Catching Up w/ AJ Iaqunita from KOTA

Show Notes

Hey everyone, welcome to episode 160 of the Antler Up Podcast!

On this week's episode Dimitri and I were joined by our good friend AJ Iaquinta from Knights of the Apex!  It is always a great conversation when we get a chance to catch up with AJ and just chat about life!  This episode is filled with various topics that include dad life, influencers, outfitters and getting the chance to meet Jocko.

AJ has been running Knights of the Apex over the last 3+ years where he does a phenomenal job with creating content surrounding gear!  We do get into his thoughts on this year's bows and how they stack up.  We also hear how he put in more time and effort in hunting his current state of Florida and what challenges he faced.  Early in the hunting season, AJ made the trip to hunt Illinois with some awesome hunters like Beau Martonik and Ryan Haines.  This chat led us to talking about his experience hunting at various outfitters and hit takeaways from those experiences.  

Like I mentioned earlier, it is always a great time talking with AJ and we look forward to the conversations!  I am looking forward to seeing what AJ has in store for Knights of the Apex this year because each year he keeps on killing it and I have a ton of respect for him!  Enjoy this fun episode!  

Thanks again for all the support and best of luck out there and Antler Up!

Show Transcript

Jeremy Dinsmore: [00:00:00] What's happening everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the Antler Podcast. We're on episode 160. Yeah, one 60. We have our good friend AJ Quinta on from Nights of the Apex, and it was a fun conversation that we just had because when we get a chance to catch up with him, we just love just chatting about life, what's going on in each other's lives and all that stuff.

And this episode is filled with the various topics that include Dad life, influencers, outfitters to meeting Jocko. So AJ runs. Knight of the [00:01:00] Apex. He's been doing it now for the last, like three plus years. And he does a phenomenal job with creating contents, surrounding gear, putting out awesome videos and pictures and just being a downright all around.

Great dude. Had a chance to hang out with him at our condo and shoot we didn't get a chance to shoot with him, but we got a chance to hang out a ton at Tall Archery last year in Pennsylvania. But we get into his thoughts on this year's bows and how they stack up. We also hear how he put in more time this year and effort hunting his current state of Florida because of, being a dad and kind of the challenges he faced with that.

Really cool here to hear that perspective. From AJ and also early on in the year during hunting season, AJ made the trip to hunt Illinois with some awesome hunters like Bo Morton, Ryan Haynes, just to name a few. And that led us down to Rabbit Hole of chatting about his experiences at hunting various outfitters and his takeaways with that.

And all that jazz. Again, like I mentioned earlier, it's fun to catch up with him. It's [00:02:00] really excited to see what he has in store for his nights of the apex this year, just because each year he keeps killing it. It gets that much better every single year, and I have a ton of respect for him.

So hope you enjoy this one. Just a great conversation with aj, Dimitri, and I, so enjoy it. We'll see you next week. Antler up.

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What's up everybody? We're back. We have our good friend, a j i, Quinta Knights of the Apex on tonight, and aj, man, welcome back to the show for a whopping fifth time, man. What's going on, ?

AJ Iaquinta: Listen, I'm just racking up the lead. That's what I'm here for. Okay, . Just trying to, just trying to secure the most appearances.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. Heck yeah. Dubbo, you just got off one with Bo doing like the whole what's in, creating your own [00:04:00] little own bow shop and everything. That's, that was pretty

AJ Iaquinta: cool. Yeah, I'm on a pa tour pa podcast tour right now, yeah but yeah, that was fun. I got to hunt with Bo. We were in Illinois together last October.

So it was slow hunting, but it was a good camp and it was cool to get to link up with them in person. And it's always good like getting to meet people I only interact with online and especially get to share hunt camp. Like we got to dot together us through last year. That was fun.

It's, those are the things that It's the best part of this whole like, social media, weird world we find ourselves


Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah, no doubt about that. So how's how's fatherhood treating you, man?

AJ Iaquinta: Oh, it's amazing. I love it. If for anybody watching the white stains on my sweatshirt are definitely drool and spit up.

It's it's great though man. We had a little bit of a shaky start. Spent a couple days in the nicu, but I know that's pretty, pretty common. A lot of people reached out, which was helpful cuz as a new. You don't know what you don't know. And I didn't talk too much about it. I definitely didn't share it on Nights of the Apex, but a couple people [00:05:00] that just were like, knew that we were pregnant, reached out and shared their experiences and that was a good, that was a great relief.

Cuz yeah, going into it not expecting that and then having that it, he was fine. Everybody's good now, but it was definitely a shaky thing that those first couple of days you hear NICU and all these things go through your head. Cuz again, you don't know any better. I'm expecting like he's just gonna be hooked up to tubes, like in a room full of beds and, it's not like that at all.

Thank God for doctors and nurses, but it's great man. I love it. I can't wait to just soaking it all in. He is a little ball of cuddles right now and I'm sure we'll be in the stand in the saddle together before I know it. , so just trying to soak it all

Jeremy Dinsmore: in. Yep. Oh man, those days, Dimitri, you're not too far removed.

You're still in it?

Dimitri Sidorick: No, I'm still in it. No, my older son, he's starting to get interested in hunting and, shooting little toy bows and stuff, so it gets pretty exciting.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. Aj, now let me ask you this question. How has, we're just talking like, just briefly of what you got [00:06:00] going on.

How has maybe having a little guy into the world now and seeing what's, what, where life is taking you and where priorities kind of change, how the, how has that maybe affected your mentality with what you got going on?

AJ Iaquinta: It's another transformative experience, right? , there's a handful of 'em that you can go through in your life and I know not everybody, I don't think, having kids initially, one of those things like you have to do, that's not in the cards for everybody, but.

It is definitely one of those transformative things, and it just puts a lot of stuff in perspective. And now, like I, I look at that little guy and it's what do I, what am I willing to sacrifice and give up? And what do I really want to do, and how do I want to be the example for that little guy?

Because I think I was fortunate enough, like I had a granddad and a dad that like I loved and they said a great example for me and I just wanna do the same thing for him. And honestly, even before he was even a thought, like that was one of the things that led me to create Coda because I was like, I can't bring him to my office and do emails all day.

I'm not teaching him any lessons doing that. It's [00:07:00] important, like that's what most jobs are. . But I think there's something to be said for being able to do physical trips and doing hands on things and learning. And that's one of the things that got me into doing all this kind of.

Content stuff and yeah. So I'm looking forward to it. It puts stuff in perspective and, for me, like I just I'm gonna pull away from some stuff and then I'm gonna double down with the relationships with, companies and events and things like that, that I really enjoy doing, that I want to do with him one day, yeah. Yeah. That's cool. .

Dimitri Sidorick: And I think the cool thing, like you said, that the hands-on experience would, obviously this is a hunting podcast and that's what we focus on, but even anything, education is important, if there's hobbies or skills, there's so much information out there to learn to do those things yourself.

And you can, it's self toppy. You have someone you're watching a video or someone's explaining something, which is really cool. Which, I feel like when I was younger and growing up, if you didn't have somebody personally show you that kind of stuff, you didn't get involved in that.

So it's a kind of, you [00:08:00] can broaden your horizon a little bit now, which is pretty cool.

AJ Iaquinta: As. . Yeah, no, you're spot on with that. Like I said, I was fortunate. Like my grandfather worked in a machine shop. My dad was a framer, so I would, those were my off days, or if I broke something, that's how I paid the family back for, was working with those guys so you learn lessons and there's something to be said for you when you screw up. Something I like at work, if something's messed up, I have to send another email. It's different than I screwed up installing that set of stairs. I need to pull all the nails and start over again, deal.

