Jason Phelps About Bows, Elk, Whitetail, & More

Show Notes

We are very excited to get the chance to talk with no other than Jason Phelps on the Missouri Woods & Water Podcast this week.  Nate and Micah got to sit down with Jason and discuss all kinds of fun things.  We get into our bow set ups, then naturally talk about elk with him, and also talk about Jason's first whitetail experience last season.  This episode was a blast to record and we hope you have as much fun listening as we did recording it.  

Check out the MWW Website for shows, partner discounts, and more!!!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] What's up everybody? Welcome to the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast with your host, Nate Thomas here for the intro today. Today we got a treat leased for me and hopefully for a lot of our Litner listeners, we got Jason Phelps. If anybody from the mid Midwest, Midwest doesn't really know who Jason is a world known elk caller actually owns his own company.

Phelps game calls has been on all kinds of televised hunts and is also the host of a podcast called Cutting the Distance, which is on the meat eater network. So Jason is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hunting out west, and we talked to Jason today about [00:01:00] all kinds of cool stuff.

Actually. We talk about our bow setups, which we weren't planning on, but we went into a rabbit hole right off the bat with Jason. Then we talk about elk, obviously, how he started Phelps game calls. And we actually get into Jason's very first ever whitetail experience last year in Kansas. He went whitetail hunting for the first time in his life.

As far as we know. So it's an awesome show. We're excited. We were super excited to talk to Jason. We're gonna hop into the show right after I get through these sponsors right quick. Make sure you check out our website, Missouri Woods and water.com for partner discounts shows and more Morell targets.

I've been pounding the hell outta my Morell target the past few weeks getting ready for Wyoming, which is right around the corner for us. When you guys hear this show, Andy and Micah will be almost on the road to Colorado and we are hoping to have an awesome Elk trips recap show sometime after we're done at the end of September, [00:02:00] by the time everybody gets back from their show or their trips.

Wish Andy and Micah, good luck out in Colorado along with our buddy Pat and Brandon and Roger. Weber outfitters weber outfitters.com man. They're starting to carry more and more stuff as you can see. We all got our bows from them this summer and just got back from our what do you call that thing?

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My wife doesn't listen to this show. Six Creed more that I bought, and Got a Midas t that I put on it today with my buddy Austin. He helped me out with that. Appreciate his help on that. And if you can't find a dealer, let us know. We'll find one for you. I got some awesome products coming out too.

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So those are our sponsors for today's show. Thank them thank you to them for helping us make this show possible. And let's just get right into this show with Jason Phelps. Super excited [00:05:00] that we got to talk to him and let's hop right into it. This is the Missouri Woods and Water Podcast

Okay with us today. Special treat for me, Micah. I'm sure you're excited too. Of course. We have Jason Phelps. Phelps game calls and host of Cutting the Distance podcast. What's up Jason? Not much. Thanks for having me. It's getting real close to hunting season. We're about 20 days out from September, which for us, elk hunters out west is the month that means everything feels, oddly not close, but it's like right around the corner.

See for me, I like, I've been, yeah, we leave before Nathan does and probably before you guys we always go the opener for, so it's literally two and a half weeks I think we [00:06:00] leave. So I've been having a hard time sleeping at night 'cause I get too excited and I just start thinking about, bugle and mules and all that sort of thing.

Great time of year, that's for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Just so much to do on the checklist though. I'm so bad with my schedule nowadays where it's I've looking at my calendar today order additional darn tough socks. It's that's how I've just because there's like these things I need to check off this list before I get going and don't have time to get 'em.

It's starting next week. Gotta start getting my broadheads like tuned in. Make sure they're tuned perfect. And yeah, just a lot of stuff on the list that just creeps up really fast. Yeah, that's something I, this year I changed my setup. I went back to Iron Wheel Broadheads and.

The two years, two years ago when I was using them also I was like very specific. I, so a broadhead had, was number one through six, and then I would have an arrow that I would marry to that broadhead. This broadhead flies really good on this arrow or whatever. And this time I didn't get to fletch my arrows with the broadheads.

[00:07:00] So usually when I'm fletching those arrows, I'll start my cock vein, lined up with one of my blades, and then go from there. And I use three, three fletches. This time I'm just gonna, screw on Broadheads until, They work, they look good. And then I'm gonna, they work, shoot 'em. Yeah.

And if they fly good, then that, that arrow and that broadhead are together for the rest of the season. And it, that takes time. It takes a while to do that. And I haven't done it yet. Yeah. Yeah. I'm a little behind in the eight ball on that one as well, but been trying to shoot my, yeah.

And that's another thing you gotta think of. You gotta take time. 'cause you gotta actually shoot your bow too and, stay up on it. Yeah. Yeah, I do something real similar. That's very time consuming. As you, you say you get two dozen arrows, for the year. You got a dozen. I label 'em all one through 12.

I shoot four Fletch just so I can knock tune. And then you gotta shoot the arrow, twist the arrow four different times, make sure like everything's good, and then you set from there, then you put a star on. Basically for me, when I'm knocking the arrow while I'm hunting, the star is always up.

I can [00:08:00] see it, and so it's just like a weird system I've come up with and, arrow number seven might be your number one arrow and you just set it all up and Yeah. Yeah it's a process to make sure, and usually I'll shoot good, I shoot Iron Wheels and black Eagle, and my combo is really conservative.

But you, there's still a couple ones where you got like a bad knock or, something just isn't working for you and you just throw that one to the back end of the yeah. List. Are you one of those heavy f o c people or do you just, you get your setup that you like and that's what you go with and whatever the grains comes out, that's what it is.

So I, I do things a little bit backwards from everybody. I go in wanting a boat, so I'll back up a little bit. I've got the luxury of. If somebody doesn't know who I, my, my physical shape I'm six foot five and 250 pounds. And my wingspan is, that of a seven footer.

So I shoot a 32 plus inch draw ink. Wow. Must be nice. Must be nice. Yeah. Yeah. I, so I get, I've got like infinite speed and energy on reserve. [00:09:00] So I shoot a two 50 spine arrow uhhuh super heavy. So I just naturally get these heavy arrows. We stuff enough weight up front. But then what I do before I build all this is I just want a arrow that shoots about mid to eighties.

I, I'm not, I could shoot an arrow that shoots three 40. I can build that setup and be legal and, but I just design everything to about 2 85 add weight, do whatever I need to do. And it usually puts me at about that 14%, yeah. Front of center. It's just easy for me when I picked that speed.

Now, if I started chasing. All kinds of speed, or I wanted a 700 green arrow. It's a different story, right now I'm shooting a 560 green arrow at 2 86. Jesus. It's everything. It's just a hammer. Yeah. And I don't have to be crazy heavy, but it's still, a monster setup for anything we're gonna hunt, right?

Yeah. Yeah. And it gives me a little, I don't ever design for the conservative, but, if you do happen to run into bone, iron wills, heavy arrows I'm, I [00:10:00] think I'm gonna be all right. Yeah. See, that's where I struggle. And that's why I went back to Iron Wheels this year because I feel like I made a mistake last year, but I'm the exact opposite of you.

I'm five seven, so I've got a 27 inch draw length, so I chase speed no matter what. I'm shooting an elite era this year, and I just got everything tuned. Not just. While ago, got everything tuned up and ready to go. Yeah. And I'm at 258 feet per second, shooting a 420 grand arrow. I'm already slow.

Yeah. And light. So I was, I'm, I was thinking, I was talking to our our bo guy who's a genius, and he prefers not to be named so we'll not say his name, but yeah, his biggest thing is, Hey, if you're gonna be light and a little bit slow, then I want you to shoot something that will cut the second it touches anything.

And yeah, I already had iron wheels and I had shot them pri previous, so I just went back to 'em, I need to be able to cut [00:11:00] quickly, cut on contact. And, obviously Iron wheels are some of the best material out there, so if I do contact, bone, I have a better chance of making it through or whatever.

Obviously I prefer not to, but, yeah. That's why it's hard to like, Put everybody in the same boat when it comes to what do you use and what do you set up? Because a guy like Jason, honestly, he could probably shoot an expandable at Elk. He's so heavy and fast, you know what I'm saying?

