The hard part about this question is narrowing it down. I love the solitude, the scenery, and the smells. I really enjoy gaining altitude, sitting at the top of a peak feeling tired and relaxed all at once and just taking in all that’s below!
When did you first start hunting/fishing?
I started hunting with my dad and uncles when I was 8 years old. I would just try to keep up with my dad. One thing I remember is that my feet were always cold!
What is one of your most memorable outdoor moments?
Wow, tough one! I’ve made so many great memories; however, one memory that sticks out is from a Mountain Goat Hunt. The hunt was with two of my sons, one of them had drawn an Mtn Goat tag and we spent a lot of time together scouting, getting in shape and shooting. When the hunt arrived the three of use backpacked into some of the steepest and roughest country you can imagine. The night prior to the opening we found the Goats and put them to bed. That night a storm rolled in with 80 mile and hour winds along with snow, luckily we had put our camp up behind some small trees just off of the ridge. In the morning we found that the weather had pushed the goats off of the mountain top and into the cliffs below making it impossible to get an ethical shot at the goat we were after. After watching the goats for a couple of hours they finally moved into a semi flat area and my son made a great shot on his goat. Just after reaching the goat is when the real storm arrived, we took pictures and broke the animal down as fast as we could. From the time we shot the goat and got back to our tents it had dumped over a foot of snow and visibility was less than 50 yards. We broke camp and started off the mountain, the trail was impossible to see so we slowly picked our way across the mountain mostly from memory. We all carried heavy packs and that combined with deep snow covering the steep and treacherous terrain made it very slow going. My most memorable moment came when after a couple of hours I stopped and the bottom of the last steep hill we had to climb, and turned around to wait for my son. I knew he was behind me and I knew he had the goat on top of his pack and yet when he appeared out of the blizzard behind me it startled the crap out of me. He was covered in snow and with the goat on top of his pack he looked like a Yeti! Even though we were tired and cold we all stood there and laughed about how funny and ridiculous this situation was. There was no complaining, we just enjoyed the moment together and pushed on through the snow. The time spent on the mountain with family, the common challenges and experiences is what it’s all about.
What is your favorite animal to hunt?
Mule Deer! Why, I love hunting in the high mountains, and for me nothing beats the challenge of hunting mature, smart mule deer! Score is not what it’s about for me it’s about out smarting the mature animal and the experience!
Why do you think hunting/fishing is important in today's modern age?
It gives a rare opportunity to unplug from the chaotic world, and leave behind the ease and comfort of daily life. It’s a reminder of what is important, it a time to reflect and for me it’s a time to get closer with family and friends. Hunting gives me the time to push myself physically; it’s a time to concentrate on just one thing and to let the stress of daily life fade.
What is something you would like to share with non-hunters out there?
I’ve been asked by a few of the rational non hunters that I know why I kill an animal that I truly respect and enjoy and why I don’t just take pictures. My answer is hard to put into words; there is something deep down that draws me to hunt and to kill an animal. It’s not just the challenge, or the great memories, or the great meat that I get. I love taking pictures of animals but there is something missing, maybe it’s deep connection with nature or a primal drive but with the kill something basic is missing. As a hunter I do everything possible to make the kill humane, I practice hours on end with my equipment, and I know my limitations. Nature is not always kind or humane but I do everything I can to make a clean swift kill and to avoid any unnecessary suffering. I don’t apologize for hunting, it’s legal, ethical, moral and it’s a huge part of who I am!