Life of an Outfitter

Show Notes

Bransen is a second-generation outfitter for Western Timberline Outfitters and specializes is big mule deer. Bransen shares some insight for what it’s like to manage hundreds of thousands of acres of private land leases to grow a healthy herd for his clients and what kind of experience his clients can look forward to. He also talks about some do’s and don’ts when it comes to western hunting and tagging a trophy buck or giant bull. The guys also talk shed hunting, which must be a part of the Krebs family genetics as both Brian and Bransen are die-hard antler hunters and looking forward to the upcoming years to get a chance to finally hunt together. Check out all the giant deer and elk Bransen and his dad have helped clients tag at the links below!

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome back to the Western Rookie Podcast. This will be episode 58. I am your co-host Brian Krebs. My sidekick Dan Matthews is not gonna be here tonight. He has some stuff going on. They just moved into a new place and his son has got an event that Dan wanted to take him to himself. So he asked me if I could take over this episode, ride in solo, giving me the keys to the spaceship full control.

So I'm excited to really let her buck. Um, and we got a really cool guest on tonight. We have a little bit of surprise in store for everyone. It was certainly a surprise for me. So I'm excited to, to jump into the episode. But before we do, we have an announcement to make the Western rookie will.

Downloadable pack lists as soon as application season's over. So when you're starting to get into summer, you're starting to think about your fall hunts, the tags you drew. We're gonna release some packing lists. It's gonna be a great foundation, a great [00:01:00] starter list with all the basics. It's gonna have all the gear that I use and that it, we vetted y over seasons of hunting the west.

Um, we're gonna have options to add some more gear. It's gonna be, whether it's a early season archery hunt or a late season rifle hunt, we're gonna have all of that available for free. Um, we're gonna try to make a version of it easy to use on your cell phone if you just want a digital version. We're also gonna make it, um, optimized to print out if you want a paper copy.

I know that's the way I always do it, is just print out one, take a pen. Some things I check off, some things I circle if I have to go to the store and buy, so, But we're gonna have that available. We're not sure where it'll be yet. We might decide to go with a Western rookie website. We'll have to, we might have to build that so we could be out there.

But it'll be a free download for you this fall to help you get the best start to your Western hunt and help more people have success. Nobody wants to forget something important when they arrive to Elk camp or to meal to your camp. And so we just wanna help [00:02:00] everyone be as prepared as possible to have an experience of a lifetime.

So look for that. Probably most, uh, probably gonna be in the June or July timeframe, so nothing crazy. But we want to give people enough time to really start thinking about their hunt. Especially if you're new to Western hunting, there might be some pieces of gear you gotta pick up. You might have to find, you know, what is gonna work for your system and make some decisions there.

So we want to give people plenty of time to start thinking about their Western hunt coming up this fall. And with that, I see our guest is in the lobby, so I'm gonna pull 'em in here and we're gonna fire this episode off. You're listening to the Western Rookie, a hunting podcast full of tips, tricks, and strategies from season western hunters.

There are plenty of opportunities out there. We just need to learn how to take on the challenges. Hunting is completely different up there. I pared 26 big game animals. You can fool their eyes. We can fool their nose, 300 yards [00:03:00] back to the road, turned into three miles back the other way. It's always cool seeing new hunters go and harvest an animal.

I don't know what to expect. There's anybody I want in the woods with me. It'll be you.

Hey, o uh, we got Branson in, um, like I said in the intro, it's kind of a cool little episode here because Branson and I found out what two weeks ago that were actually related. Um, that was kind of a surprise to both of us. Yes, sir. Yeah, so it sure was. I think Jeremiah gave you a little heads up. He didn't give me any heads up.

Oh, really? He didn't say anything about it? No, he didn't tell me anything. He just said, oh yeah, we got this guy Branson on the team. Uh, he's just a stone cold killer man. He just, you know, smokes stuff. He's out in Montana, shoots big bowls and big mule deer. We love to have him on. Released out the released outdoors team and never said anything about your last name.

Clearly he knew my last name, so he didn't even say like, by the way, you [00:04:00] should check and see if he's related to you. Yeah, that's all he told me about you is he's like, he's got the same last name as you. He's like, you gotta be related. And I was like, yeah, there's no way. We're not related. I mean, I haven't heard of many Krebs before, but uh, if he's from that central Minnesota, North Dakota area, he's gotta be related.

Sure enough. Yeah. I looked you up cuz I was like, so I just joined the Western Rookie Podcast and so we're obviously looking up for, you know, content for people to come on that are experienced in the West. And I remember that conversation, that podcast with Christian and Jeremiah, and I'm like, looking you up.

I'm like, wait a second, you know your Instagram handles Branson. K. It's like, okay look, pull up your profile though. And it's like Branson, Krebs. And right away I text my dad, I'm like, Hey, do you know how many, uh, family members we have out in Montana. Cuz I just ran across someone that's like an elk guide, shoots all kinds of big meal deer in bowls and my brother's like, yep, gotta be a cousin.

No, it's funny. Small world. It really is. But I'm glad I got to meet you. [00:05:00] Another cousin, another relative in the Huntington industry. Oh yeah, yeah. There's just something about it man. There's just something about hunting and especially the west. I mean you, you kind of, we kind of went back and forth on Instagram and you said your dad moved west to start guiding and I get it man.

There's something about Montana, that lifestyle that, that hunting lifestyle where you can live it as many days as you guys do. You can, I definitely understand why, you know, why your dad did that and man, I wish some days I could do it too. Oh no, absolutely. And I get to be the one that picks it all up easy.

He had to work hard for it all and I still work hard for it, but I get to be in the family business and just kind of born into it. So I got really lucky in that way. Oh yeah. So did you do, do you guys have a lot of returning clients each year or is it a lot of new clients that you're picking up at shows?

I would say probably 75% of our clients are repeat clients. Um, and then, you know, the other 25 is new clients that we get. The last two [00:06:00] years we haven't done any sports shows or anything like that. Just, you know, repeat clients coming back and telling their friends and all this and that. So we're, luckily we have a really good client base that's brought a lot of family of theirs and friends for our business and just very blessed that way.

Yeah. Find out here and there that you got another cousin over in Minnesota or over in North Dakota and all of a sudden they start telling family members and it just gets the ball rolling, right? Oh yeah. That's funny. I told my dad about it exactly and he is in the process of selling his, uh, business hopefully, and he's like, Hey, You should talk to Branson and see what it's, what's the deal about getting out elk hunting?

Um, cuz if I sell this thing, I want to go and I'm like, Hey, I'll talk to him. I'll, what's up? He's a rifle hunter. He's getting a little, let's do it. Let's, yeah. Okay. I gotcha. So yeah, the, the one hard thing about our rifle elk stuff is we do have some really good bulls on there, but it's a really hard special draw tag to get.

But let's start building some [00:07:00] points. Yeah, let's get it rolling. Yeah. If Montana could do crossbows, man, that'd be close. He's still not quite like running down a bugle and bowl shape, but mm-hmm. Hmm. . Yeah. Montana just doesn't let that crossbow thing slide, so, no. Nope. Not yet. But you're, you are, you're, from what I understood, you guys are in a unit where mule deer is the general tag.

yeah, it's still a draw for non-residents, but it's basically a hundred percent guaranteed tag, um, for going with an outfitter. So if you're your do-it-yourself guy and you're applying for Montana, you could only buy one preference point for the general deer comp tag. And then if you book with an outfitter, you get two preference points.

So you buy your, your regular preference point, and then you buy an outfit or sponsored preference point. So you go into the drawing with two. So if you book with an outfitter, you kind of get a better chance, um, of drawing a general deer tag. But I would say it's still roughly, pretty much a, oh, it's a really high percentage to draw tags.

