The Hunting Stories Podcast

Ep 086 The Hunting Stories Podcast: Brandon McDonald

February 05, 2024 The Hunting Stories Podcast Episode 86
The Hunting Stories Podcast
Ep 086 The Hunting Stories Podcast: Brandon McDonald
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a wilderness journey with seasoned archer and hunter, Brandon McDonald, as he weaves the tale of his archery and black bear hunting exploits. Drawing you into his world, Brandon's story begins with the birth of his YouTube channel—an endeavor meant to capture hunting memories—that flourished into a go-to resource for bow aficionados. As we traverse the Canadian wilderness, our exchange delves into the ethical complexities of bear baiting, the peace of lakeside fishing mornings, and the pulse-quickening afternoons of bear hunts. 

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Speaker 1:

Alright Brandon. Welcome to the Hunting Stories podcast, brother. How are you? Thanks for having me, man, I'm really looking forward to this. Yeah, man, I'm so excited that you said yes to coming on my podcast. I mentioned it briefly before when you were talking, but I've been following you on YouTube for a while. In fact, your videos were what helped me decide specifically which bow to get, because I'm new to hunting, I'm new to archery and I was like, I mean, I was YouTubeing everything and you just kept popping up, man.

Speaker 2:

So thank you. I like to hear that. Thank you to the YouTube algorithm, I guess.

Speaker 1:

Yeah well, thank you for testing out so much and just giving great advice on how to do it. Let's take one quick step back, brandon. Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself, so that people know who they're going to hear some stories from today?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely so.

Speaker 2:

My name is Brandon McDonald and I'm a guy who just decided to insert himself into the archery and hunting conversation by learning how to basically make YouTube videos.

Speaker 2:

And the reason I did it was I got off of my first like Colorado archery hunt as an adult with my brother-in-law and realized that we had not taken a picture the entire time we were there.

Speaker 2:

So like there are zero memories other than the memories in my head, and I was like this is so stupid. I have to learn how to use a camera and in order to use a camera, I have to have a reason to like do I'm not just going to like go film myself like fake shooting at horses in the field or whatever the thing is. So I started the YouTube channel in order to learn how to use cameras, in order to learn how to film my hunts, to create and capture the memories and yeah, it's been really fun. And then that kind of drove me into like doing tech reviews and learning about archery and gear and I had no idea that archery was like so technical and physics and all that stuff, and I just got ate up with it like that's the truth. I just it absolutely feels like something that like just sits perfectly in my bones. I absolutely adore it, love it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's amazing. So my my story with how I got into archery is I was hunting in Colorado. Third rifle I was so cold and I was like I want.

Speaker 2:

I want to hunt in September like that was why I started archery.

Speaker 1:

I was like, screw November hunting, I want to hunt in September. And I basically went to my wife and I was like, hey, I'm, I think I want to do this, and she's like that's a big expense. So, um, I don't know if you know Parker Parker, they've gone out of business. But when they went out of business, I saw I saw that they were in a business and they were, they were liquidating, right selling all their stuff. I'm, I have an advantage, I'm a big guy, uh, like 32 inch draw oh geez.

Speaker 1:

I'm right handed, but I shoot lefty.

Speaker 1:

So I was like I just got a sneaking suspicion they're gonna have some really big left-handed bows left over as they continue to liquidate. So I watched it for a few months. It went from 20% off, 30% off, 40, 50, all the way down to like 70, 60 or 70 off, I don't remember exactly. But I got their you know flagship bow as they were closing their doors and I was like all right, I got a bow, let's go hunt. And so I hiked around for a few years never even shot the thing but oh gosh, yep.

Speaker 1:

But I eventually killed the turkey and I was like, well, that was fun. I was like I should really get into this. And that's when I was like, okay, also, the Parker poison 32 is heavy. It's a heavy, heavy bow and I was carrying around like it's like 10 pounds or something like that. I was like I need to find something glider. So I was like I'm gonna buy something new. I now know that I love archery and I found your videos.

Speaker 1:

Started looking, ended up with the Hoyt RX7 Ultra, but yeah love the bow, absolutely love the bow, and I've just completely fallen in love with archery. I'm not quite as technical, I just don't have the bandwidth right now, but I like want to be there.

Speaker 2:

I want to catch up to all of you archery guys, um, and I'm sure you archery guys say don't just enjoy it that's exactly right and that's been the revival for me for the last few months because I just I just had a kid and I was. I was talking to uh James with bow disciples today. I was texting and I was like, dude, I just am so happy to be shooting my bow on a regular basis again, like there is something that is so pure about literally just standing out there with some carbon sticks in your pocket and just hammering it 50 yards and that that cleansing feeling that happens after 10 minutes. It's so meditative and good.

Speaker 1:

So good it is. It is, man. I fell in love with archery so hard, like the first thing I did I was like something's had to explain this. I bought zen and the art of archery right. The was a.

Speaker 2:

German philosopher who moved to Japan.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I was like I need to understand why I love this so much. And great, easy well, not easy read, small, read um, but yeah, I just uh, I fell for it, man, and I think I partially have you to thank for that, because you got me to a lot of the stepping stones of when I was just like I'm teaching myself gotta find somebody, and there you were, so thank you no, dude that I'm.

Speaker 2:

I'm so glad that if I was helpful in any way to anybody, I'm I'm very, very grateful that, uh, that you would say that, thank you yeah, of course, but uh, let's throw all that out the window.

Speaker 1:

That's not why we're here, right, we're here.

Speaker 2:

We're here, yeah, here to hear some heart stories.

Speaker 1:

Right, all right, okay why don't you, why don't you set the stage, brandon, tell us where we are, what you're doing, and then jump into it, man, and I'll try my best not to to screw up the story all right, I like it.

Speaker 2:

So here's what I'm. Here's what I'm thinking. I am a white tail hunter by proximity, not by desire.

Speaker 2:

So I live in Tennessee and to hunt white tail, what you're basically obligated to do unless you're uh, unless you're very adventurous and you want to go out and spot and stalk or like slow hunt you're gonna sit in a stand and you're gonna wait for a white tail to walk by you, which requires a great amount of skill and it yeah and I don't want anyone to mishear that, because the art of finding the location that you are going to pick to sit is a great skill in and of itself. Negotiating and figuring out especially if on your you're on public land figuring out a spot where the deer are actually going to come to you and that there's not a whole mess of people around you as a big deal, or going and negotiating like permissions on different people's lands, or going and leasing something all of these things like just the preparation for every type of hunting now in the in the century that are in, seems like a great amount of prep. It's not walked out of the tent and go shoot a buffalo anymore.

Speaker 1:

I agree 100%. I have two hunting buddies. One lives out here in Colorado with me. The other one lives in North Carolina and he hunts white tail. The Colorado guy's always given the white tail guy grief. He's like, ah, just go shoot a couple today, like I'm like no, this it's different, it's not hiking 10 miles up a mountain, but it has its own intricacies, its own difficulties and it's it's not everyone can do it.

Speaker 2:

So to do it, to do it well and to understand it is different than to just go sit your ass on a on a stand in the middle of the wood, somewhere it's there. They're very different things, especially when you get into understanding, like food plots and bedding areas and when to do certain things and where to leave them. Like you become a cultivator almost in order to do this really well. So white tail is something that I think that the majority of people in the United States probably have access to, whereas like something like elk is really limited, obviously, to the, you know, the, the Rocky Mountain range, essentially. So what I wanted to talk about was not white tail, but my leap from white tail into the next. What I would say like an adjacent hunt would be. That's more accessible and that's black bear oh, cool okay have you been black bear hunting before?

Speaker 1:

I've had a black bear tag and I've ran after some black bears, but for all intents and purposes I was elk hunting. It just happened something in my pocket. We either. We were glassing up a hillside because we'd seen elk on this hillside every day, and that day we just saw a big black blob and we're like what is that? Yeah what is that? We chased after it. I actually ended up being about 10 yards from it because we knew the trail it was on and I was like let's go very, very.

