Big Elk, Big Deer, and Big Caribou

Show Notes

On this episode of GOHUNT’s  Western Rookie Podcast, Brian talks with guest Rusty Smith about targeting giant elk, big deer, and Alaskan caribou.

Rusty is an avid hunter and has travelled all across North America chasing big game. Brian and Rusty talk about hunting big bodied Alberta Whitetails and what goes into hunting as a non-resident in Canada and also doing DIY drop camp hunts in Alaska for Caribou. Click on the link below to check out more of Rusty’s adventures and see some of the amazing animals from this podcast.


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Show Transcript

Welcome back to another Western Rookie Podcast episode. I'm your host, Brian Krebs. And today I have Rusty Smith on the call. Rusty, you just got back from a Canadian whitetail hunt. Maybe we should, maybe I said we should start with caribou, but maybe we should start with Canadian whitetail because I don't think we've ever had that topic on the podcast.

Yeah, fun. [00:01:00] I've done it twice, uh, last year and this year. And I don't know if you know anything about Canadian whitetails. Those suckers are huge. And I, I don't just mean antlers. I mean, body size and, and everything. They, they grow some big, big animals up

there. Yeah. So, you know, we're in Northern Minnesota, well, not Northern Minnesota.

We're in the Northern United States, but in Minnesota, and we have. Like full body white tails. I just call them full body white tails. They're not small. They're not Texas, Alabama white tails, you know but I think the biggest I've personally seen was 227 field dressed. We're just a big it's a big animal Yeah, but I've heard like rumors of like giant old bucks in Canada.

Just blow that out of the water

Yeah, the area I was pretty far north in Alberta and It's not unusual for them to kill 350 pound bucks still not, not dressed, but 350. And a few years ago they killed one that

went 400. Oh my [00:02:00] gosh. Are you like way up by the Northern territories?

Uh, we're not quite that far North.

When you go into Alberta, you got a lot of your, uh, rolling farmland looks more like Nebraska, Kansas type stuff down low. And then when you get up, Oh, several hours North of like Edmonton, you start to hit pine forests. And those pines, especially like if you look on a map, you'll just see it go green all of a sudden, and it goes green all the way up to the Northwest Territory.

And beyond, and I go up and hunt right on that edge, right where your farmland and everything meets the pines where there's

food in cover. So you're, uh, obviously we talked about it before we started your Idaho resident American. So you're. Do you either, do you know people in Canada or are you just going with an outfitter?

Because Canada has got like similar to Alaska rules. I think they're probably even more strict than Alaska where it's like big game is a no go unless you know someone or you are a guided. Yeah.

It's tricky. Uh, Canada. I, I go up with an outfitter who [00:03:00] is a friend. Okay. Um, I consider him a really, really good friend.

And, uh, because you're correct. If you're going to Canada from the States. You have to have an outfitter or they can do like what's called a hosted hunt. Yeah. Um, where you've got to have a buddy or family member there that's, Hey, you're coming with me. You're with me the whole time. Yeah. Uh, type scenario.

So outside of that, you, you got to go with some sort of a, an

outfitter. It's not Alberta dark horn, is it? No, but I know those guys. Okay. They are, yeah. Cause I was, you said it, Alberta monster bucks. And I was like, well, they have monster bucks and they're in Alberta. And I've, I haven't, I haven't had them on the podcast or anything.

I've just found them on Instagram. And, you know, every now and then when I need some inspiration to not shoot a little buck and call my, yeah, season over, I go to their page.

So they're, they're up in that same world. They're, they're in the same general world where the plains meet the pines is where I go, like.

They, they hunt really close to where

I'm at. Yeah. My father in law [00:04:00] does a Manitoba deer hunt every now and then with his buddies and it sounds similar. He, um, I mean, he's a pretty avid deer hunter and when he goes up there, he's like, it is insane. Like it's cold. You sit all day. I mean, it's hard hunting, but the number of deer you see.

And like the number of good bucks you see is unlike anything he's ever experienced in Minnesota. He said it just. You'll see dozens and dozens of deer. Maybe some nights he said we've seen like a dozen bucks, like a dozen bucks. You have to like check every one of them with the glass to see if it's a shooter.

Cause they're all, yeah,

it's a crazy world. My, my buddy, um, he's really well known in the whitetail world, uh, clay Charlton, um, take them outfitters. Is who he is. If you look him up, you'll, you'll have the same kind of inspiration you were seeing on the dark corn page. But, uh, it is interesting. If you're out in kind of that farmland that meets the timber area, you see a ton of deer.

But then you can get [00:05:00] farther up into that bush where you don't see as many, but it's so thick. I mean, you're taking shots that aren't farther than 70 yards and some of them less. But there's deer up in that that bush that I've like never seen people. That's crazy. And Alberta doesn't have baiting.

Saskatchewan they can bait. Alberta doesn't. So they get way more bucks to maturity out in that bush and they're literally world class sized animals up there. They're not easy to hunt. No, I bet not. Especially if you get out in that bush, but... Man, you know, you're on some

monsters. How did you meet your buddy?

Did you just find the place and when, and then you just, you know, met him through going to his outfit and now you're friends, or did you, were you friends with him first? And then he said, you know, you need to, you got, you got to come up here, man. You diehard Hunter, come up.

Yeah. Great question. So interesting world.

It started with. Um, I'll back up even a little farther. I've never hunted a [00:06:00] whitetail in my life until 2015. So in Southeast Idaho, where I live, we don't, we don't have whitetails. If I want to hunt whitetail in Idaho, I got to go to Northern Idaho. There's a few little pockets in Central Idaho that have them, but you know, you gotta go up towards the Panhandle, Coeur d'Alene, et cetera.

And, uh. So I grew up hunting deer, elk. I grew up in a houndsman family. We ran cats and never saw them. And so it wasn't until 2015 I shot my first white tail. I think I've killed like eight or nine cents going to different states, um, in the Midwest, in Idaho. And I just started getting a hankering for these big Canadian bucks, just like you saw on that Instagram page.

I'm drooling over these dark antlered. Instead, you know, I'm in the Midwest hunting these things that are just these bright white antlers. It's easier to see the bucks than the does because they stand out. And, uh, I got a hankering for these big Canadian bucks. So I started searching. I was looking on the internet.[00:07:00]

I was looking on Instagram. Um, looked at the Alberta Darkhorn guys page the same, and I found Clay's take em out fitters, and I started looking at some of the stuff this guy was taking, and I got looking into him. And Clay's a world class hunter. I mean, elk, deer, moose, he's done it. He runs trap lines, he does Giant waterfowl hunts, uh, you name it.

He is like the classic Northern Canadian outdoorsman, um, and I reached out to him. So I just reached out to him and started talking to him about his hunts and what was his options, what was available, blah, blah, blah. And it started out as that, a relationship from us just talking on social media of all things.

Um, went up and hunted with him and I'm not a, I'm not an outfitter guy. I, I'm a DIY guy. It's. It's the first hunt I've ever done that I've like paid to go with an outfitter, right? Um, this guy is awesome. They treat you like, I literally feel like I'm family. A [00:08:00] third place, um, super good people. And this guy is a whitetail whisperer.

Oh my gosh. Um, I thought I've started to learn a lot about whitetails over the last, you know, eight years or so. And, and this guy's taught me so much more in just a couple of times I've gone up with him. We've become good friends. We, we get on phone calls, we share text messages of our different hunts throughout the year, all kinds of stuff.

Um. And, you know, so if I got to go to Canada and I got to have an outfitter, cause the way the rules are set up, I'm going

with my buddy Clay. Yeah. So now is it to the point where you would like to do that every year? Is like, as long as the calendar works out, I'm going to Canada and shooting a white tail with my


Yeah. Cause it's, it's tricky. I've often wanted to go to, I mean, I've often hunted Colorado third season, which is November, right? Yeah. Um, and so you could have some conflicts, but like last year I, I had a third season Colorado tag. And I ended up booking this Canada hunt, and it literally turned out I was going to have two [00:09:00] days to hunt Colorado third season, and then I needed to be driving to Canada.