Oh [00:08:00] yeah, we, I was there a couple years ago. No, didn't use any points. Just drew it. Um, it's obviously point creeps a real thing and so you, you know, we've, we've been playing that Wyoming, Montana back and forth for a few years and this is the year our luck ran out and so we're just, we're just gonna bite the bullet and go to Colorado for a year.

So there you go. Still. But yeah, he was super excited. Still find a place to hunt down there. We had a, I got, I got a line on a spot. I got a tip. I got a guy, a local that's helping us out. So I'm, I'm optimistic for it's archery elk. I, I shot a bowl in Colorado a few years ago with my rifle, but you know, that archery elk game, that's a completely different story.

Oh, it is. It's, it's, I like it a lot better actually. You know, having 'em be vocal like that and being able to actually know where they are versus during rifle season you're like, ah, where do I even start, you know, kind of thing. Unless you got snow where you can find their tracks and start that way. But archery season is a whole different ball ballgame.

Yeah. My [00:09:00] brother only owns a bow because elk bugle in September. . Mm-hmm. . That's the only reason he bow hunts at all is because the rut isn't September and archery season. Otherwise, he just, he wouldn't even bow hunt. He doesn't really even bow hunt Whitetails back home. And we got a pretty good farm. I mean, we got access to the little over 600 acres with what they own and, and what Oh, perfect.

Family owns, but yeah, he's just not interested in the bow hunting thing at all until the elk star bugle and then he's the first one in the truck ready to go.

You guys don't have many, you know, units in North Dakota where you guys can elk on his there. Um, the whole state has, is part of the unit. Um, there's some elk in the northeast, not a ton, but most of 'em are in the west. So like you get some random bowls running around the middle, you'll see a picture in like a field or something.

But yeah, you don't, if you draw, it's a once in a lifetime. [00:10:00] And you don't want to draw that yet. Oh, I gotcha. Because there's a good chance you ain't gonna find one. Um, but yeah, and I, you know, when I lived in North Dakota, we just moved my, I just got married too. So my wife is finishing her residency down here in the Twin Cities, but when I lived there, I got lucky and drew that tag on the first try.

Wow. Yeah. Talk about tough rifle and now you don't get to hunt anymore. Nope. You can't do it anymore. Well, I could win a tag. I could win a raffle tag. Um, but you talk about Oh, gotcha. Tough to draw in the 700 s for rifle elk. This was three quarters of a percent chance. Mm. Yeah. That's, that's a once in a lifetime right there.

Yeah. Even if you could draw again and I can't even apply. Um, but man, was it a wild hunt? I mean, it's, from what I gather, it's really close to the same country you guys are in. Um, it was, I shot mine. Yeah, that's what I kind of thought. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I shot, I shot a 3 54. Um, [00:11:00] I don't think you can see the picture of it.

He's mounted, you know, when you talk about, when you talk to your clients about like windowing, like you gotta make sure you're in the window, you can shoot the window. Right? And they're like, uh, what Well my elk is a perfect example cuz it's peeking its head around the corner of the hallway and looking right into my office.

Like it's sticking its nose in the window. So that's what I try to tell people. Like, I'll take a picture of my phone and I'm like, this is what I'm talking about. This is the window. Absolutely. I like that. Yeah, because what we've done is all archery hunting basically. Except I draw, I got super lucky with two tags with my rifle and I filled both of them.

But other than that, we're always doing general unit right. Archery tags, so, mm-hmm. , I see that South Dakota has some really good elk hunting down there. . Yeah, I think it's hard to draw. I've never, I've never even dabbled, I've never had a big game tag in South Dakota. I'm probably leaving a lot on the table since it's like right next door, but I've never even applied.

Yeah, I know. Same. I mean, same with us. I mean, [00:12:00] we're, we're only an hour from the South Dakota border when we're in our hunting season, so it's like, oh man, I should fly down there to build some more points. I've got points building all over the states right now, but not South Dakota. Do you have, do you have like a strategy that you put out, um, like short-term, midterm, long-term states that you're building points in?

Yeah. I kind of break it down for short term is like Wyoming, Colorado stuff, because the units that I wanna hunt are fairly easy to draw. I don't really care if I. , you know, build like a ton of points. And then you go on this once in a lifetime hunt down in Colorado and Wyoming. But like for Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, those are li like long term ones that where I just, I won't even apply.

Just build, build, build, build, build. And then maybe someday, you know, around when I'm 50 years old, I'll start applying then and well, you know, I actually put in my name into the hat and see if I can draw something [00:13:00] then. But yeah, I skipped Nevada, but I do Arizona and I do Utah. And man, if you talk about long, long strategy, Utah is like forever if you wanna hunt the good units.

Oh yeah, yeah. They say like you'll never, you really, statistically will never draw the tag. But then I know of a guy that does draw a tag, so it's like there is a chance. So that's why I still apply every year, but I'm like, man, do I take this $160 for this license and just buy $160 worth of, you know, the raffle tickets or something like that, or save that $160 and then every year that $160 for like each state and just then go on a 6,000, $7,000 hunt somewhere, you know?

But one of those things, it's, you wanna hunt in every state, but yeah, you gotta find the time and money. Yeah. I don't even, I'm not personally a guy that has this desire to just hunt Utah. [00:14:00] I want to elk hunt every year and there's, there's every year options. But then I'd also like to, I'd like to mix in a good unit every now and then, you know what I mean?

Like I'm o completely happy to go hunt a over the counter tag or a general unit tag. But it would be nice every five years, every 10 years to know you're in a special. . Um, and so that's kind of why I plan the point games out. Absolutely. Like Arizona's probably gonna be my mid-tier, maybe even Colorado points, right?

So you do the over-the-counter when you need a tag, but you start building like five points maybe is where I'd p draw the line. And cash in Arizona might be five to 10. Mm-hmm. and then Utah's like if you ever draw at all. Right? Yeah, yeah. Seriously, that's how it is for Utah. For me. I'm like, well I'll probably never draw any of these tags but Arizona, I got a couple units that I would probably cash in around, I don't know, eight points or so.

So in a couple years. Yeah, I, I thought it was funny cuz my Utah odds doubled this year. I went from 0.2% to [00:15:00] 0.4% cuz I went one point bracket up increasing And they have that random od Yeah, yeah. I'm getting there. I'm knocking on the door. So you're saying there's a chance, there is a chance, there is a chance.

So when you, is there anything that beats Montana though? Or is Montana just the favorite place to go elk hunting and mule your hunting? For me, it's been, you know, born and raised in Montana. It's definitely my number one pick. You know, got all these spots that you know, and I don't really, I don't have the time necessarily to go to all these other states.

That's why I just build points in these. But then to learn these units and all the other states will take a lot of time to kill really good bulls. And being in Montana, it's like, man, I got big bulls, you know, all over the place. I mean, hard tags for non-residents to draw, but residents, it's a fairly easy tag to draw.

And it's just like, man, I just, I like sticking to Montana. I really do. Yeah, Montana probably has the [00:16:00] most outdoor opportunity between fishing, hunting, the season links, the number of species that, I mean, it's just really hard to come in above Montana for an outdoors man. . Mm-hmm. . Oh, it really is. I mean, we hunt right now, this time of the year we're hunting mountain lion and wolves and ice fishing, and there's some rivers open where you can fly fish and spin fish and all that.

And then, you know, rolling up here April 15th, it'll be Turkey season and black bear season. And then that'll run till June 1st, and then man, June 15th and some units, and then you're going to, you know, fly fishing now starts pretty much mid end of June. So then you're running fly fishing all summer long and until August.

