Why We Hunt - By: Bobby Petit

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Why We Hunt...

 

For us here at PNWild, hunting isn’t just a hobby that we partake in a couple weekends out of the year, it’s a way of life. It consumes our thoughts at all hours of the day. I could think of a thousand reasons to support this topic of “why we hunt” but, to keep this brief, I’m going to stick to a few of my favorite reasons. First off, it fulfills the need for adventure and gives us the opportunity to explore some of the most breathtaking country. Most of which has only been seen by the native wildlife and those who are brave enough to seek these remote parts of the woods. Another, simply, is food. In today’s world very few people actually know where their food comes from and how it’s been handled. We as hunters KNOW where our food comes from, how it was cared for, and exactly what it is we are providing for ourselves, our families, and our friends. Equally as important as the first two reasons is conservation. We want to see all wildlife flourish and live in healthy environments rich in all the things they require to keep their species healthy. It is our deepest desire to see to it that all future generations have as much opportunity or more than we do to enjoy the bounty that Mother Nature can provide. Showing the utmost respect for the game we pursue and the public lands where we hunt is something we take pride in.

Waterfowl hunting and trolling for salmon with my dad in the Puget Sound is what ignited my passion for the outdoors. A pink sunrise coming over the mountains, whistling wings overhead, and frozen fingers are memories that will stay with me forever. I eventually harvested my first buck at the age of 20 and I was immediately hooked on big game hunting. Just a couple years later, I met a kid by the name of Jeff Roberts and found out that he loved hunting just as much as I did. Since then we have been on some crazy adventures together and have harvested some great animals. One memory that stands out from the others is when we hiked into a remote wilderness in the Washington high country in search of mule deer. We were seeing bucks which drove us to keep hiking further and further until we realized the sun was starting to go down, it’s crazy how the time can fly when you are hot on the tracks of mule deer bucks. With only a days worth of food and gear, we knew there was no way we’d make it back to the truck before dark, and the risk of hiking out in this terrain was unsettling. Temperatures were dropping and daylight was fading. We had to find shelter, fast. On the way up the mountain I remember seeing a small cave, cut out from a huge rock face that we were climbing. This was to be our home for the night. Luckily, we had some fire starters and with the aid of some limbs from a dried up deadfall we had a small bonfire to keep us warm. It was a long sleepless night to say the least. Snow started to fall and it seemed like every half hour one of us would have to go gather more wood to re-stoke the fire. Finally, the sun began creeping over the ridge tops and we were saddled under our packs again. Hiking back up to where we had seen bucks the day before, we sat down and glassed for a while. “Buck!” Without wasting any time we went after him. I was able to get within shooting range but of course the young buck did not want to stay still and I never got a shot off. Heading towards where we had seen the deer crest the ridge we kicked up a different deer along the way. Instantly we could both tell he was a shooter buck and without hesitation, Jeff torched one off. The shot echoed throughout the hills and then nothing but silence. Thank goodness for snow because we found maybe two drops of blood total and continued to follow his tracks until we walked up on what we’d come so far to get our hands on. A dead high mountain muley. It’s times like these that make all of the hard work worth it. Throughout the years Jeff, Zack, and myself have harvested elk, deer, and bear. With each animal comes a story filled with laughs, tears, and memories that will last a lifetime. This is why we hunt.

Do you know where your last meal actually came from and how it was handled? Chances are, you don’t. This is something that people don’t put much thought into nowadays. Nearly half of the living adult population has a chronic disease and seventy percent of adults are overweight. I think diet and lifestyle play a huge role in that. Hunting is great exercise and a healthy lifestyle. With hard work and a good chunk of luck you’ll be able to fill your freezer every year with the ultimate free range, organic protein, wild game. Species like elk, deer, bear, etc., are not only fun to hunt but they also make great table fare. Seared backstraps on a hot grill from any of these animals is tough to beat. One of my new favorite meals that my wife cooks is cauliflower rice casserole with ground meat. We use either ground elk or venison. Aside from being delicious, these meats are packed with nutrients, higher in protein and lower in fat when compared to even grass fed beef. While satisfying your taste buds you’ll also benefit from the high amounts of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and B vitamins. Wild game produces leaner, healthier options as opposed to commercial animals. Commercial food starts in crowded feedlots, which are narrow environments that hundreds of thousands of animals are confined in tiny spaces. They are fed corn in giant troughs, not grass. They then defecate and urinate next to where they eat as they aren’t even given the space needed to move away from their food source. There is disease that occurs when you have these huge concentrations of animals living next to one another. So they’re given antibiotics and also injected with nutrients to keep them alive. They’re also given growth hormones for mass production, bigger animals equals more money. Remember, you are consuming everything that animal consumed as well, so everytime you eat that commercially sourced protein, you are consuming all the things that went into that animal. Pretty gross if you ask me. You can rest assured that what you harvest in the field is free of antibiotics and growth hormones, and that what you are consuming is completely natural and organic. Hunting and consuming meat you harvested also has less of a footprint on the environment. I think we can all agree that factory farming is bad for the environment and unethical. This is why we hunt.

