On this episode of The Nomadic Outdoorsman Dan talks with Josh Isely about his adventures hunting what most would consider once in a lifetime animals.
Josh is a regular 8-5 engineer with a grown son. He grew up in a small town in southern Wisconsin, worked on his grandparents farm and in his mother's bar. He was an athlete but always loved to be in the woods and on the water. He grew up admiring the mule deer and antelope on the wall in his grandfather’s basement and knew that he wanted to expand his hunting one day. He took his first trip to WY in 2009 which sparked a love for new hunting adventures and helped him make lifestyle changes that would allow him to travel the world in pursuit of big game. On this episode Dan and Josh discuss the ins and outs of expedition hunting and what it takes to break outside the “norm” of hunting your home state.
[00:00:00] All right, Kaz, welcome to today's show and joining me on the show today I have got a fellow Wisconsinite, Josh Isley. Now this guy has traveled the globe hunting big game animals, and it wasn't always that way. He had a break outta that mold that he grew up in. Going after whitetail for nine days a year, or fishing in the local ponds or lakes or streams there in Wisconsin, and the stories that this guy has, the experiences and the big changes that he's made to allow him to go out and do these hunts is pretty awesome.
I'm super pumped about this episode. Let's jump in.
Like he was doing things that were just badass. That was one of the coolest moments of my life. I was really scared, but knowing that Dan had the gun, I did have the rifle, like we would be okay.
All right guys. Welcome to today's [00:01:00] show on the show. With me today I've got Josh Isley. Now I'm pumped about this episode because just off of your Instagram man, the pictures that you've got on there, the scenery, the stories that I'm sure are in insane behind some of those hunts have to be pretty cool.
So thanks for hopping on with me. Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it. Glad to be here. Yeah, why don't you share with the listeners and with me, cuz I don't know a ton about you, aside from a couple of questions you filled out in the podcast, I guess application form, whatever you want to call it. Other than that, I don't know a whole lot and the listeners don't either.
So why don't you share. Sure. Yeah, no problem. Not too exciting. I'm just a regular guy mechanical engineer. I sit behind a desk all day and dream about being in the woods and in the mountains. So I grew up on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin. We hunted deer once a year in our nine day season, chasing 'em around with slug guns and driving deer, pushing them, shooting 'em running, just to fill the freezers.
And my grandfather used to go out west [00:02:00] with his buddies. I think it was more just to get away from the wives thing more than it was serious hunting. But I saw the pictures and heard the stories and just fell in love with it at a young age, and have always dreamed of hunting just about anything that walks, crawls, or flies.
I'm a small town guy, grew up in the country. I still live in the country here in southern Wisconsin in the Driftless and Chase whitetails and turkeys around here and hunt mushrooms and go west and north and just got back from Oceania. Actually I was in New Zealand for 10 day hunt down there, so Dang.
That's big time. Traveling across state lines is a big deal for me. I hadn't hunted outta state until well into college. And then to talk about like international trips or even going outside the continental US up to Alaska those are big time deals, especially for somebody from small town Wisconsin.
I know that feeling. Yeah, it's been a [00:03:00] long time coming. I'm in my forties now, and I didn't really start traveling to hunt until my mid thirties, so it's just been, the last maybe my early thirties, last 10 years maybe, that I really started having the funds and the time and the wherewithal to do those kind of hunts.
Yeah. Is that something that growing up, like you saw TV shows or the hunting videos, people doing this stuff? Or has it recently been kinda researched the different hunts that are available? Yeah, it's been more recent, really. Growing up I was big into fishing. I had all the Bassmaster magazines and going to the post office and filling out money orders when I was 10 years old so I could order some new rap from Bass pro shops or whatever, the older I got, the more it was more difficult. Hunting was really hard. Where these animals live is really difficult, especially some of the mountain animals, right? Chasing elk and mule deer and tar. And I'm really trying hard to get a sheep hunt in, and these are things that are really difficult to do, and that always intrigued me.
So the [00:04:00] harder it is, the more excited I get about trying to do it. And I don't know, I think I was about 30 or 32 and wasn't very healthy. Kind of smoking, eating garbage, and doing stuff like that. And I. Finally got it in my head that I wanna be able to go and chase an elk at 13,000 feet or something.
I gotta change my life. So I quit all that stuff and got in shape and that's when I started researching and reading and talking to the fish and game department in Idaho about all their public land. And that's what got the wheels in motion to get me out in, out and about in the western states and outside of just sitting in a tree stand here in Wisconsin.
That's cool. It seems like the hunting and fitness world have collided in a lot of ways and people are making those changes. I mean you have people like Cameron Haynes and Joe Rogan and John Dudley and all these different people promoting that lifestyle. The whole mountain ops crew and the elk shaped guys.
And it's sad cuz I talk to people, like I've got people in my life that I talk to and they're, I'm like, dude, are you ever gonna get out west? You [00:05:00] ever gonna go chase elk? Oh, no way. Like I know I couldn't do that. I'm not in shape. And I'm like, the best time is now. The best time was yesterday and the second best time is now.
So Start now in a couple years, you might be at that point where you can get out there and obviously priorities are different for different people and some people don't want to give up certain things and so but the fitness side of it is real. You gotta, you can't just be drinking a six pack every night and then I think you're gonna change elevation by 10,000 feet and go hike around chasing after an animal that can scale a mountain in three minutes.
No, that's absolutely right. I'm beat up too. I was a wrestler and a football player and I ran track and did all that stuff in high school. And so my knees are shot and I still hurt from coming down out of that.land in New Zealand with that tar on my back. Man I'm a hurting unit, so it's a big deal.
I gotta stay after it or I get sore pretty quick. Talk to me about that New Zealand hunt, because I feel like that is at the top or near the top of a lot of [00:06:00] people's bucket list when it comes to hunting. Yeah, absolutely. It was on mine and I just, I got divorced a couple years ago. My son's grown and gone.
Now he's 24. He's off doing his own thing. So I'm able to funnel funds to where I want them to go. And it's something I've been thinking about since I started mountain hunting. And I've told everybody that I met when I was in New Zealand, like in the US in the mountain hunting community, everybody I know this is like the mecca.
It's the place to come and test your metal. And it's just like anything else. You can do it the easy way or you can do it the hard way. And for me, I wanted to do it as hard as possible. So we did it on public land. I actually hunted four animals while I was there. I did fallow deer and red stag and shammy.
And those were all on private land, but it wasn't high fence. It was just like hunting a cattle farm here. It was a sheep and cattle farm there. Yeah. I did a bunch of research, talked to some different guys. Finally found an outfitter that had that kind of. An operation going on. You can go over there and do it yourself, and it's not too hard to hunt there.
It's just a matter of finding the [00:07:00] animals. And since I was going, I wanted to pay an outfitter so that I at least had an opportunity to be successful and see country and be safe. Yeah. It's treacherous. We we had really good weather for the first part and then it got rainy, but the real hard stuff was going up the river.
We went several miles up a river in a Toyota land Cruiser, crossed the river a couple times, got stuck a few times. It was real wild getting in there and then climbing. We climbed from 2,700 feet up to 6,400. Where I shot my tire. And so we made that climb a couple days before I found a good one and I thought it was a good judge of animals.
But judging an 11 inch tire from a 13 inch tire, two inches is hard to see even through a spotter. So I'm glad I had somebody with me that knew what they were doing, but it's real rugged country and everything you think of New Zealand being is exactly what it was. Waterfalls and real thick bush.
And they've got this bush called a magar that's got real long spines on it. [00:08:00] So I came down sweaty and bloody and happy, just like you'd expect. So you hunted four out of those four. What did you come down with? You said the tar. Is that? Yeah, I sh I got all four animals. Nice. So it was good.
