Never Give Up!

Show Notes

A year later Heath follows up with Brandon Mitchell. Last year Brandon was struggling being a new hunter; having young dogs, learning on the fly, and not catching any bear.  Brandon now has another year under his belt and with some mentorship, things are headed in the right direction. If you're new to the sport follow Brandon on his journey, we all start somewhere, it’s just part of the process.

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] The Houndsman XP podcast network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a houndsman and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our packs lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and houndsmen.

There are no shortcuts. So lace up those boots and grab a dog leash. The journey begins now.

I've been a member and supporter of Go Wild for over a year now. Man, how time flies. Their social media platform is For Hunters By Hunters, and if you've followed me for any length of time, you know that I'm in the woods or on the water if I'm not working. And yes, some ask, do you work? Unfortunately, I do.

It's a place that I post all of my [00:01:00] trophies, no matter how big or small. Mine, mostly small. I get tips, tricks, tactics, and advice from people who eat, breathe, and sleep the outdoors. I log all my outdoor adventures, including the time spent listening to the best podcast in the land, The Journey, hosted by no other than yours truly.

So when I need anything outdoors, I just log on to the Gowild store, pick out what I need, and that's anything from hunting, fishing, camping, optics, outdoor wear, and yes, hound supplies. I'm proud to partner up with the Gowild team. So let's get your journey started today, here on Gowild.

All right, so the journey is all about the process the process of becoming better handlers, better [00:02:00] houndsmen, better dog men. So we're going to follow up on this episode and I had a, I had the pleasure, this summer I took a trip to Maine and. Spent some time up in the Northwoods. We hiked Baxter State Park.

Got eat up by mosquitoes. Spent some time up on the coast and I mean we went to Acadia. Went to Cadillac Mountain. Like it was just a good trip. We spent a lot of time eating seafood. I ate enough lobster to make somebody sick and I'd still eat some more because it was that good. And while we were up there I was fortunate enough to We were staying close enough to Brandon Mitchell and you guys know, I had him on last year and the episode was when life gives you lemons.

And if you remember on the episode, his Toyota truck was buried up door high in the water. And that's what happens when you're hunting, but so I got, I was fortunate enough, we went down to Brandon's[00:03:00] little cottage there on the lake. And the girls swam and we went fishing and we, ate, had a good time.

Mark actually came up, he went and got a load of dog food and he met us there. I got to spend some time with those guys and I really enjoy it. And on the way home, I have to do another follow up because on the way home, I stopped and ate with Jason Carter and got to pick his brain. His dad and mom was there.

From Mary Meeting Kennels. So Maine was a good trip for me this summer. And, I can't thank Brandon enough for having us over. Putting up with all the chaos that we bring. But I just told him the girls loved it. They were paddle boarding, they were kayaking. I think it was just me and you and Maddie and Tegan.

And then you and your son went. And man we, we caught two pretty nice. Big mouth there at your cottage, but good time, enjoyed Maine. I [00:04:00] recommend it to everybody. If it's just a summer trip there's plenty to do. It's different. It's not as commercialized by shore, but I've been to Maine a couple of times hunting.

So just going to take this episode and we're going to follow up with Brandon. How's things up in the North woods today, Brandon? Oh, pretty good. Weather's a little cooler today, so that's always good in my book and it's not raining, so that's good. So when I was up there you and Mark both said it had been the rainiest season, and when I talked to you the other day, you said it was pouring down rain.

Yeah it's been super rainy here all year. It's been crazy. Yeah. That's wetter than normal, yeah, a lot wetter. Yeah. So how's. How's Grace and the kids? They're good. Yeah. They're good. Yeah. They're they're school and the boy's been cool nutting with me some and chat with chat and I, and he's looking forward to deer season.

Ah, and your [00:05:00] season, your bear season is over or it's going to be over here shortly. Yeah. Friday it's Friday the 28th or the 29th there. It'll be over. Yeah. Yeah. And then deer season for firearms opens up the following Saturday. I gotcha. So bear season has to be done by then, right? Yeah. So you can still shoot a bear by chance if you happen to see one and you haven't filled your tag, but you can't pursue it with dogs.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I thought you'd Mark had told me that when I was up there. Yeah. So let's just I know that when I was up, had you had you already, you had monkey already and y'all season had come in when I was up there. That was right. It just come in. Yeah, it was training season.

Yep. Yeah. So I guess it come, was it come in July 1st for you guys? Yeah, it does. Yeah. Yeah. So you had an opportunity to go out. We had talked about one, one of your hunts and I'm remembering that now, I guess with old age, you start. Losing track of [00:06:00] things like I have to be, I think I have to be reminded sometimes.

It all blends together. Yeah, but I know you're busy with work and everything and, hunting. I know we talked about it, being able to get out and hunt sometimes is is a problem. And I didn't realize this, you and Mark both have to drive a tremendous amount of time.

Yeah, I have from my normal running area, it's about three hours, one way. Yeah. It's not I could do that maybe a day or two. That's a six hour trip, even if you don't hunt. But yeah, and I, you guys were explaining all the ins and outs and stuff that, I don't know, I didn't know, and I didn't understand how some things worked and it was really interesting to To hear some of the hurdles and hoops that you guys have to jump through just to run your dogs.

