On this episode of The Western Rookie Podcast, Dan and Brian have Ryan Stieg on to talk about getting more tags each season.
Ryan grew up in the flat land like both Dan and Brian, but like the hosts, caught the western bug during college and started piecing together how to get out west as much as possible. Ryan has had incredible success with North Dakota’s second chance draw to get rifle Whitetail Buck tags in underrated units while building points and using his bow tag to chase Mule Deer each fall in the badlands. Ryan has taken this same strategy to Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado to show it is possible to have success on Elk, Mule Deer, and Antelope with easier-to-draw tags if you’re willing to put in the work.
[00:00:00] Hey, O back Western Rookie episode 56. How's it going,
man? Yes sir. Dude, it's going. Yeah, I'm excited, man. It's gonna be a good episode. I just, there's something about looking forward to Western hunts while you're in, like the draw season or the application season. I don't know, I don't know if it's just that extra element of I might be able to draw something awesome this year or what, but it's gonna be a good episode.
And it's also in the middle of shed season, like shed season's here, so it's like you're applying for western hunts, you're talking about the fall, you're getting excited to get out and find some antlers. I just got all my shed season swag from Dwayne. Yes, sir. So rocking the new hat. It came with this soft side tape that's retractable.
I've been using these like 10 foot tailors tapes and so every time I score a shit, I gotta wrap up 10 foot tape. So I'm super excited for this. And then get this, it comes with a. The backside of it's actually centimeters. And so [00:01:00] I'm gonna play some jokes on social media and score some sheds with the centimeter side and be like, oh dude, that'd be killer.
Oh dude, this 156 inch buck here, and everyone's just gonna blow their gaskets, ,
they're gonna lose their minds. Man. My, my son has, I think, confiscated all of those tape measures. Th those are his favorite toys to play with. Oh, he just retracts them. Lets 'em go retracts em Or like pulls 'em out. Dude, retracts 'em.
This is the OG one and he swings 'em around. Dude, those OG ones they're durable. They work, but they are so annoying when they come unraveled.
Yeah. And I've used, I've scored so many antlers with this one, I've, I lost the metal end to it, so I'm definitely overdue for one. Oh no. Yep.
Hey, at least you got that new softer retractable
Oh yeah. Yeah. Shed season. Gotta get your shed season swag. Heck yeah, man. I don't know if Ryan's a big shed hunter our guest tonight, Ryan, Steve, I don't think he's as big into the sheds as he is into just like a western deer [00:02:00] killer. He
likes to shoot, he likes to collect sheds on full
bodies. Yeah. Yeah.
He doesn't want the participation trophy. He just wants first place .
He wants first place every time. Yeah, dude, from everything you've told me about him, he is a top qualifier quite a bit. And
get this, if we hired him in my group at work as a, like an intern and it's very corporate America type company.
And so you never really know how much you should like, really talk about you're, firearm and hunting stuff on the first day. Yep. And by the end of the first week, man, we were talking like tags and strategies and units and like the, it just happens to be we're both on the same wavelength.
Nice. Yeah, dude, when you can find somebody like that at work, it makes everything so much better. I've worked. . I've worked in a lot of all men fields and positions. And it is just, it's insane to me when I'm working with seven other dudes and I can't find a single like outdoorsman [00:03:00] among the bunch, that drives me nuts.
none of you even like to fish. Oh, I take, I took my
kid fishing last summer and I'm like no. That's not what I meant. like one time going one time last summer is not, that does not qualify you as
a fisherman. Yeah, exactly. And you never know who you're gonna get, like you can't really choose your coworkers either.
Like you can't choose your family, can't choose your coworkers very easily. And so Yep. You're like, ah, stuck with this dude that just talks about let's
you start your own. You gotta start your own business,
man. Then you can start your own business. Yeah. Then you can choose. You're gonna be the only coworker for a while.
But yeah. , so dude
on the shed topic. , I found my first shed of the year. I was just gonna bring
that up. I, you sent me a picture of it. I don't think we've talked about it on the podcast. It was a good shed too. It was last year's, right? Last year's
shed, last year's shed, the entire brow tie had been chewed off.
Ah. And it had been chewed all the way through. Actually, I think I've got it. It's in a backpack in this room somewhere. It chewed like [00:04:00] halfway through the main beam also. Oh, damn. So it's I mean it, if I bent it a little too hard, it would probably snap off. But dude, I put on, I didn't put on a ton of miles on foot.
I just checked a couple really good spots where I was like, there's gotta be one in here. I'd never, shed hunted these spots before and then about, I don't know, 37 acres of beans, but it's like a rolling hill with beans. Obviously all cut. I was like, you know what, I'm just gonna drive up and down this on the four wheeler and look for sheds.
And there's two seasonal ponds. That are just all overgrown and nasty and look like great bedding area. And I was driving around one of those and I looked down and this thing was glowing. As close to a beam coming through the cloud as you can get that, it was just like right there in front of me.
it's something about like ponds and water sources, up here, they're froze solid. But it must be like when things are [00:05:00] starting to warm up those deer looking for water, because I find sheds on ponds and water sources and and, berms every single year. Yep. I can't walk past one anymore.
I've found so many. You have to go check it out. It's, there's something about those threads. And I saw the reel. I actually just saw the reel today. And I remember, what was it, episode 53 we were talking about you bought a farm and you were checking out the neighbors. Yeah. And then you got permission on two new farms.
Was it one of those farms you got permission on?
No. So this is a farm that I've had permission on longer than I've lived out there actually. Even the first time, cuz I used to live about a mile from where we just bought land. And I've had this property, I've had permission on this property for probably eight years now.
But I haven't done a ton with it. There's, I know there's other neighbors that actually hunt that same property. The guy was super open to letting people come and hunt his land. He never said no to anybody. And so I've been like, Hey listen, I'm not gonna stir the pot. I've got [00:06:00] other land out here I can hunt.
So I've stayed away from it, but shed season, I'm like, dude, I'm just gonna cruise over there. I've got trail cameras up. Honestly, I'm gonna talk to the neighbors and not give too much away. But the biggest buck I have ever had on trail camera was on that property. And I was really hoping that I would find his sheds because,
I don't know how big they're gonna be. I'm hoping for like a 70
inch side dude, 70 is big. That's a sweet amp. It's,
Here's the deal. I've never scored a shed. I've only scored a couple bucks in my entire life. Yeah. But this one buck man, he has a brow tie that is longer than his g2 and his G2 comes up and forks.
Oof. Yeah. That's pretty good. This one that I showed you earlier from this season, I just scored it with my new shed season, soft side tape. And this one is like 62, but he's tight. You can tell he's tight. He doesn't have a very long [00:07:00] beam. But you can start to picture like a 70 inch antler man.
You're talking about like a stud buck. You're, you're 1 55 right off the bat, like a 1 55 caliber buck. If he's tight. Yeah. If he's wide, you're talking one 60.
So I'm gonna show you this on here. I don't know if I sent this to you. This is the Buck. Look. Look at that. Oh
yeah. Brow time. That's probably a 70 in Chandler.
Is he a, does he have a, does he have a g4? Is that his beam? Yeah, he does. Okay.
No, that's a g4. His beam cuts in. Yeah. In that picture, it looks like it's cut off, but he's got it. And I, like I said, I've never scored a shed before, but I was just thinking dude, that's gotta be probably close to 70
We gotta hook you up. Ironically, all of those sheds on my top wire behind me, none of them crack 70. Yeah, I have, Ooh, the world record for the number of 67 inch, four point sheds, , there's five of them on that wall that are [00:08:00] all 66, 67, 68 inch, four point sides. W
what would you do if I go out in like my third shed?
My third whitetail shed ever found was a 70 inch side dude
I'd give it to you because I'm batting a three 15 average on bull Elk.
Yeah. All right. No. Okay. You got me
on that. You can't have all the love. So I'll I'd give you that one. I'll give you not all. No, it would be cool. Take that. It would be cool.
Yeah. I've saw, I have some buddies that I met shed hunting and they're from northeast Iowa and his brother found a clean 5.9 inch side last year. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Like literal 200 inch caliber buck and just insane. They're just shed hunting fools between him and his brother. They find like knocking on 250 sheds a year, whitetail sheds cheese,
Yeah. I don't think I know. I know you and I know a couple other guys who find a lot of sheds, but I think in like my, in a very large friend group [00:09:00] that I've got, I don't think all of us combined. Would add up to 250 sheds like most. That's a lot. That's a auto bone. Yeah. I'm talking like over the course of our entire lives, most of the guys love to hunt.