Hunting is conservation. Groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, The Rocky Mountain Goat Alliance, and many more have done amazing things for our wildlife and public lands. Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901 and created the United States Forest Service (USFS) to help protect wildlife and public lands. He used his power to established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments. 230 million acres of public lands were established during his presidency and 150 million acres of that land was set aside as national forests. Teddy was a passionate hunter and had the same goal as the majority of hunters have today. We all strive for plenty of wildlife and land for us and future generations to enjoy. Have you ever thought about where your money goes when you buy tags and a hunting license? Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs. That’s a lot of money! It’s also interesting to see how far the wildlife numbers have come since regulations and game management has been set in place. In 1907, only 41,000 elk remained in North America. Today there are more than 1 million. In 1900, only 500,000 whitetail deer remained. Today there are more than 32 million. Those are just a couple of the many species that have made a significant comeback thanks to the money and hard work invested by hunters. Another interesting fact is an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows generates $371 million a year for conservation. I just can’t imagine where wildlife and our public lands would be today if it weren’t for hunters. Again, this is why we hunt. 

“Theodore Roosevelt and Conservation” nps.gov 11/16/17 2/25/18

“25 Reasons Why Hunting Is Conservation” rmef.org January 2013 2/25/18

Whether you agree with it or not, hunting is part of who we are as human beings. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of time and only in recent years we have started to rely on grocery stores and other people for our food. Slowly we have been losing the skills that we’ve developed over millions of years to hone in our craft of hunting. My daughters just turned a year old and my wife and I plan on introducing them to the outdoors and the tradition of hunting. If they chose not to hunt I am totally fine with that. But they will understand where their food came from and why their Dad has made the decision to be a hunter. This is why we hunt.

 

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Tips for Flexible Dieting

The new year is here folks. Time to start planning, prepping for, talking about, overthinking, and obsessing over what the 2018 hunting seasons have in store for all of us. I know we at PNWild have already had multiple discussions about 2018 and what our year is going to look like. Tags to apply for, states to research, and new adventures to dream about are all in our future. What is on your radar? Have you been thinking and planning already or did the thoughts of 2018 seasons fly out the window with the stresses surrounding the holidays? Don’t delay, the time is now, 2018 is officially here.

I know for me personally some weight was gained during the holidays and now I need to ramp things up in the kitchen and in the gym if I’m going to reach my goals for this new year. There is no shame in letting the healthy eating slip or taking a break from rigorous workouts, as long as you are able to reel it in when the time comes, that time is now. Just in the last two weeks I have gotten back to weighing out my food and keeping track of my macronutrients throughout the day, and have already seen substantial results. The thought of weighing out your food everyday and tracking it all might seem daunting, but I promise you it’s truly quite easy and honestly, very rewarding.

First you will need to calculate your macro numbers that you will need to hit each day to achieve the goals you have.Macronutrients consist of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  There are many macro calculators on the internet that are very easy to use. Bodybuilding.com has a great one that takes you through the process step by step. Basically, you will enter in some basic information, sex, height, weight, age, activity level throughout the day, and whether you are looking for a fat loss, maintenance, or muscle building, type of plan, then follow the steps to decide what your macro count will be for each day. For example, I am  currently consuming 1,965 calories a day: 196gr of protein, 196gr of carbs, and 43gr of fats. My focus everyday is getting as close to hitting those numbers dead on as I possibly can. It can be difficult at first to find the right combinations of foods you need during each day and such, but once you get the hang of it, it comes with ease and can be very fun.

I use an app called MyFitnessPal to scan in all of my food each day, it’s super simple (and free) and remembers the foods you eat so if you are a meal prepper it becomes very quick and easy to add in your food each day. You can either search for the food item you are eating or simply scan the barcode on whatever it is you are grubbing on and the nutrient facts will pop up onto your phone, put in the number of servings you are consuming and you are done. The app allows you to break down your meals by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks so you can track how many calories you are eating for each meal throughout the day. I try very hard to keep all my meals fairly balanced and similar in caloric intake. Find what works for you and run with it.

In 2 weeks of sticking to those numbers and hitting the gym 4-5 times a week I have already lost 5lbs out of the 15lbs I am wanting to lose. