New houndsman Aaron Kelly of Missoula, Montana joins Heath on this episode of The Journey. Aaron had the itch for a new adventure. As a life long hunter, he decided to research and work towards accomplishing the goal of being a houndsman. After building a pack of older dogs and training puppies, Aaron saw early success and was enjoying his journey, only to see his work and investment demolished by wolves. Aaron talks about the fateful day and the emotional impacts it had on him. He questioned whether to even continue.
Heath and Aaron talk through it and listeners will see where Aaron is today. New houndsmen will be inspired by this story and seasoned veterans will be reminded of their own early struggles. This is a good reminder that we all start our journey with the first step. We all have trials that test our mettle. We all face forks in the road and have decisions to make. Aaron shares his story and Heath offers insight and mentorship.
Aaron Kelly - IG @hoo_basin_otdoors
[00:00:00] The Houseman XP podcast Network is taking you on the journey. Your host, master trainer, Heath Hyatt, will combine his decades of experience as a homan and as a professional trainer that will light the path forward and make our PACS lighter on this lifelong journey to become better hunters and hounds men.
There are no shortcuts. So lace up those boots and grab a dog leash. The journey begins now.
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We are back at it. I'm spending a lot of time out west nowadays. Um, had some good guests on and have another really interesting and, um, kind of excited to hear about the story and the journey cuz that's what we're about is the journey. And I had, uh, Aaron reach out to me on social media and we like that.
We like to talk and we want to know what you guys think and, and what you're, what you're about. And we've been talking [00:03:00] through, um, messaging and talked on the phone a couple times. And so Aaron Kelly is with us today and he's from Missoula, Montana. And I'll tell you a quickie real, real quick. You guys know that I've, you know, Dale Cameron, I had his dogs and Dale lived outside of Missoula and Stevensville and I've actually been, been there a couple times.
Um, so this one kind of is like, yeah, and got the talking about it. And I'm really interested to hear his story because Aaron is just getting into hunting. He's only in it a year and a half. And through our conversations, he's been very successful. So we're gonna tap into that, especially for you new guys that are getting out and starting hound hunting, how we can help ourselves along and save some of the, um, Tries and tribulations that some of us old school [00:04:00] guys have went through the hard way, like the school of hard knocks, cuz we go through it and Aaron's been very successful.
So we're gonna tap into what he's learned, what's helped him, and talk a little bit about his hunting. And we've got an interesting thing that we're gonna talk about, um, that would've set most of us back. And he persevered through that and carried on. And that's something that also was very interesting to me.
So Aaron Kelly from Missoula, Montana, how is everything out your way this, this evening? Uh, it's going well, Heath. Uh, appreciate you, um, letting me come on here and talk with you. Big, big fan of the podcast and all the podcast creators, so it's always, uh, it's always a cool, uh, feeling to, to be able to be on.
An episode and be a part of all this. Yeah. I mean, thank, yeah, absolutely. Glad to have you. Like I said, it's about the journey and the journey's a [00:05:00] process and it, it should never end and Right. You know, I wanna hear about your beginning and then, you know, 10 years from now, I wanna see where you stand. And then if I'm still kicking in 20 years, , maybe we could catch back up.
But yeah, I, I mean that's what it's about. Um, and we want to hear about it. So, Aaron, tell us a little bit about yourself. Like I said, you and I have discussed it. I know a little bit. Um, you were born and raised in Missoula. Yep, yep. So born in Missoula and, uh, well, uh, my family moved west of Missoula and, uh, we've been in, we've been living in this country ever since.
So, um, got a lot of family around here and thankfully we have some pretty amazing outdoor opportunity. And, um, you know, um, because of that, I think that's obviously, um, Where, you know, the reason I'm, I'm where I'm at today. Mm-hmm. and doing what I do, you know, I'm kind of envious of you guys. Like my, [00:06:00] the biggest part of me wants to be out west.
Um, I made my first trip out there in 2005 and I, like, I, I fell in love with it, but I'm, I like to be outdoors and I don't care if it's fishing or hunting or just out walking in the, the forest and stuff with my dogs or by myself, but the vast amount of country that you guys have is what draws me. I, I'd like to be that explorer.
I like to be that. Um, I wanna go somewhere where nobody else has been. Right. And that's one of the things well, and. And thankfully, you know, this, this part of the state too has, um, an absolute, um, plethora of public land. Mm-hmm. , so you're able to do that, right? There's lots of states and other areas in Montana that have a ton of private land ownership and, uh, the western side of the state has much [00:07:00] more public land.
Um, so it allows for someone with that, that drive and that ambition, uh, to go out and, and really do what, exactly what you said, explore and, and truly, um, just get to, to live that outdoor lifestyle. Yes. I'm envious. I gotta say I'm, I mean, I, that's who I am. I just can't, I don't have the, I don't have the, the area to roam.
Like you guys, like, we just, we just don't have it. We got, we got chunks, but I can walk through that chunk. a day very easily. And that's not pushing myself if you know, you know, thousands of acres or, you know, a couple thousand acres. Not nothing like you, what you guys have. Um, so born and raised in Missoula and you've, you've been an outdoorsman since you was able to do that, right?
Yep. So, uh, you know, I kind of got into hunting around 12 years of age. My dad took me [00:08:00] out and, uh, it was pretty strictly deer and elk hunting and uh, you know, we usually did pretty good over in this area. Mm-hmm. . Um, and we got some pretty good deer and elk populations. But, uh, as of late, um, Predators have had a big impact on, um, some once very healthy deer, elk, popul population, uh, populations.
So, uh, still good hunting, but definitely you can definitely feel the effects of, um, an increased predator population. Um, yeah, so, and we're gonna talk about that too, but before we go get too much further ahead, so any of our podcast, and I always, I always like to ask the listeners is, is there any one of them that you've, you favor or is there any one of 'em that you can say that one really either resonated with me or that I've got the most out of that one?
You know, I, I feel like [00:09:00] when it comes to, um, this podcast, I really, I'm, I'm, I'm very much, uh, I'm attracted to a lot of the, uh, pup training and dog training episodes because, um, I'm somebody that comes from. A family that has nev has never really had much interaction with dogs, you know, and so getting into the hound hunting world, all of the dog training, um, that it takes to, to run hounds was completely alien to me.
Mm-hmm. . And so hopping on this podcast and listening to those episodes and finding any kind of information I could online was really, really big. Um, especially when I did not yet have a mentor in the hound hunting community. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I think a lot of people like, um, favor those episodes on, on the [00:10:00] pups and, um, hopefully we can continue to do more of them.
So, Aaron, what got you in, let's, what got you into the hounds? What, what, like, flipped your trigger and like, Hey, I, I want some dogs. Well, you know, Heath, I think it, you know, I've always, I've always had a soft spot for dogs and, um, so even just like, even just having a dog has always been super attractive to me, right?