And then, you know, antelope August 15th. And then for archery, and then that, you know, deer in elk September, uh, is it second this year? And then rifle October 21st, and then your antelope rifles October 7th [00:17:00] starting in there. And then it's just, man, it's just a go, go, go. Repeat, repeat. It's really nice. So I saw that you also have a real estate license, but where, where does that come in?

It sound like you had the whole year already booked. When do you go show some properties? . I try to do that in the summertime, but, um, I'm, I'm willing to show anybody property anytime of the year. My mom, she's a real estate agent, so that's where I fell on that line, followed my dad's footsteps in the outfitting stuff, and then follow my mom's footsteps in the real estate business.

But I'm dealing with so many clients for fishing and hunting that I was like, man, that's, I love the outdoors. And I, a lot of these clients that come out are like, man, this is the place is awesome. Montana's the best. Let's go see some property. I'm like, yeah, let's go. Perfect. Oh, you get a little segue a little like buy one, get one discount, almost like, Hey, let's come out elk hunting.

And Oh, by the way, that ranch is for sale . Yeah. Yeah. Seriously. No, that's, that's the truth. That's what I try to get 'em that way. [00:18:00] What's kind of the craziest when you clients do come out? Like what are the craziest things that happen? Is it typically like new clients that just aren't quite there and they, you know, you can tell they don't know a lot of stuff?

Or do you get some like experienced guys that are just like badass cowboys that just take it and run? Yeah, I would say probably it comes down to like a 80 20 ratio for guys that are actually experienced hunters versus guys that are never hunted before. Um, we go into these sports shows, we really get to kinda almost handpick and just feel out the situation, see what our clients are like in that situation.

Um, and most of the time everybody that is coming out is like hunted before and pretty knowledgeable and all that kind of stuff. But there has been a couple that, like some booking agent guys have maybe sent us before and we're like, We have no idea about the person and they come out and you're like, [00:19:00] wow, this is, this is, this is the real deal.

Like , this is gonna be fun. . Do you guys do horses or do you doing like day hunts? It is day hunts. We, my dad used to have a national forest permit lease up in the northwest corner of Montana where we are. Home base is, um, but kind of wolves impacted that and just other outfitters in the bus area there and just national forest lease, so, you know, public access to everybody.

We used to run a lot of horses up there. And then, um, pretty much when the wolves really moved in, we, my dad had some leases over east and then we've just expanded from there. And now pretty much just all over east on private land. Um, we still run some, some spring black bear up in this northwest corner up here.

But other than that, we're strictly eastern, Eastern Montana stuff, all private land. I feel like it's wild where you just casually say, yeah, we do a little bit in the northwest and then a little a lot in the southeast when, but when you're talking about the state, like [00:20:00] Montana, that's like a whole day's worth of travel.

Oh yeah. It's nine hours from our hometown over to over to east side. So you guys live in the northwest year round and then Yeah. Grew up by the Kalispell. Oh wow. Yeah. Right in the heart of the grizzly country. Oh yeah. Lots of grizzlies and black bears and big mountains and logging and lots of snow. My first elk hunt ever was an archery elk elcon up by Trout Creek, Knoxson Thompson Falls.

Um, I think that's a little bit mm-hmm. Southwest of you. If I have my Montana cities that fall down. Yeah. Man. Was that some steep dark Yeah, I was born. Yeah, that is, it's nasty country. That's where I was kind of, well I was born in Plains, so it's right next to Thompson Creek and that's where I graduated high school and all that stuff up there.

So Thompson River and all the Thompson areas, definitely where I grew up pounding the hills back in all that country, so I know that really [00:21:00] well. But yeah, steep, nasty, dark timber we had. We had a guy that put an arrow in a big bowl, but he accidentally hit the blade and tracked it for two days. It was pretty clear that this elk wasn't gonna die.

Um, met up with cows, started rotting again. But other than that, man, it was a rough hunt. I mean, we had like five encounters, which I had no idea. I had no basis. Right. It was my first archery hunt, but we never went back. And so I guess that kind of told me, yeah, the guys didn't really like that unit. . Yeah.

Yeah. No, it's a tough unit. Um, it really is. It's, it's hard. I mean, if you don't know the country and just, there's not that many elk up there anyways as it is. And just the lack of game is kind of, um, in the last couple years, actually, probably the last 10 years, it's decreased a lot because of wolves and mountain lions and more grizzly bears moving in down there and a lot of black bears eating calves and all that kind of stuff.

So it's been kind of a rough, rough deal up there. It really has. It's sad to see. [00:22:00] Um, but. Uh, hope a lot of these wolf trappers and stuff like that are really nailing these wolves, and it's definitely, I've seen a lot better genetics and little bit more elk here and there. Well, that's good. Are you guys wolf hunting just as like your own fun thing to do?

It's a hobby or are you bringing clients out as well for that? No, just it's, this is all fun thing for us. Um, it's just, you know, most of the clients always ask like, what is your percentage of like, success? What's your success rate? And it's one of those things, especially when you're trying to answer for a wolf, like, I mean, a success rate on a wolf hunt.

I mean, I've, I only know a few guys on my hand that I can count on my hand that have actually howled one called one in and shot one, you know, so it's not very often happened. So we just don't even, we don't even want to get into that kind of, you know, outfitting deal where we have clients coming and you promise 'em something and nothing ever happens.

Kind of like that. Yeah. They're, they're smart. They're really [00:23:00] smart. . Yeah. You're probably like, yeah, our success rate's like 20%. And they're like, oh my god, that's pretty high. Like 20% of your clients shoot a wolf. And they're like, no, no, no. 20% of our clients see a wolf . Yeah. Yeah. No, that'd be honest truth.

I mean, there's another outfitter up there that is running, um, wolf trapping hunts. So they get their wolf certificate trapping license, and then they go out with one of their guides. That's a really good wolf trapper. And then they set their own traps and all that kind of stuff and do like a wolf like trap hunt like that, which is, they have really high success rate and it seems like something we would, should get into, but we don't, I don't know.

We're just, our bread and butter is meal deer and antelope and elk. So yeah, you can't do everything either. Um, and by the looks of you guys, I mean, I was scrolling the website and I'm like, these meal deer are giants. Huge, huge meal deer. I don't know where in southeast Montana you guys are finding these, but it was not the public ground that we were in in 2021.[00:24:00]

I'll tell you that for free. , that's private land. So it's all, all managed really well. We've had a lot of these leases for, oh, my dad's had one of 'em for 20, 25 years over there on the east side. And then, um, we've had a couple others for 10, 15 years and just keep expanding and expanding. But, um, definitely private land and just managing our deer and taking only old deer and bad genetics out.

It's really helped and definitely don't do any dough control. Um, you know, the meal deer numbers are definitely down in Montana and they, and especially in like the regions 700 area, they are giving like six, seven dough tags out meal deer dough tags out per person. And it is, it's just awful. I mean, Wow. I know people need the meat and stuff like this, but I mean, uh, meal deer numbers are definitely hurting.

Well, yeah, that seems [00:25:00] wild. Especially considering, I don't know how, I think you guys got some decent rain this year, but the year we were there was like year three on a record drought. I mean, we were hunting stuff that there was nothing. It was flatter than my lawn. And I'm just like, man, trying to be a meal deer and cut out a living in this country seems wild.

Like there's nothing, no cover, no food, there's no water, there's cattle everywhere. It look like it was a tough go if you were a meal Deer. Yeah, the last three years have been really, really brutal. Luckily, we had some decent moisture last year and it looks like we're getting pretty good moisture over on the east side this year.

