Deep and Lonely: How Bad Do You Want It?

Show Notes

Join us for this great conversation with Wyatt Monen on Deep and Lonely on the Houndsman XP Podcast Network. Host, Bruce Matthews, talks with one of the most outgoing personalities in the sport of competition coonhunting, Wyatt Monen.

Wyatt hails from the north west corner of Iowa and frequently makes his way to the Midwest in search of winning the next big hunt. Being from such a remote area of the country, when referring to the competition coonhunting world, has proven to have its challenges for Wyatt. He travels far and wide most weekends to find a place to compete. How bad does he want to win, you ask? Join us in this episode to find out for yourself! Bryce and Wyatt talk all things coonhunting. From Wyatts first dogs, losing a hound to the harsh elements of hunting in the north west, making it to the final cast in the 2022 UKC World Championship, and more. Join us here as we navigate what it takes to be a top level competitor in todays ever evolving sport of coonhunting. If you’re still not sure just how hard it is for Wyatt to compete at the level that he does merely by his remote location by the end of this podcast, make sure to pull up the OnX app and see for yourself? Once you’ve done that you can then ask yourself if you were in his shoes, How Bad Do Want It?

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] My name is Bryce Matthews, and this is The Deep and Lonely Podcast presented to you by Hounds xp. During this podcast, we will dive deep into what makes the ultimate top level and unmatched extreme competition. Koon Hunter. We will hear stories of old tales of today, and we will dive deep into what separates the men from the boys.

The stories will be raw, the truth will be told, and the camaraderie will be second to none. Pull up your chaps. It's about to get deep.

Welcome back to another episode of the Deep and Lonely Podcast. Today we are sitting down here in southern Indiana. We are out here in the middle of nowhere, deep in the woods. Perfect location for an episode of Deep and Lonely Podcast. [00:01:00] Got one of my buddies with me today. He has traveled far and wide to get here from Where'd you say you're from?

Wyatt, Brock Rapids, Iowa. Right up as far northwest as you can get into Iowa. So what, if you go any further, were you into South Dakota or Minnesota, one or the other? So you arrived in the tri-state area of Iowa? Yes, sir. Yep. I got a Sioux Falls phone number. That's how close I am wow. All right. So from Iowa down here to the spring, superstates, Princeton, Indiana, how far of a trek is that?

I'll Google Maps tell you about 11 or 12 hours, take around 13 usually. Why is it taking so long? Why? What are you doing? Just stopping eating, letting dogs out, stuff like that. Man, I tell you what, I figured you'd really be wanting to be on the ball. Get here quick. Yeah, I try to sometimes, but, When you get to drive that long, you may really ain't shaving much time off.

And I don't care how fast you drive. No Guys, we're glad to have Wyatt down here. I met Wyatt a few months ago back at the Ukc World Hunt. He and I both had a pretty good run [00:02:00] together and met him through a mutual friend of ours, Tyler Compton. He's been fun to talk to last few months. Get to hang out and get to know Drexel Drew Wyatt a couple nights ago out on a cast.

We had a good cast. Like I said, we're down here at the spring. Super stakes. 2023 Princeton, Indiana. We're both hunting in the one year old division. Why, what are you packing down here? Oh, I got a couple pups outta Hawk One's. My old man's he's outta Smallpox and Hawk and the other one is outta Darren Droz female.

That's mine. I call him Diablo. He's neither one of 'em are really quite ready for it. We had a pretty rough winter up at my place, so that really cut down on our hunting for about three, four months. And even right before this, it was pretty rough. Crusty snow, cutting their pads up and everything.

But I'm just happy to be out here, tell you the truth. It's one of my favorite hunts, the spring super steaks. And I'm just glad to be out here. I used to come out with Clyde back when I had him, and been a few years since I've been here. I'm just happy to be back. So you talk about a rough winter.

Explain to the listeners what a rough winter is up in [00:03:00] Northwest Iowa. We were probably within 10 inches of record snowfall, honestly, this year. We get, a couple feet of, or we usually don't get it this bad, but we got a couple feet of snow in the woods. It's drifted up, hauling and pickup in on the gravel roads.

Some places, they get, they got it plowed and cleared, but it's been tough. I tried hunting one night and the dogs would try going in the woods and they couldn't hardly move. They're lunging trying to get out of the snow, and then they'd whirl around, hit a gravel road, try to run it That didn't last too long.

I had to wait for some of it to melt off. So if you've got two, two feet of snow in the woods, Are coon moving in Iowa? Up at my place. A lot of 'em end up moving out and heading up towards someone's got a feed lot with a silage pile. They gotta move though. Or they ain't gonna make it but they end up moving out to farm groves and places where they got some more food.

Why stay down there in the big river bottoms where everything's all rose over when you could go and have an all you can eat buffet at someone's silage pile. That's what I was wondering cuz.[00:04:00] Down here in southern Indiana, if we get, seven, eight inches of snow, it seems like the coons aren't moving for a couple days.

So I didn't know two to three feet of snow, that's gotta be, it's just gotta be tough on it. And then for the dogs as well, you might not have a dog that's two and a half foot taller to the shoulders. The snow's taller than they are. Oh yeah. Yeah. It's it was pretty rough. Them Koons.

They gotta move at some point though. But yeah, they in the big woods where you actually wanna hunt. It's really not too good. So you mentioned that you used to come back here with Clyde and we'll get into him and that Spring Supers Texas is one of your favorite hunts. Take us back, let's backtrack.

How did you get into Koon hunting? And is that, is it a popular thing where you're from? It's not overly popular. We got a few hunters. But it end up, ends up working out a little bit for me cuz I get a lot of that, a lot of that ground to hunt to myself more or less. Our county's are pretty good about buying up public ground.

So I got quite a bit of permission to hunt. Quite a bit of public I can hunt on, but there's not a lot of not a lot of hunters. There's some, we, we'll have some of them U [00:05:00] KC hunts around there. We'll have a dozen dogs show up at it, but people travel a little further for 'em too up there.

So traveling further. I, you and I have talked about this, but explain to the listeners maybe what a typical weekend might look like if you don't have a hunt at your club, which is what, 30 minutes away? Yeah, something like that. It ain't far. Okay. So if you don't have a hunt there, where are you going?

There's a few local hunts around there that I do go to also Hudson, South Dakota being one of 'em, but there's not very many a year there. But I'll go to one, I'll go to some of them closer, close. A lot of times there's. I'll hunt somewhere in the state and if there's a pro classic, I'll try go into that or, a lot of these big hunts really keep me pretty busy, honestly running back and forth to them.

So when you say a local hunt, though, to me, a local hunt is, I've got four or five clubs now that I live in Northern Indiana. I've got four or five clubs that are within a 45 minute drive. What is that for you? I've, I think I've got two within 45 [00:06:00] minutes, but it's That's not very common.

I used to drive, 3, 3, 4 hours or so to, central clubs in the state. That was pretty well local hunt for me too, though. I want guide at it, but I'll be pretty excited that there's one that close. And so that's what, you stated earlier that, sometimes there's a hunt somewhere in the state.

I'm not thinking that way. Whenever. Here in Indiana though, there's. A dozen hunts on a weekend doing within in the state. But for you, there's a hunt somewhere in the state of Iowa. I'm going, considering that local, that's just mind boggling to me. The amount of time that you just have going to and from the hunts, the gas money it's dedication.

Yeah. It really is. It, you gotta really want to do it. And you really, I really don't blame a lot of people for not wanting to, living up where we live. It really takes a lot of dedication for it though. You really gotta want it, you really gotta want to compete, that's for sure. Like for this hunt, for example, I went down to the t o C regions and my dad ended up Dr.

Driving down with the pups and he met me on interstate 80, and I swapped him out. I took the pups, he took hawk back, and I just headed straight out here. So what [00:07:00] region did you go to for the TOCs? I went to Lo Plato, Missouri. Okay. And for those of our listeners who don't know, the t o C is, it's short for the Tournament of Champions.

It's a big hunt that the United Kennel Club puts on, pays out $50,000 first place prize that hunt. You have to win five hunts throughout the year to get qualified for it. And then they have hunts that are in regions across the country where you qualify for yours. They call it the zones. You qualify through that and you go onto the finals, which are gonna be next weekend as we record this podcast down in Green Castle, Indiana.

LA Plato, Missouri. How far was that from you? Around seven hours. I get down there a couple, few times a year. Really like the hunting. I got some good friends down there and works out. So you took Hawk down to there. I want to get to Hawk cuz you, you and Hawk have done a lot of winning over the years.

Let's go back to where did you get started at hunting? Did your dad, your grandpa, anybody get you into it or how did that work? Yeah, my my dad always had dogs growing up and I always saw his trophy sitting around and that's just how I got into it. I really wanted to compete.

That's just how I got into it. Always went with him when I was younger and [00:08:00] everything and started getting some dogs on my own when I was in, middle school, high school and just started rolling with it. Didn't go to competition hunts at first. Didn't think I had anything I could really hunt and compete with out there.

And finally went to one and found out well. Got just as good a chance as anybody else. That's right. When you turn the dogs loose any of 'em can win. Was Clyde the first dog you had that you competed with? He was the first one I really competed hard in PKC with. I had some dogs before him, but I mainly just hunted some u KC with him.

I hunted my Annie dog was the first one that I hunted in a competition. I went to Owen after that and then I actually handled red bones after that for a while. Believe it or not. Red bones. Yeah. How did you get into the red bones? Loris Engleton, I think is how you pronounce his last name.

He had a red bone and I hunted a couple dogs for him, just getting 'em in shape and everything, and he ended up sending him up to me and I ended up making him a night champion. Then the breeder had bought him back and I just went on from there. The [00:09:00] breeder was Mike Bartel and I just kinda went from there and started.

Hunting titling dogs out for him. I hunted that dog's dad and I got a couple of 'em started for him. I ended up finishing out the father to the dog I was hunting for Loris and I ended up finishing out Bard also. Bart and Hayes were those and got a couple other ones started for him and.

Yeah, that's just how I got into it. I just stumbled upon it. Did you enjoy the style of dogs that you were hunting up there as far as the red bones versus the walkers? Which one did you prefer in your country? I prefer the walkers, but that haze dog, he was actually a really nice red bone.

I've always told people if I had to change breeds today, I'd probably honestly go to red bones, believe it or not. That dog really was really impressive. He. Probably one of the more accurate dogs I've ever seen. Independent, decent carrying mouth on him. I just liked him. I would've probably honestly liked to put him in some bigger PKC hunts, put him in some pro classics, but ended up just putting him in some u KC hunts, burying him to red bone days, and that was about it.

The dog was pretty [00:10:00] old when I had him right at my place, but I liked him. I actually enjoyed him. So the other one I wasn't as big a fan of, but that's the way it goes. So you had Clyde you had your red bones. When did you decide that, okay, I'm ready to go to some big hunts and I need a dog that's capable of winning some of these big hunts?

Because for you, you're traveling a long ways. And just like everybody else, when you show up to a hunt you're packing a dog that you feel is capable of winning. But for a guy like yourself who's isolated in the western part of the country, when you come over here, it means a little bit more to you.

I would assume there's a little bit more on the line. Yeah, I'll to an extent. Yeah. I can lose just as easy as anybody else as we've seen all week. But I think, so I came out to Auto Oaks my senior year high school, or it might have been right after I graduated. I came out to Auto Oaks and I brought my old dog Owen, and that was my first big hunt that I got out and went to.

And I just I thought he did all, I ended up winning my cast, but I never got the grand 16 or anything. But that was my first big hunt that I went out to. [00:11:00] And then I just went back and I almost stumbled into the deal. Clyde was starting to really turn it on and start cranking pretty good.

And I saw the ad for baby steaks and I figured I'd go take Owen and do a couple of pkc hunts for, and give it a try for a little bit there. And that's just how I stumbled into it. I took Owen into a couple of, I think I took into the Bear Creek class. I can saw what kind of caliber dogs were out there for the most part.

And then I just started running it with Clyde. I really enjoyed it a lot and Caliber Dogs was just a little bit different that was at those hunts and I just started running it. I almost stumbled into it pretty much. And then I just started competing on a little higher level and just started progressing the more I got used to it and learned for the most part.