They absolutely love to hunt. Obviously if they find an antler, they're gonna pick it up, but I think for the most part, none of them go out specifically for sheds. And honestly I hadn't really done a
lot of that until I started sending you picture after picture last year. I was just baiting you
until I saw your social media and I was like, this idiot can't even see the one that's right
Yeah. . I gotta
go out and pick these up there. ,
dude, I get so much Slack online for that. It's just all fun. It's all pure fun. But I see Ryan popped into the lobby. Let's get him in here and kick this episode off. What'd he say?
Sounds good, man. Awesome. You're listening to the Western Rookie, a hunting podcast full of tips, tricks and strategies from season western [00:10:00] hunters.
There are plenty of opportunities out there. We just need to learn how to take on the challenges.
Hunting is completely different up
That part, some 26 big game animals. You can
fool their eyes. We can fool their nose,
300 yards, speck to the road, turned into three miles back the other way.
It's always cool seeing new hunters going,
harvest and animal.
I don't know
what to expect. If there's any way I want in the woods with me, it'll be you.
Hey guys. Yeah. How's it going? Oh, hey. What's going on man?
Doing good. Doing good.
Ryan. Ryan, this is Dan. Dan Ryan. Ryan and I worked together and Dan is the current, he was the co-host invited me on to, to be co-host with him.
Sure. Yeah. Yeah. I started following some you guys' stuff listened to a few podcasts, had a couple long drives this weekend, so Nice.
Kind of got the gist of it,
nice. Nice. So Dan Ryan is, he's a flat runner. I really like this
guy with the [00:11:00] sheds in the background. . Yeah. Yeah.
You gotta have your street cred showing over your shoulder, right?
Yeah. Some of it I got I did that for a reason. I got some some lessons I guess to teach about deer like that behind me.
, we'll get into that.
Nice. So yeah, Ryan's a flatlander like me grew up in Minnesota and then got the bug for the west and has been just grinding the last couple years. So Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, so it's been exciting, man. Dude, that's awesome. . Yeah. Ryan got hired on as like a part-time student in my group, and it, and then it just so happens that he, it was like a huge hunter too, so I'm like, oh, sweet.
Finally someone in my group that like gets it, what'd you do this weekend? Oh, we did hockey and we did baseball. And then Ryan's over there yeah, I went out west and shot like 80 Hunkers. Yeah,
exactly. It's . You're almost BS in your way through talking to other coworkers and then it's like you find the few that, that hunting, it's okay, here we go.
Let's have some good convo. So yeah,
it's, yeah, it's no longer small talk. It's actually this is what we're
into. [00:12:00] Yeah. Yeah. Bruce I think it was like after week one I was like, so are you hunting in like this unit os or that, like we're talking about trying to figure out how to get these back in North Dakota, how to draw a buck tag without burning your yielder points because.
You have it's just deer points. Like you can't do like a meal deer versus a whitetail. So you don't really want to burn your deer points just to go shoot a whitetail when there's mules on the table. But it takes three, four years to drop mule. So you wanna we're trying to figure out like, Hey, you think this unit would be better to get like a second chance whitetail buck, but, and then it's yeah, but there's no public in that unit.
Yeah. Yeah. North Dakota's tricky. But if you willing to travel, it's a great state for, as a resident. Yeah. Yeah. You're pulling the tag every year if you really want
it. Yeah. Especially for archery. Did, was it? Yeah. Was it last year Ryan, or the year before? You shot three white tails in two states in two days.
Last year. Yeah, last year I was whitetail heavy. Yeah. Bunch of western whitetails. I ended up shooting like three, [00:13:00] three Whitetails west of the Missouri yeah.
Yeah. That sounds tough. I can tell you sound very upset about that. Yeah. I was very well tail heavy. I just shot three bucks. No big deal.
Yeah. That western whitetail, a few people touch on it, but not many. It's totally underrated in the west. It gets you out there a lot easier than anything else. It's a fun time
and it's so much more f I think it's more fun western whitetail hunting than eastern whitetail hunting sometimes.
Cuz you're just out west, you're seeing game you j it's like there's a puck I wanna shoot you just walk over there, go shoot it. Yeah.
It's totally different. It's a totally different game. All the same strategies that she's using for neely's and elk. Decir. Yeah. Deciphering terrain is definitely a huge part of it.
Whereas out east it's talking about, where is their food, where is their bedding? Out in the open prairie and stuff. It's it is so hard to even tell what's the best bedding in food. It's like they're eating, not much or weird food sources that Eastern wouldn't understand.
[00:14:00] So it's all about covering ground and glassing. So just like you would neely's an elk. So yeah it's
fun. I think, Ryan, I think you and I first trip was like the exact same as Dan and my first hunt together, like a disaster train of a shed hunt . Yeah. I remember Ryan and I, we left, what did we leave Fargo like four in the morning?
Three in the morning. Drove across the entire state to go find some mule deer sheds. Not knowing a darn thing. And I had a buddy from Alec with me and we just picked. Threw a dart at the map, go out there. Turns out mules don't shed in early February. . So we just drove around and looked for coyotes the whole weekend and did a couple short walks and everywhere we walked we saw like mule bucks holding and none of them were even big.
So it's a disaster train of a first shed hunt. Yeah,
I think we we covered our ground by saying that it was a scouting, a shed scouting
trip and then we never went back.
Yeah. Which is basically the sim a [00:15:00] similar first hunt that I brought Dan out. Dan technically brought me on, but I was supposed to come in and be like, shed hunting counselor guidance on what we should do and how to find a bunch of sheds and it went equally as bad for on my end.
Dan found one. . Yeah. But yeah,
exactly. Into your credit. It wasn't a lot of property. It, we had a couple small chunks. Most of it though, at that time of year, they're hanging out in cover. All the crop fields are cut. We just, we've never really gone out there and done it. And honestly, we didn't even, we didn't even find a shed except for, on the neighbor's property who we didn't initially have permission for.
Yeah. We got permission for that and then went over there and that's the only spot that had one. Yeah.
Meanwhile I was like, as sick as a dog, blue in the gills, bent over emptying my stomach and dance over there. I found one. So
What state was that in?
That was Wisconsin . We met in Wisconsin.
Yeah. Dan grew up in Wisconsin, so we had some family ties and some family land. We met [00:16:00] up for a quick one, but Sure. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about your season last year cuz you also did some elk hunting. And I've, I I really regret how elk season turned out for me and my brother and we'll get into that a little bit.
But yeah, give us the low down on how you went about your elk seasons, especially last year, cuz you, you did the same, threw a pin at the map and had success. Sure,
yeah. In general. Had a heck of a season last year. But I guess for elk specifically got the Montana General and I, I gotta start with archery cause we did go archery and absolutely gonna call that a success even though I wasn't the one that killed a bull.
But yeah, we. Went out for archery Elk and our first day actually drove through the night. We do that a lot. I dunno why, but got the, got to the trail high at five 30 in the morning and we're off on our way by six 30. And essentially we found our bowl by eight 30, had 'em dead by nine 30.
And I, that was such a sweet hunt [00:17:00] even for me because I was behind the call. I love calling whatever it comes. Elk, turkeys, ducks, whatever. So that was a blast for me. So that was first archery elk success that I've had was this year and that was a heck of a hunt. On my Instagram, you can even see the video.
We had three guys there. A shooter, a video, and then I was back behind calling and . That's if you haven't gunn the classic call for elk, there is nothing better than that to be interacting.
Oh. And he and Ryan's too humble to say it was also a toad. It was a big bowl. Yeah, it was
a nice bowl.
It was for
sure. Did you guys ever end up scoring that bowl? It was on the other side of 300, for sure.
I, I gotta ask him again if he ended up scoring it, but a solid bull for Montana in general. Let's be honest for archery, Montana, for
driving through the night brand new unit.
Yeah. Have the bull dead by lunch. First day. Yep.
Yep. That's not an [00:18:00] easy thing to do. Dan's sign the pressure units. . Yeah. Yeah, dude, for
man, I would take that any day. , going into that, what was your favorite type of hunting? and leaving that hunt become your favorite.
Yeah. You're cutting out there, Dan, but I think you were saying like before that was the favorite.
I, you can't beat mules out west. You really can't. I thoroughly enjoy that, but some, it's probably a, it is second trip I've taken for archery elk. So that's gotta be up there now, especially after getting some success, but
you really can't beat that. Yeah. And like you said right before, there's something different about calling those things in.