Whereas that's a horrible idea for a guy like me. So it just depends on what somebody set up is honestly. Yep. And even expandable, I'm not gonna get into it, it's all opinion. But Sure. I shoot iron wheels, but I still shoot their S one hundreds I want for elk, I want the absolute minimum cutting diameter because more so than getting a big gaping hole on an elk, if I hit it in the right spot, I hit it in the right spot, regardless of how big a hole goes through there.

But I wanna try to do everything I can to get that thing, to come out the other side for, two months for having that extra. The, yeah, I want that extra [00:12:00] blood is so much more important to me. And flight's better. And so all of these things, like I end up just shooting these, the smallest fixed heads I can for elk and it's been a great recipe.

I think I've lost one archery elk. In the last 10 years, and I lost one like way early when I started, I haven't lost a lot of elk with that idea. Even when I was shooting slick tricks, like the absolute smallest head I could get with them, and I was shooting the Viper trick, something that cuts on contact real small head.

Now I'm shooting iron wheels staying real small. Yeah it seems to be a good recipe for elk at least. When I first started hunting somebody, and I don't remember who it was, I wish I could remember, told me, poking two holes in 'em is better than poking one big hole. Make it come out both sides and Sure.

And I've tried, obviously when you make your shots, you're trying to make a shot that will do that. And yeah, doesn't work out all the time. Doesn't work out all the time. Last year I was messing around with new Broadheads and I think, I really think that's what my issue was. I was shooting those thorn crown.

Crown. It's a gnarly looking head, but. It [00:13:00] was cheap material. I hit it square in the shoulder and it literally only thing that penetrated was the broadhead itself. And then it broke off right there. Yeah. Where the insert is. And so I was like, yeah, not gonna do that again. Yeah. So I changed things up.

Yeah. And I actually, I went to an expandable this year, but I went with the srs and I don't know if you know them at all, but they use yeah. That's a little different setup than most of 'em out there. I feel like they have the higher quality steel. It's a cut on contact blade.

Really? Tip. Yeah. Yeah. Really good. Good. High quality expandable. So we'll see how it does this year. Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully I get to test it at least. Yeah, put it too. So have you always, so the one thing I haven't changed yet, and I wasn't planning on talking about Bose, but here we are. See I told you, it just goes wherever.

We're in the rabbit hole. Yeah. We go down a lot of those. The one thing I've not changed about my arrow setup. So I got two dozen arrows new this year with the new bow and my old bow, which [00:14:00] I also am set up to run. So it's gonna go to Wyoming with us also, just in case, you know what hits the fan and I need a second bow, it's gonna be there.

But with that bow, I have always shot, your basic blazer, three fletched arrows, and I've always been happy with them. I've never had an issue. I've always shot. Good. So I haven't changed. The one thing I've always thought about is it would be so much easier to tune my broadheads if I had four, four fletching.

Yeah. But once again, I went right back to the Blazer, three veins and it's just gonna be like more I have to do. 'cause like I said I'll screw the all of our arrows are set up like a Western hunter. I feel like Midwestern hunters maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very cock vein like we have a white cock vein and the two other veins are gonna be red or whatever color.

And then western hunters don't care what color the veins are. Right? Mine are all that way. Like mine are [00:15:00] all orange or mine are all yellow. So then I can move that vein and market like you do. But it'd be so much easier if I had the three. I just could not, or four, I just could not bring myself to it.

Have you always shot four or what made you make that switch? Yeah. So I shoot all white veins and a white knock. 'cause I can see it fly better. I don't shoot lighted as of yet. I just, I can, my eyes aren't bad enough yet. I can see white fly gray. I always know right where my eye, my arrow hits, as long as everything's white.

Now you even switch me up a little bit and give like an orange knock. I start to lose my arrow real quick, so I shoot all white. And then it just give if you go three you have to index that arrow, right? Because you'll, otherwise it won't fly right? Where with the four you can, you have to knock it, right?

Whether it's upside down, you're gonna have B clearance. So it was like in the moment, back when I started doing it this way, I wanted to make sure that I didn't screw things up out in the woods. And that's really what led me to four. But then as I, as time went on, I'm like it gives me.[00:16:00]

As long as I don't mark my veins yet, it gives me four different chances to not tune this thing. And then also with Black Eagle, I don't know if you guys are using it yet. We're using the new focus system. So if my Broadhead isn't quite right, I can undo the Allen screw, twist my Broadhead 40 degrees, tighten my Allen screw back down, recr my broadhead in, and see if that fixes it.

So it just give it, there's a lot less arrows that get set in that don't meet the requirements pile by shooting four vein and without having to strip fletching and relet and twistings, 45 degrees on a four ffl. So I've always did that. It just makes my life easier, especially when I'm hunting, if I for some reason screw up and knock the thing upside down, even though I've got the big star on the top, I know my arrow's most likely still gonna be okay, or I'm at least not gonna have any contact.

And then I used to shoot blazers as well, but. There were little gremlins that, that, at least with my setup that would pop up, is contact, whether you're shooting like a [00:17:00] cage or you're, the lasers just left me like very little room for touching stuff. So I switched over to the a e Maxes just because they're a little more lower profile.

They seem to be able to steer just as good. But it just in my mind, everything's like on the conservative side. Yeah, these blazers might fly better, but this fly is good enough and I'm not gonna touch anything if. If I do happen to knock, if my knot gets twisted 20 degrees and all of a sudden I've got a vein going straight up off my wrist I might be able to get by without screwing it up at one.

As far as the knocks go, I don't know if you've ever done this trick, but I do shoot lighted knocks, but I found that if you take, and the, and we shoot Black eagles as well, we shoot, we all shoot rampage pages and I'll find that, I'll take like a Walmart sack and I'll put that, knock through that and push that into the arrow, and that takes up a lot of the play, and that way it won't spin as freely.

And that's worked out really good for me and I've never had to worry about that. Yeah. Which is interesting. Yeah, it is a little different, but and [00:18:00] see, I, it's just my biggest issue is I don't like changing. So for instance I'm told you, I've shoot the elite era this year. Prior to that, I shot a 2010 Botec assassin.

Until this year because I liked the bow and I didn't want to switch, so I kept getting it res strung. Yep. And the blazer veins have always done me well. Black Eagle Rampages have always taken care of me. And until, like I went to the Iron Wheels, I was shooting Slick Trick SS one hundreds. Yep.

I'm just like, I'm a very I'm like, I guess I'm a creature of habit. Yeah. If it does, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, type of guy. But when I am tuning my broadheads, that's the time I'm like, man, I should have done four Fletching or whatever I should have, 'cause even Blazer or boning has the heat vein, which is a little bit lower profile form of a Blazer base, basically.

Which I'm sure the AE Maxes would be great. But, so yeah, [00:19:00] I got two dozen. Same thing. I, they're all the Blazers and they're shooting great. Without the broadheads, and hopefully as soon as I start screwing Broadheads on we don't have an issue. My biggest issue with the Iron Wheels and I'm sure you have a lot of experience with this, is I'm so scared to sharpen them after you've shot 'em into a target 20 times.

At the very minimum, you should probably strap 'em or do the leather thing. But I do the yeah. Cereal box with the stuff on it that I have. Yeah. Do you find that is something you put off? Do you procrastinate, messing with your broadheads? So I just had Bill, I just had a long conversation with Bill just a couple weeks ago.

He was, I think he was my last podcast guest. And went over a lot of this that I might not be right, or talking to him, there is some sharpening and he sells, I. I have found that at least the way that a five tool steel is done up and sharpened and heat treated, I don't feel that my broadhead ever needs touch just from [00:20:00] hitting foam.

Like the foam is unable to roll the edge of that broadhead. And so I'll shoot it, you know what, whatever, if it's a hundred, 150 times and if that arrow is number one on my quiver and I can still take my thumb and flick and when something's sharp, we've all heard it and I'm like still cutting hair on my arm.

