Big Business, Big Purpose

Show Notes

On this episode of The Nomadic Outdoorsman Dan talks with avid hunters and Scheels team members Jeff Miller and Kevin Deetz about their love for the outdoors and expanding hunting through big business.

Jeff and Kevin are on the Buying Team as well as the Store Set Team for Scheels where they help start new locations and build the culture around the Scheels brand. Jeff and Kevin are whitetail archery hunters at heart with a passion to pursue a variety of other game animals around the country. Dan and Sam sit down with Jeff and Kevin to talk about the efficiency and passion under which Scheels locations operate and their individual desire to be in the outdoors and create amazing encounters with North America’s big game animals. Dan invites Jeff on one of his dream hunts to find big elk sheds out west.

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] All right guys. Welcome to today's show. Now, I've gotta warn you, this is one of my favorite episodes that I've ever recorded, but before I get into why, I'm gonna tell you if you're listening to this, the day that it comes out, that means tomorrow morning is the dove opener, and we make a big deal about that.

Here in Missouri, me and all my buddies, we get together, we go camp out the night before, close to public land where we're gonna be hunting the next day. We get up super early and go reserve our spot or stake out where we plan to hunt in the sunflower rows there on public land. And that also means we're only two weeks away from archery season, which.

I'm not gonna lie, is a much bigger deal to me than Dove opener. But it's all that to say the 2023 hunting season is really kicking off and I could not be more excited about it. But on this episode, we are continuing our Bo Fest series. As I sit down with two Shields, team members, Jeff Miller and Kevin Dietz, these guys had a tent, or I guess a giant.

[00:01:00] Double tent, triple tent, whatever. It was directly across from where I was set up at Bo Fest. And I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with them about their love and their passion for the outdoors, for building a store brand that just continues to help hunters and anglers and just outdoors men and women find the gear that they need and really be well equipped to go out and chase whatever game animal it is that they're pursuing.

And it played a huge role in my life. Shields was the store that I would go to. Weekly, every weekend it seemed like we were at the mall. I would go check out all the new equipment at Shields Dream about the different items that I wanted for hunting that most of the time I couldn't afford.

I'd go look at all the guns in the gun room that had new and used, and I. I don't know, there's just something about it. Every year I still go back there when I go up to Wisconsin for white tail season, and that's where I stop in. I buy my tags, I buy last minute gear and I stop there on the way out to my Colorado elk hunting spot.

I go up [00:02:00] through Loveland, hang out with some guys the night before, and they've got an awesome location there. So I'm super pumped about this. It is filled with a lot of jokes, a lot of laughter, and I think a couple friends that are probably gonna be lifelong hunting buddies, I. So let's jump in.

Like he was doing things that were just badass. That was one of the coolest moments of my life. I was really scared, but knowing that Dane had the gun, I did have the rifle, like we would be okay.

All right guys. Welcome to today's show. We are still here at Bo Fest, 2023 in Superior, and right now I'm sitting down with Kevin Dietz and Jeff Miller from Shields. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for having us, man. Thanks for having us. We're having a blast up here. Heck yeah. Yeah, I saw you guys. I'm, I haven't seen any crew as efficient as you guys.

Break down. Pack up everything in lieu of a [00:03:00] 45 minute rainstorm. Yep. It was I was in the middle of a podcast and I look over and people are just scrambling. And then you were gone. Yep. It was just that fast. So you brought the right crew out this week? We knew that storm was rolling in and we kinda looked at each other yeah, we gotta get moving. Okay. You're in charge of this, you're in charge of this, you're in charge of this. And yeah it was quick. We envisioned it I take the blame. We thought it was be a lot, whoa. A lot worse storm than what it was. So it ended up being a lot of heavy rain. But I'm in charge of those tents.

We gotta get 'em back for a hunt fast next weekend down to e Claire. So I didn't want him going away on a tornado or something. Yeah. No, that was pretty impressive. So you guys are both with shields. That's, that's got a soft place or a special place in my heart. That's where I grew up.

I grew up in Eau Claire. We'd go to, we'd go to the mall for no other reason than find a girl to make out with and go hang out in Shields. We'd go practice on the putting green or whatever and then go find a movie to go see. But you guys have expanded like crazy there. I moved down to Missouri in oh seven.

I don't remember what year I came back. And you guys had doubled or tripled in [00:04:00] size there? Yep. We had an addition on, I think it was 2009, if I'm not mistaken. They can't, don't quote me on that. So right after you left and we're as big as we can get, no Claire, but. All the new stores we're building now, just door fuss, they're all two stories and Ferris Wheels and Yep.

It's incredible. And the Taxidermy Mountains. And we, Kevin and I are lucky enough to be on the store set team, so Oh, sweet. We go to some of the new stores. We are actually heading to Chandler, Arizona in two weeks to set the archery shop down in Chandler for the new store. Wichita, Kansas just opened and Kevin was down to that store set.

And I've been to Colorado Springs, Minot, Eden Prairie we did the Colony. I'm missing one in there too, but that's all brand new stores. Yeah. And then next year we're gonna open Boise, Idaho, and Tulsa. Oklahoma. Nice. That's good. So two more stores coming in 24 too. So been really exciting. Dang. To see that end of it, how successful you think this is.

Efficient they build these stores and it's just everything right down to the last nut and bolt is there for, you're so good at it right now. It's fun to be part of the store set team too. So we got to see the one in [00:05:00] Loveland, Colorado. Yep. We were living in Fort Collins or in Windsor at the time.

Yep. And all of a sudden it was just, They one day it was there. Yeah. I'm like, I feel like Shields needs to train the road crews here, because I think for the last 14 years they've been working on the same stretch of highway. But that shields went up so quick. I knew a bunch of people that worked there, and that's insane.

