The Coors is OK! w/ Jaden Bales

Show Notes

Today on The Average Conservationist Podcast, Marcus sits down with the Founder of 2% Certified Hunt West, Jaden Bales. Hunt West is a resource for hunters looking to optimize their western hunts through Jaden's years of experience. Have a tag in your hand, but need help putting a game plan together? Jaden will help you do just that to make sure you don't find yourself wondering what or where to go next. The guys cover a lot of ground during their conversation from crazy stories in the backcountry, to why conservation is so important for the future of our landscape. Jaden explains why he started the company and how he's making a living off of conservation. This is a great conversation from start to finish, with even a slight cliffhanger at the end. To learn more about Hunt West, follow them on social media or check them out at

Show Transcript

Marcus Ewing: [00:00:00] You are listening to the average Conservationist podcast brought to you in partner with 2% for conservation. 2% for conservation's mission is to create an alliance of businesses and individuals that ensure the future of hunting and angling by committing their time and dollars to fish and wildlife.

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Getting 2% certified means you've made the same commitment as popular brands like Sitka Stone, glacier and seek outside in giving at least 1% of your time and dollars. Back to wildlife, but it's not just for outdoor companies, breweries, contractors, coffee roasters, and even piano repair companies have earned 2% certification and stand out as leaders in their communities for doing so.

Businesses that are committed to conservation deserve your business. When [00:01:00] you shop, learn more about 2% for That's fish and

Ladies and gentlemen, happy Wednesday. Welcome back to another episode of the Average Conservationist Podcast, and I'm your host, Marcus Shoeing. All right. Today with me, I have Jayden Bales from Hunt West. Jayden is the owner and founder of 2% Certified Hunt West. And what Hunt West is essentially it is a resource for hunters to help them be more prepared on their [00:02:00] hunts.

And it's not necessarily strategy for drawing a unit or anything like that. Typ, while Jayden is certainly willing to help you with that, where his, excuse me, expertise comes in is once you. Have your tag in hand and what unit you're gonna be hunting in. Jayden helps you put a game plan together for that specific unit.

And he factors in a lot of different things. And one of the big things that that he's really keen on is listening to the hunter understanding what type of hunt they're looking to get into the way that they like to hunt, whether they're coming from the Midwest or out east, or whether they, are in the west there now.

He takes all these things into account and helps you put together a game plan to essentially help you be as successful as possible during your hunt. Not only do we get into the nuts and bolts of Hunt West and. Really all that, that Jayden has to offer. We get to spend some time talking [00:03:00] about his upbringing in Oregon, what the outdoors looked like to him at a young age.

He started very early with his dad and his grandpa has a tremendous story that we just happened upon. It was one of those things that Jayden and I were talking after we got done recording, and he was like, how did you know about that story? It just it teed itself up perfectly throughout the course of the conversation.

So it's just a really crazy story. I'm glad that he was able to share that. We talked about what Jayden does in his nine to five working for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, as well as why conservation is so important to him. Outside of that being a 2% certified brand it seems fairly obvious that.

Conservation plays a pivotal role in Hunt West. But Jayden does a good job of explaining why that is. This was a fantastic episode. Jayden was a great guest and we tease it a little bit at the end, but Jayden has a big hunt coming up this fall, and we're hoping to get him back on after that hunt and recap everything and really [00:04:00] dive into it a bit more.

I think it'll be a great episode. So episode one 50 with Jayden Bales. Enjoy, guys. Jayden Bales, welcome to the podcast, man. How are you tonight? I'm doing

Jaden Bales: very well. How are you?

Marcus Ewing: I'm good. We we got through some technical difficulties without too much stress. We kinda, we worked through it here, but no man, I'm excited to do this.

We put this together in pretty short order. I think I reached out to you maybe late last week. And we were able to make it happen. Yeah,

Jaden Bales: I appreciate you having me on, man. It's is a great podcast you have here and it's been going for a long time. You said this is episode one 50, right? So yeah anything past like a hundred is just gravy.

There's not a lot of podcasts to make it for that long. So good on you. Oh, thanks

Marcus Ewing: man. I appreciate that. Yeah, it's next month it'll be three years that I've been doing this and I missed a few episodes or a few weeks, I guess earlier this year. Just I was bad at scheduling and then I had just a bunch of stuff outside of the podcast that was taking my attention away.[00:05:00]

But yeah, I've been pretty fortunate to not miss too many episodes or too many weeks over the years. And I think the fact that we're at episode one 50 is a testament to the guests because I man outside of my mom, I don't know who could listen to me for 150 episodes, man, I'll be honest with you.

That's, and even that, she'd get tired of it. She's just doing it because you know it's your mom.

Jaden Bales: Oh, that's

Marcus Ewing: great. Jayden, you are the owner of fairly new 2% certified hunt West. Before we get into that, man, tell the listeners a bit about yourself.

Jaden Bales: I appreciate that. So I grew up in northeast Oregon to a single mom who worked in the er.

And the while she was there, we were out at the farm where grandpa and grandma ran the family farm and business. And so I'd like to say, I grew up on that place, that farm and ranch. And boy, we just, my brother and I, we spent all of our childhoods doing all the hunting and fishing and mis mischievousness that anybody in the real west would want to get into.

So [00:06:00] after, going to college and going away for a while I followed a gal to Wyoming actually. And while her and i's relationship didn't work out I stayed here and I now for my full-time job, work for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and as my side project and I'm very heavily dedicated to my hunt west project.

That's something else I do. And I really. From the get-go have been tied into the conservation world. Grandpa was really strong into supporting the Ducks Unlimited chapter, and he actually sold some grass seed or donated grass seed to the Ducks Unlimited chapter and was involved in habitat restoration there.

So it's been something that I've been involved in as far as, conservation is concerned and hunting is concerned since I was a little kid. That's the quick and dirty overview. And man, it is just, hunting and conservation have ended up just being like, what I'm addicted to talking about what I'm like really just knee deep in every single day.