I'm good to go shoot an elk with that because I've killed lots of elk with air, with blades back in the muzzy or interlock days, whatever I used to shoot 25 years ago that was never that sharp brand new out of the package. So hopefully I'm not giving bad advice, but me personally I feel that the way that he's done that steel, he treated it, put the edge on it, that a foam target is unable.

To screw with that edge. I felt, see that I felt the same way, because two years ago I didn't sharpen any of mine. After I got 'em, I sharpen, maybe touch 'em up, it should be the better word. Yep. After I shot them, even though when I got 'em out of the, the awesome iron roll box, they come in, I could shave my entire arm [00:21:00] with a blade.

And then after I shot 'em 30, 40, however many times into my target, were they as razor sharp? No. They weren't as bad as razor sharp. But I had the same thought. I'm like, I'm shooting this. I'm hard steel into foam. How can it really be, doling it that much? And my other thought was, I'm at bigger wrist of screwing this blade up by messing with it.

Because I'm not an expert sharpener of blades. But I'm like, I feel like I'm at greater risk messing with the damn blade than if I just leave it alone and throw it in the quiver. Plus if you're using a quiver that has a foam insert, how many times you take in and out of there, yeah. Theoretical potentially. Yeah. So I don't, I didn't mess with him either and that makes me feel a lot better. I did listen to that show and I heard him say that, and I was yeah, I was happy to hear it. Yeah. Yeah. I've got one of one of the work sharp, yeah. It hold your blade and you can match the angle in real nice.

But I don't even, not that [00:22:00] it's, I'm lazy or whatever, it's just not even worth my time. I feel like it's just sharp enough and it's. I don't even need to touch 'em up. I'm super confident just taking those things, 150 times into a foam and going and, shooting into an animal.

And then the blood trails have backed that up. I haven't ever needed more blood as of late. Yeah. That makes me feel better. Yeah. I did not realize I'm a huge fan of Jason Phelps. I will say that, but I did not realize I'm, I've got the same broad heads. I don't know if you actually have a black, what Black Eagle arrow are you shooting?

So I'm shooting the X impact just so I can get Okay. On that two 50 spine a little bit. I don't remember if it was more weight or less weight than the ramage, but it allowed me to build a little bit different arrow to get to that 2 85 than the ramage. Gotcha. What did, yeah. So yeah, that's, but I didn't realize I just, that's so me and Jason just smart.

That's right. Yeah. Same person, right? Yeah. Yeah. We're, shoot, we're shooting the, what's that that meme where it's, there's a picture of one thing and a picture of another, and then it's Pam from the office, but underneath, and it says it's the [00:23:00] same picture. That's me and Jason, if you put next each other.

Yeah. Couldn't tell a difference, even though he's six five and I'm five seven. No big deal. Yeah, just a foot caller, whatever. Okay. We'll climb up outta the rabbit hole that we just started, which I think was a really productive rabbit hole. Sure. Sometimes our rabbit holes are much less productive than that.

Yeah. But let's just talk about like how a year goes for you. Obviously, you hunt elk all over the country. Although this year doesn't sound like you're gonna be as all over the country as normal. Yep. But, yep. Change plans a little bit. Yeah. What are, just some of the things you go through in the summertime, getting yourself ready?

Obviously you live in the West and you're, do you live in Oregon? I live in southwest Washington. Southwest was Okay. Washington. I'm only, yeah. I'm about an hour from Oregon, so I'm down in the bottom corner there. Some of the states you're hunting, you are close to obviously, whereas, we're 15 hours from Colorado by itself, per by vehicle it's a little harder for us.

But what are some of the things you're doing in the summertime [00:24:00] from a getting ready to hunt standpoint? Do you do a lot of scouting in the summer or have you just, you've been hunting so long, do you just have an idea where it is you wanna start? Yeah. So I'll tell you what I do now versus what I used to do when I had to do it.

So there's, I, as I've grown as an elk hunter, I've been able to not have to do some of these things because I know for pretty good certainty when I show up to a spot that looks like this, it's gonna have elk. Growing up learning new, because I grew up in, in what I would say industrial Timberlands, which.

I had to figure out how to go do this more, mountain based hunting, I would say, or public land based hunting, because here when we grew up, it was either ride your bike down a logging road and bugle off all, in a walk-in area or you would drive landing the landing bugle off of like prominent points where you'd get a boulder spawn.

And it was, and we, my family was all in the logging trades, so they were always in the woods. They always had their eyes on elk. They always knew, where the animals were or so I had it easy and then I got, I [00:25:00] wanted to just explore and go find more adventure than just doing it, truck base.

And I wanted to hike in, I wanted to camp, I wanted to which then led me to doing a lot of scouting. It was a lot of information picking, it was a lot of looking on websites and, even hiking reports like I. Are there elk in area? Are these hikers seeing elk? They don't, they're not even hunters, but they will say if they've seen elk up some of these wilderness trails and just trying to gather all this information, talking to everybody that I could about elk and area and trends and doing all of that.

And then one thing, and I don't claim to ever be the expert on being in shape. But one thing that was the real difference for me was I. The physical, the physical output required to hunt the way we do now versus the way I used to hunt. We could use chainsaw, winches and trucks and, haywire, we could get our elk out hole.

Versus this all needs to be on our back. We need, we're gonna be eight miles from the truck. And so that was one thing that I did work on a lot back [00:26:00] then was just like, a little bit of mental toughness, a little bit of physical, like how do you get yourself in shape to hunt for 10, 12, 14 days in a row?

Putting your body through quite a bit more. So that was one thing I spent a lot of time on. Found a system that worked good for me. And then for me it was a lot mental toughness. I wanna be successful so bad or find success at elk hunting that I'm willing to do stupid stuff. I'm willing to, to probably, hunt harder or soar than those people would be.

But it's all because I can focus on what I'm out there trying to do. But yeah, nowadays, let's fast forward to now. I do quite a bit of ESC scouting still, just to confirm that the areas I think will hold elk and that it's checking all these boxes. We talk about it all the time, but I'm looking for spots where elk will have feed.

In a drought year, elk will have feed during a moisture, elk will have water in either drought, and some of that plays in this year. Alright, we had a great spring. We've got all of this extra, out west, everything's in the spring bloom, so we've got higher than normal brush.

[00:27:00] But now we haven't had rain in a lot of spots for a long time. So now we've got all this brush that's dying, is the food gonna be burnt up by the time I get there up higher, 'cause a lot of times we'll go to a spot that's super productive one year because they had food above Timberline or at that fringe.

You go there the next year, everything's burnt up or something's changed, you go to drop and where the elk gonna go. So I spend more time creating plans, a, B, C, however many different ideas. And then that's really my extent because this year I am gonna hunt at home, but a lot of my hunts are at a point where, yeah, I can drive there maybe once and set trail cameras and I'll pick 'em up when I get back.

So my scouting is probably way. Lower than it needs to be. But I also do have the advantage that I've been able to proof a lot of my ideas and theories in a lot of different spots, and so I feel like I've got pretty good at making sure I'm not gonna end up in a dead zone. And then, aside from that workout out two to three times a day a day, a wish two to three times a week try to just [00:28:00] keep my lungs and muscles, and really all that is to do is prevent that day three to four, like bonk.

I'm never in as good a shape as I need to be, but like I say, I'm stubborn enough when I get there that I just don't want to hit that, that everything's sore on day three or four from hunting hard and you shoot your bow get my setup dialed for me. I'm not going back down the archery rabbit hole with you guys, but for me, like one thing in my mind is just confidence in my setup for that year.

So I wanna leave here before I put that bow and strap it into its case like, As confident as I can be in that setup. I won't leave here. I'll spend another day or two here tweaking my setup or shooting or doing something before. I'd rather go hunt with the setup I'm not confident in. And then that's really what it I'm doing in the off season.

A little bit of training making sure my bows set up, and then just prec scouting where I think I wanna, I want to be and what plan A looks like. Plan B and go from there. Yeah, go ahead. I'm asking this selfishly because like I said earlier, we always hunt. I.[00:29:00] Opening, we usually go that first nine, 10 days, whatever.