Um, so I did. I went down early to Colorado. I actually ended up shooting a mule deer with my bow during the rifle season, um, and then busted to Canada. And after doing that, it's like, I would totally give up my Colorado mule deer hunting.

Yeah, I'm a DIY guy as well. Um, I've never been on a big game outfitted hunt. I've never been on any outfitted hunt. I've had the closest thing I've had to outfitters are buddies that are so good and have such good gear. They should be charging their buddies to come with them. I mean, I've had some waterfowl hunts where guys have had.

100 dozen flocked head snow, 750 conkers, 10 layout blinds, three, eight, I mean, just everything. He had three hedge trimmers in his trailer and he'd be like, you three go out and trim hide, like go find weeds and trim them with these hat, like steel hedge trimmers. They're not pulling stuff out [00:10:00] of the ground with your hands.

You three go brush in the, you know, you three put out all the deco, like he's just like running a production line out here. And so that's the closest thing. I mean, it's basically outfitted at that point. I brought the snacks and the comic relief and, and, um, and I, and a lot of shells cause I'm not a very good shot at waterfall.

But I have to imagine, and I'm really curious to hear your perspective on this, because as a DIY guy, I've done DIY elk, we've packed them out, the whole nine yards. I think I've done every animal in the west, other than like, the king's game, right? Like, anything that takes you a lifetime to draw. Haven't done, haven't done sheep, goats, you know, moose, the big, the big three, um.

But the rest of it we've done and we've always done as a family DIY. My brother's done a couple early outfitted hunts back in his elk hunting career, but now it's all DIY. Sure. Is it nice after a season of grinding to just show up to a place and things just work?

Yeah, [00:11:00] um, I, I don't have a lot to refer to other than going up with my buddy Clay, but...

Yeah, I, for example, this year I grinded all fall, I had a caribou hunt in August, I had a, uh, archery antelope hunt in August, um, I killed two bull elk with my bow this fall in September, um, just grinding away, and Clay's up there doing the real work, like he's scouting for these bucks, he's finding scrape lines and, you know, putting out some trail cameras and finding where these guys live, where their bedrooms are, and doing all that work, putting stands out, etc.

Thanks for watching. And it is nice. I show up and And, uh, Clay, what are you seeing? Oh, I can't believe what I'm seeing, you know, and showing me what he's finding. And I'm using his expertise. I mean, he's, he's the one that's the real hunter in this hunt. And then he's putting his faith in me that he can put me in a stand and I can take care of one of those big bucks for him, you know, it [00:12:00] is, it is nice.

Uh, I love the grind. I love the personal satisfaction that comes from the grind, but, uh, It is nice to show up and they're feeding me every night.

That's, that's some of what I mean too, because you know, you know, I do shed hunting, I'll sleep in the back of my, I sleep in the bed of my pickup at 15 below for like these early shed hunts.

In North Dakota where it's cold and it's like, it's so cold. You don't even want to cook food because you don't want to go outside. You're like, what kind of snacks do I have in here? And, um, you know, elk hunting, setting up tents early mornings in just chores. Like you always got to do your own chores and get ready to hunt and.

All, like I got to imagine it's nice when you just put your bag and your gun or bow in the truck and you show up and, you know, you're sleeping in a warm bed each night and you're taking like good meals and everyone likes to, you know, take the like, I feel like it's like [00:13:00] no longer cool if it's not incredibly hard.

Right. You know, like it's not cool unless it's a grind and it's like uncomfortable and miserable and just like you're a hardened person for doing it. And I'm like, I don't know. I would love to just go out and be like, dude, you need to sit in this stand. And I sit in this stand and I see 200 deer. I'd be like, I'd love that.

I'm not going to skip the other stuff. But by the end of November, I'm ready to sit in a blind with a heater.

100% I get plenty of grinding with all the hunts I do during the year. I get plenty of grinding in and, um, it is nice to have this one hunt, you know, for a week or so that I go up, I'm still sitting in a stand for 10 hours a day, uh, you know, freezing cold, um, that hunts not for everybody, right?

Like it, it's, it's awful to some people, but. I, I love it. He's done most of the grinding and he puts me in a good spot and I appreciate him for it. But to go do that, that once a year, I'm all for it.

Yeah. I think [00:14:00] we need to make it okay again to just hunt comfortable. Yeah, like if for so long, it's not cool to be comfortable, it's like, it's like if you're not sleeping on the ground, you're not tough enough, if you don't, if you have an air pad, you're too, you're too soft, it's like, I don't know, I want to be comfortable, like, yeah, I'm going to do the hard work, I'm not going to turn down shooting a bull in a, in a hole and packing it out of there, but if I can be comfortable, why not?

Like, it's just going to help me kill.

Yeah, I, you know, you have that grind, like, like elk hunting, for example. If you said rusty, you can only help one animal the rest of your life.

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it? It is elk with a bow in the rut for me. That's, that's my baby. And. It is awfully rewarding, right? When you have grinded and you're getting your butt kicked, your teeth are kicked in and it comes together and it works. It's phenomenal and awesome. Um, but I'm totally fine with going on and on, being comfortable at the same time.

And, you know, heaven forbid, one of these years when I hopefully kill one of these monsters, a big monster Clay puts me on, um, more power to Clay. Like, yeah, part of me, I want to land one of those for him too. Just as much as I, you know, we all want to kill big deer. I want to get it. Um, you know, more power to clay for being the stuff that found it in the first place and put me on it.

And I'm totally fine with teaming up with him. He needs a killer. He finds him and he needs a killer. I'll come do that once a year.

Yeah. No kidding. No kidding. I mean, I, [00:17:00] I think that would be, I love type two fun too. You know, like the elk hunting, like there's it's, you know, you go up with clay and you shoot a big buck.

You know, maybe if you've been going off for like six, seven years and you, and you finally got, you know, that big double drop, yeah, you're going to get a huge serotonin hit, but it ain't going to be the same as you find in a public land bowl in September, seven miles back and pulling the trigger and, and that feeling you get when your truck hits the last cattle gate on the way out of the mountain and you look in the rear view and you can see those ivory tines sticking out of the box of your truck and you're headed home like that.

There is no replacing that. And I think that's okay too. I think you mix it in. I think great season is a little bit of those, some of those type twos probably earlier in the season. Cause you got the energy you've been working out all summer. And by the time you get to November, like I'm all for a type one, just fun.

It's not hard camaraderie. We got a deer camp going on. A bunch of cool guys are in camp or, you know, have it, it's [00:18:00] getting dark early. So we're having bonfires, you know, you never, when are we Elkhunt? Unless it's like the last day and we're just packing up tomorrow, we never stay up late and have a bonfire.

And I know a lot of people are gonna say like, oh, that's part of elk camp for me. It's like, no, I'm there to kill. We get home, we make food, we go to bed. Like, it's 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock by the time we roll into clamp. A lot of times it's like, what's the easiest thing we can make for dinner? And then we, we all go to bed.

And so I kind of, you kind of miss a little bit of that too. It's fun to have a bonfire on the mountain and stay up way later than you should, and that you, that's a great time to do it in those type one hunts. Like I'm always thinking we should do like an antelope camp because everyone talks about deer camp.

Everyone's got their elk camp. You try to go elk hunting with like, if I went out cutting with you, I'll be like, Hey, Rusty, let's do an elk hunt. And you're like, well, okay, but. You know, I got this hunt in September in Idaho, and then I got this hunt already. And it's like, yeah, I got that week book too. And also it's like, well, we already got our elk camp traditions, but no one has an antelope camp.

Yeah, yeah, they don't [00:19:00] and that's a good example like type one Yeah, both types of both types of fun are okay And that's how I am every time I get an antelope tag Uh, it's like man, this is a fun hunt like yeah, you know I get the I get the mountain dews and the chips in the truck and you're out glassing and looking for the one you want it's a Fun hunt to do with buddies, in my opinion,

great senses of humor.

