Hunter Profile with Ricky Brule

Show Notes

On this episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles, we chat with Ricky Brule a passionate hunter and the marketing force behind Vapor Trail Archery. Like most hunter profiles, we get to hear about Ricky's hunting origin story as a kid who was interested in archery and bowhunting. Ricky talks about recently being diagnosed ADHD and the benefit archery brings to himself and others with that diagnosis. Ricky along with "Hollywood" just kicked off a new podcast called "The Range" that explores both hunting and target archery. Just another awesome interview with a serious and passionate bowhunter.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Dan Johnson: Mic check one, two. Levels are good. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of The Nine Finger Chronicles. It's a Friday edition and these are my favorite because, dude, it's Friday and even though I am self-employed and I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want, I still love Fridays. I still love the weekends and, uh, I don't know, man, I'm gonna be on a boat a little bit this weekend and I'm looking forward to it.

Uh, yep, I'm fired up. Anyway, hey, we have a really good podcast Today we're gonna be talking with new friend. A new member of the Sportsman's Empire, Ricky Bruley, [00:01:00] and uh, the dude he works for Vapor Trail. He's the marketing guy at Vapor Trail, but he is a passionate outdoorsman. He loves to bow hunt. He loves archery.

Actually, he was a competitive, he. He shot on Botox, I believe it was Botox pro staff for several years. So he's a, he's an archer, he's a bow hunter. He is the guy who, he really goes out to chase meat from the sounds of it. He likes big deer, just like all of us, a big antler animals. But I think it sounds to me like his priority is fill in the freezer and a lot of guys are like that, man.

And I love that. I love that about him. And so, uh, it's a really good episode. We talk about his youth. We talk about, here's an interesting fact, uh, and you're gonna listen to him explain all this, but he recently was diagnosed with A D H D and he, uh, talks about. How archery helps with that [00:02:00] and how he feels that more kids with A D H D should pick up archery 'cause it forces them to focus.

And so I can't help but agree man. I think it's gonna be, uh, I think it's a really good conversation. So Awesome Hunter Profile podcast coming down the pipe today. Uh, real quick, I'm gonna knock out. You know, these brands that help support me, uh, you know, the Nine Finger Chronicles has always been a free podcast.

Uh, so I really do appreciate you guys taking time outta your day to download this and also listen to the commercials, because ultimately this is how I get paid. This is how it remains free, uh, to all of your ears. And, uh, I really appreciate that. So if you're looking for a saddle, go check out Tethered, um, tethered has the new lockdown, and, uh, I'm, I'm really looking forward to using it this year.

I've already been messing around with it, so, uh, I am, I'm jacked about getting up in the tree and just hanging from a saddle this year being ultra mobile, especially on my out-of-state hunts. And, [00:03:00] uh, so if you're, if, if you need more information about the lockdown in all of, uh, tethered products, go visit tethered

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Four, five mock scrapes out. And so I'm really looking forward to seeing if they take, and I'm gonna be able to use them in my hunting strategy this year, man. So, uh, the, if you're, if you're interested in the code blue sense, then you need to go to their website, code blue and check out the rope of dope.

That's what I used. It's an orbital, the orbital gland. You rub it on the rope and you make a mock scrape underneath of it. And also listen to Troy [00:05:00] Pottinger episode where he talks all about mock scrapes. And so code blue, discount code N f C two zero, they have synthetic sense, they have real. Uh, deer urine.

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It's been a, they've been a company since 1924. No, no, excuse me. 1944. Uh, and they, it's a, it's a habitat tool. It's like a machete, and it allows you to just hack and clear out areas. Uh, it's awesome to have in your pack. Keeping your truck. Woodmans And then last but not least, hunt worth. Oh man.

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Dude, they have some awesome, awesome gear that, uh, I'm sure you guys will love. So, and it, and it's very affordable compared to some of the elite brands out there. And you're getting, uh, the, the guy, the guy says 80%, 80 to 90% of the, the quality with 50% of the price compared to some of the other elite brands that are out there.

So go check out Home Worth. Woo-hoo. We're done. We are done with the commercials. Appreciate it. Go to iTunes, leave a five star review. Uh, if you have any questions or you yourself wanna be on the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast, hit me up. Uh, I try to answer every DMM that I get on Instagram. Uh, so go hit me up, tell me, uh, [00:07:00] that you got a cool story.

And more than likely I'm gonna, if you can talk English and you don't get too nervous, we'll be able to have a conversation and, uh, I'll get you on the podcast. So, uh, good vibes, man. Let's listen to this episode with Ricky Bruley. 3, 2, 1. Alright, today I am joined on the Nine Finger Chronicles podcast by Ricky Bruley.

Ricky, how we doing man? Good. How are you doing, bud? I'm doing good. And I even had Brew Lee, so I, so I said your name right? I, I, uh, there you go. They call that fanatic or, uh, 

[00:07:39] Ricky: what's that called? Fanatically. 

[00:07:41] Dan Johnson: Phonetically, I think you right? Yes, very close. I wrote your name fanatically, and that just tells you how much of an idiot I actually am.

So, yeah. 

[00:07:50] Ricky: Whatev, whatever you gotta do, man. 

[00:07:51] Dan Johnson: Exactly, exactly. Ricky Bruley, how you 

[00:07:54] Ricky: doing, man? Yeah, good, good. Uh, just, uh, getting off a weekend. My, uh, my wife is [00:08:00] a artist, so she had a big art show this past weekend, and so hanging out with, uh, hanging out with my daughter most of the weekend and just doing a bunch of yard work and, you know, getting ready for getting ready for spring season here.

Heck yeah, dude. 

[00:08:12] Dan Johnson: Yeah, man. What kind of, I, I, now I'm curious, your wife's an artist. What kind of art does she do? 

[00:08:18] Ricky: Uh, mostly watercolor. And then she also does some acrylic stuff too. So as far as the watercolor goes, it's all very natural, like rocks and feathers and sticks and stones and stuff like that.

Okay. That's the titles of a lot of her work is Sticks and Stones. Okay. And then, uh, she also does some acrylic work of, um, uh, you know, some, uh, women paintings and then others that are more abstract Yeah. That they kind of, they kind of look like, um, they're called patterns of the soul, but they kind of look like the rings on a, on a tree.

Okay. Um, when it's, you know, cut, uh, crossways or whatever, or, um, what's the word I'm looking for? Yeah. I, 

[00:08:55] Dan Johnson: I know what you're talking about. I know what you're talking about. Yeah. Here, lemme tell you a quick story. I [00:09:00] really enjoyed art class, uh, growing up. Absolutely loved it. Mm-hmm. Went to college and started taking art classes, or started taking an art class.

It was the most basic. The most basic class. Mm-hmm. And I got a C minus in the class, and the, and the art teacher said, you know, some people just don't have the I. And I'm like, oh, wow. How is that, that's the dumbest thing that, uh, I I've heard because one dude taped a banana to a wall and like the, the attention that that got was like millions and millions and millions of, uh, people saw that and it got all this attention, like, oh, what a breakthrough piece.

Man, that's just a break. I'm like, and I, and I get shit when I just make a really bad painting. 

[00:09:50] Ricky: Right. That's funny. Yeah. I mean, some, some people's definition of art is different, obviously, you know, but, um, I, I, I kind of feel you that feel [00:10:00] you in that area too. Uh, it's part of what got me where I'm at was I was the same way.