There's something the stakes are just higher when it's an actual physical task. And we know that from hunting, right? You screw up, you're in the wrong tree and you just screwed up your entire morning, right? . . But yeah, no, I'm looking forward to all that. You guys know I'm trying to not be the, like the new dad that's all high on , on shit, like the dad evangelist, but it's just, it's so much fun and Yeah, it's just, it's it's awesome and so different than what I was expecting, but for all good reasons.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah, no doubt about that. Awesome. And congrats. I [00:09:00] know we, we texted in during that p period of time and what what was your hunting season like?

Cuz like you said, I know you did go to Illinois this past year with the quiet cat crew and everything like that. Did you get a chance to come back at home in New York and everything? .

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah, so I had a great season experience wise. Sucked from a meat and killing perspective. Yeah. And I knew he was due, my son Maverick was due the 21st, so I knew the rut was gonna be dicey to be able to go home and hunt the rut.

I, I focused on some lower percentage earlier season stuff. I got permission on literally like two acres not too far from me in Florida. It's pretty much suburban hunting. Had some good bucks on camera. So put a lot of work into developing that again, cuz of proximity.

Yeah. Didn't seal the deal there. Of course. The only, so the interesting thing here was they were not day. , like the, none of the deer were daylighting. They're super used to people and the only time they did it seemed like they were running for about two weeks, and the three [00:10:00] days they were day lit.

I was in the NICU with my son. Yeah. Like just watching 'em on camera all freaking day, running back and forth on the camera. But I learned a lot. I'm psyched to go into next year, but yeah, so I did September, went up to New York for Bear season. Again, I didn't didn't get one there. Just missed them by a couple days, but we've got 'em on camera.

Actually found out Jeremy, you sent me something. Yeah. And the, I think I've talked about it on here before, but our suspicions that like our property is really close to where they released the nuisance bears. We actually got confirmation of that this year, so it makes sense. Our whitetail population has gone to just total crap.

We haven't been seeing anything on there, but we've got so many bears and predators on the property now. It's pretty crazy. We're blessed in one sense and it sucks in another. Yeah. But at the same time, my dad, who if you guys follow the page, you've probably seen him a lot.

He's been working, he's actually been getting a lot of permission on Long Island, so we're gonna be doing more suburban hunting there. He's got three or four areas where, they're like essentially [00:11:00] mansions and estates that he's helping people with get rid of deer and they've got nuisance permits, so everything that comes by is getting shot.

So we'll spend a couple of days out there next year. But yeah, Illinois was cool. I was there with Bushnell and Quiet Cat. Somebody must have bailed. And I was the alternate, I guess I got the last minute call, which I was more than happy to tag along for. But it was fun. I was the second oldest guy in camp, which was also a new experience for me.

It was Jay Maxwell was the only other hunter that was older than me. But yeah, from 46, 10 productions awesome dude. He does a lot of urban stuff in Atlanta. He's tight with thee one guys. And then Bo was there. Kayla Moss Ryan Haynes. And Connor Brock house. I think that was it for shooters.

A couple other guys were there. But yeah, really fun camp. Like a lot of beers got killed, but not a lot of animals.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah, I was gonna say what is what's an experience like that? Dimitri, we've had that camp feel of a typical PA stuff, but then, that's something a little different.

You have all those guys [00:12:00] on, showing everybody through their stories, through posts and, you, we almost feel like obviously that we're there because we see what's going on, but what's it actually like to be there in those, situations? .

AJ Iaquinta: It's interesting cause I don't think, like I said, most of 'em are younger and like I, it's not like we go on a whole bunch of sponsored hunts.

That's the first time I've been on a hunt where I was a shooter that I was invited to go. So like the first couple days we were just what's the itinerary? And we'll go along. So we were hunting the afternoons. It was opening week in Illinois, which, it's not the hottest time to go hunt like the deer just movement.

We, we found out later in the week, like they were very responsive to rattling. But like that, I don't know, that first day or two in camp I don't I, I like to see what's going on. I don't like trying to force anything. . So I had a nice shooter come right outta last light. But it was a lot of fun.

We spent the mornings we were doing stuff like of course it was, it was a sponsored hunt. So we wanted to make sure, like we did content. They showed us how to use the bikes, like the optics that are coming out, all that stuff, which was cool. Like it's I don't enjoy [00:13:00] being the one in front of the camera, but I will say playing the influencer has its parks occasionally, like getting some stuff

But that was fun. And then, the, but the camp, like everybody in camp was such a good time. Like everybody and everybody had a different specialty. Like we had guys from Texas. Pa like me in Florida, New York, caitlin, the Midwest Jay from Atlanta. So everybody and we're all special at me being the exception.

Everyone else was a specialist in their little area. So it was just so cool, like getting to just, I like just, Talk to everybody and just absorb and get all that information. And just seeing how everybody approached this hunt a little different. Caitlin was running up and setting up in saddles and doing a little bit more ambushing, setting up office stuff.

I was set up on a food plot where they had three different shooters that were just zipping in and out and I just never had one comment to bow range. And then Bo was hunting mostly the hardwoods, thinking like they're gonna be in those in between transition areas, being that early in the [00:14:00] season and Jay was doing the same thing.

And I think Ryan was actually doing the same thing as well. And they saw a couple of good bucks, but not like shooters for that area. And so that was really cool. It was just awesome. Yeah. That, that was just awesome. Just you get cuz rarely, like Hunts hunt camps are always a hodgepodge of people to begin with, unless like it's your buddies, but, it was so much fun, like having people that like also be like, there were camera guys there. Like I, I was the only one that like went solo. I think me and Jay, but actually Bo did too, but it was just cool. Like rarely do you have people that understand like that side of it as well as hunting, but they're such good hunters too.

Yeah. And yeah, everybody else went on to have like awesome seasons, but yeah, I had two really good shooters. One hung up at a hundred and was just chasing some dough and pushed 'em out of there last day, last 15 minutes. And then that first night I had one at 50 at last light. Which it was just so dark and I was like, ah, it's the first day.

Like I'm not gonna send it, on something. The biggest book [00:15:00] I've ever seen in real life on the first night. And then I was kicking myself for the rest of the week because my setup was dialed and I could have absolutely sent that arrow. Yeah, I should have. But but yeah, learned a lot. And it's just like that's the experience is that's what I'm in it for.

I say that's what guys who don't kill stuff say

Dimitri Sidorick: Now, did you guys have free reign of the property of, be able to come up with your own game plans or was there set stands or areas that they kinda. Guided you towards, or give you the options for?

AJ Iaquinta: So it is a mixture. So like early on we were all playing it like, what do you guys have in store?

Because it was a legitimate outfit, right? And they had, they were very familiar running like professional TV shows and things like that before. So we were all just along for the ride for the first day or two. And then we were Hey guys, like why aren't we hunting the mornings?

What do you guys have on camera in the mornings? Can we hunt the mornings? Like we, we we had, I think we, I forget what app we were using. It wasn't OnX and it wasn't Hunt wise, I forget what it was. [00:16:00] But it wasn't Spartan 4G either. It was one of the smaller ones. But like they, so they gave us the map and we all could see where each other were at in the areas.

And so we were sharing data, it's not like we were competing with each other, but we were like, all right, if you're here and we're going there. Cause we were taking the quiet cats in too. . We definitely had some rain and we also, like Beau was really good at this. He befriended he stayed with the guides, so he he befriended them early and he had the intel like early on, on what was going on the property.

