Hunting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Show Notes

On this episode of The Nomadic Outdoorsman Dan talks with Yooper Sean Larson about the progression of hunting Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Sean was born in Michigan’s U.P., then transplanted to Oconto County, WI., and after high school he went back to being a yooper. Sean has been fishing, hunting and studying the outdoors for as long as he can remember. From fishing bass tournaments at 14 years old, to just praying to see a 2.5 year old deer he has done it all. Since being introduced to archery his passion for hunting deer with his bow has taken over. Sean recently got married and his luck continued when he shot the biggest buck of his life on opening day of the 2022 season. Dan and Sean share stories of hunting the Great Lakes region and both successes and failures.

Show Transcript

Dan Matthews: [00:00:00] All right guys. Welcome to today's show and joining me on the show today is Sean Larson. Now Sean is a er, and for those that don't know, that means he's from Michigan's upper peninsula. Honestly, it shouldn't even be part of Michigan. I think there's a lot of people who would agree with me on that and it I think it should be part of Wisconsin.

It's more connected to Wisconsin. It's more similar to Wisconsin, and I'm not gonna lie, I would love to have the up as part of Wisconsin's hunting and fishing license. It's just a wild place. It's as close to Canada as you can get. Just the terrain, the features, the wildlife. It's a pretty sweet spot.

And I like talking to people who grew up in that Great Lakes region because, not exclusively to that part of the country, but there's a lot of people who grew up the same way that I did. You go out for the gun season. Get all dressed in blaze [00:01:00] orange. Go sit on a five gallon bucket or a tree stump or a down tree, and you just hope to see something.

You want a deer to come through. You want it to have antlers, you want it to have really big antlers, but most of the time you're shooting a year and a half old or a two and a half year old buck if you're lucky enough to get an opportunity at that. Now, I will say things have changed quite a bit in the last few years, and in talking with Sean, I've seen how things have changed for him.

So I can't wait to dive into this, figure out what he's up to in the outdoor space. It's gonna be a great episode, so let's jump in.

Like he was doing things that were just bad acts. That was one of the coolest moments of my life. I was really scared, but knowing that Dan had the gun, I did have the rifle, like we would be okay.

All right guys. Welcome to you today's show. [00:02:00] And joining me on the show today. I've got Sean Larson. Sean, thanks for hopping on with me, man. Hey, thanks for having me.

Sean Larson: I appreciate

Dan Matthews: it. What why don't you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself before we get started with the conversation? Hey, absolutely.

Sean Larson: Like you said, my name is Sean Larson 30 years old. I live right up in the middle of the, up middle of nowhere. Just got married, actually just celebrated our one year anniversary last month. Nice. Congrats man. Hey, thanks man. I appreciate it. Got a two year old son. Just turned two March 11th and I got one a little girl due middle of August.

Dan Matthews: Dang. Yeah, that's it's been very busy. Number two is always a big change for people.

Sean Larson: Oh, I'm gonna do who you guys got?

Dan Matthews: We've got two. Yeah, we just, our daughter just turned five. Our son is six. Oh, okay. He was actually the one at the end of August, which is the perfect time. You picked a great time.

Maybe not pregnancy wise and delivery, like the heat of the summer, [00:03:00] but Oh yeah. She, as far as outdoors go, you get that, you get 'em all outta the way right before season starts.

Sean Larson: Oh yeah, that's what I was thinking. Plus, if I do things right, my little girl every year for her birthday, she'd be like, let's go out West Dody.

Dan Matthews: Alright, perfect. Yeah. The wife can't really say no to that when the kid's asking. Yeah, exactly, man. That's perfect. So up in the up, we talked just briefly before the show. There's a little bit of everything up there. You, the wildlife is abundant. You guys have, people don't understand really what like Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, all have.

Moose and elk and wolves and bear whitetail, waterfowl quail grass, pheasant, everything. Yeah. The list goes on. Yeah. What did you grow up hunting?

Sean Larson: Grew up, I actually my whole family hunted obviously being from the up. Yeah. When I moved down to Wisconsin, my stepfather wasn't really a huge hunter, [00:04:00] so growing up until I was probably about 14, it was just something I listened to my family do.

Yeah. And then finally I was like, this is something I want to do. So I just started watching shows, reading books, listening to them just every year dabbling in it more and more. So at first it was just basically just whitetail, yeah. And up in the up for the most part is just praying to see two and a half year old, eight pointers.

Dang, that's pretty much as far wide across the up as you get. That's what people are open to get. So that's what I raised on, spikes, forks, seven pointers, and then finally probably around the age 19, actually, I got an invite from a show Hardcore Pursuit on the sportsman channel.

Yeah. Start filming for them. They just, I became, they have an archery shop about 45 minutes west of me, so I became friends with them and I started doing like my own photography videography, just posting on Facebook. And I was just at work one day when I was a service manager at a Ford dealership, and the guy sent me a [00:05:00] message being like, Hey, camera back out.

You able to go to Iowa in four days? Yes. I ran up to my boss and I was like, here's the deal. Have professional show on tv. Just asked if I could go film. How many vacation days do I got? He's oh, you got seven days left. I said, all right. Taking 'em all next week, going Iowa. So then with them, I started dabbling in like the mule deer, really understanding that bucks get big.

Yeah. And that where I live is just, whether it's genetics or, nutrients, minerals in the soil. At that point, I didn't understand. I was like, why? Like, why aren't the bucks here so small? I'm young just getting into it. So I then I just really started going crazy, up here not seeing a hundred inch deer to go into Iowa where we're past 150 inch bucks.

I was mind

Dan Matthews: blown. You're probably like just hating the guy shooting. You're like, dude why would you pass that up? Yeah.

Sean Larson: I was like, two hours into our first sit and like a three and a half year old, 140 inch buck came by. He's man, shooting that. I was like, are you effing nuts? [00:06:00]

Dan Matthews: Dude, that was my whole life growing up, man, watching TV shows and I'm like, these guys are idiots.

I, I lost respect for so many of those guys because same thing growing up in central Wisconsin. Don't get me wrong. There's big deer and there have been people that have been hunting big deer there for a long time, but my family was not Those people, it's great if you shoot a buck, that's awesome.

But it's like you, you go out there and if a deer comes by and gives you a shot, you take it sometimes, even if it doesn't give you a shot, you take it. It, it wasn't any form of deer management. The deer management was just shoot as many as you could. Yeah. Fill the freezer. Yeah. Have you seen that change up there like up north as far as the caliber or the quantity of deer that you've been seeing?

Just in the

Sean Larson: last probably two or three years. I don't know if it's just the viral hunting thing where it's like this new age group is coming up where that's becoming the popular thing now is to, how many inches [00:07:00] is it? How many inches is it? I think that's helping. Where it's just, the younger generation is all wanting to shoot big bucks, try to get that viral buck, try to get it on film.

So just, yeah, in the last probably two or three years up here, even just, and I run lots of trail cameras, it just seems like you're seeing more big bucks. Yeah. Which is great. I'm not complaining.

Dan Matthews: It's, it's pretty incredible what can change in a shorter amount of time if you get people on the same page or if there's regulations that change, yeah, absolutely. You go from seeing two and a half year old deer to, Hey, we are gonna put an antler restriction on for the next two years, and then all of a sudden people are shooting instead of a hundred inch bucks, there's a ton of people shooting 140 inch bucks, 150 inch bucks. All because you just let 'em grow two more years.

Yeah. That's all it takes. Yeah. What do you guys what is your management practice where you hunt? Do you have a, do you have a set age class, a set antler [00:08:00] size? Or what are you going off of?

Sean Larson: Where I am, so I'm in Menominee County now, which is like the main farmland of the up. It's right on the border of Wisconsin.

Yeah. So even just moved, I moved out here with my wife two years ago now, and just the difference between here and 45 minutes east is hoping for probably not ever seeing a hundred inch block on camera. Yeah. Out here. Last year, I think I had eight or nine over a hundred inches Dang. Shot my hundred and release score at 131, which is unheard of in the ep.

Yeah. Yeah. It's out here now. It's is a whole different game, and not out here now it's, I'm passing up two and a half year olds that I would've dreamed of shooting five years ago.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. Dang. That's awesome to hear. That short of a distance that you can go from, I'm assuming where you were at, was more thick timber, like dark timber.