I really loved art class. Mm-hmm. I do agree. It does take a certain degree of an eye, but it's not, that doesn't mean you can't learn it. Exactly. You know? Exactly. Um, so that's, I don't know that that's kind of upsetting that, that the teacher would say that, but nonetheless, uh, you know, I agree with you.

Yeah. Some art is just not, I don't know if you could call it that. Right, right. 

[00:10:25] Dan Johnson: And, uh, and so after that I, I started doing like different styles of, uh, oil paintings. And man, at one point I had like a hundred of them in, up in my attic, and finally I just threw 'em, flew, uh, threw 'em away. There's a couple still in my house of, uh, some of the favorite pieces that I've done.

But, um, man, I, I tell you what, there's something about art that's really, that, that is a lot like archery. Where whenever you're doing said craft, you're not thinking about anything except doing said crafts. And like when I'm shooting my [00:11:00] bow, that's the only thing I'm thinking about. I'm not thinking about the stress in my life and all that stuff.

And so super focused. Exactly. Exactly. 

[00:11:07] Ricky: So yeah, you can just drown in it. It's absolutely, it's awesome. Absolutely. That's a cool little tidbit about you, man. I didn't know you were mm-hmm. Didn't know you were an artist, so that's 

[00:11:16] Dan Johnson: really cool. Well, I'm not an artist according to her. According to my, that teacher, I'm not an artist.

So, um, so where, okay. You work for Stoker Eyes and Vapor Trail Archery, correct? 

[00:11:32] Ricky: That's right. 

[00:11:33] Dan Johnson: Alright. What's your, what's your job? Yep. 

[00:11:35] Ricky: Uh, well, currently I'm the creative director. Mm-hmm. And I basically just worked my way from the ground up. Mm-hmm. Um, I was previously working for Sportsman's Warehouse and, uh, you know, it was, it was kind of my first adventure into the outdoor industry.

Always been really passionate about the outdoors, but graphic design, uh, was my, was my trade mm-hmm. At that time. And so, you know, just as a starving artist back then, [00:12:00] you know, you had to pay the bills somehow. Right, right. So I was just working, you know, full-time at Sportsman's. Then kind of was working my way up into management role and, uh, then the store that I was working for, or actually.

All of the stores in Minnesota closed down in, I think it was 2009. And so I had already established a relationship with the guys at Vapor Trail. Mm-hmm. You know, 'cause we were selling their strings and cables and arrow rests through the store. Yep. And so I had gotten to know them, and then, so when that happened, I just reached out and said, Hey man, I need a job.

And so I, I had already kind of been building bow strings on the side, uh, from time to time. Yeah. And so then I just jumped in and started working full-time right away. And then just again, kind of worked my way up. Um, I was looking at some of the graphic design stuff, their catalogs and some of that kind of stuff.

I was like, Hey, you looks like you could use a little bit of help there. So yeah, started doing that kind of as a side gig, uh, on my own time. And then, so then it just kind of grew into, uh, into where I am [00:13:00] now. So I, I essentially take care of everything on the marketing side of things. Publication, advertising, video editing.

Yeah. Um, I did bring in, uh, uh, Um, a very talented individual. His name's Damon Wolf. I brought him in this year to, uh, create some content for me. He is a very good photographer. Mm-hmm. Uh, videographer, all that kind of stuff. So I brought him in, uh, and he's been, um, really just kind of giving us a fresh new look this year.

So that's, yeah. That's of fun. 

[00:13:26] Dan Johnson: That's awesome. It's, that's from a marketing standpoint, I would say that would be the hardest thing would be some kind of rebranding because you're known for this certain type of thing, and now you have an option to make. Do we, do we switch things up? We kind of be, uh, you know, we create a new look, a new edge.

What are our old, current, loyal customers gonna think? You know, what are our new customers gonna think? You know, are they gonna be like, Hey, what are these guys trying to do? I'm outta here. Yeah. I always, that, that whole dynamic [00:14:00] seems, uh, is, is very interesting to me from a, from a marketing standpoint.

[00:14:04] Ricky: Yeah, definitely. I mean, you know, a majority of our customers, I would say are probably anywhere from, you know, Mid thirties to mid fifties, somewhere in there. Mm-hmm. And so definitely trying to pivot and look at, uh, ways to market to the younger crowd, to millennials, gen Z, that kind of thing. Um, and it's funny you say that, 'cause this morning I was just reading up on a ton of marketing articles on, on different things that companies have been doing, um, to appeal to those, uh, generations.

And so hopefully we can start bringing some of them in. And that's kind of what we're hoping with the podcast as well. Mm-hmm. You know, just again, creating some brand awareness. You know, we've been around for a long time, but again, we've got those two generations that are kind of sticking with us and then the newer generations don't know about us, so we gotta try to figure that out so 

[00:14:47] Dan Johnson: everybody who's listening look for.

Ricky Bruley to be on TikTok doing those dances to get some, some traction, right? Yep, 

[00:14:58] Ricky: yep, yep. [00:15:00] That, yeah. TikTok is one of the ones where I've, you know, I've gotten on there a little bit for the Vapor Trail side of things, but man, it's, I 

[00:15:06] Dan Johnson: don't know. It's, it's, it's a whole new world over there. Yeah. Yeah.

Yep. Yep. Um, so before you started working, uh, you know, at the Sports and Warehouse and at Vapor Trail and Stoker Eyes, were you in the outdoors at all? I mean, were you, were you a hunter still at that point in your life? Yeah. Okay. Yep. 

[00:15:28] Ricky: Yeah, I grew up, um, really wanting to hunt. I didn't, you know, my dad did some rifle hunting, you know, for white tails, but he, you know, he would go out, it was like kind of a once a year thing, go up north with his buddies and, you know, they'd, uh, Deer hunt, you 

[00:15:46] Dan Johnson: know, go, go.


[00:15:48] Ricky: Basically party it up in a cabin for a week or whatever. But, um, you know, and so he kind of got, I was really jazzed up about wanting to do that, and I can't really remember what, what it [00:16:00] was that really had me, uh, excited or kind of gave me the itch to hunt. Mm-hmm. I'm not really too sure. I mean, Jeremiah Johnson was, was one of my favorite movies and Oh heck yeah.

You know, so might have something to do with that. I was a big Rambo fan too, so like shooting a bow, you know, would've been, you know, pretty cool. So how old are you? Uh, 

[00:16:19] Dan Johnson: I'm 42. Okay. So me and you probably you, you mentioned Ram, like our, our life is probably on the same path as far as movies. Nintendo for sure.

Like all that stuff, you know, the outdoors. Yeah. I get it, man. 

[00:16:33] Ricky: I get it. Yep. Yeah, so I think that's what's kind of planted the bug. And so, yeah. And then my dad started taking me out deer hunting and, and then I would also go out gross hunting with some friends. I had a few buddies that were Boy Scouts, so we did a lot of camping.

We did a lot of fishing, we did all that kind of stuff, as much as we possibly could. So yeah, that's kind of what stemmed all of that for 

[00:16:51] Dan Johnson: me. I think it would be cool 'cause it it in Rambo, in Rambo's First Blood, he didn't have the bow [00:17:00] yet. He had the bow in like the second movie. Where he saves his love interest from like a, like a, a camp, some kind of camp or something like that.