So hopefully it just will get better. It's, you know, it's like those gaps, those windows of like three, four years of a drought, and then you'll have like three years of good, good, you know, moisture and then back to a drought and just like a, you know, keeps a cycle, which kind of sucks. Um, but yeah, hopefully, hopefully we pray for [00:26:00] moisture.

Definitely pray for rain. Yeah. On the, on the mule, your side, you know, kind of comparing to like the, how hard it is to get a wolf, what's like the perc, like how often or what's the percentage that you get your client like a shot opportunity at a good buck on the meal to your side? Is that pretty? . Yeah, I'd say it's a really high success hunt.

I mean, obviously we're not gonna just shoot any kind of buck for numbers. We're, you know, we're quantity, or, I mean, we're quality over quantity. And then I know a lot of outfitters are, you know, quantity over quality, but we're opposite. You know, we wanna have these leases and stuff and manage these leases for years to come.

I mean, this is our livelihood, this is our, you know, career. So we're not just gonna shoot out a ranch. But, um, no, I would say we, you know, we have some really high success hunts. I mean, they're great hunts and you can shoot a really nice deer. Yeah. I'm looking at some of these bucks. I mean, this one in [00:27:00] particular, I'm looking at like, man, this buck looks like he's in the 180 s, one 90 s I mean, he's just a tank.

Looks like a, we kill a couple deer that are in the 180 s um, every year. We'll probably, you know, if we take, like, let's say we take 30 deer hunters on, uh, our 150,000 acres, we have, we'll probably kill 10 deer in the one 50 to one 60 glass. And then we're gonna kill five deer in the high at like 1 65 to one 70 class.

And then we're gonna kill another five deer that are one, probably 70 to 1 75, and then another five in that 1, 75 to 180. And then usually we kill maybe one, maybe one a year. I wouldn't say two, but usually one a year in the 180 5, 1 90. Um, we didn't last year, but the two years before that we. each of those [00:28:00] year.

We both killed one 90 s in there. And actually there were typicals too. Maybe just one little kicker, point off a G2 or something. But, um, but I would say mo majority of our meal deer that we're killing, I would say that 1 55 to one 60 range right in there. Yeah. Um, cuz it's a, you know, it's a general, general tag.

I mean, Montana's not known for giant meal deer like Colorado and Utah and Arizona, Nevada, where they have Right. You know, milder winters and stuff like that. Less predators. But, um, no, we're killing some really good deer. I really like to be honest with our clients and tell 'em exactly what their expectations are, because I have a lot of clients that come up and they're like, I want a 200 inch deer

Montana's not known for 200 inch deer. Yeah. I mean, you want to go to Sonora or Alberta, Saskatchewan for those, and that those hunts are gonna run you 15, 20 grand, maybe 25 to, you know, . So versus, you know, one of our hunts around six [00:29:00] grand. Yeah. That's a, that's a steep difference. And they, and, and even then, you're not guaranteed.

Mm-hmm. like 200 is so special. Like people don't understand. They see it all It is, they see it on Instagram because that's because the guys that post a 200 inch buck get the traction and the reach, and so everyone sees it. So then all you're seeing is 200 inch bucks and you think they live behind every rock.

Mm-hmm. , I think it's like in North Dakota, which is a pretty big meal to your state. Right. With the west, the, the me of the, you know, the bad lands, you hear about a couple a year and that's it. And you know, it's usually private land. Yeah. That's the same with Montana. Yeah. It's special. I'm looking at one picture here on the website right now.

It's clearly you with a beautiful mule deer, but it looks like you backpack this thing up to the tallest peak in the brakes you could find, and then took a skyline picture. Did you really get lucky enough that that thing expired right there in that, in that spot? Is it, I think I know what picture you're talking about.

[00:30:00] Um, nice. Four by four kind of wide. Yeah. Nice wide lands in the background. Maybe a little, little bit of pink, pink sky. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You're decked out in the cu uh, looks like a sunset picture. Yeah, the green green. And I think I'm wearing a green hat in that one, maybe. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's for sure. That one.

Did you Probably a bow hunt, right? You're not wearing Oh, that, yeah, he died. Oh no. Probably rifle hunt. Oh. But we take the orange off for all the pictures. That was one of my clients deer. I remember that one. Um, no, it'd actually died right on those, one of those bluffs in there like that. There's just so many gumbo knobs and it's weird on that ranch particular, they, um, I don't know why, but they all bed on the tops of all the knobs in there.

It's kind of weird, you know, you think you're like your meal deer or whitetail, just any animal's like gonna bed in the thickest, nastiest, darkest drainage out of sight of everybody. But on this ranch, all the [00:31:00] meal deer, they like bed all on the tops of the skylines. It's just to watch, overlook the view.

It's, it's, I don't know. It's weird. I suppose that makes it easy as a guide to find them and then really hard to sneak up on them. It, it does. That's exactly, that's exactly the right answer on that. It's easy to see 'em, but hard to kill 'em. Yeah, I can imagine. That's kind of where I shot my meal deer, my last meal, deer in Montana.

Um, I shot the biggest buck we saw all week and it, we hunted hard and it was only about 120 inch, three by three. It wasn't, wasn't something to brag about. All right. And, uh, but he was, he was beded like three feet from the top of the bluff, um, in this, in this pasture that was completely mowed. And at the time I didn't know he was injured, but it, we, it turns out he was an injured buck.

We ran into earlier in the week and my buddy didn't get a shot off at him. He had to, it looked like he, someone had shot his back leg like right at the ankle. Um, and so I'm trying to crawl and I'm [00:32:00] trying to crawl up and over this ridge and I'm trying to use whatever sage bush is there and it's not many to kind of sneak behind, but I'm telling you like this was a fairway, like a, not even a fairway.

This was the greens, like there was no grass Oh no. To hide in. And he's beded and I, I had a, I had a pretty decent magnification on my scopes. I cranked it to 25 and I was looking at his eye and I could tell he was asleep cuz his eyes were closed from like 600 yards out. And so I'm like, as long as he's asleep, I'm gonna keep crawling.

But when he wakes up like this gig is up, I'm not gonna be able to sneak him down this buck in the middle of this fairway. And so I get to like 496 yards. I'm in the wide open. It would've looked really silly if you were the mule. You're watching this like. What's that dude doing? Like he's gonna crawl across this cement floor and sneak up on me and his eyes opens up and I'm like, shoot.

All right. Well I practiced for this all year long. You know, I bought this rifle four long range shooting. Should be able to do it. We don't have a good wind or we don't have much [00:33:00] wind at all. So I dial it in, I do my elevation, I do my wind, I shoot and it, I remember getting right back on 'em. That was part of the, I built a heavy rifle with a extreme muzzle brake.

So I was hoping to get back on and track my own shots. Cuz I wanna know where these bullets are landing, right? Like I want to know what's happening. Mm-hmm. dust flies right over his rump and like, okay, that's really strange because I dialed for a 10 mile an hour crosswind and I'm still two M MOA to the right.

Shouldn't be that bad, but I was like, must be. So I measured it, adjusted shot dust, defies right over his back. This deer doesn't move. . And so now I'm like, oh man, I dialed for 4 96. We're equal elevation. I'm not shooting up. I'm not shooting down. We're relatively low. I mean, what is the, what's Southeast?

Montana? Like 3000 feet. 4,000 feet. It's not very high. Yeah, it's about about 3000. 2,500. Yeah. And I said that this gun in at two 17, so I'm like, it's not like I'm making [00:34:00] drastic alpine shots with a air thinner. And I was really thinking, but I'm like, all right. I measure that third shot. I put it right through his heart.