Um, that companionship that you get from a dog, uh, the loyalty that you can get from a dog is just, you know, it's, you can't find it many places. And so That's true. So, you know, so obviously I've always wanted to have a dog ever, you know, since I was a little kid. But, uh, um, there's something fascinating about a working dog, you know?
Um, and, you know, I had some friends that had bird dogs and, and they were always going off about, you know, how much they were just taken aback by what these [00:11:00] dogs do. And, um, and just being very, uh, open about their experiences. Kind of it just further, I think, made me want to go down the route of hound hunting because I knew, um, I knew I wanted a dog.
And I, you know, after seeing, um, videos online of Hounds, men working their dogs, I'm like, man, big game hunting is where I want to be. This is something that I, I got at least try and see if like, Hey, is this for me? Is this what it looks like it is? You know, or is this all just, um, is this some something that looks great and it's really way harder, you know?
Mm-hmm. than, than what it looks like on the surface. So I think it was just a mix of, you know, no one started, you know, knowing some people around this area that did it here in their experiences and then finding, um, content [00:12:00] online really, really, uh, perked my interest. And, uh, I finally just decided, you know what?
I'm never gonna do this unless I just jumped headfirst, you know, so mm-hmm. , that's kind of how I. . So you didn't have anybody, so you didn't go on a line hunt or a bear hunt, you just had the feeling like, hey, dogs are like something that I want to be a part of my life. And what better way to do it than, you know, chase animals around
Well, pretty much, you know, but I will say that that was the kind of like the initial spark and then, um, a few years after really getting that, that spark. Um, you know, I've got a job back over here near Missoula and you know, I just kind of, I've had the means to acquire dogs and you know, I think being in the right place for Hounds too is definitely a thing.
I think there's a lot of guys out there. They really want to get a dog, but they're just not in the right place. Whether it's because their living situation [00:13:00] or finances or whatever. . Um, but finally the stars aligned for me. Mm-hmm. where I had an opportunity to, to actually, you know, get some dogs out on some property.
And, um, so I, before I made that move, I contacted a good friend of mine, um, Brad Jones, who is a captain in the, uh, Montana National Guard. Mm-hmm. . And he, uh, has a bunch of blue ticks. He runs a bunch of, uh, smokey River blue ticks. And I kept telling him, man, I'm super interested. I, I'd really like to kind of see what this is all about.
Um, and I was kind of begging him to take me for a few weeks, and finally he's like, all right, let's go. I'm coming to you. So we came out, uh, he came out my direction and, um, we, I mean within, I mean within 30 minutes of running road, we found a lion track. And, um, and I end up actually harvesting that lion.
And, um, from that point [00:14:00] on, and I was hooked. And it wasn't even from the fact because of the fact that I harvested a lion. What really intrigued me and caught my attention was just watching the interaction and the dynamic between Brad and his hounds. Mm-hmm. and how he kind of treated each one of 'em a little differently and picked up on the little nuances of each an individual dog.
Mm-hmm. and man, I mean, he did a lot, you know, you do a lot of things similarly, but man, it was, it was really, really neat to, uh, just see him work his pack of dogs. Um, and from that point on, that was like, uh, when I knew like, this is something I want to do. So is that, did you get your first dog from, from Brad?
I did. Yeah. So he, uh, he actually one of his better dogs fade. Um, man, she's an impressive dog. Uh, but yeah, he, he had a litter shortly after that and I don't know if it [00:15:00] was his intention, like, Hey, I gotta bring this guy out with me, gotta get a couple pups off my hands and . But, uh, no, he, he ended up, uh, he ended up asking if I wanted a pup and I, you know, of course starstruck, I said, yeah.
Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. And I end up acquiring a, uh, a female Smoky River Blue tick from him. Mm-hmm. . And, uh, and that was a start of the journey, let me tell you. Heath . So, yeah. So now, when you started, they just opened the Spring Bear last season, right? Yes. They did. For dogs, right. So when you started, you, were you able to run bear with your dogs also, or was it strictly just cats?
So when I had gotten, so, when I acquired my first pup, , that was in the month of December, and we were kind of getting word that the legislative [00:16:00] bodies were passing this bill, and it was a very real possibility that we would have, um, the ability to run our hounds. Just the, you know, the upcoming spring season mm-hmm.
So it was a lot of talk and anticipation and everything, you know, everything was aligning, uh, legislatively for that to go through. And so, um, yeah, wh when I first got the pup, it was kind of like we were in a little bit of a waiting mode, but it, things looked real good and, uh, and, and when it did pass, pass, um, I, you know, I was obviously very excited because I had a bunch of younger dogs and, and, uh, and, uh, a good, good old pup trainer.
To, to kick the bear season off. So I was, uh, I was super, super excited going into the bear season that, uh, that April. Yep. So you ended up with your, your female mm-hmm. . And then [00:17:00] did you, was you running her by herself or, I mean, I like, I kind of know the story, but Yeah. So how did you start acquiring other dogs and, um, how did you, well, I know what you did.
What did, um, just tell us how you started acquiring dogs and how important it was that you were able to actually acquire a finished dog that helped. Mm-hmm. bring your young dogs to where they needed to be. Right. So, like I said, I got that pup in December and our cat season over here runs until, uh, April 14th.
And honestly, a, a, actually the first few month I was actually, um, , I think it's really easy for a novice hounds man or someone just getting into it to be really discouraged because I had gotten that pup and I had worked a lot of, you know, I've read, I read a few books on puppy training and scent training and, and then I, you know, hearing from other Hounds men [00:18:00] and, um, Heather Homan in the community, uh, he taking advice on doing drags and whatnot.
Mm-hmm. , um, I started doing that with my pups mm-hmm. . And so I, I, um, I started doing, working my, my younger dog, uh, my younger blue tick quite a bit. And then, uh, a good buddy of mine heard that I was getting into the hound game and he asked, Hey, I got some, I got some, uh, leopard cur puppies. And at that point, you know, I was like I said, I didn't really have an idea what I was doing and mm-hmm.
I know a lot of guys will advise against getting a bunch of puppies right off the bat, but I was like, sure, yeah, I'll take another pup. And so I ended up with two puppies right off the bat, and I was kind of pulling my hair out at times because I'm like, man, I don't know if I'm ever gonna get anything going.
Um, you know, sometimes they're, they, they impress me on a drag. Other times it's like, you know, just trying to get 'em, um, get 'em zoned [00:19:00] in was, was difficult. But I, uh, you know, I had, um, I had my buddy Brad around who told me, you know, just continue the exposure, um, and, and continue with your effort. And, um, you know, oftentimes that will help more than, than, you know, um, than, you know, not working them or kind of just giving up.
And so, I, uh, I kept working 'em and not finding any cap tracks. I, like I said, I started getting pretty disappointed and, and wondering what am I doing wrong? And, uh, well, Brad, Brad, uh, Brad offered a piece of, uh, literature, um, called PR trained by Hound Dog, by Ed Vance. Mm-hmm. . He, he told me, Hey, you need to check this book out, because he's like, there's a lot of parallels going on right now with you and this hounds man, and, uh, and I think there's a lot of valuable insight, like, insight that'll, that'll get you going.