And we worked them by the end where it's hey, let us hunt the mornings. It's cooler, we'll get 'em in transition more. Cuz they really weren't coming out at night. But yeah, we had by the end of the week we had pretty free reign of the property. We didn't go too crazy because they are an outfit they had a couple of weeks before, like their first clients came in.

But we weren't gonna go in and blow everything out we're, yeah. Pretend like we're the most important people hunting that property cause we're not

Jeremy Dinsmore: that. Cuz we had our buddy Tom on a couple weeks ago. We were just talking about different experiences like that cuz he's done it all.

He's done over-the-counter [00:17:00] out-of-state hunts. He's done over-the-counter. He's done. , like outfitters as well, just even in neighboring states, just to have that experience. And that was our question to him was, what is that and, positive experience, negative experience.

And I know you've done the one in Ohio before as well. Do if you were to chalk it up, what's your kind of experience? Do you like 'em, not like 'em, how could maybe people improve upon it, is there anything like that now that you've done.

AJ Iaquinta: it's, I would compare it to Bo shops, right? Like when you have a great one , it's a godsend and you'll go there forever, right? And even if they charge a little more than the average, it's still worth it. Especially for the guy that, or the guy or girl that you only have a week to hunt a year. Like you only get that vacation time.

Like I, I know the only reason I, like I purchased some of the, out to go with some of the outfits I do is just to spend time with my uncle and my dad and hunt with those guys. Cuz we're getting an age, we're like, you can look at a calendar and you can add up all the hunting days you get left with your family, right?

To me that's important. I'll spend the, however, couple of thousand dollars that I don't [00:18:00] need to spend just to get that time with 'em and those memories, as much as it hurts the budget that I could use that. So I could have bought property by now , but if you find a good one, but it's hard to do.

That's the other thing. At the end of the day, like they're salesman and you go to these trade shows and we've gone to a lot of shitty outfitters and you don't really like, you see the pictures, it all looks good, but then you find out like those were all taken during gun season and because the outfitters outta shape, the tree stand you're in.

There's no way that guy was getting into, and it's just clear you know right away when you get into a. Whether or not that person who set that up was a bow hunter or not, like bow hunters were really particular about our stand locations, like how things funnel, what we're looking for. It's just different than gun hunting.

It's a lot more nuanced. Yeah. So for me, like some of the questions I would definitely ask is, how much free range are you gonna have if you're looking to go to an outfit? What are some of the layouts? Like, where are you guys seeing, what time of year are you guys seeing the most movement what have been like, what some of the setups, like guys have brought in years [00:19:00] past?

Like for me, for this trip, I brought a saddle just in case I ended up being on, it was a massive food plot. And like I said, I just, I didn't have anything come at Bow Range, but for me, I was out of a stand one night and then I saw where the deer were funneling based on kind of what thermals and stuff are doing.

And I was better off going into the redneck and I had deer under me all night, just no shooters that came the rest of the week. So I was okay, like these guys performance outdoors, they had a great setup. But like I know some of the other guys like Caitlin, I I mentioned like she bounced around and also like with her cameraman, like they had saddles.

So they'd find a tree that, they were on like a corner somewhere that they thought was a little better, get 'em closer to closer range. Having that freedom is definitely nice. But there's a lot of outfits, like they don't want you going anywhere, but the stands they have set up.

And something that I would be sure to ask is how often do you guys rotate stand locations? Because I've hunted with outfitters where even though I'm, their opening day, that first dough comes out and looks right up at me. And it's like the only reason she knows to do that is because there've been [00:20:00] hunters in that stand and that stand.

And when you get in the stand, like you look around, you're like, the tree is growing around the stand. This thing has been here Yeah. For longer than I've been alive. Those are some things to definitely ask about. But yeah, like the place that we went in Ohio, I would go back, every year if I had enough time to do it because it's not a lot of property, but it's really well managed.

It's a cool area. It's a comfortable. It's very relaxed and easygoing food's good, right? That's a consideration for me. If I'm spending thousands of dollars on a hunt, it better have good food. Like I've heard a guy's going on 10, $12,000 elk hunts, and they're like, yeah, we had to cook.

I'm like, that blows . If I go to a hotel and it's $10,000 for a vacation I'd rather be eating the best stuff imaginable, but Exactly. Yeah, it's, and maybe that's me being bougie, I don't know. But but yeah, just me with my money, that's how I am. But otherwise, like I'll just stay here in Florida and hunt Long Island in New York and, I'll kill smaller deer, but I'll have more fun and I'll save money and I can go on more hunts.

But yeah, Outfitters, it's a mixed bag, man. It's a mixed bag. I, and the other hard part is like the [00:21:00] guys that are really good at it, that professionalize it, that manage the properties you're paying a premium for that, so that's the other thing. It's a tricky thing, but if, if you have the budget and the means and that an outfit's trustworthy, then it's awesome.

It's great. Yeah.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Dimitri, what do you think about that stuff?

Dimitri Sidorick: I've never done one myself, so I don't have any personal experience and, I just think that, you have to feel if your success is gonna be, your chances are improved by spending the money. Obviously, your chances of probably harvesting a, a.

Higher quality deer is probably pretty good, right? Because you have someone, they're trying to manage the property and obviously the better the deer are on the property, the higher their prices are. They're trying to achieve that. Where if you're hunting public ground, it's free for all.

Yeah. If it's a state where people can shoot anything, that the deer aren't being managed. It's just if you're willing to spend the money, but, cuz you could spend the money go out there and, [00:22:00] people have not even seen a shooter. And just bar maybe saw just a couple doughs and maybe a four corn buck.

And, and that was it. And they spent all that money even though the food was good. But, you just have to, feel okay with. Having a great lodging and camping and but you still have that opportunity at a really nice buck. Yeah.

Jeremy Dinsmore: I liked what you said AJ earlier about your, you're going like with family members, right?

Yeah. That was always something that I thought about too, with going somewhere a nice out-of-state whitetail hunt to do something like that with my dad, just to experience something different other than going back at home up the mountain in northeast pa. That's something that I would like to do cuz he, he's even gone on to say he's oh, when I retire in a couple years, I wanna take you and my brother, he's to, up to Canada, go kill a monster white

AJ Iaquinta: whitetail.

Which, why is Saskatchewan the thing for all the guys in the northeast for, it's gotta be Jim Shockey or something, because my family's the same way. They're like, we gotta go to Saskatchewan. I'm like, you guys [00:23:00] know they're big deer other places, right? Yeah. Like we don't have to freeze our nuts off.

Exactly. . That's

Jeremy Dinsmore: what I like when he tells me that. I just always crack. Cuz in the back of my mind I'm like, I'm just, I'm good with Kansas, I'm good. Let's let's do a cool tough hunt like New York. I don't, like it doesn't need to be in Canada. .

AJ Iaquinta: And but what Dimitri said that's another good point.

You gotta be okay with, it's still hunting. Like a lot of people, they'll see people that have success at these outfitters and think, oh as if like you're showing up and they've got the deer, the 180 inch deer tied to a tree. That's not how it works. And another thing that people get screwed up all the time is, Just cuz there's a feeder, mature bucks.

Don't go to the feeder. I've never been to a place where there's any sort of hunting pressure. Mature bucks don't hit feeders, especially in daylight. Like it doesn't happen. They'll hit perimeters, they'll look around, they'll hit the in betweens, they'll check out what's going there, but they're not going there.

It's not like a, you're not killing like dairy cows, they're still deer. Like they're adapting to the pressure just like everything else. Yeah, [00:24:00] like your potential for harvesting something and that was, that's been really valuable for me, like growing up where I did in New York and like never seen anything bigger than 130 inch deer.