He never stood up. I, she stood up and then tipped over. Come to find out my buddy was filming in a phone scope from a different angle. The whole thing, the 45 minute stock, me crawling up and over, decided not there, Carl and back going over, Nope, not there either. Crawling back and I got the whole thing on film.

So he trimmed it down to just that minute and a half and he is like, if you ever tell people you smoked this thing on the first shot, I'm gonna show 'em the proof that it took you three. And I'm like, well, that's fair. . Yeah. Nope, that's fair. That's fair. Now they got, they got dirt on ya. Yeah, he's got it.

He's got, he kept the original, so I've always been honest, but I honest anyway, like I would've loved to dump him on the first one, but two clean misses to measure in. I basically measured myself in and then put the last one on it right through his heart and Buck Fever . Yeah. I call it buck fever. Um, I was just happy that all the [00:35:00] movements made sense.

You know, I pulled out, I have this app on my phone that's got the whole nine yards you'd put in your elevation, your wind, everything. It helps you do your ballistics. And that's what I used for my dope chart. So I'm just happy that my movements made sense. Still don't know what happened, like why my bullet was shooting so far to the right.

I really don't think I misjudged a 20 mile an hour wind and called it 10, but yeah, you never know what happens in these canyons. Oh yeah, no, you, you really don't. That's the hardest thing is wind. I mean, I see guys with the Kessler thing right where they're at laying there. Measuring the wind, and then it's 10 right here and then over there four or 500, 600 yards away.

You don't know what it is. I mean, that's where your bullet's going, so that's where you need to measure your windage from versus where you're at right here. But I mean, it's what it is. You can only do so much and odds are against you most of the time. Yeah, I always just try to get as close as I possibly can, and that was, I was, I was gonna crawl into about two 50.

I had a little hill that I could, if [00:36:00] I could crawl to two 50, I was gonna shoot from there. But I thought I, I didn't know this was an injured buck. If I would've known this guy was injured, I probably would've pushed it a little farther cuz my buddy got into like 15 yards on him two days earlier and spooked him by chance.

Oh man. He was just walking into a spot, spooked him, got so flustered, his gun was on a sling and it was a wide buck, like 22 inches wide. So he kind of got, like he said that buck fever. Mm-hmm. . He's a giant. It's a giant. And he, uh, it, he didn't get a shot off at it, it ran away. But he did see that out of that broken leg.

So if I would've known that, I would've pushed in a little bit harder and tried to get that closer shot cuz just kind of banking, he wasn't gonna bust, but you never know. He could have wide open. Exactly. So, um, what's like something that clients do that just irks you as a guide? Like, what's that? What's that one or two things that you just like, it happens and it just boils you?

Um, one that really comes to mind is when I tell the client, just [00:37:00] stay down below this knob. They're walking usually behind me. and I say, just stay behind me. Just stay right behind me, do exactly what I do, and I'm gonna go up to the top of this knob and I just gonna peek over. I want you to stay right below me.

Don't come over this knob yet. And I just start tiptoeing up and then glassing over the ridge and then scanning. And then I'll take another step and then scan again. Take another step and scan again. And then the client all of a sudden just walks up and just stands ex right on top of the knob. That really irks me.

Cause you never know. I mean, the deer can be right, right below you and now you're taking, you're taking all this time and they're the one ruining their own hunt. And I tell them, you know, how many meal deer have you killed? Versus, I haven't killed that many, but how many have I guided that people have killed versus you, you know, you booked, you booked this hunt to, you know, go on a guided hunt.

Let me help you out here. Oh yeah. I mean, skyline in yourself and muld to your [00:38:00] country. It's usually not an issue with elk hunting if you're in the black timber. Right. Cuz it's, you're not gonna find a skyline when you're in the timber. You can still get busted from sight. We do it every year. But for Muld to deer, man, those things live and die by their eyes as much like the whitetail nose.

And it's the meal to your eyes. Yeah. Just come running right up over the corner. Um, yeah, that would irk me too, man. And I'm not even a guy. Like if my brother did that, I would be like, do go better. That one does irk me. . Yeah. That's one that really comes to mind. I'm trying to think of another one that, um, that one's probably the biggest one.

I just, you know, I'm, I'm trying super hard for the client and then he ruins it himself, but doesn't think he does. But he is. But, uh, I'm trying to think, I'll try to think of another one too. When you're, when you guys are mul deer hunting, I'm sure things are different cuz you got great opportunity and great land and ranches to hunt.

[00:39:00] But for someone that's doing the DIY public land method, how much of your time are, would you say they should spend behind glass? Like find a good spot and stay there and just glass versus glass a little bit. Walk a little bit glass a little. Well, if it's rut, I move pockets. I'll get up on a glassing knob, sit for one glassing knob for about an hour or two, then I'll move and go to another high glassing point, move.

You know, I'll sit there for an hour or two. But if it's early season, um, , you know, deer aren't really moving, traveling, they're not, bucks aren't moving, dough aren't moving. Um, I sit up on a knob and glass and glass and glass and glass sitting on a knob all day with my clients and I'll sit there the whole day.

I literally will sit there the whole day and pick apart the whole place with a spotting scope on a tripod. I'll put my binoculars on a tripod and I will just go through every sage brush bush, north, south, and then east and [00:40:00] west working it. And I, I don't stop and then I'll just keep moving and I'll just, I try to look at the sun to the angle of the sun, cuz you know, angle of the sun's gonna be where the deer gonna be, you know, in the shaded stuff versus where they're out in the sun.

So if that sun's moving, keep on checking, you know, the ridges of the ridges and stuff, where that suns hasn't been yet and versus when it's gonna be there is kind of how I pick it apart. But yeah, just, that's what I, I tell people if you do it yourself, hunter, sit up on a ridge. and just glass and glass and glass and glass and glass.

Yeah. That's probably the one thing that I don't do enough of. I'm used to the black timber elk, you know, ripping bugles and running ridges and moving. And so I, I, it's like I understand the glassing. I've done a lot of scouting, especially that North Dakota tag. I mean, I'd spend all day behind the spotter, but I probably don't move it enough.

And all of my mealier tags have been in October. So pre rut earlier. That's early season for the n [00:41:00] Mealier woods. Um, definitely haven't done the all day sits. But you're trying, at that point, you're trying to find a beded buck. Right. That's what you're doing. Like, oh, we got one. Yeah. I see a tie. Looks like it could be a good buck.

Let's sneak in and get a better look at this thing. That's exactly, that's exactly it. Is that kind of tough to, like, did, do your clients get kind of bored with that sometimes? Yeah. They, they do, they do. They are like, Hey, can we go over to this ridge? Can we go do this? Can we go do that? I'm like, you know, we can do that, but I think this is best.

And then I run with the how many meal deer have you killed? Yeah. Versus, you know, me, I don't say that, but that's kind of what I'm thinking in my head sometimes. But we'll go do some things. I will, you know, I'll spot like a antler or something that's close by and I'll have those guys run down and get it, and then I just keep glass and give it super harder because then [00:42:00] what if, you know, some deer sees them and jumps up and I'm not paying attention and fear don't paying attention either.

And so I kind of let them go, run around a little bit underneath me in my visual or back behind a knob behind me back there. Yeah. I'll let 'em shift a little bit here and there. But other than that, uh, we, I have 'em try to keep 'em still in. It is, it is tough. I will say that. It's tough sitting there in one spot.

Well, I suppose is it tough too, because, are you guys running two spotters? Like if, if they were you, would they also, like if they're your level of expertise, would they also be glassing behind a spotter, or is it pretty much you looking and they're sitting there twiddling their thumbs? Yeah, most of the time, I would say most of the time it's just me with the spotter.

