On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman we chat with Jason Say from Wired Outdoors. Jason is a born and raised Pennsylvania hunter that works hard each and every season to fill his buck tag. We begin by discussing how the content in which he produces over time has changed. His goal is to make the most relatable content possible to his viewers. The things you see him do on his show are things many PA hunters can accomplish with a little sweat equity.
Last year in 2022, Jason had an emotional rollercoaster hunt for a deer that was a gross Boone and Crockett buck. His strategy for this deer was not much different than his others - hunt smart and as often as possible. However, the grind for this buck was like nothing he had ever experienced. After over 70 sits for this deer, he was able to wrap his tag around it during PA rifle season. You can see everything on the Wired Outdoors YouTube channel and be sure to check out All In: A Deer Hunting Documentary - a story for a magnificent PA whitetail.
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You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the Keystone State and surrounding Northeast. On this show you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals to average joes with a lifetime of knowledge.
All centered around values aiming to be better outdoorsmen and women both in the field as well as home and daily life. No cliques, no self interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation.
your host, the pride of Pennsylvania, the man who shoots straight and won't steer you wrong, Johnny Appleseed himself, Mitchell Shirk.
Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Mitchell Shirk. Hey
everybody, thanks again for tuning in to this week's episode. I hope you guys had a wonderful archery season because it is officially over statewide. But, we we're wrapping up bear season here, hopefully you guys had a safe bear hunt if you were [00:01:00] out. I was able to go Saturday and Sunday, we had had a good hunt.
We killed one bear as a group, and I ended up shooting a coyote on Sunday. I was like I think it was the second or third coyote that I shot, which was pretty cool. Although I'm not gonna lie, it was a little bit of a letdown, because when we were in the hollow waiting, we heard shots ring out.
Of course, the first thing we think is we shot a bear, and we were all excited, and then when a coyote comes up, I had my suspicions, and... Turns out they were shooting at the coyote, it came up to me, I shot it. Oh we still had a good hunt, had a good time. It's always good to be at camp, catch up with people you don't see in a long time.
And bring back memories of the woods. I was talking with my uncle and some of the other guys that are in camp that have been there for a very long time. They were talking about stories of the bear that were killed over the years and where they killed them. And, the crazy stories of getting them out because...
Some of the carry out for the bear that they kill have just been extremely difficult with the terrain and, the weight of the bear and everything else. [00:02:00] But a lot of good stories, a lot of good memories. It was good to put some good to put some more in the camp. And I I'm looking ahead to my weekend for opening weekend of deer season.
I'm probably not going to go out. Maybe if I get a chance, maybe I'll slip out one evening or something. But we got some extracurricular stuff going on this weekend and I've got a buck tag filled. I was hoping to get out and maybe check some new places out that are open for extended bear season.
But in all reality, it's looking the first chance I'll get to go hunting is the annual group hunt at my cabin. And we're, we, planning on doing the same thing Thursday, Friday, Saturday, getting a group of guys together and making some pushes. Bear will be open where we hunt.
Hopefully we can shoot some deer and just have a good time. It's the hunt that I have probably as much fun as any hunt throughout the entire year and look forward to it every year. A week from today I will be heading to camp and I hope a lot of you guys are doing that stuff. Hopefully you got good camp traditions or [00:03:00] good fun stuff like that.
And And you guys have a safe hunt. That's what matters the most this week. We are talking with somebody who is a fellow Pennsylvania hunter and he's he's been in the outdoor industry for a very long time. He was a pioneer when it comes to the online content production. And we're talking with Jason say from wired outdoors.
Now, Jason say I believe grew up. Somewhere in Southeast Pennsylvania. We were conversing offline about or off air about some of the mutual locations that we're familiar with in our general area, but he now lives, I believe in Western Pennsylvania and he has a great show. He does a lot of hunting.
Out of state, across the country, but what I love about his shows most is he's doing a lot of hard stuff in Pennsylvania, shooting consistently some good bucks in an area that isn't commonly known for shooting big, mature whitetails, and he does it on a regular basis. And we talk about content production, [00:04:00] the growth of Wired Outdoors, and then we also talk about the story of a buck he killed last year, which now has a documentary.
It's out and you can watch it. It's called All in the Documentary. And it's a story about a Boone and Crockett whitetail that he killed last year that he put so many sets into and was able to finally connect. It's an emotional rollercoaster of a story, but it also, it's not just about the hunt, it's about the process of how he got there.
As a hunter and as a content producer. And it's really interesting. We touch base on that, make sure you go check out Wired Outdoors all in the documentary and check out everything else that Jason say and Wired Outdoors is doing. It's a great show. And with that, let's go to this episode real quick before we do shout out to our sponsors Radix hunting.
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me this week on the Pennsylvania Woodsman. I've got Jason Say from Wired Outdoors. Jason, thanks for joining us on the show this week.
How you been? I'm great, man. Thank you. I appreciate you having me very much.
Absolutely. So we're, as we're recording this we're going into hunting season as we're recording this.
And I think you do some stuff out West. So what's your season going to be looking like
this year? Yeah, I'm getting ready. I had, I do some l cutting every year. So I'm, [00:06:00] getting dialed in, it's not the the 30 to 25 yard shots. We like in Pennsylvania, right? You need to, you need to be able to stretch it out.
So just really shooting a lot of bow getting ready, like to be able to at least shoot out to 50 60 in a pinch, and things like that for this one. I ever took that. I took one. Thanks. Two years ago at 69 yards out in New Mexico is where I had, but yeah that's coming up really fast and a hunt that man, I, I tell guys all the time, if you ever get a chance to do a hunt, if you can do an archery elk rut hunt, man, there is.
White tail's always gonna be my passion, but man, if I lived out west it would be really ha hard to top that. Archery elk hunting is something. So
I went out in 2019 elk hunting in Montana and it was a fantastic experience. Killed a great bull and there was a lot of people that. I knew locally that went elk hunting and I talked to them and they, I got stuff about how they got so worked up with a bull elk more than they ever did with a white tail.
And then after they went white to hunting out west, that [00:07:00] coming back to Pennsylvania and hunting around here and stuff just wasn't the same to them. They didn't enjoy it as much. So from your perspective, cause I know you're ate up with white tails about like I am. So l cunning is fun. Like when you come back to Pennsylvania, does it still feel like you're at home when it comes back to that case?
Or do you get a little bit lost in that Western Western ideology that man, sometimes it'd be good to just pick up a move out here.
Yeah, it is. It's a good question. Cause I've said that and I've said if I lived out west. elk would probably be my passion, right? But I grew up, I cut my teeth in Pennsylvania, like we all did, right?
And I've just been a passionate white tail hunter since the time I've been 12 years old. And there's nothing that could ever replace that for me, as much as I, and I love elk hunting. I do. I love it. And but if you made me pick, if you said, Hey, Jason, you got to pick, you can either never elk hunt again, or you can never white tail hunt.
I'm giving up elk hunting. I'm a white tail [00:08:00] guy. There's nothing more I love than it, but it's close. It's not a no brainer, right? It's not Oh yeah it's easy to make that. But for me, I think just having that as a, that never happened to me where I went elk hunting.
And I thought, okay, this just ruined deer hunting for me. That, that did not happen to me. I don't think there's anything that could ever do that to ever ruin deer hunting for me. That's just, I'm passionate about it.
That's how I am. Like I heard people telling stories, like a bull coming in and then them losing it to the point where they couldn't draw their bow back.
And I didn't experience that. Don't get me wrong. I was jacked up, but I didn't have that experience. And like, when I came back home, I was just as jacked up for white tails. You talking about. cuT your teeth in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is, we've said this a million times in the show, high hunting heritage and everything else.