Speaker 1:

That's very close to a black bear yeah, I uh, I regretted not having any kind of sidearm with me. I was, I remember, being like shit. I have a pointy stick, that's all I could think I couldn't see it. I could just hear it breathing and eventually it caught wind of me and it it booked it and what's?

Speaker 2:

okay.

Speaker 1:

I've told the story before. But, like my buddy who's like 50 yards away, on the other side of this valley, an elk is standing above him. So he's standing there looking at me and I'm like, like, turn around, turn around, there's an elk 15 feet behind you so let me ask you a question.

Speaker 2:

The fear that you felt, the desire to have a sidearm do you feel that fear when you're 15 feet from an elk?

Speaker 1:

the same way, I can't say I've ever been 15 feet from an elk, all right, so let's say.

Speaker 2:

Let's say if I were. I don't know let's say you're 100 yards from a black bear. Are you kind of going oh my gosh, I'm hunting a black bear with a stick, whereas with an elk, are you like? I'm hunting an elk and I'm getting really close to my range to shoot it, like what are you? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? I'm just wondering if I'm unique in this or not you know.

Speaker 1:

So I will say that from that experience I am no longer like really intimidated by black bears. I was like I was 10, 15 feet from this bear and it ran. So black bears before then I'd never really gotten into one before and that's why maybe I was scared before. But when it ran I was like okay, and since then I've never really thought twice about black bear. And now it's all about like oh, it's go time okay, I think so I haven't had.

Speaker 1:

I haven't had the opportunity to get in again to 15 yards on a bear, but since then it's just like they've become a back concern, back burner item to to all hunting, because I just I'm not worried about black bears anymore. I hope there's 500 yards too close so I do think I agree.

Speaker 2:

I think what I'm thinking about is capability of damage like an elk. There's no doubt that if you're really, really close to an elk, he can mess you up. Like if you look at, like the torons of on Instagram, like it's hilarious watching people get really close to an elk and just getting super messed up by a you know 500 pound animal with giant pieces of bone, pointy bone, in the front of them, yeah, but to me, the exactly the capability of damage that comes from the potential of a black bear is enough to like light my skin on fire. So, so, so I'll explain, I'll explain, so I'm gonna set the stage for you. Like you said so before the interview, he was like, don't spare any details. Like just, we want the details. This is, this is what this is about long form storytelling podcast. All right. So Canada, and when I say Canada, what I mean is as far north as you can possibly get in Canada, but you can still get gas, like you could still get gasoline for your vehicles.

Speaker 2:

That's as like literally the people that were going further north are hauling their own fuel. So that's that's how, that's how far we are. And the hunting, the hunting trip, is fishing, which I care, I could care less about. And then black bear I say I could care less about fishing until we went to this spot, so it was a huge Canadian lake which is coastal.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's a lake, okay no, it's a, it's a lake. Yep, so what's in the lake are lake trout, trout and walleye and pike. So have you? Have you fish much for any of those species uh trout, none of the other ones okay, all right.

Speaker 2:

So the lake trout in this lake were apparently really deep, is what they said. We did not fish those because they were in a different spot part of the lake, but the walleye and the pike the pike were my favorite and it's like I said I could care less about fishing. I literally didn't the the guy that I was going with, kirk Bonds, was like dude, you got to bring your fishing rod, you got to bring your lures, here's what I recommend. And I was like I don't care, I'm gonna film everybody. I don't care about fishing because every fishing trip I'd ever been on had been the same thing one. Deep sea fishing we catch no fish. I throw up a lot, not fun, he too. Lake fishing we're catching like blue gills and people are like that's the biggest eight inch blue gill I've ever seen. This is so stupid all right.

Speaker 2:

I'm not. I'm not meaning to insult fishermen. I just I don't get like casting, I don't get, I don't get it. I don't get it. But with pike, I frickin get it.

Speaker 2:

Dude to have a 36 inch pike grab on to your lure and fight like the devil to try to pull you out of the boat, into the water, the lake that we were in every probably tenth cast. So you're casting out and then you're and you're drawing in, and every tenth cast you're getting hit by something that's big like every once in a while we get a small one, but the majority of the time it's stuff that's big. So it kind of changed my perspective on that and that was how we spent our mornings in Canada. So we would wake up, go to the, the chow house and have some food and then go hit the boats and go out on the lake, and we were the only ones on the lake. There were three separate boats skimming across just like glass smooth water, perfect weather, blue skies, hitting the fish, and then that afternoon we would drive three hours in the rented luxury suv that the uh, that the car, the car rental place was stupid enough to give us. I think I rented like some sort of janky, mid-size suv and they were like all we have is this, like eddie bower, addition to expedition, and I was like aw dang.

Speaker 2:

We'll take it so literally three hours from this campsite to get to the spot where we're, where we're going for the, for the bears and this is the reason I say this and I wanted to translate it from like a light tail guy over into bear, because I feel like the hunting style is really similar, because you're either in a ladder stand, you're in a ground, blind, you're looking at a centralized location with the shooting lanes or with bait and with the bears up in this area, they wanted to bait them and and here's why they wanted to bait them because they wanted to draw the bears to a central location where you could choose what animal to take, and a lot of people, I think, think baiting is unethical.

Speaker 2:

But the reality is, if I see three bears at a bait station that are all 200 pounds and then I see a 500 pound bear, I'm gonna shoot the five hundred pound bear and then the little guys are going to get to grow up and have more time to exist on the earth and to breed and do all the things that they do, and I will have made a selection not to take an immature bear out of that population. That's kind of the thing that I've thought about about deer as well, like about baiting and the centralization of basically having a spot where you can choose, not so that you can like cheating, but so that you can decide to take a mature animal. Now, if you're baiting and you're like I'm gonna shoot a fork white tail when he comes in, like come on, gotcha, maybe if that's all you have, that's all you have.

Speaker 1:

Okay, you're doing what's best for the overall ecosystem.

Speaker 2:

It's not about good but. But I don't also want to act like there's not selfishness involved, because if you go try to hunt black bear without either using dogs or using bait, you're going to see far fewer animals. That's just the reality of it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, right, okay, so I agree 100%.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so this is what happens when we're when we're making this drive. These guys would stop and they would see a beaver dam and they would jump out and they would. They would go to this beaver dam and they would try to shoot a beaver and then they'd throw them in a five gallon bucket. Then they would wait two weeks to use that beaver. These black bears did not want fresh beaver, what they wanted was old, stanky beaver. So they would. They would grab the five gallon buckets out of the back of the truck that had the nastiest, stankiest beavers. This is the clip, by the way, that I want you to use, like if you're going to use like a short clip of something like Brandon McDonald that I talk about nasty, stanky beavers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So they would grab the stanky Canadian beavers.

Speaker 1:

So they would have Instagram, but okay, yeah.

Speaker 2:

That's the clickbait. The clickbait, the illusion, yeah. So so what they would do is they would string up, they would basically take a. They'd take like a big I mean, it was almost like a sewing needle and they jam it through the pelvis of this beaver because they wanted in through, through the part that made it the most difficult for the bear to get it off this line, and then they would run it between trees. That would force the bears to climb the trees, climb out on the rope, or it stretch it down to grab this beaver off the trees. And it was the most acrobatic and interesting thing that I've seen an animal do, other than like, maybe, watching squirrels, which is less impressive because they don't weigh as much. I also realized, like every time I've ever gone elk hunting and I've been like, yeah, my food's up in a tree, it's fine, it's never been fine.

Speaker 1:

It's never been fine. I've heard a lot of bear hunting stories where they baited and it's usually just like a barrel of you know molasses and chicken.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm not done. I'm not done, all right, I just surprised me with the hanging dirty beavers, but go ahead.