Obviously the shooter was close, but were you close enough that when you like beagles back, your chest rattles?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I was, positioned back, 30 or so yards. , out of sight. And shooter, [00:19:00] the shot was seven yards. So we're talking, if I was in view, I could have shot the elk type thing.
So there's nothing better than just slowly hearing that progression coming towards you. From a distance. It's
unbelievable. Yeah, that's, you're gonna get like a , you're gonna get an unrealistic view of it. I've gotta try that at some point. Yeah. I've been trying to convince Dan to archery elk hunt for, was it two years now, Dan?
And you're like, I just, man, I like, love my rifle group. I love going with those guys and just, we put 'em down every year. To hear man, you like Ryan's hunt is just the dream. Like they come into you setup's perfect. But there's
Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't have to all be in
There's other states that we can hunt, man. For real. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
But what Ryan was also too humble to mention is that him and I were talking about doing a, because our group got split and Ryan was trying to get out as well. And so we [00:20:00] briefly talked about maybe doing all four of us together.
And my brother was like, I don't know about bringing someone new. I trust Ryan, that's fine, but I don't know the fourth guy. And, I don't know how this is gonna all shake out. And our group, our normal group's already pretty big. I, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather.
just go our own way. And so I broke the bad news to Ryan, and then day one I'm sitting on the mountain and there's Ryan and his buddy with this huge bull on the ground already. And I showed it to my brother. I was like, this was the guy we were gonna go with, by the way. . .
Yeah. Yeah. And to be honest when it, you're talking about doing stuff like that or joining up with groups I was trying to push where we ended up going.
If we were to go together, I still would've been saying, I think we should go here. But cause it wasn't such a dart at the map. There's a lot of preparation that goes into that and scouting, ees scouting. Yeah. So I was, confident in the spot. I think sometimes it's nice to have, two two groups going out in a, from a particular camp.
Especially when you're talking [00:21:00] about big game that are staged at different elevations. You can get out those first couple days and have, a couple different experiences and then you come back to camp and you share that and say, I didn't see anything at 6,000. In the other group it was like there's plenty of bugling at eight.
That, that can be helpful and just camaraderie at camp. Don't
mind. So you're saying you need more people to come out and help out and scout and look at different elevations? That's all I got out of that whole statement.
Just Yeah. Muffled out the rest. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It, archery elk isn't for everybody.
It's not it's not one of those things where everybody is, they say they're down to go. But it's not always easy to convince 'em. So when you find the people that are in for it. Yeah.
Dan and I had a podcast guest just a couple weeks ago and Oh my gosh. That wasn't even archery, that like Dan probably knows a story better than me.
, but it's it's not all good roses. Like it's hard to pick a good partner. I don't know if you want to share some of that by episode, was it 53 Dan?[00:22:00]
Yeah, I think that's what it was. And he went out there and got a guy, the guy invited him actually. And then they get out there and the guy didn't really want to do any work. He said he couldn't fit any, or he couldn't haul meat in his pack at all.
Yeah. He's this pack don't haul wheat.
Doing I'm trying to go after it.
Yeah, this pack done haul meat and yeah, I don't understand, I mean he was still able to get it done, which is awesome, but I can't imagine being in the back country getting a bull down and then oh hey, just a heads up. I'm not helping pack meat out. Yeah, absolutely.
Especially for an elk hunt.
Meat moving is one of the bigger concerns. On an elk on, you can get away with some other stuff for deer, but
yeah. Need to Dan be all in, Dan's the guy in the camp that shoots the bulls in his Colorado group where everyone tells him not to go.
Yeah. Yeah. I think I heard about that. And podcast to listen to from you guys.
So yeah, that's a hundred [00:23:00] percent accurate. ,
that selective hearing what he's gonna do. Like they, they say yeah, there's elk in there, but don't go shoot one and his ears just turn off after there's elk in there. Exactly. Sometimes it's nice to have extra guys in camp to find different elk and Dan's whoa, oh, that was an invitation.
You gotta take a step back. .
It's not selective hearing. I won a hundred percent. Heard exactly what he said. It was blunt disobedience. That's what you call that, not selectively.
A as you should honestly. Nope. If you got the ambition to get there and get it down I'm a true believer of you'll find a way to get it back
I've never thought about it before I pulled the trigger or my brother, me and my brother talk about this all the time. We never think about it when there's an elk at 40 yards or with me and my rifle and there's an elk in my scope. Like I don't think about how bad the pack out's gonna be.
Yep. You'll find a way. No, you can't,
you, you second guess that and all of a sudden the [00:24:00] opportunity's gone. Especially with a bow, I'm assuming, like the odds of you having a elk in range long enough for you to have that conversation and think Hey, should we do this right here? By that point, the shot window's gone.
It's moved through the pines or the cedars or whatever you're hunting in and there you go. Now the elk made up. your decision for you. Yeah.
Can you imagine that's seven yards like Ryan's buddy, Ryan called him into seven yards for the guy. There's zero time, like you have to be at full job by the time he pops into your window.
Yeah, exactly. It's a sound game at that point. You're waiting to, as, trusting your ears for when to draw, that's crazy
concept. Did he hit it frontal then at seven yards?
Yep. Yep. Frontal shot came square in. And that's a good thing about calling, it's like you gotta be, you gotta always keep your shooter in the middle and stuff.
So it's like I, I couldn't have been more proud of, having the frontal right at the shooter. That's what [00:25:00] everyone's going for. So
Yeah. That's seven yards. You got a 12 inch circle to hit, right?
Yeah. Yeah. As long as you're, I love you got a good backdrop, .
Yeah. Yeah. Have you ever done one with a bow though, or do you do 'em? I've done front on shots,
On a couple deer so far. Yeah. And then I think I've taken one front on shot on a deer with a rifle, and then my first elk was a hard quartering two with my rifle. Yeah. And so I put it just inside
Yeah. Yeah. It is a deadly shot. I think it's inside like 20 or whatever your comfort, like your extreme comfort range is. It's an open window, right? To all the good stuff. You can cut the, you cut the carotid, you cut the windpipe, you can split the lungs, hit the heart, all with the same arrow like it is, man, that is a deadly shot.
Yeah. Yeah. I [00:26:00] think with elk, the big thing is it's all about distance and alertness. An elk, especially when they're frontal on you, it's not like a deer. They don't drop, like a eastern whitetail. They're gonna make a turn, if they don't like something or they see you, they're gonna make a turn left or right.
So it's all about the time it takes for your air to get to 'em on a frontal. I wouldn't encourage, even if you got 'em lined up, past 30 yards, it's just too much time. If they react to it in turn, Bennett, then it becomes an issue. But like you were saying, Brian, absolutely a super deadly shot if you hit your
So when you, what made you start going west? Growing up like me in Montana, did you have like siblings that had already done it? Because that's my story. My brother and my dad had already started going west. What got you looking towards the horizon? . Yeah. None of
that. Dad got me into waterfall hunting some deer in Turkey type stuff.
But as for out west, I got my dad on his first newly and antelope. I've taken over that. But what it really was moving to North Dakota and [00:27:00] that that archery tag that we can get. Oh, yeah. So as residents, we can get an archery tag that's good for any one deer, newly whitetail, whatever.
And so as soon as I came up here for college in North Dakota immediately started thinking about the bad lands and having, the first opportunity at Mule Deer out there. And that, that is 100% where it started, when you can go out there and. , absolutely embarrass yourself for, a as a youngin for a couple years and learn so much about meal.
That's that was, I owe a lot to that hunt for sure. You learn a ton and with a bow you're bound to get disappointed and have to learn from those experiences.
So is it just a one deer tag period, or just one with your bow?
One with your bow, yeah. So you get, every year you get your bow tag.
So I'm buying that every year and [00:28:00] then you can apply for your rifle tag. And that's what I was saying before, like if you really want a rifle buck tag and you're willing to travel, you can get one in North Dakota. So usually, every year I'm ending up with two,
two deer tags.
Yeah. And there's some, there's like some sleeper, there's definitely some sleeper units out west. So you can you can build your meal deer points and then on the second draw, get a whitetail buck instead. Cuz everyone wants the mules in those western units. And there's some stud whitetails out there and you're really playing the fringe game between like private public, some of it's broken country, it's, none of them are ideal whitetail units, but not at all like you're looking at this whole map of, I don't know how many square miles, but it's this entire unit and you got two half decent, four 80 pieces and like a couple like really bad one 60 s and you're just like trying to find these rutten bucks just covering ground and crossing public.