And yeah, I know that, we are lucky we're, we're in a battle right now with the landowners committee with the right to [00:07:00] retrieve, which I think is going to be okay. But I think there's going to be some changes that's not going to set well with everybody, but the right to retrieve is important for us.

And I know that, like I said, while I was up there, you and I and Mark had that conversation about you guys had to go through some kind of the same process. And I think that we take, I have to drive an hour to get where I'm I want to hunt and that's the shortest trip for me. And if I go to another area, it takes me about an hour and 20 minutes.

And I don't like it because I like to be in the woods. Like I want to get in the woods, but it's way better than y'all's three hours. Yeah, that, that can get rough. I. I got fortunate this year, I had an invite to go with some guys that's about, oh, an hour and 15 minutes from my house. So I helped them a little bit this year.

That worked out good. Yeah. It gave you more opportunity to go, right? Yeah, that's right. I got to hunt a lot more this year. So that helped. [00:08:00] Good. Good. Yeah. And like I said, I want to go back to the, the trip this summer, Grace fixed us a good dinner and like I said, you and I went out and took some of them and fished and, Maddie, like she still talks about catching that large, that's her first large mouth.

Oh, really? Oh yeah. We didn't realize that. Yeah. We fish for musky and we just have small mouth. I don't fish the lakes for the large mouth, what we catch is just small mouth and musky and the musky's on her list. She's not hooked one yet. She's had several follows and she gets excited and either freezes or jerks it away from the fish.

And I know, I know your son, like he was disappointed that day, but it wasn't a couple of days later, you sent me a picture and he had a big old hog, hog on that thing. Yeah. Yeah. He's caught some nice ones this summer. Some four, four and a half pounders. Nice. Yeah, that's really nice. And I know that tickles him.

He was thrilled to death. But yeah, it was a good time. And like I said, again, we, we want to thank you [00:09:00] for having us. We really enjoyed it. And again, the girls still are asking when are we going back to Brandon? When are we going back to Brandon? They love that little cottage in the lake.

They really liked it. That's great. And you're welcome up here anytime, as far as I'm concerned. That 16 hour drive is a little rough. Yeah, I hear you. Holy cow. It seems like it it did take us. We. We left, we split it up, we went to New York and stayed with a buddy of mine in New York.

And then we went back, I guess we drove home Sunday, I don't remember. But yeah, we busted it up because the traffic was so bad, when you go in and around Boston just trying to get out of the traffic. Made it good. Let's talk about, let's talk about your training season, some good, some bad, just overall, what happened.

Just walk us through your dogs first. So we, so everybody has an understanding where you're at with the dog from last year, when we talked, what has changed and what do you have or don't have now? [00:10:00] So the. The old dog, Isabella, is, she didn't hunt this year, she's just too old. She's like 14, I believe.

So I had one of Brent's dogs, Monkey, as so I had Monkey, I had my 8 year old dog, Easy, my 6 year old dog, Denver, and a dog I call Goober. That's, he was about a year and a half old, the beginning of training season. And that's what I had to run all training season. So just those four.

So how did training season go? Was you was you making progress? Was it, in and out, like what happened? Yeah, it was in and out. I had a, I could really only run Saturdays during training season and. Then a lot of those days it was pouring rain early morning, so I was just rigging around and I got a few strikes and a few runs, but it was hard going with all the water there.

It's where I hunt [00:11:00] is almost all swamp land. It's hard to explain. You would have to see it to really understand, but it's, if you're going in the woods you're either wading way steep water or deeper or you're swimming. There's no way around it. So it's tough going. And with all the extra rain, it made it even worse.

Yeah. I know you and I had talked about some boots and when you got to tell me that I'm like I don't know, like nothing's going to hold up. Nothing's going to hold up in that type of environment. Period. No, that's, I just. I stuck to using the high top Keen's because at least they're comfortable until they're wet.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What any hunts that stand out any work that the dogs did that was exceptional or anything's bad that you really couldn't figure out and, still puzzling you. One thing I can't figure out is the dogs my easy dog, mostly. He seems to be able to rig something older than he can run, which is, it is confusing [00:12:00] to me.

I've had, I had a lot of good strikes that he just couldn't figure out. I don't know what the issue was. So that's an ongoing mystery to me anyway. So how old is he? He's eight. He's eight? Yeah. Pot dog I'm assuming? Yeah. Yeah. Let's walk through that if you want to we have, we have some of the guys that I hunt with have the same issue, their dogs will strike.

And I think we actually talked about this on a podcast briefly. That they'll strike, they'll open, they'll put the dogs down, the dogs will circle the truck a time or two, and then they'll get back up on the truck and oh, hey, let's go. And I don't know if that's what he's doing. Is he actually going hunting or is he doing the same thing?

No, he'll hunt out. He'll hunt around as long as I let him, maybe some of it's me just being impatient, but I figure after four or five minutes, he ought to be able to figure it out, how far is he going? Oh, he'll go. A few hundred yards, make a big circle through the woods, a few hundred yards,[00:13:00] out, hunt around.