Going to these places and just being able to get eyes on like, how does a five year old deer or older actually behave? That's something I would never learn if I stayed just hunting my property and my family's property in New York, so for me, that was immensely valuable, even though I didn't get to harvest anything.

The first time I ever saw a mature deer, I literally froze up with it at 40 yards just. . I was like, that thing is beautiful. I felt like I was seeing a unicorn, . Like I just had never seen anything. I think I was in my like early twenties, but I I was just staring at the thing. Yeah.

While I was just hanging around and just watching it do its thing. And it was so different than any deer I had seen up until that point. Yeah.

Jeremy Dinsmore: That happened to me this year. When a guy came just screaming up the mountain, just going, yo, and it bumped a big buck. This was during archery season.

It was the Saturday right before our Sunday hunting actually in November. And [00:25:00] he came through and I just remember I had my bow in hand, like ready and he came out to 55, 60 yards at that point. But I just remember being, I have an opening. But I'm just watching this deer. I just, like you said, I froze.

I probably could have, like you said, I'm, that's a tough shot. I've in, in the mountains and I'm sure there were some brush that I just totally black blacked out. But just watching him and just being like, oh my gosh, that's the biggest deer I've ever seen on the hoof to, in while I'm up in the tree.

So yeah, that

AJ Iaquinta: happens. . Oh yeah. My, my cousin, last time we were in Ohio, he comes back to, he goes, he texts me. He is like, Hey, aunt I need you to check my bow at lunch. It, something's broken. Like I couldn't, I can't pull it back. He's this deer came out in front of me. I couldn't pull it back. He comes back to camp.

I'm expecting something to be froze up. It was cold that morning. I ripped this thing back and I'm like, dude, this is fine. It's okay, man. Like you just, nerves got to you. Like it happens. But it is funny like how your body reacts like that . That's [00:26:00] good.

Jeremy Dinsmore: You said too about, , when you think about the food, you think about whether it be feeding the deer or putting bait out and what you're going to see and people think we're, I'm going to this four star outfitter, I'm going to shoot something.

And like you said, you may not see anything. And the same thing happens when you buy that brand new bow and the X white grunt call wherever it's from. And people think that's going to kill them. That deer.

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah. Oh, a hundred percent. Listen, you'll look cool in the tree , but there's, at the end of the day, like nothing.

You need the ma you, those mature deer. You have to have 'em so dialed in and they need to make mistakes at the end of the day. That's really what I learned, like from all these, like from hanging around guys that are legitimate killers is, and time. That's the other thing, like for most of us that only get to.

A couple of days a year, like we're, y you're working with whatever you got, right? . And that's something like, I'm working with more now. I I took a lot of inspiration from Bo and Jay, like just hunting with what they have available. Like Bo [00:27:00] doesn't have to be a mountain pa hunter anymore.

He could probably travel if he wants to. Same thing with Jay, that's what they have available, that's what they grinded their teeth for. So like for me, that's what I really wanna do here in Florida, like public land hunting is miserable and it's draw here. Screw it. I'll do the seek one thing here in Florida and see what I can do.

I, there's, when people see pictures of the deer that are around here, they're like, what? That's in our backyard kind of deal. Yeah. And so for me, like the trick is just figuring out like, how am I gonna get these things daylight? How am I gonna turn them into day walkers and get 'em in those in-betweens?

And now, for this year, now that I know that, like I've got a small window making sure I got those vacation days ready to call in sick for that first week in November, last week in October, whatever it is. Cause that's the other thing, depending where you are in this state, your rut could be anywhere from August to end of January.

And it varies. It seems like talented town. It just figuring all that out. But it's a cool challenge. I wouldn't, I was super frustrated at the end of this year, but I'm really excited [00:28:00] for. Next year now, because, either tho those deer are still gonna be around or maybe I gotta just accept that my little two acre sucks and I need to find a way to expand that territory.

But you gotta work with what you

Jeremy Dinsmore: got. Absolutely. Mi what do you got for him?

Dimitri Sidorick: I don't know. I, I was just thinking about the whole guided and, thinking about eastern guys wanting to go west too, and Yeah. And we've done it once and, we had a good time. But, I was thinking even more like for elk and, constantly year after year, we're seeing that the point system is, growing of how many points you have to have and the prices of tags are just going through the roof for, western states.

And, for you to have a very low success rate to begin with going on public land and spending that money for the tag. You gotta kind, , ask yourself if you're gonna do all of that. Maybe if it's a one time thing and you have a family and it's not gonna be every two years or three years that you're [00:29:00] gonna get out there, maybe you wanna spend the extra money for a guide or an outfitter where you know your success rate's.

Not a hundred percent, but it's gonna be improved if you're gonna spend the money. I've had that conversation with people too and you gotta just decide what's within your budget and what's best for you. Just cuz you know, those are harder things to do. And some people are fortunate enough that they can do that year after year and maybe, and there was just the talk of Colorado might not be over the counter.

Things are constantly changing out there. And I think Wyoming their elk tag is about to go through the roof in the next couple years. I don't know what it is exactly so I'm not gonna comment cuz someone will probably try to. Correct fact, check me, I think it's going to double if not triple or even more.

Yeah, it's pretty substantial. .

AJ Iaquinta: And I think too, it's just for me, it, like I see all that stuff and cuz I, I like everybody else, I get sucked into like elk hunting and the mountains is sexy. Like that's a thing. If you're the quote unquote adult onset hunter, that's what [00:30:00] you want to go do, right?

You want to be the next Dudley campaigns, whatever, right? . But I think, it's like hunting. If you get back to its roots, right? It's. in your backyard, right? So what do you have available to you? Start there. And then just like everything else, like I, I tell people if they're just trying to get into archery, go to your shop, find somebody, right?

And make friends and learn. I think the same thing, like I, me personally, I would not spend money going to a state where I have no intel on the area. Like you're just really, it's like showing up to a party where you don't know anyone. Like maybe you'll have a good time. It might be the most epic time ever, but worst case scenario, it's just super awkward and you just totally wasted all of your time.

And that was a terrible example, but yeah. That was spot on.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Because you could show up to a party and

AJ Iaquinta: have the time of your life . Yeah. You could it happens, guys show up and then they kill a massive bowl or a deer or whatever, like it does happen. Yep. But the odds are definitely not in your favor for that.

I think, like just. Offering to like tag along. If you got a buddy that's going or [00:31:00] has been going that's another thing. Like you can, usually with these, like with these outfitters, you, they usually have a fee where you're not a hunter, but you wanna like tag along and you're basically like covering your food for the week kind of deal.

Doing something like that, like I've offered to go just shoot with my camera on hunts and stuff like that before, just to learn and figure out like what's going. In certain areas. And I think with that, like anytime there's like a recession, there's always an opportunity there too, right?

, like urban hunting wasn't big until Taylor Chamberlain did that in City Limits video, and then the SEC one guys blew up, right? But otherwise, everybody was just ignoring gear in the, they're in the suburbs, right? This same thing's gonna happen with I think a lot of these species that like, maybe aren't as desirable now, but then someone's gonna find a way to become a professional at that, and then you're gonna see all of a sudden now that gets hot, right?

Yeah. Like no one was hunting some of these states a couple years ago. Like Iowa was always Iowa, Kansas blew up, now Oklahoma's blown up. Ohio blew up the last couple years. Like now [00:32:00] all of a sudden all these places are now desirable spots that you. Find places to go hunt anymore without running into 10 other, hunters out there.

But it wasn't like that. Always be thinking about what's that next thing? Yeah.

