The Million $ Handler – Jeff Ricklefs

Show Notes

Can you imagine winning over $1 million dollars as a professional coonhunter? Imagine everything that would change in the time span that it took you to win that kind of prize money. Join your host, Bryce Matthews, as he sits down with one of the most iconic names in modern coonhuting, Jeff Ricklefs. Bryce and Jeff discuss the differences from when he first started competition hunting to how things are now. Jeff has been playing this game for over 45 years and has no plans for slowing down. This episode is jam packed with experiences from Jeff’s career and we even get his thoughts on where the sport is headed in the future. Join us for another episode of the Deep and Lonely Podcast presented to you by Houndsman XP. This is an episode you will not want to miss! (Oh, did we mention there is exciting news for the future of Deep and Lonely??? Be sure to tune in to get the full scoop!)


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Show Transcript


My name is Bryce Matthews, and this is the Deep and Lonely podcast presented to you by Houndsman XP. During this podcast, we will dive deep into what makes the ultimate, top level, and unmatched extreme competition coon hunter. We will hear stories of old. Tales of today, and we will dive deep into what separates the men from the boys.

The stories will be raw, the truth will be told, and the camaraderie will be second to none. Pull up your chaps, it's about to get deep.

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it's time for something new.

It's time for something exciting On january 12th 2024 the deep and lonely podcast will have a [00:02:00] new sound and a new name Featuring my good buddy stephen bashamus co host We will unite houndsmen and canine fanciers across the globe. We are taking our podcast deeper into the world of competition, coon hunting, and entering realms of the canine world, which we have never explored before on air.

This new podcast is the brainchild of two friends who are striving to bring camaraderie between canine fanciers of all styles and those who are always doggy. Get ready. We will be Simper Doggy.

All right, guys, welcome to another episode of the Deep and Lonely podcast. Today, I am joined by one of the most relevant men in competition coon hunting. He's been relevant since the day he started. He hasn't really taken any time off and he will continue to be relevant for years to come. I hope. [00:03:00] Mr. Jeff, The Rock Rickliffs.

Hey Bryce, how are you? Good, man. I'm doing great. How are things going up here? Things are great. Things are great. Staying busy at work? Yep. Very busy. Working too much right now with the harvest season. But other than that, everything's good. Yeah, so you're still working. How do you find time to work? And coon hunt as hard as you do because I know you're doing both of them pretty hard Yeah, I I'm strictly a one dog man have been for many years.

So and usually it's a dog that is, is, if you can have a dog that's so called finished because you never have one that's completely finished. But my big thing is I have one that's usually just needs hunted and, tuned on during the week. So with this one, Hobo's four years old, I try to hunt three nights a week, two nights a week, whatever, just enough to keep him in shape.

And work wise I've just been part time for the last couple of years. It's not far off. We're going to retire for good, but. Right now we're working a lot of hours and I've been working, three, [00:04:00] maybe four days a week, but still go to a lot of hunts. So I can't sit on the couch because I, it's not me.

I just, I know the dog needs to be hunting and stay in shape. Yeah. And you do, it looks like most of these major events, you're still at them and up and down the road, no matter where it is.

Yeah, I'm very fortunate to have people behind me that send me to those places and I, I had back surgery a year and a half ago that fixed me. I was about done, but I'm a new man and I can walk now with, I can keep up with about anybody in flat country. So yeah, I'm, I want to. I want to keep doing as long as I can and I feel good now, so yeah, so so just let's just start off I know you've done several podcasts with other people and I don't want this to be redundant to any of that But for the people who might not have heard any of the podcasts you've done Let's just start off with a you know A quick description of how you got to where you are today run us through, you know Your early times and where you are today.

Sure very young, Around nine, 10 years old there was some farmers, local, went to school with their son [00:05:00] and just went up there on the weekends and they had livestock, helped them mess around with livestock. And I had no idea, I, at the time I kind of rabbit hunting, pheasant hunting a little bit with my dad.

And I was really ate up with any kind of hunting and guns, but I was really young, didn't know coon hunting. What is even coon hunting? But so they would take me on the weekends. Of course when we didn't have school and I was just amazed from a very early age that a dog could actually go out and smell and where Coon's been, so yeah, it was amazing to me that dog could go out and smell where Coon's been and find it in the tree. I started, I got a dog when I was not. Between 10 and 15. So I, a pup and it, I didn't really have, couldn't go out by myself or anything, but when I was 15, I got a dog that could actually compete a little bit and went out, did a little bit competing and just, it went from there, had, bought dogs and started winning some hunts and first man had ever really.

Kind of hired me. So somewhat to hunt a dog was Henry hit [00:06:00] back in the day, Cadillac style Henry's quick stop dogs like that. And, went from there to just kept proceeding on two other people were in finally in about, oh, it was 2000 right around 2000 99, probably Brad Fleetwood. Came to me with a young dog named Henry and asked me to hunt him.

Still wasn't really hired. He sent me to a lot of hunts, but did a lot of winning with Henry and John Burgess came into the picture and he was looking for a full time handler and we're talking like paid salary, 401k, insurance and everything. And this is to handle coon dogs. And he actually interviewed people like it was a job and I got the job.

Talked him into buying Henry after that and Is that Hardwood Henry? Yes. Yeah, he's Hall of Fame. I won a truck with him and things like that. Yeah. Yeah, I was a little before your time, but that was my real first where people took, [00:07:00] all over the United States really took notice of me and a dog.

I did a lot, I traveled a lot. Placed, me and Henry got, second, third, and fourth in the Nationals three years in a row, which is really unheard of. So yeah, I went from there to when John decided to get out of it. That's when John Strickland got into it. And with me, he hired me at the same thing.

And that's when I hunted we had several dogs, but the most well known dog at that time was Bad Habit. He's Hall of Fame now and everything. We'd, we did a lot of with him. Hardwood Jenny, which was out of Henry. From there I went Greg Dunlap, John got out of it for a little bit, hunted for Greg Wild Bill, and then we bought Cabo, and then John got back into it, and that's where we're at basically today hunting hobo.

Yeah something that I find is pretty interesting is, you've been doing this for 45 plus years, and whenever I first got into coonhounds, I had no idea that there was money involved in it for the first year or so. [00:08:00] I honestly did not know that there was even competitions, The first time I went coon hunting was with a cur dog.

Oh, yeah. A buddy in college that had this cur that would tree squirrels during the day and tree coons at night. And I was like, man, that's just amazing. I'd grown up going down to North Carolina to my granddaddy's and running deer dogs in the wintertime. And so I always had this desire to hunt with dogs.

Deep down in me, but in the end I didn't you can't run deer dogs, right? And so that we didn't have anything didn't know anything about it. So whenever I found out, okay, there's these coon dogs Okay, and that's something I can do. So Fast forward when I find out that you can make money in it. That's when I get really invested in it and I heard that there was this professional handler, and like I said, this was a year or two in, probably a year into me even knowing what a coon dog really was.

And the name that come up was Jeff Rickless. And I was like, man that's cool, and I didn't know who you were, had no idea who you were, didn't know anything about you. All I knew was that there was a man out there who was supposedly getting paid a [00:09:00] salary. Had a company truck had a 401k. Yeah, and he's chasing these dogs around and I just I was mind blown and Flabbergasted by that, and I was honestly at the time I was like, whoever this Jeff Rickles guy is he won't be doing this much longer You know, whatever and here we are today, I've hunted with you a few times Hung out with you quite a bit and sure and really got to known you pretty well over the last few years and it's just Very interesting to me that, going from a time when I didn't know anybody, didn't know anything about the sport, your name was the first name brought up, and today it's something that you're still doing, and you're still very competitive at.