Yeah. Like you said, the Ferris wheel, the taxi Derby mountain it's an impressive place. Yeah. And then they always have a number of associates move from existing stores, so you get that culture built up that we're known for. The customer service obviously is job one. Always with Shields. Yep. And it always will be.

That's a hundred percent what they're based on. If you don't take care of the customer, you don't work at Shields. So Yeah. That's awesome. And through the. Trials and tribulations of brick and mortar in the last 10 years, brick and mortar's dying. And I even started wondering, boy, are we gonna have a job because everybody can buy anything we've got online.

Yeah. Truthfully, but we have experts, which anybody can come in and talk to an expert, and I'd still buy from people like that. And we're more successful than we've ever been at Shields. So I can't tell you how many times [00:06:00] on the way out to my elk hunt, I'll stop at that Loveland Shields.

Yep. And I'll just talk to people. I'll be like, Hey man, look, my boots went out. I'm thinking about this. What do you think? Yep. This is what I swear by. This is what I hunt with this. Just talking to people who actually have experience with it and then they can give an honest opinion, not just try to up, I've heard 'em say this one's more expensive, but I'd honestly go with this one.

I like it better. Yep. Absolutely. So it's pretty amazing the culture that you guys built out there. So you wear Crispies or Kenna Treks, Ken. Andrex Trek. Exactly. Yeah. 'cause at the end of the day we. We want you to come back. 'cause you want to not. 'cause you need to. Yeah. So if we get you what you need, then you don't have to come back.

I think she would rather, I just never go back because the bill that I have after coming back, we get that. Hey, try working there. It's brutal. It just seems so easy just to take it home. We get really good deals on stuff, but you take twice as much stuff over now, yeah. Yep. My, my buddy's daughter started working there when she was old enough to get a job at that Lovelin location, and he's It's hard 'cause I'm trying to teach her financial responsibility, but also I'm like, you can buy your own hunting stuff now.[00:07:00]

Yeah. She's I don't have money for anything else. He's you sound like your old man. And that's the cool thing about Shields is every area working, they encourage you to be a very active participant in it. We get, Kevin and I being on the buying team, I've been on the buying team for over 20 years for archery.

And we get most of our vendors that give us employee purchase above and beyond cost even. Yeah. 'cause they want us using their product. 'cause if we use their product, yeah. We sell their product. And once that got figured out in the industry, now they're almost jumping through hoops to get us product in their hands.

At very good prices for all the associates. So it's, yeah. That makes me curious. We're just gonna go a couple items here. Are you both whitetail hunters? Yes. Yep. Yeah. Archery, whitetail hunters. Yep. Archery. Only archery. I haven't shot a gun buck for 17 years, I think.

Something like that. Oh, dang. Yeah, it's been a while. Three questions, Bo. Camo and boots. What are you guys running? Oh no. You know what? I'm gonna take out the camo and replace it with optics. So bow, binos, boots. What do you guys [00:08:00] use? The three Bs bow? I shoot right now I'm shooting the 29 Phase four. Yeah.

I got the 33 at home and The, my Hoyt, I have the RX seven, so I don't know, this year I'm shooting the phase four. Yeah. So last year I shot the Hoyt changes every year. Year. Yeah. It's like a guy who's got multiple watches. It just depends on the day. Yeah. And know. Yeah. And to be honest with you, it was, I was, I'm born in Wisconsin, so I'm a, I'm a Thoroughbred Matthews lover.

Yeah. Through and through. But ever since working at Shields, I've become more of an archery lover. Yeah. And just shoot what feels good and go from there. I have that luxury to have three or four bows. And my wife doesn't know that, so hopefully she doesn't listen to this thing she does now. Yeah. I tell her that with purses.

I'm like I'll take a gun for every purse that you get. And she's that's not even the same thing. I'm like, you're right. Your purse spends money. My gun brings home meat. Exactly. Boots, I have Ken Tre and Crispies, but the Crispy Idaho is probably my favorite. Crispy Idaho. Yep. Alright. And then Optics.

I'm a Vortex guy. Oh, yeah? Yeah. Partially because I [00:09:00] can't afford the Swarovski. Yeah. Vortex. All of us vortex through and through. Yeah, I'm pretty similar. I've got a phase four, Matthews, phase 4, 29 and 33. I am been shooting them both a lot and I'm doing an elk hunt here in Colorado coming up in September, and I'm probably gonna take my 33 I think, as of right now.

I got that with me here at Bo Fest. And yeah, probably gonna cut last year on the V three x, the same ax links. I ended up shooting my 29 at my Alcon. But I think I'm gonna take the 33 this year. So same pages, Kevin, on that. And my favorite boot by far of all time is the Kenna Trek Mountain Extreme 400.

Yep. I just wore out I shouldn't even wore out. I wore my pair last year that's six years old on my elk hunt. And I crossed the Laramie River six times, one day chasing bulls, and I never got wet feet and they're six year row boats. Wow. So that really convinced me that how good Rex are. And I just bought another pair mountain Extreme 400, just as a backup.

Just in case. Yeah. And I do Crispy also I got a pair of Crispies with me here actually on this. Just like you were told, not to rip on any other manufacturers, but once you put either [00:10:00] one of those boots on your feet and actually climb hills like we don't get to do in Wisconsin very often.

Yeah. Then you realize what good boots are all about. So a hundred percent. And then optics, I am a hardcore vortex nut too. I do own a couple pair of Swarovski's too, which I love, but just like Kevin, vortex treats us so well too, being Shield's employees. I just love their razor. I bought a pair of 12 x 50 razors as my truck binocular.