Speaker 2:

Well, well, I mean I want to start out with the shock and all portion of it. So, all right. So in the back of the truck, the Stanky Beaver truck, there's five gallon buckets full of dead, dead, rotting beavers. And then there's also five gallon buckets full of like oats that are that are coated in molasses and all sorts of grease and just like stuff that is not fit for human consumption, like they're going to like the McDonald's in town an hour and a half away and be like give us the horrible stuff that comes out of the bottom of the fryer.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I just getting in an accident in that car like you're driving all those buckets.

Speaker 2:

Yes, like that's all I think of, like you're telling me, it's a good point.

Speaker 1:

Oh God, I'm driving 10 under the speed limit at all times.

Speaker 2:

It's a good point.

Speaker 1:

That's gross Out here.

Speaker 2:

Go ahead Out here, where we were the only trucks that you're passing, the only vehicles that were passing and I'm not, I'm not exaggerating you would pass logging trucks and that is all. There was zero traffic on these. Back, where they're all it's all dirt roads, you know, just like rain, like the washboard, just awful. Like I legitimately had to go to the chiropractor for six weeks when I got back because my back was so jacked up from just sitting in a horrible tree ladder stands and driving for so much while we were up there. It was pretty rough, but that's like a whitetail thing. That's the thing. If you go to a like a nine day whitetail hunt in the rut and you're like I'm going to sit all day, did you get destroyed? You get destroyed because you just have to sit still and pray. That 160 to 180 inch whitetail walks in Right. Same kind of thing with with the bear, all right.

Speaker 2:

So we get to, let's say, day one. We get to the, we get to the site and we're walking into the, to the campground or to the, to the bait site, three hours away. Basically, what they've got is a segment of the Canadian wilderness and they're putting bait sites every five miles, because what they're doing is basically allowing the bears to, to, to converge out of like a five mile segment to come hit this bait so that we're getting to select the bears out of this huge thing of wood. So there's multiple hunters. They're dropping me at one, then they're driving a while dropping the next person one, driving a while driving that, drop the next person one, and so I get in the stand and my dad is with me. My dad is in his, in his seventies and I don't know this. But my dad is afraid of heights and I don't know how. I didn't know this Right. So I want him to be above me and I'm a righty.

Speaker 2:

So there's two stands. There's a tree that's going up, that that's vertical, like a nice you know big pine or something like that, and there is a 12 foot ladder stand that's oriented so that I would have to literally like flip my body all the way around to shoot the barrel. And then there's a tripod down below that has an articulating seat so I can sit in that and get a better shot. So I tell my dad go up in the top of that that tree, 12 feet up, and my dad is like one of the coolest people that I know. Like to this day he's still just like an outstanding man, like just solid as a rock. Yeah, and he was like I literally was like I can't, I can't, I can't do, I can't do it. And I was like it's just a ladder. You're, it's a ladder, you're going to be fine.

Speaker 2:

And right then a bear comes walking out of the woods because he knows that the dinner bell has been rung, because the truck pulls up, so a juvenile boar walks out of the woods and starts they walk logs. So if there's down logs they like to walk on top of those logs. So they have actually soft pads on their feet and you rarely will hear them coming. I say you rarely hear them coming. It depends on how much like you'll hear either really big sticks snapping or you're not going to hear footsteps. And so this guy just kind of pops up 50 yards from the tree and and the guides are there and they're loading the bait because that's how it's like this is the time we refresh the bait. And so they're, they're jamming the giant threading needle through the pelvis of beaver and they're, they're dumping the ridden grease all in this big 50 gallon barrel that's on the ground that's chained to a tree, that's just around the trees, just wore out from these bears, just rolling this barrel, getting all the goodies out, and my dad and my dad is like I have to pee.

Speaker 2:

I was like what are you talking about? And he was like we just drove three hours. How do you not have to pee? I said, get in the stand, off the ground and then pee out of the stand. And he said I can't get up there and stand up. I'm going to get up there and sit down and be perfectly still or I'm going to fall out of the tree. So he's, so he's peeing and the bear is moving in. And the bear is not moving directly into the bait, the bait. The bear is circumventing the bait and coming around to our side of the tree to where he's probably 20 feet from us on the ground. And the guy's like obviously, oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely knows we're there. And the guides are like hey, now's the time, a good time. We've never had any issues before but like it's a smart time for you to get your ass up the tree.

Speaker 1:

So good way of putting it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So my dad, my sweet dad, he's an accountant. He's been an accountant for like 40 years. Just steady, just a steady man, one of my favorite people. So he starts climbing up the tree and he gets up in the tree. I get up in the stand, we get, we get set up and the bear is around us for the next five hours. He does not leave, he just keeps hanging out and he'll go over to the bait and he'll mess with it a little bit and then he'll circle and he'll come around to the base of the trees.

Speaker 2:

So this is where it's different from whitetail hunting. When there is a bear there, you are constantly thinking. At least I am. I am constantly thinking because we don't have a gun Like we're in Canada. The guides left. They had a shotgun, but they left with the gun. The only thing that we have to pretend if there's an issue is me with my bow, with three or four extra arrows. Now it's a black bear, like you said. So you're not nervous about black bear. But let me tell you what when you were stationary in a spot where a bear that is big enough that when he walks in and looks at you and you know for sure he can stand up on his back legs and grab your feet off the off the tripod ladder stand. There's a little bit of poo that trickles out of your butt into your sit down.

Speaker 1:

I believe that, like I said, I don't have much bear experience and I think you just named exactly the circumstance that I would have a problem with black bear.

Speaker 2:

And maybe not, maybe you wouldn't, and maybe a lot of people are like, nah, mcdonald's kind of a puss, like I get that, all right. So dad and I are sitting there and this one juvenile boar is cruising around right and let me see if I've got time on here. I don't want to go too long. You give me the wave if I'm going too long and I'll speed it up.

Speaker 1:

I tell this to everybody. I'm not going to cut you off. I will listen as long as you're willing to tell stories, brandon, so go ahead, okay, all right, okay.

Speaker 2:

So there's a second bear that comes in that's really similar size and it's not the size of bear that I want to shoot, because bear to me are really unique and I don't just want to go shoot a bunch of black bear Like I'm going to take the meat, I'm going to take the hide, I'm going to take the head and I don't want, I don't want a ton of them, I just want special. I want like a, I want special bears. So I want more than one black bear, but I want them to be special. I want them to be big, mature boards. I want them to be big because I don't enjoy eating them as much as I enjoy elk or axis or whitetail. So to me there's like a. It's not waste because I'm not throwing it out, but the enjoyment factor of that part of it, like I just it feels more wasteful and the bear to me feels it's such an interesting like I don't know why, I don't know why, but the respect level that I have for the capabilities of the bear, like the communication that they have with each other. And this will bring me to like the next part of the story.

Speaker 2:

This other bear moves in and they're doing this dance around each other where, basically, they both realize we both want the food.

Speaker 2:

There's food in separate locations and I'll let you get to a certain proximity to me before they start making these noises that escalate.

Speaker 2:

And you're sitting in the stand you can hear this like and these teeth clacking, and they're far away from each other, you know 20 feet, maybe 25 feet. And and the teeth clacking, just these, these real casual jaw pops, and as they get closer, their heads lower and the gets gets much more pronounced. And then the second bear that moved in was a little bit bigger than the first one, but not a lot bigger, and then they would chase each other. And they would chase each other so fast they would go from zero to like 25 miles an hour, sprinting across deadfall timber at a rate that was literally like they could climb up this tree 12 feet to the back of my 70 year old father in an absolute heartbeat. If one of them decided that they were running from this other bear and wanted to climb up there, they would be in my lap before I could do anything about it. Anything, I believe it, man, I believe it, it was it was amazing.