Right? Yeah. Okay. Just imagine that guy who's like, Hey dude. How did you become interested in bow hunting? Well, true story. I watched, uh, I watched Rambo too, and I said to myself, I want to be a bow hunter. 

[00:17:25] Ricky: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, for sure. And it's funny to think too, because like I'm, I'm kind of excited to get, um, my wife has a 10 year old.

Mm-hmm. Um, he's my stepson and I'm, I, I probably watched the Rambo movies at that age and it was maybe a little bit too young for me at that point. 'cause it is a rated on movie. I, I wanna show him those movies so bad. I'm like, I'm like, I tell you what, when, when you're 12, we'll we'll watch 'em. Right. And I'll, I'll go through and, you know, censor out some things that maybe you shouldn't see.

But I'm like, you gotta watch those movies. They're great. 

[00:17:55] Dan Johnson: Absolutely. Oh man, that's awesome. So, [00:18:00] uh, at what age? Did you, did you kick it off? And I mean, are, you know, so you mentioned you had your, your dad went to deer camp, but then like at what age were you like, okay, I love this stuff. I, I want to, I want to get more into it.

[00:18:18] Ricky: I would say it was probably eight or nine, something like that. Because my first in Minnesota, the first year you could hunt was at 12. Yeah. Uh, and now the rules have changed a little bit. As long as you're accompanied by a, um, a licensed adult, you can go out almost at any age. And, but I would, you know, so there was a few years before that where dad and I would just go road hunt, I'd jump in the car and we'd just go drive around all day and see if we could find some deer.

Mm-hmm. You know, he'd drive around public land and we had a few, uh, private spots that we could hunt too. So we would just drive around and, uh, so that's kind of where the itch started, I suppose. And then the archery thing didn't really. Didn't really take place until I was 16. [00:19:00] Um, I bought a bow from a friend's dad.

It was a p ss e Polaris that I still have. Mm-hmm. And, uh, you know, just shooting in the backyard and everything like that. But I never actually hunted until I was in college. Yeah. So when I was eight, 18, or 19. Okay. 

[00:19:14] Dan Johnson: I gotcha. Yeah. And then like, so I wasn't, it wasn't for me until 26 where I had like a, a, a flip switch moment where I was like, I'm, I identify as this, now I'm gonna be this, yeah.

I'm gonna do this thing. Did like, at what point in your life did you have that moment? 

[00:19:36] Ricky: Um, as far as like really wanting to hunt, like, just like, it's all 

[00:19:40] Dan Johnson: I think about, it's all I wanna do. I don't care about it. I don't care about collecting stamps, I don't care about sports. I don't care about all the, you know, like, You know what I mean?

All everybody has their thing and my thing is bow hunting. 

[00:19:53] Ricky: Yeah. It was definitely when, uh, when I first started working for Sportsman's Warehouse, that was in 2005. Okay. Um, 'cause I got, [00:20:00] I got a new bow and got it all outfitted out and it was just, it was miraculous to me. I could not believe that bows had come so far.

Yeah. And, uh, when I shot, it was a BoTech Allegiance, 2005 BoTech Allegiance. Mm-hmm. And I just absolutely loved that bow. Uh, and, um, and then a few years down the road, got a few animals under my belt and then a few years down the road I got onto their promotional staff and I shot for them for better part of a decade.

Okay. So, um, Uh, and then it just kinda got to a point they, they took kind of more of a target stance and I had already kind of, uh, put it out there that I was like, Hey, I just, you know, life's getting too busy. I don't have a lot of time to do all these events and stuff like that. So I would rather just buy a bow.

I don't, you know, I don't need to be on a promotional staff. And they kept me on a little bit, but again, I think once they needed to trim the fat, then I was one of the first to go. So, which is fine. 'cause it was kind of cool to be able to now explore a little bit more, shoot other manufacturers and play around with different bows.


[00:20:57] Dan Johnson: yeah. It's funny, man, my story is [00:21:00] not too different from yours. Mine was 2006 and my first bow that I bought with my own money was a, a bot tech, uh, tribute, like the next, the next year's bow from, from what you had. Mm-hmm. And, uh, you know, same, same type of thing, man. It was, uh, that's wild. Yeah, it's crazy.

Yeah. And so, 

[00:21:20] Ricky: you 

[00:21:20] Dan Johnson: know, I. What was it about the 'cause? Sometimes people, they get into something, they say, this is hard, or this is different for me, and they put a little energy into it, but then they don't come back to it because they, they failed. What was it about bow hunting that kept you coming back every single year and making it your thing?

[00:21:44] Ricky: Oh man. I mean, just the, just the time, uh, spent away, you know, that's the big one. Uh, and it's tough for me 'cause I have, um, I have a D h D so for me to sit in a tree and be calm and all that kind of stuff, it's, I'm really flexing those muscles. Yeah. Hard. Yeah. [00:22:00] And I need that. I have to have that time.

Yeah. Um, otherwise I just, I start to get a little bit stir crazy. And then of course, the icing on the cake. Anytime you, you know, you kill an animal, it's just that you can't explain that feeling, right? Yeah. Uh, you just have to experience it for yourself. And so, uh, that's really kind of what got me. Got me hooked.

And then when I went out west for the first time too, that was probably in oh six, I think. And I didn't have a bow in my hand. I was just following a buddy of mine. Mm-hmm. And that was, uh, you know, to chase after him was a whole new ball game for me too. Yeah. You know, and so that really got me, I was like, man, you know, I do enjoy the time sitting in a tree, but I enjoy being outside even more and having the ability to like chase after 'em.

Yeah. So that really planted a bug. Uh, and every time I have a new experience, it's like the, the bug gets even stronger. Yeah. The first time I went el, first time I went elk hunting, I was like, oh man, this is gonna be my life from here on out. Yeah. I mean, if I could afford to do it every year, I would, but, right, right.


[00:22:58] Dan Johnson: let me ask you, uh, [00:23:00] a question here. Um, A D H D, so I know people who, you know, they have a D H D and they're not good at sitting in one spot for long periods of time. You know, they get antsy and they wanna go, right? Yeah. Yep. What is it like having a D H D. Sitting in a tree stand for hours at a time. 

[00:23:21] Ricky: It, it's, it's tough.

You know what I mean? Yeah. In all, in all honesty, ha, having a phone in my hand actually helps quite a bit. Okay. Uh, but I have to be careful with that. 'cause sometimes you get a little bit too distracted, you're not paying attention. Uh, but it does help me sit still. Like I, I hold my hand, my phone and my hands down low and then just, you know, I can just kind of move my eyes down and, and watch.

Mm-hmm. And it helps stop me from moving. But again, I do have to take those moments where, uh, I just, I put it away, I put it in my pocket. Mm-hmm. And then just, and just think, you know. Yeah. That's one of the things with a D H D is there's like, I don't wanna say like, I'm crazy, like there's voices going on in my head, [00:24:00] but there's just a lot of, there's a lot of noise all the time.

There's activity. Yeah. Constantly thinking about this and that. Mm-hmm. Um, oh, what am I gonna do here? And what, what, you know? So just all these thoughts just constantly brewing and brewing in my head. But yeah. Um, again, it helps me to flex that muscle of just slowing down, relaxing because it is very difficult for me to, I always have to be moving.