And you've done a fair bit of winning. So you got the itch for the higher level, higher caliber competition hunts. You start running those. When did Hawk come into the picture and tell us about that. How did you acquire Hawk? Where'd you, where'd he come from? He came from Chuck Cliver and Mike Gilbert and I had actually drawn Mike out there at the b at the Labor Day [00:12:00] Classic when I had Clyde and.

I think I won that cast and I had rode with Mike out to the woods and we were talking about dogs and everything and I told 'em what my dog's out of. And I come to find out that I had bought that dog's, I bought Clyde's mother from Mike's neighbor. And then I figured out where that line of dogs came from cuz I really didn't know too much.

I knew that cross had worked out, that we had made to get Clyde And everything, but I really didn't know a hundred percent where they really originated from or who had different dogs. Then I found out quite a bit on that and so I just this is a backstory and more or less, but yeah go into it.

I wanna hear it all. I love learning this stuff. Yeah, so I ended up, I just met him and just that was it for quite a while. And then Clyde ended up going through the ice on me and I lost him right before the truck hunt and. I had another half-brother to him and he ended up dying and Clyde's mother died and my old dog died and I needed a dog bad.

And I called [00:13:00] Mike and went out there and looked at a couple, ended up just started getting hot. I hunted him out there at his senior Super Stakes then out there the last year it was in Sullivan. And that's just how it went. Rolled from there, but Hawk wasn't the dog you're originally going to buy?

No, he wasn't actually, I was wanting to buy Josie and then I think Mike wanted to hunt him in super steaks and keep him around, get a few more pups out of him. But it worked out. I'm glad I ended up getting Hawk and everything, I. Who knows what would've happened if I would've had Josie instead of Hawk, so when you got Hawk, I think you told me the other night we were talking, he was three years old. How old is he now? He's six. He'll be seven in July. So you've had him almost four years. And tell us about some of the accomplishments that you've achieved with Hawk, what have you won?

Oh, I think he's got close to 40,001 on him now in pkc. He had I think 1500 when I got him. He had been in the Final Four Baby Stakes and doubled up his sophomore year when I bought him. And I got a couple cast wins out there at Super Stakes after I got him shortly.[00:14:00] I never doubled up his senior year.

The dog had to get used to me, but after he got used to me, I ended up taking him to some pro classics. Just started rolling with him and then I started to get this idea that I wanted to get make him a gold champion before Nationals. Cause I'd never hunted nationals. I'd always wanted to though.

So we got at that in the top 12 of the first shootout style Pro classic they did down there in Texas. That one that Jed Finley put on. And that finished him to Gold Champion. That was probably one of the hunts I was most excited about. As I'd said on that podcast I did with Josh, that I put that entry on a credit card hoping that he'd just win.

I was gonna bring that up because I want to know, we're gonna go down a rabbit hole here. I want to know what was going through your head when you're like, all right, here we go. What is the 2,500? Yeah, 2,500. $2,500 entry fee. At that time you, you're only 23 now. Yeah. You couldn't have been very old.

I think I was 21 at that time. And is that a product of quote unquote young and dumb. I'm gonna put an entry [00:15:00] fee on a credit card. Yeah, it was dumb. I I just I wanted it bad was the issue. I really wanted to hunt nationals bad, and I figured that was about my last shot to do it. So yeah, I ended up doing it.

I figured there's three nights, hopefully. Worst case scenario, I'll at least get 1250, pay half of it. So how did you do it that, huh? We lost the first two nights and I treated one coon. In the early round on the last night to get in, and that was enough. That was the only coon we saw. And in the late round, I treated the only coon we saw there and McKayla circled it.

And you still bitter about that? No, I just like giving him a hard time. He gave me a sweatshirt after that cast was over, so it all worked out, ironed out. Ended up winning the cast too. I got pretty lucky with that one. But yeah, that was just a young and dumb type deal. But it paid off. It did. It worked out, paid off.

I ended up, I won one cast at Nationals and that was it. I didn't have any luck. That's a tough hunt. Tough competition though. It is. So run into all these [00:16:00] hunts, you've got the PKC world, you've got PKC nationals, you've got spring super steaks, fall super steaks. You go to U kc, you got the world, you got turn 'em into champions, outta all those hunts.

Which one do you like going to the best? Ooh, that's a tough one. I go to a lot of 'em every year. I'm trying to think which one's my favorite. I never do too well at the PKC world it seems but that's always a fun one to go to, it seems but I really like that that shootout Pro classic they do in La Plata too in December.

That's another one of the deals that Hawk seems to usually do pretty well in. We got in the final three this year at it, and the year prior we won every single early round, lost every single late round I really like that Pro Classic too, but I like some of them smaller open events too. Like I like going down to the Lone Star and that's in Texas?

That's in Texas. How far is that for you? Oh man, I'd have to look it up. It's a long ways. It's probably 15 hours or close to it or more. I want to know how you find the time to go to all these hunts. Can you teach me your ways? Oh, my [00:17:00] boss is my uncle, so he knows that I've been going to these hunts for a while.

Gotcha. So that's about how, that's about the secret to it. But no, I like going to the Bear Creek Classic too. I like some of the smaller hunts also, just for the camaraderie and. Get to see buddies, you don't take it as serious, just have a good time at it, more or less. But no, I go into all of them.

Mean it irritates my uncle a little bit, but that's that's how I do it. I think. You gotta have a understanding boss for sure. Absolutely. I got pretty, I'm pretty fortunate too with having my my grandpa, my mom, and everybody to help take care of dogs and everything else. So it take, it takes a team.

For somebody to run this stuff. It does because, I can't take all of 'em with me. I need someone to watch over stuff while I'm gone too. You've really made a good run at it. You said you got hockey, had about 1500 on him, one, and now you're at $40,000. And just under four years.

Yep. I'm pretty fortunate he, that's solid. Yeah, he's been good to me. He's been real good to me, and he is, I put him in a little bit of u KC too. After I made him gold champions. Some people were interested in breeding. When I had to send [00:18:00] in his u KC papers, make him a night champion quick, everyone wanted u KC title on him, right?

So then after that I really liked what they did with the t c and the world hunt. So I started Trying to get to them every year. So he was in the top 96 last year of the T O C and we placed fourth in U K C world also year. Want one spot in front of me? One spot in front of you. You drew the lucky card that I didn't draw.