Right? And so I, um, [00:20:00] picked up that book and I mean, I finished that thing, that book within days. Mm-hmm. and I was just hooked. Um, and you know, the overlying theme in that book was you need a old finished dog to help you with your. younger dogs. And so once I found that out, I was saved up a little bit of money and I started searching.
And, um, I contacted a guy named, uh, Joe Bba, and he lives over southwest Montana, white Hall area. And he's got a pretty good pack of dogs. He runs with Jake Harrick, which is on that, uh, mountain man show. Oh yeah, yeah. Mm-hmm. . And so, yeah, so they, they got some real good dogs down there. And anyways, he offered me a, uh, seven year old plot hound and that plot hound, he, you know, he told me over the phone me, he's [00:21:00] like, this dog is worth every, every penny she can run Bobcat, bear, lion, everything you need.
And he, you know, he, since I was getting into it, he was like, I'm gonna cut you a deal. And so, , I was obviously pretty appreciative of that deal and drove a couple hours over there, pick up Tink, which is that Plot's name. And you know, at first I'm like, man, that's a, I, I didn't end up paying a thousand down.
And then, you know, if I liked her, it'd be another thousand. Mm-hmm. . And, uh, at first I was kind of getting a little buyers remorse. I'm like, is this the right thing to do? You know, a thousand bucks and, uh, a lot of money. And so, um, uh, of course I know now that Hounds can go for a lot more than that, but, uh,
Yeah. Anyways, , yeah, I, uh, brought her back and, and it was kind of perfect timing because I got her about a month before the season. So I did drags with, with that, with Tin and my two pups and. . And the nice thing [00:22:00] was doing when I was doing those drags tink was, was obviously trailing and treeing and getting those pups excited.
So that was huge that I didn't have that excitement originally. So even on the drags, I would noticed improvement, having a finished dog. And, um, well the bear season started and, um, it, it kind of, you know, we didn't in the, in April over here, bears don't move around. Mm-hmm. , uh, you know, quite like they do in May and June as it gets warmer.
So you're not gonna have 'em crossroads as much or they'll be still hanging with, uh, you know, around their dens and whatnot. So, um, I decided to take the dogs and go, go on a, go on a shed hunt, um, uh, and kind of knowing that maybe there's a chance that we could come across something fresh and find a couple sh So I go up, uh, near my h only a couple miles from my house on a shed hunt.
And, um, I mean, just a few minutes into [00:23:00] that shed hunt, tank blows up, and I'm like, uhoh, what's going on here? You know? And, um, before I know it, my pups are joining in and they're running circles around me, I felt like. And, um, about 600 yards away from me, they tree up. And, uh, and I walked in there and before I knew it, I hadn't the first bear of the year.
Wow. So it was kind of, it was literally somebody that, you know, I'm looking back on it and I still, I still don't know a whole lot about the game, and I'm learning a whole lot. But it, it was such a, uh, um, exciting feeling to, to to see the dogs work, something like that. You know, from a guy that's never, never done anything remotely close to that, you know?
Mm-hmm. . . Yeah. Um, do you, I'm gonna back up and ask you a few questions on what you just said. Yeah. Do you know what the, the plot, how that plot was bred or you don't have any clue? Um, you know, I don't have any clue. Right. I haven't ever asked [00:24:00] that question. No. Yep. And, you know, something that I think a lot of people, even people that's experienced and I, I'll.
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[00:25:00] XP here on the journey. I went through a divorce. I let a lot of my dogs go. I kept a couple young dogs that ended up making average dogs. They weren't. Mm-hmm. what I was looking for. I could catch a bear, a cup, a couple bear with them, but they lacked in some of the areas. I knew that I wanted to make me be more, more successful.
So I ended up buying, um, a couple Kemp dogs off Mike Kemp. And, um, I have, I still had two dogs that, that were still my, the bloodline that I'd been hunting for 20 some new year, 25 years. But Aaron, I did the same thing you did. Like I know how to train dogs. I have caught bears throughout my career game. I mean, I've caught game throughout my life, but I knew the importance and the value of having that dog to help me [00:26:00] help them because there's things that that dog trains them that I can't.
Um, so I bought a, a blue dog, van Johnson Bread, blue Dog Jack, and my, my dogs were. a year old when, when I bought Jack, and he helped them get started. And then, like you said, then they started kind of taking over the races. Jack was always there, but you know, they started moving, they started getting to the front and doing things that I wanted to see.
And then last year I, I lost him and we still don't know exactly what happened, but I still wasn't at the point where, I mean, I was catching, I, I can catch a game with without him, but I still, I went and got me another old, and when I say old dog, it's a six year old black and tan. It's crossed up dog. She looks like a black and [00:27:00] tan, but she still tells on them like , you know, I, we, I, my, my dogs are run a yolk like.
They're not perfect. They're dogs, but she's the dog that when they go down there and do something, they're not supposed to. She's back at my side and I don't have to think twice about what's going on. Um, right. So the importance of that, what I'm saying is even though you're an, an, a beginner at a year, little over a year in, you made a wise decision that even people with 28 years in are still, I still do that, but again, I kind of started over.
Um, my old dog had passed away. I had a couple dogs that weren't satisfying me. Like I said, they catch a, they catch some game, but they were not consistent. Um, they didn't have the motor that I wanted. They didn't have the, the stick or grit or whatever you wanna say. [00:28:00] Um, grit can be determined a lot of different ways, but they just weren't.
They were okay. They were a pleasure to be around, super good around the house, um, everything. But, and I'm, this takes me back to what you said before, and I'm gonna throw a clay Newcomb term out there. The dogs at this house have gotta be a utilitarian dog. They gotta have a purpose. And I mean, I, that function, you know, I have police dogs.
I've got one, my shepherd's laying right here beside me right now, sprawled out on the floor. You know, my dutchies out in the kennel. Um, they have a purpose and you know, I've got the hounds. I've got 10 hounds outside and they have a purpose. They, they give me pleasure, they give me drive, they motivate me.
Um, and that's just how I'm wired. But, uh, just to kind of go back to what we were talking [00:29:00] about, you made a very wise decision in getting a old dog to help you help them because there's some things you can't teach. You can't teach that dog how to pick up a lose. You know, you can't, you can't teach that dog how to go in and, and bay up a bad bear or a cat.
I don't know how your cats operate, but you know, I've found, especially with the dogs that I have now, they've got pretty good stick, but they're not overly aggressive. That's what I want. And I have found that my younger dogs, like I've got some year old and some two-year-olds now, I'm getting one that's getting beat up pretty regularly, but the rest of 'em have watched him.