And I really love it. It's it's a good way [00:07:00] for me. It's been a really good way to shape my career and my passions in one.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, you're in a unique position too, because there's not a lot of individuals out there that can say that they make a living outta conservation. And working for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, that's what you're doing day in and day out.

And then for a lot of people you think that, it's, sometimes it, it's easy to separate, the hobbies and the things you like to do outside of work with work. Cuz usually they're, usually, they're different to some degree, right? But you're working on, legislation, all these things throughout the course of a regular day, a regular year.

And on top of that, you're spending all your free time in the outdoors talking about it, coming on podcasts like this and talking about it. No kudos to you, man, because I feel like there's a lot of people out there that would really be envious of the position that you're in.

Jaden Bales: I appreciate that, but man, there certainly is.

There's that old saying, it's do what you love. You'll never work in a day in your life. And. I'm not so sure that's fully [00:08:00] accurate because there's a lot of things just like to make ends meet that you have to do that aren't always the most fun. And inherently if you're working in a hobby space, like the income that's coming from that hobby space is generally lower than if you're gonna do something that most folks don't enjoy doing.

So yeah, there's always trade offs and there's trade offs to every career and hobby decision you make. But you make the bed you live in and you really make the best of every situation. And like you said, I just, I'm really appreciative of all the opportunities that have been afforded to me.

And largely that's been from people who've opened the door for me. And mentors who have showed me the way and then I've been able to follow along in their footsteps. And in particular, like I started my like. Entry into the quote unquote outdoor industry by helping out my buddy Cody Rich with his podcast.

And then I worked for him for a while and I'm still working with him on some projects. And those kinds of things are really important to acknowledge cuz you don't just get there by yourself [00:09:00] and into these, especially into these, like you say, like hobby industries. Yeah. Because it's tough.

Everyone is really interested in doing it.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. Yeah. That's just, it is, that's one thing that I've learned over the course of doing this podcast. And I would say I. I'm like adjacent to the outdoor industry, right? Like I'm outdoor industry adjacent. Just, I have a podcast that, excuse me certainly focuses on conservation.

I talk to a lot of people who are passionate about the outdoors. I have a brand that sells, lifestyle apparel that's geared towards, the outdoorsmen, the outdoors woman, what have you. But I'm not like in like the trenches, so to speak, like I'm not I involved in it day in and day out.

How did you find yourself working for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation?

Jaden Bales: My Wyoming Wildlife Federation career actually started as a volunteer. Okay. It goes back to that thing where I was telling you we were involved with Ducks Unlimited as a kid, and then I became involved with the National Wild Turkey Federation [00:10:00] and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and I was, I'm like a generalist outdoorsman in a lot of ways.

And I moved to Wyoming and was like, God, what is this? I want to be involved as a volunteer for something that does all the outdoorsman things, yeah. I hunt and I fish and I hunt a lot of different species and I fish a bunch of fish types of fish, I fly fish, I spin Bob Fish, like all the things.

And Wyoming Wildlife Federation covers all those avenues, but just on a statewide level because I, I think at some level you do have to narrow down in some way. Yeah. And so I f started volunteering as an ambassador and that was when I was living in Laramie. And then This opportunity came up when a communications role opened up and I decided I really wanted to live here in Lander where I'm at now.

Just had a really interesting combination of a decent enough size town that like there's a good community and stuff going on, but it is, right next to the mountains, it's right next to some real wild places. I think that we were talking earlier and I killed an elk in my back pasture of the landlord's place I'm living on, [00:11:00] and I think I completed like the big five big game species within 30 minutes of my house or something like, oh geez.

It's been really, it's been really fortunate and like really blessed living to live here. Yeah, that's how, I saw, like I said, I saw that job opportunity with the Wyoming Wildlife Federation in this particular place in Lin Lander and knew that was something I wanted to do because I'd been volunteering in that space for a while.

Marcus Ewing: So you said you're working in communications. Was that kind of what your background was? Is that what you went to school for? Was, marketing or communications, stuff like that?

Jaden Bales: Yeah. It actually is. I know a lot of people who went to college and don't work in the stuff that they learned, but yeah.

Yeah, that I'm pretty fortunate that I've followed that career path and I got a business degree more generally with a focus in marketing. But like last week we just had a meeting internally at at work of some stuff that I actually learned and I knew something about that was from college.

And I don't think that's necessarily the route for everybody is to just go. Go to college, get a general [00:12:00] studies degree or whatever, and then figure it out. But it's pretty cool that, at least in today's day and age I'm using parts of my degree. Like I said, it's not for everybody, but

Marcus Ewing: it's part of my job.

Yeah. Makes that student loan pay payment a little bit easier to make Right. When you're actually in your chosen field. Yeah, absolutely. So growing up in Oregon, and it sounds like maybe grandpa was the one that kind of really got you into to hunting and fishing and things like that. What did that look like?

Was he a big outdoorsman to, I know you said he was he was involved with Ducks Unlimited, but was that something where he was like, all right, Jayden, like we're going to, go do this, and then he just it just snowballed over time?

Jaden Bales: I'd say, so my dad, I didn't live with my dad, but every other weekend we'd visit him and and every other weekend in the fall we'd be hunting.

Okay. And on the weekends I wasn't at. My dad's hunting. We were at grandpa's hunting okay. It was, it came from both sides. And like my dad was really big into Waterfowling and we'd go Turkey hunting and [00:13:00] then he was big into big game hunting too. And the nice thing about the farm was like, with some acreage, also with really good neighbors who you knew, like you could link together acreage to hunt, right?

Yeah. So it wasn't like I, I had to go over a big learning curve when I left the farm and I didn't have places to hunt anymore. Because we would, I would call up, when I was a teenager in junior high, I would call up all the different landowners that were next to us and I had eight miles of creek bottom that I could hunt for.

Oh, geez. For coyotes or for some waterfowl or deer or whatever. It was super fun. And when I left that space, I had to do a lot of learning because I didn't really know how to find my own spots and stuff, and. That kind of leads into the whole, both Wyoming Wildlife Federation and Hunt West project I do now.