I appreciate you doing that for me. Yeah, no problem. I remember sitting right next to you when we drew those cards out. Yep. Man. Almost felt bad celebrating, but. I was excited. No, I was happy for you, buddy. Let's go through that cast. You got fourth in the world, you drew out with one of your good buddies, Tyler Compton.

You drew out with Jacob Roller? Jeremiah Roller. Oh, Jeremiah Roller. Sorry. Yes sir. Sorry. Jeremiah. Jeremiah Roller. And then you drew out with Kurt airing. Let's go through that. What happened? We cut loose and we cut loose down this path and they just, mine and Jeremiah shot off the end of the path.

Whitey and Jenna got treated. On the running down it, not too far from us. And ours just [00:19:00] shot off the end with Sleepy World around and came back towards the Timber Hawk. Just kept going. Just didn't have any luck. He was over four miles away when I went and got him. He had a coon, but there was no way I was hearing him.

I was plum out of it. Jenna just looked phenomenal. She deserved all of it on that one. She looked real good. She hooked a ride on that levy that we were hunting on, and nobody else got in there. And that's where all the good hunting was, which I think the way she was operating, I don't think anybody was beating her, even if they did get in there.

And you and Tyler have been buddies for a long time, so how was that to, obviously you both wanna win, but you've got two guys best friends in the final four of one of the most prestigious hunts, I think you could call it. Oh, absolutely. How is that feeling? What is your emotions going into it?

Just ex I was just plum excited. I had never made it through zones in the first year that I do, I end up, making it that far. I was just, I was so excited and everything with all the, lights and interviews and the whole setup they had there. And then being with, I've known Roller and Kurt pretty well for quite a while too.[00:20:00]

And I think my nerves were the calmest out of all the cast in that Final four. Just cuz I was so used to everybody, we hunted with each other's dogs and just knew everybody. Probably, still excited and, nervous, but not near as much as like in the top 23 or even my first round cast out there.

I said, do you ever get worked up though? I've never seen you in, now we haven't known each other a long time, but I've never seen you worked up. You're always easygoing, you're laid back, you're cutting up, you're goofing off. Do you ever get worked up? Oh yeah. I get I get terrible nervous about some of these casts.

Like that I'm trying to think of one of them. I was about ready to puke in the top 23 when my dog came and rolled up tree about 300 yards from us. They put a stationary on me with 13 minutes left. I get terrible worked up over 'em and it ended up working out for me. He had another coon there, but, Another one of 'em I, I was really nervous in was LA Plato, Missouri, just this year at the the, what do they call it?

Bear Creek Shootout. I was in the, I made it through, my dog looked pretty good both [00:21:00] rounds. I treated three singles early and three singles late. Doubled up the first night and made it to the top 12. Then in that cast I drew some tough ones. I drew Drew Brandon Cossman with jw. I drew Nathan Guthrie with Spice and then Travis Tate was hunting Buck Creek Showtime style.

We had a stat cast. Absolutely I was pretty nervous about it. And my dog treat a coon for 200 right out of the truck behind everybody, and that helped calm the nerves a little bit. And then he picked apart a real bad track and treat another coon. But spices treat a coon in the meantime too.

And, I was so worried about keeping that strike. At a quarter, I let I let two guys withdraw, and then I realized what I'd done to myself after I did that, I got myself leash locked to put myself in a position to lose that I never should have been in. And that's one. I was so worried about hearing this dog to keep the strike at a quarter that I failed to even think about that I'm getting leash locked if I, if this happens.

And that's when my nerves were really getting me bad. [00:22:00] And it ended up working out. We ended up, I think we struck on some junk and the six caught us both after we went and recut cuz Nathan Le locked me with Spice Girl. We go in there, she's got another coon, so now she's only behind me a quarter.

And she gets struck for a hundred. I get struck for 75 and I think we were bumping some junk and the six caught us and we never heard 'em again. Luckily for me, luckily I should say, but that's one where my nerves were really getting me. I was real mad at myself, quitting myself in a situation like that.

And if I had been calmed down, thinking a little bit more straight, I don't think I would've put myself in that situation. But and that's part of these bigger hunts. And I know exactly what you're talking about. I put myself in a similar situation last weekend at the Tournament of Champion Regions.

When there's all this going on in these hunts, there is a ton to keep track of. You're trying to keep scores straight in your head for each dog you're trying to run through scenarios. If this happens, then this happens. And you've got multiple scenarios going on. You're trying to watch the time [00:23:00] clock.

How much time's left in the hunt, half have the dogs been operating? Do I have enough time to make a call? If I make that call, what about the time that starts after that? What's gonna happen? There's a ton going on, and I know exactly what you mean when you say you get nervous. I'm the same way.

Last weekend in the Tournament of Champions, we're leading the cast, it's 6 25. And we're up in Lag Grange, Indiana. Very thankful. Hunting the dog for Dick Brothers. We did our first podcast with and leading 6 25. We didn't win Friday night, so Saturday night I knew I had to have a high score going into there and I told myself all weekend, I thought 600 was gonna get us in.

Yep. Come down to the last minute and I'm at 6 25 and I got nervous. I'm like, I don't know. I don't know if that's gonna get me in or not. Timer rolls up. Tree. There's five minutes left in the ha in the hunt. Yep. So I'm like, what do I do? What do I do? And I sat on my hands and I sat on my hands wondering what I'm gonna do.

And I treat him. Yep. I treat him, I'm trying to get those extra points to get that single high score. They'd treat coons and [00:24:00] dens all night long. Go in there, start walking to him. He's treated good. Shuts up a little bit. Get in there. And they're in a swamp while we get in there and he comes off the tree.

Oh, and I take a hundred and a quarter minus. Ended up losing the cast and ended up keeping us out. Of the, the finals this year and I beat myself up on that Yep. For a few days. I felt I let, I felt like I let Dick down. I felt like I let timer down and I just feel like I've really made a bad call, but the nerves got me and I'm willing to be open about that kind of stuff.

That's all decisions and all these hunts and You just hope you make the right ones. There, there is a lot going through your head though, in these hunts. You gotta keep track of your score, everybody else's score. I always try to be watching everybody's times on trees and everything, just in case.

I try to just keep track of all of it and run it through my head. I try to play out all the different scenarios. My brain's going a million miles an hour in a cast. Trying to run through different scenarios where I could put myself in a position to win and, different hypotheticals, oh, [00:25:00] what if this dog has this, that, or the other thing.

