The Hunting Stories Podcast

Ep 081 The Hunting Stories Podcast: Bryan Speller

December 25, 2023 The Hunting Stories Podcast Episode 81
The Hunting Stories Podcast
Ep 081 The Hunting Stories Podcast: Bryan Speller
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As the sun peeks over the horizon and dew glistens on the underbrush, I can't help but recall the time I first shouldered a rifle, the weight of tradition heavy on my young shoulders. Today, we're not just tracing the path of bullets and arrows; we're walking down memory lane with seasoned hunter Bryan Speller. His tales take us from the moment he took aim at his first squirrel to the heart-pounding chase of elk in the dense Washington forests. Alongside Bryan, we explore the impact of his military background on his hunting strategy and how the soft whisper of a fly line has become as familiar as the crack of a rifle.

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Speaker 1:

Howdy, folks, and welcome to the Hunting Stories podcast. I'm your host, michael, and as usual, we got another good one for you today. Today, we actually connect with Brian Speller. Brian is a listener who had the guts, the balls whatever you want to call it to reach out to me and say hey, man, love your podcast. In case you found a connection with Jermaine Hodge, who's been on the podcast several times before because they're both military, but he was brave enough to reach out and say hey, I've got some stories I want to tell so to the listeners.

Speaker 1:

If you have some stories, take a hint from Brian and reach out to me. I'd love to have you on. But I want to say thank you to Brian for reaching out and for sharing his stories. Beyond that, guys, we're now live on Carbon TV media, so please go check us out there. It's going to be kind of a rolling release where the episodes come out every one every day, but still new ones every Monday, but just one more place that we're spreading the good word and some good stories. Beyond that, guys, let's go ahead and kick this thing off. Let Brian tell you some of his stories. Thank you, all right, brian. Welcome to the Hunting Stories Podcast brother, how are you?

Speaker 2:

I'm pretty good man. How are you?

Speaker 1:

I am doing well, man, I'm doing well. Brian, you are another one of the listeners who reached out and said man, I've got some fun stories I'd love to come on. And here we are, man. So thank you so much for reaching out, being brave enough to share your stories with only me, but the people that listen to the podcast, man. So thank you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, yeah, I just saw your story about Western Hunt Fest. I was like let's see what. Yeah, I'll go to that. Sure, you should, you should. It's a hell of a bit.

Speaker 1:

Last year I had tickets to go and I got COVID and I couldn't fly there, but I plan on going to. I think they have five of them this year, so I'm going to try and make it to at least two.

Speaker 2:

They got one right here on the Air Force Academy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, now I'm going to be at that one for sure, because my hunting buddy lives about five minutes from there. So if you're going to be there, brian, let's meet up. Let's pause for a second on all that? And why don't we introduce you, sir, to the people that are listening, so they know here they're hearing some stories from?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so my name is Brian Speller. I've been hunting since I was four years old. I shot a squirrel so I quick aside. When I was a kid I could always find my little red wheel or boat with two wheels on it, and I could never find an arrow at the same time. And I remember the day I gained consciousness, I would say was like I remember being in my front yard seeing a squirrel and seeing it was close in the tree and remembering where I had put the arrow the last time I saw it in, having the bow already. So I remembered to slide under my garage door as a four year old and I ran in there, grabbed the arrow out of my dad's bow case and ran back and shot that squirrel in the foot in the tree for a second and he took off. And then my dad was watching the whole thing through the window and so he's got like we bring the arrow in, there's like a hair on it and they're flipping out. They can't believe. A four year old just shot this squirrel with a bow.

Speaker 1:

I'm so proud.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, he was stoked but but yeah, so a little bit about me. Man, I kind of lived all the place growing up. I wasn't like a military brat or nothing, my dad was just in his career. So we I've lived in Michigan, indiana, alabama, tennessee, and I graduated in Tennessee, went to school, was an idiot and went to college, and I put carol college in parentheses because you know.

Speaker 1:

But I dropped out doing the air quotes right now, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yep, and so I dropped out, joined the army and my I've got stationed in Washington, fort Lewis, washington, and the first thing I did when I found out I was being stationed there is Google or YouTube over the counter Elkoning in Washington. I knew they had it because I had a friend that lived in down by the Oregon border in Vancouver. Yeah, and so I got with him and you know that kind of set that journey off as far as my Western hunting is concerned. But I grew up white tail hunting, you know, with a bow. I killed my shot, my first one at 10, shot another one at 11 and killed one at 12, killed two at 12 with a bow and I killed probably one a year, two a year every year since, and I never really killed.

Speaker 2:

I never killed a big one for a while, yeah, and then I killed one when I was 15. That was a big out. We're in Alabama at the time, yeah, alabama, and I killed a big one during the use season, my last use season, which is kind of a side, I don't know how. It was 15 years old. Under the use season I felt like I had every adventure ground I had, but you know, whatever.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, that's kind of my background. I have a fly fisherman, bass fisherman, everything outside Duck Hunt, especially Duck Hunt.

Speaker 1:

And you bounce back and forth between Washington and Colorado, or you in Colorado at this point.

Speaker 2:

I'm a resident in Colorado. I'm resident in Colorado now, so very cool.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, what's awesome is that your first memory is of hunting. I wish I could say that I don't like. I'd have to think back. It's probably like jumping in leaf piles, probably about the same age of about four. But that's pretty. That's a that's a pretty impressive little hunting story that a four year old little Brian was shooting a squirrel with his bow. I've shot a squirrel with my bow and I think that's impressive, and I did it like 38. So so good, that's, that's pretty. That's pretty awesome. But cool, man, it's. It's nice to understand a little bit about where you come from. So let's, let's just jump into it.

Speaker 1:

So I know you have a couple stories for us today. Why don't you set the stage on the first one? I think you said it has a little bit to do with, kind of the lineage of your family and some hunting lands. Let's, let's dive, let's dive into it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so yeah, I remember being seven and eight and nine years old, like, thinking, like, and my dad would go on these trips every week with his brothers and my you know, my uncles to Ohio and we didn't. So I have family that lives in Ohio that they would go hunt with and we didn't have anywhere really that we hunted. We had permission, or they had permission on some places, and that's where they would go hunt. They would kill some, some good deer every year and these weren't you know, everyone's kind of I want to almost want to say spoiled. Like now you get on Instagram and you see 165 inch deer and you don't even baton. I was like you don't realize it, like that's not, that's never. That's the new normal. You know what I mean. That's the new thing that people are just going out and shooting these monster deer. People have always killed monster deer. They're going to be wrong. I'm not saying that, but you never saw it like this.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, and you know they're killing these 130, 140 inch deer and that, and my dad would come home, you know, with the rack or like the story, and then take it to the taxidermist. And I remember, like being a kid, like, take me, take me, take me. And I remember when I was 10, my, when I was 10, he decided he was like I shot my bow at a Browning micro mitis, and I shoot that bow every single day. I mean for hours. Just, I didn't play video games or nothing like that, I just shot and my dad, I guess that was a year.

Speaker 2:

He was like you know, it's time to go, and so he took me that year. I got a diamond edge same bow every kid starts with and I went to. I think we went to Michigan that year because my uncle was living in Kalamazoo at the time. So he went to Michigan and I shot a deer in the butt at eight yards at 10 years old. And then my that same deer ran past my grandpa who then missed it and you know there's probably in a deer somewhere or carcass now somewhere in Southern Michigan with a Easton 5570 in the side of it that I shot at eight yards. But I shot that deer the next year. I had a big buck at 11 o'clock in the afternoon on the last day of the hunt comes into 15 yards and I draw back and I, looking back and I had target panic. You know, obviously as a kid you're not, you're not comprehending what you is going on, especially when it's that and I was like what pin do I put on this deer? That's 15 yards away. I'm going to put the green and yellow one on him and let it fly. I shot that deer right in the back strap and he took off and survived.

Speaker 2:

And then when I was 12, that's so after that year my uncle, todd, got a farm in Ohio, and not a big one, it's small, it's maybe 65 acres total, but it's in a very good place because the land behind it isn't hunted at all, so it's like the sanctuary that we're up against. And that year my cousin killed his first deer after I had backstrapped one. And I remember my other cousin, I killed one, and I was like the last one up because we're all the same age, so I was like the last one to go. And I remember like telling my dad, because we had the opportunity to go rifle hunting in Alabama when we lived there and I didn't want to, I wanted to do it with a bow. I remember that, and not that I thought the rifle was going to be too easy or anything like that, I just knew I started with the bow, I had to do it with a bow and my dad, once I made that kind of commitment to myself, he enforced it. You know what I mean. Like no, and that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

So when I was 12, we had to stand in the top or the north section of the farm. So there's four fields, if you could picture a grid that you got. The line in the middle is, and on each side is a field of some sort, like a corn field or green field. There was a green field this year and the in the middle is a block of woods, and to each adjacent corner is a block of woods, and so to which my uncle owns probably 25 to 40 yards in each, except for the one that's solely there. There's like a couple patches he's got that are solely there that are his.

