck. He was really, really fat. Really, really big. So I was, I was happy with whatever, you know. I mean, I was, I was there to, to kill one of those two bucks. Archery season ended. I never saw either of those. Like it always is. And after they took that herd of sheep out of there, there was nobody around. There was no reason not to see these bucks.

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But you know how it is. No, they just hide. And I, there were so many big bucks that year. Ja, Jason, I ended up finding an about a two 30 non-typical just up on the foothills east of Idaho. Idaho Falls here. Went up scouting with a friend. He had some access to some private property that it, it really wasn’t very good. A lot of people could hunt it, but he was like, Hey, ride up with me. You know, I’ll, I’ll take you to breakfast. Kind of show me how to find these deer. We drive up this little canyon and up on a little rim, it’s kinda low rim rock, sage brush type country, you know, Aspen sage zone. And here’s this giant buck walking over the rim. I mean, and, and it was just classic, the guy I was with thought he was an elk.

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I mean it was that kind of deal. I’m like, no, that is not an elk. Yeah. And I forgot all about that high country buck. This buck was in a spot that was easier to get to. I was kind of worried somebody’d kill him, you know? ’cause there was a fair amount of people that hunted in there, even though it was private land. We threw everything we had at that bucket. It opened October 5th that year. You know, we were camping out in the, in the dirt glassing. I mean, we, we hunted eight days. Never laid eyes on him. Another guy that came in there killed one of the bucks he was with when we saw him. He was with another four point that buck got killed. And you know, I’m just thinking this buck’s gone. He’s been, it’s not that big of a ranch. You know, there’s other ranches around.

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I think you’ve probably been pushed off, you know, all the stuff you tell yourself. But I just kept at, at it. My, my poor friend, he had gone home. He, he chalked me up to the Looney bin and about three o’clock in the afternoon I’m getting ready to head up the hill. I was saddling my horse. And here goes a truck driving by with a great big antler sticking out of the back. Geez. Dumped in my pickup. And I headed down to the road. ’cause they had to go out the main gate and I knew they’d stop at the gate. And they got that buck. And it was a kid. He was, he, he was a nice kid. He was probably 20 years old. His dad was a doctor. His, they had taken like a sticker out of the landowner’s eye, you know, just a couple weeks ahead and the landowner, oh yeah, come on up, hunt the place.

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Sure. Right. That kind of a deal. Kid drives in at one o’clock in the afternoon, kills this buck. 300 yards from where we’d seen him, you know, a month before. Hadn’t had hunted there the whole time. Never saw him. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, I’m pretty disheartened, very disheartened. I just can’t believe it even happened, you know. But I shook the guy’s hand. It doesn’t matter. He got it. That’s how, that’s how it was. I got home, threw up, threw up, cried, licked my wounds. And you know how it is about one night’s, one night of sleep and one good meal and you’re fired up, ready to go. Yeah. I had the horses in the trailer. By the next afternoon I headed for that high country buck. Yeah. And just as a big snowstorm hit. And just as elk season hit, our elk season opens October 15th.

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So I got there that night. Sure. Camps everywhere, guys everywhere. I’m just kind of the same deal. I had just left on the private land, but, and I, I didn’t even know if anybody had killed that buck. You know, there are deer hunters that go in there. Sure. I didn’t even know if he was around. And so I hit it hard. I hunted six days straight. It was like the perfect storm. And, and, and I don’t mean that as a cliche. We, we got just pounded with blizzard conditions like you usually get in November. We were getting ’em in October. I dunno if you remember that winter in 96. It started pretty early everywhere. I remember the

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Drought, I remember the drought of 96 down here. It was hard. It made it hard. I had a tag over here in the, out in C W M U and anyway, it was just tough on the ponson. It was tough, tough, tough to find a big deer in 96. But anyway, keep going.

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Yeah. And that’s how it was here. We had that drought all summer, but when it hit, it hit Yep. And within like six days, I was hunting in, in 18 to 24 inches of snow almost enough to make the deer leave. And I think most of the time they would’ve left. But it hit a little bit early and I just kept hunting that same place where I’d seen him. Of course I hadn’t seen him. Saw some other buck elk hunter’s everywhere. Guys shooting little three point bucks and everything. Sure. You know, just about as disheartening as you get. I climb up on a little rim after tracking this buck one morning and thought it was him. Another hunter got on him. I just had to let that buck go. And so I’m, I’m headed back to, to camp and I get up on this little rim glass, this little basin.

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One more time. There stands that buck that I’ve seen. Wow. Two years in a row. This is the third time I’ve seen him. He’s in the same 800 yard circle he was before. He probably was the whole time. Or very close to it. A lot of timber. A lot of aspen. Yeah. And, and praise the lord. I paced him. I get him. That’s the long story to how did I get in it? That buck lit my fire, Jason. Yeah. Even though it was my first really big buck, I just took the torch of what dad said, that if you can do it once, then show us, you can do it twice. And I just love that whole experience as hard as it was. And you know, the, the emotional rollercoaster you’re on, you know, finding big bucks, losing them, other people killing them. I know you’ve been through all that stuff. Yeah. But when you come out the other side, you’re, you’re a better hunter for it. And, and, and you wanna do it again. You know, it just, it just lights a fire inside of you. So, you know, that was 20 years ago, Jason. And, and here we are now. Yeah.

00:19:36:12 –> 00:19:51:23
That was 20 years ago. And so, you know, having said that, you’ve learned a lot in the last 20 years. If you, if if you had that opportunity again and it was 1996 again, do you think you’d have killed that first buck knowing what you know now?

00:19:52:05 –> 00:20:40:25
That’s a great question. And I’ve thought about that for a lot of years. I, I kind of subscribed to the scout, big hunt, small philosophy. You know, you gotta cover a lot of ground. You gotta look around. You gotta, you gotta look as many bucks as you can. But once it’s, once the season’s open, you better focus. I hunted right where he was at. Now when I say right where he is at that kind of square mile right there. Sure. Probably didn’t focus enough on that canyon he was in. ’cause there was a road in it. Yeah. And you know, and I hunted it. I mean, I hiked in there a couple of times and you know, I’d, I’d ride my horse around the rim of it in glass, but I just didn’t hit it hard enough. Now it doesn’t mean he was there the whole time. You know how they’re, they can, they can move 600 yards in a night and that’s a long ways, you know, if they jump over a canyon, put a couple quickie pockets between ’em. But, but yeah Jason, I think I probably would’ve just said, you know, he was right here. There’s cover here, there’s water.

00:20:43:01 –> 00:20:49:14
I should probably just spend my time right here. Could I have killed him or not? I, I don’t know. I don’t know. I just know I’d have been a little more focused than what I was.

00:20:49:23 –> 00:21:44:04
Well there was a, you know, it’s funny you talk about that with the roads. There was a deer I killed in 2005. I was prec scouting. I was glassing him. I was actually just, you know, up on a knob glassing him, had him and just watching him and the road, there was a road into the area, which obviously I’m taking to get into there probably, I dunno, I wanna say 800 yards from where he was or 700 yards. And here comes a truck. I can see this truck and dust cloud from way back. And so I know he’s, this truck’s coming truck probably gets within a half mile or or so of where the deer’s at and the deer’s between. So I’m beyond the deer. The deer is between me and the road. So he’s closer to the road by ways I’m glassing him and I watch him and pretty soon he, he kinda looks in the direction of the truck and then, and he’s feeding on bitter brush that’s taller than his head.

00:21:44:08 –> 00:22:45:16
I mean giant, giant bitter brush. And he walks around the bitter brush and sits there and, and watches the truck as the truck drives by. He’s, he watches watches through the brush as, and the truck drives by pretty soon you don’t hear it rattling anymore. It’s the sound’s gone. He’s, he flickers his tail and goes back to feeding. And it’s the most crazy thing. And you just, and they, they adapt. They learn how to, how to deal with that. And there’s some deer that never learned that because maybe they weren’t raised by the road. Maybe they, they didn’t, you know, I mean all of that. I mean, it kind of depends on where they’re raised and, and they get accustomed to their environment and what they call home. And, and so I think if there’s roads, they get used to it and they know how to deal with it. You know, they’re never gonna be whitetails, they’re never gonna love dealing with people. And I’m not saying whitetails love it, but they, they thrive in agriculture. Mulder just never will be that. But they learn, they learn how to deal with it.

00:22:45:20 –> 00:23:17:06
Yeah. And, and once you see a deer do that, it, it just kind of changes everything for you. And, and you know, I wrote old thing in my book about, you know, I don’t just hunt the back country. ’cause those places, like what you just said, they can grow giant bucks and you know, it can’t be slaughtered with hunters. It can’t be a road, every single placement. Sure. Gotta have enough escapement. But once you see that, you kind of figure out these, these bucks know what they’re doing and they know how to survive. And it’s just helped me kind of slow down a little bit and look a little harder. And instead of, well, nothing here, let’s head over to the next unit.

00:23:17:20 –> 00:24:16:26
Sure. Right. Yep. I agree with you. And, and the more escapement they have, the more opportunity they have to get to, to be six to nine years old. And, and then the more chance there are of having, you know, bigger deer and, and the kind of deer that you’re looking for. And so that’s what you’re talking about with the roads that we were up in Idaho this last year and, and of course my brother-in-law, Jeff works with us here at Epic. But anyway, he, he found a big deer and there was roads all around it and where I’m just like, man, we gotta kill this deer. And anyway, it wasn’t, you know, the first time he got blown, blown out, which was opening morning, you know, the deer’s gone. Like he, and he gets it. Like he’s, he knows where he is going and he knows what he is gonna do and, and he’ll let you look at him before the season. But the first time you screw up on him and some of those deer, you have one opportunity when they’re, especially when they’re seven or eight years old, they get it. They didn’t get that age by being stupid. So,

00:24:17:09 –> 00:24:19:11
And he didn’t come back to that rotor area. Right?

00:24:19:14 –> 00:24:20:16
No, he didn’t uhuh.

00:24:20:17 –> 00:24:31:10
Right. It seems like there’ll be something that can hold them there when there’s no hunting pressure. I don’t know if it’s the water, the brush, the aspect. Yeah. But, and like you said, you got one chance. Yeah. You

00:24:31:10 –> 00:24:31:23
Got one chance

00:24:31:23 –> 00:24:54:00
And then they’re gone and, but other places, you know, as long as there’s a little bit of security cover there in that first buck we talked about that the other kid got, that’s what I finally realized is that even though a lot of people hunted up there, they’re, they’re heavy quay pockets. You know, he, he could get away from that road and once he was away from that road, you know, it was another half a mile to another road and there was a lot of cover between it. Yeah.

00:24:54:00 –> 00:24:54:06

00:24:54:18 –> 00:24:55:11
They know those spots.

00:24:55:17 –> 00:26:11:10
That totally makes sense. And that’s the thing, this particular area didn’t have any cover. And so, you know, and he’s probably still within a mile. There was some, you know, deep ravines and, you know, five foot tall sagebrush and burrowed out beds and I mean, I mean there’s, there’s escapement so to speak, but Yeah. Not right there where he was at. So. Well that’s a, that’s quite interesting. Let’s see, you brought up Kurt Garner, so we might as well just go there for a minute. I know in your book you, you gave him pretty, pretty good plug just for, you know, the spark and for your friendship is what you wrote. And I just kind of wanted to visit, I guess, about that since you brought it up. Just your relationship with him. What, and of course he inspired you, which is awesome. And I just, he was a little bit before my time just a little bit, obviously I know, you know, probably what everybody knows, but you can’t follow the guy for loving mul deer. And, and you know, having said that, you know, doesn’t, it also doesn’t make right what people do. That’s, you know, that’s not Right. Right. So, so anyway, but yeah, talk to us a little bit about your relationship with him and, and, and just your experiences there. Yeah. Well,

00:26:11:13 –> 00:26:56:13
You know, he, he had written that book and how to Find Giant Books came out in 83. I read it in like 89. It was still pretty fresh and it was, it was just what my dad had been talking about that you can do this stuff on purpose, you know? Yeah. You focus on big bucks, you can kill ’em. And so here was somebody that was just pretty plain spoken, you know, laid it out tons of pictures of big bucks, you know, you couldn’t dispute what he knew. And, you know, I just kind of became a, like a lot of guys my age back then. Right. A Kurt Ner groupie. Yep. And he was, he’s just a, he’s just a nice guy. I mean, he’d answer his phone when you’d call him. And I just called him out of the blue, probably early 92. I had a Colorado tag I was doing some research on and just called him and, you know, got some, got some advice on how to hunt Colorado.

00:26:56:14 –> 00:27:37:04
Didn’t really necessarily talk about the unit. I could tell he got needle on that stuff all the time. But he was just a nice guy. And, and I ended up calling him, I dunno, like a year later he remembered me, you know, and, and, and you could just tell that, that, that he didn’t mind talking to you. He wasn’t above you. Yeah. And as time went by and I hunted Colorado more, you know, he invited me down to his house. They were, he was big into banquets back then raising money for mule deer. And he invited me to a couple of those. I got to know him real well and his wife Paula. And you know, Kurt had some problems, you know, that buck on his, the, the cover of his books disputed as being killed by another hunter. Sure. And you know, he is never, never had any poaching charges.

00:27:37:17 –> 00:28:21:00
He, he got, he got pinched for, he, he had an, he had a high fence elk operation in the, I don’t know, mid two thousands, somewhere in there. And a, a state owned elk had got into the, into the enclosure. Yeah. And you know, Kurt’s, one of them good old boys said, Hey, come get your elk. They didn’t come get him. So Kurt sold him, you can’t, you can’t sell professor, you can’t sell wild game. That’s like cattle wrestling from the government, you know? Yeah. So he got in a pinch with that and he just didn’t do it. Right. And, and that’s the thing I want people to understand. I’m, I’m not condoning anything that he did. I’m not, I’m not brushing over that. Sure. But as far as a genuine human being that could get it done on mule deer, you can learn a ton from the guy.

00:28:21:06 –> 00:28:58:22
Yeah. And he was a very nice man, a very loving man. I mean, he just, he just kind of opened his whole life to me. And yeah, he had a lot of groupies like me that were bugging him all the time. I’m, you know, I’m sure sure that it was just easier to ignore us. But he, but he wasn’t that way. And so as I got to know him and I, I guided for him. He was an outfitter as well. I learned a bunch from him. I got to go hunting with him once, just him and I had some Colorado tags and just a good friend. And, you know, Kurt Kurt’s pushing 80 now and he’s still hunting, he’s still leaving gut piles everywhere. He got his license back a couple years ago. And he’s just an inspiration to me. And, and I don’t want to just throw him away.

00:28:58:26 –> 00:29:46:01
I mean, I might make a mistake someday you might make a mistake. And, and the hunting world, you know, or even seeing it this week, they’re pretty unforgiving. And, and I get that. I mean, guys that, that are, that are kinda leaders, they, you know, they need to lead clean lives, tell the truth, you know, all that stuff. But I guess I just wanted people to know I I’m not gonna duck and run because he’s had some problems. He is my friend. I would want my friends to stand by me. I don’t have to agree every, with everything a friend does, but they’re still my friend. Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s how Kurt is. You know, I just talked to him a week ago. He’s on fire about hunting is you or me. I mean, you know, he is out looking for tags right now. He didn’t draw. He’s, you know, he is gonna go guide a hunter. I mean, he’s, he’s just, I hope I’m doing that when I’m 80, put it that

00:29:46:01 –> 00:30:19:19
Way. Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s quite interesting. You know, I’ve gotta commend you for that attitude. I think it’s one of those things, people make mistakes and, and it’s, it’s nice if they change. It’s, it, I think what’s hard on people more than anything is, is maybe they, they look up to ’em and they feel let down. Like they feel like they were, you know, they feel stupid, you know, like, geez, you know, I looked up to this guy and, and he wasn’t who I thought he was, nor who he professed to be. And so that’s the hard thing more than maybe the actual crime or, or whatever.