Sure. Do you think that you've ever had a loss of desire for this sport? Has there ever been a time where you're like, man, I just don't know, or is it still something just, it's just consumed you? Yeah, I mean it's to the point now I'm not gonna say there hasn't been times and recently even like man should I just you know, I'm 60 Should I just quit doing this?[00:10:00]

maybe hunt a dog here and there for somebody and quit running up and down the roads, But that's just a very, fleeting moment when that crosses my mind Because it's just a part of my life, like you said I've been doing it I've been doing competition since I was 15, you know I didn't do it a lot back then but from the time I was 20 on I've stayed very busy doing it and I just I don't know I couldn't see a time now and it's competitiveness.

Of course, right? I mean me and Strickland talk about this all the time If they quit doing the competition hunts, we'd probably be done because, I'm just competitive or anything. I'll go play poker. I want to win. I play golf. I want to win. Rumor has it that on the golf course, you may or may not take losing very well, not to me.

Coon owners can beat me. Okay, all right. I've just heard from a few guys, mainly one guy like Steve Berkholder. He wears his cowboy hat around it, I'Ll tell you what, we've probably played 200 times and he's beat me twice. [00:11:00] He caught me in a bad moment. But yeah, I wasn't very happy when he, because usually, sorry Steve, I gotta tell the whole story, but usually I beat him by 20 strokes and when he beat me two times last winter in Florida when I hadn't got to play for several months and he's living down there, I wasn't very happy, but we're gonna try to not let that ever happen again.

I hate to derail the train there on your conversation, but I had to throw that in. That's okay. I heard about that and gosh, that made me laugh. That was a bad drive home from Florida. I bet it was. I bet it was. The Houndsman XP podcast is fueled by Joy Dog Food. Joy Dog Food has a rich tradition of supporting the Houndsman of America.

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open on X and just start studying the map. When I'm riding [00:13:00] trails, I put the tracking app on. It helps me get around in strange country. I could mark water sources, food sources, bear sign, just all kinds of options within on X. You need to check out on X maps by going to houndsmanxp. com. Click on the link on our sponsor page.

You'll go right to Onyx maps. And when you check out, enter the code HXP20 and you will get 20 percent off of your order. Know where you stand with Onyx. So sorry, continue. What were you saying about, you've hunted with the competitiveness. And it's, so it's just it's the competitiveness and I'm thinking.

What would I do if I didn't do that? Honestly that's a way of life. And there again, I'll bring up the back issue because people, I don't think people realize how close I was to being done because of my back. I was there, [00:14:00] I, we, the first hundred thousand dollar Michael Moody hunt.

And Mississippi was the one I knew it was getting close anyway. But when that one was over, I said, it's either back surgery or I'm just going to be able to have to pleasure hunt and, ride the Ranger around and hobble to the dogs. Cause it, I was in a lot of pain and that was in like February and I had surgery the end of March.

Yeah And it's changed my life. It really has I mean my honestly my back is as good as when I was 20 years old I have zero pain. That's good. Zero. Oh, it's that's awesome. I know I talked to you. I think it was right after your surgery down in kentucky It was and they did the toc zones. Maybe I don't know.

We were down in kentucky somewhere Oh, yeah and I think we were sitting outside of a mcdonald's waiting on the cast to get together and you just had your surgery and you're like man, like It's still a little sore, a little tender, but I'm going to be back. Two weeks after surgery, because I couldn't hunt Hobo.

Basically, you know that. It was only two weeks after surgery, so we had it all planned where Ashley, [00:15:00] Oxidine came up to handle Hobo in the TLC zones. So I met him, because I had Hobo here. Which is a funny story there. I tried to go hunting seven days after surgery around here. I did go for two drops and my wife, she basically said I'm stupid and I was because it took me forever to walk 50 yards.

But I felt I gotta hunt him a little bit before Ashley gets here. So I met Ashley down there and he hunted him. Yeah. And I knew. Basically, right away, the pain was gone. Yeah, so yeah, that's good. Fantastic. The way that I want to just go about this is as I'm intrigued. I always love hearing about the history of the sport because I've said it on this podcast numerous times.

I've only really been in this for eight or nine years now and hearing where we come from to me is very important to know and to understand because I believe that sets the foundation for the future is going to go and you've been around for. 45 years. You've won everywhere you can win.

You've won in every registry.[00:16:00] A couple of your top accolades there. I believe you were second in PKC top money earner for over 10 years. Yeah. I think you've been sitting in the top 10 at least for the last 20 something years, all time money hander, all time money winner. UKC right now you hold the top spot for money earned with your big win at the tournament champions.

Pro sport. I think you've done a little bit of winning in pro sport. Yeah, I've probably, I don't know, between 000 somewhere. Pro sport with limited, they've only been around a couple years, and I'll be honest, I haven't, I've had a, I've had a little luck in pro sport, but,

like John Strickland, he's for, he has won just about anything he can. So my luck's changed a little bit in pro sport lately and we've done pretty well. I've been doing pretty well in it. So yeah, I'm up there somewhere. Yeah. Between all three registries, if you just did some quick, basic math, I put you right around somewhere with a million dollars.

One or yeah, basically I'm sure it's over. If you, if you throw in [00:17:00] invitationals. Yeah. Things like that. That's money I've won. Yeah. I forget about the invitations. Like the Randy Morgan Invitational and all that. Yeah. And the Russ Myers. Yeah. The Russ Myers Invitational. Yeah. Yeah. Many thousands of dollars there.

So it's over a million. I, um, Strickland told me he's going to help me. We're going to sit down and do some figuring on and try to write down everything I've won because it's 45 years, a long time and you forget about a lot of things like, so AKC. I won AKC Nationals with Mr. Killeen. That was 10 grand.

Don't even think about it, cHKC won many thousands in CHKC. There's a lot of things you've, I forget, yeah. Most people don't even, they don't know. Absolutely. And I don't know how many guys that are still competing at a level today can say that they've won over a million dollars.

This can be, for people who don't understand the sport of competition coon hunting, this can be a life changing sport for people, obviously you're still working, a job and, but it's, and it's a hobby and it's a passion, but you can make money while you're doing it. And as a handler, I don't know that these owners and these money guys are making much money, [00:18:00] but as a handler, you can do it.

So like I said, I, that's just where you've been. And I want to just know more about the past. So when you started coon hunting, who were the big names back then? Who were your idols? Who did you aspire to be? Oh boy you know back in my early hunting career You know pkc hadn't even got a foothold in indiana at all.

I basically was it still the pca? No, it's pkc back that when I can remember. So that would have been around I'm trying to think When I really started in the competition hunting. Hard it would have been late 80s Um, we'd have to check with PKC on like my numbers, 30050. So it's not real low, but it's fairly low compared to the numbers now.

I didn't really hunt any PKC. I remember the first few. PKC hunts that really came around.[00:19:00] I remember what dog I was hunting, just a little dog of my own named Trixie. She was off of an old female I had named Jackie that I bred to Pac Man. Directly drove to Tazewell, Tennessee and bred her to that's Randall Myers had pac man down there.

So I drive all the way down there, which pac man was 40 minutes from my house, it russes, but he wasn't there at the time. So I had to drive all the way to Tennessee to breed, but yeah. So that little female Trixie was probably the first one I ever hunted. And then, so that's where Henry Hick comes into play.

Okay. He was one of the first ones, he was a big name as far as an owner. He was getting up in some age at that time, so he couldn't really handle. He had handled back in his time, but he was a flashy guy, drove a real fancy truck and had rings and jewelry. And, he was one of the guys around to hunts and he took notice of me winning.

I Don't, why did he trust me with it all? He didn't really know me. He's from Northern Indiana. I was from West Lafayette, but we got to talking and hit it off. And So he sent me a dog Cadillac style, Henry's Quick Stop, [00:20:00] Piney Hill Liz are some of the ones that I hunted for him.