Speaker 1:

I another guest on my podcast has a similar story where bears are running around and stuff and he actually has a cub charge up his tree and climb his tree. And he's like oh, I hope mama's not here and here's the kicker. I don't remember the episode number, but it's Eric Boone. The whole episode is insane. He all it is predator hunt and it's all absolutely crazy. But that bear pisses on him. It climbs the tree above him and he pisses down the tree on him and he's just like well, what do you do?

Speaker 2:

It's a kind gift. It's a kind gift from a baby cub bear. I don't know what you did. He grab it and throw it on the ground.

Speaker 1:

No, it was like. I've seen photos. It was like 30. It went 30 feet above him.

Speaker 2:

Oh, dude, that's the biggest. That would be such a sweat. Yeah, because if mama comes out, that's the thing. A 200 pound black bear doesn't feel like a 200 pound black bear. That's not that big. Look, no, no, no, no, no, no. Imagine a Doberman pincher or a German shepherd that weighs 200 pounds, with more crushing power in their jaws that can climb trees almost as fast as you can run to your mailbox Like. That is how capable these things are.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I mean it's. They are terrifying and I'll tell you this this is the craziest part, brandon, that's like the third most what the fuck story he told.

Speaker 2:

Like there are two others, that was like one of his like wolves circling, his wife I'm like what.

Speaker 1:

And then another one. He steps over a bunch of baby cougars and like turns around and mama cougar is six inches from the barrel of his gun. Like just dude.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's so. That's the cut. That's the kind of people that you want to have on the podcast, because that's the kind of people that people listen the entire up. So that's such a sweat. That's like a horror film. That's so scary man.

Speaker 1:

That's, he invited me to come hunting with him this year. And I'm like, yeah, man, absolutely. And then I sat down afterwards and I was like, wait a minute, his stories were terrifying. I'm not sure if I want to go up there, but either way, I interrupted no, no, no, if you.

Speaker 2:

This is the question, though. If you were going to die, Would you rather be like I died when I was 85, surrounded by my family in the bed, or I died with What'd you say? Eric Boone? What'd you say his name was?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, eric Boone, yep.

Speaker 2:

I died with Eric Boone because I got torn in half by a grizzly bear and a random puma that had ended up in Southern Colorado. Like that's what happened.

Speaker 1:

That sounds pretty good. I'm taking the well you, okay, I I agree maybe you want to see your daughter.

Speaker 2:

My kids are five. My kids get a little bit older.

Speaker 1:

I got a five-year-old a two-year-old. If they're 29, yeah, send send me to Cougar camp and that's okay, so you're not, you're not committed.

Speaker 2:

Okay, you're not committed. I get oh, cool camp, that does sound good. Yeah, maybe there's some dirty beavers there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, dirty beavers in Cougar camp, All right okay. To bears. They're coming on you.

Speaker 2:

Okay, no, no, no, they're not. They're not so they have. They know we're there Like they. They're. They're looking up on occasion, but we're not moving, we're sitting still. My dad is literally after the, after the fact he goes. I didn't move a muscle the entire time. He never coughed like my dad has these things like.

Speaker 2:

Like you do that, old man got that too yeah it's all man thing, but my dad literally set just absolutely still for five or six hours and a blind cuz he was so scared if he moved he was gonna fall out. There was no railing on it, like it was literally just climb up, climb a seat and then sit on like the base of one of like the tethered you know, like the tethered stand that you would, that you would saddle hunt and but you're supposed to stand, it's just barely, you're like tiptoes on. Got you it's pretty rough. It was rough, but all right, two bears, lots of interaction. And then we hear kind of a distant crashing right and it's clear by both of their demeanors that they see something we don't see and they both take off in a hurry.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and I was like okay, here's the big daddy.

Speaker 2:

The big daddy is coming in and In walks, this tall, long, really thin, really rubbed out, just terrible, looking like Monkey, of a bear, like he looked like. Just he was awful looking, he looked terrible, but it was obvious that what he had just been basically claiming this area and he hadn't. I don't know if he just hadn't, he was like he was older than they were, but it was like he had. He was like a, like a 13 year old human being who's hit puberty, but he's in the horrible, sad parts of puberty where he's like six, four a hundred pounds.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but but pissed off, just a pissed off bear, pissed off runs these two off, immediately comes to the base of our tree and Looks up the tree at both of us and my dad are both like looking down at him and he's just staring these beady, horrible little yellow eyes. I need to walk past the bait Because he knew we were there and I think he also knew like I did this to my coat on purpose because you're not gonna shoot me because I look Like shit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah he walks over and and he grabs one of the one of the One of the tie-down lines that they had used to tie the base of the ladder stand of the tree. He grabs that tie-down line and starts pulling on it and I was like dad, yeah, he's pulling on your line. I'm like whispering to my dad. I'm like just stay still, you'll be fine, this is fine. So I'm literally like slowly rotating around in case I have to do like a Total archery challenge straight down, draw with an arrow to shoot this horrible bear.

Speaker 1:

I'm just waiting for dad to go, just shoot it.

Speaker 2:

Later my dad goes I don't know why you didn't shoot any of those bears, like not like I would. He was like they were all really like the first two really pretty. I don't understand. And he didn't understand until I shot the bear that I actually shot, which was like three times their size. Then he got it like he just didn't get it Because I just said, dad, you want to go fishing and maybe we're gonna do some bear hunting.

Speaker 2:

So this bear pulls on this, this, you know, pulls on this, this line that's that's holding my dad stand to the tree, and then he realizes like I'm not really gonna get anywhere with this.

Speaker 2:

So my, my tripod stand is staying right next to it and it's not a nice tripod, like it's not welded, it's all like bolted together and the bolts have clearly not been tightened in quite a while. So the whole thing is a little bit rickety. And he comes over there and he leans on one of the parts of the tripod right and he and he takes his mouth and he reaches up and he grabs one of the struts that's holding the thing together and he literally puts the whole thing in his mouth and just kind of holds on for a minute, as he's kind of rocking this, my tripod, and he is tall enough that I'm a hundred percent positive. If he stood up on his on his back legs, he's going to not only be able to get his claws to my feet, but he might be able to get his mouth at foot level, which means his arms would be at my ass level, which means he like, which means not great things.

Speaker 2:

So he's like five feet away from you dude, he is five feet away from me, so my dad has the good camera because he's camera-ing for me. And Dad is like I'm not videoing this. So I take, I've got my phone out and I'm videoing this thing with my iPhone. No, he's not video, but I got it, I got it on the iPhone. I know, I know, I know it wasn't. It was yeah, yeah so, but he can't.

Speaker 2:

He's on the opposite side of the tree and the camera that I gave him was just like Ridiculously big and heavy. So like he's 70 year old body's not gonna like he's not gonna reach over and be able to film, he wouldn't have got it anyway. Like my dad did not want to move out of that stand and odds are he would have fallen out and instantly the bear would have grabbed him and we would have been in the news. For 70 year old accountant died from a black bear hunting. All right, probably, not probably. He falls out, the black bear freaks out and runs away and we have to wait until somebody comes back. That's the reality. But in the moment when you see how capable the animals are, you're like I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I know I'm gonna die. So as a whitetail hunter, when you're sitting there going, every time a whitetail, like a, like a group of dough, has come in, I feel Absolutely positive. I shall have no physical damage done to my body, right, yeah, but with bear there's just that potential. So the adrenaline for me is just pumping the entire time and it's the coolest feeling ever. The coolest feeling. So the bear gets done, kind of messing around with what he's doing, and One of the other little bears comes back in to try to work the bait and he decides I'm gonna go get this thing and Takes off after the bear. They go run around for a while.