And there's not a lot of folks that start out at the time you did doing something in the hunting industry. And they come from Pennsylvania and also [00:09:00] do things that are within the state, because a lot of your hunts, you show a lot of great content from Pennsylvania. So I'm curious, I'd like to know how do you, how did you.
Get, briefly, how did you get started with Wired Outdoors at the time you did, because you're looking, quite a long, quite a many seasons. It was what, season 15, I
believe? Yeah, season 15, that's
right. Like, how did that get started for a good old Pennsylvania boy? And tell let's go down that journey a little bit.
Yeah to make a... A long story short, I worked in healthcare for 14 years, was the director of marketing and strategic planning. And this was right when the Internet was starting, right? And I was put in charge of the web development at the health system and it was all brand new.
And then I was like, I man, this would be cool to do hunting stuff with the Internet. And I think I started a little chat, you remember hunting and I started something like that early on. And I remember meeting some. Some different people in the industry like actually a company [00:10:00] that's not even around anymore called medalist.
And this was. When TV was getting big, right? What's hunting TV. Everybody was doing a hunting show and how old are you? If you don't mind me asking, I have 29. Okay, you're young. So you don't remember this. But when I first started, everybody and their brother was getting a hunting show.
Right? And not many were making it, but like everybody could go out and it was relatively inexpensive, but I went to my sponsor and they were sponsoring my little website that I did and advertising on it. And they said to me Hey, have you ever thought about doing a TV show? And I no you know what I'm saying?
You just, no, I, and it never crossed my mind. And then we were down and we were doing something else. And they again said, Hey, we'd like you to consider doing a web show or do a, not a web show, do a TV show. And we'll pay for it. Like we'll. Like we think you'd be good. And so then it gets real, right?
You're like, okay, now you start, man, maybe I could do this, right? Maybe I could make this work, and I'm, like I said, I was the director of marketing and strategic planning. So [00:11:00] I'm a strategic guy and I see all these shows starting and I'm just like, man, we got to be something different than just somebody coming out.
But, what are we going to do different? And my whole niche from the beginning was, okay, We're going to be wired outdoors. We're going to incorporate, I was the first, we're going to incorporate social media. We're going to take fans along. We're going to have, our Facebook page has 800. We were the first Facebook page to blow up.
And we're going to go and we're going to incorporate all this social stuff into what we're doing and take our fans along. It was a whole different concept. I remember talking to other sponsors and they looked at you like. Their eyes were crossed. Ended up getting just a couple sponsors that year.
We're on the sportsman channel for a couple of years and they do what they do there. They raise their rates and raise the rates. And I always said to him listen, my niche, isn't going to be TV is going to be streaming. And they laughed at me. They're like, no you're, you need us like, like you need it. You, they know when they get you, when they get you, you end up, you quit your job and they know they can raise the rates on you. that you don't have any choice. You have to go figure out and get more money. And people take [00:12:00] out loans and they do all these things. And I'm like, no, we don't.
That's not what we're about. And, so we were on the channel for two years and then we just went straight streaming, and we were one of the very first, I think bow hunting. com. Was right around the same time we were, but we were literally one of the first ones that said, Hey, we're just going to stream all of our content.
And, it was a good move. And it enabled me to do certain things that one, I didn't have to charge my sponsors near as much to be a sponsor because I'm not paying the TV channel, 200, 000, to be on the TV channel, it made it more affordable. And at the same time, it was.
It was the way of the future, right? Like how many, I was just happened to be either lucky enough or smart enough or what, maybe a combination of both to see that. But, but that being said, it was really hard. Like we, we went through, we didn't make a dime, but I didn't make a dime for four years, and you go from a six figure salary.
We weren't rich. My wife had just graduated nursing school. We had a lot of loans and things like that. [00:13:00] And, we were at the point like we almost declared bankruptcy, right? Holy cow I don't know what to do. My son lived in six different houses by the time he was 12 years old and I revamped a little bit and and I started my, I have my own PR and marketing agency and right away, man, it's just a lot of clients are like coming to me and saying, Hey, do for us on social media, what you do for you.
And man, it just blew up and it just took off then. So my agency and stuff that helps support the business. And I, I had to reconfigure to do the things that I love, but figured it out. And and then after that, it has just been rolling ever since. But the beginning was.
Certainly rocky. But now my wife got to quit her job five or six years ago and we built a little, build a nice cabin out, and Western P. A. And and doing well, but went through a lot to get there. It definitely was not easy.
Yeah, you definitely grounded out.
If anybody who's followed along and I've watched, it, Quite a bit of your channel over the years and it, you definitely see like the, I'm going to call them growing pains, so to [00:14:00] speak, that you would go through in a situation like that. But yeah, now times have changed, so to speak. You're top of the top of all things considered.
I just, again, find it so cool that it's a Pennsylvania based show. Now you do a lot of other hunting. Tell me a little bit like at that time. It's, and I think back to when I was in school, when I was watching the sportsman channel, the outdoor channel, all those shows, it was a lot of going without fitters.
It was a lot of Midwest hunting and it was very content driven. And you've done hunts all over the place too, but you still do a lot of stuff in Pennsylvania. So enlighten us a little bit on that, just because I think that is unique to most shows. Most people aren't doing hunting shows that have anything in Pennsylvania.
Yeah. I have this conversation many times with sponsors, and, I'm fortunate. I have the best sponsors in the industry. Realtree, Rage Broadheads, Hunter Safety System, Whitetail Institute, Moultrie, [00:15:00] all name brands that, are well known, and we have the conversation often.
You think of this, right? Like the Northeast, that's where the majority of hunters are at. Pennsylvania, New York we have more hunters than anywhere else. And yet there's no shows from Pennsylvania. You do have celebrities. You have Levi and you have it's not bird song, but it's his partner he's from Pennsylvania and there, there's some big names, but you don't see them doing a lot of hunts in Pennsylvania.
And I apologize if my dog starts barking here. But you don't see a lot of guys from Pennsylvania. And I've really over the years, the thing that I found out early on. Hey, that's enough. The thing that I found out early on was Yeah, people like seeing you go and you go to a buddy in Wisconsin or you go to an outfitter in Pike County, Illinois, or you go up to Alberta with an outfitter and shoot a bear.
And that's aspirational type things that people like to see. But what I learned early on was people would rather see me shoot 130 [00:16:00] inch buck on my own property than they would me going and shooting 160 inch buck that I just went and sat in a tree stand and somebody put me in it, walked in and I shot it.
Yeah. Just because it's relatable. Yeah, that's right. And that from that time on, I said, you know what, hey, enough, sorry and so from that time on, I'm sorry. Give me one second. You're
Take the time you need, man.
But but I was saying, What I learned was guys appreciated more when you did the work, right?
Like when you did all the scouting, when you hung the tree stands, that was on your own ground. And then what I really found was people from Pennsylvania appreciate seeing a guy in Pennsylvania. Shooting deer, right? Or somebody from the northeast, New York or Ohio or whatever, because it's one thing for us to go to Iowa and Illinois and Kansas and in an outfit or puts us on.
But it's another thing when you do all the work. So for me early on, it became, you know what? I'm gonna spend a lot of time [00:17:00] hunting in Pennsylvania because I think it means more when I shoot a good buck in Pennsylvania than it does going and sitting in a tree stand that somebody set for me.
Absolutely. Because like I said, that is what we relate to. That's why I liked watching your show and that's why so many other people do what, one of the thing I want to pick your brain on before we get into some more stuff, hunting related is, so you were talking about grinding it out with your show and all the.