Speaker 2:

And so I was sitting in a double ladder saying the same one, my cousin. I killed his first deer out of. It was a small eight point. And I remember, like, sitting there and I was so cold, managed, I was so cold and I drew, I was like I'm not even going to be able to draw my bow back, what am I doing here? And so I was like I should draw my bow back and see, and I kind of got up to do that and I couldn't get it back. So I hung the bow back up and I was like, well, I'm going to sit the rest of the morning and then next time I know not to wear so many clothes, because now I'm cold and I can't move.

Speaker 2:

So I I remember watching across to the opposite corner of the field and I was watching this deer. And you remember those first couple of times when you were hunting, when you'd see a deer, especially because, like I was 12, and I was hunting by myself. So I mean, my dad was also hunting on the same farm. It's not like he just dropped me off in the woods, but I walked one way from the house, he walked the other and I had a phone so this is new to me.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you say I remember, but I am a new hunter, so I've only been hunting for a handful of years, so this is the first time you saw a deer, though, while you were hunting right. I do, I do. Yeah, but I do remember the first time I saw an elk when I had an elk tag and I was like yes, my it's on, it's on, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I remember watching that deer come through, and it was two does and I watched her come through a hole in that tree line, kind of a little trail that cut through and I took a very good mental note of it and I took a picture of it. And I remember getting back to the house because my cousin had sat there the day before and seen deer that were far away too and there was a tree stand at the at the house which is also on the property.

Speaker 2:

Okay, and so my I told my dad I was like, hey, I want to put this stand up. He's like do you know where? I was like, yeah, I keep seeing deer right here. I want to go put this stand up. And I hate to make a long story short, but it's going to evolve in the evolution of this story of this farm. So we go out there and we put the stand up at 12 o'clock in the middle of the day and he's like you feel comfortable in there, are you good? And we walk back to the house to eat lunch. And I remember sitting there eating lunch and I could not wait to get in that tree. I couldn't. I mean, something was telling me I had to be there. You know what I mean. And so yeah.

Speaker 2:

I might have had. I got up early for me and lunches, or where are you going? I said I'm going to go sit, so you're gonna sit in that tree. Right now it's 1 30 in the afternoon. I said, yes, I put all my stuff on, put my harness on and start walking out there, get to the tree, climb the tree, pull my bow up.

Speaker 2:

And I remember I would always take a picture of the deer because as a kid, like no one believes you, like oh, I saw this many deer, and so I'd get back to the house and they'd be like no, you didn't. I'd be like no, look, I did look. And so, yeah, I had. I didn't have a rangefinder, you know. So I walked out to 20 yards from the tree stand, stepped out 20 yards and I drew a 2-0 in the field. And I I stepped out to 30 and drew a 3-0 in the field and I knew that 30 was as far as I was gonna shoot and I'm sitting there for man, like it's like 2 o'clock in the afternoon, so it's not exactly prime time, you know what I mean. And I was just sitting there for 20 minutes and I kind of looked up and there's this button buck, quartered away, standing where I had just kicked the dirt up in the 20, and so I drew back and I, I remember, like I was like this time you're not gonna put, you're all your pins on them, you're gonna put the pin on them and shoot. It's not gonna be a oh shoot, it's gonna be a. Settle down, let that you know, let it go.

Speaker 2:

And so I Did, and I shot that deer and she was, he was hard quartered away. I put it right behind his last rib. He didn't drop a lick of blood, but I watched him run off Into the next field and I remember, as I lost sight of him, I could just see his tail waving. And so I got down about 20 minutes after that and I kind of started walking following his tracks because there was no blood. I remember I was like I'm just gonna walk to where I last saw him. Hopefully there's a speck of blood, because you gotta remember, I've been down this road twice so and I just remember, like Crossing the little in this green field, just coming up, and there's little knoll there's never flat, you know and so I looked over. I said, oh my god, there's a dead deer right there with my arrow in it, so I called my dad Dude. I was 12 years old, I was alone, you know, and so I called my dad.

Speaker 2:

I was like that I just killed one. I just killed one. He freaks out. Ah, usually he's like did you see it go down? I said no, I'm standing next to it, it's dead. I'm it's dead, I killed it. He comes over.

Speaker 1:

I'm proud of you right now, brian. That's amazing Okay.

Speaker 2:

Well, and so he sits in that tree for the rest of the evening and we go back, we eat the back straps. I remember we did some weird marinade like soap, didn't pickle juice, or something like that to eat it.

Speaker 2:

It was so good. I remember being like this is backstrap. This is what they talk about when they tell these stories. And so Two days later my grandpa comes in and I go sit back in the same stand I still had another tag, you know, for a buck or dough and killed you know two does, and I technically about about st Louis. So I go back in the stand and this time I put a 10 in the field and so I had I had bought myself. I saved up all my money that summer and bought myself a trophy Ridge pursuit site.

Speaker 2:

For those who listening that know what that is, it's like the cheap version of a slider, like a hog father or an XL, and so I Slapped that on my bow in the summertime and so I had marked my little range. It was so funny because looking back, it was so dumb that I had this slider side on this 50 pound bow, because the only two I had. I had three Notches. You know where I drew on the tape for 10, 20 and 30, and that was the farthest it would go, just because you know, as a kid, you don't have, I don't have a draw length at all. I'm shooting 21 inch draw so and I'm sitting there, my grandpa sitting that double ladder, stand directly across from me. I can see him, he can see me, he's on one tree line, I'm on the other, and this dough comes out and my uncle had missed her and I knew he had missed this dough because she had a giant mole on her face and he had talked about it. And so this dough comes out and she's right underneath me.

Speaker 2:

When I see her I'm like, oh crap, because it's breaking dawn, you know what I mean. It's bright, early in the morning, still cold, and my grandpa was like I wonder if he's gonna shoot. And he was a. Why hasn't he shot? He doesn't know that during this time I'm still putting my release on, like, and I Sneak my release on and grab my bow, knock an arrow and somehow this dough hasn't spooked.

Speaker 2:

And she steps out at 10 underneath this little tree beside me and I smoked her and a spinder. Actually that was interesting because I had, like I said, I had to slide her sight, that I'd never moved from 20 yards and I shot her at less than 10. So, spiner, get down, shooter again. And so that was like my. That was my little checkmate to my other cousins who had killed deer before me was I did it with a bow and I killed two of them, and that was I got that monkey off my back, so to speak, and Moving down the line. In 2013, in my dad we had finally had like a giant year show up on camera and we all called him big nasty and my dad missed them on the very first day hanging the stand.

Speaker 2:

Yeah you know I go back forth about him, like I think some of them are, like I think Like the TV industry has kind of taken the deer naming thing so far, like they're giving these deer like people names.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

Like yeah, I'm going after Frank today, so I'm going after Ben today, you know? I mean like I yeah, so I have a bunch of deer in my yard and I love my kids right and it's fun to see them grow.

Speaker 1:

So we my son was determined to have the biggest deer named bingo, and so then we just ran off of that, and so there was bingo. And then Lingo, who's littler than bingo but still pretty good. And then Rhino yeah, because he only had one horn but was as big as bingo. It's just, it's a fun little thing to do, especially with your kids. Yeah, name them like Frank, you get Carl.

Speaker 2:

It's fun with the yeah, it's fun like with your kids and stuff. But like you got these grown men out here with 40 deer on their 400 acre lease and they've got them all named, he's like all right, I mean, that's what gets you going you know that's rain, deer man. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I continued.

Speaker 2:

you sorry so you know we have big nasty show up and big net. I mean, at the time this was the biggest deer there we had ever seen on camera. I mean, we are like On go mode for this deer. In my the first day there, november, we went this midweek the mid first to second week this time so it was like November 8th and my dad was hanging the stand that we now call big nasty and missed him at 20 yards. He was in there bedded with a doe while he was hanging the stand and they surprised each other and and he calls me all shook up and that year I missed a giant that was completely different from the same stand. I killed the two In 2012 and this was, I think I want to say this is 2013.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

Maybe 24th? Ah, yeah, something like that. It's been so long now, but, um, he calls me and he misses him, and so Fast forward. After I miss that deer, I'm hunting and it's like the second to last evening. We had just got in a snowstorm and my dad ends up killing him from the same spot. He missed him.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and that dears.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that was the biggest deer we had ever seen, body wise, neck wise, I mean, and he was 160 something inches, you know not a big. I'm not really a big score guy, but like I love when they just have those Dick horns man, like I'd love to shoot a Roosevelt one day that didn't even score 250 but just had those bases. You know what I mean. Yeah, I think that's the coolest part of an antlers, right there at the base. But so in big, I gotta show you my what.