Yep. Okay. That's just hard to hunt them in [00:09:00] anyways. But then also you're not, they're not getting the nutrients, like you mentioned earlier, that they're gonna get on farmland. There's just, there's no substitute for a good farmland there really as food goes.

Sean Larson: No. It just it makes bigger bucks.

Yeah. That's a

Dan Matthews: scientific proven there. Yeah. Are you guys, do you guys bait up there or is that legal? Most of the

Sean Larson: up p it is where I'm located. There's a small section where you can't, okay. We had one door that had cwd like eight years ago, so

Dan Matthews: they, they shut it down in a hurry. Man.

It's tough to keep up with the baiting regulations, like it seems every single year. They change things how they are. At least in Wisconsin, they did it. Oh, Wisconsin's really wild to fall. It's no baiting whatsoever. You can have as much bait out as you want. Yeah. Okay. Now you can only put one gallon out per day and they have to be at least a hundred yards apart.

And I'm like, what are you guys like, you're only doing [00:10:00] a one year study on each of these obviously, because you're changing it every year. Yeah. Or are you getting the results and the information that you want

Sean Larson: out of that? Yeah. Just I don't know if it's the DN R PR where something does arise that they can find a violation

Dan Matthews: somewhere or, yeah.

It's funny too to watch hunters how quickly they get creative in the loopholes. I remember I don't remember where it was, but there was a spot where they said, you can't be within sight of it. Like you can't be hunting within sight of your bait pile. And so what people were doing, they'd put a hay bale out.

Just a little square bale and then put the bait on the backside of this on the square bale. So they couldn't technically see it. They can't see it. And so then all of a sudden they had to change the verbiage to like within reasonable known distance of your bait pile or something like that. And I'm like, yeah, dude.

It's just, it's funny man. Rednecks will find a way to get away with anything. They really will. That's why we're rednecks. Yeah, exactly. Redneck [00:11:00] engineering, man. It gets the job done. That's right. So you've been hunting up there, you've been seeing more bucks. How did this past season go for you?


Sean Larson: Like I said, I managed so biggest buck in my lifetime. I've been blessed to go hunt some other states and whatnot, but, Haven't been able to pull a trigger on a, what I consider a shooter for wherever. Obviously it changes whatever area you're hunting, what you consider a shooter.

But yeah, up here scored 1 31 Vegas buck of my life state land. And I got that opening day, opening night of archery season. Geez.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. That's really unheard of.

Sean Larson: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And it was so crazy too cuz that fri that whole weekend actually was one of my best friends bachelor parties.

And it was like four hours west of here northern, Northern Wisconsin. I went out there Friday night, left work, drove out there and they were like what's your plan? I was like, dude, I gotta head [00:12:00] back home in the morning. I got this buck I gotta go after. And my wife the whole time, she's are you really?

Are you thinking about staying out there all weekend? I was like, I don't know. You know what's not my buddy's bachelor party? So finally she finally, she's Sean, you gotta come home and haunt that buck. Thank God that's a good voice. God, she twisted my arm. Yeah. So I woke up in the morning, and I'm getting old compared to some of them guys.

So you know, a bachelor party was like midnight. I was like, guys, I gotta go to bed. I gotta wake up early. So yeah, drove back in the morning, got home, jumped in the shower, got all sent free, threw my came on, gave the wife a kiss. Oh, good luck. Ran out to the woods. And actually one of my buddies hunts has a crow fly is probably about a 60 maybe from where I was at.

Yeah. And he had some pictures of this buck, so right away I knew one other buddy, would've been justice pumped if he shot it, would've been out there having a couple beers with him, helping him drag it on the way out there. Rent a two older gentleman that were in their vehicles, I think probably back there to see who else was [00:13:00] hunting back there.

One guy stopped me, he shot a. Like 120 ish eight that morning. So he was just all Baja, seeing what was going on. And both of them guys were like, yeah, there's a big nasty 10 running around back here. So in my head now I'm heading out to hunt this bucket and I'm like, man, I, nah, I know for sure three other guys that are trying to get this buck right away.

He was just kicking the sack, dang. But yeah, so yeah, so last year actually I shot that buck, had some opportunities at other bucks. Just, it's hard to go back to a hundred inch buck after cracking a one 30 or first sit. Yeah. So I shot, I don't know, three after that just to fill the freezer, get some more meat, white flows, backstrap.

So gotta keep that going.

Dan Matthews: Are you guys a one buck area up there or can you see multiple two? We got two bucks, yep. Oh, sweet. That's, yeah, there's nothing like going from hunting one deer to knowing that you can still fill another buck. Tag it [00:14:00] like it. Oh, it's for some reason it just takes all the pressure off.

It's dude, if a buck comes in and I get excited about it and it's not the, my target buck or one of my target bucks, I can still shoot it and still go after these other bucks. Oh, absolutely. It how does your breakdown work? Is it just like any time during archery season you can shoot two bucks?

Or is there like a split, like you can only shoot one, in the first two weeks and then you have to wait and until

Sean Larson: No, it is, it's any time. Oh, man. Yeah, so you can either get a single tag, which has no point restrictions. And then, that's what a lot of like non-residents do. Yeah. Just cause then they can come up and shoot whatever they want.

Or you can do the combo, which is a two bucks, and then one's gotta be three plus on a side. And then the other tag is four plus on a side.

Dan Matthews: That, it makes sense like once you're going up there to take multiple deer, now there's an antler restriction. I think that's [00:15:00] brilliant. But I love the idea that you can shoot two bucks in the same day.

Obviously that's probably not gonna happen for most people, but to have an opportunity to shoot two deer that quick here, we can't do that. So you can shoot you can shoot one buck in the early archery season. So that's basically the start of archery season, September 15th, up until the second week of November, cuz that's when rifle season is You can fill one of your tags there.

You cannot fill both during that timeframe. Okay. You have to wait until rifle season to shoot your second buck or second archery late archery season. If you don't shoot a buck early, you can shoot two bucks in the late season, but you just can't do it all in the early season, which is the best time. I've had luck in late season, but early season around here has been killer.

I know, oh, me and my buddies, we've been killing bucks in September and October here, [00:16:00] and that was so do you do

Sean Larson: do you get much chance at like velvet

Dan Matthews: bucks? We don't really the buck shed fairly early here. I think I've seen it in like late August. They're in velvet. My buddy shot one that I thought if I was like, man, if we catch up with this deer, it's gonna still be in velvet.

But he shot it. When was that? I think it was sometime in, I think it was early September. Like the first, or no, it would've been like the third week in September he shot it and it had already shed oh, okay. We don't, the only buck I've ever killed in velvet was in Alaska and it was a black tail and talk about, oh really?

Listen, you're talking about hoping to see deer that are a hundred inches Growing up there, I talked to some of the locals, I said, Hey, can you gimme some pointers? What should I be going after? What's a good target deer? Ah-huh. And they're like, anything bigger than a spike is a good deer. And I'm like, really?

And they're like, yeah, cuz I was hunting the road system. So it's yeah, an [00:17:00] early tag. Lots of deer, but lots of young deer. And so we, I kid you not, when we woke up and got out of our tent, my wife and I, that morning, we probably saw 70 deer from our tent. Like every direction you look, there's deer everywhere and they're almost all spikes, just like spikes and doughs.

That's all we saw. And then the very first deer that we saw that was a fork is the one that I shot. We saw it come up and over the hill and watching spikes all morning. You see a fork, more than two points. Oh, it's monster. Oh, it's a monster. It looked like Bambi's dad coming up over the mountain.

And then sure enough it comes down and I shoot it and it, it's just a tiny little basket rack fork, and I was so pumped. But yeah, that's the only deer I've ever shot in Velvet

Sean Larson: Man. I've heard those hunts up there. I got a few buddies that have been up there that literally almost gave up whitetail hunting just to keep going back up there After the

Dan Matthews: blacktail, it's one the meat's really good.

I thoroughly [00:18:00] enjoyed the meat. The country that you're hunting is unbelievable. And with Blacktail in Alaska, you can hunt them so many different ways. Like where we went, it was just public land. You're hiking up a trail in legit grizzly country. Grizzlies everywhere. And most of the country that you're hiking in the covers over your head.

So you're walking in a shoulder wide path with eight foot bushes on each side of you. And so it's it's pretty nerve wracking until you get up above that and up above that line where everything's now like waist high, knee high type of deal. Okay. But we could see the ocean from where we were hunting.