Do you think he's, I don't know, so I don't mean to offend you. Is he, do you think he's trashy or do you trust him? Like I feel pretty confident when he opens it's a bear. They both been pretty trashy when they're fresh, but he's been pretty honest on a bear the past year.

He actually, some dogs started the most run and he actually came out of it. So I'm pretty, pretty confident in him on that. And I know you guys don't have the deer population like we do. So why so why would you. And I'm just asking I'm just, we're just having a conversation. Like, why would you not let him just go on and hunt?

Give him 15, 20 minutes to hunt that out. Yeah, that's a good question. I'm pretty impatient, that's I don't have any other answer other than that. I just. And I'll let him go, five, six, eight minutes. And then if he can't figure it out, I'll put them back in the box and keep [00:14:00] rigging.

So maybe it's partially my fault. Yeah. I know that and I'll just, I'll give you one example with mine. So I had Jerry Barker in from Kentucky come in and hunted with me. He's a coon hunter. He'd never seen a bear, so I invited him up and I think it was the second, no, first morning. It was the first morning, yeah, it was the first morning.

We were rigging, we'd rigged for a good while, probably an hour. And the dog struck. And I turned them off the truck and literally they went, we were three quarters of the way off the mountain and, or not three quarters off the way we were a quarter of the way off the road run underneath them at the mountain, at the top of the mountain.

And I turned I turned my young dog loose first. I wanted her, I want her to start starting tracks. So I turned her loose first and she went up there and she was gone maybe a minute or two. And then I turned Spook [00:15:00] loose and Spook was gone and I held the other dogs. And he asked me like, what are you doing?

I'm like we need to find the track before I start dumping everything loose. And the, actually the dogs went. About 400 yards, almost to the top of the mountain before they ever opened. And of course, when they opened, I sent another dog and by then the dogs were over the top, the third dog that I'd turned loose was hadn't got there.

So it had not opened. And so I did not send the fourth dog and anyway, they topped over and went into another hunting area. But I know my terrain's a lot different than yours, but I don't think it would be uncommon for your dog to be able to smell. A bear at a considerable distance. So maybe if you can talk yourself into it, giving him a little more time.

Yeah, I think that's probably a good idea. I know I get impatient and it's a detriment sometimes, but I think you're right. [00:16:00] I think I just didn't let him go out far enough at times. Yeah, I've been there done that and sometimes I probably still do it, but as long as my dogs are honest enough that I'm not I don't worry about running running trash, I don't I don't worry about it too much. I'll let Spook and Kate and Maggie go. If they want to hunt 30 minutes, I'll let them hunt 30 minutes. I don't pay too much attention to it. Now my young dogs, I'm like you, I'm probably going to give them a couple minutes. Four or five minutes, and if they don't start doing something, I'm going to either be turning an old dog into them, or maybe probably rounding them back up.

But, back to the original thing, some of the guys that I hunt with, they, their dogs will literally strike and they, a good track, good track. They'll let the dogs down. They'll run up the road, run back down the road, circle the truck, whatever. And then they'll get back up on the truck and they don't understand like what's I don't get it.

I don't get it. I don't get it. [00:17:00] And it's I tell them, it's just one of a couple of things. Like the dog's either fooling with you. He wants off the box. And the dog's either striking trash and then when you put him down, he's if I do this, I'm going to be in trouble, or they just don't want to go hunting.

So I'm going to ask you about the, I was going to ask you, that was going to be my secondary question is about when you coon hunt easy, does he hunt out? Will he go hunting five, four, five, 600 yards? Or is he a close hunter to you? Because I have some dogs my little, the Maggie female, my black dog that you guys may have seen pictures over, whatever.

She don't hunt out past 200 yards. That's just her cutoff. She roams about 200 yards. When I turn her off the truck, she's gonna make that 200 yard circle. That's about all you're getting out of her. But I understand that too, because I know how, when I free cast her, and we're just walking and hunting, I know that's her limit.

So what is EZ's limit? When, do you cone hunt him too? No, so I don't coon hunt easy at all. So I [00:18:00] do free cast at times though, and he'll go out quite a ways. And just he likes to follow edges and stuff like that, but he'll go quite a ways out in half a mile or so usually. That's pretty good distance.

Yeah. Yeah. So I, I don't think he's afraid to hunt. He has a lot of drive. That's for sure. So I don't know it, like I said, it could be me, my impatience. But yeah, in July y'all don't run off baits in July, right? No, not until the end of, towards the end of July. We're allowed to put the baits out.

Gotcha. I gotcha. Yeah. Yep. Yep. So other than that any issues anything that, stood out that your process of working through or. No, not really. It's actually the, my young male is, he's been doing really good for me. He made every race he was turned in on the whole time, and he started to [00:19:00] trail he's trailed out some pretty old tracks, And it's starting to rig pretty good too.

So that's been pretty encouraging. Ah, so what stood out during the season? Any I know when I had talked, dogs wasn't in shape was one issue. Yeah. Hunting the water. Like I said, you, y'all told me about, both of y'all told me while you were up there that, while I was up there that, it's been extremely wet.