Speaker 1:

I gotta show you my white tail, that I got a south Texas white tail and his bases and his Brow tines are just super cool, like one of them is just bending straight backwards his brow time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah it's just covered with all sorts of stuff and like he was. If I had to guess he was Three years old, if we let him go to seven he would have been a monster. He was a three-year-old and probably one. I've never measured him, but I'm guessing about 120, maybe like 125 right, and he would have been a monster at 170. But I was hunting public land in Texas. I was happy to just see a deer.

Speaker 2:

You know there was public land in Texas but so my dad kills big nasty and I think my next year is my freshman year in high school and I shot like a smaller, like six point.

Speaker 2:

Yeah and but my Uncle who's not really my uncle, is my dad's cousin, so he's my uncle, his nephew, who's not me, during the shotguns he. So Ohio is cool because it's one buck a year and they have only a straight wall cartridge or shotgun season. It's only like there's only two weeks out of the whole season you can hunt with a gun. So it gives a buck the box a chance to grow and which doesn't sound important until you realize, like Ohio, every one deer hunts. It's not like Colorado. You have like a one in 50 you know it's a 50-50 shot of someone hunts when you meet him. Probably less than that.

Speaker 1:

There it's everybody's, not you know whole Midwest is like that, so I did not know that. I did know that like opening day of rifle is like a holiday and people and people don't go to school and stuff like that, but I didn't know that there's that many hunters, that's oh, it's crazy.

Speaker 2:

It's crazy. So During the shotgun season, my Uncle's nephew, isaac, shoots with a shotgun a deer that scores 173 inches. The same I think it was the same year as big nasty, and A key detail to this that we'll circle back to is when the deer was dead on the ground and Todd was looking at my uncle and they're both looking at, they're both hunting he his neck was kicked up because he was so wide he wouldn't lay flat, and I mean, the deer is as wide as my shoulders and just Monster of a deer. And so fast forward to 2017. Yeah, 20, no 2016. My dad goes. I Think he left the house. He got to my uncle's house at 5 am, shot his bow after driving to make sure it was on in the headlights of the car, and then I Mean he got his time. I think he got his tag at Walmart too, because Walmart used to be 24 hours back then.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so some still are.

Speaker 2:

So he, he got his tag hunted, and that more so. Leading up to that, my uncle, brian, who I'm named after, had just called him and Saw it said hey, I just saw the biggest deer I've ever seen in my life and my dad goes out and Probably 20 minutes into hunting shoots that you're from big nasty at 40 yards.

Speaker 1:

The same spot that's another key detail is big nasty and so the big nasty at this point not being the deer, but it's a stand.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, okay, yes it's the tree that we've, that, that we. That's the one where usually if you're gonna kill a bit, when that happens. So he shoots this deer and it's got a freak like caribou paddle for a brow time. It's an awesome looking deer. I'll have to find a bit so cool afterwards.

Speaker 2:

But that deer is like 170 some inches, but he's got the same neck and face as big nasty. You know you can tell they're related, so it's really cool. He's like the offspring of the one he had killed. And so 2017 we didn't kill any big ones. In 2018 Was my first year in pop college and I had you know, I I remember that summer I bought a new bow to me it was a bow, take experience. I still shoot it Bought a whole set of arrows, everything, and I told myself like I was working in Michigan at the time as a Electricians apprentice before I went to college, right before I decided I wanted to give college a quote-unquote try. Okay, and I Remember, like practicing, I used to shoot the same shop. I don't know if you are familiar with him.

Speaker 1:

Sure you are, but Actually, I might have missed the same shot because him is who.

Speaker 2:

Chris B.

Speaker 1:

Chris B. Okay, yeah, no, I'm familiar with Chris B.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I shoot the same shop as him through Rivers, archery, in the things, levonia, michigan. But I remember shooting like the little jackpot league there, like doing everything I can to get ready for the hunt. And so that year we go down first week in November and I told myself, like this is you're gonna shoot a giant, like don't shoot a small one. You know what I mean. Like if you have to question it, it's not, you're not shooting it, and that's. I hate to say that because like that makes me sound greedy. But like the thing is is Every I think every kind of hunter gets into this progression of it stops being about. Like I know I can go out and harvest Adir, you know what I mean. Like I don't have to prove it to myself, I can do that every year. So I'm okay with being picky, you know, and it's not that kind of trophy hunting. Maybe I am trophy hunting in the sense, but I think there's a challenge involved in holding out for a specific animal.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, and beyond the fact that they are smarter, right the longer they've been, yet they're a harder animal to hunt. Yeah, they've. They've been around. They understand what it takes to be alive. So exactly not just about the trophy, which the trophy is a wonderful byproduct wonderful byproduct wonderful byproduct, but it's really about the challenge. Yeah, the challenge.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's the chase. And there's a good quote real quick by a guy I Don't I can't recall his name off the top of my head at the end of the podcast, so I have it in my notes so I'll give it back to you so he gets his credit. But it's a turkey hunter and one of his. His quote is I wish that I could breathe life back into him so that I could hunt him again tomorrow and I. That sticks with me because I think the hunt to me is is more of what it's about. But anyways, so I Decided I was gonna hunt big nasty to the stand Every single day. I wasn't gonna leave it. You know what I mean. Like I'm hunting there, that's where the big deer are. Yeah, I don't even want to leave nothing to chance, it's so my first. You know we're there for seven, eight days my first.

Speaker 1:

Roger's. I googled it. Ben Rogers Lee, that's it. That's it, roger's Lee. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So there was first. So the first morning I sat in a stand to the south or to the East of big nasty on the biggest wood lot there, like Called ninja, and we call it ninja because you have to be a ninja to get into this tree stand. I don't know how my uncles were hanging tree stands back in the day. I know they probably don't do that anymore, but they used to. I mean like ninjas, like I was 18 years old, I could barely get into that tree.

Speaker 2:

Okay and but it was about 10 eat into the wood line on the edge of a cornfield where the first two rows have been cut, so I could see about 40 yards into the cornfield and the edge of the trees are all about sapling level trees, you know what I mean, like where the deer can make a scrape and there's a hot scrape right there. So I sat there the very first morning because my dad wanted to sit big nasty because Last time he sat there the very first morning he killed the biggest year of his life. So I I go there that afternoon I think I saw maybe one or two bucks and Chasing does and it was. It was a good hunt. You know it's good sit, but I didn't see any big ones.

Speaker 2:

In the next morning I Went to climb the stand and as I'm climbing, I got there late, like it was breaking. I like to be there before daylight. So, okay, it was daylight. It was shooting light when I got in the tree. So it was or becoming shooting light, that Twilight period, if you kind of. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know, just I'm climbing the tree.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I'm climbing the tree and I'm looking to the backside of the tree and there's a doe, but she's not looking at me. I know she hears me but she's not looking at me. I know she's heard me walking and I look, I kind of peer up behind the tree and there's about a hundred and thirty five hundred and four inch Buck on her and they are. I mean, he's 40 yards, she's 30, and they're gonna work their way towards me if I get into this tree and keep in mind I'm climbing up the other side so they can't see me.

Speaker 1:

So I get to the top got it.

Speaker 2:

Pull my bow up, I hook up, you know. Hook my harness up, pull the bow up, knock an arrow and I'm. I remember looking at this deer that I had somehow gotten to the tree. Stand now and he's still there. I'm tending this doe and I remember looking at him like that's a big deer, but Not yet. You know what I mean. Like it's like the fourth day and I just, I just couldn't do it. You know what I mean. Something was telling me to hold out and you got a good gut feeling I'm hoping here, brian.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm not good enough hunter to hold out on anything, but you keep going, keep going, man.

Speaker 2:

So I sat all day that day and that afternoon I saw one and I just I ran out of light as he was In me and he was a big one man. He was probably, you know, that quality, that age, class of deer that we're looking for, and I just ran out of light. So the next morning I hunt there. Next evening out there, didn't see another deer, and the next day was the last day. Now, all my big deer encounters there, aside from that one in the morning, I had seen deer far away, you know what I mean, but I hadn't Closest ones have been in the evening, aside from the one in the morning that I passed. As far as like shooters are concerned, and, um, yeah, my uncle wanted to hunt there, right, and he's older than me and my dad's telling me is, like many, your uncle hunt there and I know, no, no, let me hunt there in the morning tomorrow and you can hunt it in the afternoon.