00:30:19:21 –> 00:31:23:06
Yep. And I went through that too, Jason. I had those same emotions when that whole thing all happened with the, with the, with the state owned elk. And, and I had to testify at, at his trial as a character witness. Yeah. And we didn’t have to, but I wanted to. Yeah. And so, dude, I felt all those emotions too. But I guess it got down at the end of the day when I wrote my book, I thought, I am, I am a, a liar if I don’t tell people the influence this guy has had on me in a positive way. Yeah. And, and he helped me become in, in a big way the deer hunter that I am. Yeah. And I, I, it just felt a little false, you know, not, not talking about it and, and, you know, I got a black eye. I mean, some of my worst reviews on my book out there because I mentioned Kurt, but like I said, he’s my friend and yeah, I hope my friends don’t abandon me if I ever screw something up. He just, he just, just had a big influence, I guess we could go on and on, but I, I just can’t say enough good about him. And I, I guess we’ll leave it with this. I, I understand he is, had some problems, but he’s done a lot of good for Mule there and he, and he inspired a generation. Okay. I’ll leave it

00:31:23:06 –> 00:31:47:23
At that. Great. Well, so what, obviously, you know, you’ve hunted Wyoming and Idaho a lot. I mean, is that mostly the country that you’ve concentrated in for big MUEs or the high country or, I mean, I, I know you’ve hunted Nevada and you’ve hunted other states. Of course we’ve talked about Colorado, but what kind of country? I mean, I’m a desert guy. I’ve, I do, I’ve hunted the high country, but you know, we all have things we like. So let’s talk about that a little bit.

00:31:49:00 –> 00:32:15:18
Yeah, sure. I, I started hunting in kind of this low brushy southeast Idaho country, you know, kind of the Aspen Conifer service berry zone, you know, a lot of bitter brush, just prime mule deer country, you know, basically from Soda Springs, draw circle around there, 50 to a hundred miles. That’s where, that’s where I, I, I grew up hunting mule deer and it, it’s prime mule deer country. Like you said, Idaho’s not managed very good. So

00:32:15:26 –> 00:32:19:04
It’s got the best genetics too. Best genetics in the world right there.

00:32:20:02 –> 00:32:59:08
Exactly. Jason, it is, it is a mini Colorado over there. It is, it is just unreal. The bucks that can come out there, but it’s, right now it’s just struggle and it’s, you know, just, just got a lot of things against it right now, you know, hunting pressure and, you know, just, just management and stuff like that. But anyways, that’s where I grew up hunting, so that’s kind of what I got used to. But in, in the early eighties, people were just kind of just starting to discover the high country. When I talk about high country around here, that’s above 8 8500 feet to 10,000 feet. We don’t have the 12,000 foot peaks around here that Colorado does. And you know, I, I live right on the Idaho Wyoming border, so you know, everything north and south of me that doesn’t have any trees in it, that was considered the high country back then.

00:32:59:08 –> 00:33:45:28
Hardly anybody went there. Just a few back sheep herds and, you know, once in a while and all kind wander up there. And in the early eighties, mid eighties, I started hearing of some guys, you know, getting way back in there. The hoback was becoming discovered partly because of Kurt Arner and guys were just kind of figuring it out that those early seasons, you know, before, before it snows you, you could kill those big deer. And I, I just inspired me, Ike Ellis local hunter around here killed a a two 11 net Boone and Crockett buck and just some country about a mile from where I grew up hunting. And, and I just decided that’s what I want to do. You know, I kind of, at some point, you know, you, you take everything your old man has taught you and you say, okay, I’m going this direction dad.

00:33:46:10 –> 00:34:24:19
And that’s what I decided to do. And, and like the great father he was, he said, well, you’re crazy, but I’ll do it with you. And kind of started scouting that high country, which, because there wasn’t very many people back then really doing it. Right. The big bucks were pretty easy to find compared to now, you know, to camp on every ridge. Yeah. And high country bucks are different than the low country bucks. You and I have talked about. They don’t put up with much, you know, they’re not gonna sit there and feed on a bitter brush, you know, while a truck drives by at 600 yards, you know, and just hold still, you know, they’ll, they’ll change drainages on you. They don’t smell humans very often. They don’t see ’em very often. And so just a few guys can kind of screw it up.

00:34:24:19 –> 00:35:21:29
Well, it wasn’t that way when I very first started getting into the high country, and I really kind of fell in love with that kind of hunting Jason. But, you know, fast forward 20 years, I don’t hunt the high country near as much now as I did. Yeah. Just because the, the, unless it’s a draw hunt or i, I do hunt archery high country, but even that, you know, it only takes one or two guys to screw up a whole basin. Yeah. You know, it’s not like the low country bucks I found where, you know, I can personally spook ’em and then find ’em again in two days. It’s, it’s, it’s not typically that way in the high country, at least my experience. And so I, I, I killed a fair number of bucks in the high country. That big buck, I told you the story about in the beginning that ended up killing. He was a 2 34 buck. He, he came outta the high country, but it wasn’t the classic above timberline type country. It was more kind of like right at Timberline. And we get a lot of Aspen conifer zone right before you hit the Tim Timberline in Idaho and there’s a lot of big bucks. And

00:35:21:29 –> 00:35:26:16
So that was, that two 30 buck was the second choice buck, right. Back to that story. Yeah. That

00:35:26:16 –> 00:35:30:28
Was the dude by the way. I didn’t finish that story. He ended up being bigger than this low country buck that the other kid shot. Yeah,

00:35:30:28 –> 00:35:31:15
That’s what I was

00:35:31:15 –> 00:36:13:16
Wondering. The kid who shot it was two, it was 2 26, my buck was 2 34 and six eight had him, had him officially scored and that that was net or excuse me, gross, gross. 2, 3, 4 and six eights. He was 2 27 I think. Seven eights. Yeah. We’re terrible. I, I couldn’t even pass algebra and listen to a spew out these numbers and he, he, you know, so he ended up being bigger. But I guess, I guess what what I was getting at is the, the, the high country is kind of where I started. That’s why I’m a big horseman and, you know, used horses a lot. Still love it. It’s my favorite kind of hunting. It truly is. But it’s harder now than it used to be. Yeah. And I’m really careful about where I go in the high country. I don’t, I don’t usually go unless I’ve spotted a buck somewhere and I know one’s there, you know, stuff like that.

00:36:13:16 –> 00:36:51:16
Yeah. And sometimes it’s an opening day deal and you know, and then he’s, then he is gone and, you know, those mountains are so, you know, they eat your lunch. It’s not like you can just say, you know, well, I’m just gonna walk down there after him. You know, I mean it’s, I mean, it’s not that way. You kind of gotta wait ’em out and stuff like that. So I still hunt it, but I haven’t seen a really big high country buck Jason in about about five years. Wow. Since I’ve seen a buck over 200 in the high country. So, you know, it’s hurting. They’re around, don’t get me wrong, they’re around. But the last kind of 10 years I’ve focused more on some of that stuff I grew up in. And even some of this desert stuff that’s around here. You had mentioned Nevada.

00:36:51:20 –> 00:37:33:06
I’ve actually, I’ve drawn two Nevada tags. I’ve ended up turning ’em both back. I guess I’m becoming too much of a deer hunt and snob, but it’s so hard to draw a tag down there when you draw it and you can’t scout up a good buck. No. Yeah. You need to, and you have better opportunities closer to home. You know, it’s like, hey, gimme my nine points back. I’m gonna make a wildlife donation here. Yeah. And so, but I like it. I like that type of country that that’s down there. I, I don’t hunt any of that south stuff that you do. It’s more the northern stuff. Not quite as big a bucks. Sure. But, so I I, I’m pretty diverse is what I’m getting at. I’ll hunt the high country mid elevation Aspen conifer zone’s my favorite. And then I, I definitely find some, some big bucks in some of our desert country.