Like, can you imagine a truck full of four comedians hopped up on Mountain Dew and Doritos looking for, yeah, it'd be great. My wife wants to do it. Cause, um, she just got done with residency and, and now she's getting into hunting. She just bought a brand new Hoyt. And then she smoked a buck at 12 yards on our new farm here.

We just moved in. So now she's kind of looking at me like. You know, Mr. Big Bow Hunter over there, you've never shot a buck with your bow, because I've never seen one that I wanted to shoot. Um, and she shot one on the first season with her brand new Hoyt, so she's, [00:20:00] and I shoot a Matthew, so she's laughing at me for that.

But now she wants to do the antelope hunt because she watched Randy Newberg. And he gets up just normal, like a normal 6, 7 a. m. Sun's peeking up. They go by the gas station, grab a box of donuts and, and it's just a fun hunt. And they're laughing the whole time. And she's like, I want to do that. And I'm like, I do too.

I really want to do that.

Yeah, it is. It's fun. I, I consider some guys might differ with me, but I consider spring spot stock bear hunting very similar. It's like those bears aren't up at the crack of dawn. We, we sleep in on the spring bear hunt, uh, you know, and get out and start heading in mid morning to go hunt our bears, uh, when we do it.

So it's kind of like antelope to me. I'm not in that. I'm going to be hiking at 4 a. m.

And yeah, can you imagine somebody, can you imagine if you went on an antelope hunt with a guy and he's like, what time you want to wake up? Like three 30, three 45 and you're like, what? No, I'm not waking up then. Yeah. [00:21:00] I like shed hunting for that reason.

It's just. There's no

pressure. Yeah. Go when you want to go. And

you're not, you never, you know what the thing, the nice thing about shed hunting is you're never like, ah, I don't want to fill my tag on that one.

That's right. Yep. If you want, you can throw that antler into the bushes. If you don't want to carry it home.

Or see how

far you can throw a caribou head. Uh, yeah, we've done that. I watched that. Do you, I almost thought you lived in Canada from the number of caribou videos. And I'm usually, I mean, I'm doing this for a while, so I'm usually okay with picking out like, ah, this guy just took a lot of content on one hunt.

You know, but I'm like, Oh, he's wearing this and this picture and that, and that picture. And, you know, this, you know, this was a, you know, sunny picture. And the other one was cloudy. Like you can tell it's different, you know, snow on the ground, not snow on the ground. So you can, you must've done the caribou thing a few times.

Two. I've done it twice. Yeah, I've done it twice, but, uh, don't get me wrong. I took a lot of footage and a lot of pictures on those hunts [00:22:00] too. Two very different hunts, even though they're in the same part of the world, but epic. One of, one of them I just did here in August with a good buddy, and it was pictures, video, and my stories will never be able to depict how epic that trip I did in August was, like.

My buddy and I all shoot a text to each other once in a while or a call, we're like, dude, that trip was so epic. That's like all we got to say. Yeah. Um, absolutely epic. But yeah, love, even though I've only done it twice, absolutely love hunting caribou. That's another hunt that I would have no problem as long as I could afford it.

To do it every single year. I'd be

happy. Are you able to do that one DIY or you in a unit where you needed a guide? Yeah,

we do a DIY drop camp. So there's basically a transporter and a plane. You can take your, all your own gear. They still fly in, or you can use their gear, which is a nice way to go. You don't got to do the logistics of getting, you know, traveling with fuel for a stove or stuff like that.

Um, [00:23:00] they provide the tent, the cots, the cooking stove. A pile of food, they dump you in the Arctic and go, we'll see you in seven days. Um,

it's fun. You know, what's crazy. I listened to a podcast with Randy Newberg and John Nosler, and both of them were in Alaska for nine 11 and got stranded. Cause they shut down all flight and the Bush pilots are like, you guys are going to kill people.

Like there's people out there that were expecting us to come get them 14 days ago. Yeah. And you're like, yeah, we got stuck for 14 days. And then luckily we got back to Anchorage and then we were stuck for like another 14 days because the Bush pilots just came and picked us up. I don't know if they were supposed to or not, but then like the commercial flights were still down.

Yeah. Yeah. It's Alaska in general. Like that's terrible on 9 11 because there's no option even if the weather's good, but yeah, I've got buddies. Yeah, I've got buddies have been stranded for 12 days straight because of weather 12

days after they were supposed to get picked up.

Um, [00:24:00] not 12 days after, but like a five day hunt, but they were there for 12 till a plane could finally come get them.

What were they doing for food? Just catching a fish and shooting

stuff? That's what's crazy. Like, like the drop camp that we use, these guys provide you with a lot of food. Like, we've never been able to eat everything they send. Um, but in a perfect world, you hope you've killed a caribou. Yeah. Uh, and, and now you got plenty of food that way.

But yep, if you're on a river or a lake, you got fish opportunities and stuff as well. But It got a little sketchy for

12, I'm sure they got this figured out, but I assume you want to go with like a service when you fly in. And so like, so I'm picturing like, you're like looking for ways and you Google and stuff.

You're like, Oh, I found this guy, his name is Richard. He's got a plane and he's going to fly us in. And you know, he told us to meet here on the dock and we're here and he flies in. And then like Richard dies while you're there. And no one knows you're in the back country. Like you want to go with the service where there's like [00:25:00] a white.

Board and it says Rusty Smith on this pass. We got to pick them up on the 12th. And if your pilot gets sick, at least someone else would be like, Oh shit, we forgot about Rusty. Let's go get them.

Absolutely. And so the, the place I use, um, is through Outdoors International. So Outdoors International is a booking service, booking agency.

Um, I actually do some consulting for them and do some booking for them. And, uh, they basically do booking for these different places that, you know, they take care of that. The marketing for these places because they don't want to do it. They don't want to talk to a, you know, the outfits don't want to talk to 100 people in book two.

So they have these guys do it for them. And, uh, that's what we are. It's, it's outlined. You got this many hunters. It is exactly what you said. It's a whiteboard, basically a map. This is where these guys are at and it's all recorded. There's multiple people taking care of the logistics of it. Um, worst case scenario, you know, uh, search and rescue could come get you.

If it gets real

[00:26:00] ugly. Yeah. You're not going in there, I suppose, without an in reach. And so you're like, okay, we're supposed to get picked up 10 days ago. Like we've been here for 17 days. I'm going to hit the button. Or I'm going to start texting people like, Hey, is someone coming to get us? Hey, you know, might have to have a couple of contacts back in Juneau or wherever Fairbanks it's lined


Yeah. Cause you're out there. We, we go out of, uh, Kotzebue, Alaska. So Kotzebue's, you know, Western Northwestern Alaska, you're barely below the Arctic circle line, and then you're hopping in. You know, a Cessna 180 or a Beaver plane or a Super Cub, and you're, we're flying 170 miles north into the Arctic. So you're in the Brooks Range.

Yeah. 170 miles from the nearest native village. It's pretty crazy.

That is in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, you got to have some trust in your plan at that point. You go with

a friend that you trust too. Like, I've, both times I've done it, there's been two of those guys, other groups of four or whatever, but, uh, [00:27:00] You go with a person you trust.

You got Artic Grizzlies there. Um, yeah, I mean there's there's crazy stuff. So you you make sure you do it with The guy you trust, not just your neighbor from down the street that said,

I want to go on a hunt. Well, that's a very like big concern and I it I feel bad for folks because you know, I have my own group and crew and I've done it enough that now I kind of understand how to pick a partner but You get so many requests of people guy at your church or a guy at work or a guy in your neighborhood He's like, oh man, i'd love to do that And, you know, maybe if it's like a local thing, it's like, yeah, we'll come on over on Saturday.