Speaker 2:

See, I thought after saying this, I realized I had made a fatal mistake because every encounter I had was in the afternoon where I could possibly shoot one. It was like middle of the afternoon and so I was like, well, I'm gonna hunt ninja. For the last day and my cousin who was like 13, he was actually shooting my old bow. He is I'm hunting ninja and he's hunting crazy eight is another stand we have and he's probably 200 yards Farther east of me. So you've got him on this tree line, slash block of woods on, kind of watching the same cornfield Me about 200, 250 up from him right, and then my dad is like perpendicular to me, like very corner of this field, right Okay, and then big nasty, this is the farthest from me. So we're all kind of not on this tree line, like close enough to like see each other, but we're all in that same group of woods.

Speaker 2:

And I remember it was the last evening, it was the very last evening and it was so windy. Man Like we're walking out and I just remember having a smile on my face. I was like this is the my last day here for the year. Like I'm gonna enjoy this night whether I see a deer, like Tonight's not about shooting a deer, to me it's. I'm going to. I've had my hunt. I Hope my uncle kills when I have big nasty tonight. But I'm gonna go sit, ninja, and I'm just gonna sit on that scrape and whatever happens happens. It's so windy that I'm not concerned about it. You're smelling me like it is blowing and so I get into the stand, I drop my cuss so I make a loop and drop my cousin off of his stand so I make sure like he gets in there safely and everything he's tied in, you know, with his harness, and Get his bow and everything, and I get in my stand and we all have a group chat and a group text message and that's smart.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah. It's so fun in the in November too because, like this year, I'm not. I haven't been able to go for a couple years because because I'm military, but I'm in the group chat, so every morning I'm dead asleep and just you seen a deer, you know I.

Speaker 1:

Like 70 text. Yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, oh, more than that. Oh, dude, hundreds, but every little update they kiss. So my, I'm sitting there for about a, I Want to say, an hour or two. It was getting the state so say dark would be 530, right, it's completely like shooting lights over at 530, it's probably 345.

Speaker 2:

And my dad calls me. He's like hey, yeah. So my dad calls me, he's like hey, I think your cousin just shot one and I think he's fine. Do you need to make sure he's like?

Speaker 2:

Because you know, like as a kid, you know, especially if it's your first year spining one, it's hard to watch a deer die and and I have a lot of remorse seeing it Even though it's a necessary thing for the hunt to happen and for the harvest to happen, it's still like it's. It is hard to watch, you know, and I mean especially if You're 13 years old and you shoot one in the spine and you have to shoot it again. You know, and I Get there, he didn't shoot it in the spine, he shot it in the femoral artery and the deer was dead before it hit the ground like. But he's looking at his first year, right, and I'm like we're high-fiving, I get his picture for him and for his dad and I sent it in the group chat and the driveway is about 300 yards away and it runs parallel to this tree line and it's the opposite of where we're hunting, the road into the farm and we call my uncle Tom, who is my uncle Todd's dad, and he's like.

Speaker 2:

So he gets on the tractor and and pulls down the driveway and I walk, I drag Chase's deer my little cousin would drag it to the road with him and like, before they go back, you know, because they're gonna ride the tracker back to the house. So hey, you want to come on back and start, you know, working on the deer. I was like you know, man, I got 45 minutes a daylight left in this hunt before I gotta go home for another year. I'm just gonna go sit it out and um Shaking, but uh that's I get to.

Speaker 1:

That's good. Keep going, man. I.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm walking back to the stand and you know, sure, cornrows, you can see a long way up them and I remember, looking as I'm getting close to my stand I'm creeping back to my stand because I'm walking back during the prime time, you know. I mean like I should be in the stand right now if I was really concerned about killing the deer. And I look up a cornrow and I see a deer and it's big. I can't tell, I can't see horns, I can't see any of that. I just know it's a big-bodied deer, that I'm looking at 300 yards up this cornrow and Well, you know probably less than that, but you know what I'm saying a long way up this corner and it's so windy inside the corn you can't hear anything and it's it's windy enough in the woods that they'd have to be close for me to here and walk it on dry leaves. So I Climb back in my stand, I hooked back up and knock my row and everything and I had made some noise getting in there. So and I'm not saying this is what brought this deer in at all I rattled because I was like I made some noise. I might as well leave a deer noise to maybe settle. The nerve of whatever was close and it's getting so dark is, say, 530 right, it's probably 505.

Speaker 2:

I Stand up in my tree. I don't like to sit down in a tree stand because then I have to stand up to shoot and I don't like shooting them. I have to sit down because you could possibly hit your knee or whatever. It's just easier to be standing up and I can see what's going on. Yeah and um, I Remember kind of looking and if you remember how I described ninja, there's these row of saplings on the edge of the field and there's a hot scrape, probably 25 yards away to my, like peripheral. I'm not looking out into the field, I'm looking down the tree line and I remember seeing an ear flick and and I'm sure you've been in the woods long enough to know like there's times when you see something and you're like that is, that's what I'm looking at right now. You know like I'm looking at a deer right now, even though you don't see the whole thing, you're like that I. I knew in my head I was like that was deer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so.

Speaker 2:

I grabbed my bow and I remember seeing the ear flick and I remember you know it's not dark, but it's getting dark, it's getting twilight, to where Um color is not popping anymore. So and you got to remember that the color of the antler time of a deer is roughly the same color as a cornfield. So I'm Looking at this deer and I see the bases move and I was like shooter. Instantly. I was like that's a shooter and he's 25. When I see him he's gonna walk, he's making his way towards me. You know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, so he's gonna end up it if he keeps coming, the road he's coming on, he's gonna be at five yards and he's gonna be right there he's coming. I thought they would be in the corn. Further, he's on the tree line checking these trees for scrapes and I just remember, like Hooking my release up, I'm making the motions as I'm doing this too.

Speaker 2:

This is kind of funny, but I remember hooking my release up and I'm watching him and, as he's coming through, it's so thick, it's so thick right there on that peripheral to me that, like I said, saplings, and the height of those trees is Directly in line with my flight path of an arrow. You know what I'm saying. So I'm peeking through, like trying to see what I'm looking at and I know where my gaps are. You know what I mean. So I know where I can shoot him. And I knew he was a shooter and he just he's checking, he's licking this branch, he's licking this dang branch.

Speaker 2:

Man, it felt like forever because as I'm watching him lick this branch, I'm counting, you know, I'm looking at the brows and I'm like, okay, ass shooter, big brows, he's for sure. You know. I mean, it's not a question. And he started, he puts his head down and it was like, all at once he was like it's time to start walking towards this dude and he starts coming, man, and I remember being like okay, 20, okay 15, draw, draw I'm holding, he's at 10, find a hole in this tree to shoot this deer, because he's getting closer and he's gonna, he's gonna step on it Like I'm in a tree but like he's gonna be at the bottom of the tree. You know what I mean, and so.

Speaker 2:

I'm like all right, I there's my hole. Ten yards, eight, all right, stop right. And I shot and I heard the arrow smack him, you know, right in the spine, and he drops.

Speaker 1:

And um, so you shot him from like above.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That's crazy, okay, not that far above, though I was not that high in the tree, maybe 13, 14 feet, so Okay.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, but like straight down, like you, you it's like hard to think about hitting the lung. You just went straight center mass and spine shot.

Speaker 2:

I held it low, I wasn't trying to shoot him in the spine, it just, you know, happened.

Speaker 1:

So Gotcha.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I and I shoot him and, you know, spine him. And when he right the arrow hits, he throws his head back and falls to the ground. And when he threw his head back, that's when I could see cause. Keep in mind, everything's been blending in this whole time and I, once I saw the bases, I was like, don't you look at those antlers? And when I saw, when I saw his head tip back, and when they hit the ground it didn't lay flat. You know, keep in mind, like I told you, isaac's deer didn't lay flat. So I'm thinking big, nasty, big. You know what I mean. That's my, that was my term in my head like big nasty, big, don't settle for less.

Speaker 2:

You're about to rename that tree stand sometimes, whatever this deer is, yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Okay so.

Speaker 2:

I yell, right, I'm like oh my gosh. And my dad hears me yell cause keep in mind, he's only 300 yards away maximum. And so he calls me. He's like what happened? I said I just smoked one. He's big, nasty big, he's dead, he's down. He's right here, cause I think I did clip along way Like he was bleeding a lot you know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

So and he's like okay, I'm on my way, I'm on my way. And during this time period me and my dad used to run bloodhounds, like before tracking dogs were cool, like we did that not to sound like a hipster or another like, but like we were, we would get calls like all the time in November hey, we just shot this deer, can't find it. Can you bring your dog? And I'm climbing down the tree and my like one of my mentors, like on the fishing team I was bass fished competitively in high school. So he calls me. He's like hey, man, you think you can bring that dog over. I said, raymond, I got it. Oh, I just shot a giant.