Blood, sweat, and tears that you put into that. I think so many people, and I'm saying this because I've been in this position where you have such a passion for hunting and white tails, maybe land management, whatever that is. And you get so fixated on that. You think I've got to make this work for a career side of things.
I think the only thing most of us see is just the passion for the outdoors, the passion for hunting and fishing. Can you enlighten us a little bit about. The work that goes into it that really isn't hunting work at [00:18:00] all and like your drive and passion or interest or whatever for content creation and the behind the scenes work on computers and stuff like that because nobody talks about that until You're living it and go.
Oh, wow. This isn't
what I thought it would be. Yeah there's a lot more to it. I said You know, don't get me wrong. My goal is someday, that I can be that all I need to do is go hunt, right? But that's very rare. That is, there are very few people in the industry that they're making all the money they do and all they do is go hunt.
They're doing other things to make those ends meet. And you have to do, you have to grind it out, right? And unfortunately it's just not. The days of the Michael Waddell's and the names like that those are not that there's not big guys that are going to come around, but it's different now.
And you're going to need to do different things for me. I talked a little bit about all the different things that I do, but man, you have contract negotiations. You have the whole business side, right? And I tell guys a lot of times because [00:19:00] you get guys, it's not. We I love hunters, right? I love talking hunting, but we know in the hunting industry, there's the fair share of jealousy, right?
Like a guy will look, he'd be like I'm as good a hunter as you. I should have a TV show. And I was like, We'll go make it happen, man, because it's a lot more than you going out and shooting a deer. You got to film that deer. You got to make an interesting show. There's a lot of things that go into that.
You got to be able to tell a story. You don't just go out and shoot, but if you have no camera presence, if you can't. tell the story and relate to people. There's a lot of variables that go into it. But then to be able to market yourself, to build a platform, we built, social media around everything we did to get our message.
There's an exorbitant amount of work that goes into all of those things that have nothing to do with honey, and so I tell guys, I'm guys, biggest cheerleaders and I've found in life, like working in this industry, one of the most frustrating things is how people want to tear other people down, right?
Like they, they want to see you fail, right? [00:20:00] I'm the opposite. I want people to succeed. And we need more people like that. Like I'm cheering for you. I'm cheering for guys like that. And I tell them if you want it and you want it bad enough, go get it. But understand it's not just going and sitting in a tree, like you got to have the business side of things.
You got to understand the marketing stuff. And there's a lot of things that go into it for sure. And for me, like I said, when I wasn't making it just on sponsors and we're up against it. I had to pivot, and I have a full blown media agency. I do web development, e commerce social media, consultation, content creation.
We film commercials, all different kinds of things that are going to pay the bills. So I have a lot of different things I'm doing land management and consultants, that's just taken off from me in the last few years. I got three different businesses that I'm doing, and I figured out.
How to grind, how to hustle and how to make ends meet to, to be able to do what I'm passionate about. And I still say all that. I don't say in a way like, Oh man, you should feel bad for me that I'm having to do this. I get to wake up every day and work with. [00:21:00] Hunting related stuff.
Even if I'm, even if I'm doing web stuff or I'm doing e commerce, it's all with the outdoor type products. So every day I'm getting to do something hunting related, but sometimes it's just not my favorite thing. I'd rather be out setting stands all the time and scouting and looking at my trail cameras and doing all that, but it's just not the, it's just not realistic, right?
I'm glad you shared that with us because people listen to podcasts all the time. It gets them fired up and makes them want to do content creation. Let's face it. I started this podcast. I had no idea what the heck I was doing. It's been a, it's been a juggling act ever since, but it's, it's a learning curve and it's now.
Been pretty successful and you're into a whole new world when you're talking about the content creation type that, that you're getting into. So speaking of of content and stuff coming from PA, um, one thing I've really enjoyed now I am, I'm a bow hunter. At heart. I would probably say out of anything, I'm a bow hunter, but I do have appreciation more than I used to for [00:22:00] that, that the gun season, the orange army, and some of the stuff with Pennsylvania is known for.
I am good with it now compared to what I once was. And you've had a lot of that in your show too. And it really. Illustrates what hunting in Pennsylvania can be really be like, but you have a good blend, like a good blend of land management and targeting mature deer and also that family camaraderie aspect in deer season.
And I really liked that. Do you, how do you, how were you stand now with all the different hunts you've done? Off the bat, somebody starts talking about Pennsylvania rifle season. What's your initial reaction, your initial thoughts?
I'm like you, right? Like I'm a bow hunter and that's my passion.
But what rifle for me has always been this year was the first time I took my rifle out and shot a buck and I think 13 years. But I go out every year with my family. Like I look at like I live for the rifle season because I'm hunting with my dad. I'm hunting with I'm hunting with my brother. Usually, [00:23:00] fortunately, I'm already tagged out on a buck, right?
And it's just me. It's just a relaxing and it's what we all grew up doing in Pennsylvania. Back in the day, we used to get all the answer the uncles and the cousins and we do these massive deer drives, right? You're probably too young for that. But back in the day, that's what we did, right?
Everybody got together. There was nothing was posted and you just took off and you shot the crap out of anything that moved. Like That's what we did. But it was, those memories are with me. I don't think we ever shot a decent buck. We shot lots of does, but it was that time spent with family.
And for me that's always going to be the most important thing to me is you'll see my hunts. If anybody asks me, what are my favorite hunts? I've killed some really big bucks. I'm going to say my hunts with my kids and that to me is Pennsylvania hunting. And that's just something that we've always done.
And it's been. really important for us and family time and spending quality time together. And I can't think of any better way to spend quality and family time than hunting together. Just you and you're hanging out and I'll give you a good example, my dad. [00:24:00] He's 76 77 years old.
He's had neuropathy for years. He served in Vietnam and he struggled health wise. He got cove it and he was in the hospital for 89 days and we didn't think he was getting out. I remember over thanksgiving. We're having a conversation. We're all crying because we weren't allowed to see him.
And we're balling, like we're thinking this is it. We're not even get to say goodbye. And that's when people weren't getting out. That old cuss, he made it right. Like he made it. And and that next year I took him hunting and I'll tell you what I'll get choked up. I honestly felt like how many times you hear a guy say, I wish I had one more hunt with my dad, right?
Like I had one more hunt with my dad and I honestly felt holy crap, I literally got one more hunt with my dad, right? Cause I was sitting there saying, and he should not have been there and not only did he get better, then he's out hunting with me and he shot a deer that night. We sat there and it was one of those nights that it wasn't too cold, but it was, it was cold enough and we sat and we just had.[00:25:00]
just an awesome time. And we didn't even care if we saw deer. We were just so happy to be there, right? And just so happens right at dark dad, there's a deer and my dad has trouble moving, right? He has neuropathy. He picked that gun up and swung it. Like he was a 26 year old man, put that gun on that deer and shot him like.
All right, man. It was one of my favorite hunts of all time. And to me, that's what Pennsylvania hunting really is is those kinds of things. And, and you hear lots of people, they go to the camps and the public lands up in Sullivan County. And those are the same kind of stories they have hunting with their dads and their uncles and their cousins and things like that.
And and that's really how I look at Pennsylvania hunting. And that's the most important thing to me, especially with rifle is just quality time with family. If
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It just changes the whole dynamic. So like just. Enlighten me a little bit more on that, how you
approach that. Yeah, I mean it, it absolutely changes it. And I do, I am fortunate. I grew up on a 56 acre farm. That's where I hunted. I had a friend who let me hunt his private ground. I'm not even around any public ground.