Speaker 2:

Long story short, the big bear ends up back in the same spot with us, still messing with us, and at one point Jumped up to put his claws on the tree, his, his top claws, to start climbing and I I basically made a really big movement at that point in time and his datum and he ran off and he didn't come back to the base of the tree at that point. So I yeah, no, no, yeah. So like that was, that was, but that that stress of that bear being there was Outstanding, like one of the coolest feelings as a whitetail hunter, to be like I'm in a stand, I have all my stuff set up, exactly the way I would be doing for a whitetail, like I got my bag over here, I got. I got everything on my body my binaurus, my release, I got my bow, exactly the exact same way, but there's something on the ground that could come up here and get me. And that was the coolest, most interesting feeling.

Speaker 2:

And watching them work together, watching them work the bait, like watching them, that was the thing we saw. We saw multiple bears over multiple days, by themselves at base state bait stations and walk, watching them work the bait, watching them crawl the tree and grab that, that paracord, and hand over hand. We saw one bear literally hand over, hand out to the, to the, the, the stanky beaver, grab with his mouth. He could not touch the ground, hang Uncomfortable he was not comfortable, it was very obvious and eat as much of heat, as much of the beaver as he could, crunching bones, reaching back, like with his back molars, crunching bones on that thing, and then he would finally let go, fall to the ground, go over to the grease barrel. You'll mess with the barrel a little bit, rolling the thing around like we're talking major chains that are chaining these barrels to the trees Like these bears would pick that barrel up like it was nothing and flip around even the small bears.

Speaker 1:

They're unbelievably powerful, unbelievably powerful man Brandon, you're making me rethink my answer to earlier. I think. All of a sudden I'm scared to go back in the woods.

Speaker 2:

But All right, so we'll, we'll talk about the actual kill. I think that that day was cool, just because this the stand situation with the two of us and how we were and that one, just like rogue, pre, like, I guess, post pubescent, but like, yeah, 13 to 15 year old human, just asshole, teenage, nasty bear, was so interesting to watch and and all right, okay, so I'll move on to the next spot. So after that, we decided that we would like to go sit at a different station where there was a ground blind only. So we're, so we're 15 yards from the bait and we're on the ground. So it's me and my dad in a tent which, for some reason, you feel safer, like you're, like I'm in a tent, it's, it's made of, it's made of material that's clearly thick enough. If a black bear decides to get Frisky with the tent, it's gonna be fine.

Speaker 2:

This time they were like really do the shotgun? Like we're just gonna leave you with it, just in case. And Kirk, the guy that was with us, who's much more experienced with all this stuff, he goes. How's that? Make sure you got your false sense of security with you. And I was like what do you mean? He goes, that bear wants to come get. You're not getting that shotgun off at time, good luck so. So that made us feel awesome. The best part was when, when we were loading into that area, my dad and I were getting out first and my buddy and Kirk and Josh were going to the next station. And Kirk gets out. He has these awful. So I. In Canada there's these ketchup Flavored. I don't remember if they were potato chips, I thought they're potato chips.

Speaker 1:

My wife's Canadian and they are her. Whenever someone goes to Canada she's like bring me back like five bags of Need a new wife.

Speaker 2:

You need a new wife, these horrible ketchup flavored potato chips. You know what I actually. There's a chance. So he bought two things and it was like a, really like bad, like B grade Cheetos, or the Patent, the or the ketchup chips. I can't remember which one it was.

Speaker 1:

You got ketchup and all dressed, where they take all of the seasonings and throw them on one chip. I don't know if you've had that no.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's like the suicide of potato chips, but it's like when I was a kid at the Coke machine just going through all the different ones.

Speaker 1:

Okay, interesting.

Speaker 2:

You know that was just a drunk guy at the potato chip factory one day was like, oh no, dude, I put all and they were like well, try it.

Speaker 1:

No, except these Canadians. He was like oh no, hey.

Speaker 2:

That's right, he's not from California. That's the only accent that I have. I can do an Indian accent too, but that's that's a little more racist than we need right now.

Speaker 1:

All right, so save that. Save that for after we're done recording. That's fine, that's fine.

Speaker 2:

So dad and I are in a ground blind and At one point in the day it's pretty slow, so not a lot going on. But we hear a bear walk up on the right side of the tent and it sounds like it's six feet from the tent. Now I know it wasn't because he was. He had to have been further away. Like we looked at basically the trail system that was around the tent and there was. It was in a really thick spot that the bears Wouldn't really want to come. So I know that he's probably more like 12 or 15 feet away over on this side. What I what I don't know is how big was, I have no idea. He comes over there and he just stands like 15 minutes and you can hear him breathing the entire time, breathing and a little bit of shuffling every once in a while. So all we have open is the front of the blind. We don't have any of the sides open at all. It's crazy. The bugs are crazy, like the black flies that were up there were just insane.

Speaker 2:

So we're in hairnets and we're in a. We're in a fully blacked out blind, except for two triangles that are open in the front, and I've got the camera, basically filling the vast majority of the one where my dad's sitting and then me. I've got an opening to basically draw and I've got, you know, the barrel plus maybe five feet on either side of the barrel. So at one point a small female comes in, she messes with the bait, she goes away and we're doing that thing and if you've whitetail hunted, this is the thing that you will do. Maybe you're more powerful than I know, I don't know. I start daydreaming, right, like you start daydreaming about stuff like I'm thinking about. Like you know, I've been really wanting like a 76 Ford F2 to 50 or a 350, like I want like four door with blue interior, and all of a sudden I hear this thud in the distance and In walks a bear that they estimated to be about 500 pounds.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So he's a different class of bear, right, it's different than we've seen and we've been sitting there for five or six hours. At this point it's right at the end of the hunt. There's like 15 minutes left. So mentally, like I'm just I'm already checked out and done, and then instantly Massive adrenaline rush and you're right back in it, like right back in it and this big ass bear Walks to the barrel. And basically the way they're talking about how you judge the barrel, judge a bear, is If he's really big and heavy, if his belly is getting close to dragging the ground. If his head is big, like a pumpkin, his ears are off to the side and they're short. So the small bears, black bears, their head will be pretty elongated and their ears will be really long and more on top of their head. But as the mature, as the mature ones get bigger, their ears move down and get short and their heads get really big like a pumpkin. And they said if you get a bear whose back is barrel level and he looks like that, that is a really big bear who's a shooter.

Speaker 2:

And my bear was about three or four inches taller than the barrel and he was everything they were talking about. So I have one of those like just pants pooping moments and and I Reach over to the camera because I was I had also instructed my dad how to run the camera and then in that moment I was like I'm not delegating any of this. I reach over, I turn the camera on and my dad kind of looks at me like you, this is go time. Like he instantly recognized the size difference and then understood like oh, I get why you're doing what you're doing right now and I see why you're weighted, I see why you waited. So I've got the hoy ventum.

Speaker 2:

I think this is the year where I was shooting the venom pro and Cameras on. Focus is on like I've checked everything. The bear is messing with the top of the barrel a little bit blacked out, blind Mosquito net on, and I think to myself you should lift the mosquito net out of the way to just make sure you're good. Right, because it's also like 15 in Canada. When I say we're 15 minutes from getting out of the thing, like I'm at this point in Canada, it's like 11 pm, so it's super late because the days are so long there and this sounds like a spring or fall hunt, or just this is.

Speaker 2:

Was it June?

Speaker 1:

okay, it's a mid-summer, yeah, okay.

Speaker 2:

Yep, june, june, which in Canada, june is still not at that point in Canada, like still cold, stop, yeah, it's not. It's not a warm, yeah, not warm. We weren't bringing like full winter gear and the mornings were great, like midday on the lake, we're awesome but it was definitely like sitting in the blinds. You want a jacket, for sure, but the bugs, man, the bugs were just Ridiculous like. I have video of us pulling into a gas station and the front of the car is it's a silver car and the front of the car is black Cakes like a half an inch with these black flies. Dude, it is Unfathomably bad. I don't know how they exist this way. It's, it's crazy. So that's why we're wearing all the gear, because if you, if you don't it, maybe there are people who are capable of withstanding it, but I couldn't like mosquitoes everywhere, everywhere, black flies everywhere.