They'll have some, you know, decent pair of binoculars, but they really aren't, you know, looking as hard as I am. Okay. So is it. . What happens when you get that guy in camp and you probably already [00:43:00] know his name, you're thinking of him already, but that guy, he maybe comes every year. He comes a lot and he's just a stone cold killer.

He just doesn't have good meal deer access and to him it's worth it to just, he's more so coming with you to, to be able to hunt where you guys hunt. He could do it all himself. Mm-hmm. , he's super good and he's behind the glass just as much or more than you. Is that almost like just a sigh of relief as a guide, like, okay, this guy gets it.

Oh yeah. No, absolutely. It definitely takes the pressure off you a little bit because he's working just as hard as you are and like that team bond there, you can get some stuff done. You really did, Ken. Yeah, that'd be cool. I mean, me and my brother are by no means guides, but we've both done, I don't know, 15, 20 Western hunts, a piece between antelope meal, deer, elk.

I've done, I've, I've actually gotten kind of into the Western whitetail hunt. . Um, I think that's really fun. Just running these ridges above these creek beds and just glassing for rut white [00:44:00] tails running back and forth. Um, but if we got dad a tag, an elk tag and he wanted to come out there with you, we, me and my brother would probably just come as observers and we'd be like, all right.

Yeah, dad, just absolutely run around with Branson and Jamen do whatever they tell you to do, but we're gonna be like a ridge over, or a property over just like glass and other elk. Like just seeing what we can see. Like, we're just gonna ca we we're just gonna be the net, like we're casting a wider net.

These guys will probably find the elk that you're actually gonna kill, but just in case something slips by or there's another group over here, like, we'd just be out there just being like, guides number three and four . No, that totally it, that is, it Sounds good to me. I like more eyes better. Oh yeah. Yeah.

Especially when ri the country you're hunting and in a rifle unit. . It's all about seeing 'em, right? Can we see 'em? Is it early enough? Can we get in on 'em? Are they up and moving already in the evening? Are they going to bed soon in the morning and let's, what's the plan? Can we get there [00:45:00] fast enough type of thing with the archery?

Yeah. Nope, that's exactly the game plan. We probably would just get in the way, right? Running around in the timber with bugle tubes and five guys, you're just gonna blow elk. . Yeah, no, that happens that way too. But I say like what we, our alcon's kind of typically archery alcon's. We, you know, call 'em in the morning when they're bugling coming off fields or something like that out of pastures and stuff.

They we're, you know, calling 'em and cutting 'em off kind of thing. And then when they get in their bedding area, we call it quits for the day, then usually we're running at meal deer, you know, elk combo. Maybe they have an antelope tag too. So now we're gonna go spot and stock some antelope spot and stock some meal deer kind of stuff like that.

Those antelope are rut in the same time as the elk. So we'll do some decoy work with the antelope and everything like that. Um, but then sometimes in the evening, because September the last couple years have been like, I mean, pretty much all last year, and then the year before it was 90 degrees. [00:46:00] for 30 days straight.

Yikes. Every day was 90 degrees, maybe even a hundred. I mean, the day I killed my elk last year is 106 degrees. Mm-hmm. . And so like in the evenings we've been sitting water, some water holes, wallows or something like that. And then you got a deer tag in an elk tag in your pocket. We've had client shoot meal, deer coming in the water hole and then 20 minutes later shoot an elk out of the water hole.

So kind of, that's kind of a really fun hunt too. Oh my gosh. Talk about days to remember. Shoot a big mule deer and then shoot a big elk and in like the same hunt. Oh man. Like if you are really good in the whitetail woods, you can maybe shoot that first dough that comes out into the plot. And then if you're lucky in a buck walks out, sometimes you can pull off two whitetails, but to pull off a mule deer and an elk, that would be insane.

Oh, we've had a couple guys do it. We've had two, three guys do it. Yeah. If my co-host was here, Dan, we've actually had some, go ahead. Oh, go ahead. I was just [00:47:00] gonna say, if my co-host Dan was here, he would tell the story about, I think it was his first elk or his second elk. He shot this elk in the morning.

Whole group goes in, quarters it up. On the way out, they spot a giant mule deer and he had both tags in Colorado, so he shoots his mule deer later that evening with the rifle hunt. I mean, just wild. I mean, I've never heard of people doubling up on a big bowl and a big meal deer in the same day. Yeah, no, it doesn't happen very often.

But there's some guys that are lucky. This one guy, this client of our, he's actually from Minnesota and he is, he is lucky. I mean, lucky. He actually shot on another ranch too. Uh, didn't have elk. He shot a meal, deer out of a tree, stand in an alfalfa field, and then he shot an antelope out of a tree stand in the alfalfa field too.

not the same day, but he shot two in the same haunt out of with a bow. Wow. I'm trying to get a guy from, you don't hear many people shooting tree [00:48:00] stands an antelope out of a tree stand too often. Yeah, no, that antelope out of a tree stand's nuts cuz they're usually out in the middle, like their defense mechanism is, we're just gonna be out in the middle and we're gonna post one antelope looking each like every 30 degrees in a circle.

They're just gonna look. Yeah. And keep an eye on it. I do have a guy from Minnesota that I know, actually from Alexandria that is just a western fool and he's an archery guy, but I don't think he's the kind of guy that would meal deer hunt out of a tree stand. He really, he uses spot in stock meal deer to train him for his sheep hunts.

Oh, gotcha. Yeah, man. Yeah. Lucky guy. He is, he's a forging guy. He works really hard, but I did see some, if he, if he gets to go sheep Huntington. Yeah, he got his, uh, his name's Mark and he got his grand or sheep slam with a bow. Um, He did all four smokes. Yeah, I did see some sheep On your guys' website, was that mostly you guys, the family and friends [00:49:00] drawing a sheep tag or do you guys do some sheep hunts as well?

No, we do some sheep hunts, um, not lately. Uh, just tags getting so hard to draw and you know, the sheep are not very smart and so you can pretty much get away without going with an outfitter. That's funny. It's funny you said that. Um, yeah, mark did all of his, and he did his desert Bighorn in Mexico and then I think he did all three of his other ones in British Columbia or one of the Canadian province.

And just because of, like you said, the tag so hard to Yeah. Rubish Columbia. Yeah. He went up there to do it. Um, which is super cool, super cool to be able to do that. So when you said the guy from Minnesota, I instantly thought of him, but I was like, eh, I don't think he's gonna do a mule deer out of a tree stand.

I don't think that's his vibe. Yeah, I don't think it was Mark. This guy's name's Austin. Okay. He's down. I don't know exactly what town he's out of, but he's part of the, um, mystic [00:50:00] Lake. Um, I don't, can't remember what their tribe is, but he's part of their tribe. Okay. Down there. Yeah. I kind of know where that is.

How often. Speaking of Minnesota, how often do you get back to Minnesota? You said you got quite a few family members that are still in the area. Yeah, we come back every Christmas. Every Christmas for the last, since I was born, so 25 years. Every year for Christmas, we drive out my dad, my mom, my brother and I, and then usually family dog.

And then, um, we try to get back in the summer times a little bit, but we haven't been the. probably four years back in the summertime cuz just, you know, that's our time to make more money and being, you know, a guide or an outfitter, you're a seasonal worker so when the fishing season starts in Montana, that's your time to make money.

So there's really nothing else to, no other trips to go on. So you gotta make that money while you can't. Right then. So haven't met in Minnesota in the summertime for a while, but, oh heck yeah. Well the next time you're around for [00:51:00] Christmas you'll have to let us know cuz you know, our whole family's still in Alec too.