Speaker 2:

I hung up the phone and so I get to the bottom of the tree. I see my dad, cause he's running over. You know what I mean. I told him he was dead right here. My dad, I look at the deer and look at my dad and I'm like throw my bow down, run to my dad, hug my dad. And I'm like you're not going to believe how big this deer is. And he gets up to me and he, like I go to look at it and like, by this time the adrenaline's like going crazy and the group chats obviously knows what's going on. Group chats blowing up and so my uncle in Michigan calls me and FaceTime's. He's like how big is it? You know what I mean. I heard you just shot a giant and I'm like I'm still shaking. You know what I mean. But I'm holding the phone up and my dad comes up from behind me and he's like dude, he's got 18 points.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

I'm like I'm like no way, right, that doesn't exist. It doesn't exist here. And I go count Sure enough, man, 18 points. And I take a picture, send it to my buddies on Snapchat and they're like I'm like how big? Well, first of all, I'm like I just shot a giant and everyone's like BS picker, it didn't happen. Here's the picture bud Like, and they're like oh my God, that's a 180 inch deer. And I remember being like, yeah, man, I don't know what he scores. You know, I never seen a deer this big.

Speaker 2:

And so we get them quartered up, skull cap them, everything, and we go, we take him home and we've tracked deer on this ranch in Tennessee. Well, done away. And there's a scoring guy there. They have like a scorer and like groundskeeper and but he scores deer. Okay, like that's part of his job there is to score the deer. And so, cause we don't know how to score deer, you know what I mean? We've every deer we've ever had was scored by a taxidermist and like we've never like had one, we were like really that curious in the whole drive home. I don't know if you're familiar with this. It used to be bigger than it is now, but bowhuntingcom, like bowhunter die. Like the show, they posted the picture and it goes crazy viral. So, like the whole ride, 18 hours drive home is just my phone blowing up, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's cool.

Speaker 2:

People are saying like. People are saying dude, that's bigger than 180. And I'm like dude, I don't know Like I think it's 170 inches. You know what I mean, cause my only reference is Isaac's deer and he didn't lay flat. So we take him to Dunaway and everyone kind of takes a guess at the score, cause they had like guys hunting there and I felt bad bringing this deer there, cause no one had killed one there that night and it's a private club. You know what I mean. It's almost like a high it's not high fence, but it's almost like those ranches in Texas where they've got like the sheds and everything where the scoring deer and so Skyler is his name he comes out. He's like everyone take a guess and a couple guys are like one guy's at 170. I'm like you're a little and another guy's like I think he's gonna do it, I think he's gonna go 200. And I'm like no way, keep in mind, like I don't care. Really. You know what I mean Like.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you're ecstatic regardless.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and he flipped his little calculator app around and it was a 206 and 680. And I was like, I was like dude, my life just changed. I was like this is crazy. And you know, kind of fast forward, that he got the nickname the beast. And so from Ted Nugent, you had Ted Nugent on. I don't know if you ever heard his quote like the beast is dead. Long live the beast. That's where that name came from.

Speaker 1:

But Okay, that's awesome Okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So and then this year my uncle killed one that's not, he's not 206, but he's big. I don't know what he scores, but he's gonna be big. I brought maybe 180. And but that's kind of the story of that farm and just how that's been in our family. But in the story, coincidentally, of my biggest year that I will ever shoot and I will never have a problem with it. But after we killed that, on the walk back to the house, my dad was like what's next? You know what I mean? Where do you go from here? Like just joking around, I was like everyone was kind of like I guess elk, yeah, and so that'll lead us into yeah, that'll lead us into this next one.

Speaker 2:

I got stationed in Washington in 2020. This is after I messed around in college and then decided I needed to join the army, and this is the main reason that I felt like compelled to listen to the Germain Hodge stuff, because he has a very similar background and he didn't really elk hunt for John. The Army and the army put him around elk. Well, the army put me around elk. So I get to Washington and, as you know, it didn't put me around a lot of elk.

Speaker 1:

But they were there. Yeah, yeah, but not a lot of them. They're there.

Speaker 2:

I remember reading on a forum one time someone said you have a better chance of killing Bigfoot in this unit than ever seeing an elk and I was like all right okay. I guess I'm not gonna go there.

Speaker 1:

And yeah, I went hunting for a few years before I saw an elk and I remember talking with my hunting buddies being like how do I know the difference between a deer and an elk? And then I saw my first elk and I was like, oh, that's obvious.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I know the difference, yep, I see it. And so I got stationed there as a brand new private man, like living in the barracks and everything, and this is before I was married. So my mom brought me my bow and my honey and like fishing equipment, like cause they wanted to come out and see me one day. So I was like, hey, if you're coming, like, can you bring my stuff? So she brought my shotgun, my bow, fishing rods and I remember I bought this dude, I bought this clapped out Jeep for like 1500 bucks. And I remember being like I'm not gonna every free chance I have, I'm gonna go look for elk. So every weekend for that I mean for the season every single weekend, man, I was out looking for elk all over Washington, northwestern, on the Western side, cause I knew I was gonna hunt the Western side, cause I wasn't gonna be able to have the time off to go like playing a trip East.

Speaker 1:

So you're going for the Rosies?

Speaker 2:

I knew I was gonna be, yeah, and so I knew I was gonna be Roosevelt Hunter, calf, gait Hunt, and so I ended up finding a bunch of elk. And then I got there opening day and it turns out well. So I, a buddy, been telling him just like he's Washington, so he's like one of the best people I've ever met, like give you a share off his back. But he, we get, we're like hyped for elk season, right. And so this first day I was like and I had bulls on camera, big bulls on camera, and I thought I had just hit a slam dunk, cause this whole time I'm black tail hunting there, cause you remember, the art deer is like you have like 10 days of September with no elk season but you can deer hunt. So I'm in the woods in September here in elk bugle and seeing elk while I'm deer hunting in an OTC unit. So I'm, you know, I'm hyped, like I know I've hit a slam dunk.

Speaker 2:

Well, it turns out so did the rest of that county of Washington, well, the whole Western side of Washington, because, oh my God, I had never seen so many people hunting in one place. And I remember telling Ethan like we hunted that first day and the only thing we ran into were other hunters and we actually ran big foot hunters who showed me all their trail camera pictures. There's some giants in there still that never got killed. But so I'm like dude, we need to bomb somewhere else. So we literally like pull up all the like, all the preseason scouting we should have been doing, to have a plan B right. We do in two hours at the gas station the night after opening day.

Speaker 2:

Perfect, they're a dart on the map and I'm like, dude, let's go, I'll drive Like we'll take turns driving, let's go. So we go, man, and as we're pulling into the state land, this big chunk of state land that's bordered by private, but walk on timber company land. We're on timber company land. That's back here later we jump the elk. I mean not the trailhead, because there's not really trailhead, and like the timber land crosses the road at the front on the public. We have two hours until shooting light because we all night like in taking breaks in that.

Speaker 2:

So, um, I, we, we spooked those elk and I'm like sick, let's drive three more miles into the stale hand and then hunt there and Up in the morning and all these paths that I'm like not again, where did we see elk? And and um, this is something like I preach on my podcast is like time in the woods is the biggest killer, like if you can put just time in the woods, not looking I mean looking for elk, but not, you're not looking for anything else, you're just hunting. Like Indeligently hunting at time in the woods is what will kill more than anything, that Having the, the patience to just be there, and so I agree 100%, man.

Speaker 1:

It's about getting reps.

Speaker 2:

Yep, and so that we drive right back to where we jump those elk. That morning, dark that night, I guess, and I was like, dude, we're not gonna fight the crowd, like, let's just hunt. So we stopped the truck right there on the side of that logging road and walked into the woods. And I tell you what man, we walked 300 yards and Ethan puts his hand out. He's like don't move. You know, he's like there's a bull and it's legal, and it's 50 yards away, don't move. And he had no idea we were there and I had no idea Ethan could see him playing his day. And then we kind of lost sight of him. And there you know how that country is, out there, these little creeks that are 10 feet deep. You don't even know they're there because the ferns are there, so like, and he's down in that bottom. So we go like I'm standing or that we saw this elk. I'm like where is he? And I look behind you and I'm like, oh my god, there he is. He's 40 yards away, don't move, like it. So we start getting into it with this bull calling, because he is now dipped up over the hill. So we're trying to call him back to us During this call, in knowing what I know now that he was raking the whole time, I could have just snuck up the Greek bed and probably shot him 30 yards.

Speaker 2:

I drew back on him at like 45 and he was just. I just didn't have a clear shot, and but that was my first. You know season hunting Washington and Ethan missed a cow that year, and so you know how it is in Washington too. Like you get on these Facebook forums and groups and people are like yeah, I didn't even see an oak all year. And here I am like Thinking like dude.

Speaker 2:

We just had two encounters like I could have shot one if I was better at hunting and Ethan missed one like.