00:37:34:01 –> 00:38:39:22
And you know, around here desert can be, you know, all the way down to the, to the flat stuff. The Arco desert. Yeah. But there’s some desert mountain ranges in southeast Idaho that I call desert too. South Idaho, excuse me, that I call desert too. That that, that I see some pretty good bucks in low deer densities. There’s not a lot of deer, you know, more than a typical desert, but there’s, they’re still tar tough to come by. But I really enjoy hunting them, you know, like for you 55 some of that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And, and, and, and yeah, some of that stuff down in there and they’re, they’re a little more tied to water and, you know, they may be high country a mile away that’s full of bucks. Sure. But I still find that, that there’s some, there’s some pretty damn big bucks living at, at lower elevations even in this day and age. And, and I really enjoy hunting. ’em, usually if you can’t kill ’em during Archie season, they, they get pretty hard to kill after that. They’ll get out of that open country. You know, they’ll move into some, some, some brushy stuff. It seems like they do move more than maybe some of the classic bucks I found in, in the Aspen Conifer zone and even the high country, you know, I I, I’m pretty sure some of these bucks will move, you know, several miles Yeah. To just get out of the area that they summered in, which,

00:38:39:24 –> 00:39:38:11
Well, and I think too is up in that high country there, i i, I wanna say it all looks the same. And maybe, and it’s not all the same, but they can call home a bigger range, whereas like you go down that low country sometimes they’re just not feed, you know what I mean? And so that Yeah. Right. And water, sometimes they’re just not water. And so they’ve got, it does concentrate ’em just by the, just by the terrain. And so, you know, in that high country, you know, you’re not gonna trail camera water. You might in a state that allows you to use salt or something. I’ve tried you might do that. Yeah. But, but yeah. I mean, and maybe it goes back to the actual name trail camera and you’re putting ’em on trails. It does. But, but, but, you know, but overall, you know, and that’s what I find in that lower desert plus, you know, there is, there are less people and I don’t know, or, or there have been, of course there’s people that we inspire as we go along and can we kind of maybe even, you know, I don’t know crap in our own nest, so to speak.

00:39:38:13 –> 00:40:01:17
But you know, we, we, it’s fun to watch people, you know, experience some of the things that we have. And, but, but people learn and they get inspired and, and they see somebody doing it and so then they start doing it and they work harder and they, they become successful too. I mean, people that really want it can do it. And so we do see more people even in the desert as well as like what you’re talking about in the high country. So

00:40:02:05 –> 00:40:42:08
Yeah. And it seems like, you know, that’s, to me, I, I mean I think about that all the time. You know, you say we crap in our own suit, but you know, back to what we started talking about with Kurt, other people inspired me and I could be selfish and say, you know, I’m not gonna ever talk about deer hunting. I’m not gonna go on any podcasts. I’m gonna shut my blog down. I’m not gonna help people. Well, someone else is gonna help ’em. And it’s, it’s pretty dang selfish considering that a lot of people helped me. Yeah. And I’m not talking about, you know, told me go hunt unit 36 b, I’m not talking about that. I’m just about helping you figure out how to do it, you know, and, and so yeah, I guess we could be selfish and not help anybody, but I wouldn’t very good at that.

00:40:42:15 –> 00:40:55:24
Yeah. So are you spending a lot of time and there’s still over the counter opportunities there in Idaho? I mean, are you doing some of those over the counter or are you mostly, you know, just trying to draw tags and, and do some of those more limited entry hunts? All

00:40:55:24 –> 00:41:00:04
Of it, every bit of it. Idaho just posted results last night. I know. I didn’t

00:41:00:04 –> 00:41:02:07
Draw anything. I was You didn’t, I was gonna ask you.

00:41:03:01 –> 00:41:41:29
No, no, I didn’t draw anything. Yeah, I don’t put in for the super hard hunts to draw. I’m just looking for decent places to hunt and then just use my hunting skills to find the best buck in the area. O T C. Yes, of course. Every single year I have an O T C tag somewhere. I, I kind of look at all of it as it’s like an investment portfolio. You gotta be pretty diverse. So yeah, I’m applying in, you know, I could lose track seven Western states have more preference points than I am old and, you know, chasing a few of those units. But, but at the end of the day, I end up most of the time just hunting better than average unit. If it’s an O T C unit, I’m focusing either on trying to get some private property access. I’m an outfitter, so I have a little bit of that.

00:41:42:21 –> 00:42:31:17
But sometimes just trying to find the back country in the unit back country doesn’t have to be 10 miles in. It can just be anywhere. There’s no roads and hard to get to. And, and so I’m pretty diverse in it, Jason. I do try to stay closer to home if I can because I just think you’re more efficient. I know you and I would agree on that. I get guys calling me from, you know, Alabama and they’re gonna drive right through New Mexico and Colorado to get here. And I’m like, you guys just drove through two great mule deer states just focus. And so I try to follow my own advice. I don’t always do it, but yeah, I try to and, and it just seems like that’s where you end up killing ’em. So, but yeah, Jason, I’m, I’m pretty diverse. I’ll hunt anything, any weapon, anywhere, but I, you know, when the season gets here, I’m happy if I just have one or two tags and it looks like this year, that’s what I’m gonna have. I’ve had those years where I have four or five tags, I just end up wasting them

00:42:31:26 –> 00:43:15:12
I’s I don’t give them a good effort. Oh, that’s, that’s, I’m glad you said said that I’ve, I, I spoiled myself one year and bought three different landowner tags and yeah, I pretty much ate them. I, it’s one of those things, you know, I, I mean, and even if it’s an over the counter hunt or a general here in Utah or something that’s easy to get, you know, if even if I only had that, I would have, I, I mean I’m, I have a pretty good chance of making good on that tag just because you, that’s, you put all your time and effort and all your eggs in that basket, and so you do end up doing very well, you know, versus having a whole pocket full of tags. Having said that, I like to have a pocket full of tags. And even if you just have that mentality, you’re gonna eat ’em.

00:43:15:26 –> 00:44:07:14
And, and that way, if you like, you’re over the counter in Idaho there, you know, if you found something great, you, you’ve got that opportunity or a general here in Utah, which, you know, you know, just having it in your pocket. If you, if I find something great, but at least I have it, I can’t, you know, here in Utah, I just can’t go buy one if I find a buck. And so, so anyway, it’s nice to have those opportunities. But I’ve ate, you know, I’ve ate, I don’t know, maybe 20 out of 22 tags here in Utah. But then, but those two that I didn’t eat are, you know, are big deer on my wall. And so, you know, it is nice to have, it is nice to have some tags, but, but trying to do justice to four and five milder tags without going guided and just doing it all, you know, on your own or with your friends, you know, that are close to you. I mean, it just, it just never really works out.

00:44:08:15 –> 00:44:38:11
Yeah. And I’m, I’m glad you confirmed that I had to learn it the hard way and I used to think, and I’ve just, on all fall, you know, I’ll kill more big bucks. I’ve kinda learned No, no, just focus. And I’m working on a blog post right now that’s, it’s, you know, scout big, hunt small, and that’s what I mean, like yeah, I don’t mind having four or five tags. That’s why I ended up turning those Nevada tag backs because I scout ’em. If I don’t find what I’m looking for and I have a better opportunity somewhere else, then boom, I’m done with that one. I’ll move on. And, you know, so, so yeah, I, I eat plenty of tags, don’t get me wrong.

00:44:38:23 –> 00:45:05:01
Yeah. Yep. Well, talk to me a little bit. I mean, obviously you, I mean, we’ve talked about you’re probably in G n h there in Wyoming a fair bit or have been, or, or know that that’s your backyard, so to speak. But how, how have the wolves and grizzlies and whatnot had an impact on that country as well as Idaho? You know, talk to me a little bit about that. Do you feel like that’s part of it as well as the hunting pressure of, of seeing less big deer?

00:45:06:01 –> 00:45:54:22
Well, I’m gonna make some guys mad, but I’m not a wolf hater or a bear hater. And I’m, I’m not a, the sky’s fallen type of guy. Sure. I just can’t be that way in my head and do a good job mule deer hunting. ’cause as soon as I think everything else out there is eating the mule deer that I’m after, I’m just not gonna want to do it and, you know, suffer enough to, to get it done. But having said that, I’m, I’m, I, I don’t like wolves. I’d rather not have them. Yeah. I mean, obviously we’re competing with them, but hey, they’re all god’s creatures and there’s a place for every one of them. The way I look at it, and it was, it was way outta hand before we took, the states took over control. Yeah. And I think now that we’ve got control of it, and, and I know there’s some guy right now just pounding on the desk. Oh, my elk area is ruined. Yeah. I get it.

00:45:54:26 –> 00:45:55:23
And it probably is, there’s

00:45:55:23 –> 00:45:57:16
Few places like that’s happened. Yep.