I always gotta be doing something. Yeah. And so, I mean, in a way it's been part of my success. And that sometimes too, it's also been, uh, you know, kind of a thorn in the side too. Yeah. So 

[00:24:29] Dan Johnson: I can definitely see how that would, you know, like unknowingly sometimes people need to be so, so for me, when I'm out west and I'm going through a, a period where I haven't seen a mule deer all day long or whatever, and I, I need to become motivated to go over that next ridge and look, yeah.

Keep looking and keep looking where it sounds to me like the. Your mind doesn't allow you to accept that, and you just [00:25:00] automatically, it's like you're, it's almost sounds like you're on autopilot and it's like, it's, it's no problem for you to just keep going and going and going and 

[00:25:06] Ricky: going. Yeah. I mean, well, that's part, you know, if you, if you break it down, if you break down the science of what A D H D does, it's a deficiency of dopamine.

Um, okay. Reaching the executive function portion of the brain, which is the frontal lobe. So every little tiny hit of dopamine that you can get, it helps you focus and helps you move forward. So just like you're saying, that next hill is that hit. Gotcha. And then, and then the struggle too, you know, so that's a big part.

That's a big part of it. You know, people getting into ice baths and doing all that kind of stuff where you put your body through some stress. Mm-hmm. Then your body tries to go into this state of homeostasis and bring you back up to, you know, your normal levels and it kind of slingshots you into a, into a, a feeling of like euphoric feeling or like a, kind of like a body buzz.

Mm-hmm. And so that's kind of how it works. Just that next, you couldn't have explained it any better, just getting over that next ridge and wanting to [00:26:00] see what's over there. Okay. Nothing next ridge what's over there. And then that struggle to get there, um, feeds that also. Yeah. 

[00:26:08] Dan Johnson: So is it difficult for you to sit and practice archery then, or is it, is the, the shot and the process actually helpful?


[00:26:21] Ricky: process is actually very helpful. Okay. Uh, and, and so here's the thing is I, I've always kind of proclaimed or just, you know, assumed and joked about having a D h d the majority of my life. Yeah. But I was just diagnosed like last year. Okay. And so having that awareness all of a sudden is like, oh wow, you know, this is okay.

And then I was actually talking, there's a, um, there's a gal that comes into our pro shop a lot with her kids and they all love archery. And a lot of them have a D H D as well. And she said it's very common for someone with a D H D to shoot a bow because it, because of the therapy. Therapy that you get from it.

Yeah. Um, just that, because it's not all just about not being able to focus. In a lot of [00:27:00] cases it's about hyper focus. Mm-hmm. And so it gives you that ability to go down the checklist, you draw the bow back, you, you know, you line up your pe, all those things that are in that checklist that are in your head.

And so just having, being able to have that ability to hyper focus definitely feeds it and, and helps, yeah. Quite a bit, 

[00:27:17] Dan Johnson: man. I feel like. This type of conversation should be, should be yelled from the mountaintops. Like, Hey man. Yeah. You want to, you want to get your kid, uh, to settle down or you wanna find an activity for them to do where it, where you know, they can sit and concentrate and, and it will, it will actually help them.

I feel like your message and your story that you've had is a perfect idea for a parent who might be struggling with a kid with a D H D. 

[00:27:48] Ricky: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And it's funny you say that because I, I haven't figured out how I'm gonna do it. I've been kind of reaching out to, um, some, some guests to try to find somebody who could maybe supplement [00:28:00] that conversation on our podcast.

Yeah. 'cause I would like to have that conversation. Um, and, and again, to your point, bring it to light Yeah. And say, Hey, look like this might be an avenue to help your kids, man. So Cool. You know, with that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:28:14] Dan Johnson: Well, thanks for sharing that, man. Uh, um. So you, you just mentioned right there that you guys just started a podcast, um, that's on the Sportsman's Empire.

You, you reached out to me and you're like, Hey, I got this idea. What do you think? And we started talking and it was a great idea. And, and so talk to us a little bit about, uh, your guys' new podcast, what that's about and, uh, and what, what people should expect to see hear on that, on those podcasts. 

[00:28:44] Ricky: Yeah, for sure.

So it's, it's called The Range and, uh, it's inspired by the range that we have here in our pro shop. Uh, and we've got the, the largest indoor range in the, in the Minneapolis area. It's 40 yards indoors. And, uh, just trying to [00:29:00] bring back that. Old range feel. Mm-hmm. Uh, so my co-host Hollywood, he, him and I used to shoot at a place that had, we had 24 hour access.

You had a key that you could get into the building and, and you could just go there. And, and a lot of times you'd just go to shoot and there might be three, four other guys there. And then you'd kind of start telling some stories. And they had a pizza cooker and kind of an honor system. They had a fridge that had snacks and candy and pop and all that kind of stuff.

So it was all honor system. You threw 50 cents in the jar and uh, it was just a really cool, um, place to go. And so we've kind of gotten away from that a little bit. And so we want to try to, with up with our facility, we want to kind of try to bring that back. And so with that comes those conversations, right.

Where I, you know, I said Hollywood. I go, man, like we could just, we just need to record these conversations we're having. 'cause I mean, why not? You know, maybe some people will be entertained, maybe some won't. But again, why not? You know? And again, to, to also help generate some of that brand awareness.

'cause like I had mentioned before, 30 years in the [00:30:00] business, and there's a lot of people that don't know about us yet. So, yeah. In, in a way it's like, I was like, man, there's so many podcasts. You see that a lot where it's like, oh, well what's gonna, how are you gonna set yourself apart from everybody else?

There's so many different podcasts out there. And yeah. Um, be that as it may again, still, it's just, you know, we're, we're already having these conversations, you know, let's, let's organize 'em into a, a, a conversation where we're talking about not just hunting, but we're also getting on the target side of things.

Mm-hmm. Uh, Hollywood's got a lot more experience in that area than I do. And then we've got, you know, our pro staff, we've got a number of people that shoot Target, uh, and that know about it really well, and so we can get a lot of feedback from them. We, we, we plan to interview some of those folks. And then again, too, as far as the hunting realm goes, I mean, been doing this for quite some time, so got a lot of connections and a lot of different people that we can talk to about, I.

Hunting in general and bow hunting and yeah, being outside, just everything foraging. You know, I've, I've gotten really, really into that [00:31:00] lately, and now I'm trying to be a farmer too, so There you go. Um, so just all kinds of things that we can talk about, you know? Yeah. But just kind of going back to the simpler lifestyle, you know?

And so that's a tough struggle for me because I'm so immersed in technology every day, but then I want to be on the other end of the spectrum as well, so it's like this constant struggle for me, you know? Yeah. Back and forth, back and forth. So, 

[00:31:22] Dan Johnson: yeah. Man, I, I, I tell you, it's, uh, I, I don't know. There, there's, there's a lot of podcasts out there that talk about, you know, in, in a roundabout way, talk about the same thing.

But the cool thing about what you guys are doing is like, uh, like you're, it's coming from the conversations that are sparked at. The target range or at, at the target range and not necessarily just a bunch of hunters who are Yeah. You know, talking about big buck tactics and things like that, so. Mm-hmm.

Uh, that, I mean, and that's part of the reason why I [00:32:00] said, Hey, let's, uh, let's do this thing. And, and, uh, and now you guys got, I think, I think, uh, you got two EP three episodes out, or two as of right now? Two. 