Didn't get paid, but he paid the entries and, paid from, paid my entries and paid the fuel and food and stuff like that. Yeah. So if today somebody new getting into it, they're gonna jump on Facebook and, start doing a little research on competition and they're gonna see some major names.

They're gonna see obviously you, they're gonna see Dual Murphy, Dustin Weed, Michael Ward Eric Pyatt, Kevin Cable, they're going to see all these names. Who were those guys when you were starting? Oh, you definitely, if there's anybody's name that would ever pop into anybody's head back in that day, it'd be Ronnie Bone.

Ronnie Bone was the god of PKC back then. He was, and it's funny I bring up Ronnie's name because He was an all time money winning handler for many years until this money got so volatile here in the last five, six, seven years. It's crazy. I thought, man, I got, I've got to win the world hunt.

I got to win the nationals to catch Ronnie. I was second for a long time. [00:21:00] I went back and forth between me and Sluggo being second. He'd go ahead of me. I'd go ahead of him. Me and him were right there. So Ronnie was always number one now look at him. I mean it's money. That's why you know some of this stuff Some of these wins these young guys they don't understand used to the only time you could win Any 20, 000 or but we hunted pro hunts The win was 64 dogs.

You didn't get very many wins because it was so competitive back then for 64 dogs. Nowadays, these guys go and I'm one of them. I know, but you go hunt 16 dogs, you can win 20 to 60, 000 in a weekend. You know that before that was not possible. No way, shape or form that. You couldn't even do it in a year.

Now you can do it in one weekend. The dog earnings, the handler earnings, yeah, all that stuff is just, It's skewed now compared to what it used to be. Yeah, and I think that's a good word to use, is skewed. There's a lot of people right now who [00:22:00] are saying that money is ruining the sport.

And I personally don't agree with that statement. But, we're still in the past. Let's talk about what... How do I say this? What... Was a typical high Money earning hunt back then, week is like I guess let's go entry fee versus earnings right now You can have a sixty five hundred dollar entry fee and win however many thousands of dollars.

What was that back in the day? so back in the day I've just had this discussion in the last few weeks with some people too that so Our big thing back in the day if you're talking about multiple things throughout the year you basically had 10 or 12 pro hunts, but we'll get to that. Basically you were going to added purses And so you'd pay, a 50 entry and there'd be a 500 added, a thousand added to that money.

You might get 150, 200 dogs there, 60 dogs, whatever. So you entered, you got in the final four, you hunted [00:23:00] it off, you got 638. So was there a split option back then? Oh yeah, two, 260 maybe for a split 240. I don't remember it, which is funny because that's so many years. That's all you were. That's basically what it was.

If you went, you could run every week, on the weekends, you could find one somewhere, a big added purse. Oh yeah you're my big win. And trust me, there's many weekends. You're tickled to death. You hunted it all. Of course that was, that's a competitiveness that the money doesn't. The money means something, but back then you still just wanted to win.

But yeah, a whopping 638, nowadays that's a 20, 000 win. If you had a hunt today that was three hours away, that was the closest hunt to you, and it paid 638 to win, would you even load up and go? Absolutely not. I get a lot of the local guys, and I tell them I'm, tHey I don't know if they get mad, but they asked me to come to their, clubs and hunt.

I tell them and it's, it has nothing to do with them or the clubs or [00:24:00] any, I miss hunting against the local dogs. I won't go if they don't pay 4, 000 or more, I'm not going, I'm not, I haven't hunted in an open bit nine years. I haven't done it. Now. I'm not saying that if I had a pup that needed that or something, it's, it's just, I've been there done that.

My God, I've hunted in bazillions of them. There's too many. There's so many other things. I don't even, I could go to one that pays 10 grand almost every weekend. And I still don't go every weekend. I don't want to, it's too much, but it is no, I'm not driving anywhere for 630. If you guarantee me the win, I probably wouldn't.

Yeah. I was just curious, like how that, okay. Yeah, it's how that mindset is when somebody has done it for so long Absolutely stuff like that, so like the let's go we've talked about kind of the earnings there. Let's go to Dog prices. Oh my goodness. Okay, so Today it is not unheard of to see a dog posted for sale for anywhere ranging from twenty [00:25:00] thousand to over a hundred thousand Depending on the caliber dog, there's a lot of stuff that goes into it.

But here recently, we've seen a couple of dogs posted for 75, 000, 100, 000. Okay. And those are elite dogs performing at the top level. When you were coming up into this sport, let's say your first 10 years, what was the going rate for a good dog? Oh my goodness. Probably top caliber. Just one 10. You can't hardly buy a spring one year old that's tree and coons for 5, 000 right now.

It's crazy because I remember, there might have been one sold for as much, but the one, the top dollar dog that I can absolutely remember back, and it's been not been that long ago, 25 years ago, was Henry. John Burgess paid 30, 000 for Henry, and it was like people were just floored,

but there again, if we're talking, you got to compare apples, orange, oranges. We get into a whole nother [00:26:00] subject then, because back then, the old timers nowadays are saying, Oh, the dogs nowadays aren't near as good as the old dog. That's absolute baloney. The dogs nowadays are way, way better.

And more. Even keel is what I'm trying to say back then you had, a dog here and there just say 10 dogs throughout the whole country that were way up here. Very, almost unbeatable. Not, none of them are unbeatable, but in the upper echelon. Yeah. And I don't care. Nowadays you go to a, one of the big hunts, pro sport truck hunt, you go to, 6, hunt, whatever.

I promise you any four dogs in that cast can win now. Yeah, there's no easy pickings now. It's whatever, you got to have the breaks. And back then, I keep bringing up Henry, because, and Henry and Habert, but I'll never forget more than once when I was in the semifinals or quarterfinals, whatever, the nationals, [00:27:00] they'd run out when I'd pull in.

And say, come in here and draw. Everybody wants to know if we got a hunt against Henry. Basically I did, I play second, third and fourth in a nationals three years in a row. I was basically almost unbeatable until the final cast. He was an upper echelon dog. He really was. He made my job very easy.

He was just a country, but nowadays you're going to draw three other country. It's hard. It's very hard. It is. And like the caliber of dogs, today, let's talk about the style of them because we've, we think the caliber, they're probably, they're better today than they were. Absolutely. What about the style?

I feel like today in just my humble opinion is a lot of these dogs are run as fast as you can smell one that's been on the ground pretty recently. Yeah. Yeah, and do it again and do it again. Yes. It was it that way back in the day or was there? Was there a different style of dog? It's a different style of dog you had I get these you get a lot of people saying oh back then they all treed together They all treed together.

They didn't [00:28:00] really I mean You would probably tree together a little more way back when I was real young for sure. They tree together a little more be still had some independency in there, but Oh my God. Yeah. Nowadays they want to get as far away from each other as they can. And I'm I think I'm out of the norm as far as a nowadays handler, because I still want a dog that can trail a coon.

I do my, I despise a bushwhacking dog. I cannot stand that. Will I hunt one? Yeah, I have. But. But me personally, uh, I want one of country, any kind of coon out there and it's hard to find. But yeah, like you said, most of them are turned loose and half mile to a mile in there.

They just bushwhack one. And I'm not saying they can't win. I'm not saying I would never hunt one and I haven't hunted one cause I have just not, that's not my style. But that's the way it's definitely come to that. And that's probably why they dogs have so many, they're so accurate nowadays.

Yeah. Cause they're not having to gamble as much, they're not having to gamble, but maybe jumping forward just a little [00:29:00] bit here into the future, we'll come back to the present or I'm gonna jump around a little bit. That's fine. So if those dogs, back in the day, hunted a little closer, trailed them up.