It's Yeah. In Colorado it's like the first Saturday of September, I believe. So it's usually around the first, second, third, whatever. Are you, do you might, not now, but do you hunt the entire season and how does that change throughout the season? Like obviously the before the Rutt hits, they're not as vocal.

In my experience, and I haven't even been able to hunt the actual rutt rut for elk. Yeah. So how does your strategy change beginning, middle, late season for you? Yeah, so I'm very fortunate, aside from this year's plans being a little different, normally I'm, every day or every day that I can be hunting that I've got a tag for, I'm out there and I would say there are days that are better than others for the way that I hunt, but I.

Elk had been killed by me or my group from, the end of August all the way to the end of October with Ewing elk. And using some of the strategies and the ideas that we use. I feel, I'm trying to figure out how to put this in words, but [00:30:00] every day in September, I have a equal shot of killing an elk.

No day is necessarily better than the other. Now a September 1st versus September 20th, like comparing those two days, September 1st, I may not hear, I may hear 20% of the beagles I will on September 20th, but those ones that you do hear on September 1st have a higher percentage of me calling 'em in versus the beagles that I hear.

So I think by the time you say, all right, I can call in half of the bulls I hear on September 1st versus on September and 20th, I'm gonna call in, 10% of those bulls. You end up in the same spot with the same opportunity for success. So strategies change Maybe as a, my aggressiveness or the calls that I'm gonna use to call that bull end into my location are gonna change and vary a little bit from start to finish or, peak to post or wherever we're at in the season.

But I've always said there's only so many days in September, and I honestly don't think the time or the date is necessarily gonna affect your success that much. We it's funny he says it that [00:31:00] way because we've had the same for out of necessity because some of the guys in our group are farmers and so they can't really be gone late to mid-September.

They need to be back for harvest here. So we've always went, like Michael was saying at the beginning, very beginning of the season in Colorado, in an O T C unit, which is no longer O T C, but until last year, O T C units anybody could have a tag. Highly pressured, let's say, in that regard.

But even though we're not in the quote unquote rutt at that time, every damn year somebody has a experience with a bull. Like you guys had one last year. Was it? With the one screaming in your guys' face. Oh, that was Andy. That was Andy. Yeah. Last year we had a lot come in silent. They came in, but it was always silent.

Yeah. Yeah. But it seems like every year there's an experience where there's a bull screaming in your face beginning of September, and it's like you said, it's like that one that will do, it seems like he's pretty [00:32:00] into it. Yeah, now it's, it can be aggravating from our standpoint because when they're not talking, you feel like you're just walking around trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Especially when you've got, you don't know exactly. Where the elk are if they're on this mountain. This one because you don't get to scout, you don't have the opportunity. You pull in the day before season set up camp and it's time to go the next morning. So you're hunting a little blind when they're not talking.

But it seems every year they'll talk at some point during that trip. Yep. Yep. And it's like I say, I for the excitement and what I love, like the peak of the rutt is fun. But there are some frustrating times and the, not diving too deep into what the rutt is, I get very hard to pull off herd bulls at that time of year.

You gotta get, our tactics get very aggressive. We don't do a lot of the spot in stock, but we've had a lot of success right in that change over time from what I would call, like if you had to draw lines on what pre, peak and post [00:33:00] are, like right where the pre rutt and the peak, where everything's starting to cross over there, like September 7th to the 12th, September 7th to the 13th.

Our strategies work really right there. Now unfortunately for us here in like Washington, our season opens up on the 12th. We've only got a two week season. And one thing that, not that I still wouldn't hunt, you guys have to hunt opening weekend because of the farmers and the people you hunt with.

But one thing I hate is pressure. Like I would just assume get elk a week after somebody's pressured them. But everybody wants to be out there on opening week. A lot of these years I'm planning two or three elk hunts. I would just assume plan every week I'm gonna be, there's a week after the opener, or a week and a half after the opener.

I don't care if people have messed with the elk. We'll go find pockets of them, but the ru's gonna happen. And I would just be, I would just assume be hunting without people in my spot or a spot I want to be, or messing with the elk. More so than being there on the opener. So that's one thing I always kinda look at as I'm planning is, alright, do I really want to be there on the [00:34:00] opener?

What kind of extra pressure does that put in the area? It's really deflating as I'm planning my hunts, yeah. It is. I don't know what area or type of area you guys hunt. One thing, and this goes back to my desire to wanna be successful and a little bit of my stubbornness, but I can usually devise a plan that's going to wear me out or try to kill me, but I'm gonna get away from people like, alright, I'm tired of dealing with all these people at this trailhead or this, I'm gonna go to this spot.

Nobody's went up there. 'cause it's steeper, deeper nastier. And just I'm gonna dive into there just to get away from 'em. Is how my stubbornness works because I just wanna find that success regardless of these other people in the area. If you're hearing what we're saying, We were in that situation out of necessity because, obviously I didn't, my personally and Micah, really any of our group, we really didn't start hunting elk until we were a little bit quote unquote older.

So guess what? We didn't have points anywhere. So when you're starting like behind the eight ball, you either don't hunt for a few years until you get points built up to, get a decent unit in certain states or you pay for a [00:35:00] guide or you, yeah, you can go that route or you go hunt the units that are, you buy a tag and go.

And so when we first started, like that was our option. Do we not wanna hunt or do we want to go hunt this unit? Yeah. And honestly for the first few years it wasn't that bad as far as pressure. The last I'd say since Covid. Yeah, COVID really, there were times, dude, you'd be two, was it two or three years ago?

I can't remember now. The year Russell wasn't with us, but I. Dude you'd be like hunting and then you'd get to the top of the ridge and start working your way, maybe in another direction. And then there'd be like two guys walking down and then you'd dive off and there'd be another guy and you're just like, I feel like I'm in a city park right now taking a walk with my dog.

Yeah. And you're just like, how in the hell am I gonna find an elk in this? It's, it's just, it was almost comical, people were camping. People were camping. And this unit that we were hunting isn't really a backpacking unit. There's four wheeler trails all over [00:36:00] the place.

You can be anywhere within an hour or two. Yeah. Everything's about a mile from, so some sort of trailhead for the most part. There's, but you're like, there's a dude camping up here. These elk are supposed to be up here. How are we supposed to handle this? You're right. It was a, but.

At the same time, would you rather be sitting at home or out in Colorado, taking a shot at it? Yeah. Now, during that time, we'd been putting in points for Colorado, Wyoming we'd been putting in for New Mexico, because why wouldn't you? Yeah, I'm building points up in Arizona for some stupid reason.

I don't know why. I'll be 70. I'll be 70 before I, I get back. But yeah I'll draw when I'm 60 in Arizona. I think my, I don't even know why I'm doing this anymore, but at this point I'm like I've already spent the $400 for four years, so I might as well just keep going. It's the extra few grand over the, my lifespan.

Yeah. But so definitely I think the most disheartening thing isn't so much like the elk knock talking and the elk, maybe missing chances. It's the pressure with other hunters and more power to 'em. Yeah. I'm not upset at 'em. They have just as much [00:37:00] of a right to be there as I do.

And we've met some really cool people. Yeah. 'cause of the pressure. We've met a dude three or four years ago that came out from Ohio. I think Indiana by himself never hunted an elk before in his life, went out and did it, and his first year killed a, a cow. That's pretty awesome. That's pretty cool to do that by himself, I wouldn't have done it by myself it's pretty cool. But yeah, definitely I would say a good piece of advice would be, if you're thinking hunting is something you want to do in a couple years, now is the time to start putting buying points. Yeah. So that you can at least, yeah, maybe find a unit that's not as pressured or that has limited tags so that, there's only gonna be up to this many hunters in this area at one time.

Yep. And you've done a good job of that because of your up, like you were brought up that way? Or did you learn it just early to start diversifying your portfolio, let's say? How did you learn to start doing that? Yeah, my dad really didn't help me out 'cause they [00:38:00] didn't buy points. We had it so good here for so long.

That I, until the internet rolled around and whenever that was, 2005, 2007. As far as like hunting went, I didn't know that there were elk, elk lived outside of my backyard. It was one of those things where, and then you're like, oh shoot, there's all these opportunities. So I got a pretty late start on the point game now, maybe earlier than most.