Because they're bigger and heavier and I've carried 'em on every single hunt I've been at ever since. Yep. I just love my 12 x 50 razors, we didn't even plan this out. I'm just doing all the same stuff that you guys are. That's pretty impress. I was just gonna, that was your turn. Now I'm gonna interview you.

Yeah, so I've got the, I've got the Ken Trek Mountain Extreme Uninsulated went non insulated, haven't had an issue yet, hunted negative temperatures in Colorado with them. Hunted Wisconsin rifle season in him, and no issues whatsoever. I'm shooting the V X R Matthew's, v x r and optics all vortex.

I've got the Fury, 5,000 binos. I've got the Razor HD spotter. I've got[00:11:00] what, two different range finders now. Everything, all my, most of my sites like red Dots. Rifle scopes. They're all vortex. Yep. I just swear by it. They make good stuff. Yeah, they do. And you call 'em, you say, Hey, I've got this issue.

I've gotta hunt next week. Hey, we'll send you a replacement pair, send those in, and then we'll swap that. There's a peace of mind with that too. If he's dropping 'em outta your tree stand and you're going, like you just said, you're going out to. Hunt elk the next day, you know that you're backed up.

And I love it. In the shield stores, you go wherever the vortex are in the store and you typically see one that's been in a house fire or run over by a tractor or something, and it's yeah, you can just swear by 'em. But to the Ken Andrex, oh man. I was talking to a guy that El Hunts out in Colorado every year, and he goes, I love being out there.

I hate seeing boot tracks. As soon as I see a boot track with a K in the middle of it, I think, oh shit, one of the big bulls is probably dead back here. He is you wear those, if you're serious about getting out there, you know what you're doing. Yep. So that's awesome. Whitetail, is that all the way for you?

Obviously chasing Al no. Yeah [00:12:00] I probably just Elk right now is my bucket list. I wanna shoot a big bull. I've shot bulls in Montana. But not a big bull. And I had an opportunity last year to go to Colorado on my buddy's private ranch. So it was a dream come true. Two weeks of absolute heaven we're screaming bulls every day, and it was just a, and we're actually going back to the same place this year, so we're way ahead of the game now.

Yeah. Knowing the ranch better. And then the middle of the day we fished rainbow trout in this ponds and caught 16 to 20 inch rainbows and Nice. And then there's brown trout in Laramie River. So it was an absolute. I come back, I told my wife, I think I, he seriously almost didn't come back surfing her. He almost didn't come back.

I'm gonna go ahead and retire right now. I offered, when I retire, I will go out and guide for him or whatever I can do because it was absolute heaven. And I think I offended my wife when I got back. 'cause she said how was it? And I said, to be truthful, it was the best two weeks of my life.

Not thinking that I probably should have thought she, but she said, oh, come on now. And I said, no. It was absolutely the best two weeks of my life. That's awesome. I dunno what to tell you about that. She even gave you a second chance and you blew it twice? I blew it twice, but I [00:13:00] was just being honest. Just get out there and no phones ranging.

And of course we grew up in Wisconsin where I got an 82 acre lease that I hunt, yeah. And it's, that's what you get to hunt well out there. You can walk all day. And never come to the property bound. Yeah. It's just a whole different level of freedom and hunting and Yep. That's why we do it, obviously, but yeah.

Tons of elk. So yeah, it was a great hunt. But my other favorite hunt, and Kevin's starting to get into this now, is South Dakota spot and stalk mule deer. Yeah. I love that. And I've killed a couple of good mule deer, so I killed a 205 inch with my bow out there. Oh my gosh. When I shot him, I thought when they told me he'd be top three or something in the state, so I got my dream mul deer.

So now I'm going after the Big Elk. So are you doing like bad lands or more prairie? We were prairie Mid-State. Okay. By Philip and Midland in that area. Yeah. Yep. Yep. So yeah, just send me the G P Ss coordinates for that. Yeah, just drop your Kevin tried that. He's, I've known him for years. He's, he doesn't gimme crap.

Yeah. There's, and there's quality mul deer out there, it's really good stuff. And. And so I've done that [00:14:00] every two or three years. I go out on a spot and stalk mul deer hunt, and I'll do that again for sure. But I'm concentrating on the elk right now. Yeah. Yep. If you're an avid listener of this podcast, you've probably heard me talking about Infinite Outdoors in the past.

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I'm not mad enough to hell hunt, man. I'm not. I keep telling myself, that's why I tell people I [00:15:00] want to elk hunt so bad. Actually, I think we're going in a couple years. Wyoming the plan. Yep. Wyoming. So we're gonna go in a couple years, but right now I'm not man enough to elcon. Like I'd see that boot track with the cane in it, turn around, go back to camp because this guy is way more man than I am.

Hey, listen, it, it's as much as you need to get in physical shape, you have to be mentally ready right now to just put in the work. Yep. And it's good that you recognize, like right now I'm not at that point. No. But to get to that point is gonna change everything. I've gone out, I haven't archery hunted yet.

That's coming up here in the next year or two, but, Going out there, I've filled three outta, three elk tags and a buck mule deer tag. Awesome. And then I've talked to other guys who've been doing it 17 years and they've never killed anything. Yeah. And then you hear, ah, man, I went like a mile in and I'm like, You said that?

You said that I'm supposed to be impressed. Yeah. I'm like Only a mile. Huh? Wow, you wanted to make this easy on yourself. Yeah. Yeah. You really have to put in the work and not that sitting in a tree stand. You gotta be [00:16:00] mentally strong. I was gonna say that in the tree stand all day too.