But like you were alluding to in the beginning of your question, yeah. Grandpa had a huge impact on my development as an outdoorsman. My dad really did too. He's, he was probably more avid than my grandpa. I just didn't get a, I wasn't living [00:14:00] with him full-time, so they both had a huge impact on me.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. What a way to be able to spend that time with your dad, right? If it was every other weekend, but you knew you were in for some type of adventure every other weekend, right? That's not a bad way to live either.

Jaden Bales: No, it was a blast. And I actually just went on an elk hunt two years ago with my dad in Oregon again, and it was just a blast.

Like we had such a good time. And interestingly and I think this was important and this was like an interesting evolution, like at this point and at this stage in the game, I've got the physical ability to go far and do whatever I want in the mountains and dad's slowing down.

And so we, my brother and I, we catered the hunt to be suitable for him. But at the same time, we're just up there. We're only like, we're right above the road walking up this little ridge going really slow. Like my dad likes to hunt and he looks over and he is go guys. I see an elk.

And we're like, what? And look across the canyon and 800 yards, there's an [00:15:00] beded elk across the canyon. I'm like, dad, you can't even read your cell phone without your glasses. How are you spotting this elk t, and those are the kinds of I just love being out with my dad or my grandpa or whoever, people like that, who just have instinct and they have a really a really good knack for being in the woods and really good woodsmanship and it's fun to make those memories with those kinds of people too.


Marcus Ewing: You bring up a, an interesting point when it comes to dads, grandpas, whatever, right? It's that. Yeah. Whenever, I have. Like father-in-law, my, my dad has passed, but like my father-in-law and you'll see 'em, like looking at their cell phone, they're like looking over the top of their glasses and some, for some reason they're like holding it like further away from their face instead of like up close.

Yeah. But then, yeah, you get 'em in the woods, you get 'em in a tree, stand a blind, whatever the case is, and yeah, they'll pick off like the slightest movement from, across the field. And this is whitetail hunting in the Midwest. So it's not like you're, glassing hundreds of yards.

You can, but it's not typically how it's [00:16:00] done. And yeah, you just catch, the flicker of a tail. You just see something that looks outta place and you're like, oh, there's a deer. And it's just so impressive that trained eye of our of our elders.

Jaden Bales: Yeah. And you can tell they're just in the zone.

Yeah. They're just loving it, like they're so tuned in. Yeah, absolutely. And you hardly ever see 'em like that, if you're just sitting on the lazyboy at home with him. It's one of the, it's one of my favorite parts about being in the woods with them. And I'm excited. We just, were talking on the phone the other day and I think it's important that that I value and that we do as you have your parents around or grandparents around to go hunting or do go on these adventures with them.

It's important to like, prioritize it. Next spring and about a year from now we'll be looking at going on a bear hunt together. Nice. And he's nice, and it, he goes, Hey, I want to go to this area. Like back in the day, like we used to go find bears here and yada.

And it wasn't the place that I had wanted to go, but I like realized. I'm like, dude, are you gonna want to go over there by yourself or do you want to go like with [00:17:00] your dad and just go have a good adventure, right? Yeah. Those are the things I think as I get a little bit older that I'm starting to realize really matter.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, it's because, yeah, I think about growing up and, like I mentioned, my dad passed and that was who, it was very close relationship. He was the one I did all my hunting with and, taught me everything that I know growing up and I took I, like in hindsight and like when I reflect back on it, like I took so much of that shit for granted, right?

You just always have someone that you can call and just ask questions to about the outdoors. Whether it's like he was a big fly fisherman, so like just call and ask him like a random question about something, right? And it's, it makes you do a lot more learning on your own and like now as an adult, as a father with kids and looking forward to when they get a bit older and we can really start to enjoy this time in the woods, those I would much prefer.

To have a hunt where I don't kill anything or don't [00:18:00] really have any opportunities, but spend it with someone who I really enjoy being with. And maybe, notch in a tag for whatever animal it is. Because in 10, 15, 20 years, whatever, you're gonna look back on the stories like, oh yeah, this one trip that dad and I went on.

Something inevitably went completely haywire. Yeah. And you're just gonna have these great stories about it. And those are the things that I love about the outdoors. And I think those are the things, those moments are what the outdoors and what hunting are really all about.


Jaden Bales: absolutely. You mentioned like those moments that things go haywire and my dad, my brother and I were on this elk camp and Dad and Tyler, my brother's name's Tyler, they had set up wall tents and they set up a cook sh a cook shack on the one side of the wall tent before I got there.

Cuz I was driving from a ways and Looked like a good spot. There's only like a, it was an old burn and there was like a three trees within a hundred feet. Looked like a good place to be. And like this crazy [00:19:00] windstorm came through in the middle of the night on the second or third night that we were there of a nine day hunt.

And we're here on trees break and stuff as we're going to bed. And I'm like, guys, should we be worried at all? And they're like, no, there's three trees within a hundred yards. And I was like, okay. Okay. You're right. And we all go to bed and at 11, we probably fall asleep at nine 30 or 10, 11 30 at night.

All of a sudden the canvas is on top of my head and it sounds like lightning and thunder is like crashing down around us and we're like, oh my God, is everyone awake? Is everyone okay? We're like checking in on everybody. And all of a sudden, like we realized, holy smokes, a tree just fell on our camp.

The one of the three trees that was around just broke off in the middle of the night and in the middle of this windstorm and fell across our cook te our cook shack broke all of our cooking equipment and our, it destroyed the old igloo cooler that my dad brought. And I remember vividly though, and I took a video of this.

Dad's [00:20:00] rummaging through after we'd already checked to make sure everybody was okay. Yeah. Dad's rummaging through the canvas and the tarp and like trying to see what's like still alive. And he goes, it's okay guys. The Coors is saved and he holds it up. Just the entire 36 rack of Coors is all good.

Gotta have priorities. Yeah, I know. But it was just, and then we drove into town and got a my brother only lived like an hour and a half away, so we drove into town that night and slept at his place. But yeah, like you said, those are the things that you remember. You don't ever remember notch in the tag as much as you do those kinds of things.