Um, I have to have you over to the shop. Dad just built a shop, like a man cave shop tool like toy house. Okay. And we got all of the, anything that's not like in our homes. So I have a, I had a bowl in there that was just the skull plate and now I just brought it out cause I'm gonna bring it out, drop it off at the taxidermy.

But then all of our deadheads that we find, his elk, his meal, deer, some of his bucks, he keeps those in the shop. And so it's pretty fun. We're trying to build that out a little bit. So, Yeah, I'd love to have you guys over and just hang out for afternoon and catch up. It's kind of funny. Yeah. Such a small girl.

Be super fun. Yeah. You said that. Oh, it really would. A lot of your, your mom's side is still an Alec and they're hop, is it hop or hoppy? Uh, my dad's side. Hoppy. Okay. Hoppy. How's that? Your dad's side, isn't he a Krebs? He's a Krebs, but his mom, uh, my grandma [00:52:00] is a, she is a hobby. Okay. Do you know Brad Hoppy And then, so then my gra Yep.

Yep. That's my dad's, like, that's my dad's first cousin. That's like his best friend. It's like his brother. I call him Uncle Brad. Uncle Brad. So he started, he invented the, apparently he invented the double cowgirl Musky Bait. Yep. Yep. That's his company. Musky Mayhem. That's insane. So I've been trying to get Brad on the podcast, not really hard.

Um, but I'd have some, some buddies and Alec that are big Musky fishermen and they're like, oh, we know Brad well, and I was like, oh, great person to have on the, on the Two Bucks podcast. My other podcast, cuz it's all about outdoor entrepreneurs. Um, and I'm like, you know, the double cowgirls, like the bread and butter, musky bait in the country.

Yeah. And he, my buddy goes, yeah, this was invented by a guy in Alec. And I'm like, no, it wasn't. You're lying. Like this was, there's no way a guy in Alexandria invented the world's most popular Musky bait. He's like, no, I'm serious. He did. It's Musky Mayhem, Brad [00:53:00] Hop . So, yep. Yep. That's Brad. No, we, he comes out hunting with us usually every couple years.

But yeah, he's, he's probably my dad's closest pro closest cousin out of all. Uh, then we have Brian Ho Well, I mean, my dad's got hun it seems like he's got hundreds of. , you know, cousins up in Alec and just across Minnesota with being the last name hoppy. There's so many of 'em. There really is. But no, we're really tight with Brad.

I mean, really tight with Brad. My brother would, um, he would go work at Brad's shop in the summers for I think like four or five years building Bates up, up in Alec up there. So yeah, that's just wild. And you, you go to any of these stores and it's just like a wall of double cowgirls and triple cowgirls now, different sizes.

I haven't made some of my own based on that side for Pike, but yeah. That's super cool. Now I really know what you mean by, uh, another family member in the industry. I thought you're kind of just joking like Yeah, it's me and my dad and my brother now we got a cousin that has podcasts. [00:54:00] I dunno, what would it be?

Fourth cousins probably

uh, us. Yeah, so it's my grandpa is your great grandpa's brother. So I don't know what domination of cousins that makes us, but. I don't know. We're cousins. Yeah. . We've never gone by a first cousin, second cousin. It's just you're a cousin or you're not. Yeah. No, I agree. Awesome. You're cousin, you're family.

Cool. So kind of making a full circle then. So you grew up, you grew up in the hunting world, man, like your dad. Was he doing it before you were born or was it just like when you were really little? Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, the backstory of my dad, so when he turned 18, um, he graduated on Minnesota. He, I don't think Burnsville.

And when he turned 18, he sold his TransAm Firebird and bought a plane ticket to, uh, Missoula, Montana. And then went to an outfit in Guide school in Victor when he was [00:55:00] 18. And that was like a, I think it was a two year program or maybe it was just a, I think it was a two year program. And he said it was hell.

And, um, after he completed that and was, uh, Completed guide school, an outfitter in school. So he became a guide. And so he had a couple different outfits he could pick to go to. And there was one down in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that he decided to, um, go down there and become a guide. So then he worked, oh, I think seven or eight years down there in Jackson Hole.

And actually Brad moved down to Jackson Hole too with my dad. And they were roommates down there and lived and rodeoed and then guided and all that stuff for down in Jackson Hole. And then my dad was like, all right, well I've got enough, you know, hours and time and guides and you know, all this stuff under his belt that he could become his own outfitter.

So he moved up to Montana because there's a lot of different species to hunt and start of his business in 93. And yeah, ever since. . [00:56:00] That's wild. Especially Jackson Hole. I mean I bet he's seen some big bowls in that neck of the woods. Oh yeah. Big bowls and big bucks. Really big bucks too. He said there, back in the day, like the um, elk refuge had like 25,000 head of elk and he would go feed 'em and all that stuff.

And now I think there's only like, what, 3000 head out there now cuz of all the wolves killing 'em all. Well, and they quit feeding him one year. I don't know how that went over. Um, do you know who he guided with? What outfit in Wyoming? He was? Um, I actually don't know. I guess the only one I know is Jake Clark.

Hmm. I, I don't know. Some old, old timers. Some real hardcore hunters. My brother real horse guys, that's all he did was like pack pack. Yeah. My brother brought my dad out. I think it was Wyoming to Jake Clark. , um, who would at the time was one of the most famous [00:57:00] outfits you could go Elk cunning with. And my brother was calling him cuz he's, he's gonna give this to my dad for a birthday present or a Christmas present, this elk hunt.

Um, both of them going together. My brother really likes to do that. He bought me a, he bought me a bow fishing, a two person bow fishing trip for my Christmas present. And it was like, yeah, it's for you and me. That would be fun. I'm like, yeah, good present brother. Like, do you buy this for you or do you buy this for me?

Um, and he's talking to this guy Jake Clark, and also my brother's like, wait a second, it seems like you're interviewing me. And he goes, oh, I definitely am. Like, I, I want no part of bringing amateurs, newbies, rookies out here. Like, I gotta know that you are legitimate. You're a quality person. I can trust you.

There's no red flags. Like we're going into the heart of grizzly country on a long meal train. And we're gonna spend a week together in the woods, you know, in my outfit. You know, it's, this is serious stuff. I don't take just anybody anymore. So I definitely am interviewing you and my brother is like, okay, this is the kind of [00:58:00] guy that I want to go out hunting with.

Yeah. No, I, I've, I've been there and done that. A couple, interviewed a couple guys, kind of like that, but like, what is not too hardcore. Yeah. What's, if you could ask one question to a, to a pers like a client, like someone you've talked to on a sports show and they're like, they are all in hook, line and sinker, but you're getting this kind of weird feeling and you, you get one question to ask them to figure out if you really want to take this person hunting or not, what would you ask them?

Um, I would probably ask 'em what scope power they have, because if they are a three by nine, are an old time hunter and they won't be able to shoot over 200 yards probably . That's funny. That's funny. I was thinking, my question would be, what brand of boots do you have? Oh yeah, that's a good one too. Or ooh, do you wear camo or not camo.

Because if they, usually if you got some guys with [00:59:00] some Wrangler jeans or something, they're, some, they're old time. They're, I mean, they're hardcore hunters and everything, but they, they'll have that three by nine scope and you're gonna be lacking some distance and some animals because you just can't get in close enough for 'em to be able to find it in their nine power scope.

Yeah. Yeah. Do, is there a red flag on the opposite end though? If some guys says like, yeah, I have a 10 by 45 by 80, and you're like, uh, , who is this person? I've heard some, I've some pretty characters. Um, I've had some weird stories. Um, but yeah, I haven't had any, Crazy things like that, yet I'm sure my dad has.