Like where? Where, oh, that's awesome. I was butchering my deer. I'm looking out and you can just see the ocean. There's whales and seals and sharks and just a different world purposes and all kinds of stuff down there. And it's just a wild place. And then there's people who, they'll shoot blacktail from a boat, they'll be on the ocean [00:19:00] and the blacktails will come down and eat sea kelp or bulk kelp off of the coast.

And you're literally just cruising around on a boat and you'll kill the engine and it'll just be out there eating. And they're shooting 'em with their bows and Oh man, depend, depending on the season and the area, you can get three bucks. And so they're like shooting one, going and getting it, throwing it in the boat.

They keep cruising along the coast, they shoot another one. It's wild

Sean Larson: man. Imagine if you could see some guys in Wisconsin loading up a 30 pack in their canoe and hitting a river

Dan Matthews: that would be in, there's a lot of people actually who have been doing kayaking canoe hunting, like they access public land that most people don't because they're using a canoe or a kayak.

Oh, it's a great way to do it.

Sean Larson: It's brilliant. There's yeah, people that don't wanna put the work in.

Dan Matthews: Yeah I'm all about it. I want to do it so bad. I've got a couple public land places here that I really want to do it and every year there's something that comes up where I'm [00:20:00] like, ah, I'm not gonna do it.

This year guys like

Sean Larson: Sam Ble and White Village. Guys having great success doing that. It same thing. Yes. It's I always wanna see that piece of chunk and just going on a canoe or whatever, get that badass picture afterwards.

Dan Matthews: Oh yeah. And in the up, you guys have so much water up there and I like the big marshy areas, especially along the Mississippi.

Like you get into central Wisconsin on the west side of the state, there are places there that like, you'd never be able to access on foot, but if you took a canoe back in there or a raft, like you just carry a raft with you and you just get across this little channel to the next one, to the next one, to the next one, you could probably get fun swamp donkeys where nobody else has ever been.

Oh, absolutely. Man I'm just so pumped for hunting season. Turkey season's coming up. I'm excited about it, but big game season's where it's at for me. Oh yeah.

Sean Larson: I think it was like four days ago of me and my son, and one of his favorite word is Buck, yeah. We're just [00:21:00] laying on the couch and turned on YouTube and I think sequel one was like the first video that popped up, so we're watching Roy Haing on Roy right away.

I was like, oh man, it's just too early. Do we start get, getting this itch going right away? I was like, ah, I'm ready for hunting season.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. It's, this is that lull man where it's difficult. Do you apply for other states or are you primarily hunting Michigan lately? For the last,

Sean Larson: Since we started dabbling in the babies, I I put the out-of-state on hold for a little bit. Yep. I've got all my points sitting for AA.

So the first chance I get, I'm gonna be running down there Wyoming, I went out there two years ago, I was filming the show and I just got the opportunity to get an over-the-counter dough tag spotting in stock to that first time ever doing that, which is a blast. Yeah. So I'm itching to go back out there.

So yeah, as soon as I get the opportunity, like I said it's nothing to [00:22:00] brag about up here. So yeah go where

Dan Matthews: it's a little bit easier. And you mentioned that you're on state land. Is that all the land you hunt up there or do you have any public access or, private access, I got, we got

Sean Larson: a definitely some private opportunities, but it's compared to what I can find on state land here, and I don't know what the deal is, but like at least around me there is not much for archery hunters.

I got some state land, five miles east of my house where it's non motorized, which I think. Helps quite a bit. Yeah. But last three years, I haven't been back there. I haven't even seen another bull hunter or signs of one during archery season.

Dan Matthews: Dang, we're gonna keep this podcast pretty quiet then I'm not gonna promote it.

So it stays that way for you. People are like, wait a minute, 130 inch deer, no pressure, non-motorized transportation. Like I'm in Oh it's damn near

Sean Larson: untouched. It's un it's unbelievable.

Dan Matthews: Have you, what's it been like up [00:23:00] there with wolves? I know that Northern Wisconsin got hit pretty hard. Have you noticed a lot of wolf activity up there?

Sean Larson: Around me. It's starting to get it bad, but if you go about an hour north or even further north, it's, they're wiping out herds. Dang. And the d the, I don't know, the DNR just seems to not care. I don't, there's so many crooked things I believe going up with the DNR up here where they just seem to be all about money and.

Don't really know much about conservation. I don't know what the deal is, but it's, I don't know. Do you guys have like mountain lines? Any mountain lines down there?

Dan Matthews: Yeah, we do. Not a ton. Yeah. Not they're not prevalent in the area that I'm at, but they are, there are sightings here and there.

Sean Larson: I think I lost you there for a second. Oh yeah,

Dan Matthews: we're back. Do you with the wolves it's very interesting cuz [00:24:00] anytime there's wolves on the landscape in the lower 48, Yeah. Hunters just hate it, it seems and I get that. But you would think as far as a conservation agency or department goes, they would also hate it because like Michigan, Wisconsin, most of the Midwest, the number one.

Contributor to like the conservation department, their number one source of income has to be deer tags in sales. It's gotta be, and so anytime there's something that's gonna impact that's gonna directly affect them in their budget, you would think. You would think, yeah. It's, I don't know, man I don't know why so many places are wanting higher wolf populations.

I just don't understand it.

Sean Larson: Yeah. And I've spent hours and read hours where the studies and what the D N R puts out about it, and I just can't come to a good conclusion on why that is. [00:25:00] Yeah.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. It's, I feel like it's gonna be a problem that continues. I would hope that state agencies and conservation departments get a good grasp on it and figure out a management plan for the wolves, because obviously having wolves on the landscape, Isn't the worst thing in the world, but they have to be managed.

No, it's when there's no management plans for the wolves, like there are for every other wildlife species, that things get outta hand and it will balance out over time. But in the next 10 years, it's gonna be to the detriment of whitetail, hunters of elk, hunters of moose, hunters, of anything that those things prey on.

And we don't want it to, even just, none of us want, yeah. 10 years of drought when it comes to deer hunting. No,

Sean Larson: it's a long time. Even just, I think it was like three or four days ago up here, about an hour and a half west of me, DNR even confirmed it killed the [00:26:00] guy's dog right next to his house.

Dan Matthews: Geez.

Anna, I'm curious why there's a hesitancy to identify wolves or identifying mount lions, cuz you hear about, it's not just, Exclusive to the Great Lakes region. It's all over the country. When somebody's animal dies because of a predator. Yeah. They're very slow to confirm. Yeah. That was grizzly. Yeah, that was a mountain lion.

Yeah, that was a wolf. And I don't get it. Like people get trail camera pictures, they've got the prints and the snow. Some people will just straight out shoot 'em if they see 'em, and it's like, why? Why is there a hesitation to say yes, this is a wolf? I hear stories from people all the time about it and I just, I can't wrap my mind around why, like to what benefit?

What's the benefit? Maybe it's the public look outlook on it. Maybe it's like PR stuff that they're like, oh, we just don't want [00:27:00] people freaking out about wolves. But it's like anybody to talk to already knows they're there.

Sean Larson: Especially cuz for the most part, wherever these larger populations are, The people that are surrounded in that, surrounding that area are most likely outdoorsmen.

Yeah. So they're either gonna handle 'em theirselves, what the last thing they're gonna do is freak out about it. Yeah. To, to that maximum of scale to where the DN r or the government would have to worry about it. Yeah. Same thing up here though, if they confirm a mountain lion say on a trail camera or tracks or kill some guys livestock, they say, yeah, it was a mountain lion.

But that was the same one that was caught on the trail camera three hours east of here yesterday, and it had to be the same mountain lion. It's come on.

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Yeah how do you confirm that? Unless there's a very distinct marking on it or you've got it collared or G P s transmitter, like there's no way you can just be like, that's the same one. They're yeah, we're not idiots. Yeah, they're so smart and so elusive and yeah, they might have a huge home range.

But to just be like, that's the same one. Doesn't make sense to me. And I saw a video, I think it was on Facebook years ago, where this guy, it was either in the up or it was in Northern Wisconsin, and he had a video of 13 wolves in his backyard. Very clear. When you watch the video, you can see that they're wolves.

Yeah. And I remember he was commenting on it because everyone's call the dnr. I'd shoot those things if they were in my backyard, this and that. And he is I called the DNR and I sent them the video and they said that they were coyotes or [00:30:00] coyote wolf hybrids. And I'm like I'm no biologist, but you can very clearly tell the difference between a coyote and a wolf.