00:45:58:14 –> 00:46:48:19
That has happened. But we’re still better off with the states managing him than flipping the bird at the federal government saying, Hey, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re gonna do it our way. Well, Wyoming has shown how well that’s worked. Yeah. And, you know, that’s why they’re behind us on, on wolf management. Yeah. And so now that we’re managing them, I think there’s a glimmer of hope. And as long as there’s not a fundamental shift in the agencies on the way they wanna manage. ’cause the fish and game guys around here that I know, I won’t say any names. They want to kill ’em. They’re like, they’re so happy when someone gets a wolf. Yeah. And as long as we got them, them good old boys and gals in our, in our agencies, I think there’s room for the wolves. I really do. Yeah. And Jason, the places I hunt, I spend less time in central Idaho than I used to. But the places I hunt

00:46:49:15 –> 00:46:50:19
Haven’t been, I have

00:46:51:09 –> 00:47:10:08
Negligible effect from the wolves on mule deer. Yeah. And I’m elk gunner. I’m not, not gonna go there. All right. But on mule dealer, neg negligible. Yeah. And Jason, I spend more time in, in, in, in the woods around here than anybody I know. I’ve never seen a wolf. Yeah. I’ve never seen one yet. I’ve seen their tracks. I know. They’re around.

00:47:10:18 –> 00:47:14:22
Hey, well you gotta, you gotta go hunt your own state buddy. ’cause I’ve killed two of them in your state.

00:47:16:00 –> 00:47:17:09
Yeah, I know you Not in

00:47:17:14 –> 00:47:23:16
Your country. Not in your country, but Right. You know, but over there, Boise country and, and chalice country. And

00:47:23:16 –> 00:47:30:25
There’s a lot more over there. That’s why I give you the central Idaho caveat there, that I don’t spend much time over there. And I know they’re having more of an effect over there.

00:47:31:00 –> 00:47:32:17
Well, it’s an, it’s Jason. They’re

00:47:32:17 –> 00:47:33:25
Still killing big deer over there too.

00:47:34:02 –> 00:48:20:26
They are, they are. But, and a wolf, they, they tend to prefer the elk, it seems like. But, you know, I gotta tell you, like, so the first year they opened up wolf hunting, you know, I went up there and, and of course was laughed at by my dad and anybody else that knew that I was doing it. ’cause it’s one of those things, you, you don’t know what you’re doing. And, and, you know, anyway, long story short, we just hunted the feed, which we hunted elk. We just basically, when we saw herd of elk, you can tell when a wolf walked by, when a wolf walks by, not one of them is feeding. They’re all staring in the same direction, you know, crapping nervous. And, and so, you know, there’s a wolf nearby and you start glassing ’em. Well, when you start seeing them and you feel like you actually have a chance, and if you have a long range rifle, you do have a chance.

00:48:21:20 –> 00:49:10:25
If you don’t have a long range rifle, you still got a sliver of a chance. But you do need to be able to shoot ’em when you see ’em. And ’cause you just don’t see ’em often. But when you do see ’em, it’s pretty impressive. And I gotta tell you, there are a couple of my most prized trophies. You know, when I shot the first one, it, it was the first year they were open and, and I, and I shot him and, and think my tag was like 1 0 1 something low, like 100 or something, which I don’t know, I assumed, I mean, I was the hundredth guy to get one that particular year. I didn’t get him till March. But anyway, I’m just sitting there going, I mean, I felt like I did something very bad, you know, really Well, because you’re scared. If you didn’t have the right habitat stamp or something and you took him across state lines, I don’t know.

00:49:11:02 –> 00:49:56:19
You know, you just feel Yeah, right. Sure. You’re, you killed a wolf, you know what I mean? Like, you killed a wolf and, and it’s been taboo. And then all of a sudden now you’ve got a tag for one. Anyway, it’s, it was an interesting, it was a crazy feeling, but they’re, they’re an impressive animal. But having said that, you know, I mean, I wanna hunt ’em more, a lot more, you know, and, and I saw the destruction. It was, is unbelievable to see, you know, we would drive even down to paved road and there would be an elk and a bar ditch and, and just ate out the rear end and some of the Yep. You know, important parts and, and, and then walked, you know, and I, and, and just to see some of that, and the carnage and the bones everywhere. It was like a boneyard.

00:49:56:27 –> 00:50:27:29
Of course. It was the elk winter range, and they’re feeding on the elk all winter. And so you see a lot of it. And it was just, it was pretty, it was, it was, it set you back for a minute. It, the, the, the, the amount of game that they consume was pretty amazing. But having said that, like you’re saying, you know, once we get good, good management on top of it, and we work with them and stuff, I, I don’t think, you know, it’ll, it’ll crush the population forever as long as we manage them. So,

00:50:28:08 –> 00:51:11:01
Yeah. And I think in some places, you know, it definitely has had an effect. You know, the, it, it’s changed the elk. You talk to the guys in Chamberlain Basin, you know, they’re not killing the elk out in those big, you know, pristine meadows and, you know, all that stuff. But that’s consequently from what I hear in the old days, that’s not really where the elk were either. You know, when they, we took those predators outta the ecosystem, it, it changed the elk and it made ’em a little dumber. Sorry guys. It did deer too. And now that those elk have to think on their feet, you know, they’re, they’re harder to kill because they’re in steeper terrain, stuff like that. But I talked to a few of the guys that are back there and like, we got big bulls. Yeah. Because they, they’re, they’re not just standing out in the meadow, you know, October 10th, here comes the back string and Yeah.

00:51:11:01 –> 00:51:42:14
Everybody lays over their saddle and takes ’em a 300. You know what I mean? Yeah, yeah. And so, I don’t know, I I, I don’t, don’t get me wrong, I’d rather not have ’em. Right. But now that we have ’em, if we can manage ’em, if our states can manage ’em, if we, that’s why we need to support our fishing games and, you know, whatever they need to manage ’em and, and, and keep those people in there that want to keep their numbers where they need to be. I, I think there’s a little room for ’em. You know, where we were when we had 7, 800, 900 wolves in Idaho, running free, not scared of humans. That was horrible.

00:51:42:15 –> 00:51:43:02
That was brutal.

00:51:43:06 –> 00:52:12:12
That, that just gave us a little picture of what it’s like when you let the pine cone boppers run, run things. Yeah. But now, now we got it back from ’em. Let’s not give it back to ’em. That’s why I’ve been thinking, come on Wyoming, let’s, let’s, let’s get this under our control here and, and some, right. Yeah. There’s more of them than there are us. Yeah. And so we gotta negotiate, we gotta negotiate to where we can manage these wolves. You asked about bears. I I think it’s gonna be kind of the same thing. I’m really happy to see that delisting come on.

00:52:12:18 –> 00:52:24:10
It’s amazing the delisting. Like, I mean, I, I I I, I can’t get a tag fast enough. I mean, I, I like, that’s a, you know, and I’m a deer hunter, but I don’t know about you. I want to go.

00:52:24:26 –> 00:52:32:10
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally. You know, I may not because it’ll, it’ll be one day I’m not hunting mule deer, but I will totally support you, dude. And that might gimme a better chance of fuck if you’re out there burning

00:52:32:12 –> 00:52:34:10
Time. Oh, geez.

00:52:35:17 –> 00:52:54:28
But it, it, i, it, it gave me some hope when I saw that delisting come through, because, you know, I don’t wanna make this a political podcast, but I’m, I’m so glad to see these liberals getting their butts handed to ’em on a plate right now, because everything shifted back, you know, like the last eight years. And geez, you just didn’t know what was gonna happen. Are we gonna have any guns? Are we gonna be able to hunt? You just didn’t know.

00:52:55:05 –> 00:52:56:01
Yeah. That’s questioning. And

00:52:56:01 –> 00:53:37:26
So for them to move and delist that shows me there’s, there’s still hope here. There’s still some sound wildlife management going on, even in those marble lined offices in Washington DC and there’s some guys that understand that, you know, this, this, that this has to be managed too. That’s what Mann was put here to do, is manage the animals and Yeah. And so I I, I was happy and a little refreshed to see it. Now I know it’s gonna be, you know, emotional. There’s gonna be lawsuits. Someone’s gonna kill a pet bear and it’s gonna be on the front page. But the more of us hunters that are engaged and, and supporting it and educating the people that are around us, you know, I grew up in a hunting family, yet, you know, I’m married into a non-hunting family, so I’m mostly surrounded by non-hunters.