Yep. The sheep farm, right? The deer we're just living in with the sheep and everything else. They were hiding in the mataga. And so we were just glassing and walking and I shot a pretty decent fallow buck, the red stag that I shot. I think he probably escaped from a farm somewhere, cuz he was bigger than he should have been.
The bush stags don't get that big. Yeah, there's a lot of pressure. And it's really interesting. The animals there are all invasive. They were all brought to New Zealand. None of them are from there. And so there's a lot of debate between the government and the hunters and just the general population about whether they should be there and how many there should be.
So it was really interesting to learn about as well. But that, that stag was really a nice one. He He gave us a good stock and we got in close. I made a good shot. [00:09:00] So that was fun. He was way bigger than I thought he'd be hunting Wild stag. Yeah. So I was really pump pumped about that. And I just don't know how big they are, right?
Maybe they're a sizable mule deer. They're like a small elk. These things are enormous. It's like a tuly elk oh my gosh. And I think actually the coolest animal that I hunted was the shammy. They're just little bitty guys and they remind me of our mountain goats. Okay. They've got this, the same type of horn.
They've got the same type of black gland behind the horn on the, their head. And they were ru so they were chasing nannies around. And just a baby goat, when you see a baby goat jumping around on rocks and bouncing off other things and knocking things over, that's what those shammy were doing up in the mountains.
Climbing up there and watching those things, just chasing nannies around all day. It was gorgeous. It was almost like, you gotta watch where you're looking so you don't step off a cliff and fall to your death. But it was pretty wild. Yeah. Seeing those mountain hunts, it just seems I feel like one of the reasons they're at the top of everybody's bucket list is because even if you don't walk [00:10:00] away with an animal, the scenery, the challenge, just the physical and mental challenge of it is worth the price of admission.
Like going out there and just testing yourself, seeing if you can do it, and then walking away with, I'm sure a thousand different stories from it. It'd be worth it even if you didn't pull the trigger. Yeah, absolutely. Like I got a cramp in my arm from pulling my phone out and taking pictures so many times, hiking up and hiking down, even just to get up to where these animals live and just watch 'em and just watch the animals and how they interact with each other.
It's different than anything here. And it's the closest you can get like a shammy to actually go hunt a shammy in Europe where they're from is impossible. So yeah, it's really, I feel really blessed and lucky that I had the opportunity to do that and to see those animals. That's cool. Did you rifle hunt everything over there?
I did, yep. I I know my limitations and I love to archery hunt, but I am not a very good shot. I struggle with the bow, so yeah, I took a rifle. I had a rifle built for me [00:11:00] last year by a guy in New Mexico. Did a great job. Loved that rifle. I got tired of carrying all that weight. The older I get, the more I'm willing to give up dollars for pounds.
Yep. What what rifle is it? Or what caliber, what's your setup? I have a six five P R C and I use that for just about everything. It's been really good to me. I know there's a lot of debate in the world about the 6.5, but it's killed everything I've pointed at, pointed it at, so it's been good to me.
A guy named Barry Bass built it for me. He's got a little company called Silencer Tech. I'll give him a shout out. Overwhelm him maybe. Yeah, great guy. Like one of the best humans there is. He wants everything to be just right. He makes sure that you're taken care of. He's really good at communicating and he made me a really sweet rifle.
The whole thing all in with the bipod and everything weigh seven and a half pounds geez, it can be a little squirrelly to shoot, but if I've got a good rest and I'm steady, if I miss, it's my fault, that's for sure. Yeah. No, that's sweet, man. I'm a big believer in the six five [00:12:00] rounds.
It seems like every six five round that's come out now is pretty lethal and I feel like people think. They're too cool to say that Six five's cool. I'm like, I don't know what you have against it. It's an awesome round. Yeah. If everybody who's used one, I haven't met somebody who's actually used one, taken it hunting, shot it, multiple times that walked away and said, oh, this is a stupid round.
Nobody should buy this, yeah, I just feel like you haven't used it or you like it. Yeah to me it's like picket a wife, right? Everybody's got a different thing they like, so to each their own. But for me, I've shot several elk, including bull elk my tar, big red stag white tails mule deer, antelope, you name it.
I shot my mountain goat in British Columbia last October at 420 yards with one shot, and that's six five PRC and just rolled him. Dang. Just like anything else, if you make a good shot and you have a decent bullet, you're gonna kill him yep. To me, it's not worth an argument worth having. Pick [00:13:00] what you like and get proficient with it.
I think that's the biggest thing is don't buy a new rifle and go out and hunt next week. Spend some time behind it. Make sure you understand what the rifle does, what the bullet does, and different wind and different elevation. Different humidity conditions. Because you can miss, I made a marginal shot on my shammy because there was a big updraft.
I was shooting across this long canyon at 350 yards and there was a big updraft, and I was waiting for the gusts to stop and trying to keep an eye on the animal and keep an eye on what the wind's doing and the rain's coming down. There's so many variables, had to make a second shot, right? So if you know what you, what your rifle's doing was able to make a good follow up shot, then.
Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense. There, there's something about shooting animals at distance. I don't know what it is. It's the in between distance. Everyone's ah, like nobody's oh, I made a hundred yard shot. It's You're either on top of an animal with a bow or you're making a long shot, and those are the two that just seem so awesome.
You have the one that's super [00:14:00] intimate and like the closer you get, the more your adrenaline's pumping than the other one. The farther you shoot. It's like it takes skill. You have to know your equipment. Nobody's going out there and shooting animals 700 yards by chance. Yeah. It's people who know their equipment, who have put time behind it.
And I, somebody told me years ago where I heard it somewhere, they're like, however much you spend on a rifle, spend that much on your optic and spend that much on your ammo and shoot the ammo. Yeah, go out there and put the rounds down range so that you know what it's gonna do in every setting before you go out and shoot.
And it hasn't steered me wrong, it hasn't steered anybody wrong that I know that's actually put that to practice. Yeah, it's great advice. I'm lucky I've got a little 40 acre plot here, and until the corn gets too high, I can still shoot 500 yards, so that's sweet. Get it all in, in the winter and spring.
Once the corn gets too high, I'm out of luck. But yeah I have a self-imposed limit. I won't shoot over 500 yards. I just I feel like too much [00:15:00] can go wrong. Yeah, I know there's a lot of guys that can do that and hats off to them, to me I don't have enough confidence in myself, so that's my limit. But yeah, it serves me well to not shoot over there. I like the stock. I really like to try to get as close as I can, even when I'm rifle hunting. That's the part to me, that chess match of using the terrain and the wind and what's the animal doing, and try to get in as close as possible and sneak up and get a close shot that they don't know I'm there.
That's exciting and fun part for me. So I really enjoy that. Oh yeah. The stock is, you go into predator mode, right? Yeah, you when you're in a tree stand and nothing against sitting in the tree stand, I still love going back to Wisconsin and hunting every rifle season. I love sitting in a saddle with my bow and it, so nothing knocking that.
But when you're actually on the ground and you're having to think about every step you're having to think about, like you said, the wind direction or the thermals. Where are the animals at? What are they doing? Where are they heading? You just go into this like primal [00:16:00] predator mode and it's the funnest thing ever that for some reason that's in the packout, like the misery of the packout.
I look back on it and I'm like, dang, I'd go back and do that again. Yeah. The packout is one of those like second degree fun. It's not fun when you're doing it, but it's sure fun when you're done to remember that you did it. Yeah. Yeah. You think it's never gonna end in the moment and then once the moment's done, you wish it wasn't right.