And today they're going a mile and a half. We are constantly losing places to hunt. Absolutely. It's getting harder and harder to find areas to contain these dogs. So do you think that going forward in the future, we're going to have to start reeling these guys back in? Do you think we're going to have to change our ways as far as how we're training these dogs?

Yeah, I don't know how, I don't know how in the world they can keep doing it because I was pleasure hunting last night and I was sitting in the ranger. I had a little issue with my dog. I kept wanting to bust out of this one section and I picked him up on a road twice, the same road. And mine's not a ambusher.

He's a trailer, but I got, I was sitting there thinking last night, I'm thinking, I'm 60 years old. I've coon hunted around West Lafayette for 40 years and up here for 10. And I [00:30:00] can't hardly think of a place I could guide a cast right now. Either place, honestly, isn't that crazy? I've been doing this.

I got, I can hunt around here all night by myself and, but a lot of it's a drop or two and move, I cannot think of a place I could down in West Lafayette, there's a few, but used to, I, Oh, I got every hunt out of Logan's port out of Monticello out of Kokomo, but man it's like crazy how much I've lost, I still have a lot of hunting down there, but.

And maybe it's because I've gotten older and a little more um, look, think about a little more about getting in trouble or getting, having getting dogs where they're not supposed to because you used to, I, you didn't really care. You just turn them loose. But yeah it's changed so much. I don't know how they do it.

Down South, they have some bigger timber and some stuff, but I can't see how they can keep doing, especially with no leash lock, and all that, which I do. I like that, but. Yeah. Up here. All that I can really think about to take a cast [00:31:00] is the reservoirs and they're big, but they're rough.

Oh yeah. They're tough to hunt. But that's what I hunt 90 percent of the time. I recently moved up here and I really don't have a bunch of ground and the two bigger places that I do have to hunt, it seems to be some controversy on there, which is just, it's mind blowing to me. But anyways, that's a whole nother rabbit hole you can go down.

Like you said, guiding cast is getting harder to do and so back in the day, you made a good point right there that, maybe you're getting a little older and you're concerned about, you don't want to be where you shouldn't be right because it's a bigger deal now than it was.

And whenever I first started, it was and that was nine years ago. It was okay, turn loose on somewhere you've got permission. And if you dog gets where it shouldn't be, then, it'll be okay. It's not the end of the world. Just go get that dog. But now with the ever growing popularity of these cell cameras, Oh my goodness.

It is gonna be, I call them the death of the coon hunter. That's horrible. Because you cannot go anywhere without running [00:32:00] into a cell camera. I know. We're doing this interview the night before deer gun season comes in Indiana. When you pulled in, you said you were going hunting afterwards. And I said, I'm not going the next two nights.

Just, and it never crossed my mind when I was younger. I didn't, you never had any trouble. I listened to your podcast with Shane. That was awesome. I wish I had a conversation with somebody today about, about that conversation you had and we're all agreeing that, they need to do more with more Coon hunter deer hunter people.

I don't think it'll ever change the deer hunters mind, but the more they hear it, maybe it'll change some of their minds, but it's mind blowing how much. Deer hunting has changed the way I coon hunt this time of year and it's a shame because this is Absolute my favorite time to come. Oh, it's prime.

I love it I mean, and I still got plenty hunting. I don't have to worry about deer hunters But I'm still a little bit Still a little bit in that mode. I'm getting a lot more permission up here, but I'm [00:33:00] still I probably always will be if my dog gets where somewhere it's not supposed to be. I'm going to go get the dog.

If I get yelled at, screamed at, whatever, it's going to happen. But I'm going to go get my dog, but used to, I was thinking about this the other day too, I'd go to a UKC hunt two hours away and when that UKC hunt was over, I would hunt my way home. I'd hunt till daylight. I'd just go down the highway, get 30 minutes from the club, down a gravel road, I'd go.

Oh, there's a wood. I'd hunt. And no clue. You didn't have, you had a beep tracker, but you had no, you didn't have the bird's eye. You didn't know who owned what. You didn't have Onyx or an app like that. Nothing. Where you could see. Then you have cell phone back then. Yeah. But I'd hunt my way home and never had any trouble.

Probably wouldn't do that nowadays, especially this time of year. It's. It's really changed a lot. It has. And that's what concerns me, moving forward is any, you said, didn't you listen to Shane's podcast? He made a good point in there that, he said he doesn't think it's he does [00:34:00] think it's more of a people issue, the way that people think and the way that they're so guarded over.

Property and boundary lines and this is mine and stay off of it You know, it's just so much different and I'll say it's different up here than it is back home in southern, Indiana You know back home where I built my hunting cabin Yeah, people they post their ground and stuff, but you can call them and say hey, you know I'm gonna be hunting over in this area.

Do you care if I can get my dog or can I have permission and no I really don't want you hunting on it. But if your dog gets over there, feel free to go get it and up here I've just been flat out told no yeah times like no don't like you're not going Yeah, it's I'm with you I can you have to get your dog at some point, but what extent does it go to get that and I feel lucky that I really I talk really bad about the deer hunting, community in general, but in all reality, I haven't had a lot of trouble, but I know it's there and it can happen.

So I get so guarded this time of year. It's crazy. That I get that guarded. And I've really only had [00:35:00] one up here and no really run ins down home in West Lafayette area, but up here I've had one run in with a guy and when it was all said and done, text me when you're going back to get the dog.

But it was way worse than that. Before we got it all settled, I called the law. In fact, I called the law and they came cause I was on where I had permission, but long story short, that's really the only bad run in I've had. But I guess I'm just so guarded and I know it's probably going to happen and it can happen anytime This time of year and like it's there again.

I'm going to say it again. I hate it because this was always my favorite time to hunt November, first couple of weeks of December. But now it's just you're always looking over your shoulder. You're scared where you're going to hunt. And it's a shame that you can't share the two, yeah. And even talking about that, you're up and running up and down the roads about every weekend of these hunts. And I know that, where we live here in Northern Indiana, it's not just the case here. It's the case of most places and they're changing the dates on the PKC world.

Over in Salem, [00:36:00] Illinois to accommodate deer season because of some issues that's been going on over there. So it's like we are having to adapt and change things to try and accommodate everyone. 100%. And I'm okay. With that as long as hopefully the other parties involved can see that we're trying And they recognize that yeah and I just think I think coon hunters right now and the registries are doing a pretty good job of trying to You know work around the other types of hunters because we're all in this together Yeah, houndsmen need to join or die if we all don't join together no matter what you hunt Being a houndsman will not be a thing in 50 years or a hundred years.

It's just not going to be a thing. And that scares me. Yeah, because if you look, if I look back on the 45 years I've been coon hunting, like you said it's been a slow process, but where you go back 45 years to now, if you re if I really sit and think about it, it's mind [00:37:00] blowing how much, how many places I've lost and how, like you said, how The deer hunting and coon hunting have collided and it's, it's not in a good way at all.

It's yeah there in the 45 years i've been doing it another four if it keeps going like it is in 45 years There won't like you said there won't be any right. Yeah, we've got to come together and do something But you know that's enough going down the little bit of negative rabbit hole there Let's talk about some good stuff.

Let's talk about where you're at right now, you're 60 years old, you are competing still at a high level, you had one of the biggest wins, I would assume, of your career. Absolutely. This year with the win at the Tournament of Champions. With UKC, that was massive. acTually, go back before that win.

Talk to me about the little dry spell you went on before that. Because when I talked to you up at the Zones, where you were officially given the nickname, The Rock. Ha. You told me you were on a dry spell. Horrible. Yeah, it was It was in the winter time. I and [00:38:00] that's when Hobo usually shines because he's very accurate.