I think I've got, I started in Washington and Nevada the earliest. I think I'm up to 16 years in. But I don't have if I would've been smart or my dad would've started me, when I was younger, I would've had lots of points. So it was just one of those things where is I was able to apply.

I just started, so I think most Western states, I'm somewhere between 13 and 16 points. Yeah, that's pretty cool. And, but yeah, back to your guys' point on like the O T C versus waiting for a draw tag. I would tell everybody that I would not want to start my elk hunting career on a special tag without having at least punch the time clock on O T C, because unless you know what you're doing, that would be, you would put [00:39:00] yourself at a, it would be a disservice to your special tag to not have at least some time in elk woods trying to figure it out or understand it.

And then jumping into a special tag, everybody thinks a special tag just equals, like a good bull. Yeah. You might be in a good. Area with a good opportunity, but there's a lot more to it than just drawing a special tag. E especially us, Midwesterners, we're not used to going out into the mountains and you don't know what it's like hiking up a, tall ass mountain until you've walked up a tall ass mountain.

You gotta be prepared for that. And if you go in there, if you were smart enough, or you were putting in for 10 years and just I'm gonna wait till I get that one tag. Whatever, you're, you really are doing yourself a disservice to not just gain those experiences. Yeah. Like that. And and Dan you, the owner of our network, he talks about that with whitetail hunting.

He, like, when he first started getting into whitetail, he got on a monster, huge whitetail buck, and he hunted that thing for, I forget how many years. [00:40:00] So he took away all those experiences from killing other deer, and then he ended up screwing it up somehow, or somebody shot it, I can't remember. I can't remember.

It was shipwreck. Yeah, shipwreck. And Put yourself in the experience and lease experience, your odds are not high. But there is no, there's always that slim chance that some miracles gonna happen. You are gonna have success, and that's just gonna make you a better hunter down the road.

For sure. And think about the experiences we've had in those O T C units that have helped us get ready. My, my very first year elk hunting, very first day, within two hours of being out there, I have a bull walk in front of me. I forgot I had a freaking bow in my hand. All I saw was this majestic thing in front of me at 60 yards.

And I, I just, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Oh, that's what they look like. I'm telling you now. I didn't even realize a bow was in my hand. Yeah. And think about that for flat landers, even just that, i. I don't know what an elk look, I've never been in front of [00:41:00] an elk in my life before I went hunting.

Or if you went to Estes Park on a vacation, I guess you could see 'em within three feet of you. Just seeing an elk in the woods or in the elk woods is an experience that helps you get better. Ready for, actually there's a difference between seeing an elk and being ready to kill an elk.

Those are, to me, two different things. Yeah. And that helped us get ready for, opportunities we've had. And obviously now I'm gonna be in Wyoming this year, so I feel like if I'd have just drove Drew that general archery tag in Wyoming and not had any experiences before, I have no idea what I'm getting myself into.

I still am going to a place I've never been to in my life. I've never stepped foot on, but. I feel at least ready that if an elk, if we're gonna get an elk in front of us I'll be able to do what I need to do instead of, Hey, I waited thi this many years to draw that Wyoming tag and now I get to go kill an elk.

Yeah you're almost lying to yourself if you think that you're gonna be like, really ready. [00:42:00] Yeah, and there's so much that goes on between seeing an elk and, loosen an arrow at an elk. There's, can you keep your heart rate down like the first time it's gonna be the, is gonna be the most elevated, you're gonna be the most excited.

So if you can replicate that a couple times, even, figuring out when you can draw, like how much is too much for an elk to pick up? Like all these little things, it may take you getting through these phases or steps in the process to get to the next one. And if, the last thing you'd want is to call in, the bull of lifetime on your special hunt and not be able to know when to do these things or have an understanding of when you need to draw, or what an elk's gonna let you get away with.

So it's just, I, a cliche saying, but it's just time in the saddle. Like getting your repetitions in on some of these, I guess you'd call 'em processes or stages of the game are definitely gonna beat to your advantage when you know, I. When the time comes or the next setup or the next call in every time, even after 25 years of this, I feel like every year I'm better because of what I got to go through [00:43:00] the, the prior year.

Yeah. That's cool. Yeah. Let, I wanna talk I've really never heard you talk about this, and I'm sure you have, but I've always been interested how Phelps game calls started. So obviously you had a passion for hunting elk. How did the game call side of everything work, did you did you see like a need that you went out and tried to I'm gonna try to do this?

Or how did that all come about with you? Yeah, so I was, I've always been a tinker right prior to the game call company, is with. And for those that don't know, I'm a professional civil engineer. So I went to school for, what, four and a half years to be a nerd. But my, my, my brain works, math, science and then I'm a tinker.

So right prior to this I was building like high performance a t v exhaust and, ting on mo, tinkering on motors and but hunting was always I would say, my true passion. And I was real frustrated with the quality of the calls that I was using at the time.

And it wasn't so much that none of 'em were good, I just couldn't [00:44:00] figure out why I could get, I could buy 10 of 'em and two of 'em were good and eight of 'em were almost unusable, all in the same model. And there's gotta be a way through, the process, the building materials, whatever it may be, that we can make 'em all sound like those two.

At the time I was designing, bridges and building bridges and one thing, when you're building a bridge you've got this spec book, right? That's basically a, what a 2000 pages on how everything that's gonna be built should be built and to what specification and what process needs to be done and what, what material spec, so in my mind, like I was always being, my mind just kinda wired that way. There is a process to make sure that no matter what bridge we're building and what part of the world, comes out with a certain outcome, they're all gonna be good. Or to, to standard or safe enough that we can put the po.

Like my mind's always been wired, like very SPECT driven, very process driven. And so when I'm like, there's gotta be a way. So I just went into building out calls, just tinkering, right? [00:45:00] I started out with external calls building wood bodied calls, trying to get the sound and then really trying to make them easy to use.

So not only myself, who at that time I'd consider a good elk caller could use, but anybody could use that call to make similar sounds. Was my goal. And just got, going down that path. Being an archery elk hunter, I knew ultimately I needed to get from wood bodied calls to diaphragms because that was where, the market was, that's what everybody wanted to use.

And a couple years in as funds allowed, we bought the machines, the presses and whatnot and started doing that. And I think it was just, some of the success just stemmed from Designing what I wanted to use, letting my friends gimme feedback, and then really just listening to what they said and trying to make adjustments so that it was a good call for the most amount of people.

And then my engineering background allowed me to very quickly and easily make design changes on my computer, ship it to three D printers, ship it to manufacturers so we could test parts really quick and proof 'em.[00:46:00] And so yeah, just one thing led to another. We expanded the brand, we added two and yeah, I get the credit for designing this stuff, but it was really our community our good friends.

It was a team that I had built around me that really propelled this thing. It is, we had a little different motto. It's we didn't necessarily want the best elk colors always. We didn't necessarily want the, the. I hate using the word, but we didn't want all of the killers to use it.

Like we went and looked for number one, like really good people and then made sure that they could call and kill elk. This sucks. Went after. Yeah. Yeah. If I could turn him into an elk caller, I'm doing something. That's awesome. Yeah. This guy's just a bad person, or this guy doesn't fit the mold of just being like a good, genuine person that we think is good for hunting in general.

Like it's not gonna work out. So we went and searched for just man salt of the earth, solid people. And then usually since they're in that ring, they're already pretty good elk colors and pretty good elk hunters. So that was our our ideas. You can chase great oat callers all over the place, but if they're not gonna represent [00:47:00] the brand and, take the time to, to go chat with a kid for five minutes and give them tips and pointers on how to run an oat call.

And if they can't handle the if they're always flying off the handle on social media, like I. That always reflected on us. And so that was our goal. We built a great team, built a great foundation. And then like we were talking before the podcast, we have a lot of fun.

Our group's, pretty fun. Little bit entertaining. We just had that edge. And I'm not gonna lie timing was on our side. Like we, I always joke that we literally started promoting our business on Facebook, like maybe on the best day to ever promote it. It's back when you could get traction, you could reach people's eyes.