And the whitetail habitat is [00:29:00] not good. If you were to take a chunk of some of these western, like a section of western stuff and just transplant it to the east and it was public, , no one would hunt it if they looked at the map. It doesn't look at all like whitetail habitat, but then you get out there and they just they're acting different.
Like I've had those second choice tags a couple times and I've shot bucks where the prong horn should roam for sure. It is open prairie and they are vetted in stuff that Eastern wouldn't get caught dead in.
Yeah. Last year that was your take.
they've gotta be covering a ton of ground then every day. If they don't have any cover
Yeah. Yeah. They're not afraid of to cover ground. And they're also, they're using the train a lot more. These nooks and crannies that you'll find them in, it's like you, you'd think you would find everything or be able to glass up everything.
But they know, they know the nooks and crannies that they can. [00:30:00] Fit into and stay outta sight. For sure.
Yeah. I remember the one second draw tag I had, I like found, I was like, I think I'm gonna see these are look like good spots. I'm gonna sit here for the morning. Didn't see a single deer and like what I thought was good western whitetail habitat. So then I just started driving, just putting on miles, checking out different Publix and eventually I one ran right across the road.
I looked down at Onyx. I'm like, oh, hey, by the way, that's public. Flip the truck around, back up, get out, do the stock and shot it, 300 yards from the road. You're like, it's just, we grew up, I grew up with like access to 650 acres of family land. in, in the heart of whitetail country in Minnesota.
And so like you think about like food sources, woodline edges swamps, that's what you look for whitetail. And then you go out west and you're like, there's just, like Ryan said, like there's one in the middle of a burnt pasture, like this pasture's been grazed hard for three years straight and there's your buck.
Yeah, exactly. [00:31:00] Yeah. I had it was not last year, but the year before I had, one of those western whitetail tags and got out there early and just found the best glassing knob I could find in the entire area. And just looked and looked. And I found one group of whitetails and thankfully, and it was a good buck.
And you don't get lucky out there like that too often. And on public, again, super lucky. But I don't know that, that story's kind of interesting. I had,
It sounds like you're lucky a lot.
Yeah. Yeah, that's definitely a part of it. A killer mindset helps. You gotta have that to pull some of these crappy tags.
I say crappy with a heartfelt, I love 'em. I love taking those tags and that's actually why I had the the backdrop that I do here. Cuz these are all my Euro mounts. I got shoulder mounts and stuff, but I think what makes a good hunter is not being obsessed with drawing the best tags or waiting to draw tags.
It is [00:32:00] taking the opportunities you have at the hand and you're gonna learn a lot more on a tag that's makes it harder for you, right? So that that's been big for me. Take what you can get, learn from it. Hunt often instead of waiting. So
it's a pro tip.
man, that's good advice. I think that anybody listening to this needs to really soak that in because I think a lot of people wait to go out west, but they wait to hunt for mule deer or elk or western whitetail until they draw that big oh man, I got unit two in Colorado and if you're waiting for that, you're only gonna get one or two hunts in your lifetime.
Yeah. Whereas if you can get out there and get the experience, one, it's gonna make you more successful once you do draw those trophy units. And two, I mean there's big animals all over the place. You hear about people randomly shooting a monster in an A unit that [00:33:00] is not known for it at all.
You gotta think about, especially on a, if I'm talking about like some of these North Dakota tags that are easier to get, it is the local residents that are going after these tags a lot of times, so they're not. probably gonna be, the stiffest competition out there. And that applies to, I think, every state these overlooked ones by non-residents, just because it's, more broken public or takes more out of the box thinking to put together a hunt plan.
Keeps out a lot of the nonresident pressure, which honestly it seems like it's two different types of pressure when you get, resident pressure. And a lot of these units it's the people that are like you, that you gotta think around. They're doing the same ees scouting that you're doing, looking at the same maps that you're doing.
So if you're willing to think outside of the box and work around boundaries and get in other people's heads it certainly can help a lot for your
[00:34:00] success. Oh yeah. And like those units you're talking about, the locals are pro like commonly the locals are applying for that unit cuz they live that unit.
That's where their family farm is. So they have pretty good hunting. Yeah, they're not, I've never seen, a local on public land out in some of these, what you would call maybe an access tag. Like it's a tag that you can get. It's not a trophy tag, it's like an access tag. It allows you to go chase a buck.
You're not going there's no pressure, there's no, like the locals are hunting, they're 40 or they're at one 60 or they're, sometimes it's big. But yeah, you're, you pretty much got the place to yourself. And that's the nice thing about hunting. Like those units that you and I hunt, Ryan is you never see anybody chasing whitetail.
Sometimes you might find an animal punter, one time I ran into a guy looking for elk and I had just had that elk tag. So I'm thinking in the back of my mind dude, you weren't even close to where the elk live in this unit, . But it's access tags, like you said, it, you're going to, you're gonna become such a better hunter by hunting these access tags [00:35:00] year in, year out.
The skills that you need to develop and build on to like spot and stock a mule deer in some of these bad lands, open countries or to spot and stock a find, even find a whitetail, and then get in close to 'em in these open, like real low vegetation like units. By the time you draw that limited entry that you might be building in another state, you're gonna be a stone cold killer.
Yeah. Yeah. Not to mention the diversity of the tags that you're gonna end up getting. . I, with the exception of archery hunting the Badlands multiple times every year I haven't hunted the same unit in any state, no matter the species. It is all about those access tags, different units every time.
And it's not by design. It just, it is what it is. And that diversity of having to dig apart such different train, different units, different species in every state there's no better education than that. Having to do that year in and year out, you're gonna, you're
gonna learn a lot. [00:36:00] And I would imagine going to these units where the main focus is elk and mule deer.
Not only is there not a lot of competition, but the guys that you do run into are probably more willing to tell you, Hey, I just saw a big whitetail buck down here. Cuz they have no skin in the game. Like they're not going after it at all. .
Yeah, for sure. I mean that, we all know that's not the case with mules out in the west.
Both other hunters and landowners, they, the mule deer are, somewhat sacred. Or even, that, that applies to antelope in some places too, antelope and whitetail. Yeah, if you're in a unit where you're hunting not the primo tag, or even like a good elk unit that has mule deer in it, people are looking for the elk and they're willing to share that type of information.
So trailheads are a great time to, to talk to people about that type of thing and get information that they're willing to give for sure. That's a
great point. I just came up with a sleeper idea for anyone and [00:37:00] whenever I'm out west, I am, I always ask Hey, what you guys looking for?
Because I always want them to answer first, so then I can like craft my answer accordingly. . And so I just got new plates on my truck and you can get these custom. Like critical access plates in Minnesota. And so there's like a moose, a whitetail, a Turkey, blah, blah, blah. All the deer hunters get the deer one, right?
Because you're like, oh, I'm a deer hunter. I want the deer plate. I'm like no. I'm gonna get the pheasant plate because it's orange. It looks closer to a North Dakota plate because a lot of people don't like Minnesota plates out west. Cuz there's so many people. Imagine you're growing up in your favorite spot and all of a sudden year after year you're seeing more and more plates and they're pretty much all Washington and Minnesota, cuz that's just where the populations are when people are traveling.
That's a fact. And so you start to see these Minnesota plates, like every public you go to, every spot you used to love to hunt, there's three Minnesota trucks there. You start to develop a little bit of a bad blood relationship with the Minnesota plate. So I'm like, okay, the pheasant plate looks more like North Dakota.
And if someone [00:38:00] sees my truck, they're probably gonna assume I'm pheasant hunting, not deer hunting. So they might talk to me more. Yeah, that's a hot tip,
Yeah. That's a hot tip. So then like I'll be like, Hey, what'd you guys looking for? And they're like, oh, we're elk hunt. And I'm like, Hey, I saw some elk over here.
You guys see any meal deer? And then they're like, so you always ask first so you can you don't want to like just overshare sometimes. Cause you never know what kind of guy, that person it is. Like they might steal your spot or they might go steal your, they might go steal your elk sheds.
Like you gotta ask other people first what they're doing and then if they're like stone quiet, you are like, okay, I'm not gonna tell this guy much cuz he's not telling me anything. Like you, it's a quid pro.
Exactly. Yep. You give me something, I'll give you something. I mean there's plenty of that.
And you can be mutually beneficial on the trail ed when you're doing those docs for sure. Even if you're hunting the same species. Just depends the type of person you're talking to
See. I feel like you have to go one step farther and just have a big camera hanging from your. and have your like, have your [00:39:00] bow covered somehow and just be like, I'm just trying to get some nature photos.