We'll go out or something. That's one thing, but on a big hunt, usually you're like, well, I got my group group kind of full. And so you see people like, Hey, I'm going with the guy from work. I'm going from a guy from church or whatever. I found a buddy. And like, Oh boy, like, I hope it works out for you, man.

But like, if you've never hunted with this person and you're not friends with this person, like [00:28:00] you're going to run into some issues. Like we've had stories of people where it's like. Four groups of four. And it's like, these two guys want to go. There's an elk at a mile. There's an elk right there at a mile away.

And they're like, let's go. We got four hours. And the other group's like, Oh, I'm not walking over there. Are you nuts? And you're like, well, now what do we do for nine days? Hope they're in camp.

Yeah. You know, that's, I, if I go caribou hunting, I'm bear hunting, uh, you know, we're chasing cats, whatever. I got that little group of people, family, and some close buddies.

My, my hunt circle's pretty small. Yeah. Um, But yeah, I get hit up constantly about, especially mountain lions, we get hit up so much for that, a ton for elk, et cetera, but even my good buddies, I have bears and all that stuff with, When it comes to Elk, I'm a solo Elk hunter. Like, somebody's like, Ah, I want to come with you.

I'm just like, Ah, I don't want somebody to be there. This is my sacred time. And, [00:29:00] uh, That's what the Elk hunt is to me, is the sacred time. And I'm a solo, solo guy. And when I do have somebody with me, I get anxiety, I get anxiety over that. Like, Oh, this guy doesn't screw it up or, or I get pressure. If I don't want to screw something up for him, but it's me, it's just me.

If I screw it up, I screwed it up. If I made it work, I made it work.

Yeah. Well, so when you're solo elk hunting, I mean, you've shot a lot of elk. I just looking at all the pictures, are you doing mostly like spot and stock sneaking in on them or, I mean, are you trying to call and then run up so you don't get windowed or what's going


Yeah. Great question. I. To kind of answer that, I started...

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up a little history. I started archery elk hunting. I shot my first bull when I was 13. I shot one with a rifle before that, but with a bow 13 and my brother in law's who got me into it.

My family wasn't archery hunters. My dad got my brother and I bows when we were like 10 years old, like our Hoyt ram hunter compound bows. And, uh, my brother in law, they [00:31:00] hunted elk and they were waterhole guys. They find waterholes. They'd set up a tree stand. And they would sit water holes and ambush, right?

Wait for him to come in. And so that's what he took me to go do. And I, I sat a lot of water holes, sat a few wallows. Then my brother and I, when I was in high school, started calling them. And we'd, uh, killed multiple bulls, bugling them in, cow calling them in, et cetera. And that's the fun part. Everybody likes to do, right.

It's fun. Yeah. It's exciting. Over the last eight to 10 years. Gosh, the last like eight or nine bulls I've killed, I've never called to him. I, I'm a leave my call in my pocket or my read in my mouth to stop that bull. Right. Yeah. Before I send one through the pub house. Um, I mostly stalk them now. But as what changed for me is it was like, I got sick of killing satellite bulls, you know, 276 point or whatever.

And I'm, I'm like, I want to kill the herd bull. And we chased. [00:32:00] So many herd bulls, right? Everybody's done it. You're chasing them. They're screaming back at you, so it's exciting, but they're just talking to you as they move their ladies away. And, and it's so hard to hunt a herd bull, and I started learning if I want to kill a herd bull, there's some other techniques and methods to do it.

And I've, I've, I've done a pretty good job of figuring most of those out. And I feel like if I can find a good herd bull, if I've got enough opportunities, I can kill him. I can kill him. It's mostly, mostly, I'm mostly stalking them.

So you gotta, so you gotta find them first. So it's kind of hard. You gotta hunt places where you can see them.

Like you can't hunt solid black timber to

them. Yeah, it's tough. I, I will hunt in the timber. Um, but it's a lot of... Locating where they're at at daylight, right, where they're feeding, like elk in general will come, I mean, depending where you're hunting, right, but in general in the West, elk are coming down to feed at night, and they're usually moving back up into their bedding [00:33:00] areas as well.

It's pretty much mostly the standard in the West. Obviously it varies from place to place, but you know, you figure that out in the area you're hunting. So I know they're down. So I'll hit the lower elevations and levels. I will, I will be in there at three in the morning if I have to listen in to a bugle so I can find where the herd is at three in the morning.

And I will get within 600 yards of that herd and sit and listen to them and listen to them. And I'll try and get to where I'm within 200 yards by legal shooting light, play the wind because your problem, you know, your, your wind's coming down in the morning. Normally, right. Sun's got to come up. Thermal's got to shift.

And if you can with the terrain, I want to play it where when the thermal shift, I'm in the perfect place to cut them off or. Take an angle in on him with the wind. I've killed a lot of bulls where the wind is really scary. Yeah. They're about to get me. Um, so I'll, I'll do that. I, I killed a bull last year.

Um, [00:34:00] a great bull three, a three 50 bull with my bow. I was in there at three 30 in the morning. I watched him on day one and he had 24 cows already. I couldn't get on, on him. So I let him bed. He never came out at night. So I went back to where I found him the next day at three 30 in the morning. Until I recognized his bugle and did exactly what I just described him at about, I don't know, 35 40 minutes after legal shooting line, I put an arrow through the pump station, um, just getting in the way of that herd as they came by.

You were on the mountain at 3 30 or you left like You'd left to go. Oh my gosh. So you're waking up at like midnight and going out. Yeah. Like we,

I don't know if you've ever done this. We used to, my brother and I, we used to go out into areas where we could take like, you know, ATVs where you got roads through forest service, whatever.

We would go out at two 33 in the morning. He'd go this way. I'd go that way. I'd drive out and do a point. I'd bugle sit and listen for five minutes. And he [00:35:00] and I would each do that for like an hour and a half to two hours. Meet back at a spot and go, what do you have? I've got two bulls in this, screaming down in this canyon.

I've got a bull in this canyon. And then we'd make a plan on whoever had the most bulls screaming. And we'd take off, and it's only five in the morning. And we're taking off into that canyon at five a. m. to get on them. I use the same strategy, except for if I have a specific target bull. I'll, I'll be there at 3 34 in the


I don't care. So can you do that like day in and day out or do eventually you just run out of go? Cause you're not sleep. I mean, I don't know where you hunt, but typically like we don't get to bed until nine or 10 very rarely. Are we sleeping before 10? So if you're waking up at like midnight, one o'clock and getting on the mountain at three, like.

That's only like two hours of sleep.

Yeah. A lot of times the way I'll do it, we, I will all grind and grind. And I get, I go without a lot of sleep in September, but on that hill, if I got a scenario like that and they get past me and they [00:36:00] move up into that thick timber in the bedding area, don't get me wrong, once in a blue moon, I've followed him and I've killed a few bulls laying in their bed, in their bedding area before.

I've done it a couple of times, but if I can't keep up to them, if there's too many eyes and ears and I don't want to blow it. I'll go lay down under a tree and sleep for four hours until evening,

you know. So you're just catching up on your sleep when you don't have anything going on. Yeah,

if I can, I'll take a nap somewhere, but if I gotta just do it day after day after day, I'll do it.

Yeah, we've done the early thing, and to get out there early enough to make sense, I mean, you gotta get up early, early. And so then lately, like, and we don't typically have a lot of success in the mornings. Um, we're hunting general units. Typically we're usually hunting new units. And so it's like, we're trying to find spots.

And, and so typically we find most of our success, like early afternoon and evening. I mean, that's when we've shot, I think one person shot one bull in the [00:37:00] morning, but all the rest of our bulls have been after lunch. Right on.

So, yeah, I've, I have a mix. I, I killed two bulls this year. I killed one of them in the.

In the evening and killed the other one in the morning. Yeah. Um, I like mornings a lot because I feel like I can kind of pattern unless there's so much pressure they get bumped a lot but uh Um, I like that I can find them at night cause I don't seem to have any competition when I'm laying there at 4 in the morning

listening for them.