Speaker 2:

All right, big bear, I Draw the bow, I Anchor and I'm going through my shop process and I still remember in my mind Screaming mentally housing, housing, housing. Because when I used to miss white tail deer when I was younger, the reason I would miss is I'd be looking through my peep and my housing and my peep would misalign Because I was keeping both eyes open and I was watching the deer, because I was so excited about them and I'd shoot high six inches or a left eight inches or whatever it was. So my my shot process became, when I drew, in order to keep my mind Not going into some, some sub subconscious place, to keep myself Forward and to keep myself in my conscious brain is Housing, housing, housing. And what I'm doing is purposely holding the alignment of my peak With my housing and I am literally Screaming it in my brain anchor, hold Behind the crease, lower one third back three inches, fire the arrow, except that's not where you shoot a bear.

Speaker 2:

So the shot process For a white tail deer that I have so ingrained into myself in sitting in a blind in an maximum adrenaline's position After the fatigue of sitting for the day and all the bullshit around you like. But and I'm not making excuses and I don't want any people to hear excuses what I want them to hear is Me learning something about myself, that I had more things to overcome. Because here's what happened. When we watch the footage back, the bear is not Broadside, he's quartering toward me and I knew he was quartering to a little bit, but in the light, what I wasn't doing was I just wasn't looking at his legs the right way. I felt like that target was so huge that there I'm, at 15 yards, like I've killed animals at Eight times that distance, like yeah, why am I gonna? What's gonna happen here? This is a gimme right, this is a. This is a six inch putt Arrow loses Bam straight through the bear. He jumps back. As he's on his way out the fight, the 55 gallon barrel drum goes flying in the air. He evacuates through one of the sides, he's smashing through brush and I'm I'm like this is perfect, absolutely, absolutely. This dude is gonna be down listening for the moan.

Speaker 2:

We watch the footage back and I realized that the arrow is low and that he is quartering to me and he's quartering to so hard that the I can see the arrow exit the bear through his back leg and the Fletchings hang and I can see as he jumps. He's like six feet out and I can see the iron will Wide single bevel, broad head, that has gone all the way through him, went through his leg bone. Because when you listen to the video you can just hear it snap. You can just hear that single bevel just cracking bone on its way out, hangs the Fletching, the arrow. You can see the broad head kind of glisten up in the sormo video as the bear bounces that barrel and takes off and Just or just sunk, dude, just heart sunk. Because I was like there's no, like how far is this thing gonna go? Yeah, no, I'm gonna be able to find it, but plenty of damage right, you, yes, yeah, because I got all the way through him.

Speaker 2:

I got through leg, I got through something major on the back end, because when we find the arrow, there is good blood on the arrow. Yeah, I bet good blood, which is weird. Which is a bit weird for a bear because, honestly, on a great shot on a bear You're probably not getting a ton of blood, because on the on the pastor on the backside, apparently the fleshing will clean off decently because all the fur on the off side they're actually gonna clean up a bit okay. So I've only killed one other bear and it was a really little bear and I hit it in a weird spot in Dan state. I was with the elk shape guys in in Idaho and and I got such a good blood trail that Dan was like I've never seen a blood trail like this for a bear and when we got up to it I'd shot it through an artery in his arm, so there was no hair there, he was just bleeding out everywhere. We was super easy to track. But that doesn't, that's not the same thing. And that story may be more interesting because it was spot-in-stock on a black bear, with me holding my bow in one hand and the camera and the other getting to 50 yards and the bear seeing me and then me setting up and taking a shot. But to me the big bear, the big bear in Canada, is more interesting because Of the the transition from a whitetail hunter to a black bear Hunter being so parallel but being feeling so different in that moment.

Speaker 2:

All right, so we go look, for I think we've kind of already spoiled it a bit. The question is how far do we have to go to find the bear? How long did it take to find the bear? Or did we find the bear so, shoot the bear, we get the can't, we get the.

Speaker 2:

Everybody backs out that night like they come, they come in and we start tracking it. They find blood for a ways, and the guides are like we're gonna find it, like they're watching that, they're watching the footage. They're like we're gonna find it, like that's a dead bear, like it's not a great shot but it's a dead bear. There's really good blood. We have no idea what you hit on the way out, like we know that. And I what I was assuming was onside lung, liver, guts Through the leg, like I was just assuming that I hit all the goodies all the way through and that the bear was. It was not gonna be double lung, was not a heart shot, but that we were still gonna not have a problem. Like this bear was on the ground somewhere.

Speaker 1:

But the terrain was back leg. I imagine you just splitting that hind leg. It's not making it very far. I don't care what kind of animal you are, but that's just my assumption. Maybe I'm wrong. You tell me I assumed the same thing.

Speaker 2:

So the next day we come out because we decided we're gonna back out that night because it's dark at that point and nobody wants to go fishing for a 500 black, 500, 100 pound black bear with flashlights.

Speaker 2:

So we go back to camp and come back the next day and we start following the trail, and the trail, like when black, big black bears are going through like grass, it it's so obvious that you don't have to track them. It literally is just these huge swaths of tamp down grass. It's not like tracking a deer. You literally just look up and you that's where they went and you just, you know, move ahead 50 yards. So we tracked this bear down to this pond segment that's like 250 yards through the thickest, nastiest stuff I've probably ever tracked through. You can't see if, if one of us moved 20 yards ahead, they were gone, like yeah, you could not see them. So we track them down to an opening in a pond and we find a bedding area Down there by the pond where he laid up all night and then moved on, never found him.

Speaker 1:

No, Never found him. That's insane Dude.

Speaker 2:

So we were seeing touch with those, with those uh the outfitter yes.

Speaker 1:

Did they ever see him on camera again? Did they ever find uh corpse?

Speaker 2:

They haven't said anything and I'll have to ask, I'll have to see if they've, if they've seen him come back on camera. That's actually a really good point. So I told them that I would if they found the. If they found him, I was like I'll pay you guys a thousand bucks extra, over and above everything, if you find him. Just just tell me, like, even if he's rotted to pieces, take pictures and tell me. And it's not about the trophy, I just want to know what happened. Like I I hate the idea of shooting an animal and losing the animal. I I absolutely hate that idea. Yeah and um.

Speaker 2:

But the craziest thing was where he bedded down by the by the um, by the pond. It opened up and he just laid down in this tuft of grass and you could see this dried blood that was underneath him, where he clearly just laid there and like laid on the wound, either until he, until we spooked him and he got up and walked off, or he just was able to move off again. But apparently that area was thick enough that they they had lost a bear there a few weeks before as well, that a rifle hunter had shot, just they said. I mean he could be laying under one of these three foot diameter logs. That's this, you know, this dead fall that's down here, like they're just you have to walk right up on them, yeah, um, so we're going back in June and I think about it every day Like I think about what I should have done different.

Speaker 2:

I think about I have a black bear target that, like I go shoot more than any of my other 3D targets, like I, I change orientation on it, like I I all that kind of stuff. Just just trying to think about how to not repeat that scenario. Because, yeah, I don't know, I just it's funny, man, I've just been eight up about it, like I've been eight up about it.

Speaker 1:

I believe it, man. So this last September I shot an elk and at the moment we're all like, yes, dead elk. So of course we took a video of it and so we watched that video, as we're waiting our hour right To let it expire and just the video doesn't do it justice and we spend an hour deciding, oh, that's farther back than we thought. And so we were like we should probably wait for two, two to three hours and we just sat there and waited and like I was like, oh man, did I just, did I just gut shot this animal? I was just going to run 15 mile and I was, thank goodness, we found that elk. But and I'm a new hunter and so I haven't had the opportunity to lose an animal yet it will eventually happen. It's just the nature of the game. But those, those like two and a half, three hours of thinking, oh no, I screwed this up was like.