Speaker 2:

Like so, like maybe there's something to what we're doing, maybe there's something to this whole just go hunting thing and the next year? So fast forward. I'm married now at this point in time, and my baby is due Any day now, and my dad, my parents, who had come up because, um, they Obviously wanted to be there when you know, my daughter was born, and so this is the first time they were gonna be grandma, grandpa yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah and so we're me and my dad are sitting in the house, my mom and my wife are just out shopping or whatever, and he's like do you want to go hunting tonight?

Speaker 2:

And I'm like, I mean, I got a spot, but we got to leave right now and this spot is the same place. Opening day, remember. I told you like we couldn't buy a parking spot.

Speaker 1:

You know, I mean like there's that people there.

Speaker 2:

But this is the middle of the second week of the season, you know, the season's only two week. So I'm like, oh, can it hurt? Let's do it, man, let's go. So throw my camera on, grab my bow, we hop in the truck and go and I'm like I got this route, this kind of loop I make there that we can cover ground and we'll get out of here at dark, but we'll be okay, you know. I mean like we're not that far, it's not in the back, I'm sure nothing. And I was like, but we, we do stand a strong cancer, the leasing, you know, just cuz, you know, over that by this time I've had so much time in those woods looking for him and I kind of knew, not their loops or nothing, but I knew when to expect to see him. And it was like the first cold day in September and I was like, oh, they should be, you know they should be down.

Speaker 2:

And we got, we start going and there's a hike in this horse trail and I was like let's peek off into the riverbed because you can see way up these riverbeds. You know it is it's like the videos of those guys in British Columbia. It's how the Cascades are. You see, way up these riverbeds, and so this is a cascade bowl. This is not a coastal, so yeah. So I'm Kind of step out. I'm like, oh, there's three cows right there. They're a hundred yards away and the wind is in our face and they're not looking at us like this is my opportunity to shoot milk. So I dropped my pack, dropped my call, show my dad. I'm like you see these out, cuz you know he's not alcoony, or he was there, well, the year we went, but he didn't really hunt, you know. I mean, they're just coming to visit cuz I had just moved there. And so, um, like you see him, he's like, yeah, that's you thinking, kill one. I'm like, well, we can try.

Speaker 1:

Um, had you got my pack your buddy killed a cow at this point. Had you put any down up until this point, or an or? I had?

Speaker 2:

not, you know, I had never killed enough, I had only the. The year prior was the first year I ever kind of. I grew up turkey on, so there's some consolation in that. But so I I'm start making my stalk and I remember it's all these small what, the alder trees, it's all these small alder groves on the riverbed and then up on the bank, yeah, the pines, like in the old old growth. So I started sneaking through the old growth and I remember, like thinking to myself, like why is there three cows out here with no bowl? And it is the middle, it's almost the end of September, like you know, tiktok, september 20th. What's going on?

Speaker 2:

and I remember like I'm like look around and, like mace, there's not a bowl. And so I look up and I just start have glass on me, so I'm just with my eyes, he can through these all the bristles and finally I see an antler wave. I'm old and he's not small, it's up and so and I see him and he's probably 70, and so I crept up to about 15. He stands up and I Shoot and I blow it right and Mm-hmm, that one hurt and so I bet. But it was the only day that was I saw. I haunted opening day, I hunted opening day and I hunted the day after opening day. Other than that, that was the only day I had to help out here. So I'm surprised you got out of all that.

Speaker 1:

So like how, how much later was your, your daughter born? You said daughter, right.

Speaker 2:

So I should, I should yep. I shot at that oak September 18th or 19th and my daughter was born the 22nd.

Speaker 1:

That's amazing. My daughter's birthday is October. Yeah, yeah so I had a similar experience from my wife was like Okay, you got a week at the beginning of September, then get your ass back here.

Speaker 2:

So I yeah you gotta be here, yeah, and so thankfully I was right there, you know, only an hour or so away from the house, so but what was cool about that is, like the time leading into that, like I had spent in those woods specifically, is what would have killed that bull if I killed him. So I Fast forward. I finally this in 2022. I was gonna be able to take leave to hunt. So I put in and I Knew I was, I knew kind of where I was gonna be, I knew where I wanted to hunt. He thing got his time off. I'm like sweet, let's do it. And so we go.

Speaker 2:

And first couple mornings were pretty slow man like and I Keep in mind I'm a weekend warrior up until this point, this is the first time I've ever been able to hunt elk during the week, okay, aside from Labor Day. So Me and my buddy, keen and Ethan, we hunt this spot and we don't run in it. The elk man. We get so torn up and that coastal rainforest like. And I had to go home because my leave started the second week. So my vacation is the season because I wanted to be able to hunt during the rut, hopefully, when there'd be less people in the woods. And so we go to the same big stretch of timber from the first year where I had had an opportunity and I remember driving and get. I remember driving. So there's a 20, so this day was probably the 19th or no, this is probably the 18th, see 18, 19, 20, 21st. Yeah, ford is. So it's probably the 18th.

Speaker 2:

Probably a couple days into the hunt, right and um, me and my buddy Keen because Ethan couldn't, couldn't come up we start hunting and we're going into the back of this unit and it was a dry year in 22. So in my head I'm like, well, elk need water every day. There's no elk, there's no water on the coast right now. That's all in the rivers. So they're gonna be on the rivers, you know, I mean like, oh, just a rule of thumb is good to live by a river for whatever you're hunting for. So we go and we're driving and I'm like, dude, there's trucks everywhere, everywhere man I'm talking, there is more people here than I've ever seen, and I was expecting it to be cleared out by now. And so, you know, I try not to get frustrated, and I'm getting better about it as I go, but like I'm pretty frustrated at this point you know I mean like, but I do know on the backside of this land is it's some walk-in timberland that most people don't know that you can hunt. So my hope is that I can drive this logging road all the way to the gate and then hike in and hunt.

Speaker 2:

So about 45 minutes on to this logging road there's a bridge and it goes down to the canyon. You got to come back up and I remember, like, as I turn the corner to start going down into the canyon, there's a car in front of me headed that way. I'm like and it's early in the morning, you know what I mean. I'm like you got to be kidding me. And they go down and turn around. I'm like why they turn around? And I see there's a. They got a rope bridge, so it was about another two and a half miles back to that Public walking. I've it walk on timberland and so in the river, the river runs through it, difference. But um, so I'm I'm pretty mad but I'm like all right, let's get out of here I mean like yeah, something like this is what we're gonna do.

Speaker 2:

I Said this is work for me in the past. We're gonna get out of this truck and we're just gonna walk into the woods and hunt. We're just gonna hunt. I don't know, we're not gonna hunt, we're gonna hunt an area, but we are gonna hunt. We're not gonna drive this truck anymore. I'm sick of sitting down like let's just hunt. So we get out, throw a gear on, grab the call and grab our bows and we start walking into the woods.

Speaker 2:

I'm like, okay in my head, you know Roosevelt's don't have a big home range typically, you know. I mean, they kind of our home bodies are by nature, because they usually have everything they need within such a tight area. Where's Roosevelt's if they have to go to a winter? Or Rocky Mountains got to go to a winter range sometimes. But, um, so I Start looking at little drainage. It is on my on X and I'm like all right, we're gonna walk each. We're gonna walk above the river and on the opposite side of the river is a drainage every Half a mile. Right, we're gonna fugal into each one of these. And so as I'm walking that way, I'm starting to see rubs, old rubs, right and no elk leave a lot of sign. That's a like. Another thing like for people listening, like you'll know when you're around them, like there's not gonna have a question of it for the they're not. Like it's not gonna be an old rub here, we're here, an old rub there.

Speaker 2:

It's tracks, it's crap, it's everything and you can smell them and so you can I remember the wind was kind of blowing down into that drainage because the thermals hadn't come up yet, so I can Catch the wind from the other side of the drainage. I remember like thinking like I smell her elk at one point, as we're not looking at much fresh sign, and then finally we get to this point. I'm like, dude, there's elk crap everywhere. There's a rub here we should call you know, I mean, that's a bright idea, let's call during the rut yeah you know, I mean let's actually use this thing.

Speaker 2:

So I bugle and I Don't hear anything, but keen is like dude, no, I'm telling you, he cut you off. He's just far away and you didn't hear him. But there's a bull responding to you right now and so I call again. At this time I hear him. I'm like, oh my god, we used to get the elk to bugle in Washington. What is going on? And so we're like height, like we're high-fiving because now we're in the game, like we just beat out 97% of the people hunting in Washington because we've heard an elk bugle.

Speaker 2:

So, Like I remember, we kind of crossed the river and we go up this bluff and into this reprod and we just made a. We made a critical error in doing so because it took us way too long to get there and by that time he had shut up. So we got out of there. We didn't want to bump him out. So once that thermal started to come up now, you know, the afternoon we were like let's just back out. You know, don't risk it, we got time.