Old dogs stand back, bay work, a bear working from the back end. You know, when he takes off, they, they stay in the backside of him. Um, and I, I can't teach that to my dogs. Nope. Just can't do it. So, man, kudos to you. So you got your dogs, you treat your first bear now, where you at? Yes. Now what's going on?
Springtime. So [00:30:00] bear season's in. Yep. Bear season's in and, um, and I'm, you know, I'm, obviously, I've, I've tried, you know, I've, I've done some research and I've seen that a lot of pe the, you know, the guys that were catching the most bear had some dogs that, uh, that could rig bear. Right. Which is throwing 'em on your dog box and driving down a road.
And those dogs will let you know when a bear is, you know, a bear's crossed through here. Mm-hmm. . And I'm like, well, how the heck does a guy like me go about figuring that out? You know? Cause I got a dog. I got an older dog that. That'll, um, that'll, you know, you could road down, you could road 'em mm-hmm. . And if you, if they cross something, she could, she could take it.
But it's a little different. I mean, I think as you know, he's, um, rode your dog versus rigging a dog and you can cover so much more country rigging a dog and mm-hmm. , and you can have those multiple bare days when you got rig dogs. Mm-hmm. . And so, um, you know, and with the goal of getting [00:31:00] into, um, the hunting industry, you know, as a guide, um, I, I, I figured, well, I'm gonna have to figure out how to get some rig dogs.
And so I was, I was looking around, I was catching, I was catching bears free cast here and there. So hiking down a creek bottom or side hilling doing. Quote unquote shed hunting and hoping that the dogs would come across a bear around. And, um, you know, that worked. But I'm like, man, you know, I want to be able to, to, to catch more game and I gotta figure out how to, and so I, I started looking online for, for rig dogs, and I realized how expensive they were, and I'm like, wow, I can't, I can't afford paying for rig dogs.
And then this guy reached out to me and said he had some, some started dogs and one of them seemed like it, it, it, one of the dogs seemed like he was trying to, you know, he was, he was wanting a [00:32:00] rig for him. And so he cut me a deal and I ended up driving all the way down to, um, all the way down to, um, Phoenix.
Oh, wow. Or I think it's, I think it's Scottsdale. Mm-hmm. just north of Phoenix. Yep. But, uh, yeah, I drove down there and. and I picked up those dogs and oh, well on that, lemme tell you, that trip wasn't really the funnest because, uh, well, the AC went out Mm, when I was just before hitting Arizona, and man, it was hot, so it was like a near a hundred degree day when I went down there and picked them dogs up.
And I, I think when those dogs got in my truck, they're like, this is the guy you're selling us to. . Geez. . You know? So anyways, um, what kind were they? Uh, so one of them, they're, they, one was a plot mm-hmm. and the other was a black and tan. Okay. Yep. And, um, and they'd been on some mine, but mainly bear. And, uh, so I, I, I picked them, got a good deal on them and, uh, brought 'em back and I [00:33:00] kind of did the same thing.
I wasn't really confident and I, I put 'em on the, my, my dog, the top of my dog box and, and, and just kind of, without much of an idea, um, started driving road and I just didn't know. When to let 'em out or how, and I, you know, I didn't, I should have asked, looking back on it, I should have asked that guy, how do the, you know, how do these dogs work?
How do you work 'em, can we hunt for, you know, a day together to see what you do with the, you know mm-hmm. , um, because you gotta, you know, you gotta learn how some people work their dogs. And, um, and so anyways, I was kinda like, dang, it didn't ask the right questions. So I was kind of back at square one, rode the dogs, and then I started thinking about, well, if, if this tin dog, I got this old plot that I have is my tattle tail dog, I can throw those two, you know, started rig dogs on top and, and mitigate with her on, on what they're [00:34:00] striking on.
And so I'd go down the roads and it started to turn out, you know, if the, when those, when those two blew up, I would put tin out. and let her get off, and if she liked whatever, she could smell what they were smelling and took off and st That was a bear. And so I started using Tin as my dog it to my, my, you know, like that, that tail dog to be like, Hey, is this the, is this target game or is this non-target game?
Because at first, I think those dogs have been sitting in a kennel for a while. Mm-hmm. and you know how dogs can get when they're sitting, they get excited, they get a big whiff of an elk or something that may, might pop off for a little bit. And, and so I was able to kind of mitigate that and just get 'em going on bear before you know it, your, your dogs are learning, Hey, we're only let out on this.
And I didn't even have to use tin. Did you not rig her or were you just putting her down when they struck? I put her down when they struck. Mm-hmm. because for whatever reason she did not. She did not do much barking [00:35:00] off of the box. I, it was, it was interesting. So I, that's what I did. I tried it out and the experiment kind of proved, proved to be successful.
So was that something that you figured out or did somebody kind of tip you that, hey, you can do this and it, you can be successful this way? So I think it was a little bit of both. So, um, you know, Joe had told me Tin, she's a tattle tail dog. And, um, and I figured that those two had a general idea of, hey, this is, you know, o on what a bear scent was like mm-hmm.
and, um, they would strike on it, but because of they were, because they were not technically finished and they were just kind of started rig dogs. Mm-hmm. kind of getting into it. And, um, there was, there was a few times in the beginning where when I didn't use Tin, um, as that tail dog, that those two that I'd got from Arizona.
that's your whitetail deer [00:36:00] they were chasing. Mm-hmm. , you know, I'd trash races, right? Mm-hmm. . So, so I started realizing when I used Tin, she's keeping em honest. And before I knew it, I didn't have to rely on, on, you know, within several weeks is all it took. Those, those dogs were, you know, it was just kind of like, when, almost when you train a pup, um, some dogs start a lot earlier mm-hmm.
and you get 'em on the good game, target game with a finished dog. You have some pups that get it from the bat, you know? And, you know, they almost kind of, it's almost like trash breaking them, just putting 'em on all the good game. Mm-hmm. . And, um, and now obviously you're with a young dog, you're gonna have some, some hiccups and some train wrecks.
But those pups that I had, um, that blue tick and that leopard curve, I mean, they were, they, one was six months when I started the bear season. The other one was seven and a half, and they were. up in the front with all the older dogs, um, from the get-go, and they were, they were definitely, um, compared to one of [00:37:00] the pups I have now an early, early starters for sure.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and you got, did a lot of what ha I mean Oh man. Extremely. I mean, the, the amount of dogs that you go through just to get what, what you ended up with is mm-hmm. . Um, sometimes it can be astronomical, but you Yeah. Like you fared pretty well in that end of it. Oh, absolutely. That blue tick that I'd got from Brad Jones, um, stormy was her name.
She, she was riggin bear at eight and a half months for me, and, um, which was pretty incredible leading races. Mm-hmm. , um, just had all the drive in the world that you'd want. Um, she would nev never gave up on a race and like I said, she started, started running at six months and. , well before I lost her to wolves, which we'll get into later.