Marcus Ewing: How did the tree manage to miss? Was it just the three of you in the tent? How did it manage to miss all of you

Jaden Bales: guys? I don't know, man. Like I said, like I woke up. I had, the big, huge loud crack of that tree breaking, and if anyone's heard a tree break in the middle of a windstorm, it is loud.

Oh yeah. It's it sounds like freaking thunder cracking right next to your ear. [00:21:00] However, that thing cracked and I woke up and all of a sudden, like this canvas was over the top of my head. And the, there were limbs on top of me, but they didn't hurt me or anything. It was just like some of the far extending limbs.

I, it was a, it was some miracle that none of us got hurt, man. So you talk about a moment that brings people together. Yeah. Chaos. Talk to your, yeah. Chaos. Your dad, your brother, and you and something you'll remember and then, like I said, build your relationship more than you ever could know.

Marcus Ewing: I gotta imagine that ride back to town, despite everything that happened, like there was probably a lot of laughs. Oh God, I, I just, I've gotta believe there was,

Jaden Bales: yeah. I naturally laugh when I'm nervous. So it was, there's a lot of giggles. You're exactly right though, because it's it is like, what else, what do you, what else do you do?

You look at that situation and you just laugh. You're just like, I can't believe that happened and that we're here right now. Yeah.

Marcus Ewing: No that's wild. I've not experienced anything [00:22:00] even remotely close to that. And the fact that you guys all walked out unscathed, including that 36 rack of coolers it's gonna be a good night boys beer.

Good. We're

Jaden Bales: safe. It didn't take long for that 36 rack to get finished.

Marcus Ewing: No, I wouldn't have, I can't imagine it. A couple road pops on the way back to the house just to calm the nerves a little bit. Take the edge off. Not that I can condone that for those listening. No. So Jayden, tell me about Hunt West.

What's gimme kind of the origin story behind that. What made you go down that path? What, how were you able to develop this and all that?

Jaden Bales: As I alluded to earlier when I had left the farm and left like kind of the home stomping grounds, I had to all of a sudden learn how to find hunting spots, right?

And I came to Wyoming and and like I was saying earlier Cody Rich in particular really helped me hone in. How to hunt elk. I had a proclivity for hunting meal deer already. And listened to a bunch of [00:23:00] podcasts. Did a bunch of podcast interviews with hi with through Cody's Rich Outdoor stuff, and realized like, oh, okay, there's some common themes here.

And so I started helping friends out who are like asking about how to ees scout for places, how to put together hunting plans. And after I realized some common themes here, like both through the education that I had learned and from other people, and then seeing myself and others put it to the test, I was like, gosh, like I, I actually think that this can work for everybody.

And hunt West was born out of the idea that everyone can have a little bit better hunt and go into each hunt more confidently if you put together a good plan. So I started it about a year ago and helped Couple dozen people out last fall. And they all had pretty good success. And then I realized oh, this is actually gonna work.

I've continued on with that and helped people with their applications and get hunts that kind of align with their skills and their abilities. And now we're launching [00:24:00] into the game plan season, which is my favorite, where we're sitting down and looking at different hunts they've drawn and how to approach 'em the best.


Marcus Ewing: So with that, are you coming into the fold, like after they've drew their tag or helping them, rewind a few months, right? When people are putting in applications and they're trying to pick a unit and all that stuff. What, at what part, I guess of the processes are you.

Kind of really adding that value.

Jaden Bales: For the most part, my specialty lies in helping folks learn how to find out where to hunt and how to build a good hunting plan. Okay. I have done a lot of hunt applications with people because I think that there is an element of this that like putting in for the right unit and putting in for the right area, like feeds off of the hunting plan you want to run right.

Though. Most of the time when folks get ahold of me, they've already drawn the tag and they're like, okay, now what do I do? Okay. But I personally, it goes back to like my personal philosophy is I have picked out where I [00:25:00] wanna hunt, how I wanna hunt a place like before I've ever applied for the license or picked up the license myself.

It does start a little bit earlier, ideally, but most of the time it's after somebody has a tag in their pocket.

Marcus Ewing: So when you're helping out these individuals, do you find more often than not that it's people who have the same hunting style or wanna hunt the same way as you do? Or is it, do you find people coming to you for advice, for help that maybe have a completely different hunting style?

Maybe they don't want to get too far from the truck, or maybe they just want to hunt from the truck as opposed to, throwing camp on their back, getting in deep, getting away from people. What is, what has been your experience with that?

Jaden Bales: Man, it's been across the board, but importantly, I don't think it's, I don't think it's the style that somebody has or wants to have.

It's the fact that most people don't know what their style is yet. Or they don't really, they're working on what they like. That's a good point. And that's the number one thing that I try to like, talk to [00:26:00] people and tease out is like, Hey, what do you like to do? Are you the kind of person who's gonna backpack in someplace you love backpacking and that's what you wanna do?

Or are you someone who's gonna have a really nice camp and work from the truck or work from, within a half mile or a mile of the vehicle and try to build a game plan based around that? Because I think every one of us is looking at different types of media that's out there and thinking that they have to do it that way.

But God, there's so many ways to skin the cat of Western hunting that you can pick and choose your own adventure. And just because you're seeing one type of thing on social media doesn't mean you have to hunt that specific way. And I think people oftentimes, if they don't know that, they need to be reminded it because yeah, there's just, there's a lot of ways that you can approach this whole game.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, and I think you, you make a good point there about like social media and what people tend to see out there and where they tend to see guys be successful. I look at a guy like Aaron Snyder who's an absolute savage in the woods, right? I think anyone [00:27:00] who pays attention knows that about Aaron.

But one of his big things, it seems to be, is like getting very deep. He does a lot of scouting, but he has like an idea where he wants to go. He gets way away from everyone, or at least that's his plan. And you get guys from like out east here from the Midwest that think, shit, Snyder can do it.