Dimitri Sidorick: Now, do you feel like that will ever cool down? Just because I would say we're at the peak of, out-of-state trips, whether it's whitetail, western states mill, deer, elk, , do you feel like, with maybe we're hitting a recession this year, or or maybe just the success rate's not gonna be as desirable after people do it for a few years.

Do you feel like that's gonna cool off and then maybe, you'll be able to do those kind of things without that? Added pressure, or do you just think because of social media and YouTube, that's gonna be an ongoing thing?

AJ Iaquinta: I don't, I think anybody who says they know is lying because we've never had social media before, so this is all still new, and it's a double-edged sword. Cause I've talked to you guys on this podcast about I, I think the benefits of social media for [00:33:00] hunting far outweigh the detriments, but at the same time, you can't ignore that. It's definitely ramping up pressure and making tags different, more difficult to come by.

And the, but if I look, like when you guys started the podcast, when I started my page, there were a lot of people that started the same time, and there's not a lot of those guys still around, right? I think if this is really something that, you're a to quote this dude that was like just hating on social media recently, like a quote unquote true enthusiast, right?

Or this is really like your life's passion. Like you're gonna keep doing it no matter what. . And if you're somebody who's successful, like the guys that are successful in anything, find a way to be successful no matter what. Whether that means doing, just, maybe you're not hunting what you wanna hunt right now, but you're still finding a way to get those reps in.

That would be my guess is I think the guys if we're serious about this and we want to keep hunting we're gonna keep hunting anyway and maybe our success is gonna look different. But I don't know. I'm not, I try not to let that do[00:34:00] influence my enthusiasm.


Dimitri Sidorick: I was just gonna say, . I think nowaday too. A lot of people are they hunting for the right reason too, right? Yeah. You think about our fathers and our grandfathers and whether they didn't do probably a lot of out-of-state trips, if they went to a hunting cabin or, during rifle season, they left for the week and, but there was no camera.

They had cameras, but there was no Yeah. Posting pictures on social media. They just enjoyed it. It didn't matter. A lot of times they just had fun doing it, whether they shot a deer or not. And I think we talk about success rate just because it's our time and effort, but we also forget about why we're doing it to enjoy it.

I don't think, if you're do an out of state trip whether you're sex successful or not, you should just enjoy it. Just the process of doing it and, getting out of your comfort zone, I. Sometimes you gotta ask yourself, am I just doing this to post a picture and get likes or am I doing it cuz I really enjoy it and I'm just having

AJ Iaquinta: fun.

100%. I think that stuff peters out too though. People make a lot of [00:35:00] that about people doing it for likes. There's way easier ways to get likes and to go viral. I like if you just add up all the dollars, like no matter what, like the, especially this day and age, the amount of resources you input is not gonna be equivalent to the amount of meat you get out of it.

You're still spending more than you probably would if you just went to the grocery store. I, when you add up gas, travel, all of that stuff, like it's, you're doing it for the love of the game that people, there are always gonna be people that are doing it for the wrong reasons. Like even in our parents' age, like how many of people a generation ago that even guys that like we look up to, were poaching, yeah. Like it's something nobody really talks about. But how much unethical shit within our own circles have we just. Put a blind eye to, cuz we grew up not realizing that it was unethical. Yeah. Like you just grew up you just didn't know any better. Yeah. It's the steroid era of baseball. Yeah.

You just didn't know any better. And I'm like, listen, it's not like every TV personality from a two decades ago was doing it for the [00:36:00] right reasons either. I think that's just, that's something that like, I, it's a valid argument, it's a discussion that has to be had, but also there's just so much easier ways and that stuff's gonna those people are either gonna burn out or not, but they're always gonna be around.

It's I don't worry about either. Like for me, I, and I've talked to you guys about this too I don't film my hunts just because for me, filming video. , it takes me away. Like how, because you have to redo shots. You have to capture B roll. Like I have so much respect for the guys that do quality productions like the Crispies and the Sam Soul Holtz and like all of those guys.

Like I ha but cuz I know how much work goes into that. And the fact that they're sacrificing part of their experience for that. And I'm a consumer of that and I enjoy watching it. So I'm not gonna tell them to not do it cuz I think it's valuable. But at the same time, like I'm not personally like that comes down to like your personal ethics.

I'm not willing to do that. I love photography because it makes me appreciate the little details of hunting [00:37:00] and other experiences that I might not stop to appreciate otherwise. But video does the opposite for me. So I don't do that. Yeah. But that, that also, it just comes down to like personal preference.

There's always gonna be some, a-hole with some dude, with a camera following him around that is gonna be portraying us in a bad light. It doesn't matter what industry you're in. Like whether it's jiujitsu or hunting or whatever, there's always gonna be some dude that just makes you. I just, I think the way you fight that is just supporting the people that you think are doing a good job of it.


Jeremy Dinsmore: Boy, that 98 Chas of McGuire and Sosa I've one of my favorite summers of all

AJ Iaquinta: time. . . Yeah. Listen, and yeah. Yeah. Don't, yeah, don't get me started on the steroid stuff, but yeah. I'll go into whole diatribe on Liver King and yeah. . But yeah, it, it's just one of those things where yeah, support people.

I don't know, I, I. . There's just too much good stuff going on to waste time. And I, not to say I haven't done it, I've definitely gone down the meme rabbit hole where, and then like I come out an hour later and I'm like, what the hell did I just do? ? Like, [00:38:00] why did I bother investing in my time and energy on this negativity?

? And it just look at myself I don't know. Am I doing the right thing? That's the one thing. Am Yeah what do I like doing? Like I tried doing like the YouTube thing, like I don't really enjoy doing YouTube videos, like I would create them. Basically based on what was I getting a lot of dms about?

And I just got tired of answering so many dms. So I would just start making videos that way I could at least be like, Hey man, like I go check out this video. Like I answer it there. Yeah. Because it became an efficiency thing. But like for me, like I found out, like going back to what we kicked off this conversation, like I don't enjoy being the quote unquote influencer.

That's not what I like doing. I like building relationships. I like talking with people. I love like taking photos and working with companies on products and things like that. But I don't like being the guy that like has to have a hot take or be in front of the camera or oh oh, that was a great conversation.

Can we go back and do it again so we can get it on film? Like I don't want to be that guy. Yeah. There are guys that do it and do a great. And I, I don't need to be one of 'em.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah, like when [00:39:00] you, you said earlier too about having this influence of a decision based off of what's going on. That's one for myself next year I want to go to Kansas because I have two points.

I don't want to just hoard points in Kansas just because, oh, they said it was a lot of hunters there this year in that specific area. Like Chris B just posted that video last week or week and a half, where he went to the same spot where he killed that monster two years ago. And the two years ago he's there was no one here.

I was driving around, there's not another single vehicle. And it's the same time. And then he goes this past year and he's there's 18 trucks and there's people all over the place. And I just think maybe that it, like we said, if things go in ebbs and flows, and if I don't, I'm, but that's not going.

make a decision for me where I'm gonna say, you know what? It was really highly pressured. I don't want to go. But I'm glad he posted that because maybe some people will be like, I don't want to go now and, but it's not gonna change my [00:40:00] decision because like I said, I don't want to have three plus points just because,

AJ Iaquinta: It's like the gym every January, right? Yeah. Because it's the same thing. You've got every resolution in there, and then come February it's empty again. It's back to the normal levels. So when it comes to hunting, it's hard because we only. A window, right? We only have January, so you gotta find the times of the day in January where you could still get your workout in, right?

That's the difficult thing for us. And again, like I don't know, I don't see like how it, maybe it peters off, but then that comes with its own perils because now we've just lost advocates, right? Like hopefully all those people that tried it and were crowding the woods are gonna still maintain that level of education they hopefully gained and.