[00:32:09] Ricky: Two. Um, two. Two plus the intro. Yeah. Uh, and so the third one, it will come out on the 

[00:32:15] Dan Johnson: 29th. 29th. There you go.

Alright. So next, next week. This upcoming week, Monday. All right, cool. Yep. Um, so let's talk a little bit about some of your favorite, favorite hunts. And I, and I don't mean like a specific hunt, but you mentioned elk and it sounds to me that elk hunting kind of caught you a little bit. Yeah. From what I've, from what I've gathered so far, talk to us about what, what it is about elk cunning that, uh, Kinda captivates you.

[00:32:48] Ricky: Well, you kind of get, you get the best of both worlds. So I, I really, uh, love to mule deer hunt. Mm-hmm. And so you've, you get that aspect rolled into it, but now you're, now you're [00:33:00] able to locate 'em with calls. Mm-hmm. So it's kind of like a, it's a combination of spot and stock for mule deer, but then you've, you've got some, you know, Turkey hunting type tactics that you use to try to locate them.

Right. And I, you know, I like to Turkey hunt. I just, I don't get the bug like some guys do. And so, and maybe it has something to do with me being a terrible Turkey hunter and, and not being able to be successful in the woods, but, There's something about like the moments when I was in the mountains and having some close encounters with elk and it just put shivers up your spine.

Oh yeah. When you've, when you've got one under 20 yards bugling. It's, it is the most intense experience. One of the most intense experiences I've ever had. Yeah. And even then, like to be just camped out there, uh, you know, and just listening to the elk bugle at night, it really kind of reminds me of the Northwoods here in Minnesota when you hear the loons calling.

Oh yeah. It's very, it's similar to that for me. Yeah. And just to, just [00:34:00] all around very surreal experience. For long as I've been hunting, you know. You get out into that type of environment and there's just a, there's an excitement that it, it's like just a new thing. And I, I mean, I, I didn't have any success when I was out there.

Uh, but just the whole experience was, was unbelievable. So many encounters with, with elk. Uh, we actually ran into, um, a group of gentlemen hunting from Wisconsin. Uh, they're all in their late sixties and seventies and just so cool to see them up there in the mountains nine miles back. Mm-hmm. You know, and still out there elk hunting.

They do it every year together. Yeah. They've got pack horses up there, you know, so it gives them a little greater ability to, you know, make some a little bit more mobile. Super nice guys. Said, Hey, if you guys shoot an elk, Let us know, we'll pack it out for you, you know? And, um, during the trip, I had shot a few grouse with my bow, so I was giving them the grouse as payment to, you know, in, in the event that we shot an elk to help us carry it [00:35:00] out, you know?

And so just a, the whole thing was just awesome. Yeah. The whole 

[00:35:04] Dan Johnson: experience. I'll tell you this right now, man. You, you wanna talk about memories that are ingrained into your, like your being, your, your mind, your soul, dude. Yeah. I had, we had this, this bull elk, he was beded, but every time my buddy Bugled, he bugled back.

Yeah. And it, and so we were able to locate him. We got in into 40 yards on him, and he, my buddies started picking up like dead trees and throwing them and smashing them. And just like making this gigantic commotion down at the bottom of this little, or in this low part of this drainage we're at. And we were, we were at about, I think just under 11,000 feet.

At this point. Sure. Mm-hmm. And this, this elk stood up out of his bed and it was very thick in there, but I could just kind of see the rat come up and he bugled again [00:36:00] and like these mom, those moments in this whole interaction, I feel like it just happened yesterday and that was several years ago. And, and it's so vivid.

Um mm-hmm. When, when you have an encounter like that, I don't get that when I'm sitting in a tree stand and, or I shouldn't say I don't get it, I get very few of them. Yeah. Uh, in the amount of time that I spend deer hunting compared to this, the, this one event that happened in this one year. Mm-hmm. And so, I don't know, man, it, it's a, it's amazing when, when it all comes together.

[00:36:35] Ricky: Yeah. I mean, and they're just like, you're saying they're such powerful animals. Yeah. I, I mean there I had a moment where, Uh, I kind of was trying to work my way in on this bowl and, uh, I had actually intercepted another one that was just feeding. Mm-hmm. And he kind of caught me off guard a little bit. I was kind of out in the open and he picked his, lifted his head up and looked at me.

And [00:37:00] all I could do was just pray that my camel worked well, you know, and just slowly tried to kind of tip the broom in my hat so that I could try to hide my eyes and hope that he would put his head back down and offer me a shot. And he didn't. He ended up spinning around and kind of taking off and, uh, my buddy was calling down the hill from me, um, to try to get this other bull to come my direction.

And anyway, long story short, this bull runs off and then, I don't know, 10 minutes later or something like that, you can just hear all this commotion. I mean, it, it sounded like a bulldozer going through the, going through the woods. Yeah. And uh, we got over. To where all the noises were coming from. And that bull had raked a probably an eight foot pine tree.

And all that was left was, it was a toothpick sticking up outta the ground. Yeah. I mean, ripped every branch off of it. It was just in complete, total shambles. It was just blown away by just, I mean, just the sheer strength that they had, the 

[00:37:56] Dan Johnson: power that they, they have to have 

[00:37:57] Ricky: to do that. Yeah. It's crazy.

Just un [00:38:00] unbelievable. Right. And we all, we got so close to getting him to come back into and he just, he was a little skittish and I wasn't able to get shot. So that would've, but that would've for my first bowl, that would've been a night. It was a nice five by five. That would've been a good bull. Yeah.

[00:38:12] Dan Johnson: Yeah. How it goes. Yeah. That's fact, man. We, we were at, uh, that same meadow, uh, in Colorado, uh, like two years, like it was a two, like a year later or two years later. Mm-hmm. Uh, we went up and did the same thing again, and we had this. We got lucky. And it was, uh, they were right at the bottom of this meadow and this meadow.

This meadow went from about 10,000 feet all the way up to tree line, so you could see where the trees stop. It was just one giant meadow. Mm-hmm. It was actually an avalanche chute. Yeah. That, you know, that, uh, that didn't grow back. It turned into this grass thing. Anyway, man, this one bull caught, like, he, he started hammering at us and I saw this elk [00:39:00] with my bare, like with my eyes for the first time.

And it looked like a painting, like the, the steam, like when he bugled, you could see the steam coming out of his mouth, uh, oh lamb. And then the, uh, Uh, and he, I'm guessing he's three 50, like a three 50 caliber bull. And that was the biggest, that's a big bull for Yeah. For Colorado in that, in that unit. And I was just like, holy cow dude.

Like, please come to me. But he stayed with the cows and he, and then next thing you know, they cover a mile in like 10 steps and Yeah. Here our little legs are trying to keep up. So 

[00:39:39] Ricky: Yeah. They can move 

[00:39:40] Dan Johnson: quick. They can, they can. And so where, what all states have you hunted for elk? 

[00:39:46] Ricky: Uh, just Idaho. Just Idaho.

Okay. Alright. Yeah. I didn't 

[00:39:50] Dan Johnson: Is that steep where you're at? 

[00:39:53] Ricky: Yeah. I mean, it, it's not too bad. Okay. Uh, it was, you know, there's obviously some areas that, you know, can [00:40:00] get pretty steep, but you know, it, it wasn't too terribly bad. Yeah. What elevation were you guys at? Oh gosh. Um, I, I honestly can't remember now.