Mm-hmm. , um, you know, she just, just inc you know, just did everything I wanted [00:38:00] and did it better as the days went on. Mm-hmm. You know? Mm-hmm. , um, like I had her leading races, but she just had an awesome tight, um, slim athletic build that does really well in this steep country. Mm-hmm. that I'm in. Um, but yeah, no, I, I think that it all started the, the, um, the, the foundation in my pack was that Tin Dog.
Mm-hmm. that plot dog. And, um, and then acquiring those, those started bear dogs. Um, I mean, man, it, it just got me off to a rockstar start that I never in a million years thought I would have. Um, , which kind of got me in a little bit of trouble. . Mm-hmm. , um, in, in the a in the sense that I, I started, um, I started doing real well.
So I, I, I think that the, that [00:39:00] the advice from other hounds men, some of it, I like cautionary tales about the, um, the dense wolf wolf population that we have in the area. I like, I've never seen one of them, never had any incidences, you know, I'm good. I'm ke you know, so I started, started chasing numbers a little bit.
I mean, I was excited and pushing the dogs as much as I could. And, um, that's what eventually I think got me into the situation. Mm-hmm. , well, you and I had discussed mm-hmm. . Um, so no, it's, uh, it, it, it was quite an experience. He like, I mean, it was, uh, what I had in that bear season was, I mean, Two total extremes, you know?
Mm-hmm. , um, a, some awesome successes and some big time lows, you know? Right. So, well, let's roll over into that. So did that incident happen during bear season or line season? It happened during the bear season. The ba also, it happened [00:40:00] in the spring, yes. Okay. So yeah, I mean, just go ahead and walk us through that.
I mean, I know it's probably painful to keep repeating it, but it's a, it's a part of life, so, um, yeah. Um, so I mean, I, I guess, um, for the people that don't know much on wolves, and I don't know a whole lot, but some general information on 'em is, um, during the first few months of the year, like January, February, we will start.
Mm-hmm. . And, um, so then you'll get a lot of in increased wolf activity. And you notice that during the cat season you're seeing a lot of, a lot of wolf sign them covering a lot more area and those areas more frequently. Um, well, in March and April, wolves generally have pups and that's, that's when they're dinning up.
And, um, and so [00:41:00] they're in more specific areas and they're not, um, from what I know Right. And, um, is they're not, they're not quite covering the ground that they normally are because they got pups mm-hmm. in, you know, a specific spot. And Well, of course, like I told you, I wasn't really thinking much of that and I hadn't had any encounters with the wolves, even though I've been told by guys that used to be Hounds men or had ran dogs in the past.
Um, that, you know, you do gotta be careful in, in the country I'm in, um, of wolves. You know, they, they, they pose a big threat to your dogs. And, um, so anyways, yeah. Um, the, the season went really well. I, I caught a lot of bears and coming into June, it was actually June 11th, um, it was another routine day. Um, it actually was a, uh, it [00:42:00] was a real wet and rainy day.
And, uh, I had, um, met up with some, some good friends of mine, um, and they all had a few dogs and we decided to go up to an area we had ran consistently throughout the season. And, um, we had, we'd right off the bat, we had, you know, within 30 minutes of our, our hunt, we'd caught a small five foot bearer. And then, you know, another hour later we had struck another bear or rigged another bear off the road and caught a sow in some cubs.
And so, you know, at that point we're like, man, the dogs are just firing on all cylinders. Um, and it was just something cool to see. And so we, uh, we decided like we wanted to, you know, try to go for a third bear, um, or at least a third tree. And, um, we, we, we tried to loop, we were in an area, [00:43:00] um, emoti, which crosses, you know, a lot of these drainages around here.
They have, um, they loop into each other. And so, um, we tried to loop around to the adjacent drainage and there was logging equipment in our way. So we, you know, we, we obviously turned around and we're like, well, if we get a strike on the way out, awesome. If we don't, we don't. And of course we, we got a red hot strike.
The dogs were basically trying to jump off the truck, so that was awesome. And we'd got, we got it. We stopped and found a fresh, big, uh, fresh bear track heading, uh, that crossed the road and headed up towards the top of the ridge that we were on. Um, and so we let dogs go and we, I let, uh, stormy that blue tick pup, um, and tin go on that one.
[00:44:00] And, uh, and they went with about three other dogs. Um, that were f my friend's hounds. And they, they all went together and just went roaring up and over that ridge. And then we decided, well, let's just let the rest of them go. This is a hot track. Let's get some dogs in on this tree. So we unloaded our boxes and we had to think about, geez, 14 dogs on that race and all, they all were going good, um, lined out on that scent, and they dropped down pretty deep into the adjacent, uh, drainage.
And we lost coms. The area's so steep over there. When those dogs get up on the ridge top and go over, I mean, it doesn't matter how good of an antenna you have, you're losing comms. And so mm-hmm. , um, we, we knew the area. We drive back up the drainage and, and, um, found a gate road that took us into the adjacent drainage and, [00:45:00] um, we had regained our comms, um, And and ha and seen all of our dogs were, well, half of the dogs, the, the first group were treated up and the others were making their way to 'em from the top of the ridge.
And then we lost comms and a few minutes regained 'em again. And all of our dog, it was the weirdest thing. I still remember it pretty vividly to this day. No bark indicators on any dog and all, all the dogs that were on that tree were with at least 50 to a hundred yards separated from one another, you know, dead silent, not moving.
And I'm like, what in the heck? And the weirdest thing is too, all the dogs that were behind him in that second group started just sprinting the hell out of there. And I'm just like, what in the heck is going on? And I looked over to my buddy Jake, and I said, I mean, do you think there's [00:46:00] wolves in here? You know, and he's, oh nah, he's trying to be real optimistic about it.
But you could tell he was nervous too. And I'm like, I don't know, man. This is, this ain't right. We're not hearing nothing. We're in the same draw as these dogs. And by the time I got about, I don't know, three, 400 yards away from that creek bottom where they were all scattered and separated, still not hearing nothing, I started sprinting down there, man.
I tore up through my, tore up my camo. I, I wear glasses. I broke my glasses going down there. So then I'm going down there halfway blind and, um, get down that creek bottom. And dogs were, you know, strewn out across the, across the creek bottom. And it was not a fun sight to see. Um, and I think coming up to the, uh, the first dog I found was tin and, Hmm, so you lost 10.
And that, that hit me the hardest because. , you know, that dog, from what Joe told me, she did not, she was [00:47:00] not a really a people dog. It was just, she was an interesting hound, a lot of hounds, real affectionate. And what, she just wasn't quite that way. But, um, for some reason she really bonded to me really well.
And Joe was, you know, he was, uh, he was really happy about that and, and pretty taken aback. And it was tough when the dog, a dog I had picked up and had learned to trust me a lot and work hard for me, um, to find her dead. And, um, and then also have the realization that if she's dead, then I, all those other dogs in this drawer are dead too.