I just, the dog wasn't looking bad. But I could not buy a cast. It, I was trying to think. It all started in Quapaw about this time of year. Ten thousand dollar entry. I go out there and lay a big goose egg, but my dog was sick. We didn't realize it. You couldn't tell by looking at him, but That's one thing most of the dogs.

I hunt hobo included usually I'm competitive in a cast the dog stays right there. You get beat. You're still in the game, you know Somewhat hobos always in the game most time. He wasn't in the game Closest I was in the game was when I left the motel before we turned loose at night out there. It was like, what is going on?

goOd friend of mine. Good friend of mine is my veterinary, Doc Greenwood, down home. And I I called him when I left Oklahoma. I said, I don't know what's wrong, this dog, I went to him. Sure enough, he had some urinary tract, prostate infection stuff going on. Just very dehydrated from all that.[00:39:00]

We doctored him up. And he was back to normal looking good. I couldn't win a cast. I went to I left here and was in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia for a month. I stayed at Ashley Oxidines for a week off and on here and there, stayed with Strickland and Savannah, went to pro sport hunts, went to PKC hunts.

We're talking many thousands of dollars of entries. Never want to cast. I never figured, I couldn't figure it up the exact amount, but it was somewhere around 20 casts, maybe a little more than that. I lost in a row. That's unheard of. It was with, yeah, and it was always get beat by a quarter, have a den when I needed a coon get beat on a tire breaker.

The dog, like I said, he was back to normal. He was looking fine. But boy, was I frustrated. And now that I remember. It was a big joke up there, T. O. C. I kept telling everybody that I couldn't buy a cast, at the Zones. Cause, I think I had won a cast or two, [00:40:00] maybe, before then. It was, but I still hadn't, by no means, got on a roll.

That's where it started. And I got beat the first night. Ah, and same thing. Dog looked good, treed two coons. Alvin Zagmont from Michigan hunting a nice little female. Same thing. She outstruck me out of the truck, so she beat me on strike. Same thing. Same thing. Next night it all changed. He looked really good.

I treated three or four coons for another dog even treed a coon and got on a roll, scored seven 50, seven 75 something, and then just went right through the TOC. And then thank God since then, I've been beat since then several times, but we haven't been on a dry spell. We've done very well since then.

So yeah that's good. And I was glad to see you in that. Because we were giving you a pretty rough time up there in the zone about your drive spell. It was horrible though. When you're, when you've done as long as me and I try to tell some of these young guys too, you got to learn how to lose before you can learn how to win.

Because it's just like anything, [00:41:00] you're gonna lose. But that was almost too much. I was like, man, what do I got to do to shake this monkey off my back? And there, what a better way than to, and it was awesome. The way it all happened. Doug Galbraith came up from Georgia for the finals of the TLC.

And of course, Strickland was there hunting. He got beat first round, but he stuck around to be my number one cheerleader, him and Doug both. And that's great when you have people cheering you on, my wife was she wasn't there, but she was cheering me on and it. It's, I've won everything in coon hunting, basically the PKC has to offer and everything, but a world championship.

I've won trucks, nationals futurity, super stakes, DOC now and everything. And it just, it's weird how that happens though. When you win one like that, you look back and say, man, that was easy because when you win one, it's easy. The next one you go to, you get beat. You're like, whew, it's not easy no more.

But man, when you cruise most of the time and you'll have a cast where you get a break your dog might not look as good or something will happen. And I got one, the [00:42:00] TLC just, I treated Coon right at the end. I thought I was beat. I was basically sitting at a tree and text, Strickland. I'm beat. I said, I don't think I can win.

And it turned around, I actually ended up winning that cast. But you look back and say, wow, that was fun because you cruise through it. Dog looked good. He made nine trees down there and what, three or four casts, whatever, and had coons in every tree. Yeah, no, that was good.

That, that was a big win. What. Up to this point, what would be one of your most memorable wins? Because you said you've won everything but a world, and I would assume you're still gunning for that world of some sort. You want to get that notch in your belt. Buddy, I just went to the Senior PKC World Championship.

Ha! I said, I don't care. It was funny because when they announced they were going to have it, I said, I hope there's two people show up and I win it. Because I can say I've won a world championship. That's, but hey, they had a good turnout. They really did, but I'm like, I don't care if it's a, if it's the pickle invitational world championship, somebody said they were going to hold a world championship and by only me, that way I could win one.

I've been in the final fours. I've [00:43:00] been in. Boo. Coupe top sixes and top tens and top 12 top twenties, but I'm not one one. So I did go senior PKC world championship and kudos to Roger Dale for having that I think it'll be a big thing. They had over a hundred, I don't know, a hundred some entries down there.

So that was great. I did get in the top eight, but there again, top eight and got beat. Yeah. So you haven't won the world yet, but what's a favorite, what's a favorite win out of all the years? The Houndsman XP podcast network is powered by Cajun lights. All of your lighting needs for hunting can be taken care of at Cajun lights.

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They got a lot of stuff to offer over at Cajun lights. I'd have to say there's two. tHere's never been one more satisfying [00:45:00] than 2006. Henry had been retired for three years. I was hunting bad habit for Strickland and he got hit on the road. And killed while I was hunting him in Illinois in an open hunt, big out of purse, that was the biggest they had back then.

We was, we were leading the pro division. We were leading the open division. We were leading everything. And in fact, we ended up winning the pro division. There was five pro hunts left in the year. And when he got killed and he still won the pro division, they couldn't catch us. Really? He was a bad unit, but, um, but 2006.

So that's when, I can't remember when Havoc got killed, but, so he was what I was going to hunt in the handler shootout, the truck hunt. He got killed. John and me were talking. He's I don't know what you're going to hunt. He said, we really don't have anything. I said, I know what I want to hunt. He said, what's that?

I said, Henry. And he snickered. He said he's been retired. How old is he? I said, he's 10. I said I, I said, that's who I'd want to hunt if he, I don't have any clue. And he said you hunt anything you want. [00:46:00] And, I said I'll call John Burgess. He's been at his house.

The only time Henry was at my house, his whole life, he lived to be 15 was those three years and probably it was only two, he was retired a little while and I still kept him, but it's a, it's really funny story. And it's great. Cause I called John and I told him what I was thinking and he laughed.

He said, Jeff, I haven't hunted him. He said, he's fat as a hog. I said, I got three months for the truck hunt. He said, we'll come down here. We'll see if he can trick him. I went down there and I. Henry's 68 pounds in hunt shape, so he's a good sized dog, but not too big. He weighed 110 pounds. Oh my goodness gracious!

110 pounds. He's living the McDouble lifestyle. Oh, it's unbelievable. I said, John Burgess, what are you, what have you done? He just, man, he's living a good life. I'm like, let's go turn him loose. He waddled out through. He's 10 years old now. 110 pounds. He waddled out through there, struck a track, trailed it through the tree, had a coon.

I said, I don't know, John. He said, what do you think? I said, let me take him home. [00:47:00] So I put him on what me and Greg Dunlap call the Hitler diet. So he got basically, it sounds cruel, but barely a handful of food a day. Now I didn't hunt him hard. I was roading him and I made sure, to keep us plenty of water and everything.

I had to wait off in a month. I took that weight off cause I was running him hard and I was hunting him a little bit, but I wanted to get that weight off for a hunting him hard. One month I had the weight off, two months I had him ready. I had a whole month and he was 10 years old and I swear he acted like he did when he's five.

So I was, I'd hunted him. I'd hunted him. I'd got in a final four of I truck hunt with him when he was younger. That's a whole nother story. Felt like I got I got second, but I felt like I got Jude out of a truck, man. So it was kind of redemption. I went down there and everybody's laughing.