I can do it. And they don't realize that, you could try to hike in for a day. And try and get as far as you want. Maybe you get six, seven miles in, from the trail head or from the truck or whatever. But you've exerted literally all the energy that you have for that hunt in the first, 12, 14 hours and you're left in your tent for the next two days because you just, you can't move your legs like you're just completely shot.

So I think it's good to, like you said, have an idea, but then also know what your limitations are, because ultimately that's gonna determine, how successful you can be as if you know what your body is capable of.

Jaden Bales: Yeah, absolutely man. And I think that's the number one thing that like like you're saying, he's a great example.

[00:28:00] I like him and I like his style. And one of the things that I've come to find out though, is you can also be successful doing a different style. Don't get me wrong, I love the big back country hunts. There is a time and place for those things. I'm doing one at the end of this month for bears just cuz it's like something I want to do, not because it's particularly successful or more successful than any other but I think that's the number one thing that people have to address is look like you just have to figure out what's your strength, right?

One of my favorite spots to Deer Hunt is eight miles from my house. And it's like you can glass it from the road and it's it's definitely not the sexiest, right? Like when you like, think about the whole scheme of what's really popular right now. But gosh, it's fun, like I think it's when you figure things out.

Yeah. So just has to you just have to take into the consideration, like you said that those personal strengths. And now if you're someone who is a CrossFitter or you just are a mega athlete and you're consistently training and you know exactly what your body can and cannot stand in the back [00:29:00] country, then like sure that backcountry like approach is gonna be great.

Or if you wanna learn it, that's awesome, but you just also have to know what your limitations are. Cuz if you're coming from a couple hundred feet to a couple 10,000 feet it's a different game, man. Yes. It's just a different game.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. Now with the people that you're helping, are they mostly Western guys who are, punt a new unit or just drew a tag that they hadn't had?

Or are trying, a new species, whether it's elk or mule deer or antelope, spring bear, whatever the case is. Or are you getting a lot of guys like me, coming from like the Midwest who draw a tag, call you up, Jaden? This is, this is the tag I got, this is the unit I'm at, this is what I think I wanna do.

Shine, wax poetic here, man. Tell me, gimme something.

Jaden Bales: Yeah. I think I'm surprised by how many westerners have hit me up because I thought it was mostly gonna be Midwestern or, at least non Rocky Mountain states. But I think there's a lot of people who for a variety of reasons are just ah, I'm just wandering around.

I don't really, I haven't really put [00:30:00] much thought into this as to what I'm doing or how I'm doing it. And so it's probably 50 50 actually, and I would've, a year ago when I was starting it, I wouldn't have said, I wouldn't have expected that. And like the guys from back back east, I quote unquote back east.

Yeah. Folks who don't live in Rocky Mountain States. It's I appreciate their approach because they oftentimes are, I think a little bit Tim, intimidated by the by the western landscapes. I don't necessarily think you need to be intimidated, but realistic is important. Whereas the people with, from the Western.

Background, they sometimes are a little bit more chaotic and they don't have the patience or they don't have the methodology to like really go through things with a plan. So it's been an interesting dichotomy of these different people doing different things. The western guys tend to hike way too far and too fast and not be methodical.

And then the Eastern guys like, it's really important to, to encourage people to like, push their comfort zone, but also be smart about how they're doing it. [00:31:00] And remind people every step of the way that patience kills the bucker bull. It's not about how far you go.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. No, that's a very good point.

And I wonder. If going based off what you said there, I wonder if, like guys from, the non-Western states or non Rocky Mountain states I wonder if that's just I think about my approach and, predominantly a whitetail hunter. And that's all, you're sitting in a tree stand, you're being patient, you're being, there's certainly a lot of, excuse me, similarities in, in terms of like tactics and, just general woodsmanship as you mentioned earlier.

But, if you're on a western, if you're on an elk hunt you're hiking, you're glasson hiking, you're glasson presumably, right? There's, generically speaking, if you're hunting whitetail during the rut, you're climbing into a tree stand, an hour before sunlight, and you're sitting there until, half hour, 45 minutes after the sun goes down.

So you're in one spot all the time. You're hypervigilant you're. You're really paying attention to the kind of the details. And sometimes I wonder if that can play to, someone like [00:32:00] Myself's Advantage, going out west and just having a different kind of mindset, taking that whitetail approach and redirecting it, if you will, to, to an elcon or, a mule deer hunt or something like

Jaden Bales: that.

I think in the little bits I've watched, like Easterners, who exactly like you're talking about, are really hyper vigi vigilant and are really aware of their wind and like of their approach. The final kind of the final steps of getting an animal on the ground seem to come together quicker or come together easier.

But getting into the animals might be tougher. And sometimes it's like the inverse when you're looking at someone who's piecing things together, who lives out west. I've got a friend Matt, who is, he's I love hunting with him, but the dude charges, he just like covers ground. And I, it's like at some level you have to turn on the hyper vigilance and like the awareness of the wind and like figuring out the final steps.

Know your surroundings. Yeah. Yeah. And it's putting those two things together is where the sweet spot is, and finding that [00:33:00] sweet spot is really tough. But I think that's where, yeah, like you're saying like some of these eastern guys have some of the best woodsmanship that of the hunters who are coming out here.

Because otherwise, like a lot of guy Western hunters will just bebop around and like bump into something, be like, oh, there's one. Yeah. And that's not always, especially when you're looking at lower densities of animals, it's that's not a very effective way to go.

Marcus Ewing: Oh, can't really hang your hat on that. Based on your experience, prior to Hunt West and now getting into it, do you ever find yourself like offering almost like a generic piece of advice for someone who's looking for the advice? Like almost like this, I don't wanna say hard and fast rule, but like it's something that you find yourself having the same conversation over and over again with everyone that you're speaking to.

Jaden Bales: Yeah. I built a framework for Hunt West and I actually, I tested it before I built it, so it didn't come out of thin air. But the fact of the matter is like when you're looking at these Western landscapes, most units, most hunt areas have a [00:34:00] similar like mapping.

There's some private land either in the bottom or the middle elevations, and then there's public land at the top and the animals are spread out from the low country to the high country at some gradient different times of the year. Obviously, it's gonna change, right? But when people come to me and they're like I'm not looking for a honey hole.