There's more water than normal. So that makes it harder on the dogs too. That's separation happens when that bear can get in water and the dogs got to swim and catch up. Yep. So any good races, any good feedback? Yeah, I had I was towards the end of training season, a monkey and easy, actually.

They broke off from Denver and Goober and the Denver and Goober are the younger two. And they went. They went into bayon something. I have no idea what they were on. I stayed with the older [00:20:00] two, and about 15 minutes later, they started bayon, so I picked a set of dogs to go into, and I went into monkey and easy, and they had a fairly small bear pretty well gassed out on the ground.

That was pretty fun. They did a really nice job running that one. The other two, Chet went into and by the time he had got in there, there was, they were starting to come back out and he didn't see what was going on there. So that's still a mystery. Training season, like I said, the, between all the rain and really only hunting Saturdays, it was pretty limited for me on how much I could hunt.

So my dogs were not in shape at all. I tried. It's hard when you can only hunt, a day during the week. And yeah, I've said it. I know what you and I talked about. That's the first thing I said. I said your dog's not in shape and it's going to take them a while to get there at that rate.

So yeah, absolutely. It's [00:21:00] hard. So did monkey, did he help? You'd be successful or was there not a drastic change? Yeah monkey did help. I think monkey is better at figuring out a loss in the woods and stuff like that. I think it might my, all my other dogs are a little more, I don't know how to, a little more wound up, maybe a little edgier.

And I think monkey would have brains enough to slow down and grub it out better. So that made a difference. Did it help, did it point your other, any of your other dogs in a right direction, help with them? Yeah, it definitely did. It helped them get straightened out and get a little more bare minded I feel personally.

Good. And monkeys are really nice dog. Yeah, I know I could, I'd hunt, I've hunted with him quite a bit. So yeah, I think any any solid dog in addition to a pack should help that pack get better or at least stabilize, I would think. Yeah. [00:22:00] Yeah. And that's what it definitely improved a little, and it definitely stabilized for sure.

Yeah. That helped. So anything else during training season that stands out to you? No, other than the, having to go down into the nasty swamps and get my dogs a few times. It's not not anything too spectacular happened or ruining a couple of pair of boots. Yeah, a couple of those a year. Yeah, I don't know how you, when you told me that I was like, Holy cow.

Like I, I've had mine for, we won't, I guess we won't disclose the brands that we were talking about, I've had my, I've got mine for. This is going on my fourth, third or fourth year. Of course, not only wear them during December that one set of boots and the other set that you and I talked about, I wear them like during training season and now, and then I switch out, for the season.

But I was like, my gosh, if I was having to buy them things every six months like it, I don't know that I don't know what I'd do. [00:23:00] Yeah I decided not to. Yeah. I'm with you. I can understand. Yes. All right. Then see your season come in. So how did let's just start off with the beginning of season.

How'd that start off? Was it you and Chet hunting again? So the first, how did that work out? So the first couple days, I think Chad and I hunted together. And not a lot happened that was productive. And yeah, that's right. That, that opening week of the season was a rain, rain the whole week. That was the week Brent came up and he had some rain too.

The eastern Maine got a little more rain, I think. At least in the mornings. And that kind of washed the tracks out. So that whole first week for me was a bust. Yeah. I know. I talked to Brent in between hunts [00:24:00] up there and he said the same thing that it was awful way. He said a couple of days, I just got flat.

They was on tracks and just got washed out. Yeah, that's exactly what happened to me all week. Yeah. So you was able to take off the week to hunt? Yeah. Yeah. That was one of the one of the times I went and helped that other guy out. Tried to anyway, but yeah, that was. That was good. So then I, so that first week, the journey on Houndsman XP has teamed up with OneTDC. This dual action support for oral health and mobility in our dogs. This unique supplement is so effective that it is recommended by top veterinary experts worldwide to maintain and improve our dog's health in four different areas. Their oral health, hips, joints, and muscles, skin, coat.

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Did you go up and hunt with Brent that week or? Yeah. That's what I was just trying to remember, if it was the first. Yeah, so I met up with Brent that first week mid week, and I gave him a monkey back and another dog he had up here. And [00:27:00] then, it was the end of the second week I went up and hunted with him on a Saturday.

And that was a good hunt. They made pretty short work of that bear. That was they walked that one around for 40 minutes, 45 minutes or so, and then popped it up a tree. That was Four of four of Brent's dogs My goober dog and easy on that one. That was a good hunt Yeah, I was gonna ask you if you got some in on it.

So yeah. Yep. Nice Now did you get your dogs down at the start or did y'all did he start it with a one or two or what? He started it with four dogs. He fed four dogs in and then I put the pup down About, they were like 200, 250 yards out and I put my pup down behind them at the bait. They made a big half mile or so circle and crossed the road we were on up further.

And I drove up and I packed easy in behind them that [00:28:00] way. And then they went, Oh, six or 800 more yards and jumped. And then pretty much walked from the second it was jumped to when it treed, it was a good hunt. Yep. That was a good hunt. Did y'all harvest that one or let it go? Yeah. One of Brent's friends, Brent's buddies there took that one.