Yeah, I suppose back in the day too, cuz now people are starting to kind of figure it out. Social media and hunting media, people understand like what a guy trips about and all that. But yeah, that's kind of funny that you picked the three by nine cuz that like screams I hunt whitetails. Oh yeah, no it does.

It [01:00:00] really does. And I mean there's people that get it done with three by nine s but yeah that does seem like it's the whitetail scope. I, I mean I bought the scope, I bought, I wanted, I knew I wanted a first vocal plane. I knew I wanted something that could touch a thousand. I wanted to be able to dial my elevation, I wanted to be able to dial my wind and with all that and like not having unlimited money, I went with the Vortex Viper um, five by 25 or five to 25 by 50.

And man that scope has treated me well. So it's funny you said that cuz I was definitely not the three by niner.

Yeah, I'm trying to think of another question I would ask somebody to know, like if this guy's got a red flag, but I can't really think of anything off the bat. I know there's a, a bunch, but I have a lot of good ones that I've heard and I've have asked or they've said, but I don't know why it's not coming up to me right now.

Yeah, it's fine. He's probably just under the pressure. So, [01:01:00] um, what, at what point in this, like this hunting life that you've lived, did you like decide, I'm gonna start filming stuff and I'm gonna get in with the released outdoors? Cause I see you're wearing the hat right now. Um, when did that all start and take place and, and what's that been like to add into your already slam schedule of guiding all these clients?

Yeah, so what's funny about it is, I don't know if Jeremiah touched on this, but me and Jeremiah, he was. He was in my, in my school, we went to school together in Plains, a little town of 1500 people. And so I grew up with Jeremiah since, man, I've been really little. We played all the sports together and he kind of took me under his wing and, um, yeah, he graduated just a couple years older than, you know, a couple years above me.

And yeah, we've been just really good buddies, best friends ever since, and he moved down to Kansas. . Yeah, we never lost touch, I tell you that. But that's how we got connected and or not [01:02:00] connected, but that's how I'm part of Released Outdoors is cuz of Jeremiah. He's always been one of my best hunting buddies and had a lot of good stories and everything like that and just grew up hunting and grew up in the same town and been best buds.

So that's how I got into that. I got an into that. Everything kind of, it really, I, all this hunting stuff, it really just kind of lands in my hands. I've , I've been really blessed and lucky. I've actually never had to, I mean, I work hard, but I've never had to work super, super hard. Like, you know, a lot of these guys have, like my dad, and to get into these businesses and do all this stuff, you know, I mean, they live and breed it and I've been just, you know, luckily been blessed to be able to be just handed handed stuff.

Hey, well that's kind of what happened to me in this podcast. I got a call one day from Dan Johnson and Dan Matthews and they said, Hey, we're looking for a co-host. We wanna put two people behind this thing. How's it, how's that sound to you? Dan said, you kinda like hunting the west. I'm like, sure. I just, I like, I felt like you did like silver platter, like this [01:03:00] awesome podcast opportunity to join.

I already had my own obviously, and so I can kind of see what you're saying there. Same with the Whitetails. You know, we got that family farm in Alexandria and you know, dad and brother and, and uncle and grandpa and everyone started piecing together land and now I've got all this great opportunity to just bow hunting, whitetail hunting, try to do, you know, try to do more sweat equity to help earn my keep.

But I can definitely see what you're saying there. Definitely have some, some correlations. No, I've been really, I've been really blessed and lucky to be able to do what I do and do what I love. I mean, I really have, I started guiding in 2015. , um, cuz then you could get my Alfred's license when I turn 18 and get all my, you know, first aid and all my insurances and all that stuff.

So, rolling on a few years now, finally. And, uh, that's what I've been doing. Uh, actually when I went to college over in Washington, I played two years baseball [01:04:00] and the, my school over there didn't start till like way late, like end of September. So I was actually able to guide, um, like the first two weeks of archery season when I was 18 and 19 before I even went off to college a couple times.

And I was like, man, I'm pretty lucky there too. I mean, what, what other, all colleges usually start, you know, before you know around Labor Day weekend and you can't go hunting. And I was, there I am, I find a school that I get a baseball scholarship to go. , you know, it starts later in the year and I get to go guide two weeks and make some money before I head on over there and do what I love

So it was pretty, pretty nice, man. I imagine that was some rough transitions though, from going on Friday. We were in the elk woods packing out a bowl, and now here I am sitting in this classroom on Monday with no ac. He listening to this guy talk about whatever subject, . Yeah, no, that's, that's the truth. It really is.

But [01:05:00] I got a little bit, you know, little bit of the hunt bug outta me before I headed off to call instead of being stuck in there and being like, oh man, it's opening day and here I am. Yeah, for sure. Yeah, that would be rough too. Missing completely. I'd definitely take the situation you got. I'm just saying that first Monday in class is probably, Awesome.

Yeah, no, it is. My dad sent me pictures. Oh, clients just got this book. Wish you were here. You could take some good, better pictures than me. . Yeah. My dad's the same way. Um, I'll take some really cool pictures of him fishing, you know, get the scenery, get the color, and then when it's my turn to catch the fish, he'll take the picture and like the top half of my head will be cut off or the tail of the fish will be cut off.

And so I, now I'm learning, like I take a picture, put the fish in the net in the lake so he's breathing and then I check the camera, see if he got the right ankle, uh, back up a few steps dead. Make sure you get the whole fish in the picture. . [01:06:00] No, that's exactly, that's exactly the point I was making there.

Yeah, it's. It's okay. Well, Branson, man, it's been awesome to meet you. It's been fun to finally connect and find out. I got a cousin out in Montana. Um, we'll have to figure out some way to get together, whether that's behind dad on a elk hunt or just doing something random. Um, it'd be super cool to get out together and start hunting and, and catch up on lost time, as you'd say.

I can't believe my dad forgot that one of his cousins moved out to Montana to become a hunting guy. That, that's like pertinent information. Dad. Yeah. What the heck? Yeah. He goes, yeah. Remember we had a cousin that moved out to Montana to do a hunting guide? Haven't talked to him in a while. I'm like, dad, come on.

We've been going to Montana all these years. We should have known. Yeah, exactly. Hunting right around Trout Creek, Thompson Falls right in our area. Right in there. But, oh we'll, [01:07:00] no, we'll have to definitely get together and do something. I mean, Brad Hoppy, he's always telling me, come every summer, come out fishing, come out fishing.

I, I want to take you fishing. So maybe we'll make a trip out there and I can have you tag along. We can go catch a muskies with Brad. Oh, that would be it. That would be phenomenal. I really would love that. I've caught one Musky in my life. It was, I was trying to catch a Musky, so I can't say it was an accident, but I knew nothing what I was doing and I ended up catching a 48.

So, um, clear luck. Think that one was pure luck. . Yeah. I still don't have a tally for any muskies, so that's something on the agenda. All right. I'll be first guy on the net then we'll let you catch 'em first. So awesome. Well I appreciate you being here, Branson. Uh, don't wanna take up too much of your evening.

Uh, and I'm gonna have to get you and your dad back on the other podcast, the two bucks podcast, cuz I bet that's a real cool story of. Being a rodeo, uh, a rodeo. Um, I dunno, would he bull ride horses? Whatever. Doesn't matter. It's all But yeah, he, he bull riding. [01:08:00] Yeah. Bull rider. An outfitter going to guide school guiding in Jackson Hole.

A whole story of how you guys built the, the Western Timber Outfitters. And so I think that'd be a cool episode for the other podcast as well. So we'll have to get you guys back in soon. No, that'd be super fun. I enjoyed this. I really did. We'll have to do this again time soon. Awesome. Well thanks for being here and thanks for listening folks.