Have you guys seen any big elk? Could you point me in the right direction? That's straight up dishonest. Whereas yours is more, Hey, you go first.
Yeah. I'm just playing three dimensional chest. Dan, you're just trying to get the right information. , I'm hunting.
I'm just flipping the chessboard
over. I'm just gonna let you think I'm pheasant hunting.
I'm wearing blaze orange. I got pheasant plates. You can think what you want, but .
There you go. such a
politician. Yeah, you gotta, modern world, modern problems. Call from modern solutions. and they're like, exactly. Brian and I hunted the same unit in southeast Montana. Was that two years ago, Ryan, where you guys were off in the brakes, not really seeing what you wanted to see, and then you decided to switch it up and come to the unit that I told you not to come to and then saw the same thing we saw
In Southeast Montana.
Okay. To be fair on that, we [00:40:00] did go to the yeah. Brakes area, not to get too specific. And it was good hunting, just didn't see what I wanted. We ended up two of the four shot 'em. But that Southeast Montana. Yeah, I was very aware that right now I'll give a free tip right now. If you draw the Montana tag Southeast historically is a great place to go right now.
Maybe not, wouldn't go there. But that was after I had gotten that North Dakota Whitetail and then next day South Dakota Whitetail. . And then the next day, the Sunday, I decided might as well try Montana. Cause I had all three tags. So I did go there, but it was after I was already in Northwest South Dakota.
So yeah, he's already
I got nothing to lose. And yeah. But what we saw on that trip, I mean we, what we had heard going into Southeast Montana, and this is great for the listeners oh, I googled Southeast Montana and all the forum guys says it's nuts, right? Bucks everywhere. That was 15 years ago.
Yeah, now there's cars [00:41:00] everywhere. And you know what me and my buddy saw is we knew there was gonna be pressure, but we worked hard. We knew there's gonna be a lot of cars. We knew there's not big bucks, but we weren't looking for big bucks. Like we were just looking for a nice, like a good three by three or four by four, like the buck behind Ryan on the wall.
That would've been, we would've been tickled pink to shoot that deer, like even smaller than that. We would've been happy with. Man, we could hardly find a deer that was two years old on public. It was rough and every, like, when there would be a piece of public that would have 50 yards crossing a road, like a 50 yards of this road, there's a public corner, four trucks stacked on it every time.
And so I'm like, geez. Ryan's dude, I'm in the area. What do you think? And I'm like, dude, if I would really like, I would go to the breaks or I would go somewhere else, man, this is rough. This is tough. We finally doubled on like medium size meal deer on the last day. And then brought 'em, packed them out.
And then I think Ryan, you shot your whitetail like [00:42:00] two days later, but you basically pulled that same trick you, you were talking about earlier when everyone else is going for a meal. Deer like these western whitetails are sleeper animals out there.
Yeah, exactly. That. Wasn't having good luck with the mule deer out there.
You can definitely tell the population was on a down year. So yeah, I was like, ah, screw it. I'm gonna go start looking for whitetails. So yeah, I was even able to, I didn't end up shooting non-private when I got on a private piece of land. Right before I shot mine,
Obviously permission land, everyone don't write in with the hate comments. .
Yeah. When I say I got private land, it means yeah. Permission. Permission. I don't pay. Yeah. If that's what you're getting at is that I would
No, just yeah, I shot 'em on private. Just just slip that you like, I don't care if it's private.
I just went and trespassed and shot it. Oh no. Yeah, we're talking permission land. I know. Like person. You wouldn't do the pay to hunt. There's a lot of trespass fee, which sounds really bad. I wish they came up with a better name for it, but it's basically like a one day lease
that is a [00:43:00] terrible name.
I've always thought that the trespass fee, like Yeah, you can trespass if you pay a fee. Yeah. It's then it's not trespassing. It's permission with a payment. Like paid permission. Yeah. Like you,
I am paying to break the law. It's called a daily or
what? Yeah. Yeah. A one week lease or a dail lease.
But they get expensive. It's like 500 bucks a person and there's no guarantee that you're gonna do anything, right?
No. Yeah. These days I mean they're, there are very few trespass, huns that would be legitimately worth the money. Yeah. Yeah it, I mean everybody gets this idea, these landowners and rightfully there are guys that are willing to pay it. But those are different type of guys that are paying those fees. And that's what, here's
a hot tip though, for people. For the people who are interested in doing a trespass fee. I went and hunted waterfowl with this group called Infinite Outdoors, and it's a mobile app.
They've got actually phenomenal mapping software on their app, but you can do those day leases or those [00:44:00] weekly leases that connects you straight. It basically, they're the broker between you and the landowner, but they have a team of biologists that go out there and make sure that it's a property that's actually worth hunting on.
So I'm talking, they'll fly into places, they'll do bush plane stuff. They'll go out there and sit on a river for waterfowl. They'll go check on Turkey and make sure that there's actually a population that can be hunted so that you're not paying a trespass fee and not seeing anything.
Yeah I think I've heard of that coming around. What state was.
So I went to Colorado for that hunt. I think they're in like 14 states now though.
Okay. It sounds like North Dakota's plots program and I think other states have this, but it's like private land open to sportsmen and the nd g f biologist will come and tour your property and say okay, you got a hundred acres here and this twenties [00:45:00] phenomenal habitat.
We're gonna pay you $20 an acre. This stuff over here, it's like a, it's a pasture land, not that great a quality, we're gonna give you like $2 an acre for that. Then they sum it all up and they pay the landowner, which you're paying right. And your taxes and your tag fees. So it sounds like a privatized version of that, which is interesting cuz it's, it opens up more access to hunters.
I think that's basically what it. . Yeah, I think North Dakota does a good job of that. Br you were saying Brian actually assigning, a value to it of how good it is. Cuz there, there are definitely some places that I've ran into in the West where it's public or it's walk-in access, but you get in there and it is a putting green from cattle grazing or other things.
And some of those things you can't always tell from the map. And you get in there and it's if I was a deer, I won't be here either. And they're paying, the state is paying for it. ,
It's ridiculous. We did we did that week. We were in southeast Montana first morning. We're [00:46:00] both excited.
And my buddy is I'm like, what did you, what do you wanna shoot? And he's I don't know, just like a good mule deer, like a one 70. And I'm like, do you know what a one 70 looks like? And he is like that deadhead you got behind you. And I'm like, dude, that's 125 inch mule deer. He's oh, I'd be happy with that.
And I'm like, okay, good. I'm glad we got our expectations on the same page because you're not finding a one 70 very easily in southeast Montana. But we go to this bma like you're talking about Ryan, and it was, there was a fire the year before and not a lot of it had grown back yet cuz it was a drought.
So like fire with a drought is just a, not a good combination. That's not the burn area that all the experts out west say. Oh, burn areas are great. Go hunt like the fringes of a burn all this regrowth and feed. If there's a drought like a five year drought like southeast Montana's had, you're not getting any regrowth.
It's just a bunch of black trees. And then yeah, it was burnt from cattle grazing and the drought and my buddy sees a buck. It was a three by four, [00:47:00] probably 120 to 130 inch meal deer like literally 30 minutes into the first. and I'm like, oh my God, this might actually work. Like we might actually kill a deer on the first day and he looks at it at 250 yards in the scope and decides not to shoot it cuz it wasn't quite what he wanted.
And for the rest of the week regretted it. It was we didn't see another buck on public until the last day. Yeah.
I believe it. A great tip is too many people look at forums and it's yeah, you can get some good ideas, especially from the years that people actually used to use forums and give good info on them.
But it's all about relevancy, time. Relevancy too. Yeah. Look at what's happened over the years for population and yeah. Fires too. Same thing. Not all fires are created the same. There are some that are, they sterilize the soil literally, and that will not be good for. it could be 10 plus years.[00:48:00]
There are other ones where two years after the fire it's insane food, insane growth. So definitely do your due
diligence there too. Yeah, I think you it depends on how hot it burns cuz how hot it burns. No matter how much rain you get will take longer cuz it, it literally burns the seed bed. Yeah. But even like a mild fire, if you got a drought already, like nothing's growing back until you get like a good year of rain and it's gonna take two, three years before you get the kind of regrowth that people are talking about.
Yeah. Yeah. That's a, that we lo we learned that the hard way The first day he was kicking himself and then we tried to go back and there was a guy that was like parked there and he's parked where you are, so you never know did he go right or left off the road. And so we're like, he, we probably went right because we want to go left.