Speaker 2:

So the next day we come into the same spot, do the same thing, get him to respond again. I'm like all right, it's the same thing again and it didn't work. Surprise, surprise. So he, this is Keyens last day and Ethan is gonna come hunt the next day with me. It's a Saturday, so for the key has to go home Saturday, my Morning, as of all time.

Speaker 2:

Ethan, he's coming up to hunt with me and call. Now I'm telling him like dude, I've got a bull found. Like I've got him found. He's been here three days in a row and so I've been really waiting on is like the wind to be good in the morning so I, instead of going in from the river, I can go in from above him. And by this time I've got, like I know what makes the bull respond like do you know? Like you want to put your brain so like you've heard the best calling in the world. Yeah, like you know, there's certain tones that they won't like. There's Tones that they'll hear and be like elk. There's tones out here and be like you go to. You know I'm saying so.

Speaker 2:

Like he would only want to bugle. When you were, you hit like a certain hitch as high as you could get on. That read, I mean. And so Me and Ethan get there early in the morning. There's no one there. It's the last second or last day of the season, it ends Sunday.

Speaker 2:

And I'm like, dude, let's walk the logging road with the roadblock up. It's gonna take us a minute to get in there. Let's walk it in the dark, we'll just listen. And so we get about Half a mile or so from where I think this bulls been hanging out, and we call and I hear these, we hear these sticks pop. And so I immediately knock an arrow, get ready, nothing. And it's about 9 o'clock in the morning, not 9 o'clock about 8 o'clock in the morning. Um, it's, it's getting light enough to to really see in the body, because we're in the bottom of the, you know, coastal range Canyon. So, um, Ethan's like, let me try and bugle and see if he responds. He bugles. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. He doesn't respond to that. And so I I grabbed my call in bugle and he doesn't respond to it. I'm like, well, maybe he's just not here. Let's walk a little closer and.

Speaker 2:

And so we walk about another hundred yards and he bugles on his own and we're like oh you, turkey hunt. You know what's going on when a goblin's bugling, or goblins goblin, on his own, like it's time to go.

Speaker 1:

You know, I mean this is your shot. So yeah, absolutely, that guy's fired up and ready to talk with you.

Speaker 2:

Yep. So if you can picture in your head, you've got the law on on the Oregon road and it's a it's kind of the shelf of a canyon. So it goes down on the on your left hand side, on your right hand side it goes up and you've got these drainages like that I was telling you about a minute ago where we've been calling into from the other side of the river. So it's a small river, it's literally a trout stream. So we're calling, or so we call and get him to respond, and he's up in the back of one of these ranges, up these ranges. So Now the fight's on. You know what I mean when you're yeah, when you're calling with him. It's it's go time.

Speaker 2:

So I Start, we start working our way up Ethan's 30 yards behind me, you know what I mean. And we're working our way towards his bowl and he's bugling everything. You know what I mean. But he wouldn't come in and so now we're making cow sounds and he just won't make a sound. You know I mean. And at the top of this drainage is a little flat of Select cut timber, select cut being old growth that's thinned out. You know what I mean. You know, okay, the other side, like the other side of that, 20 yards away, is reprod which you've seen reprod, so like that's our border, you know?

Speaker 1:

I mean, yeah, so that that's our like mental border and we're assuming he's in the reprod and so we're like why is he not calling back?

Speaker 2:

You know what I mean and looking back, you know, knowing what I know now from Turkey hunting, we should have like sat down. He was on his way. You know what I mean. Like when Turkey does quiet on you, you better be ready and you better not stand up.

Speaker 2:

So. So yeah, I think that's a good point. We get to the top of this bench and I'm like thinking like it's like 11 o'clock From the morning now, you know what I mean. Like it's late and I Remember being like Maybe we should like in my head I'm like maybe we should take a break, sit down, like, eat this tuna fish sandwich. I got you know what I mean. Like I remember stepping off of this log and we had made Cal hold on hold on, brian, you have.

Speaker 1:

You have a tuna fish sandwich in your bag.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, my truck.

Speaker 1:

But I would never bring a tuna fish sandwich with me into the woods. That's awesome, I hope. I hope that it was settled nicely in your stomach. I don't know, I don't know how long you were out there, but man, good, good on you.

Speaker 2:

So we go right, I step off this log and I'm about 20 yards from the edge of the reprod and about maybe it may maybe 50 yards like area of this flat where I have good shooting lanes, and I step off this log and when I stepped off this log I broke up to when I broke a branch that bold bugles so close, it was like I could smell it, like it was so close and I was like, oh, he was on his way the whole time, like in my head I'm like going back to my turkey on experience. I'm like, oh, I need to be ready, like right now he's gonna bust through this reprod. And so I get about 10 yards, 15 yards in front of Ethan and Ethan drops back and says, behind the stump, they're not pack on, like didn't have time to take, take my pack off, like like it's go time. And I hear him crack and brush now and he, he, I'm watching the edge of the ferns and there's a big old dead like redwood stump. And I remember seeing him at like 60 out in the flat, like far away on the other flat, and Him breaking through the edge of the ferns at 20 and, as I remember being like when he steps behind that stump, you better be drawn back. You know what I mean. So I draw back.

Speaker 2:

When he goes behind the stump, I'm holding it like I don't hold, like when I'm holding my bill back I don't even like aim with it, I just kind of hold it that I come from a position on my like shoulder, so I'm just like holding it. And he starts coming towards me after he comes past that stump and he's just, he's frontal, you know. I mean he's coming right at me. I'm like, okay, he's not gonna go broadside, like he's gonna run you over, like you better put, you, better get settled and you're ready to shoot. And so I'm at about 15.

Speaker 2:

I'm like, alright, on the. You know I don't kiss her buttons, but I'm anchored. Now I'm floating my pins, I'm floating my pins, I'm floating my pins. They kind of turns almost quartered to, but still frontal. And I remember being like, alright, I'm close enough that if this bus through he's dead. And I put it on the little patch of hair. I was like alright and I let it go. And I let it go and I watch this Easton FMJ. Hey, go all the way through a frontal shot and go out the other side. And I'm like that killed him.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome I. But in my head I'm like but he and he just stands there and turns broadside but he doesn't Off, so I'm not gonna their shoot him in the neck. There's my only shot right there. Yeah because at this point I've got an arrow in him. I'm not gonna stop shooting till he's dead.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, keep shooting as long as I'm a speed, then he gives me a Yep and then he gives me another shot, and the shot he gave me this last time was I had to tuck it right behind that last rib and try to tuck it in Faced away from me. This is all within 10 seconds, you know, I mean. And so, okay, drawback, let that last one fly. And he kind of starts trotting off at this point and he trots off about 40 yards and I'm watching him and we have this on video. I'll share the video with you.

Speaker 1:

I have a podcast.

Speaker 2:

But so we're watching him and I'm like he's 60, you know I mean, he's 60 yards away, still standing. I'm like Ethan, throw me an arrow and I'm watching him and he, you know, he like His, he buckles down his knees at the ground and he stands back up. But this whole time I'm just watching this river of blood Come out of him. You know what I mean. I'm like there's no way in my head. I'm like that's fatal, right, you know, but I've never killed a nox.

Speaker 2:

I'm like that's what fatal looks like on a deer. Is this gonna kill him? And then he like kind of turns around Knees at the ground, he stands back up and as he's standing there, he just throws his head back slowly and Falls. And I remember like feeling like the weight of the world, like it's self-taught journey to Elkhon. You know, I mean like YouTube University Elkhon, or like I, like I'm watching this come to fruition in front of me and I just could not like I let it all go, man, I threw my bow, you know, you know my best friends like Ethan's.

Speaker 2:

I hug my friend like I'm tearing up, like I'm like dude. You don't understand. Like, because he, you know, people see in the video they see me shooting an elk, you know, but they don't see me driving at midnight to get home because I was in the wood scouting it all weekend. You know what I mean. And I wanted to be there at last light to see where they came out, and then hike out in the dark and then hike out in the morning in the dark in the middle of summertime, like just these, this insanity in this drive I had for like I'm watching that come to fruition. So, like People see the video, like dude, you're like tearing up, like it's not that serious, it's a raghorn. I'm like dude, yeah, it's a raghorn, but that is my raghorn and Don't see.

Speaker 1:

Effort put in man. I know exactly what you mean, brian. Yeah, I have a like a 50 second clip on my Instagram right now of the elk I just killed back in September monster monster, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, he was. He did a bean, I think 312, so pretty cool yeah. Yeah and that's, and he's got three. Three of his tines are like a little funky little bit more of a like a Almost, like a knife, more so than spear blade it out.