We were one of the game called companies to really like, use social media to push our brand and our message. A lot of things lined up and then ultimately it comes back to just the designs were good. I think they're user friendly. One of the things that we've really been, we've always been focused on, but really have been able to play to is some of the designs that.

That let anybody sound 95% as good [00:48:00] as, we can sound with all of our experience, all of our time running a diaphragm. It's the easy sucker, you can't run a diaphragm. Here, I'll give you a calco. That sounds probably better than I do with a diaphragm. You can't bugle here, I'll give you the easy bugler that yeah, maybe you can't add moans and groans and chuckles in.

But you can bugle and I, I hate things that are cliche, but one of the cool things in my seat is, after we release that easy bugler, is guys emailing me, by the handful. Man, I can't thank you enough for the easy bugler. Like I've always been scared to bugle during a season.

Finally had enough confidence and it changed, it changed the experience for me. I can't believe, I've been elk hunting for 20 years and never experienced this. And so that's some of that. The other stuff that's really rewarding for me is like what we're doing is affecting, A lot of people out there chasing elk every year.

Yeah. I probably have owned every model of diaphragm you have made. And one of the things I loved about your easy bugler, and we talked about this before we [00:49:00] recorded, but I've got a super hyperactive gag reflex and I've tried probably every type of diaphragm call there was on the market, tried to modify them any different way I could think, and just never could you, I could never use 'em.

I, a guy like me is thankful for something like the easy bugler because it makes a guy who can't use a diaphragm, still able to, to bugle or do those calls. And I. I don't know. It almost makes you feel like, what's the, I makes you feel like a real boy. I'm a real man. How about that? I feel like a real boy.

Because, the first few years I went oak hunting, I'm like, I don't even have, I'm not even gonna put a tube in my pack because I can't do it anyway. I don't even know if I had like diaphragms. I remember one time I was like, I'm gonna have this diaphragm and if I have to, I'm gonna force myself to use it.

And you know that's not gonna happen. Whatcha gonna do is sit there and be like, no. Especially 'cause you can't practice with it. So you're like, I'm gonna do the first time, it's [00:50:00] gonna be great and I'm gonna be on the mountain. And I remember, it just doesn't happen. When I started looking for external bugle tubes, I bought, and I'm not gonna name brands 'cause I'm not here to run anybody down, but I bought a bunch of what I would call.

Garbage. Okay, here's this one, this is gonna work. And then it's just oh, this is horrible. Okay, I'm gonna try this one. And so the Easy Bugler is a huge a huge, type of thing for those types of guys. And then honestly, when you have guys like you and Dirk is another he's a great, in my opinion, teacher on Yep.

The YouTube channel. Like when he's teaching people how to use the easy bugler, it's like he's sitting right there with you showing you how to use it and Yep. You can figure it out for sure, but I think that's where a lot of other companies failed is the education side of using calls where that's what I liked so much about, Jason Phelps originally was the teaching side of it.

Yep. Okay, here's the call, but then, hey, this is how you can get good at [00:51:00] it. Yeah and it comes along. Me and Dirk talk about when we make our education, we get, we go to our, our sportsman shows in person, right? It's me and Dirk at the booth helping you. And so we got, the nice thing is we're the ones personally getting asked and we get to see why they can't run easy people or why they can't run a diaphragm.

And so it's easy once you go through that to then go back and build your videos because you know how to address. Any issue that somebody might have out there. And yeah it's the good, it's a good I would say, like a full circle that we get to be with people in person. So when we go to make the video, we know what all of those realistic issues or run-ins or hurdles are gonna be when you're going to use it.

So then we can address those in our videos. And that's really our point is, yeah, you can go tell people how to use it, but, and this isn't meant to sound pretentious, but me and Dirk don't have a whole lot of issues with anything that we build. So we don't know oh, it's because your lips too far back, or you didn't know where to place that.

And so being able to see that in person is really helped us pinpoint some of our education, which I think is helpful because [00:52:00] as much as I hate to think of the business is people, like you becoming frustrated diaphragms, I have no, no doubt we could eventually get you figured out, but if somebody's not willing to push through that hurdle you've lost a customer.

They don't have anything good to say about it. But if we can get these people to quickly bur, break that wall down or knock the hurdle down then it looks good on the brand. And there's a little bit of business tack and education as well. We want people to be able to use our stuff and sound good on it.

I would like to personally extend an invitation to you to try to figure me out. I feel like I'm the one guy who's never gonna be able to do it. Probably not, never gonna do it, dude. You obviously don't know me very well, but. My whole life has been rough. I can't go to the dentist. I have to go to dentist, but I can't get like x-rays in my, like I can't do, it's, dude, I just I'm a gagger.

You walk in and they put the gas on you like, all right, he is gotta have his teeth. Yeah. Knock his ass out. Yeah. That's it. Imagine me growing up with strep throat when I had strep throat and you had to go get tested for strep throat. Doctors had to hold me down as a kid to get that thing [00:53:00] back there.

But okay. We're gonna make a hard pivot now. Before we make that pivot. Oh, okay. Sorry. I do just for listeners, getting into it, could you name off maybe, three to four or five calls that you would suggest for a beginner that you know is just getting into the game? Some of those, easy ones to use just so they have something to go off of.

Yeah. I always recommend people try to start with diaphragms. It gives you, as an Archie Elk Hunter, even a muzz loader, elk hunter, somebody that's hunting during the rut gives you hands free, right? So being able to use a diaphragm gives you the most ability to to make all the sounds, bulls and cows add emotion to it, make every sound, on, on the spectrum.

And then with that, we do have a beginner three pack, which a lot of guys are like I don't know if I can use one. A three pack. What it does is we've spaced them out far enough in our lineup that you might be a brand new color, but you might need a call like Dirk uses because you're gonna put a lot of pressure and air on it.

So we'll have one that's on this side of our spectrum, and then we're gonna give you one that's easier to run. Just because you're new doesn't mean that you'd need like a light call. So what [00:54:00] we try to do is give you three calls. You may be able to use two and not the other one, or not sound as good, or it may break over.

And what it really does is give us a really good starting point. So we do have a beginner three pack that we recommend to everybody. It gives us a really good idea on where people are at. And then I would say aside from that diaphragm we've got the easy sucker, which is the inhale elk call for people that can't run a diaphragm.

You can run that hands free while you're ryle cutting. So you still have the ability to make elk sounds and not have to move. And then our new our new bugle tube now accepts the easy bugler. It's a little bit cheaper than our aluminum bugle tube and has the flared mouthpieces for people running diaphragm.

So you get to. Make sure you can keep practicing, but then also have the easy bugler at your site if needed. So that would be everything that I would ever need to hunt with. Three diaphragms and easy sucker. And then the new Unleashed V two with the Easy Bugler. And it has the flared mouthpiece.

So with that set up, like it's 99% of what I need while I'm out in the oakwoods. Okay. Awesome. Good call. Yeah. [00:55:00] Okay, now Hard pivot. Yeah, hard pivot. We're gonna talk about whitetail 'cause that's what we cut our teeth on growing up. Obviously not even growing up when we started hunting, Micah growing up.

But you've gotten into the white tail and one of your, it's not your last episode, but the episode that you guys had on cutting the distance where we're introducing Dirk as a co-host. You guys were talking about the superior being, being the elk. And then the second best one being the white tail, not the mule deer, Jason.

The white tail. That's the, you're lay you're running down Dirk's list. Not my list. No, I know. But you recently, and I don't know, you might've hunted whitetail throughout your life, but I know recently you've started hunting whitetail. So have you never hunted whitetail before you started the last few years?

Nope. Last year was my first, not only my first it was my first whitetail hunt and my first whitetail tag was last year. S deer excluded down in Mexico, Uhhuh. Last year was like my first time [00:56:00] hunting whitetails out of a tree stand. So yeah, first real experience last year. Got another take this year.