Yeah. And mean, and I've. I've I've done a lot of tree stand hunting and I love whitetail hunting, but for me, I'm just so damn impatient. I, I wanna move. Let's go hike, let's go get to 'em. So tough to do that with Whitetails. Oh yeah. Although I'm seeing more guys doing it. They're starting to stalk whitetails on the ground.
These guys are like ghosts. It's pretty amazing. There's years where I wish I, I'm like, maybe I'll just go walk cornrows, cuz I've watched the guys creep through the cornrows. But it seems like nowadays the cornrows are planted so close together. Yeah. That it's like impossible to see down. I [00:17:00] remember back in the day, my dad would send me and my cousin and my brother through the corn.
He's just go drive this cornfield for me. And he'd stand at the end of it with a 30, 30 waiting for a deer to shoot out. And I felt like back then you could look down the road 70 yards and actually see things. And now you go through and you can't see anything more than five feet. Yeah, I could see a lot more when I was eight years old than driving deer from my grandpa cause I was pretty close to the ground.
But yeah, I think they're closer together too. Yeah it, it seems pretty sweet though, like the guys that actually do it, that they find those corn fields that work for it and they just get on the downwind side and they just work their way row to row across, looking both directions. I feel like that would be pretty adrenaline.
You might just walk right up on a whitetail and they feel so secure in that corn. Yep. It's happened. We've shot 'em out of corn fields, driving deer when we were kids. We walk up on 'em but haven't tried it in a long time so yeah, I haven't done that one in quite a while. So run me through, let's [00:18:00] say going 10 years back, cause you fairly recently got into western hunting and then that kind of branched into hunting all of these crazy animals.
Walk me through the list of species or maybe locations that you've been hunting. Over the past decade. Sure. So it started, of course, here in Wisconsin and then as I started branching out to go west a buddy of mine knew a guy who was married to a girl who knew a guy, you know how that goes, who used to guide in Wyoming.
And he was willing to take us out and show us a public land and kind of break our cherry on hunting mule deer in the west. And so that I think was 2009 or 2010 maybe. And so we went out and did that and that was the, my first exposure. So I was lucky I had a guy who had three or four days to spend with us.
And so we went out and walked public land and hiked, and him and I both shot some little fork keys, our first ever mule deer. And that kind of lit the fire, like I got to see what it was like to hunt the sage country. And [00:19:00] to glass all day rather than sit in a tree, right? Hike and glass and hike and glass.
And I'm like, oh, I'm getting a workout and I feel good and my lungs are burning. And that's what started the passion. And then I leveraged that guy who knew a farmer and a rancher out there. And I started making phone calls to the rancher and writing 'em letters. And he let me come out.
And the first time I did it solo, I think maybe was 2012 or 2011, a couple years later. So then I went back and I started, this was before the OnX was around. And so you had to go through the websites and find the public land. And I'm an engineer, so I went to the office. I don't work for that company anymore, so I guess I can say this now.
And I printed off all the maps at the office printer on big sheets of Paper for drawings and I started scouring over where all the public land was. And so that was interesting to me too, like the research part of it and the figuring stuff out and like the pre-work and the chess match that kinda, okay, where would I be if I was a mule deer considering I'm from Wisconsin and know nothing about the [00:20:00] animal, and and then I just, I went out by myself and I. Found this piece of public, and I just started walking and two days in, I came across the group of three nice bucks and made a good shot. Got my first really nice mul there. I'm sitting here looking at him, actually, he's above me in my office.
And then I shot an antelope the next day. And so I got both of 'em on my first solo hunt that I shot, that I packed out myself. It took me a couple of trips, right? And then I was sold I just went and figured this out. I did it like it's doable, right? It's not this pie in the sky. Oh my God, I can never figure this out.
Half the battle's just taking the first step, yeah. Get out there and go do it and learn on the fly. And so I've been going back to those same spots and learning that area in, in eastern Wyoming for 12 years now. So I know the area and I've seen how it's changed over the years.
Then I set myself set my sights on the elk. That's the ultimate, like North American I can reach, I can go try and do that. So I went into the Eagles Nest [00:21:00] wilderness in Colorado, up north of Dillon there, maybe 2013 I think is when I went went in by myself. I hired a guy to take me in on horseback and just drop me off and leave me.
And then I had him on, on retainer or whatever on standby in case I shot one to help me get it out. Cause I wasn't sure. I was six and a half or seven miles in, up on the Continental divide and didn't really know. What I didn't know at that point, I was really green. If I shoot an 800 pound bull, am I gonna be able to get the thing out right?
And so I wanted to make sure I had some help cause I didn't wanna waste any meat. And I had to relocate camp a couple of times across the river. I actually got into elk my first time out there. I found some. Of course I had my bow and I missed. But I got into 'em and so I considered it a win, right?
I went out there, I figured it out. I got into 'em. I stopped hunting, archery elk, I don't hear very well. And so not being able to hear him bugle. Yeah. I mean I was 30, 30 yards from some cows and I couldn't hear him. Ewing and Guy was with like, you hear him there? I'm like, no, I can't hear 'em.
So that kind of has ended my hunting [00:22:00] for bugling elk. I like to mule deer hunt, and Things where I could use my glasses a little more. So maybe if I can get into the sage country, get out into Nevada or Arizona or someplace like that, maybe I can do some more elk hunting. But that's when I switched to hunting more with the rifle in the later seasons.
Yeah. So that's been my solo adventures. And then once I got my son off, I started looking at, now what can I afford to pay a guide to do some of these other things I want to do? So I did hire a guide in Colorado to take me, I wanted to do a really high country al Hunt. So a couple years ago I did hired a guy named Seth Withrow, who was a great guide.
He took me up. We camped at 13,000 feet. It looked like we were on the surface of the moon and it was first season and it snowed. It was hip deep snow. You is the hardest Honda I've ever done. We carried camp, we carried everything. It was just the two of us 60, 65 pound packs. And it was before I had my light rifle, so I was carrying a.
11 pound rifle.[00:23:00] And I shot my elk at, I don't know, I think I was at 12, six or 12 four, something like that. Way up. Geez. We hiked all the way up, we camped, we came all the way back down, went all the way back up in a saddle where we had spotted one. And that's when I knew I needed to get in better shape, cuz that about killed me.
After that, then I sent my sights on the mountain goat. And so I did a bunch of research and I found a guy that was reasonably priced and low frills, right? We stayed in a camper, like I don't want to do a lodge hunt or any of that stuff. And those things are great. Love to do that when I'm older, but right now I just, I don't know, I'm a little sadist, I like the pain, so yeah, trying to do things the hard way. And so I really took my fitness serious and hired a personal trainer and got in great shape and, single. Digit body fat, which is long since gone now, but I I made it. And so we went up to British Columbia just outside of Bamford National Park and hunted mountain goat.
And that was quite a hike. Five, six hour hikes up every day. [00:24:00] Shoot. Geez. That's the nutshell evolution of how I started from, a kid in Wisconsin running cornfields to really falling in love with just the idea of the west and then taking the first step to go do it and finding a little bit of success, and also having to change my mindset and redefine what success is.
I didn't kill something every time I went out, but I learned something new or I saw a new animal or figured out something new about 'em, or I, I got into elk and I got a shot off. So to me that was a win, right? Oh, yeah. Just understanding the whole experience rather than just the kill and learning to glean so much joy from just that experience and.
Being in a place where you can do this. Yeah. I think it's really interesting hearing, hearing people who hunt the west and hearing their definition of success. And I'm not saying it's isolated to the west, but it seems more prevalent in the west. It's man, I didn't kill one, but I feel like it was a successful trip.