No, you definitely don't. Not for me anyway.

Yeah, so I like the morning scenario cause I can know where they're at before it's light. Right. Um, but I'll, I'll hunt them just as much in the evening too, but, but I do like mornings. Yeah.

How, so are you taking like the, to do two elk hunts? And unless you just bam, bam, like on a weekend warrior style, you must be taking like a majority of the fall off to do all of these hunts is like, are you somehow doing this for your full time job or how does that work?


man. I [00:38:00] wish, um, if somebody out there wants to pay me to just hunt, uh, give me a call. Uh, no, I'm a, I'm a salesman. So, uh, I've worked in sales for gosh, nine years. And it used to be I was on a 9 to 5 job in the white collar world, and I'd save all my vacation and just use it in September and October and a little bit in December to chase cats.

And when I started into sales, it got to where that's when I started hunting multiple states, started applying all over the place. So I learned real quick with sales, if you work the right kind of sales job, um, it's not that sal salary paycheck's the same every two weeks or the I work this many hours, it's.

If I want to make more money or I want to go buy a new bow or a gun, I go make a few more sales. Um, and so I've learned to work hard, really hard when I'm working, um, so that it pays off when I'm, [00:39:00] I mean, there's nothing like hunting and I got phone service and ding, there's a purchase order, you know, and I'm out on the mountain.

It's awesome. Yeah. I mean, I've done that before. I got a, some, I have a bill, a beard oil company. Uh, bull elk beard oil. And this year while I was elk hunting, I was checking, I turned my service on to check text messages and order came in. I was like, nice got paid. Now, obviously not nearly as much as I spent that day in Colorado, but sure.

Yeah. Yeah. I do take a lot in September is probably the most I gosh, our, our archery hunt opened August 30th and it goes to the end of September. So there's 32 days to hunt. Um, I killed my first bull on September 1st, the third day. And then I hunted for my second bull tag that I'd had. And I, I killed him on the 20th.

Um, I believe out of those 22 days, gosh, I think I hunted 18 of them.

That's crazy. Especially like when you're from home, when you're from Idaho though, like, [00:40:00] you know, you can hunt and come home at night and be with the family. Whereas you get,

get the right tag or the right unit where you don't have to travel and you can.


run home. It makes a big difference. Yeah. I love that. About this farm that we just bought is I can like we got a room right down there with gun safe in it and all my clothes and my bow and I just get dressed and walk out the back and we got 40 acres to go, tree stands and stuff, and I can come back in for dinner like it, you know, it's not even late.

Yeah. It's like going on that outfitted hunt

right there. See that would be nice. Yeah. Come back in bed. . I would love. So one of the things that I haven't had the opportunity to do yet. Is a mule deer hunt where I had the, where I could pass bucks, every mule deer hunt I've ever been on, whether between poor planning or droughts or pressure, it's, you, you find out real fast, like one or two days in, we're like, oh, I better shoot the first buck I see, cause it's going to be the only buck I see and every mule deer hunt I've been on, I shot the [00:41:00] biggest, the first year I shot on the last day.

And it was the first like decent buck I'd seen. And so, you know, Southeast Montana and, you know, general random units in Wyoming and, you know, but I want to go on that mule deer hunt where you can look at some bucks and you can be like, like an antelope hunt in a way and be able to look at a couple of good bucks and pass.

And then, you know, maybe, maybe you pass too many of them and you don't tag anything, but it's still be just fun to look at some bucks and shoot a nice, you know, I'm not even talking 171 80 or like that, whatever you shot that 210 10 inch or. Just like a nice 154 point would be great.

Oh, you can do it. I can help you out.

That's that's not too, we can find out

for you. Oh, I know they're out there. That's the problem. I know they're out there. I'm like, ah, man. And you know, we went to Southeast Montana and I'll let, I'll let this one out of the bag. You don't go to Southeast Montana, give it some time. So. We went there and the, you know, Southeast [00:42:00] Montana had its glory days back in like the nineties and the early two thousands before people had the internet and the people were smoking giant bucks out there.

And so we were, we were going to go and it was a buddy that I brought with and he had never hunted the West, but he's an avid deer hunter. You know, I told him, Hey, it's going to be rough. Like, it's going to be a lot of pressure and we're not going to see toads. Like it's, this is an opportunity hunt. We're going to look at a lot of two year old bucks.

And then eventually we'll probably find a three year old and shoot them. We got out there and we couldn't even find a mule deer to save our lives. It was 75 degrees and on November 20th, and there was three trucks on every corner of every public. And it was awful. And so my buddy passed a four by four on the first day.

Probably a two year old four by four. You know, those little two by four, he passed one of those on the first day, never saw a bigger buck. So he shot a three by three. And then, and then we got that broke down and we went down to town, grab a burger, went back up into the Hills. And I'm like, we got to leave.

I had, I had to, I had [00:43:00] to go see my fiance for a Thanksgiving, um, shindig the next day I had like 36 hours and I'm in Montana and she lives basically in Wisconsin. And so we go back out and we find this buck and I crawl in and he is sleeping up on a ridge with terrible wind. There's no way to get to him.

And there's such a bad drought. The grass was like a centimeter long, so I couldn't even crawl. I'm like trying to crawl behind cactuses and bushes and like, you know, hide. And eventually I got, you know, skyline and he opened his eyes and he's looking right at me and I'm like, well, I guess this is why I built this rifle.

So I'm taking this 496 yard shot and, um, got the bipod set up, laying prone, drilled them. And, uh, so it's like, okay, this one from the world's worst mule deer hunt till we both tagged out on the last day within three hours. So packed up, headed home, drove straight through the night and got to Thanksgiving

on time.

You got the experience of the grind and got the glory at the end. Oh,

[00:44:00] it was too. Yeah, it was a, I mean, and this is like the first time we've hunted the west together and you know, we start tensions are starting to like boil up because you're not, we're not seeing anything. Yeah, there's a million and one whitetails in private.

And there's even more trucks than that. And no mule deer and no mule deer bucks. So. I think it's just bad luck. I think I've maybe picked a couple of spots that could have been better. Um, but that's the next thing on like my list, my wife's list, my list. Is that a good meal deer hunt? Cause I've shot some beautiful bulls, not as many as you, of course, but, um, you know, I've, I've done the nice elk thing.

I've got a couple. One's at home, one's at the taxidermist. So I've kind of scratched that itch for now. I still go elk hunting every year, but the new itch is the big mule deer. Big mule deer,

huh? Yeah. Yeah, they're there. They take, they take some work. Big mule deer are usually not easy to come by. That's for


[00:45:00] What's crazy. It's easier to shoot a big elk than a big mule

deer. Yeah. Yeah, it is. I, I have, uh, I have some buddies that are just die hard, die hard mule deer guys. And I love it. Mule deer rule, everything else takes, you know, third fiddle to it and, uh. And we, we like to harass each other and joke a lot because I'm a, I'm an elk guy.

Like, uh, I've killed some big mule deer, but, uh, my fun level is way up here with elk. Um, my, I love and probably appreciate a big mule deer more than I do a big elk, but my fun level isn't as high when I'm hunting them. Um, so they like to give me a hard time all the time about it. But, uh, but a big mule deer, you put your hands on a big mule deer that you grinded for.


We went to, uh, uh, Southwest Colorado shed hunting with a previous podcast guest, Steven Walker, and he [00:46:00] finds a ton of sheds. And we get to his house and he's like, Hey, look at this. And he, he walks over and he had him on a, like a, it was like a buffet table, like out next to his dining room table, but it wasn't set up to serve.

It was just these two antlers and he picks them up. And it was like a 208 inch match set of mule deer sheds. And the thing was, they were clean four by fours, I believe. Huge, huge, just huge. And yeah, and he was, you know, we're holding them like white tails with like a 16 inch spread. He's like, no, no, they're more like, yeah, but yeah.