00:53:37:26 –> 00:54:20:04
Yeah. It, it’s up to me to kind of set the tone and I can’t just be a bear hater. Yeah. Otherwise, those people, they vote too well and they’re like, oh yeah, I’m related to redneck Robbie. He just wants to kill everything but mule deer. Yeah. You know, then, then, then I kind of inspire them to go to the other side. But if I can come to ’em reasonably and say, Hey, this is, there’s getting to be too many bears in Island Park that’s just north of here. You know, where more bear encounters, more people encounters are not afraid of people. We can’t just let their numbers continue to climb and, and manage ’em as the right thing to do. That’s gonna happen among reasonable people. Sure. And that’s why I just, again, I’d rather not have the bears. I’d rather not have the coyotes.

00:54:20:14 –> 00:55:03:07
I’d rather not have any of it. Yeah. But it’s not reality anymore. Yeah. And there’s some good things that come out of having those predators as well, as far as, you know, ecology. You know, nobody will argue that the, the stream banks and Yellowstone aren’t in better shape now that there’s not 500 elk packed in on the bank with, you know, a bunch of Asian tourists sitting there taking photographs of them at 10 feet. You know? ’cause they’re hiding now. You know, they’re, they’re, they’re a little more wild. And, and you know, I’m wild at heart. You’re wild at heart. That’s why we love this stuff. And so I guess I just wanna be able to manage ’em. And I don’t wanna lose the power to do that. And that’s why this grizzly delisting, I thought, well good, let’s get behind these people that are trying to make this happen and make some reasonable decisions and make sure our voice is heard.

00:55:03:12 –> 00:55:49:07
Well, and I saw, I mean, I, I was, you know, clear back in the late nineties, I saw grizzly in, in unit 61 up there in Wyoming. And anyway, they’re pretty impressive. I’m all right with them. I just, I think we need to manage ’em and, and, and I want to be part of that management process pretty bad. So anyway, hopefully they can get a management program in place that is fair and equitable that that will actually pass before Trump is, you know, out of office. And that way we can Yep. We can hunt ’em and, and take part in that process. So anyway. Well, good. I’m, I just wanted to kind of visit with you about that because that’s kind of your neck of the woods and, and, you know, probably had an impact to a degree on, on your hunting. And so

00:55:49:07 –> 00:57:05:13
Let me, let me add one more thing, Jason. And this is what I mean about when we manage correctly some of this grizzly bear habitat that they took back in eastern Idaho in the eighties. When I say they took it back, I mean, after they got listed, they had to go in and reduce the road densities. They have, you know, some plan on, you know, how many roads you can have per square mile and, you know, grizzly bear still thrive. Well, dude that did a, that did more for elk and mule deer than it did for the bears. The bears recovered slowly, but some of this country is actually has big bucks in it again. And, and, and it’s some of this country that used to grow 2 50, 2 60 mule deer. I’m expecting to see one here show up pretty soon because 15 years ago before they closed all those roads, my goodness, you could take the family four wheeler out there opening day of deer season. No, there’s a bucket in of metal, let’s get him. And then the three guys behind you got one too. That ain’t happening now in a couple of these places. And so when we manage the land and we manage the species, and we don’t just get selfish about our own species, it can have some carryover effect. I think God knew what he was doing when he made this great big green place. And, and, and sometimes these things, if we can do ’em right and not get too political about it, it can benefit us all. Yeah.

00:57:06:09 –> 00:57:48:17
Yeah. I mean, you gotta, to a degree, we’ve gotta look at the bright spot in some of this just because, you know, you’re not gonna change it. We can be part of a process and might, there might be some slow change like we’re seeing. And I’m happy to be able to be hunting the wolves. I’m hoping we can really hunt the grizzlies to a degree. But, but we’ve kind of gotta cope with it, so to speak. And we do and roll with, roll with the punches. And then, you know, like you said, there is, there is some good that comes from some of this at times and, and whatnot. And so anyway. Well, so you’re pretty much just into mule deer and big deer or, I mean, you’re still as passionate as you were at 23 over, over some of these big deer

00:57:49:14 –> 00:57:49:24

00:57:51:21 –> 00:57:52:26
It doesn’t quit, does it?

00:57:53:14 –> 00:57:57:13
It doesn’t, dude. It doesn’t. Yeah. But I love every minute of it.

00:57:57:20 –> 00:58:35:28
Yeah. And so tell me, we talked, we’ve referenced your book. I just want to kind of, you know, formally recognize it. It’s, it’s titled Hunting Big Mulder, how to Take the Best Buck of Your Life. And there it’s quite involved. And so anyway, anybody out there that’s interested can Sure. You know, Google it I’m sure. And come up with it and buy a copy off you. I know you’ve been gracious enough to give me a signed copy and, and, and I appreciate that. And there’s, I’ve found it to be quite interesting and, and you’re very knowledgeable and done it for years and years and so anyway, I do appreciate that.

00:58:37:01 –> 00:58:39:22
You betcha. And like I said, I think we can all learn from each other.

00:58:40:02 –> 00:59:02:25
You bet. And then, and so tell me a little bit, I want to talk about Rock slide just a little bit. Like just, you know, for those listeners out there that doesn’t know what it is, talk about it a little bit. Talk about Ryan Avery, of course, he’s doing podcasts. I don’t know his affiliation with Rock Slide Exactly. You also mentioned Aaron Snyder. Just maybe just visit with me just a little bit about some of that and what you’ve got going there.

00:59:03:26 –> 00:59:58:13
Sure. Rock slide, by the way, Ryan Avery’s my partner. So both he and I own Rock Slide. He’s 50% owner. I’m a 50% owner. Okay. We started it back in 2012. It was, I was actually a pretty small part of it then. Ryan was our IT guy. He built the database. It was David Long and Aaron Snyder’s brainchild. Okay. They’re, they’re the ones that really kind of had the vision for it. Sure. It’s an online magazine and a forum is, is really the biggest part of it. And the, the, when I say magazine, you know, it’s not, you know, you’re not flipping an electronic page. Right. But it’s a big database of articles. Okay. And they’re geared towards hunting gear, really. The, the, the gear has changed so much in the last 20 years, you know, tie a lot of it to the war on terror and the, you know, the big improvements in military has made, you know, fabrics and technology and guns and weapons and Sure.

00:59:58:14 –> 01:00:37:17
You know, look how far we’re shooting now, look at the optics now. All that stuff. And so Rockslide, you know, David was a gear nut, Aaron, gear nut, ex extravagant. I mean they, these guys, every piece of gear they played with, you knew Brian Martin. He used to write with you guys. Yep. He said a bunch of articles and it was just a lot of gear freaks and Sure. And so that’s what it was born out of. They brought me on, you know, mule deer guy, just write some mule deer articles and you know, stuff like that. Well Aaron and, and, and David, you know, big names in the industry, you know, a lot going on. You know, they worked it for, David was with us about six months. Aaron was with us a couple of years and then, then we bought ’em out. They’ve moved on to, you know, bigger things.

01:00:38:03 –> 01:01:15:16
And so it’s just Ryan and I now running it and it’s just a place to connect with other hunters. Not just about gear. That’s our primary focus. But we’ve, you know, a lot of forums get a bad rap out there. They’re, you know, judgment zones, you know, a couple of bullies on there all the time. That kind of bull crap we did away with that crap. In fact, I call Ryan Ryan the bandha Avery ’cause he just doesn’t put up with it. Yeah. You know, he banned over three or 400 people that first couple years. And that’s hard to do when you’re a small growing website, you know, to be banning your customers. But yeah, it kind of set the tone that, look, we’re, we’re, we’re all here to learn from each other. There’s, you know, we have a staff of paid riders on there, but they’re not superstars.

01:01:15:16 –> 01:02:01:20
They’re just regular guys out there kind of sharing their experiences. And, you know, we’re in it for everybody that wants to come on there. It’s not just set up for, you know, a couple of guys to have a bullhorn. And, and it’s working Jason, we’ve got a, you know, we’re approaching 20,000 members and we’ve got a, like, like I said, a good paid staff of writers and, you know, these guys are out there working regular jobs, you know, trying to help hunters through, through their writing and, and, and their videos and stuff like that. So that, that’s really what rock slide is. And then that year after we started it, we didn’t have a blog and, and a blog is just kind of a personal space for an individual writer. So I took the blog and if anybody wants to follow [email protected] and that’s r o k once you get there, the blog is me.