I was in elk. I found the mule deer. I figured them out. I didn't get close enough for a shot. [00:25:00] But hearing, hearing how success is defined in different parts of the country. Some places it's did you get one? No. Or did you get a limit? No. It wasn't a good hunt unless you got a limit.
And I'm like, I've been on enough hunts where I get skunked or we go duck hunting and we shoot one duck and we're like, Hey, we didn't get skunked. We always say we'd limit out on friendship when we're out there and I'm like, yeah, success can be whatever you want it to be. Obviously we're all going out there hoping that we're gonna bring back meat.
That we're gonna have a cool story, that we're gonna shoot a 400 inch bull or a 200 inch buck, or a world record, whatever we're hunting. But at the end of the day, if you go out there and you learn something, you have fun. You figure out the animals even 5% more, 10% more than what you knew going into it.
That can be a successful hunt too. Yeah, absolutely. For sure. And I think a lot of success depends on where you're from too. For me, I grew up here in the Midwest, hunting tree stands and watching deer walk under me and watching 'em [00:26:00] play somebody who was from the west or from New Zealand or from Australia.
They've never seen that. And so them, yeah. Coming here and sit, setting up a tree stand, finding a funnel, or finding a transition point between bedding and feed, or finding a place where the dos are hanging out, where the bucks are cruising through and scent checking and setting a stand and actually getting one to walk under 'em.
That would be huge. I've talked to guys about that and they're like, oh my God, I, it seems so overwhelming. Because that's just not what they know. Yeah. It's just different perspective. Different perspective. Yeah. For sure. That makes sense. What you don't know is definitely more overwhelming than what you're used to, yeah. To step outside your comfort zone and just say, Hey, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to figure it out. That's when the fun starts for me. I can go out to my property and shoot a coyote anytime I want. I can go sit in the same tree, but for whatever reason, I just get pumped about the unknown.
It's so exciting to me. I wanna learn all the different things that we can hunt here in the US and then in other countries, outside of these borders. But just trying things that I've [00:27:00] never tried before. I don't know why. Yeah it's intriguing to me. It's always the grass is always greener, but I just, I'm curious.
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They say growth happens at the edge of ourselves, right? So if you never press to the edge of your comfort zone, you never really know what you're capable of. And I think that's important for humanity and for humans to feel like they're doing so, especially with some of the jobs we have now, right?
Like I sit behind a desk all day and yeah, it's challenging, but it's not exciting always. Even if people aren't in a position where they have the time or the money or the resources to do some of these things. I remember being that when I was married and had little kids, I remember living in Madison the capital city in Wisconsin and being real close to all that urban area, just fighting a [00:29:00] piece of public land and trying to figure it out.
And I was able to go out and find a piece of little public land that was hard to access that nobody knew about, and I was able to shoot a really nice 10 point buck out of a tree, stand on public land close to an urban setting. And to me, that was a challenge that I took on and did. Yeah. It was something that I could achieve.
And so there's different ways to still get that same excitement and figure out what, what gets you going and revs your motor, even if it's not what you'd like to do. There's different ways to approach it and still get the same satisfaction from hunting. That's what's so great about it.
It's moldable and you can make it your own experience. Oh yeah. That's, One of the big reasons that I wanted to do the podcast the way that I do is because I started finding about out about these different opportunities and hearing people's passion for them. Whether it's using a kayak or a canoe to get to your whitetailed property on public land.
You go up a river or along the lake shore or fishing city ponds [00:30:00] in Florida for peacock bass or shooting iguanas or pythons, picking up moose sheds, whatever that is. I'm like, man, people need to know about this stuff. They need to know about the ika deer hunting. They need to know about the non-native species hunts down in Texas.
They need to know about the waterfowl hunts in North Dakota because there's so many opportunities within, you can go two states in any direction, no matter what state you're in, and find dozens of hunting and fishing opportunities, and that's just something that I didn't know about growing up, like we fished for walleye and pike.
And we whitetailed deer hunted for nine days. That was it, that was the extent. And then hearing people like, oh yeah, man, just went down the street and talked to this guy and went out and shot a couple roosters. And I'm like, you shot pheasants right here? I've lived here all my life. I didn't know we had pheasants here.
Or Oh, I go Turkey hunting and I'm like, I just have to find out about all this stuff. And if I can help inform people about these opportunities, hopefully they're gonna take it up and maybe [00:31:00] find a new passion in it. Yeah. And it's great what you're doing, right? You're opening up the opportunity to a lot of people.
I don't want, when I was a kid, it was really tough. The internet wasn't around. We didn't know what was going on. It was hearsay. Or I'd go down to the video store and get a VHS and see what was going on in the world, right? Yep. And so with the advent of things like OnX and Hunting Fool and just all the different websites, a big one for me was Rock Slide, right?
Aaron Snyder over at Cafaro. And that whole group really taught me a lot, ilead a lot of information off of that when it started. I used to get a lot of good stuff off archery talk and there's so many good places. If you go and you spend the time and you care about it, you can learn anything you want and be way more prepared than I was when I went out the first time.
I'm lucky I'm alive. Some of the situations I got myself in out there. That's funny. I. The fear or the danger in it. That's just gotta add to it, right? You get out there and then [00:32:00] he look back and you go, I was not ready for that at all. I could have gone right off the edge. I could have gone right down the mountain.
The first mul deer I shot in the brakes out there in Wyoming, was right at dark and I was coming out solo. I had the whole thing boned, and in my backpack I had way more weight in my pack than I probably should have. Being unuse to carrying that kind of a load on ground I wasn't familiar with, and I got cliffed out and I had to go all the way back up and all the way back around.
It's just that's how you learn, either you either die or you learn you die, or you learn, or you just get mortally injured and spend your last few days out there hoping someone finds you. Now it's, it's cool though, like you do, you learn from those failures just as much, if not more.
Then you learn from successes. If you would've just easily made your way out. Oh, I look at that, here's a trail. I walked all, all the way out. Who knows? You might be back in that position the next time in a more treacherous area. [00:33:00] But when you make some of those mistakes, you're only gonna make once.
Yeah. You gotta, you're smart. You go back and do it again. Yeah. You don't jump off the cliff to see how deep it is, yeah, exactly. Yeah. Go back up the mountain. But no, and I've made a lot of mistakes. The first time I went to Montana to bear hunt I was with a buddy, talked him into coming with me.
I don't think he'll ever come again after what I put him through, but it flooded that year. Don't remember when this was. It might have been 20. 16 or 17, 18, something like that. Anyway, they got a lot of spring runoff and a lot of rain. And so where I had planned us to go, the creeks were all high, we couldn't cross 'em.
They were too fast and too dangerous. And we tried to off trail it. Got into some old slides and some old burns that had grown up and they were so thick and we just like, yeah, we'll just push through. We're tough. Oh my God. We didn't make it. We ended up back at the truck at dark or sometime after dark.
And we had lost about 30 pounds of sweat. It was pretty, pretty wild. But you learn to have a plan B and a plan C, and, okay, this didn't work out where else to go. Then it was like, I didn't know that. I didn't think of it. So [00:34:00] we had one spot where I was gonna go in and camp and look at these slides and try to find some bear.
And when that failed, then we had to punt and think on our feet and find some new spots. Didn't prepare well enough. So that taught me a valuable lesson to have some backup spots planned and prepare for whatever might go wrong. I think I got a flat tire up on a fire road on the side of a mountain on that same trip, so only had one spare.