But there's a lot of times too, in these higher level hunts where I'm running scenarios through my head and there's pending trees in there, I just plan on all them dogs having a coon, getting plused. And that's how my, that's how my scenarios are going through my head in a lot of these things.

And I don't know. It's a lot, it's a lot to keep track of and a lot to be thinking of. And in your situation, if the dog rolls up tree there, I mean you've about got a tree him, cuz you know, the, it takes a big scores sometimes. You never know how many people are gonna double up in a situation like that.

You might have, you might have 15 people double up and they only take three, four high scores. Speaking of that, and that's one thing that. That U KC does, I'd say a fair share of, is they have hunts that are based upon double cast wins and high scores.

Do you like that format or do you just wanna win your cast and move on? I like the single elimination style. Just win your cast and move on. Personally I think that's about what they have to do though. That's a pretty good setup, how they have it set up with zones, because if you win your [00:26:00] cast Friday, win your cast Saturday, doesn't matter if you have a small score, you're through.

I don't think I've heard of hardly any hunts where they're getting they're not taking some double cast winners. So I think that's about what they have to do. It's about as good as they can handle it. I'm typically not hunting a dog that's gonna rack up too high of a score. I usually hunt something that's just has a coon and everything.

Trees, a couple coon stays outta trouble, is what I like to usually pack around. I typically don't have one that racks up a big score, but it's one of them things that you just gotta deal with, and that's the format going into it. Oh yeah, absolutely.

Everybody's got on the same playing field. They've got equal cards going into the, going into it. So you just, you know that's what you have to do. The zones this year, For the U KC world. There were several guys who said the same thing. They were like, we, I was just talking to 'em.

We went over to Missouri as well, and they said, they prefer the single cast or single elimination style rounds. Because they're not packing a high scoring dog. And I feel like some of these high scores, it takes breaks [00:27:00] within the, any of this stuff in these higher end competitions. It takes breaks.

I caught a really good one at the regions, just at the T o C regions. I caught a really good break out there. A couple guys made a couple bad trees and just left early on and we were down to a two dog cast and I ended up, I treat through the country and another guy treated close. Under that timeout rule between scoring trees, if someone's not re casting, That was a break that I caught in that one.

So we called time out between those trees and gathered dogs up and moved spots and I treat another coon there. And then the other fella unfortunately had rolled his ankle, but he had taken a little minus also and he withdrew. So then I had 39 minutes to hunt alone, where I'm typically not a high scoring dog.

I have 39 minutes where I can, drop hunt with a non-hunting judge. And just got lucky and treated a couple coons. There's a lot of coons in La Plato, especially if you're just going, dropping down a finger. It works out pretty good. See, that was a huge break for me cuz.

I would've never, we would've never had anybody in that casket [00:28:00] through if it wasn't for, a couple guys withdrawn, being able to gather dogs up and everything else too. Let's talk about U KC for a minute. How do you feel about, so obviously you and I found ourselves in a very unique situation at the world this last year.

Where they set us all down and due to a dead cast, they didn't have enough to have three heads up casts. There was five dogs left in it. They set us all down. We had to draw cards to see who had to go out and hunt late. Yep. I drew the shortt stick and hunted against Kurt Aaron and his dog looked the best the late round.

He deserved to move on. After that, U KC has now come out with a new rule for these big hunts going to a single elimination style event where you don't have to have plus points to move on. Yep. It's something new for U kc. It is. I think they might have done that at the t o C finals last year, but I think they're gonna, are they gonna start doing it at the world hunt?

Yes. I believe if I understand it correctly, I believe. And I think you are right, they did do it at the t c last year. But I think it's for all major. [00:29:00] Events now, if I understood it correctly. Yeah, that would that would make sense. When you get to that, when you get to that level, because I think a lot of the time you're not gonna have a dead cast typically.

I think Dyersburg this year was an exception with the extremely dry and tough conditions. A lot of those places down south, I know that I wasn't there, but I know they had a pretty tough time tree in Koons down in Georgia too in 2017. I. I think that it's a pretty good move to tell you the truth.

Especially for the the t o c and stuff. But I think for the world hunt it's almost necessary too cuz you know, I mean it messes up the structure and they have to change formats and everything based on dead cast. I don't know. I think it's a pretty good deal and I don't think you'll run into it too often where you're having dogs that are winning with minus or circle.

You might run into a situation too where someone's, treat a circle tree, other dogs taken minus and there's rolls up with a coon and they just don't have to tree and put themselves at risk. They, you might run into stuff like that too. Yeah. Cuz U KC for years they've always.

Held, held true to the, [00:30:00] you have to have plus points to win your cast. Yep. So I was just curious what you thought on that. Is it going against their traditional way of thinking? Is it better, is it a better move for them? I'm just curious how you thought about that. Yeah, I think it's, I think it's a better move for 'em, honestly, cuz Yeah.

I think that was a, I don't know, it wasn't, I think they handled it as good as they could have. That's how they had to handle that situation. But, They wouldn't have been in that situation where they've had, they would've had to do that if it was, if everyone just advances, if the if there's a cast winner in every cast, I think that's a pretty good move. Really. So I was talking to a guy on last night's cast. We had a great cast early around last night. It's very enjoyable when you get four guys that get along well and I've had a good cast all three nights this week. Have you found the same?

Oh yeah. Thing? Yep. We've been having good casts and everything. Dog work, subpar and a couple of them. But yeah, we've been having real good casts. Typically you get out here some of these higher levels and. Everyone knows the rules real good and we just, everyone gets along. And I feel like some guys who might be new to the sport looking to get into competition, they might hear that, the old saying that, these [00:31:00] competitions are rough and you're people are out to get you.

And it's not fair. Which I've seen it a couple times, but for the majority, that's not what I see. No, that's especially these higher level hunts, you're gonna run into more problems, probably hit your little local club if and than you will at some of these bigger events. People know the rules.

They got a pretty good dog, and that makes it a lot easier when you get to these higher levels for sure. But yeah, I don't run into very much of it at all. People, some people demonize it for sure, but these competition hunts, you know the rules. You got a decent dog and you go in there with the mentality, you're gonna have a good cast.