Gotcha. And you had told me earlier that you got to hunt with Mark some, was that during the same week or later on, or? That was. That might've been the, during the first week. Yeah, that was during the first week towards the end of it. I went up for a day and hunted, I got up there a little late, but I hunted with him and Roy and that again, the water messed everything all up.

That turned into a kind of a lot of sitting around and talking at the truck. But that was just fine too. You got a lot of knowledge sitting at the truck right there. Yeah, [00:29:00] for sure. Between. Roy and Scott, and there was another guy, I forget his name. And then there was another guy named Ken, but yeah, those were some real good people.

Yeah. Yeah. I know when I was up this summer, I was going to try to go with Mark one day, and of course it just didn't work out because of the distance between hunting and the weather. And the day that, that we were supposed to go, he went to another location and. Of course, I know he probably told you, so he started sending me videos and text messages that he's just be glad you didn't go because I got all my dogs wrecked.

Yeah, he got them wrecked real bad that week. Yeah. Yeah. It was not good. I think he had four. Yeah. Yep. And I don't remember the dog. I'd have to go back through the text messages. I don't remember the dog's names, but one, they didn't think that he didn't think I was going to make it. Yeah, that was Reaper.

Reaper. That's it. Yep. Yep. Yep. So[00:30:00] they can be bad sometimes. That's for sure. So your first week's over did you hunt any more? How did your season pan out from there? So I think I worked most of that second week and then the third week I hunted all week again and Had some really good runs, but no catches they had I think I put seven almost 70 miles on in three days Wow.

They put on. Yeah. They, and then they were pretty much, cause like I said, they weren't in real hard shape before the, at the start of that. So they were pretty sore. So I spent the rest, the last two days just riding around with them in the box for, to pack them in if need be, rather than trying to keep them in the whole race.

They were pretty well wiped. Yeah. Yeah. So nothing said me, that's a lot of my, that's a [00:31:00] lot like I, and I, I told several people here this year that our bear run harder this year than I can remember in the recent past normally after you get the dogs in shape.

A couple mile race, boom, it's over. And we were having seven and nine and 11, 16. I pulled my dogs off one at 16 second week before the end of season and my dogs were in running shape, I had them in pretty good shape and they weren't catching them.

They weren't catching, they weren't gaining ground. And I this year was tougher than normal. I will say, yeah, we get a lot of those runners here. I know that's why Brent liked this. One thing he likes about coming here is because it really gets the dogs in shape. Those are the running bear we have, but I'm sure dogs and a little.

A little better shape, might've been able to do something a little more than mine did, but they didn't quit. That's all I can ask of them. [00:32:00] No, stay after that's right. Yep. So how did your, so did you hunt any more after that? I know that, how did your season kind of wind down? And where do you catch it?

Did you catch any bear up to that point other than with Brent? By yourself or yeah, I, you're breaking up a little there. He's Oh, sorry. Yeah. You're good now. Okay. Yeah, I did. I actually killed one myself Chet and I it's funny. We were supposed to take a friend of his out hunting with us, but he had he had some things come up and couldn't make it.

So we decided to just go hunt anyway. And I ended up killing that one bear. So that's funny how it works out that way. Yeah, it was a nice bear. So yeah, tell me the story. How did the hunt start? What took place? What dogs did you have there? And man, that was a beautiful bear.

And I think, [00:33:00] from last year to this year, I don't. I think I was just as, I don't know that I was as ecstatic as you were, but I was just as happy as you were for you for that. Yeah, I was pretty happy. So yeah, that was a Monday chat and I met up there at our baits there and split up to check baits.

And I had that one. It was only an hour old track at the time. So we decided to check the rest, if we have. Another one, save that one because it'll still be good in a few hours, was the thought, so we went around, checked their ask, and ultimately decided to just go around that bear, and came back, so it was an hour and 45 minutes or so old, so not very old, and I just dumped the whole box out, and he has a couple of dogs that he put down, so we're trying to, he has a male that, he's a nice dog, he just He doesn't, [00:34:00] he's not used to running in a pack, so we've been trying to get him to get the dogs packed up, and so they, my three went out, I didn't have monkey at this time, my three went out and actually, they went out a different way, my Denver went out a different way than I had thought the bear went, and he's going out and just really getting after it, and I'm getting a little irritated, I'm like, that sucker is, Fiddling with a moose again.

So I got in the truck and drove around to, I thought he was going to head towards a road, so I wanted to see what was going on and by the time I got around to the other road, all three of them were in there and they were just screaming not really going anywhere. So I'm like, Oh, this might be something more going on here than I think.

So they, they end up baying and they'd move a little ways and then bay some more. And they ended up [00:35:00] walking, oh, probably a mile and a half, two miles or so. They walked the bear and then it treed. So it was, I was a little less than the trusty dogs, at that point. And, so I was able to drive 600, no, 750 yards as the crow flies, but that was 750 yards of beaver swamp and river.