But like to put your body through that and know that every step you take away from the side by side four wheeler lodge, whatever is another step you gotta take on the way back. But that's the adventure of it. That's the fun. Yeah. And that part of it is one of the other buyers that actually I just moved in and shared an office with Chase.

He's a, he's born bred water fed elk hunter. Yeah. So he, he goes every day like clockwork 11 to work out. And his workouts are nuts. Like nuts. Yeah. And I think he just got back from a 50 mile. He flew up to Colorado, ran 50 miles, and then flew back and went to work like the next day. Oh my gosh. I mean he, that guy is nuts.

Yeah. Yeah. I'm out on that. So he's drive. Yeah, but he's driving. He's driving. That edging me a little bit just to, get in the gym, workout a little bit, and then push out more. Yeah. Push a little bit harder to maybe chase him, chase some milk one day. See, I think you need to book a hunt and then you have no choice.

Your choice to, you're either gonna die out there or you're gonna get ready for it. Yep. You heard it right. I tell everybody that twice in my life, and [00:17:00] I played a lot of sports and I know I'm in decent shape from my age, but. I'm not like Chase obviously, but twice in my life I've reached my physical limit where I just sat down and couldn't move.

Yeah. And then both times it was packing Elk. Yep. Yep. We shot three one day in our Montana hunt the last day we shot three Elk the last day. Wow. One of the guys decided we're gonna fill all the. Yeah, tags and we had to pack three elk out. Oh my gosh. And I literally got a hundred yards from the vehicle and I sat down and I'm gonna die right here, can, 'cause I cannot move.

So you get tired doing other things, like playing sports, played a lot of basketball and stuff. But it's just a whole nother level where, like you said, your mind is just, your body's just, your legs don't move another inch. And it's, and but then, On the drive home. We were LA and I'm like, I'm spent, I'm like, we got about three hours into the drive and I was with three other guys and I said, L Cotton must be like childbirth.

Yeah. They're like, what do you mean by that? I said right away when it's going on, you think I'm never doing this again. But immediately after the next day, you wanna do it again. I can attest the rear view mirror and you see some antlers poking up out of the tin. Can't wait to get back. [00:18:00] Yeah. We did that this year.

I. We had seven guys get bulls this year at Elk Camp. Five of 'em were first timers, like never had shot a bull before. And I helped pack out five of the seven. Yeah. And dang, I dang, I have, I've been exhausted before this year. I hit this real, I need to figure out how to tap into this and then sell it as a drug.

But like at some point during my packout, I just hit a different level and almost jogged up the mountain, turned around, went and got somebody else's pack from them. Brought that up. And one of the guys that was hunting with us, he's got a terminal illness and he gets up there and he goes, I.

Hey, I'm not trying to be mean by saying this, but did you steal some of my Adderall? I swear I didn't. I don't know what happened, but I'm good. But I've had those side-by-side riots back where I'm like leaning on my buddy's shoulder 'cause I'm so beat after packing up. Here's what I've learned since we reached our physical limit.

It's just about anywhere you go out west, [00:19:00] if you just do a little bit of research, there's people with horses. Yeah. Then you can give three or $400 bills to, and they'll come in and get your elk. And seriously about everywhere. I know out west, somebody there is doing that to make money and come and get it.

That's smart. Yep. Yeah. At some point you just gotta realize, that's, I get it. It's cool to do your own thing, but at some point it's Hey, bring those ponies over here. And after the fourth one or even the third, yeah, we talked about that this year. Looking into staging. Like a wall tent in the back country.

Yep. 'cause we go out with this convoy. We've all got fifth wheels and travel trailers, rooftop tents. We put up three different, I think this year we had five wall tents up. But I'm like, what if we put those up in the back country? Have some packed mules come in or horses drop 'em off.

Yep. And then we can just carry the canvas out and we'll leave the poles out there. Yeah. So I'd have to look at the legality of leaving that on public land, but Yeah. There. That's a service for you. And can you imagine that? If you want to get into elk hunting first, get mules and then find out where all these big bulls are being killed by going and packing 'em out from people.

Now you got the [00:20:00] best intel. It reminds me of one of our buddies that works at Shields out in Colorado actually. He's got llamas. Oh yeah. For pack llamas, for hunting. And he takes them. And now both the store managers out there are trying to get hit llamas from him. 'cause they're big elk hunters. And so it's a, yeah.

I remember what got thinking about it when you were talking is somebody told me, before you go elk hunting and hear bugle and bulls, they say you Turkey hunting? I said of course I Turkey hunting. He said you know what? How excited you get when there's a gobbler coming And he just gobbling his head off and yeah, absolutely.

That's fun. He said times that times a hundred and it's a 800 pound animal and he's screaming in your face. And last year I had my dream bull at 30 yards the last night of a two week hunt and at 40 yards he was behind some willows and at 40 yards he let out the most. Screaming bugle you've ever heard in your life and just roars.

And it's the best thing ever. There's, and he comes walking out at 30 yards and here's a 350 and six by six. Oh gosh. I feel like running through a brick wall right now. There's no, I know. There's no replacement for, you feel like you could actually do the hunt right now, couldn't [00:21:00] you? I get in 20 minutes into my first workout, I'd be done.

No. Yeah. There's no replacing that. No screaming bulls. There's a reason, I talk to a lot of people about their dream hunt. And there's so many, if you haven't experienced a screaming bull. Yep. There's nothing else like it. I was a little bit disappointed. Moose hunting. Yep. My buddy drew a tag in Colorado, and I'm thinking I knew nothing about moose hunting.