It's just not something that, that I ever did. That being said, all my ground, I'm surrounded by Amish, and I'm not going to sit here and, Bill, we all know. They can be hard on deer, right? They're not, they shoot them for crop damage and things like that. And so honestly, I feel like I am hunting in state game lands at time, especially when we get to the rifle season.
So there is no doubt, and when I look at one thing I've been really good at. In the past five years, we talked a little bit about this before the show. I've been really good at getting on a target buck early in the season, like shooting one. I believe in [00:29:00] Pennsylvania, if you do your work, there's, I believe shooting one earlier in the beginning of the season is easier than we talk about the rut, right?
Like the rut. I believe is a hunter. If you can put in the work and you can find one when he's still pattern when he's doing the same things, you can get them early in the season. And that's really what I've patterned myself. So that's what I look for. I really get after it. I hunt hard all year, but I really get after that early season and in the last five years.
I've shot four really good bucks, and three of those were all in the first week of season. And the one I shot this year, which was a stud I shot, I hit him in the first week of season. It was my own fault. Like I hit him high shoulder and ended up not getting him and then got him all the way then in the PA rifle season.
But so I should have last outta the last five years. Had my buck killed for my, in the last five years should have had him killed in the first week of season. And for me, then, at that point, it always makes it easy that, hey, I'm gonna get the kids out. I'm gonna do this. I always do take kids early, right?
One of my goals when I [00:30:00] die. is I take a new kid hunting every year. I find a kid who hasn't shot a deer yet and I take him out. It's usually that first week, that first weekend. I try and get that kid out because I said when I die someday, I went there to be a whole boatload of, they'll probably be grown men then hopefully, but they'll be like, you know what?
That guy got me my first deer. That guy got me my first turkey, right? So I every year I have a goal. I try and get a kid of turkey and a kid of deer. And once I get one with them, I take another kid the next year, right? Some kid who's never got one before. And, that's one of my own personal goals.
And I have my family, my wife hunts my daughter, my son, so I try and spend time and hunt with them and work it all in. And I've always been able to do that shooting them early in the season. That's been easy. This last year is, we talked about and I don't know, I don't want to jump ahead, I was fortunate.
I shot a giant. I really felt guilty because it was the first time. And I even talked about this in the documentary that we do. I actually say, um, it was the first time I ever let a deer change me like. I didn't help with my [00:31:00] family. I hunted for that deer 70 different times, 70 different sits in archery season, morning, night, morning, night, morning, night, morning, night, then ended up shooting on the third day of rifle season.
And I even said in the documentary, I was like. I wouldn't want to do that every year. I don't want to give up the memories. I don't want to give up the things that I gave up to do that. It was worth it that year to go get them. But if you said, hey, you're gonna have another big one this year and you gotta do what you did that year and you're going to miss time with your family.
I wouldn't do it, and, but to do it that year, I don't regret it, but I had, yeah. I had regrets, right? Of things that I felt like, man, I missed some of this stuff that I usually get every year. So yeah, just going into it. I hope that answered your question or kind of what you were looking for.
But, going into it, my goal really is getting on one early in the season and, and then getting others out and doing things. But even that being said last year, when I was chasing that buck, I got two different kids. They're deer early in the season. I got my dad a deer.
Actually, that's a show because he called me and it was the rut, right? And I'm chasing 165 inch giant. My dad calls me. It was a real nice day the [00:32:00] first week in November. And he's Hey, I'd like to go hunt. And I'm like, Oh, I'm like, I'm like, Hey, your dad calls you and says he wants to go hunting.
You take him hunting. And I took him out and he shot his first buck. And like 14 years with me and again, just an awesome memory that I got to spend. And so I do that. I find it important every year is different, right? Schedules are different when you can go hunting and all that kind of stuff.
But every year, generally, I really try and get on a good buck early in the season. Definitely
answers the question. I think that segway is really good into kind of a different avenue because we talked about Pennsylvania hunting, but I really want to know the grind that you had last year a little bit.
Tell me a little bit about this buck because a hundred, you just shared with us 165 inch deer. That's an impressive deer anywhere in the country, let alone, in Pennsylvania. And I want to know, for 165 inch deer to get that big, it took a few years. So you had to know about, let's dive into this a little bit.
If you don't mind. When did this buck cross your
radar? Sure. So it was the year [00:33:00] before. And so I guess what I was, I talked a little bit about the other bucks that I shot, I shot 154 inch four years ago, 150 inch three years ago, and 135 inch, the year before this one.
So I was on a good run and. I had him the year before and we ended up finding his sheds and Amish kid found his sheds from the year before and I hunted him hard. But didn't get on him ended up. I think it was the 2nd week of season. I had that 135 year old come through and I'm like, Oh, should I pass him up?
And I shot him right? Instead of shooting the 1, which now I'm glad that I did. Because is. We ended up finding his sheds. I do believe last year the buck that I got this year. I think he was a five and a half year old deer. I think it was a four and a half, which that's really what I try and target is those four and a half year old deers.
Those are, that's a trophy. I don't care what the racks like in Pennsylvania. You shoot a four and a half year old deer in Pennsylvania. You're doing something right. And that's what I target. And I'm in this stand and this 135 inch, old deer comes [00:34:00] out and I shot him. So I ended up, yeah.
Not hunting that buck that much that year. And I went in a couple of times, different times. I had trail cam pictures of them, went in a couple of different times with friends, like in rifle. And I say, Hey, I got a trail cam picture. I'm here. And I was going to let some of my buddies shoot them because a buck like that, a foreign, you got a lot of pressure around you.
It's Hey, we need to shoot this thing. Fortunately. He made it through and they ended up finding his sheds and just to give you an example of how much they can grow. They found his sheds and they measured him. Now, the spread wasn't exactly right, but I think he only measured 1 44 or something like that.
So he grew 20 inches from the year before until when I got him this year. But I'll never forget. Didn't know if he made it. And literally I do a lot of this starting in July and early August where I'll put trail cams and just put some corn out, to just get an inventory.
And I put the camera in the same place where I got him [00:35:00] the year before at the exact same time on who do you think was the first year that came out to that same camera. the same, like almost to the same day is the year before and it was him. And my mouth just was like, Oh, look at him.
And, when they're in velvet too, it's just, you're like, Oh my goodness, he's a 170 inch deer, and I wasn't too far off, but I'm like, good grief. And I'd never. I've in all my years of hunting, I've never had a deer like that in front of me, even hunting Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky.
I saw a bigger deer than that in Alberta once, but that's been it. And so then at that point in time, I literally said. All right, man. I'm not leaving the state of Pennsylvania, right? I called every one of my sponsors because, when you have contracts, you have to produce a certain amount of content.
And I'm like, man, so I got to go and travel and hopefully shoot a buck in early season. And I, then I can go travel and do some other things and help other people. So I put a call into every one of my sponsors and I sent them pictures of the buck. And I was just like, listen, Okay, man. [00:36:00] I want to be all in on this buck.
Like I, I want to hunt him until either I kill him or somebody else does. Are we okay with that? Because contractually, I may not be able to deliver the same amount of shows, but if I can kill this thing in Pennsylvania, it's a really big deal. And they all everyone's yep, man, do whatever you need to do.
At that point in time. Every plan we did, I have some good buddies who helped me and, from stands and what we were planning and what food plots, what wind directions, where we thought he was going to be at certain times of the year. Every thought. I didn't sleep, I'd be up checking my trail camera at four in the morning.
My wife would get so mad. She's turn that thing off, just okay, where is he? What's he doing? And so every plan, every thought I was obsessed, right? I literally, Everybody was like, it's all I could think about was like, man, how am I going to kill that deer? And and we put the food plots in first day of season comes around.