So it ended up being about a, I'd say about a mile walk to get the 750 yards that they were away. It's, it wasn't a bad walk, just he had to cross a couple of streams, and then they cut some roads in there where it's so swampy, they cut them in the wintertime, so we call them winter roads, so there's an old winter road in there, and I basically walked that right to the dogs.

They had him on the edge of a clear cut, in a [00:36:00] big hemlock tree, as you saw in the picture. Yeah, that was... I was pretty happy about that. Yeah. I was going to ask you if it was in a timber cut, cause that's what it looked like at the backside of that. Yeah, it was where the edge of the swamp that they, so they swam the swamp with the bear.

So it was on the edge of that and then that timber cut, it was right on the. On the transition line there. Yep. And you said there was only three dogs. Yeah, just my three. And what happened? I thought you had four, what happened to the others? So there would have been five total the two check put down.

The male, he just trailed out doing his own thing and never got in on it. And then you give monkey back. So that my calculations right now, I got you. Yeah, that's right. I had given monkey back that week before. So after you harvested the bear and you were sitting there, what kind of what was your thought process and what was those emotions [00:37:00] like?

Cause I know you and I have talked and I know where you've been. I know what you think, what was that process? What was going through your head? Just a lot of satisfaction, like the feeling of progress accomplishment, I guess I was pretty happy. Of course I called Mark right away and called Brodney and my wife, but I messaged with you there.

And so chat came in, he had got his dogs picked up and he had come around. To help me we had to quarter it and get it out, quartered it and packed it out. I was going to ask you how you got that big old thing out of there by yourself. Yeah, that was I'm really glad he was there. That was a lot of work.

So I know, I guess my first experience like it was a little different because it wasn't over a a harvest. [00:38:00] It was more for me, it was actually treating an animal by myself, but I know like the emotions that were running through me in that point in time in my career, my. My hunting career, the excitement, like probably flooded my emotions.

Like I was probably so excited that nothing else mattered at that point for me. And then, you come back, you're tomorrow, your confidence is boosted in. For me, I was right back in the woods and then I was going through the same things like, okay, the dogs are not doing this.

And then, that's the process I went through. It was like a, it was like a rollercoaster ride for me. Yeah, exactly. Up and down and up and down. So is that what you were feeling or what, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It was excitement. Like you said, excitement was just overwhelmed.

And like you said again, and then the following week is, it's that emotional road. That was the following week was the week of all the runners and no catches. [00:39:00] So it was. I was like, come on, the dog, all right they've done it. They can do it. And now you're out there and you're trying twice as hard now because you've had some confidence and then, yeah.

And then it, like I said you come away and I'm not saying you, cause I don't know, but like for me, I come away just disappointed that. I wasn't, I didn't catch a few more and then, like I said, something will happen. And then I remember I don't know what part time this happened to me, but I was walking out of logging road one day after I'd caught my first bear.

And I can't tell you the time period. I don't know. Cause I was like you back when I started, I was basically hunting on Saturdays cause I didn't, I couldn't hunt any other time I was working. And this training season and I'm, I'd called a bear, You're feeling confident and I'd went through a little period where I'd like I'd run stuff and I mean at this point I don't know what I was running.

I didn't catch it I don't know and then I was walking out of logging road [00:40:00] one Saturday by myself I had three dogs with me. Same boats are in I had frosty I had a dog named Cannon and a dog a dog named Poo, which was my, actually a coon dog. He's my sacket bred dog. And Cannon was actually out of him.

So he was a double he was a double, he was half of my stuff and then a sacket bred dog. And he was a four year old dog and was actually. He ended up being a pretty nice bear hound. But anyway, long story short, I'm walking out this Logan road. I'm pulling up this incline in a curve with a Laurel holler going up the mountain and I get going and Frosty just does Frosty thing.

He goes up in the Laurel holler and he checks. Now, back then we had the beep collar. So I, I didn't know how far he was, didn't know what he was doing, but. He would hunt out, a couple hundred yards and he would always circle back to you. He always would find, even if I walked off and left him [00:41:00] and he didn't do something, he would come find me.

So anyway, they went up this holler. He did. I had the Pooh on the lead because I was Coon, he was a Grand Knight Champion. I was Coon hunting him and I was just taking him because I'd done Grandy Mount, didn't know what I was gonna do with him. So I'm like, I'm just gonna take him bear hunting.

They're gone. Him and Cannon's gone. A little bit longer than normal. All of a sudden, I hear this big ol long ball. And I know, I know what's happened right there. I'm like, oh, he just hit a tree. Now, I coon hunted that dog, Frosty, the dog I'm talking about. I coon hunted him. I killed squirrels out to him.

I shot possums out to him. Anything that climbed a tree, that dog has had in his mouth at some point in time. He comes in there and he falls tree. And Frosty was a big ol long ball mouth. Tree dog. He was not a chop. Then Cannon comes in there and Cannon locks down. And Cannon's a really steady Oh, Tree dog.

So he comes in there, so I cut Pooh loose. [00:42:00] Pooh takes off up through the mountains. And I start pulling to him. And they're, I don't know, they're 200, 250 yards up his hollow, up on that ridge. I come out of the laurel thicket. And I look up the bear's hanging off the side of a poplar tree, like literally hanging there.