Speaker 1:

I was like maybe I shouldn't hunt anymore. Like that's what was going through my head when, when I thought that this 300 plus inch bull was just going to be wounded running through the woods, but thankfully, thankfully. I use an iron will as well. It was quartering to just like in your shot and I hit it. It probably clipped along liver guts and out the other side, but there was no blood, not a drop.

Speaker 2:

Yep, yep.

Speaker 1:

But we, we we did find it about 150 yards away. It bled internally and basically drowned. It reared up and fell up. It was upside down. So we were looking for antlers and we found a chance. Wow.

Speaker 2:

See, but that that that three hours to me is such a real, like visceral moment of hunting that I don't think people expect could happen, especially when it's like a high value animal. And what I mean by high value animal is there's no doubt that in the hierarchy we all have like bull elk, like 300, 340 to 360 inch elk. You're like that's outstanding. But if a 420 inch elk walks out in front of you on public land there, there's that thing that happens where you just go.

Speaker 2:

I don't know why I want to possess this rare thing.

Speaker 2:

I want to possess it so bad. And that's one of the reasons that people poach is they see these animals that are so rare that there's just this, this desire to possess this, this rare piece of this giant nugget of gold that they have found. And obviously that's like the lack of self restraint. To do that out of out of like to poach, to do something out of the context of when it is legal, is so poisonous and gross. But to do it inside of the season, inside of the rules, especially if you can do it like over the counter DIY, like hard hunt, I don't know what that feels like, but to me that feels like the most pure thing that you could possibly do, like I've killed plenty of stuff that's private and public and DIY and all that stuff. I've never killed the giant or even like the trophy, the rare thing under those, under that scenario. But I imagine that that would be that feeling. That feeling would be a fleeting feeling that you probably never have again, unless you get to do that frequently, I guess.

Speaker 1:

I guess I mean, yeah, I'm like I said my bowl was 300 plus and I don't. I've already come to grips with the fact that, like, I'll probably never kill a bowl that big again and it was a moment that I'm going to live, granted the three hours of terror, or you know, two and a half hours of terror of thinking I lost it, but yeah, it's pretty special. Here's a question Change yourself just a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Sure, sure, sure.

Speaker 1:

That I have for you about like that sort of moment, that moment when the animal shows up. Is it different? And I don't have much experience for this and that's why I'm asking you but is it different when you're Western big game hiking and an elk shows up in front of you and you're like in the moment and you're, or you've been, sitting there thinking about your 76,?

Speaker 2:

you know, chevy or whatever it was, it's a Ford, it's a Ford.

Speaker 1:

Come on, I know I was said 76 Ford Chevy and I'm like well, that's stupid, but is there a difference in the moment when the animal shows up, when you've been exerting yourself, versus was you've been sitting there daydreaming and like?

Speaker 2:

what is?

Speaker 1:

what is what? What happens there? Because I I've had like turkey show up while I'm sitting in the blinded. I'm like oh, oh shit. You know like, and I've been sitting elk hunting in the morning, waiting for the sun to come up and I get the shakes, but I've never seen an elk. But the one time I did kill an elk, I was hiking in hard, I was chasing after it, going after it, and I was steady as a rock. And I'm curious if you have any experience with that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'll speak for myself. And then people that I've talked I've talked with it's fairly similar. So I the most adrenaline that I've gotten, that's just absolutely destabilizing. Like a destabilizing amount of adrenaline is when something surprises, when surprises you. So I was in Utah and I was daydreaming end of the hunt, walked up a trail and all of a sudden walked up on just a cow, elk and I was ready to shoot a cow on that trip. Like I was ready and that was a destabilizing amount of adrenaline for me because I had. I was just casually walking up a trail. There was an. I wasn't exerting myself, anything like that. That was such a destabilizing amount of adrenaline that I I didn't shoot at her, I just I couldn't come down enough to justify the distance of the shot. At that point in time I was like whitetail, like I told you where I'm screaming at myself housing, housing, housing in my shot process. It's because of whitetail, because if I'm sitting there, especially after a rain, because they'll walk up quiet in the rain, because you're just not hearing the crunching on the leaves, especially early season, before there's a bunch of leaves on the ground like they just all of a sudden end up in front of you and especially if it's something that you want to shoot, I think for me, the adrenaline hit of the surprise is far more destabilizing. So I shot.

Speaker 2:

I shot a, an elk, at 85 yards in New Mexico and it was because we'd hiked in, we'd watched the elk, we'd gotten closer, we'd we'd moved to the next grove of trees, I'd I'd taken some gear off, I'd moved into a certain position, I'd measured my body and made sure that my kneeling stance was good, I made sure the camera guy was good, I drew and as I drew, I literally said, okay, you don't have to take this shot. Like, first of all, it's not a big elk, but the shot will be epic. If you take this shot, it will be epic and it will be beautiful, the shot will be perfect. So, like, the actual video footage will be perfect. But you have to make sure that you feel confident in the shot. And as I pulled the peep up, dude, just rock solid, locked on.

Speaker 2:

And then I just started going through the shot process and boom, off goes the arrow. It's a, it's on my YouTube channel, it's my new Mexico hunt that I did a few years ago. And you just see the arrow. Leave this little hide that we're in and you see it starts a fishtail. And then you just see it go right over the top of this iron pipe fence that the elk was standing on the backside of, but it looks like he's right up against it and I'm going to hit that pipe and the arrow just disappears right through him, right into the dark behind him. Dude, it was so epic. The elk ran 50 yards laid down and died and go ahead.

Speaker 1:

Well, I did like this comes back to what we were saying earlier. It's, like you know, Western versus Eastern kind of blind hunting. They're both hard and I think that, like the Western get Western might be that physical tough, but the Eastern you're going to get surprised. If you're sitting in a blind you're going to get surprised. If you're sitting in tree stand you're probably going to get surprised. But I think it just adds to the fact that they're all tough in their own, in their own way, I think that there's also a mental toughness, people and I didn't realize this first.

Speaker 2:

So, like I did solo in Utah for two years and I'm not, like I'm not a camper, like I don't go camping and I didn't grow up doing a lot of camping, even though I'm from Colorado, which is we just did different stuff.

Speaker 2:

And so the added element of it's not hunting as like you have to go survive in a completely different outdoor area that you didn't realize that you were going to have to survive in. So like at 10,000 feet, where I was 10,300, where I was in Utah, coming from 400 feet in Nashville or whatever the hell, we are here, nothing, and just hiking in learning how to get, like oh, that's that's water. Like that's good, that's water. And I can get my, my cleaning stuff to get this water and I can make my dehydrated meat dry, my dehydrated meals. And what you don't realize is, after five days of eating dehydes and just like shitting your brains out, that's pretty taxing and not zesty. And like no, it's not fun. And like, oh, did you bring enough wet wipes? No, you didn't, because it's just like wiping a marker for for you know that's surprisingly accurate.

Speaker 1:

So you kind of finish what you wanted to say and then I'll tell you a great story. But yeah, story.

Speaker 2:

Perfect, that's what we like to hear. So it's so, so, like that element for an Eastern hunter who's used to the mental game of sit your ass in a blind and sit perfectly still for five hours with some new podcast like, just plow through two, two episodes, Joe Rogan, baby, you're going to sit there and you're going to listen. You're going to have a podcast in one ear and you're going to use your other ear to listen for stuff coming up and you're not going to shoot a buck unless it's bigger than the best you have on camera and you're going to watch does come by and you're going to watch forks. Come by and you're going to just hang out and you're just going to wait and you're going to do that day after day after day after day after day after day after day. And as boring as it was to just hear me say that five times, imagine sitting in all day sits during the rut. But then on day six, all of a sudden, you hear often this, often the distance, 100 yards away, something running toward you and you know that's not a squirrel, that's not the same squirrel that I've heard 4000 times already. It's not. It's not the same squirrel. And all of a sudden there is a monster fricking eight point, 140 inch, eight point, running a dough right through your setup and you weren't quite ready. You weren't quite ready to get that thing drawn quick enough because you didn't register. That's 100 yards away. I need to get ready right now. I need to get ready right now because I believe myself, because I've been sitting for five days and now my brain is it's go time.