01:02:01:20 –> 01:02:45:07
That’s my voice. And that, that’s where I publish anything mule deer related techniques, my own hunts and, and then any gear that’s related to, to mule deer. So that’s kind of my voice on there. But the forums are where most people spend their times. A lot of information is exchanged on, on forums these days. And like I said, we tried to make it a, you know, pretty low drama inviting place for, for guys to get on, introduce themselves. And, and, and the other cool thing about it, Jason, I’ve kind of learned that, you know, I used to think of back country as, you know, Frank Church River of no return, you know, 40 miles back in and nasty. I’ve kind of learned that back country is countrywide. We got guys in Alabama that are, you know, they, they might only be able to get a mile and a half from a road, but they’re crossing some nasty river to do it.

01:02:45:07 –> 01:03:12:12
And you know, they’re blocked by private land and that’s back country too. Sure. And we invite all those discussions on there ’cause it’s, it’s kind of a little subculture of the hunting industry that guys will even take maybe less hunting opportunity as far as maybe not being able to get to the best trophy or, you know, the most bucks and bulls or whatever. Just to have that backcountry experience, you know, just kind of, men are wild at heart and it kind of, it kind of fulfills that need in there. So a lot of backpacking talk and, you know, stuff like that on there.

01:03:12:21 –> 01:03:29:14
Okay. Great. Well good. That’s awesome. Yeah. I’m glad we covered that a little bit and just kind of wanted to get a feel for, you know, and let the listeners get a better feel for what you’re doing and your involvement. You also indicated you’re an outfitter. How many, how, how big of an outfitter are you? Where are you working out of?

01:03:30:15 –> 01:04:07:18
I’m a pretty small outfitter. I, we mostly focus on elk. I’m not an elk hunter, but I, we operate on private ground. Okay. And you know how elk are about private ground. Yeah. They’re just a magnet to it. Yep. You know, they’ll leave one mountain range across a five mile valley to go to another mountain range that has a little chunk of 700 acres of private property and they’ll live there. So yeah, I’ve gathered up a few ranches that have really good elk hunting on ’em. And we only take about six to 10 clients per year. We specialize in, in semi guided, self-guided hunts. I need guys that know what they’re doing. I can show ’em around the place. They can take care of themselves if needed. You know, they don’t need somebody there to get their elk and get it to the truck and all that other stuff.

01:04:08:20 –> 01:04:53:13
And so consequently we’re able to offer some pr pretty economical hunts for guys that can get out and get it done. We do manage ’em for mule deer, but you know, mule deer are just tough. Some places they respond, other places they don’t. We only take roughly two to four deer hunters a year. So consequently we grow some pretty good bucks. Right now I’m managing about 6,500 acres. I’ve had as many as 25,000. It just kind of ebbs and flows depending on what ranches are available and how much bull crap I want to deal with from landowners. And so, you know, it’s not a big income source for us, but it kind of keeps my toe in the door. Sure. And you know, I love to scout and, and, and because rock slide’s a big gear website, I can do a lot of gear testing on private land. You know, it’s pretty close to my house, stuff like that. And, and every once in a while we’ll kill a pretty good buck up there too.

01:04:53:21 –> 01:05:03:05
Good. Well, yeah. And it’s nice to run something like that, that way you’re, you know, you got gas money for big deer. There you go. Dude. A separate checkbook. She keeps

01:05:03:05 –> 01:05:07:29
The wife happy. She’s a sweetheart. But she’s a lot sweeter when I can hand her a thousand dollars and say, here honey, this is yours.

01:05:08:02 –> 01:05:58:28
Yeah, it is. Nice. So, we’ll, you know, as we wrap up here, there’s a couple of things I wanted to just briefly go over. Like, and you probably won’t be prepared for this one, but just how many years, how much time, effort, energy and years do you think it takes to kill a 200 inch tear? And I know that varies from hunter to hunter, it varies from state to state. But in your experience with what you’ve got going and, you know, I often wonder how many more 200 inch deer will I be a part of? You know, like, is this my last one? Every time I sh every time I’m behind a good deer and I’ve got my hands on him, I always wonder, you know, is this my last one? You know, am I gonna get in a car wreck or am I just not gonna find anymore? Or, and it’s, it’s just on my brain. But, and I know I get that question fairly regular and I can’t really ever quantify it personally. I was wondering if you could

01:05:59:11 –> 01:06:10:05
Well, I’m not sure I can quantify it either. All I can do is kind of look at my own history and what it’s taken from me. But I can tell you this, and this is what I tell guys, it’s gonna take everything you got.

01:06:11:01 –> 01:06:11:10

01:06:11:15 –> 01:06:45:11
Unless you’re just wealthy, you can buy the tags where they are and, and even then, I don’t know any place that’s a shoe in for a 200 inch buck. Yeah. And, or you gotta be pretty good in the draws since you can’t control that. It just really gets down to you. And so for me, Jason, I’ve killed four bucks over 200. I haven’t killed one in six years. I’m about due, I’m usually about every five to seven years to get one. I hunt in the Intermountain West. There’s not, you know, there’s that, that’s a pretty big buck in the Intermountain West, you know, 200 gross, you know, so, so it’s

01:06:45:11 –> 01:06:45:19
A giant,

01:06:46:16 –> 01:06:47:02
It it

01:06:47:13 –> 01:06:49:02
It’s a giant. You’ve killed everything

01:06:49:02 –> 01:06:49:10

01:06:49:10 –> 01:07:02:19
Got. You’ve killed four, you’ve killed four since 23 years old-ish. Is that what you’re Yeah. I mean that shows you, and you’ve done it for, you’ve done it as hard as anybody could do it in, in your country. It just shows you how hard it is.

01:07:03:21 –> 01:07:49:19
Exactly. And, and so I’m like you, I’m always looking for the next one and wondering if that was my last one. But I find one every couple years, you know, hands down 200 and the last two I found have been on public ground O T C tags. So that’s always encouraging. Yeah. But if, if a guy’s asking me that question, I, I tell ’em the same thing I tell ’em in my book, you give it all up and go after mule deer, that’s what it’s gonna take. I don’t hunt antelope, I don’t hunt elk, I don’t hunt bears. I don’t even hunt spring turkeys ’cause that’s money and time. Yeah. Away from my family. You know, I gotta think about that stuff too. And so I throw everything I got at it and I’m killing one about every five to seven years is what it’s coming down to for me.

01:07:49:20 –> 01:08:17:24
Yeah. And that’s the best I can tell people. There’s so many variables. Like if, you know, if I had $30,000 a year hunting budget Yes. A couple places in Colorado, I’d be on a landowner’s. I wouldn’t be calling the landowner. I’d be down there on his doorstep right now getting that tax. Yeah. And we wouldn’t be balking over a thousand bucks. You know, either way it would be, what do you gotta have for this? Right. But I can’t do that. And even those, even those, those aren’t s shoe ins, you know that Jason. Yeah. You know that they’re not. And, and, and, and, and so for me

01:08:18:00 –> 01:08:30:05
Last year, last year proved that like with the weather and whatnot, I mean guys with guys with 20 and $30,000 tags, you know, I mean, didn’t kill as good a deer as guys were getting on a second choice last year. You know,

01:08:31:04 –> 01:09:11:14
And, and, and that’s the enigma of mule deer right there. That’s the draw of big buck hunting right there. To me, in this day and age, anybody can. And that’s why I, I don’t begrudge the guys that got to do it in the sixties and seventies. ’cause most of those guys hate deer hunting now. It’s so, so hard they don’t even wanna do it. Right. Where to me it’s like this is anything rare is valuable and, you know, if it takes that kind of effort to do it, you know, and it, it’s just all that much more worth it when it happens. Yeah. And, and so I’m like you Jason, it’s, it’s hard to define and I know the more amateur I am at anything that I do, the more I’m looking for a formula, but the better I get at something, the more it becomes an art rather than a science.

01:09:11:17 –> 01:09:43:11
And you just kind of go with the flow. Right. And, and that’s when things start to happen and the big bucks start to fall and you, you start to find them and, and, and, and, and yet when I look back I’m like, well I can’t really give you a 10 step plan here. It’s just given everything you got, spend as many days as you can in good mule deer country as possible and prepare to get your butt handed to you on a plate a lot. But it’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen. That’s a, that, that’s the best advice I can give people right there. Yeah.