And these were wolves. And I'm like, why? Yeah. That's

Sean Larson: buried all this. Why would they hesitate? Why would

Dan Matthews: they hesitate to be like, Hey, yeah, you've got wolves. We're gonna keep an eye on it. Obviously protect your animals like your pets, your livestock, whatever. Yep. Instead of just be like, Nope, those aren't, if I was a guy, I would've been like, oh, they're coyotes.

Sweet. I've got a small game tag you show up to the DNR with 13 of them. We're good to go. These are coyotes. You already said you identified 'em. Yeah.

Sean Larson: You said it yourself. Yep. Oh, man. Yeah, you saw, so I'm a train conductor for Sea on Railroad. Yeah. And I think it was probably two months ago, I was up ishk, probably about two hours north of me.

And we're just sitting in the engine of the training, going down the tracks and probably 300 yards ahead of us. We see, it's far away. So I [00:31:00] was like, is that a coyote or a wolf? Just stops right in the middle of the tracks and staring at our train, coming towards it, and it's just standing there as we're getting closer and finally we get probably a hundred yards away from it.

And I was like, oh, that's a wolf. And then all of a sudden, and if you'd have blinked, you'd have missed it all of a sudden. I think it was like seven or eight wolves just fly right behind it. Right across the tracks. We're like, holy, yeah. In a blink of an eye, you'd have missed all of 'em. Just flew right across the tracks.

It was insane.

Dan Matthews: Geez, man. That I would imagine you see quite a bit of wildlife, I think like train incidents with wildlife that, that seems like it would be just a buffet of roadkill for wolves. And

Sean Larson: winter is the worst too. Cause all the deer go walking right down the middle of the track cause there's at least amount of snow.

So they use that as traveling pass. Yeah. Oh man. It's hard being like an abott, outdoorsman and conservationist when you're just plowing 'em down with trains.

Dan Matthews: How often? That's terrible. Like how often are you hitting [00:32:00] animals with the train? Is it like, all the time. Oh yeah. If you're

Sean Larson: on a, if you're on a certain job where it's like you're traveling during those prime hours you're hitting deer every time.

Dan Matthews: Geez. Yeah, I can't, Ima, how fast are you going

Sean Larson: when you hit him? Anywhere from 20 to 45. Oh my goodness. You're smacking 'em with 600,000 tons, that

Dan Matthews: is, yeah. I don't know why that's so funny to me. Like just thinking, being in a train. I've heard the stories, and I don't know if you can attest to this, if you've had any moose.

Oh, we've had

Sean Larson: cows bear moose.

Dan Matthews: I've heard that it, I've heard this and I have regurgitated it to so many people that moose, when they're in the rut, they're just not scared of anything, like a bull moose. And I've heard that they will charge trains, like they'll just head down oh, time to fight.

Sean Larson: I haven't seen it personally, but I can confirm

Dan Matthews: That does happen.

Okay, [00:33:00] good. I'm glad I haven't been lying to people this whole time.

Sean Larson: Yeah. I'll make you not

Dan Matthews: a liar this time. Yeah that's just wild. Yeah. Train that battle. I need to start, I need to dive into this. I need to see how many, like train, do you guys report each one? Do you have to No. Oh, you don't?

Oh, so there's not gonna be any accurate data on it. This is how many animals died of train incidents every year? No,

Sean Larson: Unless there's some secret agency or whatever that goes down tracks and comes to dead deer laying next to 'em or if they can even find the deer after it. But yeah, we don't repart that.

Dan Matthews: I wanna, I want to just cruise down the tracks and pick up Deadheads, man. Just if there's anything left you might be picking up bone fragments from the antlers, but it'd be crazy to just do like a cross-country trip on train tracks. Obviously not on a train, otherwise you wouldn't be able to pick 'em up.

But to just see what kind of animals, moose, elk, deer, mule, deer, antelope are getting hit. And I bet you, oh, do you get into [00:34:00] a good, some pretty sweet stuff? Absolutely.

Sean Larson: You get into a high deer population area and lock down the tracks. I guarantee you find that

Dan Matthews: ads everywhere. I'm gonna modify my four-wheeler, get I don't know what the technical term is.

Basically those metal wheels that would connect to the tracks and just cruise on my four-wheeler. That way I could bail off if a train comes. But just roll down the track. Oh, tracks all the way across Wisconsin, upper Michigan. It'd be fun, that's

Sean Larson: for sure.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. Man. What's the weirdest thing you've seen while being on the train?


Sean Larson: nothing really. There's some oh, pure especi. You get in like the middle of an hour and you see some people, like on the side of the tracks, or there was one guy on, on his four wheeler stuck. Oh yeah. What? He had like one of those little, like wagons for almost like a, like you'd pull your kid in, you know what I'm saying?

Yeah. He had one of those just full of like garbage bags [00:35:00] and we're really, and you can tell up here if someone's on something

Dan Matthews: or not, he's probably a pot farmer. Oh.

Sean Larson: So there's some, there was something weird going on. And then we came back after we dropped our cars off, we came back and there was like in the middle of nowhere, there was like a 96 Impala pulled up like on the rocks next to the tracks.

We're like, what in the world, dude?

Dan Matthews: The once you get out, like honestly, I'm more worried about people out in the middle of nowhere than I am about animals. I know how to handle kill

Sean Larson: mi

Dan Matthews: stuff. Yeah. When you get out there, like when you find those people that are just separated from civilization, dude, there's some weird people always get weird every time.

Oh, absolutely.

Sean Larson: Yeah. There's nothing normal about them.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. Back to let's jump back to Whitetail for a second. Cause I can down this rabbit off there. We, I could get on Rabbit.[00:36:00] What, so you shot that big 130 plus inch deer, are the other deer that you saw what's that? Are they all still alive?

All Did the other bucks make it through season that you had on camera?

Sean Larson: Oh, as far as I know, I had 'em. So I put my camera outta there. End of December. Which, that's just pretty much late archery at that point. Yeah, I saw all of 'em. The ones that I knew would really jump up going into their three and a half year old stage, actually, that 130 inch I shot almost positive I had his, so it'd been a two and a half year old.

One of his offspring, almost identical Iraq, just maybe at maybe right around a hundred, 510 inches identical Iraq. So I'm really hoping to see him coming this year. Cause I know he's probably gonna make that same jump. This one did and probably be in that 1 30, 1 40 class. Yeah. So I'm excited to[00:37:00] hopefully he made her through the winter and, but she showed we didn't really have too much of a harsh winter up here this year.

Dan Matthews: That's good. I know most of the West Western states had nasty winters. I think there's gonna be a lot of winter kill on elk and mule deer this year, but, I would imagine that the deer up in Wisconsin, in Northern Michigan, in northern Minnesota, like the winters have, can get harsh in a hurry, but they're just built to last.

Oh yeah. I just feel like deer are so used to those frigid winters up there.

Sean Larson: They gotta have some kind of, I don't know if it'd be like evolution type thing where there's more prone to adapt to the harsh winters, yeah. But you sure imagine that the deer up here would survive a winter better than a white tail out of, say Alabama would, you throw on 'em up here.

I don't think it's gonna do very good.

Dan Matthews: No, but it's weird to see how qu like the variety of landscapes that they [00:38:00] can survive in. Like whitetail in Florida. Where you're talking 99% humidity and 110 degrees and just, yeah, the nastiest conditions, like I would hate to hunt in that. I'd much rather hunt like negative 15 than that kind of weather.

But you just see the extremes that they can survive in and they've gotta be one of the most hearty animals in North America as far as big game goes, at least. Yeah. So I don't know. I think it'd be cool to hunt all different species of white tail or all the subspecies all over the country, but there's something about those big northern deer people don't understand just how big even their bodies are.

Not even thinking about the racks, like the body size of a northern white tail. A lot of people can't wrap their heads around it, especially when they come from the southern states. Oh yeah.

Sean Larson: And then there's us who are like, look at like the Saskatoon box where it's like, what's a small book up there?

240 pounds? [00:39:00] Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not a huge fan of sweating, even dragging deer. Thank God for this one. Cause this was a big buck up here. Yeah. And I was, I didn't get into the store yet, but I was down in a draw. I was probably 50, 60 yards down. Luckily I got a f my friend, that one I was staying would hunt near Hunts near me.