Speaker 2:

That like monk, monk type, like monk attitude versus to me, like the western stuff where you're hiking and the grind of hiking and eating dehydes and figuring out just whatever, even it's not do dehyde, just figuring out your nutrition. I'm hot and then my cold, I'm sweaty, my feet hurt, like you're never comfortable. I never sleep well when I'm out in those scenarios ever. I wake, I sleep for 45 minutes, I wake up for 15 minutes, I sleep for 45 minutes, I wake for 15 minutes. But what I realized was okay, that's my schedule at night. It sucks. I've never been able to break that if I'm in a sleeping bag on a pad. That's my schedule and I've never been able to figure it out. But what I also realized was I can do that for a week. I can do it Like I can do that for a week and and then when I bring that back to like doing a business deal in Nashville, like doing a real estate deal and like some contractors wanting to give me shit or something, I'm like, dude, come camp in the woods with me for seven days and get 45 minutes on, 15 minutes off, asleep for seven nights in a row.

Speaker 2:

This doesn't matter like it turns the volume. It's like Fight club. It just brings the volume down on the rest of life in such a good way, like such a wonderful way. But white tail hunting does the same thing. It brings the volume down on the rest of it because you're achieving the state of, like Mental focus. That's different for white tail hunting to me than it is for Western hunting, but there is, there is some congruency, there is some parallel between those, just just from the standpoint of Mental like. Just mental strength is just a different kind of mental strength.

Speaker 1:

I agree 100%. I will say this Brandon, you've done a very normally. I'm really good at bringing people back to telling stories and we don't talk about things that are not stories, but you do a very good job of keeping me enthralled here. This is exactly. I love it. I love everything about this. I think I did a better job keeping Ted Nugent on subject than I have you.

Speaker 2:

That's hilarious, man. That's hilarious. You got to talk to the nudes dude. I'm jealous. I want to talk to that guy.

Speaker 1:

He's, he's, he's a lot of fun, man, he's a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

He's a character man.

Speaker 1:

He told me, if I can get an access to your hunt, he'd come down and hunt with me. So I'm working on it.

Speaker 2:

Dude, call me, I will for real. I'll go film and and shoot. Access is one. If you've never had it, it's one of the best meets I've ever had my life. It's worth it.

Speaker 1:

I put it over elk and it's phenomenal. Oh yeah, I will say the first time I ever had it. Somebody cut some fat off of the axis and put it on top of the steak, thinking it would like moisten the steak. No, it's like a wax. It's like a wax.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, don't do that. But dear fats never good yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but yeah, all right, my shit that's all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I want to hear your shitty story, but I'm good for mine.

Speaker 1:

All right, it's not. It's not a quick story. No, it is a quick story but my friend loves it, actually hates it when I shit on him and that's why I'm going to tell the story. But my hunting buddy, he's allergic. He recently discovered he's a little just gluten. Gluten makes him shit. This last hunt that we went on yeah.

Speaker 1:

I brought an RV out because I was like, hey, I'm going to be out there long term. Like that's what they do, I'm going to bring one to. So part of the RV, he comes out for the first weekend and he just wants to be part of the crew, so we're having tacos where I'm in this room and that, and he's just gluten, gluten, gluten, gluten and you mentioned, you know, wiping a marker.

Speaker 2:

Wiping a marker baby.

Speaker 1:

My buddy was out there for a day and a half and he filled up my black tank. He then, he then goes back to town and I'm like man, am I gonna have to take this thing to town to like dump it? Like? This is ridiculous. And I manage over the next lot. You know I'm hunting every day, so most of the time I'm out in the woods, but the next like six days it doesn't get any more full. He comes back and boom, it's it is. It is at its capacity.

Speaker 2:

So you make him get a ladle, you make him get a ladle, you open the tool and you make him ladle that stuff out of there. Go dump it in the woods. Baby he showed up for for the second weekend.

Speaker 1:

I was like you, sir, are shit in the cold. Yeah like whatever's left in there is for me.

Speaker 2:

So not a great story, but I think a somewhat relatable hunting story, oh I like it for sure I like it, yeah, no, just imagine, though you're in the middle of nowhere in Utah. I didn't see anybody for a week. Both times I went literally zero, that's where, that's where I was, and you run out of wet wipes both times. But I got to walk to the creek, stark ass naked, a mile, literally walked with my garment, walked with my garment and my gun for a mile from my campsite to Bade in a creek. Both times I was there. It was the best feeling ever, dude. If you ever walked naked in the woods for a mile, it's the best feeling ever.

Speaker 1:

So I've had naked experiences in the woods, but not a mile.

Speaker 2:

A mile hike by yourself, baby. That's what you got to do, all by yourself, one mile, and this was. This was really fun. I really had a good time. Thank you for thank you for having me on, for allowing me to kind of share some of my stories.

Speaker 1:

I I really did have a good time, yeah this was fun, brandon, and I mean I hope, I hope we can have you on again in the future. I'm sure you have plenty more stories to tell. Why don't we, why don't we wrap this thing up, man, I know I've taken up more of your time than I asked for, so, and you're a couple of times ahead of me, tell the folks where they can find you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so YouTube is kind of my primary go to. I think I'm getting back into making videos this year post having I've got a two month old now, so I'm getting back into making videos this year. So, youtube Brandon McDonald is my name there. I am not the large black NFL player, I am the skinny white archery guy. Yeah, that's true. That's true, yeah, so uh, and then uh, on Instagram I'm Brandon McDonald underscore archery. That's Brandon McDonald underscore archery. And I'm actually on YouTube. I'm in a competition with Tim Connor uh, kind of formally of the Elk shape fame. He's out of, uh, out of Washington, uh of, uh, we're trying to get to 50, who's getting to 50 K first? And so go subscribe to YouTube. That would be amazing, very helpful, thank you, I'd like to beat him.

Speaker 1:

There we go, guys, you hear that right now. Everyone listening. Subscribe today, brandon. Thank you, man, this was a lot of fun. Um, and, like I said, I learned a lot of archery from you. Like you were kind of like the uh, the gateway drug, I guess I will say Uh, so thank you for that as well.

Speaker 2:

Um, you picked a good bow man. You picked a good one, so I'm glad that you did it.

Speaker 1:

Uh, you know, what's funny is there were, so they're all so good, um, but the grip is what got me. And what's funny when it breaks down to all the other things. And then the grip, the actual grip on my Hoy RX seven came off.

Speaker 2:

Dude, that's a good grip, though I really do like that grip as I have the RX eight this year and it's the same. Uh, it's basically the same uh. Riser, it's great. It really is really good. Yeah, Just get just get some, get some glue, baby Glue that.

Speaker 1:

I use my, I use my fletching glue. I just squirted it and it's back to.

Speaker 2:

It's actually probably better than it was before but yeah, probably, yeah, yeah, no, it's a great bow dude, keep that. Keep that for three or four years and then buy a Matthews.

Speaker 1:

All right, Brandon man, Thanks again, I appreciate your time and uh, gosh, that was a. That was a fun episode, man, Thank you.

Speaker 2:

That was a good one man. Yeah, Thank you for talking to me. I appreciate it.

Brandon's Journey Into Black Bear Hunting
Bear Hunting and Baiting Ethics
Bear Hunting in the Canadian Wilderness
Close Encounters With Bears and Cougars
Bear Encounter During Hunting Trip
Massive Bear Encounter in Canada
Reflections on a Failed Bear Hunt
Hunting Challenges and Adrenaline Surprises
Hunting, Mental Strength, and RV Stories
Praise and Advice on Bow Equipment