Was, was pretty tough. It was a tough pill to swallow. Um, um, but yeah, it was, it was not, it was not, um, it was not ideal. And, um, it was a, it was a hard, hard, um, lesson. Pretty tough, uh, learning experience for me. Yeah. How many, how many dogs did you [00:48:00] lose that day? We lost five dogs and three dogs were real badly injured.
Wow. I mean, I, I can't, I can't imagine having to deal with that. I mean, I know some guys that, or from locally from here that go to Wisconsin and I know, um, one of the older gentlemen, he's now passed away, but it's couldn't have been a couple years ago. He lost all four. He just took $4. He lost all four of them while he was up there.
Mm-hmm. Um, I mean, it cleaned him out. He was done. Mm-hmm. So, that's terrible, man. I feel for you guys and I, I mean, it's just a horrible situation that mm-hmm. , you know, that we, you know, you have to deal with that. I mean, that's a, you know, it's a part of nature and Yeah. I mean, a wolf is a huge predator. I mean a huge predator.
Yeah. But, well, I appreciate you sharing that story with us, cuz, I mean, I. , like I said. How did you overcome, so you, you, how many dogs did you [00:49:00] lose personally? A tin. And your, your female. A tink? Yep. Tink and Stormy. Okay. Yeah. And then I lost, and your buddy lost three. And then between two of my buddies, they lost three.
Okay. So how did you, how did being a new hunter, I mean, this is your first season, this is your first Yeah. You know, your first dogs. How, where were you at mentally and what was it that said Aaron? Like, you know, we're just going, we're going to dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and we're gonna continue on.
Oh, man, that's a, that's a good question. Um, I, I think getting down to those dogs and then. , uh, hiking 'em out, you know, hiking 'em out of there on my back three miles back to the truck. That really can do a number on a guy, especially if you're softie like myself when it comes to dogs, [00:50:00] man, I'm mm-hmm. , I'm pretty soft.
Um, you know, I'm, I'm hard on 'em when I need to be, but man, they know I, they know I love them. And, um, so it, it was, it, it really, um, it really had me wanting to get out mm-hmm. , to be honest. Mm-hmm. , I, I was like, man, if this is how it's gonna be, raising up pups and, and, you know, um, from just the youngest of ages and, and losing them to wolves, you know, um, and, and, and in a obviously,
It really, it was weighing on me just because I knew how many wolves we have in the area and I'm like, man, this could be more consistent than just this one. You know, this could happen. Mm-hmm. more than just, you know, this instance. And I don't know, you know, I told myself, man, I can't, I can't go through this again and again and again and just keep losing dogs that mean a lot to me and that I bond with.
And so, you know, initially, like I said, I, um, I was looking to get out and I [00:51:00] started asking around, like talking to people like, Hey, you wanna, you want a bear dog? I'll sell it to you. You know, fairly cheap and just not really wanting to get back, you know, not really wanting to continue on. And, um, and, and it wasn't until, you know, a few weeks after this incident, um, like I was pretty heavily set on, on, on getting out.
And a buddy of mine, well a buddy of mine, Norman Yoder, who he was the, the, the fellow who, who sold me that leopard Ke um, , he, he reached out to me and said, man, Aaron, like I've never seen somebody must as ambitious and just going into this with full head esteem. Like, he's like, this is something like I can see that is just in you.
Like this is something that, that you really truly enjoy and you cannot let an incident like this completely take you away. Something that you love. He's like, you have to, and, and, and other hounds, men have had to [00:52:00] deal with wolves and, and, and there's things you can do to try to mitigate, you know, wolves being in your area.
But he's like, at the end of the day it is always like, you, you are always playing a game of Russian roulette. And, um, he's like, so I, he, he just told me that he, he's, he told me that I need to, to believe it or not go out sooner rather than later. He's like, get out there as soon as you can cuz he is like, I've had buddies that they waited and waited and.
and then they just never got into it again. And so I took his advice, went back out, and, um, and well, we, we'd treat a bear and, and, uh, man, it was a weird feeling not having those dogs. Um, and it, it was almost enough to be like, man, this ain't worth it. But there was something in it still, there's still enough excitement and, and almost there was like some promise of a, you know, [00:53:00] of, of, okay, I have dogs.
I can still do it, and I can raise some new dogs up and still have a lot of fun with it. Mm-hmm. . Um, you just have to be more cautious and is, and, and even that, you know, it's, you never know if being cautious is enough, but I, I just decided to, you know what? This is something I wanted to do and I can't let the fact that we have a predator like wolf, a wolf or wolves in the area that.
Can easily, um, wipe out an entire pack any given day. Mm-hmm. , you can't let that, um, get in the way of, of doing what you love. And so I just tried to get as much information from others in the area, um, on, on how to, to mitigate the risks of, um, or the risks that are associated in running dogs in Wolf country.
So, you know, you lost two. How, how long did it take you to start [00:54:00] replacing those dogs? Uh, ? So that's actually a pretty funny question. I, I think that I was, uh, you know, I, I was pretty down in the dumps because of losing those dogs. So I, I added, I lost two dogs and I added three. Mm-hmm. pretty quick. and I, you know, so I was just trying, you know, the more dogs, the more it took it off my mind.
Right? I guess so to, um, . Um, so I, so I got some pups back pretty quick, but I was definitely, um, the dynamic, the, the thing that changed is I could still tree bears after that mm-hmm. , but it was almost like, because there was a dynamic shift mm-hmm. , it wasn't as smooth mm-hmm. , you know, the races weren't as smooth.
I wouldn't, wasn't putting up as many bears. And so definitely it was definitely, um, you know, it's definitely like taking a couple of steps back. Right. Uh, but I held onto the fact that [00:55:00] I had dogs that, that they knew what they were doing well enough that I could have, there's potential for some rockstar young dogs to come along, uh, and get trained up by, by, well, primarily another hound.
Mm-hmm. and. Um, and a little bit of me and, and get 'em going again. And so that's, I just kind of held on to the hope and I still do that. I get back to, to where I was. So then that took you into line season, right? Yeah. And you, you had your first season, you're in your second season now with Lion, right? I, so I'm in my second season, but this, so the first season I had the pups, I never really, I actually had the, the, the hardest of times, um, finding cap tracks.
Mm-hmm. , and it was kind of on the, the, the tail end of the season. And I didn't just with work and whatnot, I didn't, wasn't able to get out. So I didn't even get to, to even, I didn't even tree a single cap with the dogs. I had the first line [00:56:00] season. And so this, this season that is going on right now is really the first cat season that, um, that I was actually able to, to, to get, um, to, to, to put up some.
Some lions and bobcats. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I've been keeping up with you on, um, social media and it looks like you've, you know, had a pretty good season. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I don't know what the typical, you know, what the typical, you know, couple of week, one a day. I don't know what, what that is for you guys, but looks like you've had some, some pretty good success.