Yeah. Uh, it was, it was 2019 when we went out there, so I'm, I, I, I'd throw a number out there, but I'd probably be wrong. So. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:40:20] Dan Johnson: I just, I just remembered, uh, getting, so we drove 18 hours from Iowa. It was 18 hours for me, 18 or 19 from Iowa to the town. And then we, we stopped and got gas, bought our tags in, in Idaho, went to the trailhead and started walking on no sleep, no acclimation.

Oh no. Oh, dude. It was that, it was a very tough first, that was 2014. Very, very tough. My legs were not working at all that, that, that trip. Mm-hmm. And so, um, I had to learn how to acclimate for 24 hours before I started doing anything [00:41:00] physical, you know, like, I don't know. Anyway. Um, how many times have you been out there to, in total?

Just once. Just once. Oh, okay. 

[00:41:07] Ricky: Just once. Yeah. So I've only, yeah. So I've only hunted elk the one time. 

[00:41:10] Dan Johnson: And is it something that you plan on doing again 

[00:41:12] Ricky: here pretty soon? Yeah. Yeah. As a matter of fact, uh, well this year I didn't draw, uh, my North Dakota mule deer tag, and then I was relying on a Minnesota Bear tag, but I did not draw that either.

So then I was thinking about going out to Colorado, O t c. Uh, I've got a buddy who lives out there that can get us in some good ground where we hopefully won't run into too many hunters. Yeah. Uh, but I'm still kind of debating whether it's in the, um, whether it's in the budget right now. I still gotta kind of try to figure that out.

'cause I still have some deer meat and stuff from last year. Yeah. And so it's like, you know, trying to debate whether I, whether I should, should go or if I should just save my money. Yeah. Um, just focus on white tails this year and then have, you know, a little bit of extra cash to maybe do something, you know, 'cause I've been applying for points out there, but, you know, so then I can, [00:42:00] you know, maybe try to get a, you know, a, a tag in a better unit.

So, yeah. Maybe I'll do that, but, um, while you were talking there, I was, I'm looking up on onXmaps here. The, uh, so I was at, we were at 9,000 feet. 

[00:42:11] Dan Johnson: 9,000? Yeah. We were at that between 75 and 95 when we were out in I Idaho. And even that was still tough for me. But then I can, like I remember my first day in Colorado, my first hike in, we, we took, so we got into, we got into um, uh, Western Colorado.

We drove all the way through the night, got into Western Colorado, then took an entire day to just chill and then take, then sleep, and then go hit it hard. That, that next morning we went up to the mountain, set up camp, and then we started going. Mm-hmm. That saved my, I believe, I truly believe that saved my life because I, I don't know what I would do at, you [00:43:00] know, 10, 10, 8, 11, the, the one year we got to like 11 two, I think it was.

Yeah. And Jesus, I just, no legs. No legs, and I'm a flatlander, you know, so, yeah. Yep, 

[00:43:12] Ricky: yep. Um, yeah, my buddy, my buddy that I went out there with, he, uh, part of the reason why I ended up going with him, he, he asked me to go, because he was running ultra marathons at that time. Okay. So he wanted, he was looking for somebody that could try to, that could keep up.

Mm-hmm. And I was like, well, I, you know, I, I don't know if I'm the right guy, but I trained and practiced and, and hiked and wore my pack and did all that as much as I possibly could here, but there's only so much you can do. Oh, yeah. Uh, it does not prepare you for, you know, for the mountains. And when we, when we got up there, uh, I.

You know, first day found a spot to, to camp, and then the next goal was to find water. It's like, okay, we gotta find our water. And the first two or first three spots that we went to didn't, they were dried up. So we had to keep looking, keep looking, keep looking, and we [00:44:00] covered a ton of ground. And I was like, I looked at 'em at the end of the day, I was like, I, I don't know if I can do this.

I think I'm, I was beat, I was dead. Yeah. Uh, but after, just like you said, I, you know, took a day and I got acclimated and then my body showed up, and then I was, I was in much better shape after that. But yeah, it took a minute. Yeah. I was, it was definitely humbling experience. 

[00:44:20] Dan Johnson: Right. Especially when, like, the hardest part for me was keeping up on the hydration.

Like, I, I was drinking, what I felt was like, was two liters every, every four hours I would say I was drinking water that fast. And I was still, my, my urine was almost brown. 'cause it was, I was so dehydrated. So I was just like, oh my God. I, and then, so the one day I just had to take a day off and I just, all I did was just pound water until my stomach hurt.

Yeah. And that, that, I think that helped me get through the rest of those hunts. [00:45:00] Smart. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Smart. So, outside of elk, you mentioned mule deer. Uh, have you been doing a lot of that as well? 

[00:45:09] Ricky: Uh, in, not in the recent years. Yeah. I hunted, uh, North Dakota for many years. And then, uh, it started, you know, they had some hard winners and, and the deer population was, was, uh, Decimated.

Well, not decimated, but it, it, it got hurt pretty bad. Yeah. And so then it got a little bit more difficult as a non-resident to get a tag. So then I started going to South Dakota. Yep. Uh, went to South Dakota for a few years, but now they've added some restrictions as far as like certain places that you can access now as an non-resident.

Mm-hmm. And so after spending three years of, uh, you know, scouting and haunting and doing all that kind of stuff, and we finally found our spot that we really like to hunt, and, um, you know, again, with time being so limited, it's hard for me to justify going out there and not I. Having a high percentage of filling a [00:46:00] tag.

Yeah. So, you know, I try to figure out, I'm always trying to, you know, adjust and figure out where, uh, where my time can be spent best and have the best probabilities of bringing home some meat. So, yeah, because that's really ultimately what I'm concerned about. Okay. Obviously shooting a big buck is nice, but, uh, you know, if, if I, if the opportunity presents itself on the last day, I'll lace a dough if I can, you know?

Yeah. So I'm not really too concerned about all that, but, uh, so. South Dakota put restrictions on. So then now I've, north Dakota's population has kind of rebounded. Uh, and so I've been applying there for the last couple of years. Uh, 'cause I, I have a, I have a buddy who lives out there that I've wanted to hunt with for quite some time.

We've been talking about it for about five years. So I didn't draw this year, but I should now draw next year, so. Gotcha. I'll get back out there and do that. But I'd also, I would, I'd love to get out to some, uh, Western states a little bit further out. I just, you know what I mean? Like, I found some spots. I found spots in the Dakotas.

They're close [00:47:00] and I. Why not, you know? Exactly. Uh, and the, the tags are relatively inexpensive as well, so that, yeah, that's always, uh, that's always helpful. But one of these days, I'm sure I'll get out to Montana for the Elk, mule deer combo and yeah, try that and, you know, all that kind of stuff. So yeah, 

[00:47:16] Dan Johnson: I just found out I drew South Dakota this year.

You know, they right on. I didn't think I was going to, uh, because the number of tags that they, that they cut for non-residents, um, and how now it's, you know, it was applied, but it was a guaranteed draw now. Mm-hmm. Now, I, you don't, I don't know what the percentage is and, and so I got lucky when I drew and, uh, I was talking to, you know, someone else, uh, about this, I believe last week.