Conservation advocates and hunting advocates, but there's no guarantees of that either. And I'm I'm probably a decade removed from that next generation coming up now, I realize I don't know how hot it is to be a hunting, person in like I've grown up, I was a weird [00:41:00] guy.

And then I got back from college and it was like Duck Dynasty and camo was cool on Long Island, New York. All of a sudden I was like, when did this happen? I was the weird dude. And now you guys all have F one 50 s with lift kids. What the hell's going on here? , I, yeah I don't know is duck hunting gonna be the next hot thing?

Like I have no everyone's just gonna get, everyone's gonna ditch the woods and just be out on canoes. I have no idea. I'm trying

Jeremy Dinsmore: to think where I wanted to go with that one. Cause I had something, I totally just the whole duck hunting and Ford F one 50 s

AJ Iaquinta: did it for me. And I said that cuz me and my buddies did say we're gonna start hunting the bay here in Florida.

So that's . Yeah. Yeah.

Jeremy Dinsmore: I like that.

AJ Iaquinta: So

Jeremy Dinsmore: Here's a question for you and we are, I brought up about the gear thing. Just, people will buy the new bow thinking that's gonna fix their shot process, right? When it's, you're actually the one that needs to correct yourself, your fundamentals, basically.

I saw the other day you're possibly gonna be coming out with a big article for dialed about all the new bows and everything like that. What's been your hot take so far on some of the new pieces of gear that you've gotten your hands on? .

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah. I don't know if I have a [00:42:00] hot take, but I think this year was like, if you weren't psyched about this year in terms of releases, like just stop following releases.

Cause like you had two carbon bows come outta nowhere that nobody was expecting from different companies. Yeah. Like some companies, like honestly, everybody who's had criticisms in the past should feel pretty good because for those that are like, why do they have to release a bow every year?

Hoyt didn't. Right? There you go. For those that are like, ah, nothing new came out this year. A Lee came out with a carbon bow and so did Botec for the first time. So thiss your brand new thing. For those that are like, ah, if you just wanted upgrades I'm psyched about what PSE did.

Cuz they took all the feedback that people have been giving 'em from the E V L and the xf and that's what the Fortis is, right? Yeah, it's a lot of little tweaks, but it's things that we had been asking for, right? So I'm happy that they listened. And that's the direction, like I wanna see stuff in I think it's cool.

I shot the bot tech, loved it. I know I owe I owe the guys that di dialed that article. . I'm trying to make it not a heavy edit, but yeah, I tend to overthink stuff when I'm typing [00:43:00] it out. But yeah, like I, I spent a whole day at my local shop shooting most of the new bows and I was super impressed with all of 'em.

I really liked the. . I thought it was super, super smooth, shot like to the point where I was like, what poundage is this on? The one question I had with that was the valley was so generous, it was so comfortable that I found myself coming off of the back wall unintentionally just cuz I was so comfortable there.

So I'd be interested, like once that bow was fully rigged out, how accurate I actually am with it compared to the XF or Matthews or something like that. Cuz as much as I prefer a smooth cam, I have to also admit to myself that like I'm more, I'm a better shot with the e two cam on the PSE or the Matthews cam, like that have shorter valleys.

Like it just keeps me on it. The bot tech, I loved shooting the apple too. The carbon one, I don't know why, like for a 30 inch bow felt like was super balanced. Really liked. I don't know what Bo I'm getting, I talked to the PSE rep about a whole bunch of things and then I don't actually know what order he put in it's gonna be a [00:44:00] surprise to me and everybody else when it comes in.

Nice , , but I know I got the e c two cam for this year, which I think p was, you could get the evolv cam on the bows last year. A lot of people overlooked that. So a lot of people, like everybody that reached out to me for advice was like E two or S two, and I was like if you don't like either, you still have the evolv cam, like you can still run that.

So I was happy to see they updated the evolv so it has the wider cables now. And then, Matthews if you're a Matthew's fan, you're gonna be a Matthews fan again, right? Yeah. That was my take. If you weren't a Matthews fan before, like the bow feels the same as it did years previously.

It's just more refined. So it, there's nothing that's gonna win you over. But if you love Matthews, you're still gonna love Matthews. Hoyt I wish they had done something like PSE did, where they gave you some more tuning options. Like just little changes cuz that's the one thing they're missing.

Jeremy Dinsmore: They gave you a cutout just to put your,

AJ Iaquinta: Rest can. That's it. Yeah. So that was a little disappointing. I didn't think the R seven's a phenomenal bow, like it's a [00:45:00] great bow. So it was the veto. For a company that's like usually at the forefront of technology, they're the last ones to implement any sort of tuning system that doesn't involve eclipse and plastic ships, right?

Like they're actually the bottom of the totem pole. Now when it comes from a tuning perspective, they don't have an adjustable cable guard. You're stuck with, you got the shims and your rest. Yep. So that was a little surprising. I'm a, as like a former Hoyt fanboy. I'm hopeful that means they're coming out with something revolutionary next year, but I've been wrong about that before, so we'll see.

But no, I'm I'm psyched, man. I think, you can't say geared, doesn't matter, right? Because anybody who went from crappy clothes to technical clothes knows you're way more comfortable in those technical clothes, right? Same thing coming from a garbage bow to a good bow.

If it's as long as it's size for you, it's gonna make a drastic difference. It does matter, but it's not, like year to year. Am I like, oh, I'm a noticeably better shooter with this versus that. No. But it's fun to have the new thing. And if you can have the new. then how? And it's exciting.

Yeah. Listen, I'm spending a [00:46:00] lot of time staring at my bow in the tree come fall. So I wanna, like what I'm looking at , .

Jeremy Dinsmore: Oh man. Because that's what Dimitri we've talked about that. And we even talked about it on our latest podcast we did with Josh, where we were asking like, for him when he purchased his last bow as a 2019 Matthews that TX five or whatever that one was the shorter axle, axle bow after the triax.

But I also think we're at a pinnacle of, kind of innovation when it comes to the performance side of things. Now I think it's obviously the field of comfort. We've go, we've gone through those ebbs and flows of speed and comfort and draw cycles and what, which one are you going for?

And it's all a matter of like your personal preference, obviously, and like what you said, like what you like. But I do like the idea and I know. Some people don't like it, but I do like how you said if it means XF was a great bow and if certain things like of to update it for accessories and the way, maybe [00:47:00] things that we are looking for to make that better, that's what you're going to do.

And I, I don't know. And like you said, even for Hoit to not come out with something groundbreaking, brand new, quote unquote, they, like you said, the RX seven. I've ha I've heard probably, honestly, and since that Bo has come out last year, I don't think I really heard one negative thing about it, to be completely honest with you.

Everybody, yeah, everybody that shot it or everybody that owns it just freaking loves it. So kudos to them for finding something and like you said now to, if you want to nitpick, it's like, hey, let's get something for the guys that like to work on the bow where it's gonna make it a heck of a lot easier to tune.

So that's where I think we're at in this. Evolution of our bows are really maxed out now. It's just how do we dress it up to what the consumer really

AJ Iaquinta: wants? And we don't have to look far to see what the future's gonna look like. Just look right across the hall at the gun industry, right?

Like everybo, there's, everyone's got an AR 15. What [00:48:00] you're seeing is the differences are just the niche applications, right? And the little features, it's still an ar. , but how it's set up, all those little things, that's what you're deciding what matters to you, right? And it's the same thing goes for both.