You will. So like I said, I was talking to this guy last night and we were just, sitting around chewing the fat. Dogs were trailing, they weren't what no much going on. We actually didn't even tree a coon for the first hour. It's a 90 minute hunt. Actually, I lied bear treat one at 55 minutes and then after that we got leash locked.

But for the first 55 minutes, nothing was going on. So we were all just sitting around good old boys talking. And one guy brought up, that he tends to be a very defensive handler in Hunts. How would you describe yourself? I, it made me start thinking, and I [00:32:00] think I would probably consider myself more of an offensive handler.

Oh, that sounds like sports terms defensive as in just holding on to your points more or less, or not holds it more as like just going and going for it. Yeah. Like I consider myself an offensive handler, just like perfect example. The t c regions last weekend. Yep. That dog rolled up treat.

If I'd been playing defense for this example, I'd have sat on my hands and I wouldn't have treated him knowing that, I'm winning the cast. 6 25. But my mind, the way that I typically work I'm going for gold. The dog rolled up tread. I want more points I want to lock myself in. Yep. I bet on the dog in that situation.

Yep. And it got me. Yep. You'll have that once in a while. It just it all depends on the dog, honestly. With Hawk, he's us. With Hawk. I usually play more, probably offense, honestly. He's a little bit more accurate, if I had this pup in here and he comes treed towards the end I'm probably not gonna tree him just for the sake of it being a pup.

I'm not sure what he's gonna do. He probably not [00:33:00] quite as accurate as Hawk. Just for that. It all depends on the dog, honestly. I like to try to make a big call out of the truck right away. Sometimes stick your neck out a little bit, striking in the minute or something, or.

Treeing the dog on his first locate when there's a couple other dogs blowing up in there with him. I like to try to go for a, something to put me in the lead right out of the truck. And then I try to hold on and just play it from there more or less. But it all depends on what I'm hunting too. Different styled dog, you just hand a it a little different.

You just gotta, you just gotta know the dog and just know the situation, know where you're at. It depends on what kind of event it is too. If it's a, if it's an event like like the Bear Creek or the Lone Star, we need a big score to get in. I'm absolutely gonna treat that dog at the end if I don't need it.

Even. But if it's something where you're just advancing with a cast win, then I'm probably not gonna treat the dog, do you think you play differently depending on different registries? Right now, I'd say the three main players are United Kennel Club, professional, kennel Club, and Pro Sport.

Do you play differently depending on where you're at and who you're hunting for? A little bit. Yeah, it's [00:34:00] really not a huge difference, but yeah I do play it a little bit or a little bit different for sure. If I'm at like the local u KC hunting, we're cracking up having a good time, I'm probably just gonna, keep treating the dog just for the heck of it.

But if it's a, bigger hunt where I got a little bit more money on the line, then probably gonna hand a little bit different. Let's get into something else that you are dabbling in now, which is tier one custom calls. Yep. All right, I've got you on here, and I meant to ask you this the other night when we were sitting on the tailgate just talking after the cast, and I didn't, so I'm gonna ask you now that I got you.

What separates. Now, I'm not even gonna say tier one. What separates calls from each other? Because you have JC calls, you've got Bushwhacker calls, tier one, Randy Gad, you've got a few guys who are, I would say the key players. And then you have guys making 'em for themselves. Yep. What is the difference in all of these calls?

What sets 'em apart? Oh, I don't wanna speak too much on the other people's calls honestly, cause I don't really have a whole lot of experience with a lot of 'em. [00:35:00] But typically it's the same the same typical JC Reed, the Reed Pack that you get from I think all of 'em are about the same. Okay.

What separates the Phoenix apart is the, which is a tier one called? That's a tier one. Yes, sir. That's one that, that's we have a patent for that read design and it's more set up like a duck call almost. Okay. Which they almost blow out a little bit easier, but they produce a pitch that none of them other reads will produce.

Cuz most of the other calls they sound pretty similar. Different the way they spin 'em down and everything. They'll sound a little different, but they're all got, they all got a similar pitch it seems like. You can add a different pitch by putting an extra read in there.

I've seen some with three reads, some with one, some with two. But that's what sets tier one apart is the Phoenix Reed system. And everything. I can't speak too much on the other companies cuz I don't have a whole lot of experience. I've been a huge fan of the Phoenix ever since Josh McKaylas started it back in the day when it was big show game calls.

So that's one thing about it that just sets us apart a little bit. Yeah, I was just curious how that worked. I [00:36:00] didn't know if I wouldn't assume that the overall shape and structure would make a huge. Difference. I would assume maybe like the boar that's in the middle where the reed pack goes would make a bigger difference.

Yep. Maybe the overall length on him. Yep. It I just didn't know, when a guy's designing the call, what is he taking into consideration to produce the best call on the market? Yeah. Just durability and producing a good sound is pretty much what I like to Think of it as for the most part, I mean there's plenty of good, call manufacturers and good guys making 'em too.

So I don't wanna knock anybody's calls by any means, but No, absolutely. And I've got one of each of 'em that I just mentioned. Yep. For sure. And I carry, depending on different times of the year, I carry different calls. My Koons will look at different pitches, different times of the year for sure.

Yeah. I've usually got two in my vest. Most times. If they're not looking at one, I'll pull out another one. Yep. Like I said I am not partial to anybody's calls, but I was just genuinely curious on the makeup and structure of what makes calls different from each other. Yeah. A lot of times it's just the shape or the material they're out of.

The reads are similar on a lot of 'em, I think, [00:37:00] for the most part. But the Phoenix is a different one for sure. That's a different one that has louder higher pitch and, or more, I don't even know what to, how to word it honestly. Just a pitch I've had better luck with on getting Koons to look more so in summertime and then winter looking out at dens.

Yeah. And it is different. And honestly the reason, the thing that caught my attention was at I believe it was Auto Oaks this year I drew out with Tyler. Yep. He was hunting Shaq at Shaq got treated and we went into the tree and I was squalling around, it was a den tree trying to get his coon to look and.

All of a sudden I heard this call and I was like, what is that? I didn't know who it was. I didn't know who's blowing it, and I turned around and it was Tyler. I said, Tyler, what are you using? He said it's the new Phoenix that we're doing. Or he said, it's the Phoenix that you know.