Now I take two with me when I go yep. Yeah, lots of amateur mistakes and start learning. Yeah. If you, let's phrase it this way. If you could go back and talk to your 2009 or 2012 self when you're first getting it, you, no, you're one or two hunts in out west or preparing for those hunts, or you're talking to somebody who's looking forward to doing something like that, maybe this upcoming season, what would you tell yourself?
What piece of advice would you give that person who's wanting to get out there and try these things? Oh, that's a great question. I guess it depends on what they're gonna do. I guess I would remind myself that a lot of it's mental. [00:35:00] You're gonna talk yourself into giving up before your body's actually gonna give up.
Yeah. You're a lot tougher than you think you are. The same note though. You're not as tough as you think you are. If you go out there unprepared, you're gonna be miserable. Yeah. So really prepare physically as best as you can. Do a lot of walking, a lot of hiking. You don't have to be campaigns.
And very few of us are. I'm certainly not. Yeah. But you can still be successful and have fun even if you're not Cam. Yeah, a lot of mental work. Know that. It's gonna rain. Just embrace the suck, man. Enjoy it. That you get to be out there. Yeah. Because nothing is gonna go according to plan.
Have a plan. Work the plan. Be prepared to change the plan because the animals didn't read the script, the weather didn't read the script, any the other hunters that might show up didn't read the script. So it's nice to plan, but just be go with the flow, be prepared for the unexpected and try to use it to your advantage.
One example, I'll give you an example. I had a couple of spots that I really like to hunt for mule deer. And [00:36:00] they're getting to be more and more hunters that are showing up now. I think more people are learning about the areas. And so I'm seeing more people. And so rather than hunting the deer, I started hunting the hunters and I figured out that, The same group of guys from Ohio like to come into the south side of this piece and walk a creek every single day.
And so on the days when the wind is outta the south, I go to the north end and get up on top of this big flat mountain and wait for them to walk with their wind at their back. And they scared deer out to me every time. Huh. So that wasn't my plan. Yeah. But I just read the situation and what they were doing, I said they, they're either new to hunting or they just don't care, or they're just out for a walk or whatever, but they're pulling in there every single day, even when the wind's wrong.
So I'm gonna use that to my advantage. And I shot deer that way. You're just letting strangers do a good wind drive for you. Yeah, that's exactly right. I could have got upset and said, oh, these guys have ruined my spot and I don't even, shouldn't even come here anymore and just left. But I would've missed them an opportunity.
Yeah. Man, that's good. I hear a lot of people talk [00:37:00] about that is using the other hunters, whether they're reckless, they just don't care. Or they're inexperienced, you can really use them to your advantage. Pressure, like pressure is gonna move animals. Yep. And for the most part, you're not gonna blow animals out of a, an entire unit.
Like they're just gonna move somewhere that they feel safe and stay there. And I've watched animals do it from a distance, they'll just skirt right below the rim of hunters walking up on a ridge and they'll be 50 yards from 'em. The hunters have no idea. Elk feel totally safe, or the mule deer fe feel totally safe.
And like you can use that to your advantage. And like you said, don't get discouraged. Don't just bounce out of there and say, Hey, this is a waste of time. Figure out how to use those people even though they have no idea. Those guys have no clue that they helped you get multiple mule deer.
But it's a great trick. Yep. Yeah, you just read the situation and if there's a way that you can use them. If it if there's not and you gotta bail, that's okay too. But[00:38:00] take the time to think about it and look at the situation. Survey what you got in front of you and see how you can make the best of it.
Yeah. I'm assuming that, I can't tell you how many times I was on my way walking out someplace and giving up and been like I'm gonna check this. Yep. I'm like, okay, I'm gonna check this drainage, or I'm gonna check that little creek that looks like a spot. There was a couple years back when I was hunting a spot that was really good to me, but it rained and I sat in the rain all day and I was glassing and nothing.
And the sun finally came out and I sat and I glassed and I glassed and there was just nothing. And I gave up walking out that creek looks good, and I walked up that creek and I stopped and I looked deer laying there in the. In the sage brush, and alls I could see was the glint off the tip of Sandler's.
And I just laid down and put my rifle on him, and I laid there about 20 minutes and he stood up and I shot him. If I would've just kept going and said, Nope, I'm done. I never would've seen him. Yeah. But I'm like, eh, I just, it's just part of who I am, is my personality too. I just don't wanna give up.
So I was on my way coming out, [00:39:00] I'm like, I gotta check that I can't walk back to the truck and not check that creek. Yep. And it worked out, so That's awesome. I found myself doing that shed hunting except it didn't turn out so great. Most of the time I'd get so excited and I'm like, that might be a stick, but that also might be an anr.
I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna go, I'm just gonna go and look. And then nine out of 10 times it wasn't anything. Or the one time that it was like a chalk white piece that was busted off and it was six inches long. But I get it, your curiosity and the payment for regret is way.
Way more than the bill for your curiosity. Like walking over there is gonna take a little bit of energy, spending that extra 30 minutes or an hour or two hours. Yeah, that's great. But going home and then just going man, I should have checked. I should have checked. Yeah. When you've got a 17 hour drive home back to Wisconsin, you get a lot of time to think about all the things you should have done.
So I've made that drive many times now. I guess the older I get the more I'm just like, eh, I'm here. [00:40:00] I might as well look. Yeah, absolutely. And I've driven most of my trips. This one to New Zealand was the first one that I've flown. So when I went to British Columbia, I drove the whole way. It was like 30 hours in the truck.
Dang. I've driven to Idaho, Spokane, Montana several times. So I like to have my truck with me. I feel more comfortable when I've got my vehicle and all my stuff and all set up the way that I want it. Yeah, there's a little piece of home with me. Yeah, I mean there's a definitely a comfort feeling with that.
I hate renting vehicles for that same reason. Like my truck was in the shop not that long ago and I had a rental that I had to take down to Southern Oklahoma and I was just like, I just feel weird. Like I feel really, I feel like I'm hanging out with somebody else's wife right now. This is just, I need my truck, I need my stuff.
I know where everything goes, and then I know, like if anything were to go wrong on the side of the road, like I know where all my stuff is and in this rental truck it just, it's different. But I feel you [00:41:00] brother. I was just in New Zealand and I was rented a car and drove on the wrong side of the damn road for three weeks.
So it was something else. Yeah, that'd be odd. Yeah. I didn't kill anybody that I know of, so I think we're okay. That's good. Speaking of like equipment, having all your stuff with, I'm assuming that your equipment has changed significantly from being decked out in blaze orange with your rifle that you need to shoot.
I don't know, down in the Driftless area, maybe you guys make farther shots, but growing up in O Eau Claire, it was like 75 yards was your my farthest shot through the woods, but I'm assuming your gear your clothing, your rifle and optic obviously have improved. What other stuff have you taken to the next level as far as gear goes?
Yeah. Great questions. My gear, all of it has evolved over the years. I was a Walmart guy for a long time, right? That's what I could afford. Had a kid in high school, right? And so I was working to pay bills and keep him fed. [00:42:00] I've gone through several iterations of backpacks. I'm a pack junkie.
I love them. And I just keep trying to find newer and better and lighter and stronger. And so I've used all, probably all of the major manufacturers of backpacks and I now I'm a Cafaro and a Stone Glacier guy, so I've got both. Yeah. I think they're both great packs for different reasons.
So depending on what I'm doing, I'll use one or the other. Yeah, my rifles, I had a, up until just the last two years two years ago I started buying more expensive rifles. But I had a old Teka 6 95, 30 out six that I used forever. And then I bought. A Ruger American Predator and $400 rifle or whatever, and six five Creed Mar and put like a cheap vortex Diamondback scope on it.