If you look at the manufacturer's lineups, they're becoming more diverse and more niche, right? And that's probably what it is. Like you're gonna have more options performance wise. Like statistically they're all gonna look similar if not the same, right? Every bow brand has a speed bow, a comfort bow, and your do-it all kind of bow.

And then you've got different axle for like you the guys that only hunt and ground blinds. And then the guys that shoot tack, but also want to use it for 3d. And so it is just finding okay, all these perform almost identical, but which. , am I gonna get to which one's gonna make me perform to the highest capability that I can with it?

Yep. And that's harder too. And that's also why you need bow shops. Cause otherwise, how are you gonna go test out all those new bows? Ata , ata. Yeah. Yeah. Was [00:49:00] that open to the public this year? I never found out, no, you still have

Jeremy Dinsmore: to purchase that membership thing and I haven't need to do that.

Yeah. I have no idea what. . If I'm going I'm going to work it basically. I don't know.

AJ Iaquinta: I'm happy to see that like tack, I remember PA last year, like Hoyt and I think Matthews had targets set up in the trailer that you could shoot. I think that's gonna be a thing more and more.

And I think you're, hopefully you see more opportunities like that because there are areas where they're just dead zones where they just don't have shops. Yeah. Yeah, I know PRI Prime did that as well. That's right.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. PSE was out at some other, the more western side of things.

Cause being in closer to Arizona, so I know like Colorado, Montana was easy for them to get to as well. Yep. No, that's a really good point.

AJ Iaquinta: We man, I was hired. You guys got me rolling. Yeah, that ,

Jeremy Dinsmore: there we go. What aspect of, the industry, like you were saying about the whole, you don't like being the influencer, right?

And like the individual out in front of the camera, like that, we've. We've [00:50:00] seen now over the last three years, like you said, and I'm glad you said it, there's been people that started at the same time. We have, and I you they're not on social media anymore, which, probably good f I envy them some days obviously, but, what can you say to that next group that's starting this their passion that they've have, that fire, that desire that we have, but they're finding that now, what kind of maybe things can you give those

AJ Iaquinta: individuals?

I would say don't get married to the idea of what you have to be like. You don't know what you don't know. Figure out what do you actually want to do. , right? I think a lot of people have this idea of working for the industry, quote unquote, and it's like they get paid to go hunting all the time.

That's a very small, it's a very small number of people. And most of those people like don't have very big bank accounts, or they have jobs where they're doing something else. That's the reality of it. Like they're an accountant that also does that, or they're doing something like me, I have a nine to five job that pays well.

That's why [00:51:00] I'm able to, and I love it and I'm not getting rid of it. And that's something that I made the decision very recently. Part of it is I got a kid now, but but also part of it is I like being able to pick who I work with. Like I, I'm not, I, I don't wanna have to jump and chase down clients.

I'm so fortunate that Montana Knife Company reached out or PSE or whoever and I get to shoot content for them. And that's cool. And that's been the thing, like for me like I had this idea and I was like, let me just start this. And then it was like, okay, YouTube's going really well.

Like I do that. I don't really like doing that though. Okay. So let me scale back from that. Companies seem to want these photos and I really enjoyed doing that. So lemme just pour into that more, right? And, or I started out doing articles, right? Nobody was reading articles, but now companies want articles so their SEO for their websites gets boosted, right?

And it's cool, I like writing articles, I don't like doing videos. Let me do that. I think just, a lot of people like. They think they have to be Cam or they have to be John Dudley or they have to be whatever, and then they create this [00:52:00] character because they've got this, they get this positive feedback.

And then they before you know it, they actually are that character that they've created. Like I, I think, as, and as a consumer of social media, like we're all consumers of social media. We're all on social media. I don't think we've really thought out, most of us haven't really thought out what that means when it comes to judging individuals.

I'll use Jocko as an example cuz somebody brought this up to me recently, but that, like I, I've, the criticism I've heard of that guy is he's so intense. Like blah, blah, blah. That guy is showing you a fraction of who he is as a person that he's choosing to show you on social media, right?

, like that's not everything of who that individual is, right? That is, you're seeing just that snippet. So to judge that you can, now you can have whatever judgments you want about the content and whether or not you like that or that applies to you, but to judge them as a person is not fair because you don't really know them right from that.

And I think the same thing goes for that next generation. Be honest with yourself, you're gonna get haters. no matter what, but [00:53:00] figure out like, is that criticism legitimate or not? And where's it coming from? Usually it's coming from useless places, but every now and then, like someone will say something and you're like, yeah, like that was cringey and it didn't feel good when I was doing it at the time, but I couldn't figure out why.

And that's normal. You, like everyone's gonna make mistakes. I'm sure you guys have had episodes, you're like, Ugh, I don't, , but it's that would be the one thing like, if you're doing this as an escape, cuz you don't want to do like that, that rat race, right? Don't turn this into the outdoor rat race.

And you know that, listen, that's a position of privilege for me to even talk about that. Because like I said, I like I, but I worked in a nine to five and got myself to a point where I could do that. But that's something to think about. There's a reason, and I think we've talked about this before, so sorry, anybody listening, but there's a reason Cam Han's kept his job as long as he did.

And the more I do this, the more I get it. So it's it's, you don't want to be beholden to people cuz companies change ownership. Things happen. Like people leave. Yep. People leave. Yeah. Like I, I have for [00:54:00] me, I'm connected to people like, I like my friends, like I have friends that tethered, I have friends at trophy line, like I have friends, at multiple companies.

I'm not beholden to the company. I have relation, like legitimate relationships there. And if, people go on and move, like I still want to keep in contact with that. And that's the nice thing. That's the nice part about not having like long-term contracts and things like that.

And those are all things that you don't know because you have, if you haven't been there before and maybe work in the industry in some sort of role first, like where you learn the ins and outs of a company and what do they pay their influencers? What does it actually mean to be an influencer?

Because everyone's got a different idea. Yeah. , and people have different approaches like, but I think you've gotta, you've also gotta if you wanna be successful at anything, you have to satisfy a need, right? There's the reason that you, there are artists that weren't appreciated in their lifetimes cuz they didn't satisfy a need in their lifetime.

They were appreciated afterwards because all of a sudden what wasn't applicable in their lifetime is [00:55:00] applicable now. And people are appreciating what they did then. Yeah. So it's, you gotta figure that out. You doing it for the art cuz you enjoy it. Then you also have to be okay with maybe I'm not gonna be as popular.

And does that matter?

Jeremy Dinsmore: Exactly. Spot on, man. Well done. I'm giving you a golf

AJ Iaquinta: cart, man. Yeah, dude. Trapped in the hospital. I had a lot of time to think, man, ,

Jeremy Dinsmore: You got guys with Christian father and Ford one F-150 as their pitcher calling you a

AJ Iaquinta: douchebag and everything oh dude, every time, listen, I don't always have haters, but when I do, they've always got a default photo of a crappy truck and a bio that reads Christian father bow hunter or something like that.

Yeah. I'm like, dude we have the same team things in common, like we should be friends. What are you ripping on me for? But yeah.

Dimitri Sidorick: But that I we're talking about the industry and when you dive in it, I always think of the. The punk song from back in the nineties, like high school never Ends.

Yeah. . Yeah. And you could think so many people of how that would relate, and that goes along with any [00:56:00] industry, but, it's so true.

AJ Iaquinta: It is. And like I, I have a friend who is very successful at TikTok marketing. She has her home company, like absolutely crushing and working with the biggest brand.

And she sees what I charge clients doing photography work in the outdoor industry, and she like, wants to vomit. She's you should be making like, whatever x more than that. I'm like, that doesn't exist. Yeah. That's just I'm glad you're saying that maybe I should start doing photos for Pepsi.