Cannon and frosty are tree and poo's not saying a word. He's just I don't know what you want me to do here. And . Anyway, that was kinda like my second confidence booster. And it was on a, and then I think Frosty went up there and jumped it right up running up a tree and started treeing on it, and I've had several of those through my career.

Now that, that's happened. In fact, spook done it last year in December. When Jeff Shetler was down hunting with me he went up and done the same thing. He just fell turkey in there and had a, 50, 60 pound cub to read. But so that was my, like my second confidence booster with me.

So have you got to that point yet? Are you still searching for it? I would say still searching. But the, where there was no catches further and [00:43:00] later in the week there. But the long runs and I saw some really good trail work out of the dogs and they ran hard that, that kind of helped too, even though there, there wasn't a catch, but the dogs still did good work in my opinion.

So I would say the, I'd like to have seen some more up a tree, but I'm still feeling better about, I'm feeling better about stuff now than at the beginning of the season for sure. I was going to say, if my dogs are trailing and jumping, that's a, that's start of the process that I'm...

I'm okay. I'm okay with it. That to me is progress. Like I'm like you, I would be like, okay, I'm getting there. Like I'm putting the pieces together and the races and the catches will come if you're trailing and jumping, it's going to come.

So of course the more I hunted them, the the better, the more consistent they were getting on better at trailing and. [00:44:00] Just getting in the back and the swing of things. And, but on the flip side, they were also more tired every day. So it was a kind of a double edged sword there.

Yeah. But you got to hunt more during the season this year than last year, is that correct? Yeah, definitely. I didn't get to hunt a lot of consecutive days last year, other than the I did hunt a week with Brent when he was up, but other than that. I find that the consecutive days are the days that really help you where it's day after day.

Yeah, that definitely got to go more this year. And hopefully next year you'll get to do the same or even more. Yeah, that's the hope. So Brandon, what, let's roll back to last year. What are some lessons that last year taught you that you either conquered, overcome, or. [00:45:00] Understand that there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel from last year.

I learned a pretty good lesson last year is that Toyotas aren't waterproof. That was a pretty good lesson, but it's funny now, but the light at the end of the tunnel. So last year. It was real rough, just train wreck after train wreck, but they, at the very last day I ran last year, they treat a bear just the two of them, the pup fell out at that point, he was really young the Easy in Denver treed one, it was the last day last year, and it was about 300 yards.

Off of the lease we could be on. So I had to, I couldn't even really take time to enjoy it. I just had to grab the dogs and get out of there. Yeah. And I know that, like I said, I know, from the follow up from last year, you were literally contemplating getting [00:46:00] out. Yeah. And I know BB had talked to you and Mark had talked to you and, after our conversation it can be very discouraging.

When you're not seeing results. Yeah. And this year, what do you take away from this year? So your season's getting ready to wrap up. Like you're, you harvested a really nice bear, you're telling me already that the dogs are trailing good. They're jumping.

I know my dogs are not in the best shape, so that's probably why I'm not catching as much as I'd like to, but I did catch a bear. And I'm seeing progress through, through this. So what are you taking away from this year that you're going to build on to next year? I think like we talked about earlier is I need to be a little more patient on the, in the training season and letting the dogs work to get the bear up, that, and then I think [00:47:00] the focus on letting that young dog trail.

By himself a little bit next year is going to be a goal. Whereas he's been doing really well. I do have a young female now too, that I have to get going as well. So hopefully I can, after a few runs, I can pick up where I've left off this year and be a little smoother, I should say, out of the gate.

What's, what is your female? You care to tell us about her? What is she a puppy? Yeah, she's a she's 16, 18 months old, I think. I gotcha. You didn't hunt her any this year? No, I just got her. Oh, okay. I got her, the season's still in, I just haven't had a chance to go. I'll coon hunt her some.

I took her out the other night with Chet and Chet's got a really nice walker dog, young walker. But so I've been going out with him. And I'll cat hunt her. She's pretty wound. If she calms down a little bit, I'll cat hunt her with the, with my male.[00:48:00] But yeah, she's a plot. I got you.

The same breeding is the ones you have. So the same, close to the same breeding as my young male, the older two are EZ and Denver are, they're from Rodney, so there's no, no relation there, no blood. And you said EZ's eight held Denver. Six, about six. Yeah, and then your male pup, is it, you said a year and a half?

He'll be two in November. Okay. End of November, he'll be two. Yeah, so you're working on some older, mature dogs and, for me, that two year old dog, I've got some two and a half year olds. I give them a lot of leeway this year and I think I had talked about it on a pot, maybe being BB had talked about it, I give my female a little bit more little bit more reigns because I trusted her more.

The male. I know he was hittin on [00:49:00] some stuff on the truck, even when I had Spook and Maggie up, he was hittin on the truck, stuff that they weren't openin on, so I knew, I'm like, okay, so has he got a colder nose than they have, or is he hittin on stuff, and come to find out. Coyote run across the road one day and I was able to check him and come to find out that he was opening on a coyote.