I take a little kid hunting and it was really warm. I don't know if you remember the opening day. It was super warm sunday. You can't hunt in Pennsylvania, which you know. [00:37:00] So I was like, it was still warm on monday and I'm like, man, I can't get in. The wind's not good. I have two pictures of them.
here at this place. I'm just gonna go. I'm gonna go sit here. And I didn't even bring a cameraman because I was that He's not going to show up there's no way that my first day out hunting that he's going to come here. I have two pictures of him in two years at this particular food plot, but I'm going to go because the wind's right.
And that's 1 thing I learned with big bucks is you don't mess around make sure your wins, right? Make sure you put every advantage you can. So I'm in there gorgeous night. It's a warm night. Lots of deer. I think I saw 1314 deer and it's getting, that last 15 minutes and to my right. Thank you.
The big nine, a four and a half year old nine that he runs with and I knew he ran with him and I said to myself, man, it's gonna be really hard not to shoot that nine if he shows up and I'm like, good grief. The first buck I see and he's gonna make me make a decision on the first day. But then I look behind him and there it is.
It's just rat. It's coming through the golden rods. And at that point, it's yeah. [00:38:00] Oh, my, this is gonna happen. He's coming the first night. This is freaking crazy. I can't believe, and I'm, I'm getting worked up and I'm bumping the camera with my arm. It's I'm in a blind, which I never hunt.
I don't like hunting in a blind. I'm six foot six difficult to get drawn and things like that. But that was the only option on this. And it was really the only thing with the wind direction that night. So now I'm self filming right on this giant, you got all these things racing through your head and I'm filming.
I get him. It's beautiful footage, right? I don't know if you ever film it all or anything, but it's that last light footage that's still really good. Not dark, not pixelated, the most beautiful footage. And he comes in and I'm like, all right, I'm gonna wait till he gets there. And then a doe starts to come up and she's getting goofy.
And I'm like, all right, I'm gonna let it rip. He's 28 yards and draw back and let it go. And I knew immediately my heart sank. And I hit him in the shoulder, like it, it was high shoulder. I knew I got good penetration though. I said, I got, I know I got penetration.
Hopefully [00:39:00] it's the part of me that doesn't want to admit, right? You don't want to admit like you're
trying to milk that last little bit of confidence out of it.
That's right. You're like, I think, so there was part of me just based on the penetration that I got that I think it was low enough.
And I think. I think we'll be good. So I get out of there. We come back. We watched the footage 9, 000, 000 times. I watched the shot over and I'm just like, it's high, but I think it's low enough, right? I think it's low enough. And, on a big buck man, the no man's land is big.
And he was a horse of a deer. And so went back in that night, didn't find any blood, did find the arrow had 8. 5, 9 inches of penetration, which You're like, Hey, maybe I got a shot. So I'm like, we're just going to wait till the next day. Came back, looked at, never found a drop of blood.
Then I brought a dog in, I said, I'm gonna bring a dog in. No luck. Didn't never found anything brought in seven guys and we gridded up and down. And some of the. thickest, nastiest, gnarliest. There was a reason [00:40:00] this buck lived here. It was disgusting how thick it was and it actually ripped through my jeans.
My knees were completely shredded by the end of some of the most painful one of the most painful things I ever went through. But anyway, look for this deer. Look for this year. Didn't find them. I came back and I tracked. I kept it on my onyx. I went 9. 5 miles just grid and looking for that deer and never found them.
Never found a drop of blood. And then on friday, because it was warm that week, I brought in a cadaver dog that specialize in finding. We found two dead deer and each time I'm like, oh, it's ah, that's a button buck or, oh, that's a doe like crap. And so we never found him. I was really bummed.
I was really down and that's never
happened before. I was going to say, Jason, let me stop you just for a second before we go on with the story, because I'm really curious, like you went through the highest of highs to the lowest of lows throughout this whole probably week long process. So not to bring this into a sad picture, but tell us a little bit about.
Like your lead up to that shot and then like your [00:41:00] emotions going into it and out of it, because this is the biggest deer you've ever drawn your bow back on. And that is one of those things that it's so hard to mentally prepare for. So give us an idea of what that was like and what transpired and why you think the shot went the way it
Yeah, I think it's, everybody has excuses, right? And I've been fortunate to kill some big bucks, right? And smoke them like perfect shots, right? I killed that 1 54 at 37 yards. An absolutely he didn't make it 50 yards, right? And that was out of a tree stand.
And looking back on it, and this is what I would tell guys, and I hadn't really practiced much. I was hunting in a blind and I'm a tall guy. I got a long axle to axle bow, and, so you're like, Drawing and you're bumping the blind when you're doing it. I got a camera.
I think I just, my excuse is I had too much going on. And I blew the shot. I don't, it wasn't the bow. I came back. The bow was dead on. Everything was good. I'd killed big bucks before. [00:42:00] And I'm the kind of guy, I think there's two different kinds of hunters. There's the guy who loses it before he shoots, right?
Like who can't control. That's not me. Like I can eat good after I shoot, like just. Come unglued, right? Start shaking. The adrenaline hits me. I've had times where if I draw and then have to let down, it's really hard for me because that adrenaline crashes, right? And so I don't put it up is man, I just completely lost it and whatever.
I just think I was in an awkward spot and shooting in a blind sitting, you know what I'm used to being in a tree stand standing up and that just comes, Hey, I tell guys, make sure you practice how you're going to hunt, and that was a, Yeah. last second decision to go there.
But still, that being said, you look what happened and I should have practiced more sitting down and doing those things. So I really feel that's my reason for doing that. Because, like I said, I've killed big deer and Wasn't, I was excited. I was really excited, but I don't think that's why I ended up hitting them the way that I did.
Gotcha. [00:43:00] So take us through.
So now you go through the whole process with the dog, your grid searching. So what is in your mind at this point? Are you thinking that this deer hightailed it out? Did you bump them and he died? What's going through, the next week, there are two weeks after this whole thing
Yeah, I'm 50 50. He's dead or he's alive, right? He's either going to show back up and on one of my cameras because I had lots of them out or he's laying somewhere right? And I was watching for buzzards, doing the things that you do, just driving around looking for that because, I didn't know where else to look.
And sure enough, he showed up a week and a half later. Boom. There he is and he and you could see it, but he was back and he was in one of the plots. He's just fighting with bucks and he's walking like nothing happened. He's walking around and you could see it on his shoulder. And, when you eventually watch the movie and stuff about it, like you, I show it like he's walking around and you can see, and it was.
It was high and forward. It was higher than I thought it was based on the video footage too. But yeah, he was good. And the game at that point in [00:44:00] time was back on. And I had been hunting every night and every morning up until that point too, just hoping that I'd been hunting the outskirts where I thought he might be.
Cause I'm like, I don't want to go in here and do anything until I know he's back in there. So I think I played it really smart and I just hunted every day and every morning and But I was On the outskirts, not, I just didn't barrel in saying, Oh, I hope he shows up here tonight because I didn't know where he was, and until I got some Intel, okay, he's back, here's where he's showing up.
Here's where I bet he's bedding. Then I had some information to go off and I, the hunt was back on. So let's
go into that. So you were just sharing with us earlier that. The first week of season has been really good to you. You've devised the system, the properties you've hunt that you're real confident early and the first week didn't work.
So now, times are changing. Seasons are changing and you're going to have to make some game shifts here. You got some Intel, you got some pictures of where you think he's been, where he was, where he's going to and coming from. So take us into this next, how did you shift gears in approaching [00:45:00] hunting this deer?