Cuz at that time he was pretty new in Dubai in tier one. Yep. He said, it's the Phoenix. I was like, Wow. That sounded different, I went, of course, I'm a sucker for everything, so I went and bought me a new Phoenix the next day. Yep. We got you hooked. Yeah, you did. It's a good call.

So like I said, I was just curious on that one. Yep. [00:38:00] Go. Let's just go in and talk dogs this week. We're, like I said, we're staring. We're down here at super stakes. Have you seen anything in the cast that you've drawn that has just really stood out? I drew a couple pretty nice ones last night.

I can't remember the dog's name. Millie, I think her name was, or Miley. She looked really nice. She treated a couple coons and struck. Struck really good. Carried her strike. Looked real good. Had a good mouth. That was a pretty, pretty impressive one. I didn't see if she got through or not. She won our cast last night pretty big.

But I didn't even pay attention if she got through or not. But that's one that I saw that I like quite a bit. Otherwise, nah we didn't really have a lot going on there wasn't anything stood out too much in any of other, the past. It's been slow for me this week as well. And looking at the scores, it's been slow across the board.

I haven't seen anything that's just really stood out. It looks like there have been some that have been getting in some coon train contests, more so in the seniors, but yeah these sophomores, they want to be puppies still. The ones I've been drawing. Yeah. And, I failed, mine included. I failed to talk about that [00:39:00] earlier.

And we keep saying we're the spring super steaks For our listeners who don't know the super steaks, it happens twice a year. There's a spring version and a fall version, and it all depends on the birth date of your dog, when it was born, as to which which time of the year that you hunt. But it's almost like a futurity event.

Your one-year-old son against one-year-olds, two, what you called the sophomores, two-year-olds are the juniors and the three-year-olds are your seniors. And the super stakes, I feel like is a. It's a time where guys are really looking to see. It's a good chance to see your competition for your age, to compare your dog against other dogs your age, because I don't know how it is over where you're at, but if I go to a local hunt here and I'm taking a pup, I could draw out the state leader.

Yep. I could draw and we're right here close to Illinois. I can draw out the Indiana state leader. I can draw out the Illinois state leader, and then I can draw out a platinum champion, which is $20,000. Oh, absolutely. So I feel like this, it's, and it's hard to get a fair judge on what your dog is, but I feel like this, these super stakes events are [00:40:00] just a great way.

For guys to, to compare themselves to what else is out there in the country. Yep. Yeah, absolutely it is. And then you can it's a good chance to showcase, different stud dogs and everything too, for, just, I don't know. It's a good event for, measuring up, seeing what your dog's doing.

It's a good event for showcasing if you got a stud dog. It's just a great event, but up by me. I think when I was trying to get Clyde his hundred one. For super stakes. I was going down to Grand Junction and I was drawing traders digging up bones, and he was the senior super stakes champion the year before.

I kept drawing him over and I kept drawing a lot of other good ones. And most of those dogs I was drawing were platinum champions now and everything. And I was just having a heck of a time. But it's tough comparing a one year old to a four year old that's got 30 some thousand dollars one on it.

It is, it is. But at the same time, That e everybody, I feel like it's the same way across the country, get into dogs a hundred dollars one, which is what it takes to qualify for the super stakes event. You have to win a hundred dollars that year. I feel like it's hard to get that 101 sometimes.

Like that might be one of the most challenging [00:41:00] things to do cuz you don't know who you're gonna drive against. Oh, absolutely. I could not get Clyde his 101 back when I was trying to get it one for super steaks. He'd do real good and everything at, various events. U K C Hunt's right close there.

I'd take him to a Pkc hunt and he'd just fall apart on me or something. I just, I was having a heck of a time getting his hundred one with di Ablo. I got really lucky though, I don't think he was close to the dog that that Clyde was. And I put him in his first cast and he got off there and tree a coon by himself, which I didn't even think the dog was ready.

I just didn't wanna hunt hawk in it, in this particular hunt. And yeah, Diablo just went in and treated one coon. The other dogs got hung up on a slick, I think. And I just got it pretty easy to tell you the truth. So I got pretty fortunate in that sense with him. But yeah, when I applied, which I felt was a way better dog.

I couldn't get his hundred once. It all depends. You gotta catch breaks even in them little hunts too, right? Something else that stood out to me the other day when we were sitting on the tailgate just talking, I. Okay. Tell me about the time you ran for a truck ticket and what extent you went to, to get [00:42:00] that truck ticket.

And maybe for the listeners go into what a truck ticket is. How do you obtain one and what all goes into that? A truck ticket is for in PKC is for dogs. So they have one for the old dogs and they have one for super steaks, pups, and they have them in divisions of, $30 tickets and overall tickets.

You can get a $30 ticket at open events that are $30 or less and you have to be one of the top two, two or three dogs in the country to get the ticket. And that's P month for that? For that month. Yes. You have to be way up there and it takes quite a bit of money cuz you know, there's some guys that are, they get in a couple times at a big open event and double up and just kinda keep go or they get into a big open event and then, might double up at a legacy or something and they just get rolling with it.

It gets tough sometimes. Competing against dogs that are right close to a big event and everything. But it's when I ran for that truck ticket, I was actually going for an overall ticket. I was making a last push at the state race too. I think that's back when I was 19 or 20 years old.

That's when I still had glide. [00:43:00] And I was going five, six hours on a weeknight going down to Central Iowa for a $30 hunt. I was pushing for it. Then it got right down to the wire and I was thinking I might have a pretty good shot at it. I drove over eight, I think I drove eight hours to Wisconsin for the $30 double header, and that was the closest one.

That was, that I actually could go to that weekend. And we actually, we ended up getting a $30 ticket that month when I was actually going for an overall ticket, but, Ended up ended up working out and getting it, but never ended up being able to make it. I had to call Jerry and tell him to go the next dog in line after I lost Clyde.

But the way it goes, so you put in all that effort, all that time, driving five, six hours on a weeknight. Trying to win your money. You drive eight hours on a weekend to a $30 hunt. I can't fathom that. Eight hours. I can't fathom it anymore. I was dumb back then. Eight hours and then you lose Clyde.