He's 10 years old, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So ended up getting in the final four and. And a very bad [00:48:00] night that night, the two, the night before that was the weather was great. The next day for the final four, it was like highest 17. This is in Southern Mississippi, and unheard of for that time of year too.

Frost was two inches thick when we went and Henry was never one to win. On a circle tree. He had coons we treed. He treed two circle trees to win the truck that night. Nothing else. He made a tree. It was rough out. But that was definitely one of the, if not the most memorable hunt.

Because, Um, Henry was always known as the dog that never quite won the big one. He final for the UKC world hunt, final for the truck, final for the nationals three years in a row, just net, I did win several pro hunts with him, but just never could pull off that big win. So that was awesome to do that.

And really quick, funny story about the truck too. Cause when I told John, I said, he'll he's ready. I said, what kind of deal you want to make? He said, what do you mean deal? I said, he's your dog. And he just looked at me and he said. [00:49:00] If you got enough, belief in that dog at 10 years old to hunt him in the truck and if you win that truck, it's yours.

And when I won that truck, I drove it down to John's and we took pictures and he, that truck was mine. He never took a penny. Yeah. Yeah, that was awesome. And then I'd say the next one would have to be the TLC. With hobo this year. So yeah, that's good. And I didn't know that story about Henry. So yeah, that's awesome story Yeah, and to have somebody like John who's been on your side for years You've hunted for John Strickland for years to have him be on your side and just you know Do what he's done and believe in you.

That, that says a lot about him as well. Oh man. He, he's we'll try to find you one, but if you got, if you know of one, you want to hunt, you hunt anything you want. And and that was another story with him too. Same thing before I ever, John Burgess is the one that said, if you've got enough belief in the dog, but same thing with Johnson, I got the handler ticket.

I said, what kind of deal? He said, I don't want any deal. He said, you're not going to hunt one of my [00:50:00] dogs. He said, you, whatever you hunt. He said, whoever you hunt, if you hunt Henry, make a deal with Burgess. So yeah, John, Strickland. He is a, he's a super good guy. He's tree could not ask for a better person to hunt for.

People, a lot of people know, but a lot of people don't know as of November 1st, I don't hunt for John anymore. Still best buds. I'm still hunting hobo. I'm hunting for Ashley oxidine now. But it had nothing to do with anything coon hunt related or nothing related actually, other than John's we he's done a long time.

He's going to handle his own dog. Try to lay back a little bit and not have to worry about handler. So yeah, it's good It's got to put some stress on again Oh my goodness, and so does that put stress on you like as a quote unquote professional handler? When somebody is laying down those entry fees for you and your friends Do you ever worry about going on a losing streak like that losing a bunch of money and your friendship being jeopardized?

You ever worry about that not with Strickland It's funny because, I think me and Oxidon will be the same way because I know [00:51:00] John forwards a lot of, from years and years experience with me. lIke I use what I want to say is I handle the dog like it's my money. I'm not one to withdraw.

Just for just if I get upset or mad, I will withdraw if I'm beat I'm gonna get out of somebody's way But I that's something that John's never ever done is put pressure on me for anything So I handle like it's my money and he knows that and we have that's another thing We've never had argument about anything.

Basically, we train dogs the same we hunt dogs the same That's what's worked so well between me and him Never ever had argument about one penny. He's, he knows he can trust me if he gives me a million dollars. He knows a year from now I'll have that million dollars. There's a lot of little stories I could tell you about money and things like that.

And he, he can trust me. Had his credit card for years and I've never bought one thing. So I think that leads to the point where I don't [00:52:00] worry about his money because I treat it like it's my money and he knows I'm treating his money like it's my money. So yeah, we've never had an issue ever.

I was wondering how that worked cause I'm not saying there hasn't been issues, other handlers with other people. I'm sure there has been, but ours is. Yeah. And it's good. Cause I always think about that. I'm like, man, I wonder what kind of pressure these guys, get into. Cause obviously the goal one day is for myself to be in your shoes.

I'd like to have all these accolades and do it. And I'm always working towards that, but I always do wonder about my man. What if you, what if I find a money guy? Cause there's just going to be so much pressure where it's not enjoyable anymore. No, it's in for me to give any, any young person you're way farther along than some young people I'm thinking about.

But, young people that are just getting into it My thing is just what I just said. Treat their money like it's your money. Don't, don't, that, don't give them a reason to not trust you with that money. And give it everything you got out there to win. And, but, just do it like it's your money.

And then you, I don't think you'll [00:53:00] ever have an issue. And don't. Lie to them about money or this or that, yeah, for sure. So moving forward into the future of the sport. It's something that I'm very passionate about and I want to see this be around for, when my boys are grown and they're having kids of their own.

And I want to see that. So there's a few things going here that I want to pick your brain about to see, maybe. If you think they're good or bad for the sport, so let's start off with the elephant in the room These big money hunts big entry fee hunts. Are they hurting or helping the sport? I don't think it's hurting the sport at all my only Thoughts, I don't know if it's a concern I don't know how long That kind of money can last.

I mean I personally think in the last few months i've seen a decline absolutely. You got some of the bigger, some of the bigger guys won't mention any names that are supposedly getting out and some have gotten out got rid of some handlers Strickland, he's slowed down just his own.

There's, he, me and Judas ran the hunts with him. [00:54:00] There's some entries. There's been some that have been some bigger entry fee hunts canceled lately, or knocked down to lower entries and. I just, I don't know how long it can be sustained. I don't, Stephen Bashman and I were talking about that literally yesterday about how he said, look at the hunt schedule.

He's they're not filling. He said, a year ago, you couldn't get on the phone with whatever registry quick enough to buy an entry. He's and now they're canceling them. He's and just look, he said, look at some of the big names. As far as handlers and owners, he said, they're not going.

And I asked him, I said, is there something specific that's. That's causing that and driving that and he, and obviously neither one of us know, he and I just come to the conclusion that people are just burnout. I think I can give a little bit of insight on that.

There's too many. You got PK or UKC is getting into money hunts now. You got UKC, you got PKC, you got Pro Sport. And you only got so many people with money that can do those kind of entries [00:55:00] time after time again. So there's, I'd say, so that's what I'm trying to say is a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, there wasn't as many.

So they were, I think that's one reason they filled, you had one 6, 500 hunt a year, maybe two. Oh yeah, you couldn't even get on, you had to almost camp out to get an entry. I don't think it's that there's less people that are getting those entries. I think there's just so many of those hunts. That's why some of them aren't filling. You're still getting a lot of them that do fill. Like 100, 000 hunt. They got PKC has one. They had two this year and then ProSport has one. They feel, yeah, it's look at what was it last? Was it last weekend? There was that 10, 000 in Quapaw.

Yeah, I think it was Quapaw, wasn't it? Quapaw, yeah. Yeah, Quapaw, 10, 000 there. There was the ProSport truck hunt and which TJ McCauley. God, how about that, man? Eighth grader in the final four of a truck hunt, I drew him both rounds. Did you both rounds? [00:56:00] Absolutely. Tell me about that real quick because I do I if tj's listening to this man, congratulations but that was very impressive and this might be you know, just a Ideal for younger kids who might be listening to this too.

It's an inspiration because you can do it So tell me about that hunt real quick. Yeah, and just before we get off the subject The other hunt was a 64 dog Pro hunt. PKC pro hunt. Yeah. South Carolina. Yep. Nope. That's right. You had three major hunts in Elkfield. In one weekend. One weekend. Yeah. That was impressive.

There's people out there. But yeah. I I drew TJ the first. I really didn't know TJ at all. I'd seen him on Facebook. I drew him at the Super Steaks hunting Big Bad Bud. Same one he's hunting this weekend. And Had a really good hunt and at the super stakes. And I thought, boy, he's a, for his age, 13 years, 12, 13 years old.