01:09:43:25 –> 01:10:30:06
Yep. Well that’s awesome. I I a hundred percent agree with you. The nice thing like you were indicating is anybody can do it and you can do it on, on pretty much any tag. I mean, I know there was governor class bucks killed here in Utah on our general hunts and you know, in general areas and, and some of my biggest deer came have come from general stuff, you know, and of course I’ve hunted some landowner tags too and, and I’ve killed good deer on landowner tags. Some of them are more expensive than others, you know. But that’s what’s nice about big meal deer is, is it’s hard to buy one. And so, you know, you sometimes you could go buy a big bull on a San Carlos reservation or something like that and, and, and, and not, and I’m not putting down elk at all.

01:10:30:06 –> 01:11:57:06
Like go try to kill a 400 inch bull. Tell me how long it takes you, you know? Right. I i I mean it’s every, every species, every giant of, of each species. It takes a lot of work time and dedication or, or an extreme amount of luck. But, but the nice thing about milder is, is anybody can do it on any amount of budget. But I think like what we’re talking about and what I’ve said before and what you’re saying and what you and I have discussed in the past is the amount of time it takes and, and you know, you guy doesn’t have to have a lot of money, but he’s, but he does have to put forth time, effort, and energy to do it on a regular basis. Yep. You know, we all get lucky and I love those days and I’ll take ’em, but, but at the same time, it’s that time, energy and dedication that even sometimes, you know, wealthy guys don’t have time and so they’ve gotta buy the best opportunities they can do. And I, and they, that’s great. And I work with a lot of those guys, but sometimes that’s not the right formula. The best formula is that time and energy versus money. So it’s just a, it’s an interesting dynamic and, and big deer die in both cases. But it is nice that anybody can do it. It’s just a matter of just really knowing the area you’re in and, and capitalizing on the opportunities that you’re afforded in your particular area of the country. And then, and, and making good on that and following specific deer. So

01:11:58:03 –> 01:12:36:18
Yeah. And it exactly Jason, and that’s, that’s to me why, why it’s the whole draw to it right there, what you were just saying. Anybody can do it. Yeah. You can up your chances with money, but anybody can do it. And isn’t that the American dream? Yeah. Anybody can do it. And, and and I, I said this in my book, I’m glad I didn’t grow up in the sixties. Yeah. Most those guys I know were spoiled rotten. That was something that was special about Kurt Garner. When when, when things got hard he still kept killing them. Yeah. ’cause he had that drive and he had that, that I wanna be there. Yeah. And you know, I knew guys that were guys killed two or three Boone and Crockett bucks, you know, back in the day here, dude, they wouldn’t hunt right now if they had to.

01:12:36:18 –> 01:13:06:01
Their hands would get cold. You know, just because it was easier then you could, you could get a big buck in a weekend and, and so, you know, they’re, they’re more valuable than ever, but they’re still available and Yeah. You know, I want better deer hunting, don’t get me wrong, but it’s okay with me if it never changes from the way it is right now. Yeah. ’cause I can still find them. They’re still there for the person that wants to do it. And anytime people get stuff handed to ’em, you know, it’s just human nature, it just becomes kind of an entitlement. That’s what, that’s what I’m kind of making fun of Those guys who grew up then,

01:13:06:17 –> 01:13:06:24

01:13:06:24 –> 01:13:17:20
Know, they’re the ones that come to our fishing game meeting and, you know, close all the season. There’s no deer. You know, back in my day we went up on the back 40 and killed three 30 inches. I’m like, please, sorry, sucker. That had to be pretty boring.

01:13:18:04 –> 01:14:06:07
I know. But, but having said that, I’ve, I’ve watched a little bit of change in my short life. I’m, I’m low to mid forties right now, years old. And, and so I’ve seen change and it’s hard to watch and I wish I could take back some of the tags I’ve had and, and you get passionate. I mean, you get, you get really passionate. Well because you know what, it could have been, you know what it can be today. You watched it, you saw it. And some of the game and fish personnel never saw it. Their kids, they’re, they just graduated from college. They’re 25, 30 years old. They never saw the heyday. So what they have to base it off of is hunting’s as good as it’s ever been? Well it’s not, yeah. It’s not as good as it’s ever been. It’s not. And so that’s what’s hard, you know, and that’s what’s hard is, you know, I I, my heart does go out to some of these old timers that did see what they saw.

01:14:07:02 –> 01:14:43:05
I’ve got actually got a couple of friends, the same thing. They hunted the desert, desert and the Escalante 50 mile mountain. Some of that crazy amazing country that, that I love and, and wish there was big deer down there so I could, you know, I could justify going in there and spending that, you know, immense amounts of time. You know, although there are a few good deer, it’s obviously not what it once was. There’s just a lot of, there’s a lot of things Right. That have changed so Well, anything else that you wanna leave us with? I mean, maybe you bucket list some of your goals and, and how you’re gonna accomplish those?

01:14:44:08 –> 01:15:19:07
Well, keep knocking ’em over. I’m hoping I’d go a couple years without killing a big deer. I get real grumpy. So I hope to just be able to be out there using the gifts God’s given me, enjoying the life that he’s given me. I got a little boy coming up who, he’s got the fire in his belly. I can tell he found out he didn’t draw last night. He was kind of bummed, but I told him, don’t worry, we’ll we’ll get you out in the woods. So he’s happy again and good and just, just, you know, passing this on to my kids. And I would say something to all you guys that are out there, if you, whether you have kids or not, it’s up to us to pass this on to the next generation. It doesn’t have to be trophy hunting, you know, that might be where I came from.

01:15:19:09 –> 01:15:56:00
But, you know, just, just hunting in general. We’ve talked about it a couple times today. We need more hunters, we need more voices. We need, we need to have a voice at the table. And that’s gonna be these little kids that are around us right now. And that’s up to us to pass it on. And so if you don’t have kids, man, look for that kid in your neighborhood. Maybe he’s in trouble. Maybe he’s just looking for something to do. I know deer hunting has helped me live a clean life and, you know, gave me a focus, get me away from the trouble and all the things I was doing in my early twenties and, and, and I know that it, it it, it can help people at any level, whether they’re just a, you know, pure meat hunter. They want, they’re going after the antlers by the way.

01:15:56:00 –> 01:16:37:22
We eat all the meat. Just, just get out there and do that. That’s what God put us here to do. And, and pass this on to the, to these kids. And there’s a lot of hurting kids out there. There’s a lot of homes without fathers in there. They, they, they need that model from you guys and, and, and, and don’t let it pass by, you know, start with your own kids. But if there’s some friends you can include in it, you know, get ’em out there. It will be some of your most rewarding times. And, and again, we can make it all selfish and make about ourselves or we can figure out how to pass it on to others. And as I look at these little guys running around, I’m thinking if I could just get them in the hills for for a weekend, it would change their lives. ’cause it changed mine and, and I’ve seen it change many other guys. So, so look for those opportunities. Great.

01:16:37:28 –> 01:16:59:22
Yep, that’s great advice and I sure appreciate it. And of course as we get older, we the more we appreciate it. So anyway. Well thanks Robbie, appreciate all the time you spent with us today and you know, all the different experience. It’s been fun. We could go on and we may do it again someday. We could go on for another 15 stories. It’s, there’s a crazy amount to talk about when you talk about mule deer.

01:17:00:10 –> 01:17:09:14
Let’s do it. Let’s talk, let’s do one where we just talk about some big smacker bucks that we got the drop on and maybe a few of those that got away that keep us, keep us getting up early in the

01:17:09:14 –> 01:17:22:22
Morning. Well maybe next time we’ll be talking about this 40 inch with, with trash and, and just a giant two 50 plus buck that, except for maybe I, maybe you didn’t see my truck pull up, you know. Alright. What

01:17:22:22 –> 01:17:28:02
I’m hoping is, now that I’ve confessed the dream to you, maybe I’ll just quit having it. I can actually find the buck and have a little piece.

01:17:28:16 –> 01:17:32:10
I’m just a little nervous about you dreaming about me. I’m just a little nervous about that, Robbie.

01:17:32:19 –> 01:17:33:16
That does sound weird.

01:17:35:17 –> 01:17:42:11
All right. Well, sounds good. I appreciate it. Good luck to you this, this year. You bet. You’re awesome. I just appreciate you spending some time. It’s been fun.

01:17:43:08 –> 01:17:44:17
You bet, man. God bless you guys.

01:17:44:23 –> 01:17:46:05
All right, thanks buddy. Talk to you later.