So I held him a little bit more than I did her because I didn't have that problem with her. Two, two and a half year old, even my three year olds, I expect to see, more maturity out of him and more reliability. But I still also understand that they're a three year old dog and they're gonna make mistakes.

They're gonna run stuff They probably shouldn't and yeah, I don't get too bent out of shape about it anymore Yeah, I don't either unless it becomes a Habitual problem. Yeah He I took him into a few baits some of the days where we were just done hunting for the day, I took him into some baits and he trailed off on [00:50:00] some I think 11, 11 hour track and a 12 hour track.

He went, he only went out probably half a mile at the most and came back, but it showed me that he can smell it and work it out. So that was pretty encouraging. Did he ever jump? No. Those were, I think if he jumped, he wouldn't have come back. I got you. So he just worked it out, at least you're giving him those opportunities. A lot of people, a lot of people wouldn't do that. They're done hunting. At least you've got the foresight to say, Hey, I'm going to go out here and drop him and, give him some chances to learn.

Yeah. I was hoping to be able to get a few fresher tracks to put him on by himself. Get that experience, but it just didn't work out that way. Next year, hopefully there, during training season and your season, you'll be able to do that. And, BB and I talked about it on a podcast here recently.

I don't remember which one, but, given those, like for me even during our take, our heart, during our kill season, [00:51:00] like I'm. I'm not about, I don't really care about the kill. Yes. We take some bear every year. I absolutely. But I still, for me, it's still training season for me.

Like I'm still giving my young dogs opportunities and trying to grow them because I know that if something happens to one of my older dogs, one or two of them, like I'm starting all over again. And I don't, I've been in that situation more so than not. And I don't want to, it's too hard to get it back. So I'm trying to stay ahead of it now.

That's one of my things that I'm trying to stay ahead of having to re revamp my pack or actually start over with my pack to do it. So I've got some good young dogs that show potential. So I'm hoping that I don't have to go back and relive some of that painful nightmares that I've had to do for a while.

Yeah. That's, I wouldn't want to have to start all over again. No, it's tough. It's [00:52:00] really tough and it, it's discouraging at the same time because. Especially when you went from dogs that, could catch bear consistently and, pretty fairly nice dogs to now I'm riding everybody's shirt tails because I don't have anything substantial and I'm pretty much packing on them or relying on them to get a, get to get a bear up for you.

It's pretty discouraging. For me anyway, I, I. I struggle with that myself, so I'm hoping I can stay out of that phase. Hopefully. So Brandon, you fought, we've, we followed up from last year. You said it, yourself from a train wreck to this year you're seeing progress and you're moving forward and you're hoping that next year during training season, you actually continue to move forward, which I feel very confident with the help that you're getting, the mentorship that you have.

That there's no doubt that you're going to get there. What would you tell, and I probably asked you this last year, what would you tell [00:53:00] people that are in your same, the same shoes as you are? Because a lot of us are, I know we talked about that last time we talked that you thought you were the only one that was struggling and man, that's so far from the truth.

We all struggle at some point in time. What would you tell them? I think you did ask me that last year and I would say the same thing. Don't give up. Don't quit and listen to those that know I've, I feel very fortunate to have the people I have to, that will put up with my questions and phone calls and texts all the time to, to help me out.

If you can find somebody that is a good hunter and Houndsmen and you just keep pushing along and they'll help you as they can. I think so. Absolutely. Yeah. And that's a, like I said, that's a, if you can tell yourself, I know that I'm going to suffer a little [00:54:00] bit, but I'm going to keep pushing and that's what really distinguishes success from failure.

The people that fail, give up and don't keep trying. And the people that succeed, they keep pushing and keep pushing until, they get to that point where they're successful. Yep, so it's what it seems like. Yeah, for sure. And having a patient wife helps too. Yeah you got a good one and she's a pretty good cook too.

Yes, I'm pretty lucky. Yeah. Brandon, I appreciate you coming back on here and talking to us and you know filling us in from this year. And one thing that I want to say, I know people, a lot of people judge success by quantity. But that to me is not what I'm looking at. You're making small steps with quality.

And to me, I'll take quality over quantity any day. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I don't think people should necessarily judge their [00:55:00] success. I caught, 15, 20, 30 foot, whatever that number is. I don't do it. I don't do it by numbers. I, like I said, your dogs if he's trailing off a bait.

And jumping and running, like he's putting it together. So we're making those steps. There's there baby steps, but we're making steps. Yep, absolutely. Yeah. Brandon, and we may do a follow up next year. That's for sure. Keep chugging along and finding out where you're at with this. The trio you have going on and then you're adding the four.

So I really appreciate you coming on, spending your time with me this evening. And helping us, teach, train and learn. And this is definitely a learning lesson for us and stuff that especially newcomers and new guys that hunt. I think you said it best is don't give up. You gotta keep, you gotta keep putting yourself out there and giving your dogs opportunity.

And if you keep doing that you're gonna, you're going to start being successful at this takes time and patience. That's right. Yep. All right, Brandon, [00:56:00] until the next go, I appreciate it. My pleasure.