I'm just looking for a place to start. I say, okay, break the unit into three categories. First, look at the high country, second, look at some safety areas. Most of the time that's private land. But I'm increasingly finding that sometimes safety, gar safety areas are like national parks or like even a state border or something like that.

And then lastly is like the low country. Like I think a lot of times, especially when we're talking about elk hunting, the low country is getting passed over when there's animals in it and people are just driving up to the big green spot on the map. So I give [00:35:00] those people those three things to start their framework of looking at.

And I use this example of a Nevada deer hunt that I did a couple of years ago because that's where I really like I had the framework and I was like, all right, let's test this sucker out. And it worked great. As like a way to just Be methodical and you go to one spot, shoot, there's no deer in the low country.

Go to the next spot. Shoot. There's no deer around these safety edges that I was looking for. Let's go to the high country. Then you go high and you're like, doubt. There they are. That's the kind of stuff I need to hunt. And giving people that kind of checklist or that just three step plan or that just approach that they can follow has really helped people not get stuck on da, what do I do now?

There's no animals here. Because inevitably on every single hunt, if you're going into a new place you've never been before, you never scouted. That's gonna happen. Yeah.

Marcus Ewing: And like that's gotta be, especially for someone. Coming from out state, wherever that may be.[00:36:00] They do they're scouting, they're s scouting or maybe they're fortunate enough to get some boots on the ground earlier in the year and they say, okay, this is the area we wanna focus on.

Maybe they have a backup plan, maybe they don't. But, sign was good. You know what all indications are like, yeah, we should be trying to hunt this area. And for whatever reason, maybe they run into a bunch of other hunters, maybe the animals just aren't there. They aren't prepared for it.

They don't have, contingency plan B or C or D. They don't have any of those things. And then they, Potentially waste the day going, shit, what are we gonna do? Yeah. And then haphazardly throwing something together and saying, ah, maybe we should try over here.

Without having that clear direction like you talked about. And I think that in, in that type of situation, you're right, inevitably you're gonna come across that period of time on any type of extended hunt where there's gonna be nothing's vocal. You're not gonna have any sign, you're not gonna be able to glass anything up.

And it's going to, it's gonna be hunting, right? It's not gonna be [00:37:00] whatever the case is. No, I like that approach because it there's comfort in safety or there's safety and comfort. I don't know, it's not like a saying or anything. I was just trying to figure out how to word that, but knowing that, okay, if this doesn't work, we can go here.

If this doesn't work, we can go here. And if they weren't in the first two spots, They should theoretically be in this third spot so you have something to con continually fall back on. And I gotta believe that's where a lot of people fall short on their big, out-of-state hunts or anything like that, is just not having enough backup plans,

Jaden Bales: yeah. And it also helps you like stay in the right mindset. The fact that like you look at a place and there's nothing there, you can be like, good, check that off. Have you ever listened to Jocko? Willing? I have, yeah. For sure. Yeah. He's got this great video and it's this thing he does. It's like good.

You look at every like negative situation and you go, good. Cuz that means like you can do something else about it, and I [00:38:00] actually think that there's an element of that mindset that's really important. There's a ton of people at this trail head. Good. That means that we're not going there, we're gonna go someplace else.

Yeah. And just taking that approach is really helpful and it keeps you in the mindset to keep going every single day because when you get discouraged and then you just spend all day in the tent, you surely are not going to get, reach your goal or have the adventure that you're looking for.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. How often do you get guys who. Have maybe been, hunting out west for a while, right? And just haven't had any success. And, they're trying to think outside the box, right? How can I increase my odds? How can I increase my chances? We'll talk to Jayden, right? We'll see what he has to offer, see how maybe that is different from the way I've been approaching it.

And go from there. I guess my question there is a lot of your customers there, are they first timers or are they guys who have been at it for a long time and just haven't been seen the success that they're hoping for?

Jaden Bales: I've had a couple people who were there [00:39:00] for, who've been known doing it for a long time.

One guy in particular, he's just like a busy construction man. Like he runs a construction company and he's Hey, so my son drew these tags and I don't have the time to figure out where we're going, so can you put these things together for me? And I was like, yeah, I can, man, I got you. And his son killed two buck deer last year.

And I was like, that's awesome. That's great. Besides him though, like there's a couple of them that I've helped with a little bit in new areas, but most of the time people are pretty new, both either with hunting as a whole or hunting in out west. And that's been really fun because I think it, you get the opportunity as someone like me to give people confidence and I feel like half of the fun of having, of going out west or just having a hunt in a new place is enjoying it and having like confidence that what you're doing is gonna eventually turn out.

And if it doesn't, that's fine, right? That's just part of hunting. But it's when people get dis like just get distraught or just get frustrated [00:40:00] about the situation, that's when it stops being quite as fun. Yeah, no,

Marcus Ewing: for sure. And I think, yeah, that goes back to what you mentioned about making sure that.

They temper or that their expectations are where they should be, as opposed to, oh yeah, I'm gonna go in here and I'm gonna kill a bull, or I'm gonna kill a buck, or, whatever the case is. And you just have to almost go in there and go, okay, I'm gonna be happy if I encounter deer where I think I should encounter deer or elk.

And, if you find yourself fortunate enough to get into position to possibly get a shot, like that's gotta be a, there's some hunters where hey, that's success, right? I was in the game, right? Like I wasn't on the sidelines. And then obviously closing and sealing the deal and punching the tag is obviously icing on the cake, I would imagine.

Yeah, but the hard part for, guys out east is, you bank up five, 10 days worth of vacation, right? You head west, you hop in the truck with some buddies. You go out there and you have [00:41:00] obviously the expectations, regardless of what you tell yourself That 18 to 26 hour ride out there, you're like, we're putting something on the ground.

Like you're just, you're super confident, right? And that you should be, but 10 days comes and goes. You don't get anything on the ground. That 18 hour drive home is a lot quieter than it was on the way out there. And then you have a year to stew. And to hope that maybe you can go back.