Did you keep that same strategy or did things have to really adjust in order
to connect? Yeah. What I would say is my first week strategy is. is solid. My 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Not so good. Maybe it's because I've shot beer so many times, but to make a long story short, for me, he went pretty nocturnal, right?
Like he, he, he got nocturnal and I had intel on where he was and, I was very careful. I only hunted in in, in the winds where I knew wasn't hopefully going to blow him out in areas where I wouldn't be walking through where he might be. I wanted to be really careful with them, but all in all.
We counted it, what I hunted 70 different sits in archery season. Cause I'd hunt one place in the morning, one place in the evening, one place in the morning, one place in the evening, just trying to get on that buck. And what I realized with this deer that might be really interesting to your listeners is what I started looking at was he was really hard to pattern from week to week or month to month or day to [00:46:00] day.
But when you started looking year to year. hE was in the same general area year to year. And I remember talking to my buddy and he traced and I said, man, and it was all the way to the last day of archery season. And I hadn't seen him yet. Like I'd been in some of the right places, but he showed up after I was there, he came in at night and things like that.
So we get to the last day of archery season. I'm talking to Andy and he had an encounter with him last year at this particular stand. And he's he was there last year on this date. I'm like, you know what? You're right. I'm going to go. I'm going to go there. So I'd hunted every day 70 times in archery season.
I saw him the first day and they put an arrow in him and didn't even see him the rest of archery season. The last day comes. I go into that stand where I had it. And Intel from him from the year before. And that's where he was at. Don't you know it? I hear grunting up on top of the hill and you might think this is weird.
He had a unique grunt because I had him on trail camera grunting and I'm like, [00:47:00] man, it's not like what you think with a big, you think it's gonna be this loud growl and it wasn't. And I hear this buck grunting on top of the hill. And I'm like, that sounds like his grunt. And I don't know maybe it was just like me.
Oh yeah. That's got to be him, right? Just trying to talk myself into it. So I let out a couple grunts and things like that. And I hear some rustling and I look off to my left and there he is. It's boom, it's we're on, right? It's go time. Here he comes. And he's a big and he didn't get this big for no reason.
He just comes to the edge where he can see happens a lot of times. He had a dough with them behind him. He comes And he looks and he was at 62 yards and he looks he's like I'm out and he just turned and went the other way and it was just like oh all those hunts all those sits from the beginning and I knew you know I knew that was pretty much it and I sat I ended up sitting the rest of that day and I hadn't taken lunch or water or anything with me it was cold I don't know if you remember the last day archery season but we got a nasty Ice and wind.
It was 20 mile hour winds. I sat [00:48:00] the whole day. I sent a text my buddy. I'm not leaving. He's I think he's bedded right on top of the hill. And when these does come down tonight, he's gonna be here. He didn't come down. I didn't see him the rest of the night. I sat the whole day. And that's when the point I realized wow, for the first time and 13 years, 14 years, I'm going to be getting the rifle out.
And that was the archery season, but it was a grind. So the,
You went through and the historical year to year date is something I've talked about a lot. Cause that's how I've been able to have some connections with some deer I've pursued. And that's what I've talked about. The two deer that I'm after this coming season, that's what I'm based on.
I'm based on all windows of history that I have. And that's all I have to go off of cause I'm hunting small properties. And I think that's my best chance. It took you a season long and you had that situation where you went into that stand that he was at a year before and you had that encounter.
So did a little bit of a break between our archery season and our rifle season start give you a little bit of an edge to like reset, [00:49:00] recalibrate and formulate a game plan going into rifle season.
Yeah, it definitely did. And I needed a break. I always tell people you never want to tell anybody because there's so many guys that would love to do what I do.
So you don't everybody to feel bad for you. But when you hunt that many days and that many of them were all day since I was whooped man. I was tired. I needed it. I'm glad I was bummed that it was over, but I was man, it's just going to be nice to refuel here.
It was more about refueling. And then the plan was going to be, unfortunately, and he did the same thing. He went really nocturnal after the rut, and the other bad thing was he at that point in time. So like when I saw him during the rut, he was big, he was, all puffed up and he wasn't even walking with a limp.
As the season went on and we go in, he started walking with the limp, and you could see him visibly losing weight, and I'm sure it was a combination of not only the shot, but then going through the rut. But you could tell he was done like he was just went really nocturnal and he was coming [00:50:00] out at night and just to the same particular area.
And it's yeah. That's where I'm going to hunt him, right? This is where I'm getting pictures of them. And I just got to hope he slips up, cause how else am I going to kill him? He's got, he's going to have to slip up some night. And that was really the game plan going in is okay, this is how I'm going to hunt him.
Always paying attention to the wind, I knew where he was bedding. I don't want the wind blowing in there, how I'm getting in and out all those good things. But the game plan was pretty simple. It was just going to be put a lot of tree stand time in.
Good deal. And then you said you were able to connect on the during
the 1st week.
Yeah, it was. So 1st day didn't see him. And we hunted on the far end of the field and the plots and hunted there again all hunted all day. The 1st day all day. The 2nd day, the 3rd day. the wind changed and I'm like, man, I don't want to keep walking down through here. I just feel like you're gonna be booting these deer.
So what I decided to do was hunt out of a stand and I don't really like doing that with the [00:51:00] rifle, right? Because when you're in a blind and you have a tripod or a bipod, you get a real good rest hunting with a rifle in a stand. A little bit tougher. And I knew it could be a longer shot. And I first, I don't know if you've ever heard of swagger by pods, but I have a set of swagger by pods that I've learned how to use those to steady a gun when you have a shot and stuff.
But I went in that third day and I'd been getting pictures of them, 5, 10 minutes after dark, right? Really close. I'm like, he's coming out here. It's really close, but the pictures are all just a little wee bit after shooting hours. And I think legal shooting hours that night was 5 20.
I said I'm, I ain't moving until 5 20, sometimes you'll start packing up, like five minutes early. I'm like, I'm sitting tight till 5 20. Don't, it like maybe at 5 16. And it was already it was cloudy that night. You probably don't remember. We had a lot of rain the first day of rifle and then it was cloudy.
And so like it was getting darker earlier, but it was still legal shooting lights. And there was a little five point out in the middle field. There was a field right close to me, which was where I was hoping he was going to come. [00:52:00] And then there was a field out above that was going to be, 150 170 yard shot.
And I look to the left and coming through the woods, I can see a big deer and it's just dark enough. I don't know what it is. And then it gets out in the plot and I'm looking and I pull up my binoculars and it's holy crap. It's him. Good grief. It's him. And I'm like, it's getting dark. And I pull up my gun and I kid you, Mitchell, it is just going circles.
Like I you know how I told you I'm good at holding it together. This buck finally had me unglued and I didn't have the, I wasn't thinking I didn't have the swaggers and the whole time there's a tree down there and the limbs are getting hard to see, right? It's man, where are those limbs?
And I've hunted it enough and I go, I need to let him get to that side of the tree. I ideally would have liked to let him get over here, but that's gonna, I know that'll be after dark. He's just in there feeding. I gotta wait till he gets past that tree. And finally, he does. I pull up the gun and first time I pull, it's just, I'm just doing circles and I'm like okay.
Put your gun back down. He's just feeding. [00:53:00] Put my gun down. I pulled those bipods out, took a couple deep breaths, bring it back up and it's getting dark. But I have, I'm dead to rights and I'm like, all right, I'm gonna let it rip, and I let it rip. And how do I say it? It was the most unclimactic hunt I've ever been on because I didn't see if I hit him.