No. And we get out there and I'm thinking, all right, elk, they bugle, they just scream. You can hear it from a mile away. It makes your blood boil. And then the moose is oh, that's it. I'm like, come on man. Really? Really? That's what you got for me? Yeah. But that's what I was thinking too. Yeah. Like mule deer and whitetails are fun, they grunt and stuff, but it's not anything like a screaming bull, that's for sure.

And I walked right into a big shi bull in my Colorado last year actually. Oh dang. Two, like 20 yards. Like too close. I was trying to get ahead of it, a bugle and elk. And I went down through a dry wash and I looked up and he was just jet black, probably a 40 some inch bolt. Oh. And I stop and he's like under 20 yards.

And they're big. [00:22:00] Yeah. Big. And I stopped and I'm like, and he's just looking at me and it's a rutt. And I've heard stories that they're not kind, nope. So I stop and I'm trying to think where my phone is, because I wanna take a video and he just looks at me and does that grunt and walks into the wheels.

I'm like, whoof, that was too little bullet on That's too close. Yeah. There's a lot of things I'd rather run into in the woods than a Yep. A running bull moose. Yep. Yep. I've heard stories of those things. Charging vehicles, trains, just taking people out. Yeah, I'm out on that one. Yeah.

So you guys have an awesome tent set up here. From what I hear, you guys are like the people that help put this event on. Everybody I talk to, Mike and Larry, they just, they love you guys here. Good. How long have you guys been a part of it? To be honest with you, I have come just about every year, but maybe one I've come every year before Shields was even part of it.

And then him and I came up one year as a store sponsor. Yep. And it was to be honest with you, I gotta give credit where credit's due. It was his idea that we should sponsor this, we should back this. Yeah. It's just such a great atmosphere. [00:23:00] Larry's and the team here, Mike, everybody, they're just great people and it's, I don't know, I feel like we're not only, We're selling a couple shirts here and there, but it's more about just supporting the industry, supporting Larry and supporting something like this.

Yeah, that's a big, and just being around archers, that's big thing for me is supporting Larry. I get to hunt Larry's property down in Iowa when we draw a tag and go down there, shed hunting. And last year Kevin somehow got into the shed hunting down Iowa. Somehow I know how that happened. Thanks.

Thanks Larry. But so I was up here in the very first bow Fest. I knew Larry being on the buying team. Of course, he used to own block targets and rage broadheads, and. I've known him from the a t a show for thir 20 some years. And then of course then he had Raven Crossbows and we really supported that.

And all of a sudden he's talking about this big bow shoot. And myself and another buddy in 2017, I believe it was the first year up we came boy, and it was fun. Yeah. And then I missed a year or two in, every so often you'd have something going on. But just like Kevin said when he started at Shields, we got talking about it and it's yeah, that was really fun.

Let's do it. And you just need. A couple buddies that come up and do it. And of [00:24:00] course with the, we get the slope side cabins, which are gorgeous, and the lodge up above is just beautiful. Yeah. The lo the view is incredible. Be, and you can ride a ski lift up to go shoot Bow and just the event of music here.

And of course, Michael Waddell walks by, or Nate Hosey, and on it with Nate down in, at Larry's in Iowa actually. Oh, nice. Was down there. Nice. So we spent the week together. So it's cool you get the, pat and Nicole, I've known them for 30 years also. And so yeah, it's just cool being around all these people and.

Like we say, it's not they're us. Yeah. They're not anything. They just, they're here shooting bow and maybe you have a few cocktails at night with you and just come over and talk hunting stories, so how can I get any better than this? It's really, everybody's like-minded here and yeah.

There's no bickering. No, I've never seen a fight here. Everybody's smiling, everybody's smiling, having a good time, so yeah, that's what I love about the outdoor industry and just, people who share interests with you. It. They are all the same people. I feel like we are absolutely nobody's in the industry, right?

I talk about hunting, I make funny marriage content about hunting, and people are like, oh my gosh, I was [00:25:00] so nervous to talk to you. I'm like, listen, we're I fed a couple pigs this morning? Collected some chicken eggs, like I still have to mow the lawn. Like we're all just people that do this.

Maybe that some have a bigger platform than others, but at the end of the day, you get together and you're just, All a bunch of good old boys chasing after the same thing yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. That's, that was part of why it was so easy to back this, even when it was at a store level and then, we took it up a notch and said, what do you need from us?

Talking to Larry and it's just, it was it's just so easy to get here, right? So when, and that's my joke earlier, is, getting here it's oh man, I got a six hour drive, 15 hour drive, 20 hour whatever. It's for people that come from all over and then it's ah, do I really wanna go?

And then you get here and you're here for five minutes and it's Oh, hell yeah. Yeah. This is awesome. That was us. I wanna go back. Yeah. Yeah. It, we had never heard of it again. It started after we or after I moved down to Missouri and then I found out about it this year.

And we came up and as soon as we pulled in, we went up to the trophy lodge. We were looking at different things, talking to different vendors, and I said, we're doing this every year. Yeah. Yeah. There's no [00:26:00] question. And that's what we even said it, even at some point, if we don't, for some reason be a sponsor, even if we just have a smaller booth.

'cause our booth is huge, right? Yeah. Massive. Even if we just decide to downsize for some silly reason. We're never not coming. Even just get the boys together and Yep. Come shoot ball. Yeah. Guys week. Yeah. And we'll, maybe talk to you someday I guess. Yeah. Be on the show again. You guys live in Missouri now?

Yep. Springfield, Missouri on Springfield. Okay. Yep. So unfortunately that's Bass Pro territory down there. I can't find a shields close by, but yeah, we're up here several times a year though. Yeah. Visiting, family hunting. We come up every Thanksgiving for his white, or is it white till still? Yeah.