And like I, I almost planned not to draw South Dakota because I didn't have any preference points and it, you know, it was sure who knows what, what it was gonna be. And so I planned not to draw, but. Now I'm [00:48:00] probably gonna draw Kansas too. I'm, I'm saying I have a decent shot, so I was hoping that I could not draw Kansas and, uh, or draw Kansas, but not South Dakota and then start a, a flip-flopping year rotation on 'em.

Sure. Yeah. But now I think I'm gonna have to hunt both places this year and Yeah. And then next year find a different state to hunt, because those two will be off the table again for Right. If I had to guess so who knows? Yeah. Who knows what'll happen. 

[00:48:32] Ricky: Yeah. You never know, 

[00:48:33] Dan Johnson: man. Yep, yep. What do, like, where does, where does, does your one experience with elk rank with your, your mule deer experiences?

Like if you could hunt, hunt elk every year, would you, would you hunt or would you rather hunt mule deer? I. Yeah. 

[00:48:49] Ricky: I mean, if I, if I lived in a western state, I would, elk would be my priority. 

[00:48:54] Dan Johnson: Right? For sure. But it's not, and there's no mule deer in Minnesota, so [00:49:00] I mean, so is it mule deer? Just for, just because it's closer, 

[00:49:05] Ricky: that and that, and the, you know, cost.

Yeah, absolutely. That, that's a, that's a big factor. You know, just again, um, I, I am a, I'm a better mule deer hunter, I would say mostly just because of the experience that I have, and I know that I have greater chance of filling my tag. So that's probably the route that I would go if, if, if at all possible.

And you know, right now too, with, uh, my daughter, she's two and a half years old, so Yeah. As she, as she starts to get a little bit older, then that's gonna be. You know, it'll be a little bit easier for me to get out, you know, and, and funds aren't gonna be quite as critical. Yeah. And so hopefully that's gonna open up some doors.

Plus then I, I plan on her being a, a hardcore hunter, so she'll be able to join me on some of those adventures. Heck yeah. You know, we'll see how that goes. But, uh, yeah, I, I just, um, yeah, the mule deer is, you know, just 'cause of, it's, it's more cost [00:50:00] effective. Yeah. Absolutely. Pound for pound, pound for pound.

You know, it, it's less costly. I'll, 

[00:50:05] Dan Johnson: I'll say this, man, I, I, I talked to my wife actually, here's how the conversation started. My daughter said, Hey dad, can I go to your South Dakota or your Nebraska hunt with you this year or what, or can I go west with you? And I said, well, sweetheart, the problem is, is you have school and I don't, you know, you can't get pulled outta school.

And so I was talking to my wife, um, about this, and my wife and me kind of came to the consensus that. An opportunity like this, I feel she'll get more of an education on, on a, a hunt like this, me pulling her outta school. And so I actually in the next couple years might be pulling her outta school for a week to take her on one of these hunts where I kind of hunt for my truck and see if she likes it.

And, and see it probably won't be for near as long of a, a timeframe mm-hmm. But it would be just a [00:51:00] good experience for her to come out. Her legs are long enough to where I, I feel like she could, we could go do kind of an easier type hunt and mm-hmm. Uh, I, I know I have some contact where I could park my, my truck in some good spots and get onto some walk-in or get onto some public that, uh, yeah.

Would just be beneficial for her. So I, I mm-hmm. Man, that, that's in my future and I'm 

[00:51:21] Ricky: excited for that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. I look forward to, um, trying to get them out and, and, um, My wife's son, Coda, you know, he's 10 now. He loves grouse hunting, he likes to hit the trails and walk. You know, he's not real big on sitting in a blind and doing all that kind of stuff or sitting in a tree.

He'd rather, he'd rather move around, so, right. I hope someday to try to get him out and do some of that kind of stuff too, just to run around in the hills and, yeah. Have, have a blast. 'cause even if there's never been a year that I go out there that I don't find a couple sheds too, you know, so there's usually some treasures out there that you can find, uh, amongst, uh, the, you know, the time spent.

[00:52:00] So, yeah. 

[00:52:00] Dan Johnson: Let me ask you this, you, you mentioned like your priority is kind of meat. Um, talk to, talk to me about your thought process on that and how you've made the decision. It's not necessarily about antlers, but it's about meat for, for you. 

[00:52:16] Ricky: So, I mean, it, I guess it's always kind of been that way, you know what I mean?

Grew up, I. Eating venison. Um, I honestly didn't really like it when I was growing up 'cause my mom didn't cook it well. Yep. Uh, and it, until I found out how to really prepare it, I was like, not really a big fan. Yeah. And, uh, but now I'm just like, absolutely love it. My family not so much. Um, but so in order for me, in order for us to get through it now and, and utilize it, we do a lot of sticks, we do a lot of sausage, we do a lot of that kind of stuff, and we end up eating a lot of it.

Um, you know, of course Backstraps and all that kind of stuff, you know, I always gotta, you know, bake and wrap those and throw 'em on the smoker for a few hours. So that's, you know, those are always gonna be reserved for the better stuff, but Heck yeah. Uh, [00:53:00] but that, I mean, that's for me, you know, we, you know, I eat a deer every year.

Mm-hmm. Uh, and if my family ate more of it, you know, I'd, I'd maybe go through two, but yeah. Um, You know, that's, that's it for me. You know, I, again, I, I, I want more value for my buck when I, when I spend time doing these things. And, and also just trying to, again, like I was saying with that struggle with like technology that we have today, and then also, you know, getting, I, I have this draw towards more traditional skill sets, and so I want to, I wanna know and understand how to use those and, and, and so I want to teach my family, you know, in the event that who knows what could happen in the world, right?

Yeah. Like, we can survive so you can be prepared for it. Yeah. Yep, yep. And even if we can't do everything right, we, you know, you go back to the old, um, bartering system, you know mm-hmm. Where it's like, you know, I trade a little bit of meat for. You know, some broccoli. I don't know, [00:54:00] because I would say, I can tell you I'm a much better hunter than I am a farmer.

There you go. I'm working on that 

[00:54:05] Dan Johnson: man. Like from a hypothetical standpoint, if the world goes, just imagine how crazy initially it would get if all these people, you know, a majority of the people live in these giant cities, if all the sudden things just got shut off, right? Yeah. Like the whole district, the food distribution chain got shut off.

Where, where's all this? I mean, holy cow. Everybody would start heading towards the Midwest because that's where all the food is and mm-hmm. There would, we would have to defend our, you know, we'd have to blow up the bridges between Illinois and Iowa so no one could cross the rivers and, and we'd have to get the, oh man.

It's like a, it'd be a movie. It'd be, it's a Netflix 

[00:54:48] Ricky: special. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Water is very concerning for me too. There you go. You know? Absolutely. So, um, but who knows, you know? Yeah. Maybe I, I, I'm [00:55:00] not a crazy prepper by any means, but at the same time, like I just have this draw, you know? Like, I feel like I was just born in the wrong generation.

[00:55:06] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. That's, uh, so you're telling me you're not gonna bury a shipping container and turn it into like a, uh, a warhead bunker? Oh, 

[00:55:17] Ricky: I've thought about it.

But more for, but more as like a, as a seller to store food Yeah, exactly. As opposed to a, a bomb shelter, but, okay. I gotcha. 

[00:55:32] Dan Johnson: I gotcha. Um, so, so then it's just, it's just like the main focus is, so for me, I focus on an older age class deer. And usually that comes with bigger antlers. Um mm-hmm. Not all the time, but sometimes that's the benefit.