I didn't see where he ran. I didn't know anything. You know what I'm saying? Did I hit a branch? Did what happened? And and so I'm just like, man, I'm listening for the crash. Can I hear where he's running? I can't hear anything. So I do what you do. I wait half hour, 45 minutes and I say, I'm going to wait that long.
I'll get down and go see if I have any blood. And so I do that and I get down and it's good and dark then and I can't find any blood. There's no blood. And I'm like, man, this buck has got my number. I had to hit a branch or something. And it was cold. And I was like, you know what? I'm gonna get out of here.
I'm coming back tomorrow morning when it's daylight. I went all around like it goes up against the woods. So what I did was I went to the edge of the plot and [00:54:00] looked. But I'm like, I'm not going to go into anything. I'm just going to look and see if I see any blood or see anything laying. I didn't see anything.
So I'm going to come back tomorrow morning. That's what I'm going to do. But I'm all, I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm a, normally a pretty confident guy, right? I don't, this buck just, he shook me. I'm like, I'm not feeling good about this. Like I just, I don't have a good feeling.
I don't, I just don't know. And I don't do a lot of rifle hunting. I'm not an expert. Rifle hunter. I'm an archery guy. I haven't shot a buck. And like I said, 13, 14 years with the gun. So I'm like, man, I think I'm a good shot. But, it's 150, 160 yards. I don't know. I guess maybe I missed them, but come home.
Don't sleep. And wait and get up in the morning and head back. And I get in there and I look where he was at and I look at that tree and I'm like, man, I should have been able to get one through there. There's no branches there that shouldn't have been an issue. So I'm like, I'm just going to walk down.
There's a correct stream and I'm going to. just start zigzagging up, right? And [00:55:00] see if I can't find anything. I can't find any blood. I go down there and I start up and I kid you not. He was I was five yards from the night before. I lose my freaking mind. I come out of my skin. He was late.
I literally was five, 10 yards from, I don't know how I didn't see him. I honestly don't like he was, he just, he was right out. It was a perfect shot. Like it was, he was quartering away right where you want it. He only made it. I bet he only made it 75 yards total. And I, to this day, don't know how I didn't find them, but it's okay.
It all worked out, but I lose. Lose my mind. And I know the Amish had to be like, what the heck is going on down there? I'm screaming and yelling. And, and he's in the thick stuff just piled up and I'm yanking them. And I don't even know what all I was saying, but it was it was I think everybody knows there's certain times in life where you have a complete sense of euphoria, right?
Like there, there are a handful of times if you're lucky in your life, right? Where it's just, yeah. There's nothing that anybody could do that could take, you're just completely euphoric. And I was, I worked [00:56:00] so hard for that deer from all the work I put in before season and then hunting them, right?
70 different times, morning and night and morning and night. And then just the relief, like I'm sitting here man, all my sponsors. If I don't produce this, I produce nothing this deer season, right? Like I didn't produce a show, just a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. But but just to match wits with an animal like that, right?
Just to go at it with him all year. It was just, it was an indescribable feeling. And people might think maybe it was weird. I don't know. But it was really unlike anything I've ever had before. And all my buddies start coming in and everybody, we had a couple of beers and, and everybody's coming in to see him.
And it was it was just, it was really something pretty special. And I know a lot of guys were, they were excited for me cause they know what, the work that I put in for him too. So it all worked out in the end. I made it way, way harder than it needed to be, but it was nobody's fault, but mine.
That's for sure.
What you just talked about was a journey and it was like a journey of a lifetime because that [00:57:00] really is a fantastic story. And if you don't mind, I'd like to circle back a little bit and I just want to know it or share with us what you like. Tell us a little bit about the highs and lows you experienced throughout the hunting season, not necessarily in the field, but.
When you at home, I know you had support from your family, but as you said 70, 70 straight sits, morning, night, whatever it was that's a huge commitment, and you said it in the beginning, you sacrificed a lot. And that was some stress it had to be, and I'm curious if you could enlighten us a little bit.
Yeah, actually in the documentary itself I talked fairly extensively about it that that was probably the hardest part of all of it was, I missed, I never miss my kids games, right? Like I missed volleyball games. I missed my son plays college basketball and I missed a couple games of his that I never do.
And there was a tremendous, how do I say it? Feeling a guilt, right? Man, am I doing this for myself? Or is this for my family? You know what I'm saying? Is this where my,[00:58:00] I'm giving up all these things. Is it the right thing to do? Is it right to give up everything to do this?
And that was by far, That was the hardest emotional part, right? Like from a emotional standpoint, the grind itself from a physical standpoint was difficult, just the hunting every morning, rolling out of bed and getting up and doing it over and over again.
It was rough, but that part on an emotional side was really was really was by far the most difficult part. And there was a tremendous amount of guilt. And I think I said this before. If you gave me a buck and you said, Hey, you can shoot the biggest buck ever.
And you got to do that every year. I wouldn't do it. I'm not going to do that every year. But looking back on it, I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't have changed what I did and how I did it. It's a heck of a story. Yeah. I missed a couple of volleyball games. I missed a couple of basketball games.
My kids know that I love them more than anything in the whole world, right? There's never ever that question. My family knows and they were all behind me, right? Cause I don't do that every year. I don't say, Hey, I'm [00:59:00] not going to hunt with you this year. They know I'm dragging them out by their ears.
Usually let's go. You're coming hunting with dad, and I wouldn't change it. But it's the same time. I wouldn't want to do it every year.
What about I know it's a little bit different because you're producing a show and there's There's definitely some level of part of this, that this is, I'm doing this because we got to produce some content for the show, but at the same time it's with deer hunting.
Can you tell us a little bit what was there anything interesting about communication with your family throughout that whole process? Because communicating, like when I think about my own personal life and I'm trying to hunt as much as I want, but I'm not trying to take away from my family and.
Just being on the same page with my wife and my family is hard when I call it, you just get into rut mode and deer mode. Like it's just, you just get this one track mind. Like my wife will tell me many times that I'm home, but I'm not home. I'm not present because of that. And the community, like I said, it just comes down to communication being like, is there anything that you can share [01:00:00] with us from that aspect that maybe somebody can take away? Because I know how driven a lot of us get when it comes to big whitetails. Yeah, I think
the biggest thing that, that helped, me and my family was just the little text messages, right?
To my daughter, Hey honey, I love you. I'm thinking of you. Daddy, have you seen them? Just those little things that they know. Hey, you love them. You're thinking about them, right? And like I said, if I did that every year, that would be a problem.
But my family knows I don't do that. And so they were all behind me. It wasn't that they were upset that, hey, I missed this. They knew what I was trying to do and that I don't do that. And I had all I had 100 percent support. It was more of my own. Just guilt. Oh, God, I don't want to miss our volleyball game.
I don't want to miss Collins basketball game or just, the little things, picking them up from practice or, studying for something together, those things that you missed for a month and a half. And being able to do those little things and just, making sure, like you said, the communication was big and a lot of times it's just [01:01:00] something little, right?
And phone cell phones. I thank God I didn't have them when I was a kid. It's it. But for us through that process, it was, and it was a lot of them saying, have you seen him? Do you see him? Daddy? You think you're going to get them tonight? My wife did you shoot that buck yet?
And just little things. But But yeah, I think that's what got us through is just the little things and being able to communicate. But fortunately for them, I don't do that every year. So it wasn't. It wasn't like, Oh God, dad's going to be gone again this year.
I had a hundred, they were behind me a hundred percent the whole time.
Good deal. I said, before we started this and got rolling, I had a question for you because it's one that like I had happened to me and I'm wondering where you're at in this position. So you just killed the biggest deer of your life in Pennsylvania and.