Walk us through that. [00:44:00] What happened? I was actually in a cast and I'd treat a coon right out of the truck. I ended up winning the cast and went to go get him afterwards and I'd lost reception on him and I thought, wow, the collar might have been acting up, it could have been interfering with someone else's.

And I just lost, met a hole in the ice. He never did find him. He could get a weak signal right there, but he was probably hung up on a log jam underneath the ice somewhere, which that's something that we have to worry about up there that most people in the country don't have to worry about. Our river's freeze really hard.

Freezes hard enough to drive snowmobiles and four-wheelers down him and, walk across. And we have been crossing that river on the ice all night and Yeah, it's just one of those, one of those deals. It's one of the dangers we gotta worry about. We're pretty fortunate not having to deal with snakes or too many major highways, that ice is a killer.

There's plenty of other guys around there that have lost dogs to it too, and it's just, it's one of the deals when you snap them dogs loose, you never know if you're gonna see 'em again. Dogs trained are run straight away from you. You just gotta hope they're all right. What kind of mental state did that put you in?

It really bummed me out. I was pretty [00:45:00] depressed for quite a while over that. I really didn't have anything else good going. Owen was getting pretty old. I didn't hunt for a couple months and whatnot after that, but I did end up getting back into it and ended up getting my junior dog going pretty good.

Put some more time in him, which is probably pretty, pretty lucky for him. It was unfortunate cuz he passed away too, but it was probably lucky for him, honestly that Clyde passed away to get him some time that he deserved, honestly. But he ended up getting blast on passing away also.

And you've had a rough go at it. Yeah, I did. But they're just, just dogs. You gotta keep going with it and you gotta keep trying, getting the next big one, your next big winner. Yeah. So if you could choose today. One registry that you had to hunt the rest of the time, what would it be?

Pkc, pkc all day. And what about that? Why? Oh, I just I feel like it's a little bit higher caliber dog that you'll draw, you'll draw some good ones and U KC too, but I just, I [00:46:00] like how there's a level for everyone in pkc. You can spend 35 bucks during the week, or you can go spend 6,500 on a weekend and.

And hunt. You compete at whatever level you want. And that's that's one thing that I really like about it and everything. There's just so many good events. I'm probably most familiar with that rule system too. It's just what I enjoy going to the most. I go to some u Ukc hunts a year for sure, or every year for sure.

I compete right around the house and go to World Andt o c, but I just, most of my hunting's made up out of Pkc. I like pro sport too, and what they're doing. I've only been able to hunt one or two of em though since We don't have a lot real close. I might try to get an entry to that truck hunt down in Mercer, but we'll just have to see on that.

They've they've got a hunt down here in Henderson Saturday. If you don't double up this week, I don't got a good enough dog to go down to one. If I had Hawk maybe, but not these one year olds. I was gonna say it's only an hour down the road. Yeah, probably not with these one year olds, they're not that good.

Yeah. But no, I like what they're doing for sure. They got a really good thing going there. But no, I just the, [00:47:00] I like PKC and how they got a level for everybody. So that's why I choose that, nothing against the other registries or anybody that hunts 'em or prefers 'em, but that's just what most of my hunting's made up out of.

And I just like all the different events and programs they got going on there, especially, different youth programs, everything else. Yeah. Speak, speaking of the youth, you're you're 23, you've been doing this for a while. Since a younger guy what advice would you give to somebody coming up into the sport of, and wanting to start competing?

Is there one thing that you would tell 'em to do or to not do? I'd tell 'em just to really learn your dog and try to learn the rules also. But you're gonna have to go in there and, figure it out. You can read a rule, but you can read a rule and go through it in your head as much as you want.

But you're really not gonna know how to apply it until you actually get out there and see the situation where you can't apply it. Know the rules a little bit, but just know that dog and just go in there with a good attitude, there it's a good time. You get to all these hunts most of the time, these guys are gonna help you out and everything, especially if you're younger, hunter.

That's about all I've got on that. Would you advise them to put an entry fee on a credit card? [00:48:00] No, I probably wouldn't. And if your dog's good enough, give it a try, but I probably wouldn't advise it. No, I tried to tell you to just hunt what you can afford. I'd tell you, man, the first time I heard that, I just laughed so hard.

I was like, that's crazy. That's why, for the little bit. I know. I was like, I could see him doing that. Yep. Yeah that's right. Just not not that bright, yeah. I'm glad it worked out for you, man. Man I really appreciate you sitting down here. It's been a fun week.

I'm glad we got to draw each other Tuesday night. You got to come out here to the cabin and just sit down for a while and just chit chat. Talk dogs while we kill time. That's what a lot of this. Stuff isn't these bigger hunts? There's a lot of killing time. Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah.

You gotta kill a lot of time. And we actually went and on that, there's been some rainy days. We went and bought a PlayStation at Walmart. We're gonna return it before we leave, but went and got one at Walmart, so we had something to do in the room. Oh geez. No, that's what these events are all about.

Just having a good time and everything cracking out. Even if I don't win a cast, I'm glad I come out here. This is one of my favorite hunts. So yeah, man, it's a blast. And like I [00:49:00] said, I enjoy the camaraderie, talking to everybody, just getting to see people you don't get to see all the time. Absolutely. It, these big hunts they bring people from all across the country.

And get you to hang out and talk to your buddies. And it's really a good event for camaraderie and yeah, this is a, a lot of these big hunts, that's the only time I see a lot of, good friends of mine that live, 15, 16 hours away. It's the only time I see a lot of them I really like going to it and just getting to see everybody and lie to each other about how good our coon dogs are.

It's just a good time. It's what these events are all about are. Do you think Coon hunters tell stories about like fishermen? Which one do you think tells the best stories? Oh man. Prac, coon hunters, man, coon hunters are so full of it. It's almost unbelievable. Oh shit. All right, buddy. Hey, like I said, I appreciate you sitting down here talking to me.

It's been fun. I appreciate you having me. Yeah, absolutely, man. We've got one more night. We've got one more night to make it into the big dance. Can you do it? Ah, I don't know. I need some luck and some breaks on my side. I'm hoping so, but we'll just have to see. Hopefully we just stay away from each other and just see each other in the finals on Saturday.

That's right. I ain't holding [00:50:00] my breath. That's right. All right, buddy. Like I said, appreciate you and good luck tonight, buddy. Good luck to you too. All right, thanks buddy.