He said he found the both on the same day to found our eyes. Yeah. 80 yards apart or something like that. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, I can't even imagine finding a 200 inch mule deer. Like I'm like, I'm looking for a one 40 or a one 50. Like I know my bar is pretty low as we go. And there he is with a set of 208 inch sheds.

Yeah. Yeah. Big, big mule deer [00:47:00] sheds are fun to hold. I, I've had a hard time mounting some of my big ones because I like to pick them up and hold them. You

should just put rods in them.

I know. I've totally thought about it. I, there was something in my head about not wanting to break up that skull plate. Um, on the ones I've killed, but

unless you're gonna put it in the book, it doesn't matter.

Yeah. And

I, I've never entered anything in the book, so Yeah. Uh, yeah. It's just something mental in my head. It's like, God, I don't know if

I wanna out my Taxidermist did that on my Bull Elk. Um, 'cause he has a basement shop and so he's like, Uhhuh, first of all, I'm not gonna get it out here. Once I mount it, just so you know, and I'm like, well, what do you, what do we do?

Like, can you mount it in your garage or something? And he's like, well, not really. And he's like, but you're also not going to get it in your house either. So we've got to peg it. And I'm like, what do you mean? And he's like, well, I'm going to put her, I'm going to drill a hole through it. And so that way I have the hole to line it up.

And then I cut the antler off and put a rod in. And I'm like, I don't know. It sounds like I get to pick up a [00:48:00] 350 inch set of sheds. And he's like, yep, basically. And so I told, I told my next taxidermist cause he quit doing elk after that. He said, I I'm, my back's too bad. I can't. And put them on the, you know, on his mount to do all the work.

And he's like, it's hard on my back. So I'm done with elk. And I'm like, ah, shoot. So I found a new taxidermist, had him on the podcast too from North Dakota. And I'm like, Hey, you better peg these. I want to be able to pick the sheds up. And he's like, Oh dude, I love when customers let me put

pegs in. Yeah.

And with elk, a lot of times you have to, I have a bull being mounted right now. Yeah, it's like I'm not getting him in a house. I don't have a shop door into my house So it's like he's being pegged no matter what or i'm not getting

him in Well, i've only shot narrow balls, which is crazy. The 354 only has a 30 Three or 34 inch inside spread.

And it's where his whale tails actually go out. His in his like true insides from like third to third is only 31 inches. I think it, I think when those bulls hit that like 40 or 45 inches wide, they look so [00:49:00] much bigger, even though they're probably not as big,

sure. Yeah. Like maybe score wise or whatever, not much bigger, but when you see that just giant frame,

it's impressive.

But if you do like a half, well, let me think. No, it probably doesn't even matter. If you did a straight up, you're not getting it in because the, you know, you're 45 inches wide and the normal door is like 31 inches. And even if you turn it sideways, then you got to get that shoulder and that shoulder, you're just not getting to the thing in your house.

Yeah. It's like,

which way are you trying to Mount that head to get it in? Yeah. The, the taxidermist mountain mine right now, it's rare. He mounts a bowl that is not pegged. Um, it's gotta be somebody that, like, that's a question. Are you gonna get this in your house? And most of the time

it's no. Yeah, it's gotta be like a shop.

Like, yeah, I'm gonna put it in my shop. Put it

in the shop or the garage or something. Then he can leave it the way it is. But, yeah, there's something about holding

them. Are you a big taxidermy guy? Are you doing, like, shoulder mounts on all your bulls? Cause you shot a lot of nice [00:50:00] bulls.

No, you know, uh, the bull that I have being mounted right now is the first elk I've ever mounted.

I do a ton of Euros. Um, I could be wrong. There's plenty of heads in the house. Like, I got a moose head in my living room, a caribou head, a couple of whitetails, a couple of muleys, uh, an axis deer, all in my living room. And then I got a bunch, you know, I got a sick of blacktail now downstairs, some wolf rugs.

A full mount wolf, a few things like that, but I hunt enough. I don't, I don't have space for the ones I do mount, let alone the others. And elk take up so much space. I,

oh my God. We'll talk about the space that moose you got probably takes up the

most. Yeah. He was a Shires. Uh, I get hate for that. But when I was 12 years old in Idaho, I drew my once in a lifetime moose tag the first time I ever put in.

Hey, we can be part of the club. I drew mine once in a lifetime, North [00:51:00] Dakota. The first year I put in for it. That's where I shot the 354.

Yeah, I see. The club.

The club's good. 1% er club. I don't know what your odds were for the Idaho one, but the elk tag I drew in North Dakota was like 0. 75 percent chance.

Yeah, not good. I couldn't tell you what my odds were. I was 12 years old and didn't have the

internet. You didn't even apply. Your dad

did for you. Yeah, exactly. My dad applied for me. There were three tags given is all I know, but I don't know how many people. Applied, but I got one of those three tags at 12 years old.

And that's the last time I ever drew a tag in Idaho. I've never drawn an elk tag. I've never drawn a deer tag and I've never drawn an antelope tag in Idaho. All I've drawn is that moose when I'm

12. Would you take it back then? Like if that's, if like, if someone at the game and fish told you like, yeah, we keep throwing your name out.

Cause you drew that moose. Would you be like, well, now I wish I would've never drawn the moose.

No, it was, it was awesome. And you know, a lot of people are [00:52:00] like, ah, you were so young. Wouldn't you like to do it later? It was awesome. I got to hunt that. With my dad and my grandpa, and the year after that hunt, um, with my grandpa, my grandpa passed away from cancer.

Um, and so I got, my dad had a mountain goat tagged that same year. So we hunted my moose, me and grandpa and dad. And then we went and hunted dad's mountain goat, me and grandpa and dad. And those were the last hunts I ever got to do with him. It was a handful of months later he got diagnosed, you know. I made it a while longer.

So I, the, the memories and the experience I had with them would make it. So I would never, ever take that back and happily give up, uh, drawn deer and elk tags in exchange for what that moose experience was. And to be honest, most of the time I'm doing fine on my general

tags. Yeah. No, you're, you're doing plenty fine on your general tags.

I'm looking at the picture right here from the Wasatch front. So

[00:53:00] story behind that. A majority of my posts will say something about the Wasatch Front. None of those

animals were killed on the Wasatch Front. Uh, well, you know what elk I'm talking about. It was a stud

elk. Yeah, was that just a recent one?


Yeah, um, let's see here. 6x7. Okay,

yep, that was the last one I shot this year then.

Yeah, I have a buddy that does that on Instagram too. But he'll do like... Sometimes he makes it tricky, like you think he could actually be, like he'll shoot a monster whitetail and be like, God, I love Kansas. And I, yeah, I work with him, so I knew he was in, like, South Dakota.

Sure, yeah. You know, or he'll do stuff like, you know, your mom's 40, you know, back 40, or

stuff like that. I do a lot of your mom's house, or most of my Wasatch friends are like, Wasatch from CrossFit or Wasatch from Kia

or something like that. Yeah, that's what this one was. Wasatch from Kia. But, yeah, that's a, uh, do you ever, uh, age your [00:54:00] bulls?

Do you ever pull out a tooth and age them? You know,

I haven't done elk. I've really enjoyed doing that on deer the last, gosh, three to four years. I started doing it on a lot of deer.

Like whitetails? Or mule deer? Um, mule deer.

Okay. I've done it on a couple of whitetails, but... Mule deer is where I got the first itch to do it.

Um, I had, uh, a friend, um, some people might know who he is, Travis Hobbs, just a mule deer, uh, killing machine. He killed a buck. He's the, he's the reason I aged him. He killed a buck in velvet that was over 200 inches and set the tooth in and it came back at three and a half years old. Oh my god. Um, you know, wicked, wicked genetics.

Yeah, wicked genetics. Young deer, and it got me going, man, I've always thought I kind of could age these deer, you know, swayed backs, Roman noses, looking at their teeth, and it made me start to send some in and [00:55:00] go, how bad am I really at guessing the age on some of these? And, and it's impressed me. I killed a mule deer in 2020, that when I shot him, if you just said, Rusty, how old do you think he is?