He's built like a tank, so I called him over and he helped me drag it out of there.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. Break down that story for me. I want to hear how this goes cuz, first night that's a big deal and Oh yeah. But a lot of people do say your first sits your best sit.

Sean Larson: Oh yeah. It definitely was. The first picture I got, so I went out and f I found this spot probably early September.

It was just one of those times where I wasn't seeing what I wanted in some other spots. So I went venturing some new state land and. Crawl down this and I'm like crawling on her pine trees and I'm like, [00:40:00] somebody else would've to be effing insane till I come hunt this spot, but I'm that guy.

Yeah. So finally I get down there and I come down it's down like a hardwood ridge and I find right where that connects on the bottom to Cedar Swamp and there's deer runways everywhere you know that feeling when you're like, oh, this

Dan Matthews: is a honey hole, you're on the


Sean Larson: Yeah. So I throw a camera up and I get home and I'm just all jazzed up.

I'm bebopping around the house yelling at my wife, so you gotta see this. There's gotta be monster box down here. You ate like a week and a half, and I go back out, check the camera, and it's I got 900 pictures of gray squirrels and red squirrels, and I don't want a fawn. I'm like, oh, you gotta kidding me.

Or just sink. So I was like, all right babe, I'm gonna leave it out there for another week. Check it again. If nothing there, then I'll go and I guess try to find another spot. [00:41:00] So about a week goes by, I run back out there, pull my camera, and come home. And it was like a Saturday morning or so, or Saturday evening, crack a beer, throw SV card in the laptop.

And my wife, oh, it must have been midday. Cause my wife was napping. So she's in the bedroom sleeping and I'm, flipping through, hitting the button, flipping through the pictures, and all of a sudden this buck shows up and I start just screaming. She flies out of my, what the hell's going on? I think the house is on fire and I'm like, big buck, just going nuts, so right away, and I'm just scrolling through the rest of the pictures, I was like, oh man, this is the biggest. So yeah, the biggest buck we even ever even had on camera out of 12 years hunting up here, biggest buck I've ever even had on camera.

Oh. So right away I was like, I gotta get this buck. And I just started obsessing over it. I'm going out there and [00:42:00] I'm just sitting different spots for hours on end with wind checkers, watching how the wind bounces off the ridges. I'm watching the thermals going out there in the mornings during big temperature changes.

Just what can I do to give myself the best odds at shooting this buck? Yeah. And luckily, so through the guys from Hardcore Pursuit and some other people I have been blessed to meet, like through the outdoors industry. I've been around some smart dudes, some big buck killers that really have shared their knowledge.

So I knew some of the like different tactics and whatnot to increase my odds we'll say so. I'm just obsessing, I turned what was probably a five minute walk from my vehicle into a 50 minute walk to get out there, depending on when directions my approach is. Yeah. Like I said, head out that Friday, buddy's bachelor party, get back Saturday shower, jump in the camel head out there, run [00:43:00] into those guys.

So right away, just a little down won being like in this buck. I got lots of pictures of, I was like, this buck's gonna die this year.

Dan Matthews: He's not smart. Yeah. Was it all on the same camera? Yeah. Dang. Yeah. For mine, yeah he's here all the time. Yeah.

Sean Larson: And like more daylight pictures than you would imagine a bucket of that caliber would present.

Yeah. So right away I was like, if I don't shoot this buck tonight now somebody else is going to probably shoot 'em in the morning, unless by some chance I get the opportunity in the morning or I was like, he's gonna die soon. So I'm up there and dolls and fons walking through. I think I had a five pointer and two different eights come walking through and one eight and the oddly dark, like a lot of the [00:44:00] bucks down in the swamp, oddly dark for that time of year already.

Yeah. So I was like this big, this decent chocolate eight pointer, come walking through it. Then I was like, eh, I might let one fly in opening day. Yeah. So he he's at 25 yards, goes broadside, and I go to draw back on him and I hit a branch with my elbow and he pegs me and takes off.

So I was like, Ugh, this is terrible. So I'm just down in the dumps and now it's 10 minutes before dark, 10 minutes before at least I feel safe shooting. And I'm just getting down. I was like, man, I'm not gonna see his buck. He's gonna die before I even get a chance to get eyes on him.

And I was like, at least I wanna at least wanna see him. Yeah. So another minute goes by and I'm just turning the negative Nancy, grab my string to start tying my bow up and lower it down. And, you get that crunch off the distance, you're like, oh, it's the best man. Yeah. Oh, so right away I [00:45:00] like, I was like, pause, lift my head up and outta like the thick patch.

All I see is horns. I was like, oh my God, it's him. And so like probably 80% of the pictures I had of this buck were him walking like straight towards me and the way it was set up. Normally if I have that, I'll adjust my stand, if I, he has like a common route, adjust my stand so I get a broadside shot.

Yeah. But where I was at, this was only location where I could put a stand. I don't know if it was like clear cut in the last 10 years. So there's a lot of small trees and whatnot.

Dan Matthews: So you're doing a hang on stand. Yep.

Sean Larson: Okay. This, yeah, this was a climber I had out there probably only maybe 16, 17 yards up in the tree.

So not super high. Yeah. Which I did on purpose in case I had to take that frontal shot, yep. I'm more level with it. So this block turns and starts walking towards me. And now it's like he better present [00:46:00] a shot soon or else I'm not gonna feel a safe shooting. Yeah. So another minute goes by and know you just got what you want, like how you want the game plan just running through your head the whole time.

You know that final minute before you shoot every box the same way, oh yeah. So finally I was like I think I'm gonna make, give him the old mat and as soon as he picks the set up, I think I'm gonna let one fly. I practice this shot, I know the equipment I shoot. I should be able to like, make this a lethal, hit him in the vitals, should be able to pull his shot off.

Dan Matthews: H how far is this? All the

Sean Larson: confidence in the world? 17 yards ish. Oh,

Dan Matthews: okay. 16 yard. So he's in on top of you already. Yeah.

Sean Larson: So finally I draw back and I go, man, and he picks his head up a little bit like that to look at me and I black out at this point. Next thing I remember hearing, and it must have been him kicking [00:47:00] his foot to the side or something, it sounded like my arrow just hit in the dirt.

So I was like like worst part about this buck is I had no excitement. I got no celebration ever with it. Oh. So right away I was like, dude, I just missed this whole freaking, I just missed the buck. So I sit there just sit there for a minute and I was like I guess I'll get down and go grab my arrow and call it a night.

And I'm like, I'm not even gonna tell anybody. I'm not gonna tell anyone. I'm not gonna tell my wife that I saw someone mis, it's like I don't wanna live with that. Yeah. Pretend it never happened. So I go down there. It's crazy. So I go down there and I'm looking around and I don't see my arrow

Dan Matthews: anywhere.

Best knee ever.

Sean Larson: Yeah. So I'm like, oh, I'm so negative. I'm like maybe I just bounce it off a tree and it went flying or something, so I'm like, see if you can find some blood, so I go a little [00:48:00] keen in about 60 yards away from where I think I shot him. I start seeing some blood and it is bright red.

I'm like, oh, no freaking way, dude. What a, what? A high and a low hunt already.

Dan Matthews: Oh, you had a butt come in that you were excited to shoot. You bump a branch, he spots you, takes off this butt comes in. You think you missed him? You're, first you're like, I'm not gonna see him. I'm gonna pack up. Then he is there.

Then you think you missed him? Now you got blood, dude. Yeah, I'd be throwing up right now if I was you.

Sean Larson: Oh, it was, and I'm like, I'm a fairly negative hunter to begin with. Yeah. And now it's the biggest buck of my life. So I'm like maybe I'd probably just scrape the shoulder or something.

And I'm like, I know what blood looks like, I've been tracking deer since I've been 10. I know what blood looks like for the most part. And I and I zero cell phone service. So I just start [00:49:00] running, I'm running up this ridge to my truck, flying down this trail that you probably should go over three miles per hour on, just repeatedly call my wife Cofield failed.

Call my wife. And I was like, he's freaking huge. She goes, no way did you shoot him? I said, I don't know.

So I go wait away. I call my brother-in-law, my uncle and my granddaddy. And all people that like know this buck know I'm hunting him. Yeah. Send them every single picture I've had of him and given 'em the playback playing. They're like what do you think? Do you think he died? And I was like, I don't even know if I like hit him.