So logically he would've went right. Sure enough he went left. We walked into a hundred yards behind him and my buddy was an eastern whitetail hunter. He's never hunted the west before. . And so I'm like, I'm thinking maybe the same as you're thinking Ryan, like a hundred yards [00:49:00] from another hunter in the west is like a deal breaker, right?
I'm not. Yeah. Like he's here first we're the, he's my ma is let's just go over here like 200 yards. I'm like, dude, this is like the west, like that guy's covering this whole ridge .
Yeah. I want to get away from him. Yeah. If he was there first, I wanna get respect to space, but for my own personal I do not want to be by you and I don't want to trust that you're gonna navigate terrain correctly.
Play winds right. Glass correctly. Or even
just, I'd rather not like trust that, how mad you would be if you're hunting a ridge and some guy's oh, I'll just go 300 yards farther down the ridge. And so I'm like, no, we can't do it, man. And he was pissed, like literally pissed at me. Like I thought it was gonna get ugly.
Like just super angry. He's fine f it, and just starts stomping back to the truck. And I'm like, oh boy. We got three days left of this hunt. Like this could go south real fast. He, by the time we got fi, got back to the camp and figured our new plan, he's over it, but he really was kicking himself for [00:50:00] passing what he thought was a not a good buck.
Turns out it was the biggest buck. We saw the whole trip. Yeah.
Yeah. You'll learn real quick the other way around. When you get to a spot and you have it all to your own massive, piece of public and it all seemed just magical and then you realize it's okay, this is the other type of things that I need to look for.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So Ryan, everyone in the, everyone that's ever hunted the west says, don't pass on the first day, which you would shoot on the last. Do you go by that or do you go by more of a, just whatever feels good on this day? I'm pulling the trigger.
I like to think that when I'm going into a unit, I understand what the unit is like.
I, I definitely pay attention to that type of stuff, and I'm not one I know the expectations for the unit. So I'll meet those expectations. But yeah, I would say, I take such short trips a lot of times. I try and [00:51:00] maximize the amount of tags, but then I'm, doing the stuff like driving through the night.
So they ended up being short hunt. So maybe first day I'll let go of something that would meet my expectations for the unit. But try and look for something second, third, fourth day, but usually by the second day if it meets the unit's expectations I'm pulling the trigger for
Yeah, that's a tough one. I hear that all the time. , that whole phrase like, don't pass something the first day that you shoot on the last, or vice versa. And for me, I'm like, dude, I don't I don't think I've ever set that criteria so firm that I had to stick to it. You know what I mean? If I get excited about something, I'm gonna go after it.
I'm gonna try to make it, make a shot on it. Or if it comes in to the tree stand and gets my heart pumping I wholeheartedly, unless you're on managed private property, I wholeheartedly disagree with putting yourself in that box and potentially missing [00:52:00] an opportunity, especially as a non-resident paying 5, 6, 7, $800 for a license.
And then to be like, no, I said I wasn't gonna shoot one like that. So I'm gonna go home empty handed and kick myself for the next 350.
My brother. Yeah. You said it about the excitement part, right?
My brother's he's a killer man. He's four for seven on archery elk, on public land. Do it yourself, general units.
And he absolutely hates that saying he gets like passionate about how much he hates that saying. He's just shoot. What makes you happy? It doesn't have to be that hard. If it makes you happy today, shoot it if it doesn't today, but does tomorrow shoot it? Just shoot what makes you happy?
I'm like, dude, relax. It's, you're not talking to me like, I get it. No, dude. I'm on board with him. Yeah. He's it doesn't have to be so hard. Just shoot. What makes you happy when it makes you happy? Because we'll do it like, like you said, Ryan, you gotta know what your unit you're in. If, when I drew the North Dakota tag, like I knew I'm not shooting a 300 [00:53:00] inch bull in the North Dakota elk tag.
Yeah. Like the unit has 400 s that are here every single year. I'm not shooting a 300. And I ended up right smack dab in the middle. , but for a general unit, I almost think don't even look like, don't look up sizes, don't put a number in your head. Just go out there and when that elk or that meal deer is in front of you at 30 yards, just you'll know.
You will know. Dan says, you're not gonna be thinking about packing it out, you're not gonna be thinking about whether you should shoot it. You'll know instantly, like your heart will be pumping and if it is, you know you're shooting this animal. Yep, exactly.
It's called the general tag for a reason when you draw those ones.
you can always hold out for a big one. But I've talked to other guys who have drawn tags like moose tags in elk tags down in Arizona, in units that like are very highly coveted and they don't pull the trigger on a bull, even though they would shoot it in [00:54:00] any other place that they've ever. and they're just like, oh, I just know, I know there's a bigger one.
I know there's a bigger one. And then they end up shooting one that's 80 inches less on the final day because they, there's definitely a bigger one. There's no guarantees. There really aren't. And I get it. Don't go out there and shoot a spike , if that's something you don't want to do, but if it gets your heart pumping and you have to talk yourself out of shooting it, you probably should just pull the trigger or punch the release.
Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes it only takes a few hours to get in the groove and understand unit. Like we had a Montana, the Montana big game combo, so we had the deer tag as well this year. And we ended up hunting a spot that the first spot we tried in, and it was the last weekend of the season.
So they were actually starting to get to winning grounds. Absolute insanity with numbers of deer. First spot we checked out there's, a couple hundred that if we sitting on a glassing knob that we could see and you sees something [00:55:00] like that and it's okay, it's time to get selective.
Cuz you always know that you can go back to some of these spots and get on that buck that you glassed up that first day. Some spots you can't do that if it's treat in and stuff and it's ah, I'm getting lucky that I'm even seeing this buck right now. Maybe you should take the shot. But, if you got confidence in some areas, you absolutely kinda have the confidence that you can go back and find the same animal that you saw on the first day and go back to it.
So that, that's actually fun when you can do that. Absolutely. And start to gauge what the unit has to offer and
just keep glassing. Oh, Dan had a hunt like that this last year. Man. He was, tell, he was giving me like every other day updates when he got cell service. But like the meal deer you guys were seeing in Utah.
Just blew my mind. He is yeah, we saw this. There's this big four by four and there's this giant three by three, and we saw all these bucks and we think we're gonna go after this other one we really like. But if we can't find him, there's a, and I'm just like, I have never in my life had a mule deer hunt where I could judge a buck.
[00:56:00] It was like, there's a buck. That's legal. I'm gonna shoot it. Shoot,
dude. We got into 'em and I'm, I hope to get back out there this year, if not this year. I'll be out there every other year because it's just I've talked about it on the podcast a bunch, but it is this beautiful horseshoe shaped canyon that has trails that come into the mouth of it.
And then they immediately go up over the wall and they're just around the hole outside. Nobody hunts inside of it. And it's like all of the mule deer just funneled down in. They've got their little heidi holes and we. Yeah, when we had one and a half hours, we had six Beded buck encounters, all that I would've shot for sure, like no question about it.
And unfortunately we just couldn't quite get in range. Or if we did get in range, didn't get a good shot opportunity, but it was lights out. I will [00:57:00] not be giving those coordinates away anytime soon. ,
Dan's gonna blindfold me and from like the Montana border and all the way through Wyoming and in Utah, I'll be blindfolded until we get to camp.
Lock me in the back of his RV and just drive me out
there. Yeah, gimme your phone. Yeah.
No, I do. Tranquilizer darts sedate you somehow.
Yeah, that's, it's tough though, cuz you you gotta really trust people when you're bringing them to your spots, because anyone can pull out OnX and just start putting pins down.
And Dan and I talked about this just on the last podcast with Steven Walker about shed hunting, and we're talking about getting a trip planned with Steven today. We're going back and forth which week works for you? And, but it's he's gonna be great enough to bring us out. Like you almost have to blacklist that spot.
If you call Steven next to you and say, Hey, I'd love to get out again. Is it okay if we go and he brings you, that's great. But to go back to his spots without him. And that's just shed season. Talk about a trophy meal, deer unit like you were in Dan. It's [00:58:00] so hard to know who you can trust to bring out.
I talked to an Alaska fishing guy, used him and there was a client that came out and he wasn't even trying to hide it. He pulled out his phone and had onyx and he was telling the fishing guy that he planned on coming back to the spot. He's yeah, we figured we'd come get some good intel and then come back then.
the next day, and the fishing guide told him, he goes, put your phone away, or it's going overboard. And the guy's oh, ha, hold on just a second. Let me punch this in. And he continued to like, try to save spots and that Alaska fishing guide grabbed his phone and literally chucked it in the water.