I'm like, dude, this deer is seven years old. Swayed back, big old Roman nose, curled hooves, and then I cape him out, and I'm looking at his teeth, and his teeth don't look seven years old, and uh, I send him in, um, four and a half years old, 214 and change inch buck at four and a

half. That was your, that's the five by four?

No, no, this is a different buck. He's got a drop time hanging off of him. Oh, okay. Um, got some inline, some non typical stuff. It was back in 2020 and that blew my mind too. Cause then I'm going, man, what could he have been five and a half, six and a half? Right. Um, but if you, if you'd asked me, even looking at him on the hoof all day long, I would have told you he was six to seven years old.

Right. Um, until I looked at those teeth. So it's fun. [00:56:00] I've enjoyed sending them in and seeing what they come

back as. Yeah. I, I like to do it on all the white tails we shoot. Um, we shot a buck at the family farm kind of spot in stock is last day of gun season. And this bucks chasing and out in the middle of a plowed field on our farm.

And so we went and tried to sneak up on him. He, you know, back and forth, ping pong, never get a shot. He beds down in the middle of a CRP field, like CRP grass, like, you know, just prairie grass, you know, four feet tall. That's what me and my brother just sneak up. He moves up five yards and I cover and then I move up and we're doing this.

Like we're doing the pinch kind of like from a V and eventually we both see his antler in the, in the grass. And so he, I'm like, Hey. You know, yeah, is he a shooter? And I said, yeah, he's a shooter. Well, he shoots. He like tracked the antler down. He's trying to shoot him in the head at 35 yards, but he like picked the wrong ear.

Like he thought he was shooting on the left side of the year and it turns out he should have shot on the right side of the year. So you just probably gave him a headache. So he, and then [00:57:00] his gun jams. So I hit the deck cause the deer jumps up and he's shooting there. I thought he was going to shoot. He never shoots.

So I stand up deer runs right by me. I shoot at it. I'd put a lethal shot in it. Turns out this buck 157 and a half inch white tail, three and a half years old. And the same thing, it's like, man, what would he have been at five? You know, we would have looked at that deer all day long. He had junk. He was a 13.

He had split brows and kickers everywhere. We would have thought for sure. He's like four or five, six years old, maybe even like, you know, older, he's getting all that gnarly junk on them. And three and a half years old, just, just entering his prime.

I've I've determined. The bucks that have the legitimate genetics, they got them and they get big real quick.

And then you got those other deer that, uh, you know, maybe in a whitetail world, you got some of those that are never even going to go over 150 their whole life. Mule deer, I see that all the time. You'll have a buck that is never going to get out of the 170s ever. It doesn't matter how long he lives. Yeah.

It just doesn't have the genetics for it. [00:58:00] You can't see it, it's on the side of my, uh, screen, but one of those sheds on the top row, the top row sheds are all special sheds, there's ten of them. They have to have size and a story to get on the top row. But the first shed I ever found was a shed off our own farm.

And it was a big, heavy deer with a kicker. And I chased them all fall, didn't get them, found the shed the next year. Then my dad shot that buck the following fall, six years old, 115 inches.

It's crazy. Yeah,

he was a little bit bigger as a five year old, but even then like only 130 maybe, you know, he just, like you said, didn't have it.

Like it's just so it's crazy. Cause I feel like there's just so many. People out there that'll tell you like, Oh, six and a half, they're a giant or this or that. And I'm like, ah, it seems like they're just random, just like people. Some people are Michael Jordans and some people are Brian Krebs is and can't dunk to save their [00:59:00] life.

It's true. It's my, my buddy up in Canada. He's got a buck. He's watching now that, um, they're three positive. He's three and a half. Um, and you can tell he's small framed white tail, but he's got like eight points on one side, nine on the other, three drop times. And we're just going, man, if he can make it to like five or six, he's one of those ridiculous potential bucks.

But you look at other bucks at the same age as him and, you know, they're, they're a three by three, a six point white tail. And the brain's the same size, but he's got a whole lot more going

on. That's crazy. Does your friend find a lot of sheds up there then if he's got a lot of bucks?

Yeah, he's, he's got a shed pile.

In his lodge that I stand at that pile for hours and pick up and And just touch his antlers. Fondle. Yep, I fondle a monster. Because where I didn't grow up with whitetails, you know, I grew up picking up [01:00:00] mule deer sheds and elk sheds and stuff and I pick up these whitetail and it's, it's kind of ruining me to want to hunt whitetails in some other places because they're, they're massive.

The mass they get up there is unreal and I will just... He's got multiple sheds off, like 200 inch, 190 inch whitetails just laying in a pile on his floor.

They're unreal. I've see. I've held a couple, I held one shed that scored 108. Just the side, just the one side scored a hundred white tail. Yeah, white tail.

Shed scored 108 inches and the thing was, it's base was small. Oh, really? Very small. Yeah. My buddy, uh, has the deadhead and like a lot of the sheds is chasing him on his farm. It died on the neighbor's property. He bought the dead head for 500 bucks and it was like a two something. Yeah. He's like got the deal of a lifetime, but I have a shed on that wall.

It's an eight point and the base on that white tail shed. I can't even wrap my fingers around it. And I've found elk [01:01:00] sheds, you know, that have like, like five and six point bowls. And it's the same base as like a six point, like a small six point bullets. Crazy how much mass that one antler has.

I love those.

That's part of what I love about those deer in Canada is there is a mass genetic up there, mass droppers and flyers is a genetic that exists up in there. And I'm, I'm a mass guy all day. Like I'll, I'll shoot a buck that'll score less if he's just got wicked chunky mass all over him. I don't care about the score.

Right. I wanna fond it. Right. It's

awesome. Yeah. I have a, yeah, I've been hearing that it's a popular thing with sheep hunters to euro their real skull and re get a replica for their shoulder mount or their full body mount because they wanna be able to pick up that skull. 'cause it weighs so much. I've never picked one up.

I have a buddy I could probably ask. He shot all four of them. Oh, yeah, but yeah, he's got a way around that. [01:02:00] Yeah, but yeah, I've heard that it's like, it's so impressively heavy that you'd like when people and they just want to put it on their desk and be like, pick that up. You know, just one of the people come into their office.

So I pick that up and you know, holy crap, this thing's heavy, like heavy, heavy, not just like a, you know, an 11 pound shed. Like the thing weighs like 40 pounds. Sure.

Yeah. Oh, yeah, totally heavy. I've been impressed with, uh, like muskox heads for Oh,

yeah. That would be a great one.

Just super dense and crazy heavy.

And you're like, oh, yeah, it's the skull the size of a cow skull, whatever. And you pick it up and it's just beefy, kind of like a bighorn sheep. And, uh, yeah, if I ever shoot one of those, I'm, I'm leaving it as a

skull that I can manhandle. Yeah. And there's a lot cool, like retrofit and proto, like not, what's the right word for this?

Like you can replicate them a lot easier than you used to be able to.

Oh yeah. Yeah. Way easier. My, I got a good buddy right now. He's got a little business going. He's 3D scans the animals, you know, [01:03:00] and we'll make like, you know, the mini versions. Oh, mini

Muleys like Cameron? Like,

yeah, it's like, like the mini Muleys instead of using pictures and running through a software that we can scan the actual.

So like that big, like 215 buck on the front of my page, we scanned it the other day. Um, and we, you know, make a mini replica of the entire head and we can put it on a Euro. But at the same time, you now have a file he scanned, heaven forbid your house burns down or whatever it is, your trophy gets ruined or damaged.

You could replicate it right off of that scanned file now. Oh, who's that? Uh, his name's Johnny Dietrich. He's a local guy here getting started, but it's, uh, it's pretty impressive. Yes. The way scanners... And printers, 3D printers and stuff are going now. They're just getting better and better and better. So if you have a scan of your trophy, and yeah, falls off the wall and breaks into pieces, you can't glue it together, the fire takes it, whatever, you have [01:04:00] that file, you can 3D print your trophy back out.