Like I'm gonna start tagging somebody else in my photos. But, I think people also blow their perceptions are just unrealistic too, for certain things. You gotta know where you're at. Too here's the question.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Fred, do you have any, have you ever

AJ Iaquinta: met Jocko? Ve I shook his hand at attack then.

That was it. Yeah.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. The same for me. I maybe had about 10 more seconds of kind of communication with him, because it was at Montana and I always said, same

AJ Iaquinta: here, actually.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah it was, my thing for me was,

AJ Iaquinta: this pa

Jeremy Dinsmore: last year before our [00:57:00] baseball season, I grabbed one of his books the, it was like the workbook and I bought enough for our seniors and no, I'm sorry, correct me.

The returners basically, quote unquote, so like the juniors and seniors that wore part of the varsity team the year prior. So we would meet before school during a warmup like workout with some of the underclassmen. And for a half hour after that we would get together, go through certain chapters, talk things out and talk about that chapter because it was great cuz it was like a cliff note and then there were like prompt questions.

So like I'd be able to go through that and we would talk about it and man, I really think it helped so much because it, that team last year, it was my last year coaching the team. We really. Come together as a family in a sense. And like to this day I, I do anything for those kids. They, I stay in contact with the seniors that are off the college now.

They're about to start their spring season. And even though I'm not the coach now, like I still have a really close relationship with the coaches that are there because they're like they were my [00:58:00] assistants and the kids. But at the same time, I wanted to tell him that I want, if I had the chance to meet him, I just wanted to be like, Hey man, thanks.

This was awesome. Just coming from a baseball coach. So I did that and he was like, awesome, and just, it just shook my hand and he is I love to hear that. And his wife was just like, oh, that's so great. Like she said more than he did, but he. Awesome. Thank you and shook my hand.

I was like, man, he just engulfed my hand,

AJ Iaquinta: That was just crazy. Oh. My interaction was way more awkward. He was like passing and it was one of those things where like he had I saw somebody was getting mobbed, but like we're passing and I was like, I don't wanna but I wanted to show like my appreciation.

I was like, Hey man you make good geese. Cuz I was, I had just started jujitsu. All my stuff's still origin to this day. And yeah, he was just like, like he was like taking aback so we're at attack and he is thanks , . I was like, that was stupid. Yeah. But

Jeremy Dinsmore: Yeah. You talk about cringeworthy, there you go.

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. When you're like, cause

Jeremy Dinsmore: that's how we were at the booth and I saw him walking by and no one was like at our booth. So I. [00:59:00] Jocko, Yeah, like a little school girl basically. And I was like, Jocko, I wanna say thanks. And he is awesome. . Yeah, . But Awesome man. So speaking of tac, are you planning on going at all to any events this year?

I know B RCC has the one in Texas first. Usually that they do a lot of stuff with their of their crew and everything.

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah. I think I'm gonna try and organize something for Montana. I know actually I was talking to the guys from noting outdoors today. I'm trying to do a little retreat for the cadre to get together and shoot the course and do some networking.

June this year together. Yeah, June this year. Which is pretty cool. And my wife wants to go out there too, cuz she missed the last. So we're probably targeting that one. And then we'll see. I'm for this year I'm trying not to schedule too much and save up those vacation days for hunting season and get back to it.

Cause I feel like I, I really missed a lot last year. And things always pop up so I'm sure, I'll keep everybody updated on Instagram as they do, but but yeah, cause [01:00:00] I, I would, as much as, like I say that I, I'm miss seeing everybody in person and shaking hands and hanging out and grabbing dinner and stuff with you guys and everybody else.

Yeah. But we'll say, yeah,

Jeremy Dinsmore: last year was a blast having you at the condo, man. It was a good time.

AJ Iaquinta: I know dude, that couch came in. Clutch man. . Absolutely. And I had the new, and I felt like such a tool. Cause I had the new, oh, I had the omen and PSE was like very hush about it. But I didn't know, like guys had been leaking photos of it all over social media.

You sent it to me on the drive while I was driving home. Yeah. I was like, dude, I could have shot this thing on the course. Yeah. And had a fun weekend with it. . But yep. I was trying to be all secret squirrel and now I just feel like an A-hole. . .

Jeremy Dinsmore: I got this really top secret bow .

AJ Iaquinta: Yeah. He said oh, what?

Talk about being an influencer. Douche. That was me though. . But hey man, kudos

Jeremy Dinsmore: to you because you, you did. What you're supposed to do.

AJ Iaquinta: Actually, I ge Yeah, I guess it just felt like a tool afterwards, but yeah, . [01:01:00] Oh man. Actually, I did the photos for that at SUEx. I stopped by South Carolina on my way home and I was like telling Bert Soen dude, just don't tell anybody about, and I'm like, what am I doing?

As I'm saying it, I'm like this, it's stupid. Like .

Jeremy Dinsmore: Hey man, you live in your learn. That's awesome, dude. I, that's one that would be one place I would love to go would be stop at Sore Next and see all do those events. That'd be so

AJ Iaquinta: cool. They're factory, like they're, they have a showroom with all the old Equip It's like a museum in there.

Yeah. If you're ever passing through Columbia, South Carolina and those guys are always there. They're, if you call 'em up, they're usually more than willing to give you a tour. Like super cool. Just like seeing like all the history of equipment there and. Cause I got a little walkthrough to see like they've got such a massive operation.

I had no idea. Yeah, because I've been

Jeremy Dinsmore: through the York Barbell one in Pennsylvania. That was, that's really cool to see. Anybody that likes, fitness and working out and equipment type stuff, that's definitely check out places like that. Cause it's really cool to see that history and all that stuff.

I like

AJ Iaquinta: it. [01:02:00] Yeah. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. I like it, man.

Jeremy Dinsmore: Dimitri, do you have anything else? I don't think so. I know aj. Man, this was awesome. That went really quick again aj again, fifth time basically run this shit. So I appreciate you coming on and we'll look forward to that next one.

And we'll, maybe we could do a I know like you just did with Beau, the whole at home bill, your bow cave and workhorse and all that stuff. But maybe in the spring we could do something where we could break something down about setting up some bows

AJ Iaquinta: and 100% of that sounds awesome.

Jeremy Dinsmore: I like it, man.

Where could people follow you along with Knight of the Apex? Dude,

AJ Iaquinta: so Knight of the Apex Instagram, YouTube that's definitely where I'm more, most active. And yeah that's about it. Could

Jeremy Dinsmore: you give anybody, like how you were saying earlier about doubling down what does that mean and what could we be on the lookout for?

Possibly give a sneak peek, ,

AJ Iaquinta: I'm gonna be doing more photography work not just on my page. That's the interesting thing about not being an influencer is you hand your work off to companies and then they get to use it first. You [01:03:00] might see my stuff around a couple other companies pages which is cool with me too.

But yeah, you're gonna be doing more articles and I'll be keeping you guys up to date on that. I feel like I come across way better in written word versus spoken word especially when I'm editing YouTube videos together. But yeah, so I'll be working on more on that stuff and then I'll be, shoot, I'll be at winner strong four Sorex and then attack and stuff.

I'll, I'm gonna do more. Stories for that stuff, so you're along for the ride with me versus, doing the same edit that I don't do a great job of doing for YouTube after the fact. ,

Jeremy Dinsmore: I like it, man. I appreciate you, dude. Go give him a follow, watch those videos. And even though he doesn't like doing 'em they're very good and they're very primitive.

So appreciate you aj. We'll catch you next week. Everybody antler up.