Yeah, yeah. No, I've, this year, um, so far I've, um, I, I, I kind of had a goal, like, you know, and I, I try not to get too carried away with things like this, but I'm like, man, it'd be awesome to put up, you know, five to 10 lines within the season. I think that if I really try to try to work these dogs and get out as much as I can, um, that's doable.
Mm-hmm. with [00:57:00] our lion population around here, and I was, I ended up, so far I've put. Um, 19 Lions this season. Oh, wow. And, um, and two bobcats. Um, I haven't, you know, I, I've had some snowmobile trouble, so I haven't been able to, Bobcats seem to be like, they're a little higher. I mean, you'll get 'em down in the creek bottoms and stuff, but with our, with the amount of trappers, we got that trap bobcat, the ones that make it down into the bottom, the creek bottoms generally end up in a cubby.
Mm-hmm. . So, um, so if you really want to do well with running bobcats around here, you need to get up into some higher country. Um, and like I said, because of my snowmobile kind of being outta commission, I've just been, um, kind of resorted to, uh, just have, having to run creek bottoms and hoofing it to the dogs as fast as I can, so, yeah.
Um, yeah. Are you cutting any wolf tracks while you're out? Yeah. [00:58:00] So you, you know, that's, um, That's a, the nice thing about, you know, running dogs in the snow is you can obviously see a lot more track mm-hmm. and sign easier than you can in the springtime. And, uh, you do, I do see a ton of wolf sign. Um, and there's actually, I mean there's, like I said, there's lots of cats out this way, um, in, in, in Western and Central Montana.
But, uh, the, the issue that a lot of Hounds men have is, you know, you could catch 20, 30, 40 or more cats in a year, but because you have wolves in the same area, you're not, you're, that's gonna greatly reduce how often you're gonna let your dogs out on a track. Yeah. Um, well, it wouldn't, that's something I've had to deal with.
Yeah. Yeah. I wouldn't, I wouldn't get within, I don't know how long you got it far away you gotta get, but I'd, I'd be on the other side of that. So you got, [00:59:00] you rebounded off of, um, , the spring hunt you got into to the cat season. You've had a good cat season. So what dogs do you have now? Like how, how many dogs do you have?
So I got, um, eight pounds right now. Mm-hmm. , so I got quite a few. Um, but I do have a lot of young blood right now. Did I see you have a litter pups? Yeah, I had the, uh, um, uh, the older Walker dog I have. Um, she, I had an accidental litter, so , as much as I hate to admit it, it was a complete accident. It was between that Walker dog, is that the topper dog from Andy?
Yep. Yep. From Andy. Yep. Um, her name's Piper and she's, she's 10 years old and. , uh, you know, I don't know how the heck it happened. I must have not been paying attention. But my, my, um, my smokey River blue tick that I have here, Sam, um, got him [01:00:00] from Brad as well. Mm-hmm. , he got out and hooked up with her. So now I got, yeah, I got a litter of five.
You got a top or Smokey River across. Yeah. And you know what, um, you know, I, I, I honestly didn't know how easy, you know, didn't, didn't think it was gonna be very easy to get rid of these, get rid or even sell those dogs and, you know, I, I listed them for 300 bucks a piece and I mean, within the first two days I had 'em all sold.
Mm-hmm. , it's seems to be like a pretty popular cross around here. Yeah. So I had no issues to go back real quick and mm-hmm. , we'll have to start wrapping this up, but, so when you got your blue, your Smokey River blue dog, um, probably unbeknownst to you, but. You know, if I was looking for a rig dog, I would have no problem going in that direction.
Like I've seen some really nice smoky river dogs. They seem to have plenty [01:01:00] of grit. Um, yeah, they trail good. Most of 'em have decent mouths on 'em, and they're in their nice tree dogs. The, you know, and I know that they're not all that way, but, um, like when you ended up with that line, like I said, probably, you know, your buddy knew, but you didn't go wrong by getting into that line of dogs.
Mm-hmm. . And, you know, we, we talked about Andy, Andy Jensen with the topper again. You know, I, I bought a, a female off Andy in 2009. Um mm-hmm. , uh, she was out of, um, topper and dot, and I know he made that cross several times. Um, But she was a natural starting, natural starting dog. Um, and that's what the three dogs that I told you that were my average dog, they were outta her.
And, um, there was just, they, like I said, they were nice hounds. [01:02:00] Like for most people they would've been really satisfied with them. Um, right, because I'm like, you, my first dog set the bar so high and my expectations so high. Like, I have a hard time getting there. Like, it's like, ugh, you know, this is what I'm looking for.
Yeah. This is what I'm looking for. And if you don't, you know, if you don't have, you know, X and y then anyway. But anyway, long story short, but, so Aaron, before we get on, I mean, I, we could talk more about this and, um, you've told us a little bit about your struggles. Like, what are some things that's helped you along the way and, you know, you've come from a, like a critical incident, recovered having a very successful season.
Um, you know, tell, tell some guys that are just getting into this journey. Like, tell us some lessons learned and we can, [01:03:00] you know, we, we've talked about one, um, some things that you've done that's helped you or you feel that's helped you and some struggles that you have or are having that you're still working through.
Right. And I know that's a three part question, but , oh man. That's a, a little loaded, but, uh, I'll do my best to answer it. Um, well, I think right off the. , you know, when, when you get into something, you have to be receptive to people who have had experience in whatever you're doing. Mm-hmm. . And that, I think of, that's just like in a general rule in life, you know, somebody that's been doing, uh, doing a specific thing for a long period of time, they're generally gonna have some, some, some sort of valuable information.
And so, um, getting into it all, you want to make sure that you're receptive to criticism, um, because, you know, you don't want to get, it's easy for guys to start [01:04:00] liking their dog and, and then focusing on every little good thing or any, any little detail that could or, or just any little trait. Thing that their dogs do.
Um, and, and, and try to have a positive spin on it. But when somebody who has experience, um, tells you, Hey, you know, they, this could be better, or, you know, or telling you just flat out like, Hey, your dog isn't doing this, or You should look for, um, you know, certain things that'll help you out. Like you just, just be receptive to any information that people that have been in the game are willing to give you.
And don't be afraid to ask questions because I've asked, you know, I'm still asking 1,000,001 questions to guys that have been doing this for a law longer than I have, you know, been doing it most of their lives. And they, they have a plethora of information, um, in their nogging that they're willing to, to give to [01:05:00] you.
You know, so don't be afraid to ask questions and don't, you know, don't, don't, um, I guess make sure to. Take criticism. Mm-hmm. , because, um, it's real easy for you to, to act like your dogs are so great and they don't do anything wrong. And, and, and I, I think that the people, you know, you're gonna have, you're gonna have, you have blow hards in every kind of community.