Speaker 2:

Unique, yeah, yeah, and that's what my rope is he had on. That's cool.

Speaker 1:

But the thing about those three, like if they were equal to the ones on his right side. I mean he's a 330 340 bowl, so he's just got oh yeah, it's got some character.

Speaker 1:

He's a, he's a, he's a stud. I love him. But the video is 50 seconds and it's everything, right, it's. It's all of this work that I put in. But you're right, man, it's. I've been hunting for seven years, seven years of elk hunting to try and make that happen. And when it happened like we cut the video and I'm just like I'm picking germane up, I'm throwing them around, I'm hugging Pat, I'm just, I'm just a little germane.

Speaker 1:

Germane's only like what five, eight Give her, take what we'll say we'll say five, ten for the record, just cuz I'm not really sure. But yeah, it's compared to I'm six four. So compared to me he's not quite as large, that's what yeah. But either way, man, if you're 100% right, it's. It's all that effort you put into it. It's years and years of effort and like hundreds of miles on your feet, for seconds of like of that moment, and so it's it's a special, it's the craziest like and that's like I.

Speaker 2:

I almost feel bad for guys who, like, come out here and do it on their first year.

Speaker 1:

This is like or do it every year, or they don't get that same high that we get.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, I was. I came closest here. I was trying to be picky and now I'm eating pack soup but I mean I kill enough white tail at home, so it's not a problem. But I had a pretty good this year. I just had the spot and stalk of all things and color like I did not expect to be hunting spot and stalk elk here, but I almost killed one out, pretty almost killed a good one on OTC, but I Was this year was just. This is weird man it's. I guess it was because I was getting used to hunting Rocky Mountain elk and you know, like Also coming from Washington, like there's this like level of confidence I had to teach myself when I walk into the woods at the Elk are actually gonna be there. You know what I mean. Like you have to convince yourself like well, they might be in this unit Before you even step foot in the woods and now here, washington, yeah yeah, now, here in Colorado, the highest elk population in the country.

Speaker 2:

So like I know they're there, I don't need to be told that the elk are there.

Speaker 1:

I know they're there, so like it was so weird being like yeah, they're there, but now there's twice the amount of hunters and you were worried about the hunter volume in Washington.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's a lot more hunters here, but you know, this is not the knock any first-year hunters, but most of them are like that first-year hunter and I found that you can Rely on your. I hate the I hate saying the word woodsmanship, but if you rely on that man in that time, in the woods stuff that we were talking about earlier, I think it's, I think it's the same, I do like I think you could take that thing. I think you could take it from Washington to Colorado, to Colorado to Montana, you know.

Speaker 1:

I mean like yeah, I think it's also a matter of like putting in work. Like a lot of guys, I know plenty of hunters that aren't there necessarily killing elk. They're there to go hunting and just be away from their day-to-day whatever that is, whatever that we know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they find their peace in the woods and that's cool too, you know. I mean, that's your thing, that's your thing, but I'm there to pull the trigger.

Speaker 1:

Yeah yeah, getting drunk a camp, but whatever it might be. But if you're willing to like, throw miles on your feet, I have some pretty crappy you know. Let me just say it's a pretty shitty hikes in and out. Oh yeah, and the dog and going in the dark, come back in the dark.

Speaker 2:

Try to hunt an elk and you won't see as many hunters as they say, you're gonna see right.

Speaker 1:

So it's all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, putting in more work and another thing is too when you meet those guys back there, like where you don't think you'll see other hunters, that's the person you need to keep in contact with, like that's a phone number you get, because If they're willing to do that, you know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

Like I was, I met a group of guys back there this year that were hunting elk, the same way I was. I was like, hey, this is my phone number, you can go and call me. If I kill one, I'll call you and you can build that rapport with guys. I think that's pretty important too, you know. I mean like like just Having the confidence that you can call somebody to get your elk out and you don't have a limiting factor.

Speaker 1:

Yep, you're in for sure in my opinion.

Speaker 2:

I feel like I mean when that happens, but no, no, I'm with you.

Speaker 1:

I've definitely. I've met some people pretty deep into the woods and they're always fun to talk to and they're always pleasant. It's the people. I saw you back here.

Speaker 2:

Leave someone else found this brother Absolutely man oh, absolutely Cool.

Speaker 1:

but well, man, that's an awesome story. I love, I love the emotion that you not only have with your story, but that you hunt with man. That's I Can say. There's a lot of hunters that don't have that, the ones that do, or the ones that I love to be around, so that's, that's really great. Brian, I know you. I think you maybe said you had two or three stories. Do you have some more for us? I don't want to.

Speaker 2:

I don't want to cut before you're done. Here I have one more, but you're moving to Colorado soon enough. We'll just do it in person.

Speaker 1:

Hell yeah, brother. Okay, well then let's do this, man, let's, let's tell the people where they could find you. I don't know if you have any social media stuff, or I know you obviously have a podcast Fill them in so that they can kind of check in on you and see what you're up to.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, if you want to, for any of you guys in my Colorado Springs like by the way, I don't like know anybody here really. So if you're in Colorado Springs, listen to this. You want to link up, shoot fly fish Hunt?

Speaker 1:

let me know, let's do it, my hunting buddy lives in Colorado Springs, so I'll connect you with him directly, for sure dude.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that'd be sweet because I, like I said I got stationed out here To hunt and I don't really know anybody here. So, like this year, I got kind of. You know, I have friends and like family and like gypsum, colorado, but that's over by Grand Junction, so that's a long way. But, um, yeah, so Instagram at Brian Speller, b R Y A N S P E L L E R, I guess Facebook too, if you're into that, but Instagram is probably like the best way if you wanted to reach me. I have a podcast. It's a bulls and bass. I probably need to change the name of that because I don't really bass fish anymore. I live in Colorado.

Speaker 1:

Trout fish.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I like my trout. Now I'm actually tying flies as we speak well, not as we speak, but I Got my stuff here.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, um so. So let me ask about that. So I knew you had one. I don't know much about it. How long has it been going? What? What are you trying cover in your podcast? How often does it come out that kind of stuff?

Speaker 2:

So, um, I'm trying to do it, Uh, weekly or bi weekly, okay, it's more so like I guess, theories and hunting and kind of Getting on to tangents about different stuff. Like I have a podcast completely dedicated to, like, the time in the woods topic, where I basically got on there like I don't know if you're familiar with this past weekend at the of on, where he just has a solo podcast, but I get on there and just kind of ramble and rant my thoughts into what sounds somewhat coherent.

Speaker 2:

For people to understand and like just like I'm not gonna say I'm an expert or anything, but I spend a lot of time in the woods and I feel like there's a lot of knowledge that could be subsequently gained by Listening. You know what I mean. Not that I'm an expert in anything I got I could, but I have a passion for teaching, so that's kind of where that comes into. But, um, yeah, bulls and bass, but if I get, I'm always looking for guests, so hit me up.

Speaker 2:

You want to get on there and talk anything really bass fishing, duck hunting Turkey hunting love turkey on there we go, I will.

Speaker 1:

I'll put links to all of this in the show notes so anybody who wants to connect with them, especially folks down in the Springs area of Colorado, just click on it and reach out. But Brian man, this is fun. Man, I, like I said, you have a unique passion With your stories. It's like you said, I think it was About halfway through your dear story. You're like, oh man, I'm not shaking here. So like, I love that, I love that.

Speaker 1:

I love that those experiences mean so much to you, and that's exactly why I started the podcast, brother. So thank you for for coming on and sharing your stories with everybody.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, man, thank you for having me so much. This has been fun.

Speaker 1:

All right, guys. That's it. Another couple stories in the books. Again, I want to thank Brian for coming on the podcast. I also want to say Merry Christmas to everybody out there. I think I forgot to do that on the intro, but this episode is coming out on Christmas Day. I hope you guys enjoy it. Hope you're enjoying time with your family. I hope you enjoyed Brian's stories. Thank you, guys, again for another great year. This was a lot of fun putting all of this together this year. Guys, if you do, you want to share and hit me up, I'd love to have you on again. Check us out on carbon TV. Give us ratings there. Give us ratings on Spotify, apple Podcast, wherever you're listening. If you give us a review, I would very much appreciate it. That's it, guys. Thanks again for for checking us out. Thank you, brian, for telling your stories. Now get out there and make some stories here. Thank you.

Hunting Stories Podcast
Hunting Memories
Hunting Experiences and Deer Naming Traditions
Hunting Stories and Trophy Hunting Perspectives
Morning Hunt for Big Deer
An Epic Deer Hunting Adventure
Hunting for Elk in Washington
Elk Hunting Experience and Strategies
Emotional Success of Hunting an Elk
Hunting Elk, Importance of Effort