So excited to, to get back to it. But so what do you think of it brand you do? What do you think of it? What's some of the stuff you think's cool about a white tail compared? I love really those two equally. I really haven't messed with Mule Deere. I'm sure I would love them too, but in my opinion, elk and whitetail.

Are not really the same thing. They're both sss, we know that. Like the things that make hunting an elk hard, there's also things that make a white tail, like a white tail is so dialed into every twig breaking and, I feel like a white tail's even more worried about wind sometimes than it can be at times.

Like what have you noticed so far with Whitetail that is cool for you? Yeah. And I think it's human nature to try to relate everything to what you know or what you're good at, right? So for me, where you say they're different, like I am it is different, but I'm trying to like tie, make all these connections between white tail.

It's a chess match [00:57:00] on the ground or an elevated tree stand, right? You're trying and I love the game already. And that's why I think maybe even why I love Mule. You're just the same. It's just, you've got a problem. The problem is me guy with a gun or a pointy stick wants to kill this deer.

And then you've got all of these. Things happening or external effects, nature going on, ruing going on, and then you're trying to basically figure out where that buck wants to be and why. So the big, the one of the first differences is elk, the density, I would say is lower than white tail.

If you're in a decent white tail spot, you've probably got bucks around you, or, within a mile elk, sometimes I've gotta walk two or three more miles to get into the pocket where their water's at or where their bed's at. So one thing I do like about Whitetails, I can damn near climb up any tree stand.

Yeah. That buck may not walk by me, but I'm in the game like any chance that Buck could decide to come here. So that's one thing I do like about Whitetail. One thing I don't like, at least where I hunt in Kansas, aside from, sometimes the big bucks will come out on the [00:58:00] ag field, is you can't really see the things about trail cameras versus if I'm hunting elk.

Like I can see the biggest bull up in some, Alpine opening with his cows in the middle of September. So I. I don't like, not necessarily knowing what's going on without the use of trail cameras. And I love like the idea of, so I now equate like setting up on an elk. When I locate an elk, I get in tight to a hundred yards.

I get the wind right now, I now equate that to like, where am I gonna hang my stand? If the wind does this, what's our predominant wind? Is. Where do I think this buck's gonna approach from? What are, you're always calculating your risk, right? How do I get into the stand? Is he gonna, is my trail in gonna screw things up?

So I like just putting all of these pieces together to to figure out where you want to be. Now I'd be mis, I'd be lying to everybody if I get to make all these decisions for myself because, I'm on a property that my buddy owns. It's already fairly well set up and a lot of this is figured out.

But just being on the [00:59:00] ground, I want to be like an active hunter, and so I'm thinking like, Hey, Randy, why when we come in here is this so the deer can't smell us, or, hey, if we were to back this set up, 25 yards, they wouldn't be able to go behind us, and so it's just being like an active participant in, in what's going on and then trying to figure out why and how come everything's set up the way it is.

Have you found yourself, oh, sorry. I love it. Go ahead. Sorry. No, I was gonna say and then at least where I'm hunting last year in Kansas, the deer were very callable. They would react to a ground, they would react to a bleed, they would react to rattling. Which to me, that's always been my thing.

Probably why I love elk hunting so much. But to be able to interact with a deer and have some pretty good success it was just, it was a lot of fun. And there's something about just like watching the woods come alive while you're stuck in a tree that's pretty damn cool.

Yeah. I've noticed this with myself because obviously elk hunting was the last thing I started doing, whereas whitetail hunting was the first thing I started doing as an elk hunter. Now I find myself more and more [01:00:00] okay with being on the ground hunting whitetail, because as an elk hunter, I don't have a tree stand with me or even a saddle.

I'm on the ground and I'm trying to find elk. I've heard of guys hunting elk outta saddles and tree stands, but. That's odd for me. Now with white tail, if I feel like I need to make a move one day, I don't have any problem being on the ground. Usually when I'm on the ground, I think, man, it'd be nice to be 10 foot up in this tree right now.

But, yeah, I don't have that issue. Has was it weird for you at first to be like, I'm gonna go climb this tree and sit in it for six hours and hopefully something walks by? Or do you find yourself wanting to make moves because that's what you've grown up doing is, being mobile?

Yeah. There's in a few of the stands where you can see, and some of the stands were on field edges and the deer, the buck, even a target buck would come out on the opposite side of the field. And I'm instantly like, I can get outta here. I could back up, go down this ditch line, get in that ditch line, like he won't see me, and then I'm gonna ambush him over there.

So your brain [01:01:00] instantly goes there, but then you're like, Eh, what are my cha at least with me, I always put chances on, even when I'm elk hunting, deer hunting, like that's got a 10% chance of working. That's got a ni And so I would develop these plans and then I'm like that's probably not gonna work.

'cause he's got seven dos out there with him and I'm gonna get picked off somewhere, so it is, you're like instantly going into Western mode. I'm gonna spot and stalk this thing. I don't need to run a call. I don't need him to, I'll just go to him. But I just, man, I don't know, if the situation's right, I think it could work, but I just I would say you not comfortable sitting my stand.

Like you can do that. But the thing about a white tail, and I'm sure you've already experienced this now, even if where you're hunting in Kansas is super unpressured or whatever, they're spooky. Oh yeah. White tail. They're just spooky. They will try to catch you. If they think something's up, they'll put their head down, pretending like they're gonna feed and then boom.

Right back. Just try to catch you moving. Yeah. They're so spooky, they're so on edge all the time that, you know, like that mood that you might make. Dude, they might've saw you getting down outta your tree [01:02:00] and you spent the next hour and a half trying to get around him and he's been gone for two hours, yeah. They are so spooky that I have made moves before on deer and one time it almost worked. Yeah. But usually it's really difficult, like on a white tail, especially that probably as an elk hunter, you see that white tail 200 yards away or wherever, how far he is away on the other side of the field.

And yes, a white tail is callable. We all know that. They typically don't talk back. They will, that's where there's a difference because it's not like a buck's gonna scream back in your face. They can, but they're not super obviously loud when they do it. And it's just weird, as a, I was, that's one thing I wanted to ask you is, as an elk hunter, is it weird to see a buck that's 350 yards away and know that you probably can't touch him?

Yeah, I hate everything about it. But yet you still do it. Yeah. Yeah. It's like that's what keeps you coming back. It's is he gonna do that tomorrow? Should I go? Is there a stand close? Or where did he come [01:03:00] from? And that's I love that part of it, and I love it being new and fresh.

So I'm still in my own mind, I think you make these big spider web, of decisions. You're trying to figure it out. I don't have very many of those connections made yet, so it's something new. It's something, it's a new challenge I'm trying to figure out. And so I think I love that building process of the, of learning these things.

And but I also boil it down to like hunters hunters that, that got it figured out. Or successful hunters, like you could, there's just. I think we overcomplicate it and I say this as a guy that provides education and a guy that, that, semi made a living off of telling people how to do stuff, but man, I could tell you how to my, my how to elk hunt would be less than five minutes.

It's what really matters? And it's the same with whitetail now is I think you get the wind right. You need to be where they want to be. And make sure they never see or smell you. And some of these things and it's not over complicated. Now, I, all of your guys is [01:04:00] diehard whitetail guys are like, oh, I would like to show him how tough this is.

I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying there's very few things that probably really matter. Wind, Yeah. Patterning 'em just Yeah. Getting him, yeah. Wind. Yep. Getting a dough to hopefully walk down the trail that you're over or around or that area and.

There's not a lot to it. Now I don't want any, if you can redirect your hate mail away from me, that'd be great. Send it to me. I'll handle it. Yeah. Yeah. And I suck at remembering things, but have you been able to harvest your first whitetail yet? Did you get one last year? I did.

I killed, I did. I actually, so in Kansas, a lot of people know you can bait in Kansas during the hunting season. So I very first morning in Kansas had probably a hundred and fifty five, a hundred sixty inch six point. Come in, Randy, the guy did just say 160 inch. Six point. You mean by six? By six?

No. Excuse me. 10 point. Okay. I was like, damn, how big is that? Six pointer? I think I screwed that all up. So 155 to 160 inch 10 point. And he's Randy's like, all [01:05:00] right. He was a little goofy and he's I think we can find something similar, better. We got 10 more days and let him go.