And I killed everything I pointed it at, right? Yeah. Antelope, mule, deer, whitetail up until just recently. Then I got into some of the more expensive, I said, I'm gonna start spending all this money on these guided hunts. I need a more expensive rifle. Now whether that's sound logic or [00:43:00] I was just giving myself an excuse to buy new rifles, I don't know, but I got 'em anyway yeah.
But all that stuff that was quote unquote cheap right? Or inexpensive, man, it treated me fine, treated me good. I spent a lot of time on the forums picking up used gear too. All my Ku u and Sitka, and the first light shirt I'm wearing, it's got holes in it. It's been worn and used.
It's all beat up. I buy stuff used secondhand. I hardly ever buy anything new. Yeah. So that's how I've crept up. In caliber of gear. I did realize after being out there like having good gear, not wearing cotton in the mountains and things like that, having good rain gear, stuff that can help keep you alive if you're in a situation where you're miles in, is pretty important.
You gotta have good gear and know what you're doing. All right, guys. If you've been listening to the podcast, I'm sure you've heard me talk about the helicopter hog hunt that I did down in Texas. Now I went down there with rope, Texan Outfitters and Lannan and Brandon, the owners. Put us on the animals. We killed 150 pigs and 19 coyotes just from the [00:44:00] air.
On top of that, we went out thermal hunting at night and got up close and personal to more hogs. I didn't have to worry about bringing guns or ammunition because all of that was provided for me, and it is to this day, the most action packed day of hunting I've ever had. I stand by what I've said in the past, and that's that helicopter hog hunting is the funnest thing that you can do with pants on.
In addition, they offer Sandhill, crane hunts, and predator calling. So if you're looking for the most exciting hunt of your life and something that you're gonna want to come back and do year after year, go check out rogue texan.com and book your hunt today.
Protecting your body. Not only is it like it can legitimately save your life. But even in those non-life threatening situations, it makes you more comfortable. And when you're comfortable, fun. When you're not miserable, when your toes aren't freezing cold or like you're sweating bullets, you [00:45:00] can hunt better, you can be more alert.
You're gonna just be there mentally instead of being in like, dude, what am I doing here? This is miserable. I'm frozen, I'm soaked all the way through. Every layer of clothes is soaked. I don't know how I'm gonna get them dry. Invest in gear and like you said, go on. The forums I've sold a lot of stuff over the years through Facebook marketplace.
I'll just hop on there. Sell stuff on the Missouri hunting and fishing page or the gear swap or whatever, and I'll find stuff on there too. Lately I've been like, I'm just gonna buy, like I'll think about it way too late and I'll be like, you know what? I forgot I was supposed to order this for this hunt in three weeks.
And then I'm just like, all right, this one's gonna be a new purchase hop online order it, hopefully it gets here in time. Yeah, I still have the same pair of binoculars I bought 15 years ago on Facebook Marketplace. There's some MoPTA meal star 10 by 40 twos. I think I paid 350 or 400 bucks for 'em and a thousand dollars binoculars.
I still have 'em. That's the only thing I use. They're great. Yeah, [00:46:00] dude, that's awesome. Andy, you can find everything out like you were talking about earlier, how to hunt these different things. You can find everything online. YouTube is like the number one university out there, like you can go and become a mechanic or a dentist.
Obviously you're not gonna be credentialed, but like you could figure out how to be a dentist on YouTube. Yeah. And to go on there and look up reviews. I do that. If I'm ever buying something for hunting now, I'll go on and look at reviews. I'll look at all the reviews that I can find on Amazon.
If it's got 13 reviews and it's three star, I'm like, no, I'm probably not gonna get that. But then I see even not hunting related, I'll see something that's got 16,000 reviews and it's 4.8 stars. I'm like, this must be pretty good. That's pretty good sample size foreign company to just go on and leave a bunch of reviews, but, I make sure I do my research and figure out what's good.
And then on top of that I'll go on YouTube and I'll watch people actually use it, whether it's a choke for Turkey hunting and [00:47:00] they're out there patterning a four 10 or it's an optic that, they're shooting 1100 yards with, or clothes that they've tested and worn on multiple hunts. Because that's the other thing with gear, you don't wanna spend all this money and find out it's crap.
Yeah, you don't wanna see one person or like your buddy from a different state who's never hunted the conditions you're about to is oh dude, I use it, it's great. And then you take it up to Alaska and you realize this is not made for this terrain. Yeah. And the advent of all those forums really did help.
And you still have to wade through a lot of the bs, right? Oh, yeah. There's plenty of misinformation and other stuff out there. But if you're relatively intelligent and you take it with a, logical common sense mindset and sometimes you just gotta try things too, boots have been tough for me.
My feet hurt, man. I've gone through all kinds of different boots. Even now I've got boots I really like and they still, my feet hurt when I come down outta the mountains. It's just, It's hard to find, so nothing's gonna be perfect. Life hurts, right? It just does. Yeah. There's a certain amount of discomfort that you're gonna have.
But what I found, I ended up going to mountaineering boots. I don't even [00:48:00] use hunting boots. If I'm going into the mountains on a big, like on a sheep hunt or a mountain goat hunt, or my tar hunt, I wear las corti mountaineering boots. Yeah. Because that's the best for me. Is it the best for everybody? No, it just depends on what you like.
But you can definitely do the research. I'm an engineer. I build a spreadsheet. I put, okay, I want this, I want that. Start doing all the comparisons. What does it cost? Different websites. Where can I find it? And you can play some games too, right? Oh, this place has like a 30 day tryout period, so I can buy it and spotting scope and I can put it on my tripod in my living room and I can look across the street and see if the neighbors are out in their yard or whatever.
And if I don't like it, I'll send it back. It can cost me anything but some shipping. Yeah, so there's ways to test stuff out. Yeah, and a lot of the shows, like you can go to shows, local shows like sporting goods, things. Most states have one within, a hundred or 200 miles of where people live and you can go and check out the new stuff coming out.
A lot of times we'll have things that have been out for 10 years and [00:49:00] brand new stuff that they're coming out with, and I've really enjoyed that. I never went to shows growing up. Like I said, nine days in the woods and Walleye and Pike fishing. That's what we did. We didn't go to these cool events and all the vendors are out there.
But now walking around and actually getting to look at things side by side Hey, this is what I like about this. I'm gonna try on this boot or this hiking shoe, I'm gonna climb up in this tree stand versus that tree stand. And you can actually get to see it or go to Shields, go to Shields or Bass Pro and look at 'em side by side.
Walk through and bug that guy at the gun counter to look at every optic that you're interested in and see what fits best. The problem is a lot of people are just, I don't wanna say a lot of people. I used to be the guy. Who would go in. And I was so excited that I'd find something and I'd be like I want that.
Like I gotta have that. And I wouldn't check, right? I wouldn't compare, I wouldn't do anything. And then I'd find out, hey, there's a much better option. It's actually cheaper and more durable. Yeah. And that's a easy trap to fall into, right? We're in a society now of [00:50:00] instant gratification and next day delivery and instant grocery delivery and all that stuff.
So it's easy to get used to just getting what we want when we want it immediately. And there's a lesson there too, even in the hunting community, right? Just if you take your time, prepare, do your research, and even when you're in the field eh, Take your time. Just learn to mosey a little bit.
Yeah. And be surprised how that'll change your experience. We don't we don't need to get everything that we want immediately. I actually had that conversation with a young cousin of mine. He was looking at some of my pictures on my Facebook page and saying, how do you afford to do all this? I'm like I couldn't when I was your age.
It took a lot of time. Yeah. I had to pay off my student loans. I had to get my son through school and get him out on his own. And then I had to go through a divorce and I had to buy a house and I had to wait. Now I'm in my forties and now I can afford it. There's some something to be said for having some patience.