I hit him, but I don't know to what caliber. And I, I said I blacked out when I shot. I don't remember seeing the arrow ever. And I said, but what I do remember is like when I started, like the hunter instinct kicked in and when I remember, and I can still picture it clear his day here in that buck run through the woods.

Yeah. And I was like, he sounded like he was [00:50:00] just running through the shit. Yeah. Dead, not being dead about it. Just the death threat. Yeah. No. Yeah. And I remembered the look, the, you hear the crash, but then I heard the crash and right away being negative, I'm assuming when he crashed. Jumped a dough up next to him or something and the door took off.

So like being negative, I was like that was him. Just kept running. Yeah. So get home, me and my wife drop our kid off at the in-laws and I call my buddy the one that was hunting nearby, him and his fiance come out, give them the rundown, and go out and we start tracking this blood. And my buddy and he is a very experienced hunter too, killed lots of big bucks.

We're walking, we're following this blood, and for the most part it's like you can just walk, yeah. And like I said, it's still good blood, in my opinion. Lung blood. Yeah. So we're founding it and. [00:51:00] Thank God my wife is a badass woman. Thank God for her. I think there was two separate times where it was like, all right, hang up the toilet paper mark this last blood move slow.

Luckily, my wife owned it both of those times, and it was only probably like between five and 10 yards away, yeah. Not crazy distance to the next blood. And probably about after 60 yards, we start seeing like the puddled blood and my body, like I said, built like a tank. I slap him on the gut and I go, dude, I think we got a dead deer.

I am not kidding. We did not move another inch. And my wife goes, he's right there.

Dan Matthews: Oh my gosh.

Sean Larson: And I whip my flashlight and I'm still in such disbelief. I thought it was like another hunter's dough or something. I was like, that's not my deer, yeah. And then I just turn my spotlight a little bit and I see the horns.

And I just black out again. I take off running through the woods, I think I even [00:52:00] dropped my spotlight. I just started running. Finally. I was like, you idiot, go get your deer. Yeah. So yeah, I run back and you just grab the horns and you take that moment in and it was just like something you imagine and you manifest for so long and then you're sitting there holding 130 inches of horn in your hands, being in the up and you're like this is insane.

Yeah. Even still to this day, I look at my bucket on the wall, I got 'em back already, and it's I can't believe I shot that bucket up here.

Dan Matthews: All right, guys. If you've been listening to the podcast, I'm sure you've heard me talk about the helicopter hog hunt that I did down in Texas. Now, I went down there with rope Texan Outfitters and Landon and Brandon, the owners put us on the animals.

We killed 150 pigs in 19 coyotes, just from the air. On top of that. We went out thermal hunting at night and got up close and personal to more hogs. I didn't have to worry about bringing guns or ammunition because all of that was provided for me, and it is to this day, [00:53:00] the most action packed day of hunting I've ever had.

I stand by what I've said in the past, and that's that helicopter hog hunting is the funnest thing that you can do with pants on. In addition, they offer Sandhill crane hunts, and predator calling. So if you're looking for the most exciting hunt of your life in something that you're gonna want to come back and do year after year, go check out rogue and book your hunt today.

That, that feeling, man, I wish there was a way to bottle it up, like the videos, it's cool to see it back on video, but there's, you can't describe it to somebody like as, as much as you can say dude, this is exactly how I felt. It never does it justice. No. Like you have to experience it for yourself and you wish you could just get that high again over and over when you think about it.

And it's not that it diminishes every time, but like it'll never be what it was in the moment. [00:54:00] Oh

Sean Larson: yeah. Never. You can't, luckily the great greatest thing about the outdoors, I think is to really enjoy the outdoors. You don't have to be doing it, you, you just think about things that you've done in the outdoors.

Yeah. And you get that feeling of almost like relaxed relaxation achievement. You don't have to be doing it. That's one of the best thing about being an outdoors enthusiast.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. Yeah. You can just recount those times where you've been out there. Even the times where you're not successful, you might just see it, or like thinking back to the first time you saw that buck on trail camera and like the feeling that you got.

There's, I can't think of anything. Maybe sports can somewhat compare to it. Dude, you're in the championship game. You score a touchdown, you score a three point whatever, but, oh yeah. But the fact that you can do this year after year and everything dude, when I have ducks come in and I pop up and pull [00:55:00] the trigger, it's, you get that same feeling.

Nothing compares to big game for whatever reason. I don't know why. I don't know if it's like a, if it's like a thing. Over time evolution. Like it's in our blood. We were hunters and gatherers that when you shoot something big, like big bodied, lot of meat, you just get a greater rush out of it. But,

Sean Larson: You got that was six by elk, didn't ya?


Dan Matthews: Yeah. I shot a really nice elk this year. That was a whirlwind man. And I wish, like I said, that I had video of it, that I could bottle that up cuz that was way different than any anything else I've shot to this point. Because I said, yeah, you can that everybody, I said day one, I was like, I'm gonna go do this.

I'm gonna go find it the biggest elk I've shot and shoot it. And they're like, oh, okay, whatever. And then I get out there and I'm hearing bugling and it's late. Yeah, at that point it was late October and then, and that's one of the

Sean Larson: greatest noises you can hear, [00:56:00] isn't it?

Dan Matthews: Oh yeah. But it's not normal. Like we don't hear a ton of bugling out there.

And there was a bull just screaming. And right away I was like, I've gotta get eyes on this. All my buddies were like, do not shoot one back here. Please do not shoot one back here. And I was like, if it's the right one, I'm shooting it. And two of Ely, two of 'em were like, we want nothing to do with this.

They turned around and went the other way, get out of here. And I didn't even know where the bull was yet. I knew the general area, but I hadn't laid eyes on him. And then the other guy with me, he was like, you gonna go? And I was like, I'm getting up to that point right there and I'm gonna find this bull.

Oh God bless that man. I had already seen it. I had already seen just the whale tail on it, like the back scratchers that come off and angled back. Yeah, I saw that through the trees and I knew at that point that I was gonna kill this bull. And so I'm like, I'm booking it to that point and I'm gonna shoot this bull right now.

And he's you are. I'm like, I'll see you up there. And I just grabbed my, I grabbed [00:57:00] all my gear. I don't even think I packed it in my pack. I was just like carrying everything. My spotter and my binos and everything. And I'm just, yeah, basically running up this hill and I get to the top and he's already, he had already moved quite a bit and so I'm glad I moved as quick as I did because when I got up there, I got to where I was about to be skylin and I just got on my belly and just started crawling, moving my pack forward, moving my rifle pack.

Oh geez, my rifle. And I get to the point where I can see him and he's just perfectly broadside. 634 yards away. I think it was 6 34 maybe 6 37. Either way, broadside him and another bull. And I'm like, oh, it's happening. Take the scope cover off, get the pack down. Load around. I'm ready to rock.

I get settled on my bag. I'm like getting the crosshairs on him. And I hear my buddy fish coming up and I'm like, dude, he's right here. I'm [00:58:00] about to shoot him. And he's you are? I'm like, just get eyes on him for me. And I'm just laying prone. I dialed my scope to 6.4, which is the equivalent of 640 yards for me.

Yeah. And I just rest

immediately. I'm like, that bull's dead. I know my equipment, I know this gun. I pull the trigger. Yeah. And I pull the trigger, get back on him, see the impact. Then I hear the impact like a couple seconds later I just hear him Uhhuh W and I'm like, he's done. Oh man. And I get back on the rifle, load another round, and I see him and I can see both elk fully in my field of view.

Neither of them had taken a step. They were still just standing broadside. The front bull was a five by, and he was just standing normal, like a healthy elk. Mine was hunched over. He looked like the St. Louis Arch, the way he was standing. And I'm like, oh dude. Like the [00:59:00] look of like he's

Sean Larson: gonna drop

Dan Matthews: any second.

Oh yeah. Like he could just tip over. Yeah. And, but he's standing there just kinda you could see he was hurting and he knew it was fatal, but I was like, dude, I'm not taking a chance. They were on a hillside that was like 45 degrees. So like I wasn't taking a chance of him going any direction I liked Right where he was.

Yeah. So I load another round and I'm like, Hey, I'm gonna send one more. He is go for it. That was the first a good hit on the first one. Yeah. Send the next one. And he just collapses, like legs are completely out from under him. Oh and when he dropped, I couldn't see where he was like, I can't remember.