Um, so you have to, you do have to do a little bit of sifting, personal sifting on your end, and the people that have the success, um, you know, you, you take your information, try to get your information from them. Um, ed Vance has it, you know, he, he, he, he, he, um, discusses it several times in his book, trained by a hound dog, how he went out with guys that they talked themselves up and they talked their packs up and um, and they really thought they knew a lot, but.[01:06:00]
But he ended up, you know, they never had success with those kinds of people. And so there is a little bit of personal mitigate you knowing, um, through information that is given to you that you have to do in your own part. But, but you'll, you, before you know it, you're fine guys that have had success, um, and, and just pick their brains.
Um, that's, that's something that really, really helped me. Um, and don't be afraid to, to, to get into the books even, you know mm-hmm. and, and find whatever kind of valuable information they might have for you and, and make sure to always try to find that information, but apply it and see what works for you.
Yeah. Well, and I, you know, one thing I learned through my, the law enforcement side of my training, , you have to keep an open mind. And if you keep an open mind, you're gonna be 10 times more successful. Because like you said, [01:07:00] somebody's been doing it longer than you, somebody's got more experience than you.
And just because they don't do it the same way as you, doesn't mean that their method, their way, their, um, philosophy is not successful. Um, oh, absolutely. I'm very particular about the way I do things, but there's people that don't hunt the way I do, don't do the things I do, and they catch a more bear than I do
It's just the way it is, you know? Yeah. I mean, yeah. So, yeah, I think keeping an open mind, um, is, is a big key to it. Uh, yeah. I, I like to read, you know, you've picked up the books. Um, you know, I was blessed at a very early stage in my, my hound hunting career to have a very good mentor that. Jerks not in me sometimes when I need it.
Like he sets me straight sometimes cuz I'll go off on a tangent or i'll, and then he'll [01:08:00] just, you know? Yeah. You need to think about that. That's not, you know, you need those type of people and sometimes honesty hurts, right. . It does. Oh man. Yeah, it does. But yeah. And so that's some of the things that's helped you be successful, right?
Um, what, just tell us one thing that you feel like, that you struggle with or, um, that you could use help to become better at what you're doing. Oh man. Um, I think that, you know, knowing the, I think that know, knowing the exact science behind what your dogs do. would go a long ways with me. You know, because you, especially when you get into it, you, you see your dogs act particular ways.
Your old dogs do certain things and they train your younger dogs by doing those certain things. And I think that [01:09:00] something that would aid me in my journey is to listen to more podcast episodes that really highlight and target the science behind what, uh, what and why your dogs are doing what they're doing.
Mm-hmm. . And I think I recently saw there was an episode on that, um, that was produced by this podcast on, on, um, like scent trailing or something like. Is, is that, is that, is that ring a bell at all, Heath? Yeah. I mean, I've had, I've had Jeff Shetler on and yeah. You know, Jeff Shetler is like, not just in United States.
I mean, he is sought after throughout the, the world. Um, he travels, um, Man, he, and he's good at what he does. I mean, yes. Do I, do we agree with everything? No, but the majority of what he says he can back it up with, with proof, you know? Right. He's worked it, he's done it. Um, I mean, he's got [01:10:00] his hands, hands on, trailing dogs every day.
Multiple dogs every day. That is his life. Um, right. But yes, I'm, I'm, yeah, that's probably Jeff you're talking about. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I'd say that's kind of something we're, we're, um, I'd like to honestly make some personal improvements and, and, and learn a, a lot more than, than what I currently know. Well, there's only one way to do that, and that's Yep.
To get out there and put the boot leather in, spend time with your dogs. Um, I'm very fortunate. I mean, I can, I can take off. Pretty much two months of the, of the year to hunt. And that's not a long time, but you know, I, I get, you know, 28, 30 days in September and 28, 30 days in December. Um, and I spend a lot of, I'll spend a lot of my time with my dogs in the off season, which is sounds like what you're doing [01:11:00] too.
And Oh yeah. That's the only way to learn 'em is you gotta get 'em out there. Mm-hmm. , you gotta be out there. Yep. That's, mm-hmm. , that's nine tenths of the problem, right? Yeah. No, absolutely. Yep, yep. And, and be a real, I think one thing too, that when you get into this salt, uh, when you, when you get hounds and you get into this lifestyle, because that's what it is, um, you have to make sure and remember, that you need to set realistic expectations.
Mm-hmm. , um, if you don't have time, just be out there every day with your dogs. You can't expect your dogs. I mean, in, in the, this isn't always the case, but you can't expect your dogs to just go out there and be absolute rock stars and to be better than everybody else's. Mm-hmm. , you're gonna, you know, you get, like with anything in life, you know, you're gonna get, um, you, you, you're gonna get the kind, the kind of work you put into something really shows and, and oftentimes [01:12:00] equates to what you get and at the end, like for an end product.
And so, um, if you're working your dogs hard and doing everything you know to do, it's gonna be a bigger sort of reward at the end versus not being able to put that time in and not, or just simply not putting the time in. Yeah, there's a saying, and I may not quote it verbatim, but it says, don't complain about the results you didn't get for the work you didn't do.
Right? Mm-hmm. , I mean, that's it, you know? Um, yeah. You can't, you can't take your dogs off a chain the day of season and expect them to perform at an opt optimal level. You just can't do it. Um, mm-hmm. , and I think that's something that we all, we all probably should, you know, set our, set our expectations, and that goes all the way back to what this podcast is about.
It's a journey, man. Rome wasn't built in a day. Things don't happen overnight. You know, it takes time. Like it takes time to [01:13:00] acquire, you know, a, a set, a pack of hounds that are proficient, consistent, and do what we want them to do. Like, it doesn't happen next week when Heath decides to take 'em out. , you know?
Mm-hmm. , it takes years. And, and that's one of the things hunters that we don't do enough of, is we don't tell the whole story. You know, everybody, Nope. We've been, we've been talking about this. Everybody wants to see the cat in the tree. The bear in the tree, you know, the hog bait up. But they don't want to see, you know, you walking three and a half miles out of the mountain in the rain, pouring down rain soak, do your bones.
Mm-hmm. not eat all day, carrying a bottle of water and six dog leads. Oh man, I, there's been times where I've hardly made it out. Let me tell you. Yes. I mean, that's not glorious. There's nothing about that that's glorious. Nobody, I even talked myself off the ledge sometimes, like, what am I doing? Like, dude, come on, you're getting too old for this.
[01:14:00] But, um, that, that, um, that love and desire I have for the outdoors and. , that partnership that I have with my dogs is what, why I do what I do. Um, I had, uh, Craig Kasak on here a couple weeks ago, a month ago. And you know, one of the things he said is, um, everything I do is because, for and with my dogs. And that's, that's life.
That's life here at the Hyatt house. Mm-hmm. just cause of the dogs. So Aaron, I can't, um, tell you how much I appreciate you sharing your story. Um, continue to get them dogs out there and be successful. And maybe we'll pick this up later and we'll touch base and, and see where you're at. Uh, like I said, I appreciate you sharing your, your journey with us.
Um, so at the end of every podcast, thank you for helping us teach, train, and learn about you journey.[01:15:00]