It's not that it's not possible to connect on something bigger than that in Pennsylvania. It's very possible, but it gets harder and harder when you're putting it to, to, to something of that caliber. So where are you [01:02:00] at mentally going into this season with chasing deer? Because it's 2021 was a weird season for me.
Like I, I think the high of killing a giant. stayed with me into that season and I still wasn't in reality. Like it's a new year. I'm trying to shoot a deal. And I was not clear mind when it comes to hunt mode in that fall. So I'm just curious are you still in that phase of pinch me like
the honeymoon phase. Yeah, I'm still on cloud not, like I still, the documentary is getting ready to come out. So like we're reliving it all over again, right? And all the marketing and things behind it are going. So like you're constantly talking about it. We talk about it all the time.
I think it's a very realistic possibility. Mitchell did. I'll never shoot a bigger buck than that. Pennsylvania. I understand that. And I think everybody goes through an evolution. You're a little bit younger than me. My goal in any years is [01:03:00] in Pennsylvania is not so much the antler size.
And it's, I want to shoot a mature whitetail. Like I'll shoot a four and a half year old eight point all day long. Because when you start matching wits with a four and a half, five and a half year old Pennsylvania buck, I don't care. I don't care if it's 165. I don't care if it's a eight point. I shot a giant buck in Kentucky one time that had one antler and was seven and a half years old.
And it was one of my most prized possessions I've ever had. It was just an old, gnarly, gnarly buck. And that's where I've got to in, in my life. Now, that being said. I don't have a four and a half year old on camera yet. So I'm looking, and I'm confident I'm going to find something to hunt, and find a mature deer.
But for me, I don't think I'm ever going to set my goal. It's man, I got to shoot something bigger than I did this year. Cause I'm very realistic that may never happen again. Now I said that when I shot 154 inch buck too, I'm like, I may never shoot a bigger buck than this. And that's a likely possibility.
I think. I was listening to a stat one time that [01:04:00] somebody said 10%, only 10 percent of bow hunters will ever shoot a buck over 125 inches. And I don't know how accurate that is. I don't know if you ever heard that and I don't know how clear that is, but man, I was like, wow, I've been really fortunate because I've shot a bunch over that.
And so I don't think each year is, it's never. I hate how people make hunting a competition or they want to do something for how people look at them. For me, hunting is an internal thing, right? I don't care if somebody doesn't like that. I shot a 125 inch four and a half year old eight point.
That won't bother me because The hunt is what means more than anything to me and matching wits with the big mature buck is what I love to do. You
couldn't have said it any better because you're hunting for you, because I've said this before I'm breaking a, I'm probably being beaten a dead horse, so to speak, but no matter what you do hunting in your [01:05:00] life.
Nobody else is going to care what you've got on the wall, when you're gone, that doesn't matter, whatever, that the buck that you killed is, which is fantastic. People are going to appreciate, but if it's yours and it's awesome that you shared it with it, but like people, life goes on because it's just the deer.
And I think your pursuit, the way you describe that in keeping it within your hunt. Is that's huge. That's so huge. I'm really glad you shared that with us. So you've been hitting around the documentary a whole bunch. So tell us a little bit about that. Like you, you filmed this hunt and it turned into something bigger than.
a normal wired outdoors production. It did. Yeah.
Yeah. Our normal shows are like 10 minutes long. And yeah, I had a documentary company approached me and say, Hey, I've been following your story. And the guy's a friend of mine, but he produces a lot of documentaries for other companies. I'm like, man, I've always, it's always been a project that I've been interested in doing.
I said if I'm ever going to do it, this is the story, right? This is. This is one heck of a story that we [01:06:00] could do. And if you watch documentaries it's done with it. It's not like the normal wired outdoors where hello and welcome Wired Outdoors. Today, we're gonna be doing, it is a super creative and it tells the story.
And one thing I said to the documentary company when they approached me, I was like, you know what? I wanna do this as a documentary, but I want this documentary to be more than about a big buck. I want a woman who never hunts. That would want to sit down and watch this story, and how are we going to do that?
And the way that we did that was we really tied everything in from how I got started in this. And my wife's a huge part in this and the struggles that we went through as a family to be able to do things. Because I told you earlier, everybody sees what's above the water, right? They don't get to see that.
They don't get to see what's below the water. They see what's above. They don't get to see what's below. I want to show them what was below, right? Because everybody thinks, oh, this guy just had it easy and he had this and this was given to him. And that's just not the case with most people. And it certainly wasn't with me.
And I want a woman who never [01:07:00] hunted before to be sitting there because the first part of it's really telling that story and how I got started in the industry and how hard it was. That by the time they get to the hunt the girl who never hunt is man, I really hope this guy gets this buck. And my wife does a really good job in it, but then we get into it and, and it was a two year quest for this year. We got footage of this deer. We got trail cam pictures on, we got all kinds of just supporting things that really bring the story together. I hit him in archery season.
I have that encounter it's, I'm biased, right? Like I'm super biased. It's going to be different than what guys are used to watching. If they just want to watch a kill shot and what this isn't the show for you, right? But it's an hour and 15 minutes long and it goes through the whole season and the struggles that I went through and the emotions, all the things that we've talked about today, you get to see it, right?
And I cry a couple of times like when I get the buck, I think I start, getting choked up and things like that. It's super emotional. And yeah. That's really the goal is to take everybody along and let them feel that emotion. Let them feel [01:08:00] what it was like to be on that hunt.
And I'm super excited to release it. And I think people are gonna like it. I hope they like it. I said to my wife, I said if people don't like it, at least we have a cool video of our life story that we can watch when we're 90 years old. So
Absolutely. The trailer looked awesome when I watched it and I'll be anxious to see that too.
Man, I really appreciate you coming on and sharing the story. I love the Pennsylvania hunting perspective and I appreciate you telling that story because not only is it an awesome story of a buck you pursued for two years and the biggest buck there's so many little things to take away from it, whether it's from hunting strategy or the family aspect, and I can appreciate that.
Man, before we let you go make sure you, Plug Wired Outdoors where people can follow along with you if they're not already and make sure they know where to look when this documentary comes up. I think by the time that they listen to this episode, the documentary will be out already.
But if you're listening to this and you want to watch it, be sure to check it out.
Have at it. Yeah, the documentary. We [01:09:00] actually have a website for it specifically. It's all in the title of the documentary is all in because I was all in on this buck. I was all in and quit my job and it seemed like an appropriate title.
So it's all in the documentary dot com again, all in the documentary dot com. And all the information on where you can watch it. It's going to be on carbon tv, waypoint tv, real tree 3 65. As well as all the Wired Outdoors YouTube channel, which is YouTube. com slash Wired Outdoors TV.
It's going to be on the Wired Outdoors Roku channel, which is a big channel for us. If you have Roku, you can download our channel and watch all of our shows there. So you can see it as well as anything else that we do. we've done. And it's again, I'm not sure when this, but we're looking a is probably when the carbon tv first, then go and the other platforms.
plan. And my we You know, habitat management, consulting, a lot of [01:10:00] stuff like that and do a lot of videos on that. That's field days, media. com. I have a bunch of different businesses, but I guess that's enough plugs for one day, but I guess the big thing is if you tune in and watch the documentary, I'd love for you to watch it.
I hope everybody likes it. It's been a lot of work and hopefully a lot of people can relate to the story. Absolutely.
Jason, thanks again for coming on the show and we look forward to having you again. some time.
Yeah. Thank you, Mitchell. I appreciate it. I appreciate it very much and good luck this season.
Yeah, you do