Knows what he's doing for one thing. Very much a gentleman in the cast. It was unbelievable, way more of a gentleman than I could name a lot of people that I'd rather draw him than those people. We won't get into that, [00:57:00] but so then come pro sport truck hunt time saw on Facebook like a few days before, maybe a week before that Dustin James was going to buy his entries.

I thought, man, that's awesome. So I get down there and I draw him the first round. TJ comes up, shakes my hand. Yeah, we drew in the super stakes. We'll have another good hunt tonight. And me, Barry kitty.

I can only imagine what TJ was thinking. I don't think he would be nervous at all. I really don't. I don't think that kid has an ounce of nervous in him. I was surprised because I'm thinking, he's drawn three people that's been around a lot. Trey's a little younger, but he's been around.

Everybody knows Trey. And, me and Barry, my God, we've been beating heads together for 40 years. Barry's a good dude to draw. But, so we go out there and Bud didn't look very good that first round. We both get beat. Trey Perron ends up winning the cast. Real funny story. I know TJ would love this.

I don't know if you've heard about it. He's [00:58:00] told her about it and he laughed about it. Not making fun of his dog or anything. So he gets treed right at the end. He trees him and we can tell he's got a coon on the ground. We're hustling to him. He's half a mile away and we keep going and you can hear him fighting.

And then he'd go to bay and they fight. He's before we ever heard him fighting. He's he's paying one. We get up there and I'm hanging back a little bit. Listen for my dog. Cause I need to get treed here before the hunt's over to win. And how it runs out. So I start hustling up there and he's 50 yards ahead of me, maybe up this little hill, there's a little woods there and real tall grass.

I said, go ahead, TJ, go ahead. He jumps in that grass. He said, hey hurry. He's got a coon on the ground. He's got a coon on the ground. He goes, oh, hell! He's got a coyote! Ha! He said, can you guys please come help me? He's got a coyote! He's got a coyote! Hey, Bud has got a coyote caught on the ground and has held this dude for 30 minutes till we get there, all by his lonesome.

Ha I have never okay. [00:59:00] 45 years of Kuna. I've never seen it. Bud had him caught. He had him caught the coyote and we could, we had to physically pull bud off this coyote and the coyote gets up and the guy ends up, stepping on his neck and getting rid of him. Yeah. Okay. But yeah, so we laughed about that.

God, we got back to the club. We told that story and everybody laughed. And I can just hear TJ telling the story. Oh my God. He jumped. You ought to see him jump back. Yeah. He's got a coyote! Oh my god! It was hilarious. Roll on. Draw out late round. I draw TJ. I'm like, are you kidding me? Which is fine.

TJ, cause he's great to hunt with. I'm thinking, I gotta be, I gotta be honest. I'm thinking, Bud and Ernie made a tree the first round he caught a coyote. We go out there Lee Varner. Hunting this year's Autumn Oaks winner. What's his name? Farris. And I drew a boy, I hate, I don't, didn't really know him.

He's one of Dustin Weed's friends and he's hunting little Willie [01:00:00] for Levi Stevenson and it's me hunting hobo. And then TJ we turn loose and. And Bud's a good strike dog. He takes first strike, I take second. I get treed, got a coon, cut me loose, Bud gets treed right there, he's got a coon. He's up by a corner, I'm like he's treed a coon, now he's ahead of me, I'm thinking, I'll get treed again. We gotta walk to Willie, through the world. Mine gets treed again, tree him, he trees Bud. It's dang, gone. He never even made a tree the first round. We walk all the way to Willie, over a mile, through these swamps and everything else. It's great hunting, but... We get back and hunts basically over we're split treed again.

The first time they were only split to 20 yards. This time they're split to read 25 yards. Hunt's over both got coons. He beats me by a quarter, never made a tree the first round, but he did. He looked good there. He treed two coons and even though I got beat and I was disappointed, my dog looked good and I was tickled to death for TJ.

I really was. And so absolutely I was rooting for him the next night when he got in the final, you know He gets in the final four. So [01:01:00] yeah, good boy. I was hoping he'd win that truck, win a truck He can't even drive yet. Yeah, go back to school. Tell all his buddies. He want a truck.

What'd you do this weekend? I want a truck, you know pretty unbelievable, I I think as long as he stays on the path, he's on and around the people You know shaq mccullough, that's one of shaq's dogs. You won't find a better person than shaq. Super good guy. I've known Shaq for many years and, that Shaq's dog, Shaq backs him and lets him go to these hunts and Fantastic.

I think he stays on the right track like he is. He'll be one to reckon with. Yeah, for sure. But, that, that whole conversation there spun around that there was three big hunts there in one weekend. So it was interesting looking to see what handlers went to what hunts. Yeah. I was looking at the Kapaw and then I was looking at the pros, the pro hunt and then looking at the pros.

I'm like, man I wonder how you guys choose, where you're going. Yeah. I'll tell you what I, this is funny. I've told a lot of people this over the last few weeks. I haven't done a lot of good in these truck [01:02:00] hunts with Hobo. I've won a few casts, but I've been to several truck hunts. Ashley handled him in a truck hunt in Florida last year and got second.

But as far as me, I've won a few casts, but I've never gotten to final four with him. So as of right now, my number one hit list is a pro sport truck. I can't stand it. I mean I will but last weekend I told her by my left I said I might quit hunting these because I just can't have any luck you might as well not even enter if ward's gonna be on there.

I mean that sucker's won five of them Five trucks. I know he won't share. That is pretty unbelievable and kudos to him hats off to him Oh, absolutely, but five trucks you think it gets old? No, I promise you I could win 20 and I'd still be wanting to win another one. But no, that's so that's my number one right now.

So Quapaw 10, 000 entry truck hunt. You got 2, 500 if you hunt both rounds. Yep. That was the first hunt I went to for ashley I'm hunting for Ashley now. That didn't have anything to do with it really. I'm sure, Ashley says I can go anywhere I want. [01:03:00] That's what Strickland always told me.

But that's my number one thing right now. I, and I hate to say it there again. I don't want to sound like i'm too big for my britches or whatever I'm, just really not interested in the pro hunt pro hunts the regular pro three or four hundred dollar pro hunt anymore my god, I did it for years and years and years not saying if that's what all there was Absolutely i'd be there in a heartbeat But there that's not all there is right and i'm fortunate enough to be able to go to the bigger one So that's where I want to be right Okay, just a couple more things for you here before we sign off here.

We don't want to keep you too much longer. The coonhound calcutta Yeah. What do you, what are your thoughts on that? Because this has potential to get really big. Sure. And there has potential to be a lot of mainstream media and coverage and people outside of our world throwing a bunch of money.

What do you think about that? I love it. I love it. Have I participated in it? I really haven't yet. I've played around and looked at it, not saying I won't get on there and do some play with it some more. But yeah, it's like there again um, back in the [01:04:00] day, you'd throw 20 down at a, 50 entry hunt for Calcutta.

Now, look, you get online, you pay three, four, five, 600. aNd I was kicking myself in the butt at the PKC World because I was sitting there going through there. I was like, all right, I told Wes whenever I did the podcast with him, I said I said, I'm not a big gambler, but I'm going to get on there and support you because I like what you're doing.

So went to UKC World and got thumped by Thumper. Yeah. I was like, man, he looked really good. So I was watching the dogs you know a couple days before and the day before the PKC world and Thumper wasn't getting Crazy up there in price. And I bid on him. I think was like 60 bucks Yeah, and another guy went up to 80 and I think I went to a hundred And I was like, okay, I'm done.

I'm just not I'm not a big gambler I don't want yeah, and I think you know, he bid me one more time for 120 And that joker went out there and got, what'd he get, third, second. Second. Second of the world. And the payout for that was really freaking [01:05:00] good. I think it was like eighteen hundred bucks or something.