I'm learning this. Perfect. But yeah, every year we come back she's there's a thousand different seasons. I can't, I thought that one ended. Yeah. But now it's done. Now it's squirrel. Oh my gosh. Now it's deer. All right guys. Here is a hot tip for last minute scouting before the season starts, and that is to break out your optics and get boots on the ground on your hunting property.

Find a spot where you're not gonna be noticed, where you're not gonna disrupt their patterns. But that you can [00:27:00] observe them transitioning from feeding to bedding, and hopefully put you in a spot to have a close encounter during season. For that, I break out my entire arsenal of Vortex products. I've got my Fury 5,000 range finding binoculars, my razor HD spotting scope, several different tripods as well as my window mount for while I'm driving.

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But yeah, we come back every year and. Yeah. Shields is my first stop pick up my license. Still buying the, I don't know. Is it all, can you go electronic now in Wisconsin? Oh yeah. We've been, I just all, I just keep getting the paper tags every year. Oh yeah. No, it's more fun. You can go on, you can go on right now and or sit in your stand and buy a dough tag sitting in your stand right now.

See, I'd just rather, I'd rather go in the store. It's the atmosphere I like going into. I just like going in. 'cause then it's I convinced myself of all the last minute things that I don't actually need. Yep. But I buy anyways. And you get home. Oh, I already have this call. Now I have two. Oh, sweet.

Yeah. Or we bring the kids in and then they wanna. Grab Steph or the kids about toys for the dog last time. Oh yeah. I'm like, come get me outta here. That's what makes clothes. She's fallen for me into she the gear side of they wanna ride the bear. That's what I was just gonna say, that's what's awesome about coming here, right?

Like you said earlier, you have the music at night, so even if you don't like shooting Bow, everybody likes music. Yeah. Yeah. Come watch a concert. Even if you don't like the band, the next night is different. Exactly. I think tonight's Tom Petty. Petty cover band. Yeah. Like you got a lake [00:30:00] down there for the kids with the big kahuna.

There's something for everybody. Jet ski, pontoon rentals, just go the lift. This reminds me of a great story. The gentleman that just walked through our Wave two in the white shirt. Yeah. He came up last year with Brent and Nicole Larson. Yeah. Minnesota and. He just, he's a big business.

He owns 10,000 acres of farmland or something like that, or big farm anyway in Minnesota. And he is busier and he owns an implement dealer and he is just, I need to get away. And he's friends with them and they're like, he doesn't even shoot a bow. I, what I was told, and he just came up here with him last year and just to hang out, just hang out and not have the phone ringing.

He absolutely fell in love with it. So the funny thing is, if you turn around and look behind you, he's a sponsor this year for That's awesome. That's that guy right there. Yep. Wow. So that, that just reminds me when you walk through, I thought that was the coolest story ever. He doesn't even really hunt. He just, and he loves this up here.

That's cool. Yeah. So that's what it is. And look around, we get beautiful weather like this. There's a bunch of Kevin's buddies over there. It doesn't yeah, it doesn't get it doesn't, the weather yesterday, like I said it was worth it to put. To go through that to, to deal with what we have right [00:31:00] now.

This is, yeah. Yeah. It don't get better than this. It's all part of the adventure. Just like your elk continent or something like that. Every day was perfect. It wouldn't quite be the same. So yesterday it was boiling hotly. It was brutal. It was awful. Especially we're sitting on a blacktop.

Yeah. Dry or parking lot out here but yeah. Now today's everything's better. I just kept telling myself, it's getting me ready for. South Dakota Mule Deer. Yep. They don't care for real. They still gotta go chasing. They really don't, I don't know. I don't understand how those animals walk around with that coat.

I know they shed heat through their giant ears, but yeah, that's a lot of heat to shed. It's hard. It's hard to understand. Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. I'm out. I appreciate you guys taking the time to come, hang out, sit down and chat, and thanks for all you do for Bo Fest, helping put this on.

But yeah, we'll stay in touch. Yeah, no, thanks for having us. This was fun. I might have to follow you down to the Iowa property. I keep hearing about this Iowa property. It sounds like all the elites get to go hunt down elite elites. I don't know about that. Hey, we were chatting with Larry down at the bar the other night and he was telling us about it and yeah, it sounds pretty cool.

Iowa's a different level. It's, but we're in Wisconsin too, so like you can't really Here. Here's the [00:32:00] problem with it. I love shed hunting. I put on, that's where my Rex get their absolute most usage. I'll tell you another quick story about that in a second, but you go to Iowa and I don't even wanna walk in Wisconsin anymore.

Wow. It's such just like hunting. It's just such a different, we got down to Larry's this year and in three days we picked up what, 223 sheds a lot and we had 13 over 70 inches and four over 80 inches. Oh wow. Oh gosh. Both size and numbers. It was way better 'cause he knows his deer down there and it was way better than what he thought it was gonna be.

Which leads well into this season, obviously. Yeah. Of course, the problem with Iowa, as we all know, it takes five to six years to get a taken, so you can't just go back here after year. Yep. Yeah, so that's the tough part about it. But it's an absolute blast. And yeah, I get back home and you walk half a day and you pick up a.

Shut off a spike or something, hey, I'm the world. I discovered that I am the worst whitetail shed hunter on the planet. Oh, there's a lot of bad ones when it comes to elk. I can find elk sheds. Yeah. [00:33:00] Especially during elk season. I just clashed sheds all day long it seems no kidding.

And then I finally went down to New Mexico with a buddy, and he finds a, I think his best year was two years ago. He found 750 shed. And he took us out Dang. First shed. I found we matched it up I think it was probably three hours later. But yeah, I've got all those in my truck. I thought about putting 'em out here, but I'm like, those could walk off pretty quickly.