I think there was a tree like right in front of him and he was okay higher up on the hill so I could see him above the tree. And when I shot he just disappeared. But I knew it was cuz he had died, but I still like those moments, I'm like, dude, I can't see him. This other bull is just still [01:00:00] standing there.

And I'm like, dude, do you want to shoot that bull? And he's oh, I can't shoot that thing with my gun. I'm like, dude, rack around in my gun. Don't even adjust anything. Just hold it on his shoulder. Yeah. And he is dude, we're not doing two bowls out of this. Like we are so far back. And I was like, if you change your mind, he is still standing there.

And he is no. Yep. No, we got our work cut out for us. And so anyways, I walked up, man on that bowl and I knew looking at him, I don't pass that up. The problem is like I saw him, right? I saw his antlers and I was like, he's a big bull. He's great. Whatever. I didn't look at him long enough because I didn't want to.

I was like, I know this is a bull I'm gonna shoot. And I know he is big. I don't want to know how big he is yet, and so that whole hike up, I'm like, dude, I don't know what I'm about to walk up on. I have absolutely no idea. And I never did see him from the front, like I never saw him head on, so I didn't know how wide he was.

I could just see yeah, at least six. And I'm like, you just knew it [01:01:00] was a shooting. I'm, yeah, the, and I'm not the guy that's oh, I gotta wait. I need to try to add up in my head how many inches this deer is real quick, or this elephant is real quick. Yeah. I'm like, that thing's awesome. I'm gonna shoot it.

That's about as much thought as goes into it for me. And oh, same, I got up to him and I was immediately like, dude, this is unreal. Phish stayed back. He stayed back to try to guide me to him, cuz we were across the valley, Uhhuh. And I didn't need him to guide me to him. Like I ended up spotting right where he was as soon as I got down through the valley and, or it's more of a canyon than a valley, and got up to him and then the work began.

So I didn't get anything out. Not disappointed at all. Oh, dude, I was I still look at that picture. I still look at everything. I'm like, he's insane. And I just, I ued him and he's, or my buddy Sean, ued him for me, and he's up on the wall at my buddy's shop. And so I'm over there a couple times a week and [01:02:00] every time, like this week we were hanging out we have a guy's night, so everyone just hangs out, has a drink, has a smoke, whatever.

And yeah, we're sitting there and one of the guys is like, dude, that bull is so big. And I just look over

Sean Larson: at him. I'm like yeah, he

Dan Matthews: sure is. Yeah. Yeah. There's no greater feeling, man. So are you itching to get back

Sean Larson: out there after elk again? Oh yeah.

Dan Matthews: Yeah, I'll be back every year. There's, oh, I won't.

That's I, there's two hunts that I won't miss again. It's my rifle elk season in Colorado and Wisconsin. Whitetail like those are the two hunts that I do every year, and I always, that is happening. Yep. Yeah, there's no question, like I won't miss, in fact, I give up the whitetail rut here in Missouri every year to go out and chase elk.

Like what? That's not easy, man, because I've got a lot of really good hunting land, and especially [01:03:00] this year because now I actually own land and I'm like, there's gonna be no greater feeling than shooting a buck on land that has my name on it. And, but dude I will not miss Elk season. I just won't do that.

Sean Larson: Hey, you need someone to come fill your spot in Missouri during that run, guy,

Dan Matthews: Hey, I got my first buck on camera. This not long after we got the property. I got a really nice buck. I would imagine. So he had a, he had an amazing right side. Four points. A really nice right side.

His left side, I don't know if he had an injury or what, but it was just a funky side. Real short points it looked like. Yeah, it didn't look like he had necessarily broken them off, but I think there was some type of injury while he was growing that kept his left side small. But if he grows the same right side and a matching left side, he's gonna be one 30 to one 40 and I'm shooting a one 30 to one 40 all day.

I know. And that's if he doesn't grow at all. So if he's healthy and [01:04:00] he grows 'em both, I mean he could be 150, 160 inch steer. And I'm, yeah. I will never pass that up no matter what. But no, I even, dude, I'd shoot that, I'd shoot that deer if you looked the way you did this year. I, a hundred percent would.

If I see even a remotely mature buck on my property, I'm pulling the trigger. Like I'm not waiting to grow something. I want to get a deer with my name on it, on my property. Yeah. You gotta get that first one. Yeah. I just gotta break the seal, man. That's it.

Sean Larson: Yeah. It doesn't have to be one 60 or nothing. No.

You gotta get that first one on the property.

Dan Matthews: Yeah. When will you have trail cameras put back up? I

Sean Larson: got one in my yard right now. We live Oh, nice. Out in the country enough where I get some pretty nice bucks right in my yard. Oh,

Dan Matthews: that's sweet.

Sean Larson: And I just started dabbling and trapping. Oh yeah.

Yeah. Which is a way bigger world than [01:05:00] I thought it was. And so my wife talked me into getting chickens. Yeah. Price of eggs and everything now. So we got chickens, but I got a pretty big fox situation at my house pretty quick here. As soon as the snow melts, finally I'm gonna try to throw some footholds out and take care of 'em Fox, so they don't need our chickens.

Yeah. But yeah, outside of my property here, I usually throw 'em back out


Dan Matthews: I'd say. Yeah. So you're getting them, once they've already sprouted quite a bit, you're getting an idea of what the potential is probably gonna be with your antlers. Yeah. Yeah.

Sean Larson: And this year I'm pretty excited. I should, I'm actually gonna apply for second season Bear this year and I should get my first bear tag up in Michigan.

Heck yeah. So I got that to look forward to come September also. Dude, that's a

Dan Matthews: big year man. Trapping bear. And you've got 10 bucks or nine bucks, whatever. You said that were over a hundred inches on camera. Like you're gonna have a killer [01:06:00] year this year. Oh,

Sean Larson: absolutely. Yeah. I'm trust. You're trusting me.

It's just, you hit that stage, especially when you start getting that itch. Like I said, a few days ago, I was watching that hunting show. I was like, I'm ready for it. Then you just start, like I said, manifesting how you want to break down and game plan and strategize. Yep. What you do this week and this week, so yeah, that's the, I've already been going through all my inventory, seeing what I need, finding all my SD cards, all of it,

Dan Matthews: dude, it's all happening, man. I can't believe we're already into spring and my mind, as much as I want it to be on, fishing and crawfish trapping and Turkey hunting, I'm just already counting.

Sean Larson: You just got to go shoot a hog too, didn't

Dan Matthews: you? Yeah, I just shot a bunch of hogs, actually. I went down to Texas to see our dog. That takes the itch out a little bit. It does. I, and I will say, everyone that I talk to [01:07:00] that's a hunter, they love that there's hogs. Like they just love that there's hogs where they live.

I ask multiple people, Hey, if you could snap your fingers, get rid of the hog problem altogether, would you? And they say, no, they're just too fun to shoot, man. And yeah,

Sean Larson: just like when you get that ish,

Dan Matthews: go shoot some hogs. Sure enough, yeah, I haven't recapped this at all, so I'll share it quick and then we'll hop off so I can respect your time.

But the, so I went down to Texas, saw my dog, he's in training for waterfowl. And yeah, the owner there, he's dude, get out and shoot some hogs, man. So we rode around one night with thermals in the side by side. And how much fun was that? We were looking, we didn't see any, And so I was like, all right hopefully we see him.

We never did. So then the next morning he is Hey man, did you wake up this morning and go out? And I was like, no, I didn't. So then the next morning he's did you wake up and go out? And I was like, no, I didn't. Then we were to the final night there [01:08:00] and I was like, man, I'm gonna get up in the morning and go, forgot to set my alarm.

But because we were staying at their house, our daughter was in the bed with us and she moved or did something and it woke me up. And as soon as she, as soon as I woke up, I was like, oh dude, it's time to go out and hunt. So I get up, go down there, he's Hey, here's the rifle. Here's the keys to the side by side.

This is where you need to go. And so I went out there and he is dude, they're gonna be there at seven 30. They always come in at seven 30. I've got cell cams. That's when they're gonna be there. So just get out there seven 15 and be set up and ready. So I'm walking towards the feeder. That he's got a camera on at seven 10, and I look up and I can see it like 150 yards down this lane.