Yeah, we had, um, I've had, so I have another podcast for like outdoor entrepreneurship, people that start up outdoor businesses and brands. And I love hearing the story. And we had, I've had both like Cameron from Mini Muleys on and I've had, uh, Phil Tuttle and, um, is it Adam Burke from Antler Tech? And they can, it's like, if you find a big shed and send it to them, they'll scan it and they'll print the opposite side if you can't find the opposite.

And they had a set of mule deer sheds. That's probably 200 inches. And I'm just like, Oh my God. But like, what's the weight, you know? Like, like you said, like if the weights off, I'm going to know the difference. And he said, we weighed this one and that one, and there's a two ounce difference between the two.

Yeah. So like, you can't tell, like, he's a lot of people, they pick them up at shows and they can't, he's like, guess which one's real and which one's fake. And they can't, they can't figure it out. They'll guess wrong all the time.

You know what I would love to see with that technology, but you'd somehow have to get it popular enough.

Like I'm not a big fan of like the [01:05:00] boom, crocket scoring system. Oh, like so many flaws. Right. Totally. Totally. Yeah. But you'd have to rewrite the record books, but where you can scan these now, you can literally measure the exact volume of bone on top of a deer's head. So it's similar to like water displacement, right?

Yeah. Um, and I would love, I mean you'd have to rewrite the record books, but with my buddy Johnny we're doing a little experiment. We got, I got a couple bucks in my house here in that 214 to 215 range. My dad's got 215 in his house. We're scanning all three of them. I'm going to measure the volume of bone on top of each of their head.

So even though they score within one to two inches of each other, Boone and Crockett, it's going to be interesting to see which one's really the biggest, as far as how much bone is up there,

whichever one's got the most

mass. Yeah. It's going to be my dad's and, uh, in my mind, that's, that's awesome. I think it's super cool.

You might have, it should be,

it should always be the amount of bone. The only thing somebody could ever say like, um, well, then you don't get the width, like the width could [01:06:00] be, but that's still like, to me, if you had, um, in order to get wide, you need more antler to go out. And if he doesn't have the width, like he isn't as big, you know, he could have put that antler, that bone somewhere else.

But if you like. And I, you know, what is actually sad, it's very sad that this is the case, but the case that proves it is like, look at the captive deer industry. Oh yeah. Like those bucks grow more antler. They're super ugly. I don't agree with it at all. I think it's really harmful to CWD and all these things, but that's the testament to like when they're truly healthy and the genetics are perfect.

It's just about how many, how much mass, how many, like grams of bone do they grow? And, um, and that would be a great way. I would love to do it that way. Like, and then you just cut them off. You could just cut off the sheds right at the pedicle. It doesn't matter. It

doesn't matter. Or just do

the whole skull, the Euro.

Like, why does it, why do, why can't a skull [01:07:00] count for how big he is? Like if he's got a thick head, like a bigger nose, like it should count. I don't know.

Yeah. Like we're splitting hairs here. I love the idea of just how much bone you would, you'd have the record books would be rewritten, but we're, we're, we're going to play around with it, with him for fun.

Um, you know,

there's so many people though, like the silent majority. Definitely does not like Boone and Crockett's system. I've talked to, I've had, like, I haven't talked to them. I've heard people describe why Boone and Crockett started. And I really do, I really do like what they stand for, like if he goes back to their true mission, he says, well, Boone and Crockett started because we had market hunting and we had like, it's brown, it's down hunting and all that stuff.

And we needed to come out with a way that would incentivize people to take the healthiest animal for the health of the herd, which is a mature buck because he's done his job. You can't take young bucks. You can't take does like if you want the health of the herd, the healthiest animal to take is the mature buck.

But how do we incentivize? Yeah. That [01:08:00] action and, and, and then also how do we measure like the health of the herd? And so like, you know, Semit, that was the way they could do it back then because they didn't have the technology we have today. And I get that. I think it was a great system. Like they found a way to incentivize quality deer management.

Like health, right? You would be the gamified the system, right? You throw a number on it. Now everyone wants a bigger number and yeah, sure. You can argue some places they took that or different direction and now it's, you know, trophy hunting and maybe not the best, best, you know, intentions, but it still is a great system, but there are so many people.

That like are with you and I, like, let's do volumetric, let's do mass, let's do weight. I bet if you just got a couple of people with a strong enough voice Yes To like start selling shirts with the new name like come up with a really creative new name like Boone and Crockett Hope it's young. They're great catchy names.

You got to come up with a good one, you know something different You make shirts about it. You just [01:09:00] do stuff you have like fun with it. You almost take on like Cryptocurrency level like culture and like, you know jokes and stuff like that I bet I bet you'd get so many people on board with this and you just you do it in a way where it's like it Doesn't have to make or break like we did it.

So like Um, we don't have to pay money. It's not costing us anything. We're not going to like go belly up if it doesn't work in three years. Like we're just going to do this until it catches on and eventually it's going to catch on. That's

what we'd like to do. In fact, when, when we get this done, I'll, I'll tag you in it or send it to you.

Are we're going to, we want to do those three bucks, measure them out. Here's where their B and C scores are, but here's how much kind of volume and just kind of make it fun. Right. Like, hey, pick which one you think's the biggest, you know, based off of just looking at them, and then let's show you what it really is, have it be fun, but um, because I'm in, I'm interested in doing


Yeah, we gotta, we gotta come up with a good name though, like Booner. I don't know, maybe they don't even trademark Booner, maybe we could still call them Booners. [01:10:00]

It may, my brother's name is Boone, so, you know, it's always a little weird

to me. But the Pope and Young, like no one calls him Popers. Like, even archery hunters still go, he's, he's gross Boone.

Yeah. So we gotta come up with a good, like a good old boy that was like a phenomenal hunter. Like, I always think about like Teddy Roosevelt. Sure, yeah. Like something like that, like, like the, I don't know. Yeah, the,

the Jack O'Connor or

something like Lewis and Clark or something like that. Yeah, something, but it's gotta be a catchy name for someone to describe like, Oh, I shot a Booner.

Like, Oh, like you can't say like, Oh, I shot a Roosevelt. I don't know. Like it doesn't work.

We'll have to ponder on that one.

Lots of beer, lots of pizza, lots of campfires, but we'll get it


out. There you go. Awesome. Well, it's been just over an hour rusty. I really appreciate talking to you here. And some of the stories, man, it's crazy.

Um, Canadian white tails and shooting big elk and all that stuff. I could go on [01:11:00] forever, but I got a little bit of work to wrap up tonight. I understand. I understand. So, well, thank you for being here. Give folks a chance to, uh, follow along with you where they can check out all these crazy animals that we've been talking about and all these experiences that you've gone on, where can they tag along and see the adventures?

Yeah, most,

most of what I put out there is on Instagram. Uh, my handle on Instagram is a little weird. It's RTS underscore Proverbs 21B19. And so you understand behind that it's a kind of a joke with my wife and I. Proverbs 21 19 in the Bible says it's better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.

Oh, really? Every, every fall I can joke around, be like, man, honey, you're, you're a little ornery. I guess I'm going to go hunting. Um, it's kind of been a joke with us our whole marriage. And, uh, so that's what that stands for. But yeah, RTS underscore Proverbs 21 be 19 on Instagram.

Is where I put up. I had no, I've never [01:12:00] read that passage, so I didn't know that that was advice in the Bible.

Oh yeah,

great. Great advice from

Proverbs. I was told by a pastor that it's better to be in the woods thinking about God than be in church thinking about the woods .

So that's

why I took it to heart, but I didn't, I guess I got another backup option too, depending on what the situation is. Yeah.

I have several arrows in that quiver.

There you go. Awesome. Well, thanks for being here, Rusty. And thank you for listening folks.