Yeah. Yeah. If you're in into the instant gratification, I don't know if going out west and doing these, those hunts is gonna be the right thing for you anyways. No, but yeah I agree. I get people all the time, dude, how do you build a [00:51:00] social media so quick? How do you, I'm like, listen, not everybody does it.
There's a lot of people that put in a lot of time and it doesn't go anywhere. Or for me, they're like, dude, so you just Took a leap of faith and quit your job and started this podcast. I'm like we built a business and then we saved up a bunch of money and gave ourself a cushion.
And then I said, all right, I'm not gonna do that anymore. And I had 6, 9, 12 months, whatever it was, that I could try to build the podcast, try to build social media, and if it didn't work, I'd go right back to busting my butt, yeah. But people see the end result and not all the work that goes into it.
And I think sometimes that's a deterrent to them to wanna start. And people are listening to this if they are feeling overwhelmed or like they can't do it because they're not you or me or Cam Haynes or whoever else, I'm like, I'm nobody special man. I'm just a random, ordinary dude who just figured it out and took, takes a lot of time, but you don't see all the work ahead of time.
So it took a lot of arguments with my ex-wife over buying gear and [00:52:00] being gone, and it took a lot of time in the gym and time. Testing out gear and time behind the rifle, and how many times I stayed up all night and not even slept while I was trying to get a job out so that I could be done. So I could go look at my laptop, my personal laptop, and figure out what pack I wanted or what boots I needed, or when do I need to put in for those tags.
So there's all kinds of prep work that happens, and if you're in that position where you're just starting, just start. Nobody gets to the top of the mountain without getting outta the truck. Yeah. You gotta start someplace. So just start and start working and going, and you can get there.
Yeah. Don't look at people, don't look at the people who are already there and say I'm never gonna be there. Because you already beat yourself then. Yep. Oh yeah. If I, if honestly, if I hadn't had a wife that just told me to shut up about starting a podcast and do it, like I'd be in that same boat.
I'd be the guy going, man, why can't I do that? Yep. It's It's always that first step. It's the hardest one. And then once you take 3, 4, 5, you're building some [00:53:00] momentum. You decide you're not gonna go, you're not gonna slow down. And before you know it, there's little wins that turn into big wins all the way along the way.
Yeah. It's all about prioritizing. And if that's something that's important to you, maybe you've gotta give up your Bud Light habit, right? Or your Mountain Dew habit, or you've gotta stop going out to. Eat, with your buddies after golf every week or something, right? You can make little changes and save the money and, or save the time or make compromises with your partner or whatever it is you can get there, if that's really what's important to you.
It's just a matter of putting the right pieces in place and making the priorities. Absolutely. I tell you, at least in my life, it's been worth it because, I, the way I look at it, I'm not gonna live forever. Most of the men in my family die young. My dad died at in the sixties. My grandfather died in the sixties.
I'm already in my forties. To me, it's about opportunities and experiences. And so that's what I'm trying to do. It's just live the experiences while I can. And while I'm still young enough and my knees are holding out and I can do it, I'm gonna spend as much time chasing critters and exploring wild [00:54:00] places as I can because when I'm laying there and I'm on my death bed, man, I don't care about having a new pickup truck.
I care about telling my grandkids stories about chasing mountain goats across the Canadian Rockies and flying to New Zealand to chase Himalayan tar. The top of the world. That's the cool stuff that's what gets me going. Oh yeah. I'm sure everybody wants that inheritance.
They want that old classic vehicle that's been untouched for years and years. Yeah. But it's man the stories and the knowledge is gonna be way more worth, that car's gonna rest eventually. That $5,000 that you might get, it's not gonna be worth anything 10 years from now. And I feel the same way.
Like those stories and the experience that you can pass down to the next generation I wish going back, I wish I could have sat down more with my grandparents and just picked their dude, what was life like? Yeah. When you were growing up. My grandpa, he hunted when he was a kid. I never sat down and asked him his stories.
And I'm like, dude, I wish I had, I really wish I had or [00:55:00] document, just go with your phone and hit record and sit down and chat for hours. Yeah. And save that stuff. But We're coming up on an hour, which is crazy to me. It seems like we've been talking for 15 minutes. What's next?
You've done a ton of these big time hunts. What's next on the list of hunts to knock out? Right now I'm trying to decide if I'm gonna sell my camper and my Harley to pay for a sheep hunt, because I think that's the next one. That's the big one. I've also got taxidermy to pay for.
I really like taxidermy, which is a bad habit, but that's what my son's gonna inherit is a small house packed to the gills with taxidermy. But yeah, that, that's really what's on my radar is a dol sheep hunt, because I think that's like another pinnacle of really difficult, hunting the interior AK range, bad weather, difficult terrain.
Low numbers of animals really wary and difficult. That's what I've been, what I've been searching, but I'm not sure my kidneys are worth enough to be able to sell 'em to do it. I'm gonna see, you're like, man, I [00:56:00] should have sold those and just invested the money back in the day I could pay for it now, man.
Yeah. That's what I'm a, what I'm looking at. Yeah. Yep. I can't imagine I've done, I've been on one mountain goat hunt and that was one of the craziest, most dangerous hunts I'd ever been on. And it wasn't for me, it was for a buddy of mine. But hearing the stories of the doll hunts, it just seems nuts.
Alaska and like up British Columbia. A lot of Canada is just crazy to me. It's a foreign place and although the Rocky Mountains here in the US are awesome, like dude, Things are so much bigger up there. People don't realize it. It's like the Rocky Mountains had Rocky Mountains on top of them.
Yeah. I've never been to Alaska, so it's some place I've always wanted to bend. So it's kicking off a couple kicking off a couple of boxes on the bucket list. Being, excuse me, being in Alaska and hunting doll sheep are right up there. Moose, I'd love to hunt a big moose, but it's [00:57:00] also getting cost prohibitive.
I don't think I'll ever be able to do it. An Alaskan or Yukon moose. There's some other things I'd be interested in doing, but maybe when I'm older don't not quite as taxing on the knees. Maybe a caribou hunt, although trudging across that tundra is not exactly a stroll in the park, yeah, that's what I'm, that's what I'm working on now. Another thing in the back of my mind is someday I'd like to go back, now that I know a little bit, I'd like to go to New Zealand and try to get a tar by myself. Nice just to do it solo, man. I think the prohibiting factor there is probably the vehicle to get up into the drainages to get to 'em.
Yeah. That, that, that'd be wild. Guys are hunting them with helicopters now, which it's just not my forte, so I'm not willing to do that yet. Yeah. One day you're gonna be like, all right, my knees, I thought my knees were bad back then. You know what? Put me in the chopper. That's sweet. You got any big ones?
You got any big ones coming up? I'm gonna it's gonna be interesting going out to [00:58:00] Colorado this year for elk. I know the winter kill was terrible in a lot of units around where we hunt. Okay. And so we'll see. I know from the sound of it, there's a lot of date changes and they're shortening seasons, so I think that's gonna be pretty interesting.
We're actually down in Florida right now. We'll be here until the end of June. And I'm hoping to connect with some guys. One, I went and looked at rods and reels. Today I want to catch a shark. Like real bad, I want to catch a shark. I was watching guys cast net for bait fish today. I was watching Snook and, oh gosh, angel fish and all kinds of different fish swimming underneath this pier.
And I told my wife, if we're gonna be here for this long, I'm buying a couple rods and reels and I'm gonna go out, I'm gonna start biking to the beach every morning before sunrise and I'm gonna catch a shark from the beach. And so Nice. That's like bucket, that's immediate bucket list. I have to do that before I leave Florida.