Yeah. And, but maybe it's maybe I can't go back for two more years. So now you have to like just marinate in that defeat, knowing that the mountains or the animal won. And from what I understand is it takes guys a lot of time, especially guys from out eastern the Midwest, to really get a good handle on western style hunting.

Whether it's just understanding the mountains, the animals and the way they move thermals, all these different things that come with mountain hunting as opposed to, like your typical whitetail tree stand hunter and. It's a lot, right? Like you can go out, living in [00:42:00] Wyoming there and you can spend a week, hunting in the afternoons or hunting in the mornings and you can acquire the amount of knowledge in a week hunting that it takes me potentially three years to really acquire.

And I think that's where a lot of maybe guys from, my neck of the woods get discouraged as they go out there, don't have that success, can't get back out there, and either they've forgotten everything that they maybe learned or, they just are defeated and are like, yeah, I'm not going back to do that.

It wasn't worth it for me.

Jaden Bales: Look man, I grew up out west. My dad was an archery elk hunter. My grandpa was an archery elk hunter. I grew up hunting mill deer and elk and doing all the things running around the woods after school, like causing trouble. It still took me six years to kill my first elk with a bow.

It is not an easy thing that we're doing. And I think that guys from, especially when you're looking at folks from who are coming from out east, you are, your learning curve is so steep, man. Yeah, it is tough to climb that hill. And and [00:43:00] it's hard stuff, right? Maybe I'm just really bad hunter, don't get me wrong.

That could certainly be half the battle. But the fact of the matter is I think people try to expect that success is gonna come immediately. And there's a guy actually that I helped out, him and his son did hunt west, playing with me last year from Maryland. And they were like, Hey, this is my first, elk hunt in Colorado.

What can I expect? Yada. And I like walked him through it. And I was like, okay, so let's put together a plan. If you guys like, call in an elk, if you get, if you hear a bugle. That's gonna be a great success. And he's he had some physical pro, like he had hurt his neck real bad and he wasn't gonna end up bow hunting, but his son was gonna bow, hunt yada.

And then they got rained out one day, and long story short, they hunted three of five days, but they heard a screaming bull elk one of those days, like really close. And they called him in, they didn't get a shot. Like they muffed it right at the very end. But that was like he was over the moon excited.

And [00:44:00] I think that adjusting your expectations to being more realistic like that guys, he did a great job. His name's Tim, and I'm like, dude, Tim let me know what you need, man. You are on your way to Filling a tag. If you go out and are just excited about that one experience, it's gonna keep you coming back, man.

Yeah. And it's gonna keep you excited about doing it. But if you're out here and you're looking at coming out for five, seven, even nine days a year and trying to fill a tag in archery season every single year dude, you've got a long road ahoe and and it, and you can't get discouraged. You can't beat yourself up.

This is a long-term plan that you're about to embark on. Yeah, for

Marcus Ewing: sure. Shifting gears a little bit here, Uhhuh, I this feels like almost a rhetorical question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. How does conservation play into Hunt West and what it is that you're building there with the brand?

Jaden Bales: I led this conversation off talking about my grandpa and it. [00:45:00] Seemed, it seems really obvious to me, but for most folks they would know if you have a garden or if you're running a farm every single year, you fertilize that place and you put something into it cuz you know that at the end of the year you can't just take from the ground that you're running and the ground that's providing for you.

And I think the same way about hunting and conservation, they like go on hand in hand. Like conservation is the fertilizer to the hunting we get to do. And that's why it's important to me. It just was always part of, it's part of the gig. If you're not given back to this place, the wild places, the wildlife that you're chasing you gotta take care of them before they take care of you and my philosophy.

So yeah, it's baked in. And I make it sound cavalier. But it certainly I wish was just part of the DNA of, what we do as hunters because for the most part we're taking a lot from the ground and we're not always given a whole lot back to it. I [00:46:00] think it's important for that reason.


Marcus Ewing: no that's very well put because yeah, a lot of times people don't have that same outlook, that they take and they take, but what are they doing to give back? And it's, that's one of the cool things about 2% is the emphasis that they put on conservation, obviously, but that it's, you're not.

As a business owner or an individual member, you're not pigeonholed to one organization or to one group, right? 2% does a great job of aligning businesses and individuals with, causes that they care about. I say it at the beginning of every frigging episode that I record, right?

I have this whole spiel that I talk about with 2% kind of their general mission statement and being able to recognize that. And one of the things I think is so cool, and I've said this a bunch of times on this podcast, is, you have your full-time job. Granted it's in conservation, for someone who doesn't and they start a side business or a passion project, whatever you wanna call it, and typically when people start those types of things, [00:47:00] it's for extra income, right?

Oh, maybe I can make some money doing something that I really love. But someone you know, like yourself is saying, okay, this is something I really love, I really enjoy doing. And I can make some extra money at it, but I'm gonna go ahead and give, X amount of dollars of that back to conservation.

I think that just really speaks volumes to, the type of people that, that own these companies, that run these companies and really where their mindset is when it comes to giving back to wildlife.

Jaden Bales: Yeah, I agree with you, man. It's one of the, my favorite things about 2%. It's been 2% as an organization has been something I've followed along for quite a, quite some time.

And I've always appreciated the idea that we're trying to normalize the fact that this is important to these people who it's not just people who work in this business, right? But it's important to the people who appreciate these places and recreate and try to give back to the things that make us all so stoked in the off season.

And yeah. And keep us looking forward to different trips and adventures we get to go on. Yeah. I think it's [00:48:00] real important that we just make it a standard operating procedure.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. And what I like about it too is how many, non-hunting or fishing or outdoor related brands that there are, that are 2% certified.

Because yeah, whoever owns it, loves to hunt, loves to fish, whatever, and they're like, yeah, we're gonna give back to conservation. Cuz it's, outside of, whatever his job is or her job is, it's it's something that they love to do so they see the importance of it. And that's normalizing it, like you said is what we need to do.