So that's funny you say that 'cause my other bucket list is, Picking up elk sheds, Hey, I've got a spot. And this guy, he's the coolest dude ever. He would have us down there in a second, so maybe we'll connect. And I talked to do this sitting around a campfire. Some states have seasons on it, you gotta go after midnight on a certain day.

And yeah, we talked to a few guys out in our Western stores that are average shed hunters, and like you said, they're seven miles just to get to where the sheds are. It's yeah, you walk. That and the whole day. I walked seven miles in Wisconsin though yeah. Yeah. But it's, that's fun. No, we found some pretty cool spots.

Bumped a ton of elk. It just seemed like we couldn't get away from the elk sign. We bumped elk every other [00:34:00] pass. It seemed we'd go around a point and there'd be elk and then we'd go around the next one. There'd be more, but starting to pick up. Brown sheds. I'm like, there's some kind of weird chemical reaction that our bodies have with that and gold, like when you pick it up, it's just yeah, I could go for four more days like this.

Yeah. Not to mention it, it just may. I think that I learned something new almost every time I go, whether it's about the property or about a certain deer or whatever it might be. Yeah. I just feel like I learned something. That's why I love it. Do you think elk will replace whitetail or do you think whitetail will always be number one?

Whitetails are so much more accessible. Yeah. But to be truthful, I haven't shot a whitetail buck in my home state of Wisconsin for seven years. Oh wow. I'm just, I wanna shoot really big ones or I don't have to shoot 'em in. Like last year, my buddy and I went elk hunting and I had half an elk in the freezer.

And then, yeah, you didn't need to me, ironically my buddy that we went on his Colorado Ranch raise his bison. And he said, before you leave, go out in the freezers and take all the bison meat you can home. 'cause we're slaughtering again. So I brought coolers full of bison meat and [00:35:00] then I, every day, every year, opening day of Wisconsin archery season, I shoot two doughs because I got a dough problem.

Yeah. So I shoot two doughs. So I have two dough, so I don't need venison anymore and I just wanna shoot a really big buck. So I'm, my kids gimme so much crap because I got a son and daughter that hunt too. But my daughter's a nurse at Mayo and she's been busy and she bought a house and hardly hunted last year.

And I got these four year old bucks on camera. What do you, he's gotta get out there. 'cause I'm not gonna, because I'm not Yeah, you need to eventually the neighbors shoot 'em, but, oh. Yeah. But it's just, I just want to shoot a really big one. I've been out in Kansas whenever I could and I have a hundred Missouri a lot.

And I just, it's gotta be a really big buck. I just have no interest shooting him. I've got. I think I've got what? It's a lot. Yeah. 24 whitetail heads mounted at my house and my wife says she doesn't need anymore. Apparently. So actually we have 'em in the store. Eau Claire and the arts shop. Those are all mine.

See? Nice. I love that pedestals going around and seeing, yeah, you're the guy that I've always hated walking. This guy has all of these deer. Who is this guy? Yeah. So but now that's funny. [00:36:00] We hired a new guy and two years ago he had a really big buck on camera and he's if I shoot it, can I put it up in here?

He's actually over in the booth. And I said, yeah, if you shoot him he shot 'em. So then now his buck's in there. Then he so has a big six by six typical, and then last year he shot another 160 inch. Six basic. Oh, so he's starting to take over now my, so I can retire now. My gosh. Oh my gosh. So that's alright, Dan, you're next.

That's dream right now is just to have a deer in shields. There you go. Absolutely. Bring and say, I know Jeff. People say why do you want him in? I get to look at him a lot more than there, than I would at home, that's true. Yeah. So it's, yeah, it's like the best man cave ever.

We've got a buddy that does our taxidermy, and he gets 'em done in a few and he's really good. So it helps him out too, but yeah, we've all got, Kevin, shut up. So we kinda got to be, Hunting, what do you, what'd you call it? When he shoots a deer, he calls us and we go help track, whatever.

Oh yeah. We don't hunt together, but, so two years ago Yeah. Kevin shot a 160 some inch six by five, wasn't he? Yeah. And so Tanner and I went down and helped him track it. Then Tanner, we went and helped Tanner track with So I just haven't shot one for you guys to track, but, [00:37:00] so I've gotta address something.

I noticed you saying six by sixes and six by fives, which is a very western thing. Don't, he's turning into an elk hunter on me. I was gonna say, did that start when you started Western hunting? I think so, yeah. He just describes him better I think. So he's turned into an elk hunter on me. Yeah. That's sweet.

I think, shields, obviously, you guys have an awesome culture there inside and outside of the store. Sitting down with you guys now has been a pleasure. Good. And yeah, if you're serious, we'll get you out on some elk chips. Oh that's absolutely. Yeah, that's I'll. I'll bring him down later today and we'll just go sit in the Shields tent and look at him for a little while.

Oh, you got 'em with you? Yeah. They're in the bed of my truck. They're in the backseat of my truck. Oh God. Yeah. Yeah. We went out there with this guy and I'm expecting, we'll find a couple. And so we all placed our betts on how many we'd find. First day was a little bit slow, and then all of a sudden we started picking up sheds.

And we go to leave. And he sells 'em, right? He's showing me sheds 400 inch sets that he's [00:38:00] I just keep the unique ones. He's oh, I'll go sell to my dealer. He's got a whole like cart or a storage unit full of them, just top to bottom. He will ship 'em across the country on a semi-truck. And I'm like, what in the world?

And so he is showing me all these sheds, and so I'm thinking he's making money off of this, right? At the end of the trip, every shed that we picked up, including the ones that he picked up and he picked up twice as many as us. He's eh, whatever you guys want, just take it. That's so cool. I said, no way, man.