And. Five days later, six days later, I shoot probably 130 inch, eight point. But for me being the call guy, there were three bucks on one d I could see him go out through, on the edge of the property. The neighbor had an old c r p, they went out to a point, I couldn't see him for about 15 minutes, and all of a sudden that dough came back down the river bend.

She dove into the river the first two bucks went after I gRED before the last buck went down over the bank. And then he came right by my stand at six yards and I was able to kill him at six yards. But yeah, I gave up 30 inches of horn, but for the experience that I really wanted. Yeah. Who caress man.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that's the thing, like I got lots of time, like my first bull wasn't a three 50 bull right? And I got lots of time to build up to this. I just, I wanted to do it my way and it was cool. As much as I love hunting with my buddies, I was, it was one of those tree stands we walked into an hour and a half before daylight, Half mile off the beaten path and just got to sit there and watch the woods [01:06:00] come alive.

And so it was a cool experience and I'm glad that the first one happened that way. And yeah. We'll but yeah it was a good buck, fortunately. Shooting iron wheels, I shot my same elk set up. It was straight, almost straight up and down, I was trying to figure out angles and everything.

Yeah. And straight broadside. And so I went down, like right through the scapula on the shoulder and it I hit all of the lungs and the heart, or the top corner of the lung and then hit his heart. But it basically spinned him as it went through. So the deer just died right underneath my tree stand.

I'm like, that was perfect. I'm happy. That's always the best one, because then, you know the track job. Yeah. So what wa, did you feel, was it like, did you feel like it was the first time hunting, like the first time you killed an elk? Was it that same sort of feeling? 'cause it was a white tail. Yeah.

It, yeah. Brand new experience. Yeah. It was just, it was cool. I, it was, Not saying that, I've got this all dialed in, I've killed a lot of elk. I still love it. I'm not saying that it's the passion hasn't died, the excitement hasn't died off. But it's just different feeling.

You've killed a lot of mild deer. I've killed, or I've killed a lot of mild deer. It's not, being your first white tail, it's this is a [01:07:00] cool experience and I can't wait to get back. You always remember your first Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sure you've had it before, but did you get to eat the meat?

What was that like compared to milk? Oh, it was awesome. Yeah. Really good. Yeah, I'd be, a lot of everything we kill seems to be in the ru, especially with the bow nowadays. We've it was good. It was really good. I think, those, our season here in Washington, our rifle seasons before, I would say maybe some of those whitetail, but, these things are eaten on ag fields and they're pretty dang good eating even for ready whitetail buck.

Yeah. Yeah. I've always liked the elk that we have. I always have a hard time cooking it. Because an elk is so lean that it looks uncooked when it's done. Remember the burgers we made two year, two or three years ago at that? You you're one of those people that like your stuff Well done anyways.

No, you are you lie on me all the time. All the time. But no, you know what I'm saying? We're making these elk burgers and for whatever reason I was cooking them too, Andy. And I, Andy and I both brought something, right? And I'm cooking these elk burgers and I'm like they're getting close to the, [01:08:00] and before you know it they're ruined.

You're like, whoops. Went too far. Overcooked 'em. Yeah. And that's the hardest part I've gotten with elk compared to a beef cow is, yeah. If it looks not done, it's almost done. Yeah. Yep. Okay. Yeah. Everything that we eat, I grew up in a growing up we ate a lot of deer and elk.

Everything was overcooked and dry. And then now once I realize it's man, that thing an elk steak, we do a lot of just pan fried elk steak. It's like that thing should be on each side for about 40 seconds and 42nd 40, and you're done. That's all it needs to be cooked and tastes better. It's way more it way more tender.

And yeah, that's my pro cooking tip is like very little time in the pan. Micah likes to give me a hard time because I eat my beef steaks medium. Not what you're ruin rare. They're just medium. That's. That's barely acceptable. I can't get any more than medium. You've ruined it. So it's yeah, he, I think he confuses him, me, with my sister who likes stuff, charcoal, ette.

She has gotten better. Yeah. [01:09:00] But and so have I over the years, but yeah I'm like a, hey, I'm good with some pink, but I don't want the think bleeding on me as I'm eating it. It's not blood. Yeah, it's not blood. Yeah. I got, I have a funny quick story. A guy I used to work with, we went to Texas for work one time and the lady comes out and he orders a steak and she goes, how would you like it done?

He said, like this, put it on the thing. Count to 10, flip it over, count to 10 and put it on my plate. He said that to her. I could do that. And I'm like, okay, I'll do it. I'll eat it. But yeah, that, I thought that would be really cool to hear, for anybody that is paying attention, I guess in the outdoor space I guess we could've probably had you introduce yourself at the beginning of the show, but Jason Phelps is, To me, an awesome elk hunter, an awesome steward of the of the sport of elk hunting and, the outdoor community.

And it's just cool to hear him go through a new thing. Like white Tail is new to him as of last year and it's cool to see someone who [01:10:00] I consider, I don't know what you consider yourself, but I consider Jason a pro. That's what he is, right? I watch him, slay elk every year and do his thing.

And it's really cool. So it's cool to see his story on something new for him. 'cause everybody experiences it at some point, right? Yeah. I'm one of those guys that don't like things that I'm not. Good at or bad at. And so it takes a little humility to go into the white tail world and I don't got this figured out.

I'm gonna need to ask questions, I'm gonna need to learn. But I like that process. And I think we'll get it at my 50 bucks. I wanna be good at it. 50 bucks. You kill a 200 inch deer next year. I'm just saying over in Kansas, you got a pretty good chance. Yeah, he's in Kansas. Kansas, got some good deer over, man.

Yeah, they're really good deer. It's super blessed to be able to hunt that property that we get to there. And Randy does a great job with it and he's got some good deer. You never know. There, there are 200 inch deer, around. You just don't know if they're gonna walk by or not. If you ever go to Iowa, there's a 200 inch deer behind every tree.

So then you're That's what everybody tells us. But okay. Before we get off, why don't you let people [01:11:00] know how can, they can check out your podcast, cutting the distance where they can get ahold of Phelps game calls and check out your stuff. Yeah, so I think cutting the distance is where all major podcasts are available.

Spotify, iTunes, all of that. We're on Instagram and as of now we talked about this before. Me and Dirk are still answering most of the Instagram, so that's a good way to get ahold of me and Dirk. I've got my own Instagram, finally. They talked me into starting that. And then we're on Facebook as well.

Our webpage is phelps game calls.com. And yeah we try to be real open and, and available to everybody. It's one thing we deal as things have grown and we've gotten bigger and bigger, we didn't wanna lose that personal touch with our customers or just people. You don't have to be a customer.

If you just want information, want to ask something, bounce an idea off of us. We're usually pretty available, whether it's calling or scouting or an area you're gonna go to where you'd concentrate. Like we're usually available to help when we can. Awesome. Man, you got anything else for Jason?

No, man, we just appreciate you. You had to wake up pretty early to get on our podcast, we gotta sleep in a little bit, but we just appreciate your [01:12:00] time and just enjoy the rest of your day. I guess I do have to tell a quick, funny story about, okay Jason, so this morning my wife has to go into town and she calls me about an hour and a half before the podcast and she says, Hey I've got a flat tire.

And I'm like, okay. She's are you gonna come help me? I'm like, I better be done before Jason Phelps. She's who the hell is Jason Phelps? I'm like, only one of the biggest names in the elk industry. How do you not know who he is? She's she has nothing to do with hunting. She doesn't care about any of it.

That's funny. So it was just kind funny. 'cause I'm like, I better be done by the time I get to go talk to him. So I did take care of my wife's tire. It's the third flat tire we've had in three days, so Oh great. Dang. Yeah, we live on gravel. It is what it is. That's so good. But gotcha. Yeah. Jason Phelps.

Thanks for coming on the show today and talking with us and good luck on your season. Yeah, thanks for having me guys. Good luck out west on your guys elk hunts as well. We appreciate it. All right, man. We'll see ya. See ya. Yep. See ya.[01:13:00]