The guy never got his phone back and the guy the guy immediately drove back to shore and dropped him off.
Yeah, that's like to the point of arrogance, I think that's a thing for fishing, guiding for sure. But under wraps, but yeah that, that amount of arrogance he almost get what you're coming through, eh, for sure.
Yeah. I've [00:59:00] never had, I've never gotten burned by telling someone a spot, but I've also grown up, like my brother's more experienced than I am hunting the west and just hunting in general. And so I just, you grew up knowing you, you don't want a big mouth when you're talking about hunting.
you don't wanna tell people how, like you got a monster puck on your farm, cuz there's poaching, there's trespassing, people steal spots. And so I always just had that know-how in the back of my mind, just watching him talk to people and just you don't wanna overshare, like if there's a friend or like someone's in dire need yeah, we help, but you don't wanna just Hey, how's it going?
Seeing any elk? And then don't even let 'em respond and be like, we saw a bunch of bulls on this spot the other day and all of a sudden you're six trucks in your spot. It just, it's so hard to know to who to bring or who to talk to. Yeah. Yeah.
You almost gotta phrase it at that point. It's like the guys that ended up coming with you and then you realize it's a good aunt, it's okay, this is e Even if I might have found the spot, it's okay, this is our spot now.
You keep this on the wraps, I [01:00:00] will. And the next time we come back it's me and you. So even picking that first person, it. to go on the hunt. It's someone that you'd want to go back there with if it ends up being good. Yeah, I mean we had that this year for our rifle tag. We filled out the two that we didn't fill in archery.
That's why it was phenomenal. And it's I even have other people on my OnX and they're guys that I trust and hunt with, but I took those pins off OnX cuz we share accounts or whatever. It's cuz it's, now it's me in this other guy's spot, we're going back and , I can't let anybody know a golden nugget like that.
Dude, that's next level trust. I'm definitely sharing an Onyx account.
Yeah, I, yeah. I won't even share my Onyx account with my brother .
You wanna know how tight lip Dan is? I didn't even know he had a. There you go.
Dan's brother probably got all the spots.
I don't, I'm just throwing you guys off my trail.
Yeah. . Sorry I can't go to that spot. It's my brother's spot, it doesn't even happen brother[01:01:00] .
What is, what's the plan this year? We're right in the middle of app season, Ryan. Unfortunately Wyoming's already over, but Montana's coming right back up. You guys got plans again for this fall. Are you gonna try to hit up Montana again and draw the big game combo, or are you running short on points?
Yeah, you gotta split it up into the guaranteed stuff and then the hopeful stuff. Though I'm going to Colorado for deer this year. Really looking forward to that. Mountain hunting yield. . It doesn't get any better than that. And then Wyoming Antelope got a big crew going out there.
South Dakota meal, deer. So got some good guaranteed tags in there. And then yeah, I'm thrown in for the Wyoming Elk at four points. We'll see about that. I don't think it's a secret anymore that this year's gonna be an interesting one for Wyoming Elk. A lot of changes coming.
So who knows? I don't know if everyone's gonna be throwing in or people are [01:02:00] gonna be sitting on things, but we'll see. It's a tag that I want. But yeah, between that and then I, again, applying for Montana with zero points.
Another, you're doing the zero points subtle tip, zero points strategy.
It's not subtle anymore. Go hunt, wrecked it for everyone.
Yeah, not everyone has a Go Hunt membership and not everybody looks at the regs, but yeah, it's, I, okay. I thought last year it'd be much better known, but the odds chart for Montana last year as far as like the 0 1 2 were almost
We, me and my bro, so we had seven and Montana's party size is five. Just who picks five. But anyway, yeah, so we had to split our group up, so me and my brother went solo or as a team tag team, and then the other five applied and they had one guy that had a point, so they were at like a 0.2% average or 0.2 point AV zero.
They had a fifth of a point combined . And so they're like [01:03:00] we're screwed. Like we're in no man's land, so we might as well do the point when you apply. And so they bought points and applied. Me and my brother went with the zero point strategy. We all send in our stuff. The next day Go hunt releases the strategy article that talks about this whole thing.
Anyway, we, me and my brother draw with zero. They don't draw with a one, 1.2 point average.
Yeah, that's, you gotta know that, that little tip in Montana the year before and the average points, that's when it was like you could, some people would get it at one, you're guaranteed at two. I had two points. Everybody else had the one. Alls it takes, alls it took was like an inch above one and you got it.
This year it was like, you gotta have an inch above two to get it, on your party size. That, that's another tip too for some of these states that do average points is even if you can't get a party together, but you're aware of the deadline, by the point [01:04:00] ain't some of these states, cuz then yeah, you'll get your other party members to.
Start catching up or getting those points and alls it takes is one guy to have that extra point. And you put yourself above a ton of other people. It's,
that's another tip there. I love how you brought that up, cuz we, me and our group literally had this exact same conversation and it's like beer goggles at the bar, right?
Like certain people start looking a little bit more attractive later on in the evening after six drinks, right? Certain people start looking like a better elk hunting partner when you find out they got seven points in Wyoming and, yeah, we have a guy that's been year one, he was slated to go, he was gonna be a part of the original OG archery elk team and he like blew his.
And ever since, for seven years it didn't work out. Like schedules, group sizes. And so he's been building points in Wyoming this whole time. And he was supposed to be in our group though. And now this year we're like one point away. Ryan said, Wyoming's just a dumpster fire for trying to get [01:05:00] non-resident tags.
It's a great state, don't get me wrong. Great state, great elk. But the point creep is insane. It's on a, it's on a interest growth track that I wished my 401k was on cuz this thing is skyrocketing. Yeah. And so it's man, that other cat, he's starting to look like a good addition to the elk group when he is gonna have eight, nine points coming in
Yeah. If if you guys or anyone that you know has three antelope points in Wyoming, gimme a call. Cuz I got a group full of two and I'm doing. Scouting and stuff, and it's yeah, we'll, we'll find a unit for sure at too. But if you can get a hair above too, it opens up the
I happen to know a guy that's got five.
Yeah. Who's that? Me. I got five. Ooh, I got five. My brother's got seven or eight. He's been doing the, he's been doing the North Dakota whitetail trick in Wyoming Antelope for six years, getting second draw buck tags and keeping his points. Okay. Yeah. He's got private [01:06:00] land to hunt then. He does have private land to hunt.
It's a unit that does have public, but the, it's not great. I don't know if we've ever seen an antelope on public .
Yeah. That's how Wyoming antelope is. The odds, that's the type of hunt where the odds don't lie. If you can pick the tag up on a second choice there's a.
Yeah. They were driving around the first year his, he let his daughter shoot first my niece. And so she shot, I think she did shoot her buck on public, but then there was like nothing. It was just bone dry. And they're driving around just looking for antelope and my brother's looking at the map and nah, we gotta go here and you gotta go there.
And she's there's some antelope right there. And my brother's looking, he's oh dude, that, that guy lives in this house right here, which isn't common out west. Like usually it's some random state and you, there's no way you're gonna track that person down. So he knocks on the door?
Yeah. Oh yeah. He's yeah, I suppose you guys could go out there and hunt antelope and for six years they've been hunting that same guy's ranch.
Yeah. Having a kid
helps the wingman, like the wingman [01:07:00] strategy is where it's at. A good looking wife or a good looking lady with you or a child and your odds of getting access go through the roof
well as. That's funny. I was just thinking about when Ryan was explaining his fall keep in mind, as busy as that sounds, the dude also is a waterfall killer.
So he is also adding probably equal number of days out in a duck blind or a goose spread. And so when you start talking about a wing woman with Ryan, you better pray to God, Ryan, you find someone that loves hunting as much as you, cuz the amount of days you spend out there, there are no other days for the summer vacation or a beach vacation or going off to doing this apple orchard tour in October.
You better pray she loves hunting.
There's no resentment for the trips you've been on
No. Yeah, .