I was like, you tightwad, if you'd have just bid twenty more bucks, you'd have come home with way more. I'm the same way though, I like to play poker, and I'm a, I love to play blackjack at the casino. But... You know the big money and like to go bet on a dog, but I'm not hunting Especially is like I don't know.

I just it doesn't not saying I won't do it, But like you said, when it gets up a hundred bucks or more, I'm like, I don't know. Yeah. Cause I was just talking to Wes about it, there, hopefully eventually they'll get to where there's odds and stuff and people that are outside of our world who are, that's all, they don't care who the handler, the dog is, they're just looking at numbers, it has potential to bring a really big limelight to the sport.

So I'm looking forward to see where that goes. The last thing I got for you. So you've been doing this for a long time. We have established that you have won almost everything you can win. We've established that judges going forward with as much volatile money is being thrown [01:06:00] around. Where do you think there needs to be a cut off where from this entry fee and higher, it is non hunting judges every round.

This has been an argument for years. Back in the day, they used to have at the PKC World Hunt, they even had non hunting judges early. Our complaint always was, back then, even, and it'd be the same thing today, you're, all your good judges are hunting. Boy, you had some horrible judges.

And my saying has always been, There's nothing like a good non hunting judge, but there's nothing worse than a bad non hunting judge. In my opinion, I know a lot of people don't like it, but they've done what absolutely had to be done is having hunting judges. I know it goes deep.

I think it goes a little too deep now, because I know you said where's the cutoff. I'm good with that first round, the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, say the [01:07:00] world hunter, the nationals, super stakes is the same way. So yeah, those qualifying rounds, I'm good with early and late judges being hunting judges, but I absolutely 100 percent believe after that, there's no reason they can't have, there's a lot of knocked out, then you could have good.

Not hunting judges after that. Yeah, and I guess when I phrased that I probably misspoke there because I know like a lot of the 2, 500 you have a non hunting judge the whole time. So I misspoke there, but I was mainly referencing, the super stakes and the one hunt and national stuff like that.

After your qualifying rounds, there's um, should they, and this is a, we've picked each other's brains through the years, me and John and a lot of people. Maybe they have to pay a little more to get, there's nothing wrong with, I'm not saying they have to make a guy rich, but, most guys aren't going to stick around and judge two or three casts for a hundred bucks.

Yeah. And, I know one thing to speak into that and not talking bad about this in any way, shape or form. Me neither. But you know I was Approached to maybe [01:08:00] judge some of the pro hunts for this new pro series They've got coming on and just talking around I'm like because you know some of these are in South Carolina Mississippi Tennessee, I think the closest one out of the first four to me was like eight hours away.

Sure and PKC was gonna pay 500 For a non hunting judge. For the whole weekend. Yeah, that doesn't even cover your room or your fuel. How can we be expecting guys to travel all over the place and lose money Yeah. With no chance of making money. And walk your guts out nowadays. Yeah, and be away from your family and stuff like that.

I agree with the paying more. Like I said, I don't think you need to make anybody rich. But, just looking around You gotta make a little money. At that most recent deal that I had seen, I was like, Man, I don't know how you can... Not get a local guy to do it. Yeah, if you're an hour away and they're gonna pay you 500 or two hours away It's a little different.

It's way different but to pay somebody 500 to travel 12 hours, that's gonna kill two days. Yeah, it's just I don't think it's not gonna work you know at least [01:09:00] they can pay for your you know Give you so much allowance for fuel and in a motel and then pay you. So if you were reimbursed or paid for your fuel and your motel, 500, that's not bad.

Above and beyond what correct, I don't think that's a bad, you're still not you're not getting rich But at least you are making a little money for your family Like you said you're away from your family and you're doing it You're still doing it basically for the love of the sport, right?

Which is what we all do But at the same time you can't lose your tail end. No, because I mean you'd much rather be hunting in it Yeah, for sure. All right, Jeff. I sure appreciate you joining me today. You got anything else You want to talk about before we get off here? No, not really Just, I appreciate you coming and and we, and you've talked about doing this for a while, I'm glad we got together.

I've done some other podcasts and this was a different style and I like it because we've talked about some different things that, and that's one thing I have liked about your, the Houndsman XP stuff that you're doing. You're not just doing. Guys [01:10:00] basically live what they've done their whole life.

Coon hunting. Yeah, we did throw some of that in there, but we're talking about things that a lot of people don't even think about, like you said the way Evolved and dogs have evolved. And so it was that's been really interesting for me, for you to bring some of the stuff up, cause that's stuff I think about, I'll be out there, pleasure hunting or working, driving the truck or whatever, and I think about a lot of this stuff and like I talked about earlier the it's amazing.

I've been coming up for 45 years and I can't think of a place that I could, actually guide a cast. Is that's not amazing to me. It's amazing. I probably could down in West Lafayette but I wouldn't feel safe, but yeah, so it's been awesome. You brought some of that stuff up and I've got to talk about it.

And the, like I said, there again for the young handlers just, do your best to win and always be straight up with whoever you're hunting for. Don't lie and treat the dogs and the money like it's yours. Like I said, I sure appreciate you coming on here and, thank you for supporting the deep and lonely podcast and hounds and XP.

We do try to do something different. You guys have listened to this, you heard in the pre roll before this [01:11:00] podcast that. Deep and lonely is transitioning. We're going to Simperdoggin come January one. We're rebranding and it's going to be something good. We're going to try and cover the majority of the competition.

Coon world. We're also going to branch out a little bit and do some different stuff, because people. People have asked us to do that and we like, we enjoy doing this. We enjoy putting these podcasts out for you guys and we want to listen to what our listeners are having to say and they want to hear some more stuff other than the competition stuff.

So Deep and Lonely, like I said, January 1 is rebranding to Semper Dogon. I'm going to have a co host on here with me. It's going to be a great time. You guys have heard from one of the best in the business, the million dollar man, the rock Jeff Rickliff. So Jeff, thanks again for coming on. Really appreciate having you and sitting down and do this with me guys.

Make sure you head on over to houndsmanxp. com. You can find all of our merch over there tumblers, dog boxes, shirts, hats. It's the holiday season. Make sure to get some stuff ordered for yourself and your hunting buddies. We sure appreciate you on all that. Make sure you go over and visit the page for the join or die merchandise.

Those proceeds [01:12:00] are going straight over to Colorado to support the Colorado Initiative 91, where they're trying to take away hound hunting over in Colorado. And we all know that if we give them an inch, they're gonna take a mile. It's not affecting us right here in Indiana right now, but it's going to.

So Jeff, you got any thoughts on that one? Yeah definitely the houndsmen need to stick together. You talked about that a little bit off air earlier. Yeah, the way things have changed over the last 45 years. We talked about that. In another 45 years we won't be around if we don't do something different.

So on that note, I also a lot of times I forget, but a couple of things I want to say. Thank you. Ashley Oxidine, Doug Galbraith, John Strickland. I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing if it wasn't for them, it's, they're in the back and it's not profitable for them at all, but, they love to see their dog out there and they give me a, give me free reign and two things that two people have a cutting supply, they're great people.

They take care of me in every way, shape or form and native dog food. They've [01:13:00] been my sponsor for 15 years, native dog food. We get on Facebook and argue back and forth. A lot of the hunters about dog food, they sponsor me, but I don't get a thing out of it. Telling people other than you know them helping me out in some dog food, and it's good dog food So yeah, those are the people I'd like to thank and other than that.

I thank you for coming. Absolutely, bud All right, guys you heard it here on the deep and lonely podcast stay tuned for future episodes of simper dogging and we will catch you next time