And there's a lot of organizations out there that are doing a great job and I think 2% just helps, regular people put us in contact with them and further their mission and help support, and fight the good fight.

Jaden Bales: No, I totally agree, man. Yeah and like you're saying, it's really cool that I know there's a just a ton of businesses right now who are just like doing this as part of their thing.

For instance and this kind of goes back to some of my work that I do nine to five, but like we are the lumber store in town and is real interested in supporting [00:49:00] our local work, right? And at the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. And those are the kind of people that's like totally understand that supporting this community or supporting this cause like really just feeds back into not just the bottom line, but like into the quality of life that people have who work there or people have who.

Our clients, our customers there, right? It just all is in this perpetual cycle that goes round and round. That's what makes it really fun too, when you're doing good work. As far as as a conservation organization and working with these people who really care about it, like you said, it just feeds on each other and people are really happy and stoked with the outcome, both as a hunter and as what they're seeing on the ground.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah. So what are some of the organizations that Hunt West has given back

Jaden Bales: to? Most recently I've given back to. American Bear Foundation and the Bow Hunters of Wyoming American Bear Foundation is doing some really good stuff and I might have mentioned it earlier on, but I really do enjoy bear hunting a lot.

I'm [00:50:00] picking up on that. Yeah it's a really big passion of mine and it's funny actually now I'm remembering what I talked about earlier. My dad got me into bear hunting when I was like in junior high. Like him and I went on our first bear trip. And it's just something that's been grown since then.

And So American Bear Foundation does a lot of gr really good research. It's ran by a guy named Joe Condi. And he's really paving the way for figuring out bear populations bear dynamics and like how we as hunters impact those doc. Populations and how we maybe can increase some harvest in some places, or maybe we can back off in some places and maintain a really healthy balance just like we do with all of our ungulates.

And then I'm a pretty avid archer. I rifle hunt quite a bit, don't get me wrong. But I really like the Bo Hunters of Wyoming. They're a group that I've gotten really involved with and they give a lot of money on the ground for habitat projects here in Wyoming. And they also are furthering Bow hunting as an opportunity in the state.

I just told someone the other day we [00:51:00] do not have a single archery specific deer hunt in the state of Wyoming. Really, it's all just like part of the, any legal weapon structure Yeah. For tags. And it's one of those things that we have a lot of room to grow and I really would like to see some more opportunity in this state for that and that state's work and that group is working on that quite a bit.

So yeah, those are the two. I think right off the top of my head I can't really say too much about the Wyoming Wildlife Federation since they since they keep the lights on in my house, so that's not really fair. No

Marcus Ewing: that's all right. Jayden, before I let you get outta here, ma'am, I know you mentioned a bear hunt that you have at the end of this month coming up.

One that you're pretty excited about, but, looking, ahead a few months. Is there, you got any big hunts kinda lined up this fall that you I don't know, I don't wanna necessarily say bucket list type hunts, but ones that you're really looking forward to. Did you know I have one.

I didn't. Okay. I'm assuming you do then.

Jaden Bales: Crazy enough, and we haven't talked about her a whole lot, but Jess Johnson is incredibly involved with conservation. She helps her friend of the [00:52:00] podcast, friend of the podcast, my significant other. Her and I, okay. Her and I both drew you Bighorn sheep tags this year.

Really? So her and I are both going on these bighorn sheep hunt on a bighorn sheep punt in the same unit together. And I think we're going to. Really try to tell the story about the fact that like this, you Bighorn sheep hunt is actually a hunt for conservation. We're not just out here because we like to fill sheep tags.

Granted, it is probably one of the only opportunities, if not the only opportunity I'll ever have to go on a sheep hunt. What we're doing is trying to keep a cap on a population that is over. Its subjective and I'm really excited for that. It's gonna be in the back country. It's gonna be with a bow and it's gonna be in August.

Oh, it's gonna have grizzly bears and it's gonna have high country. It's really just Everything that makes like a really adventurous hunt and a cool story. I'm excited for that. How long

Marcus Ewing: is that? Is that Bighorn [00:53:00] Sheep Seasoner, or how long do you have to try to fill that tag?

Jaden Bales: It's quite a while.

They're real liberal and again the purpose of that though is because they're wanting to get harvest on these sheep that they offer these tags for. So it's August 1st, the 31st with a bow, and then September 10th to October 14th with a rifle. Okay. But being like, we wanna be out there when the weather's nice, we're both archers.

We're gonna go hard in the archery season and Yeah, for sure. I'm really excited for that.

Marcus Ewing: No, that's awesome, man. I think looking in the crystal ball here, trying to tell the future, I think probably get both of you guys on after the hunt. Hopefully a successful hunt. And we can just share your story, just give you guys an now lit and talk about everything that went into it, leading up to it, you know why. Managing the herd and the numbers is so important. Yeah, I think that would be a great episode to get you guys both on

Jaden Bales: here. That sounds great, man. Sounds like we have a two B continued.

Yeah, on the end of this thing. This

Marcus Ewing: is, we got a cliffhanger, guys cliffhanger here. [00:54:00] Jayden, I really appreciate the time, man. It was great speaking with you and look forward to speaking to you guys again soon. Okay?

Jaden Bales: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, and I appreciate the opportunity to hop on here.

This has been super fun.

Marcus Ewing: Yeah, absolutely, man. Have yourself a good one. All right, you too. All right, there you have folks, another episode in the books. Thank you again to Jayden for joining me today and telling me and you more about Hunt West and a little bit about his background as well. I would also like to thank 2% for conservation and if you're interested in learning more about 2% for conservation, you can visit their website, fish and

And over there you're gonna see all the certified brands including Hunt West that you should support when you shop. I also encourage you guys to give 2% a follow on social media where it's gonna be only positive conservation driven content that is filling up your timelines and your feeds. So again, if you'd like to learn more about 2% for conservation, you can look for them online, on social media. Thanks for joining me this week everyone. Hope you really enjoyed the episode. Stay tuned. More great ones [00:55:00] come, and I assure you. But until next week, stay safe out there and remember that conservation starts with you.