Yeah, no it's all cool. Yeah, you gotta think outside of the box. I'm actually, so I should add this [01:08:00] in. I'm actually going to Hawaii next Thursday. people are like, oh, you going with the family or the girlfriend? It's no, we're a couple of buddies. We're going out there hunting and
So doing the access deer,
not doing the access that'll be for next time. But we're going to the big island for turkeys and in the sheeps
that they got there. Nice. Yeah, that'd be cool. That's the kind of trip where you could bring a girlfriend and then she'd just, she'd be happy as a clam to just sit on the beach and drink my ties while you're off arrow and hogs and have
Exactly. That's my
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, that's, I don't even care how this first trip goes, just learning how this system works, cuz I, Hawaii, everyone complains about certain states, like maybe Montana, about their licensing system. Hawaii is, the wild west. It's terrible . So figuring it out first, and then we'll worry about bringing, actually, setting up a vacation
So that kind of is a good point with the destination style hunts, are you, do [01:09:00] you have certain sleeper states or certain trophy states that you're building points in and you don't even really apply or hunt and then you're hunting these access tags in the meantime? I have a spreadsheet that I've shared with Dan and he just was like, dude you're ridiculous.
Such an engineer.
Yeah. I'm the same way. I manage a lot of people's points and like that type of thing on spreadsheets for sure. But no I would say, all the states that I currently put in for, I'm expecting to hunt, here and there. As far as sleeper states, they're really, it's harder.
Define 'em anymore. Sleeper states. Cuz you could talk about like building points in a Washington or Oregon. Wouldn't recommend it really, arizona, it's like everyone understands what they're getting into. It's a long points game. You don't, especially being from North Dakota, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna draw an access tag in Arizona.
I have to pass through a bunch of other good hunting on that 24 hour drive to get down there. That's not in the focus. [01:10:00] But New Mexico definitely is. I'll be putting in for several New Mexico species just because it's actually pretty economical to do in a way it's actually probably a per species basis.
It. if you're gonna put in for a few species cheaper than most other Western states you just gotta upfront the tag costs. So if you're trying to go after Orex and iex and elk and all that, it's like you better be okay with being down a couple, few grand for a couple
months. And talk about a that's sleeper.
Talk about a calendar breaker, New Mexico. Cuz you can't plan on anything. There's no point system. Yep. There's no analytics you're putting in, but you're planning on, you're, most of the time you're planning on not drawing and you're swinging for the fences, but in the meantime you gotta plan the rest of your fall.
We're gonna go elk hunting and Montana, do all these other things and then all of a sudden you get an email from the New Mexico game and Phish that you drew this once in a lifetime ELK tag and the whole calendar just goes out the. . [01:11:00] Yep. . Yep. But worth it. Worth it. Yeah. Worth it. I've got a sleeper sleep.
If you're planning it right? Yeah. If you plan it if you pick the right unit, like you're not gonna do the 40% unit New Mexico, cuz it's just not worth the stress of trying to plan around for what you're getting in a tag. From this far away from North Dakota. If you live in Arizona, go for it.
Hunt it on the weekends. But no, I got a sleeper. I got a sleeper ta state that I'm building points in and when I say sleeper state, I'm talking like roofies sleeper, like this state. I'm building points in Utah, which is like a 30 year program, . So
Yeah. That's a tough one. I was surprised to hear, Dan, that you had gotten in on a tag.
I, I missed that. Was that an archery or a rifle tag?
That was an archery tag. And I didn't even put in my friend she had just got a bow and had been practicing all summer. Messed up her shoulders. So she had a drop in poundage, screwed didn't feel confident out to certain ranges, but she put in with [01:12:00] zero points and got a tag.
And it's an area that's really well known for elk. And we did run into a lot of elk hunters, but we just went out there got, I bet you we had a dozen plus encounters inside of 70 yards with big bucks. And she even the first time ever hunting, and I think this was our second day seeing mature deer, and she stalked one into 15 yards and she drew back, got up from her knees and there was a login between her and the deer.
And when she stood up, all she could still see was the head ears and antlers and had no shot. And it went straight from beded to a full sprint. But I bet you in addition to those closer encounters, we probably. , we probably doubled or tripled that in sightings within 300 yards of big bucks.
That's wild. I believe it. [01:13:00] I'm trying to hunt some good bucks. I'm trying to hunt elk in the Boulder unit or the Dutton unit, which is like a, right now it's at 25 points to draw. I got a 0.4% chance I want to, I'd love to go with Ryan Carter from DC Outfitters. I think the dude trail camera's more 400 inch bulls than anyone I've ever seen in my life.
Yeah. Yeah. I've seen that. Not anymore though.
Yeah. Yeah. Utah's maybe Utah's playing a little fast and loose with the laws coming outta congress on hunting rights. They got the trail camera band, now they're doing the sheds, closure tail's. Getting a little feisty over there. You're gonna have, yeah, they, you might have some people cussing for the first time in their lives over in Utah.
a good way to put it. Yeah. They've always been a, ah, they're a little sketchy about land type stuff over
there. Utah's a state that has out of all the states and there's exceptions everywhere, but it seems [01:14:00] like the hunters in Utah have a passion and a drive that is unparalleled in most other places.
Like the guys that run in trail cameras or the shed hunters or the elk hunter, like these dudes are on another level. Seems like every big shed hunter is from Utah. Seems like all these like 400 inch guides are all in like Utah. It utah's just a wild state. It is. Yep.
So yeah, it's not one that I apply for right now.
I just, I look at those odds and it's and again, I have to drive through so much other good hunting. and I mean I got like the Dakotas in Montana to look forward to that. Yeah great. Tag pickers,
so I hear you. Yeah, I always try to get the access tags and sleep on the limited entry options down the road.
But yeah, it's what it is. It's just hunting. Yeah.
I am curious to see what these different, would all these eastern states and Midwest states that are picking up elk or having elk [01:15:00] reintroductions starting to open up seasons. I'm curious to see how that's gonna play into Western access and tags and availability and draw odds.
Because really realistically, I think in the next 20 years we're gonna see another dozen states that open up elk seasons and they might not be for non-residents, but it gives the residents an option to go and hunt there instead of travel all the way out west.
Yeah, it definitely could. I've always thought about just like, How big are those herds gonna get before the local farmers in the local egg community starts to push back and be like, Hey, elk are cool, but I still have to make a living.
Cuz we see that a lot in North Dakota. That's the number one limiting factor on the North Dakota herd is ranchers don't want anymore elk. And so we don't even have a sustainable herd to open up non-resident hunting. The only way you can hunt elk in North Dakota as a non-resident is to buy the auction tag or win a raffle tag.
And so Dang. Yeah, I kind of wonder like [01:16:00] I've, yeah, the local guys that get drawn in like Missouri, they might not go out west that year, but yeah, just curious like how it's gonna happen cuz there's so much population on the east, where are these elk gonna go live?
Yeah. Obviously Appalachia is the place they're looking into and rightfully less, less ag to get into there. Yeah, it's definitely something I've thought about. Kentucky has done a heck of a job getting their hurt up and going. I haven't, I've thought about throwing in for that one too. So it's could go the other way around too.
It's I'm a guy that has pretty decent access to the west. I'm not coming from all the way out. I used I'm getting an elk tag, every year. And now I'm thinking about going to, or at least applying for Kentucky . So it's it might go the other way around too. It's like people think that would be super cool to hunt elk in the Appalachians.
Might as well try it. So I think Randy Newberg just did a giveaway with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the Kentucky Elk tag and guided by Randy. And I'm like, that would be sweet. But I've heard some nasty stuff about the Kentucky Air. Like we think some of the stuff we hunt is steep and [01:17:00] gnarly.
Like some of those mountains are pretty nuts.
Yeah. And a oh yeah, a jungle too.
So awesome man. Ryan, we're coming up on an hour 15 already. Man. Time has flown by. I g Dan and I have this problem every time we start talking about hunting. It's dude, half the day just went by every time. Yeah. Who doesn't
Yeah dude. But it's awesome to hear your take on like the western whitetail and the, coming from a flatland background and then diving into all these different opportunities. That's what the podcast was really about, is just truly how many opportunities are west of the Missouri.
Yep. Awesome. Yeah, absolutely appreciate you being here, bud. Appreciate you getting to chance to meet Dan the original OG host and yeah, thanks for helping on man.
Yeah, absolutely. Blast talking to you guys and I have never passed up an opportunity to do that.
So yeah, anytime you want to come out and call for us, Dan, and I'll gladly take you up on the hour.
You might we won't even be mad if it takes you till 10 30, 11 in the morning to. To Colin, our bowls. We'll [01:18:00] be we're fine with it. We're not too picky. I love calling. I wish I could do like
praise hands emoji on the podcast. I don't think that's possible, but Yeah. ,
The listeners definitely wouldn't get it, but yeah. That's nuts. No . . Awesome. Thanks for being here buddy. And thanks for listening folks.