And then I get the, the, it's, it's not necessarily the secondary thing, but [00:56:00] with that comes meat, right? It's, I'm not like, Hey, I'm gonna go shoot a dough just 'cause I want meat. I'm trying to accomplish a goal. And the other benefit is that I get meat out of that too. So, um, with white tails, are you, are you focusing on age or at, uh, age or antlers at all, or is it truly, Hey man, all I care about is that I get meat in my freezer.

[00:56:25] Ricky: Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I, I didn't have, you know, I would definitely like to shoot. Yeah. Big deer. Uh, and I've, I've passed on a lot of smaller bucks. Mm-hmm. You know, so, uh, and I've always just kind of worked my way up, started small, you know, and then try to outdo myself the next time, and then, then outdo myself the next time.

And then, um, now I've, I've kind of hit a peak where I, I may have shot the biggest white tail I ever will. So again, so my standards have to then kind of go back down to a normal level, right? Yeah. Where, um, but I'm, I, you know, I, I [00:57:00] do kind of focus if I'm gonna shoot a buck, I do want it to try to, I, I want it to be above that 1 25 ping young if, if possible.

Um, I am still waiting on a good opportunity to, uh, to shoot a buck that get, you know, would provide me a good set of rattling antlers. There you go. And, and that just hasn't quite happened yet. 'cause they're either too small or they come through early in the season and I let 'em pass because I don't wanna, I.

Fill my tag just quite yet. Yeah. And then I don't, and then I don't see him again. So, 

[00:57:26] Dan Johnson: so two questions or, uh, one question here. What was this, what was this big buck that you shot that you don't think you're ever gonna, you're ever gonna 

[00:57:36] Ricky: top? Uh, so it, I was in a, a metro hunt, um, down in the south, southern part of Minneapolis.

And, uh, not like in Minneapolis, but in a, the southern suburb. And, um, nobody had seen this buck out there at all. And it was like the last, last day of the hunt. I'd hunted, I think nine days straight. Okay. Uh, [00:58:00] full, full sits all day sits. And last day I was just kinda like, okay, it's not gonna happen or whatever.

And then, so this, there's a nature center, um, nearby, so I'm assuming that's kind of where he was hanging out. And some doughs probably drew him out. 'cause it was November 17th. Okay. Or, uh, November 19th. Okay. Um, this was in, this was in 2017. And so, um, but yeah, he, I, I honestly didn't even know what I had, what I had gotten.

I, you know, when I first laid eyes on him through my binoculars, I was like, okay, he is a big deer. I'm definitely, no, no hesitation. Yeah. Um, if he comes in, he's, he's gonna get it. And just did a couple of buck grunts and he came in, shot him at 19 yards and it wasn't a, it was, wasn't a good shot. I kind of freaked out and, and had a bad shot.

Got shot. He kind of ran off. I walked him, we gave him the day, went back out later in the day. Uh, and then we bumped him. But he was hurting. He was, he was hurting bad. He couldn't run. And [00:59:00] so, um, he was kind of moving away. So I made this big circle and tried to get out in front of him and cut him off. Uh, and I wasn't able to get into position in time.

So then thought, alright, we'll come back later tomorrow. And, you know, he, he was, he laid down. We figured he laid down in this little thicket where he'd probably still be in the morning. Yeah. And so as I was on my way out, because it was the last day of the hunt, I had to pull my stand. So I was on my way walking out to pull my stand.

And of course I, I made sure that I had an arrow knocked in case I came across him. Mm-hmm. And lo and behold, um, caught him in my peripheral about 15 yards off the trail I was walking. Wow. And so I just stopped next, stopped behind the next tree, got down on my knees, drew my bow, and just kind of. You know, slid out to the side just, just so I could get my arrow around that tree and just put it right through his chest.

And, and he went, 

[00:59:46] Dan Johnson: well, that's awesome, man. What now? How big was he? Do, do you have any, uh, he, 

[00:59:50] Ricky: he grossed 1 79 and then, uh, netted only 1 61. 'cause he had, he had some, uh, yeah, he had some [01:00:00] little sticker points on there, so, you know, I lost, I lost length on those and all that kinda stuff. You can't 

[01:00:04] Dan Johnson: count. You can't count what that deer grew.

Definitely can't do that. Right. Get outta here with that. That's, uh, yeah. So you, you shot a 1 79 inch buck. Dude, that's a giant. And, uh, I got, kind of going back to your rattling, you're looking for a deer with rattling antlers. One time I, uh, was hanging out like this, this friend of mine, I, I went to high school with.

He is a killer. Like the dude shoots giant deer and if there's no giant deer, like he's killed enough deer where he is just like, I, I may not hunt this year unless something shows up on trail camera type of type of guy. Mm-hmm. Like he's looking for the primo deer. Yeah. Yeah. And so, uh, I'm in his truck one time and he had his rattling antlers sitting on his front, front seat.

And I go, Jesus, man, like, is this a set you showcase in your house? He's like, no, these are my rattling antlers. And it was like a rattling. It [01:01:00] was, it was like 180 inch, 180, like 184. He said he measured it if, if the spread was whatever. And I go, dude, you're using these as your rattling antlers. He's like, yeah, man, if you wanna rattle in a Boer, you gotta use Boer sheds.

And I'm just like, oh my God. So that's funny. Yep. That's cool. Well, I tell you what Ricky Man, I, I'm, I'm really, uh, excited to see what you guys do with the range and some of the content that you guys put out on that podcast. Uh, and for everybody that's listening, you can check that out on the Sportsman's Empire feed.

You can check it out. They have a, an individual r s s feed as well. You can go to the Sportsman's Empire website and see their profile page and check out the content that they're putting out there. And so I'm looking forward to that. And, uh, as always, man, good luck this upcoming season. 

[01:01:53] Ricky: Yeah. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Yeah. As far as the, the podcast goes, we're just getting into the swing of it and, [01:02:00] um, you know, we, we got through history now, so we, we got through the, all the informational portion of it. So it's really exciting to get start getting into just having some of these really awesome conversations. Episode three is all gonna be, is all about Turkey hunting.

Yep. Have a good conversation with our director of operations who used to work for, um, double Bull back before they were Oh, yeah. Um, bought out by Primos. Yeah. So he, uh, was part of that crew back in the day that helped kind of pioneer how we know about Turkey hunting in a blind to this day. Mm-hmm. So have a great conversation with him and just looking forward to kind of getting more into the weeds of.

With, you know, hunting and all that kind of stuff, target shooting and everything. So look forward to it and happy to be a part of the Sportsman's Empire. You guys have been an awesome family and, um, you know, just everybody supports everybody. It's just, it's really been been great a, a great community to work with for sure.

Awesome, man. 

[01:02:50] Dan Johnson: Well, hey, thanks again for showing up today. No 

[01:02:53] Ricky: problem. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

[01:02:59] Dan Johnson: [01:03:00] And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another episode in the books. Huge shout out to Ricky. Huge shout out to all of you guys for taking time outta your day to hop on the podcast huge or to listen to the podcast, download it. Do me a solid, go leave, a five star review on, uh, iTunes or wherever you download your podcast.

Let everybody know how awesome this, this podcast is. And then huge shout out to tethered wasp vortex code blue woodman's pal hunt worth, and uh, that's it. So good vibes in, good vibes out, and we'll talk to you next week.