No way. And he told us, going into it if I find a, if match set to one of yours it's automatically yours. But he ended up giving us every single shed. Oh my gosh. And we walked away and he's I wouldn't have even picked this one up had you guys not been here. I'm like, dude, pick up the chalk ones.

I don't care. I'll turn to something. Yeah. I can't leave a shed lay. No. I've picked up my share of chalky nasty things. I had a couple year that were pink. They were so old. But yeah, they're hanging in my shop. They're in the're in the shop somewhere. Absolutely. A hundred percent. Yeah. I really do appreciate [00:39:00] it guys.

Thanks for hopping on. Thanks, man. We'll stay connected. Appreciate it. Oh, hey, one question I was about to ask this a couple minutes ago. Dream hunt, your bucket list, hunt, wear what animal? What weapon? I went first with the Triple B's. You go first. Triple B Boy. I would say like the Chama Ranch or one of the big elk hunting ranches.

Oh yeah. With the archery equipment, obviously during the Bugling Ruing stage. I just don't think I could top that. Yeah. Yeah. I've got, of course, working at Shields, we've got some pretty higher echelon clientele that does those Yeah. Connection. Yeah. And they bring us pictures in to put on our picture board of these gigantic bowls and tell us stories.

So that's what gets us all fired up, obviously. But yeah I think a rutt elk hunt with the archery equipment would be tough to beat for me. I would say. I think I'd probably say moose anywhere. I don't care with a bow. But to [00:40:00] be honest with you, it, I just want to be, I can't wait. I don't want her to grow up, but I want, I would just wanna be hunting with my daughters.

That's awesome. Yeah. I wanna watch them kill something for their first time. Yeah. Because I hear him talk about the hunt with Mariah and stuff like that and being with her and Turkey hunting I can't wait for that hunt. Yeah. That's the hunt I'm excited for. And I don't like saying I can't wait for her 'cause I feel like I'm wanting her to hurry up and grow up.

Yeah. Because she's only five. Yeah. Yeah. Or any of my daughters really. I just, yeah that's my dream hunt. I can't wait for that to come true. Yeah. Yeah. Alright. If you're not using tact cams, reveal cell cameras on your hunting property for scouting or monitoring the wildlife, you are seriously missing out.

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And I've done that and he's absolutely correct. My son, my daughter's a little older than my son. They're 26 and 23 now. But when my son, my daughter, she just, yeah, she didn't really show interest in hunting maybe a little bit, but didn't really care. And then my son, of course, yeah, you're getting a bow and.

We got him going, and I sat with him for either four or five years straight. I never picked up my bow. I sat with him and double, I put two stands up and yeah. That's awesome. I coached him through, and one year when he was 11, he shot five deer with his bow. Geez. And I filmed it all, I filmed it all just for memories.

And I took him to Illinois and hunted my buddy's place down there. [00:42:00] And that first time he ever sat in Illinois by himself, he was 12, I believe. And there was a ladder stand, and I put a decoy out for him. I walked him in and I said, get up in there and get strapped in. And because I wanted to hunt then.

Yeah. So I went down the next draw and. And he, his mom wasn't okay with this, by the way, so I got there in dark. He's I shot one. I shot one. Oh my gosh. He sat by himself for the first time when he was 12 and Wow. Shot a nice eight pointer and he called home. The first thing he told his mom was what?

Wow. I put a, I went up and sat in the stand by myself there yourself Dad's in trouble. Put your father on the fold as well. Yeah, so I got on that. You're in trouble. But the cool thing about that was my boy, just loves hunting and then all of a sudden my daughter, one day she's can I go?

I'm like, that's our daughter. Yeah. And she's actually more my hunting partner now 'cause my boy moved down to Alaska. And my daughter lives right by us again. So she loves Turkey hunting. She loves, she was going through nursing school. She'd bring her backpack in the Turkey blind and she'd do her homework and study for nursing when we were Turkey hunting.

So now we're buddies, she hunts a lot more with me than my son did. Yeah but I [00:43:00] couldn't sit with her 'cause I made her nervous. So we have lots of s and then just like he said, the best thing ever was two years ago, she finally shot her first Pope and young buck. Nice. After lots of leg hits and missing and yeah, tears and.

I'm done. I'm never doing this again. You finally got a nice 10 pointer that we had on the farm. All worth it. So yeah. So it was that Kevin's right about that. But see, I've already done that, so I can't Exactly. That's what I mean. I moose hunt or watching one of my girls kill something. That's my dream.

Yep. Just do both. Okay. Yep. I take them on a moose hunt. That's your, you're easy to convince, man. Let's go. You went from my cant elk hunt to, I could run through a brick wall. I'm going elk hunting and now Yeah, let's go chase moose with toddlers. There you go. I like it. Thanks. I'll let you guys get back to your booth and I might run up and get those elk sheds.

Let's do it. Appreciate you Mel. Thanks for having us. And that is gonna wrap it up for today's show, man. I had a ton of fun sitting down talking with Jeff and Kevin and I look forward to getting Jeff out West shed hunting. I'm hoping we find like a [00:44:00] truckload full of brown sheds, a bunch of match sets, that would be amazing.

But good luck to you guys if you're going out dev hunting tomorrow. Hopefully you get a limit. Hopefully you shoot. I know I'm gonna be pretty rusty, I would guess, but I can't wait to get out there with the guys. And before you go, don't forget, go check out the new slash shop and if you take pictures with it, be sure to tag me on social media.

I would love to see it. And until next time, guys. Always choose adventure and God bless.