[00:59:00] And then there's a couple guys that I've talked to in the past about pig hunting down here. One of 'em actually Python and Iguana Hunt. And I'm like, I'd like to get out and do those. It's just like very unique things that I never even even in all the years of planning out I wanna do this hunt and this hunt.
Pythons and iguanas. That never crossed my mind. Yeah. And now that I know it's a thing, I'm like, I have to do this. I can't pass this up. Yeah. No, that shore fishing is cool. When I was in college, I was over in Manitoc. Yeah. And so I go up before work to or after work to two Rivers and cast off the docks in the marinas.
And I got a, like a 20 pound king salmon from shore. Geez. That was a good one. So that's, if you ever get a chance to get a good West Blow, all the cold water comes in, the salmon will be in chasing air wives and you can catch some big salmon from shore on Lake Michigan. That's a trip, dude.
You're talking, my whole, my mom's whole side of the family is from Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Yep. In Miss Chicago. And so I'm up [01:00:00] there. At least once a year, maybe a couple times a year, depending on the year. So I need to, I just need to go back. I feel like at some point I'm gonna go back to Wisconsin and hit all the things that I never did growing up because now my mom calls me, she's drew a bear tag again.
And I'm like, you gotta be kidding me. She's drawn like three times now and I'm like between that obviously I can't hunt elk up there unless I'm a resident who knows what's happening with the wolf stuff now I keep thinking like, man, wolves in Wisconsin. They've opened season a couple times, given out limited tags.
That's pretty high up on my bucket list. I think that'd be a lot of fun. But there's a lot in Wisconsin and now they've opened freshwater spear fishing for certain species. And so I just need to go back to the homeland and experience all the things that I missed out on because I was busy focusing on a nine day rifle hunt.
Yeah, there's a lifetime worth of stuff to do just in the state, let alone the whole country. So it, it's really number ending.[01:01:00] One thing you asked me before about big hunts and I passed this one over because it's not a big hunt from a animal standpoint, but this year I talked to my son into applying for mule deer and antelope with me in Wyoming.
Yes. So we're gonna find out here, I think on the 15th they draw. So it'd be the first time I take him with me out west if we get tagged. So that's really exciting for me cause I don't get to spend much time with him now that he's 24 and spending all his time chasing other game, chasing other tail. Yeah, pretty much.
Yep. That's funny. So that'll be fun. Hopefully we draw tags and I get to spend a week or two with with the boy, teach him a little bit of what I learned over the years here. Your luck can't be worse than mine. I think I'm at 0% on everything that I've put in thus far. There's still a couple that I'm waiting on, but so far I haven't drawn a single tag that I put in for.
And a couple of 'em were things like a mule to your tag out in Colorado. I had a couple points in a unit that should only take one, and I don't know if it's the winter kill thing [01:02:00] again or what, but I was like banking on, I was like, I guarantee I'm gonna be out there elk and mule deer hunting this fall, and my mule deer came back unsuccessful.
So yeah, honestly, that's part of the reason I started looking at hunting overseas. And I went to Canada and I went to New Zealand because for the prices, like I, you can't draw tags in a lot of places now. Yeah, I used to hunt Idaho a lot and Idaho changed their system for elk hunting and now you have to know in December where you're gonna go and I don't know, in December where I'm gonna go.
Yep. A lot of the units in Colorado, you just can't ever catch up. The math doesn't work out with points. Point creeps too bad you can't get there. Wyoming's gonna increase their tag prices next year. So you start looking at what is it gonna cost me to go to Canada or what's it gonna cost me to go to New Zealand versus what's it gonna cost me to go to Colorado?
It wasn't that much different, so yeah, it was, and I can get tags so I don't have to worry about drawing. So I don't know. I got tired of playing the point game cuz it wasn't working out in my favor very well. I almost pulled, [01:03:00] or I almost quit putting in for Colorado for moose because in looking at it numbers wise, it's gonna be cheaper for me to go to Alaska and hunt a moose than it is for me just to go to Colorado.
Yep. The tag is $2,400 and it's a hundred dollars preference point fee every year. And I'm like, by the time I draw that I'm gonna be five grand into it at least that's if they don't bump the price up. For a preference point and for the tag. So it's interesting, it's 10 Colorado elk points and I just burned them on a unit that only took three or four cuz I just was done.
Done with it. Yep. I still have a bunch of meal deer points in Colorado. I still like to do a high country meal deer hunt someday, but I don't know, I might end up just dying with those points before I ever get to drop 'em. I don't know, there's pro I wish you could will points to people, like that'd be a whole new business now is just calling up old guys like, hey man, how much to put me in your will for these points.
But yeah. It's, yeah, it's gonna be interesting man, to see how, [01:04:00] I think that's one of the, I don't wanna say downsides cuz it's opening up people's eyes to opportunities that are out there, but now people realize just how doable it is and now you have so many people putting in to where, like you said, there's people who have, there's people who have 15, 16 points who might not ever draw and it's unfortunate, but.
We'll see kinda what happens in these different states. It's wild. My, my spot in Wyoming, it used to be a hundred percent clients calling me. Sorry, a hundred percent. For antelope and meal deer every year with no points, I could just draw a tag whenever I wanted. And now Antelope is like 17% success rate of draw and general deers like maybe 50.
So yeah. Yeah, it's really changed in the last decade. It's really taken off all these things that we've talked about today, right? Like the, all the forums and everything, how good. All of that is one of the downsides now. A lot more people know about it and have access to it, and so it's creating more competition, but it just means we gotta be sharper and smarter when we get out there.[01:05:00]
Hunt harder to do do a little more work, but, oh, absolutely. Man, there's still plenty of opportunities if you look, there are, and that's the thing, it's like you don't have to look all the way out west. You could look probably in the next county, south or north or the next, stayed over and there's.
Cool opportunities. There's elk opportunities starting to pop up in a lot of the eastern states and it'll be interesting. I'm excited. I think more and more states are gonna open up elk. It hopefully is gonna relieve some of the pressure from the west. And hopefully things even out. There's a lot of organizations out there doing great work with habitat improvement with population surveys and I think we're gonna see a lot of change in the next 10 years for the better.
Fingers crossed here's hoping. Yeah. Yeah. Man, I appreciate you hopping on, I don't want to take up your whole night before we hop off. Where can people find you? Where can they go check out some of these pictures from the hunts because they are some killer pictures. Yeah, so I don't use social media a whole lot, but I do have an Instagram [01:06:00] that I put some hunting pictures on once in a while.
I think it's flat, crazy underscore mountain hunter. And then just, my Facebook page is just me. It's just Josh Isley, but sweet. Not too exciting. Other than hunting and pictures of my kid. I don't know if there's much up there, but Yeah. No, that's awesome. People like a good picture.
They really do. And hearing the stories and then being able to see the pictures, I think that'll be pretty cool for the listeners. But man, I really do appreciate it. Let me know how that doll sheep goes. Hopefully I'm seeing pictures of that here in the next season or two.
And yeah, start a GoFundMe page maybe. There you go. That's the way to do it. Just get other people to foot the bill. There you go. I'll take some good pictures for you. I promise. I, no, I really appreciate everything you're doing, man. Keep it up. The podcast is great. Keep fighting the good fight out there and, you're helping to support a great industry and a great way of life.
So thanks for having me on it. And it's been an honor. Absolutely, man. Take care. And I'll actually be up in [01:07:00] Superior in end of July for the Bow Fest, the big music festival up in Superior. Sweet. If you, if the itch to go up there and shoot some bows and hear some music come on up.
Yeah. All right. Sounds good.