And him and his son both told me, they were like, Hey, go get set up at 50, 60 yards. Here's a tripod, here's a chair. Just sit there and wait for him to [01:09:00] show up. Yep. I'm walking, I'm 20 minutes early of when they're supposed to be there, and I look up and here's a pig and another one.

And just I don't even know how many there were because like they, they spanned across the whole shooting lane. And so I'm like, crap, dude. Like they're there early. I was supposed to be way close, a hundred yards closer and set up this is his gun. I've never shot it before. Hopefully it's on. Yeah.

And so anyways, I just, I was like, I'm gonna try to get closer. As I started to move, I felt the wind hit the back of my neck and I was like, No, I gotta just, I gotta make, here we go happen. So I just get down, set the sticks up, pull the trigger, and yeah, I shot a pretty big Sal, had to load that in the side by myself, which was not easy.

I was like, I tried to just hold whatever you think, 200, 200 pounds, probably. Maybe decent amount, maybe a little, it could have been a little [01:10:00] bit more, a little bit less. But to the point where I went to pick it up by the legs and it just wasn't, I was like, dude, I'm gonna get. Just covered in blood.

Like I'd rather just throw it in the back and go. So I grab it by all four legs and I swing around, like I'm swinging my kids out in front of me, right? And I swing it around and I like try to hoist it up and I get like the back half on and I'm like, go to get the rest of it on. And the back half falls out and I did that twice.

And then finally I got it to where I was like, screw it. I'm just gonna go, I'm just gonna give it everything I got. And so I lifted it up and then I had to lift with my knee, like hoist it with my knee and finally made it up there. So did that one. Then a bunch of guys from the podcast network were gonna go down to Oklahoma and Hunt and they're like, dude, you gonna come?

You gonna come? I was like, ah, I don't know. I'm just getting back or I will just be getting back from this other trip. I don't know if it's gonna be worth it. So we got back to Missouri at 8:00 PM that night, and the crappy [01:11:00] part is we had driven like an hour from where they were all hunting in Oklahoma.

But it's five hours from where we live. But I've got the wife and kids with, okay. And so I'm like, so we get back, I was like, ah, I think I'm gonna head out. When we get back, I decide not to. I'm like, nah, I'm not gonna do it. So I go to guys night instead, we all get together, like I said, Thursday nights.

Yep. I'm up late, I'm talking. I don't think I got home till 2:00 AM and I wake up the next morning and I'm like, I'm gonna go. I'm gonna go to Oklahoma. And my wife's you are? You're heading out. I said, yep, I'm gonna grab my gear and head out. She's okay. So I leave and your wife's gotta be just an angel.

Hey. Oh, she's it did help that the kids were at her mom's house, so she's oh, I'm just gonna be knocking out work. She's oh, sure. Her passion is as passionate as I am about hunting. She's as passionate about. Building businesses like Sure. She'll just Hey, I'm gonna do [01:12:00] this. And I'm like, okay, whatever.

And then it's extremely successful. So yeah, I was like, I'm gonna head out. That's awesome. She's go for it. So I take off, I get down there in the afternoon, they're like, dude, we're glad you made it. You got an hour and a half and we're heading out to the blinds. And I'm like, okay, gimme a breakdown.

What's happening? Like, how are we hunting these? Yeah. What's going on? Yeah. I'm like, I don't know. I've hunted a lot of different pigs and it's always different, like the way that we hunt them and they're like, this is how it goes. We got a deer feeder. I've got a 30 by 30 hog panel, like enclosure around it.

Okay. So that they normally can't get in. But in preparation for you guys coming to hunt, I opened up like a one foot gap. So now they can get in, but once you start shooting, they all have to bottleneck to get back out. And I'm like, oh, that's pretty creative, dude. I'm like, this is wild. This is gonna be insane.

He's it's anybody's guess where they come to? There's pigs everywhere, [01:13:00] but they might come to yours, they might come to his, they might come to mine, and we've got four different guys out there. So we're sitting there, everyone's messaging each other. Hey, I got deer in at the feeder. Deer, iron in season, whatever.

Oh, I got three raccoons at the feeder. Oh, I'm seeing this. I just saw four coyotes across the field. And we're seeing animals everywhere. Meanwhile, I'm not seeing anything. I can hear that there's pigs in the cover. Okay, maybe 200 yards away. I keep hearing squealing and then all of a sudden I see movement and it's a freaking raccoon and it comes in and it's just picking up all the corn, just like picking it up, popping it in its mouth.

And I'm like, dude, I wanna shoot this thing so bad, but I don't want to ruin a chance of pigs. And so it's there for 45 minutes to an hour just eating. And I'm, the whole time I'm like, I want to shoot this thing. So the tempt temptation is getting higher and higher area's, just it's getting worse and worse.

And all of a sudden, man, I hear a stampede, it sounds like someone is raking. It sounds like there's 20 people [01:14:00] raking the leaves in the woods all the way across this field in the woods. I just hear wow. And it's just pig. Just all pouring out of this wood lot.

And they come straight to the feeder. There's a tree out in the middle of this field that they went behind, and then under the trail goes a foot away from the trunk of it. So as they're, yeah, behind that, I get my rifle set up. I'm just like, my heart's pounding outta my chest. And they all get to the fence and they split and they go around the fence and I'm like, oh no, they don't know that gap is there.

And then all of a sudden of a sudden, all of a sudden, this one little pig comes through the gap. And then another one, and another one. And before I know it, there's 10 pigs at nine yards in front of me. Yeah. And you know what they're gonna do and I know what they're gonna do. So I was gonna wait and let all of them, and as the first 20 pigs get to the fence, I'm like, dude I hope all of them get in.

Then I look and there's another [01:15:00] dozen still coming. And the biggest sow that came into the fence got spooked immediately. Didn't, I could tell she didn't know what was going on cuz she didn't look like straight at me or anything. But she just stopped and froze and I was like, oh, this ain't right.

And I was just keeping my eye on her cuz I knew that if anybody blew out of there it was gonna be her. And all of a sudden she picks her heads up or picks her head up and turns it towards me, but not looking up at me. And then just does a, like a grunt and turns around. And when she did that grunt, every pig started following her.

And so I was like, crap, I've got 10 pigs in here, 20 more outside of it. If all 30 of 'em would've come in, it would've just been like, oh, massacre man. It would've been ridiculous. Yeah. So anyways, I shot her right away, just held it at that gap as they were all funneling and just like pop, unloaded.

And there's pigs scattered everywhere, like all over in the field. So I'm like now trying to pick those off and my buddies were like, dude, it [01:16:00] sounded like 4th of July, man. It was just insane. So Don Baghdad. Yeah. And so anyways, I ended up getting four right there, and then there were more, I think out in the woods, but at the, down in Texas, man, it's eradication.

So like we, yeah, we grabbed those four cleaned them, my buddies put 'em in their coolers, took 'em home. I said, dude, I've got more meat than I can handle. I came out to help with the pig problem, so they took it all home and ate it. That night we went out with thermals and shot. There was, I don't even know how many pigs we saw that night.

Like big bores all by themselves out the field really. And then we'd get closer, set up the thermals, you'd shoot. And like my buddy was shooting and I didn't have any thermals to look through at that point. So he's shooting and I hear whack. And you can hear the hits. And those pigs are so tough, man.

We didn't find that one. We didn't find another big bore, but they're dead somewhere. And so problem solved, right? Oh man. It was, I'll get myself down there. [01:17:00] Give that a try. It is insane. It was a ton of fun. So anyways, I'm gonna stop rambling. I'm gonna let you go, but before I do, why don't you share with people where they can find you, where they can follow your journey.

See some pictures of your monster last year and hopefully some bear pictures this fall. Hey, absolutely man.

Sean Larson: Instagram, I have been slow on, just been busy with work and whatnot lately, but Instagram and just Sean underscore dot larson, TikTok, I post on pretty frequently.

That's Sean underscore Larson, l a r s o n. And same at Facebook. Sean Larson. On there 22 Dr. It's kind my media production page. And I'll be getting on, especially once the season start ramping up, I'll be posting a lot on Arrow. So what's going on and what I'm doing daily.

Dan Matthews: Yeah.

Dude, I really appreciate you hopping on. Congrats on the success this year and hopefully there's more to come this coming

Sean Larson: season. Hey, sounds good, Dan. Hey, I appreciate you having me on here and I look forward to seeing some more yard adventures also.[01:18:00]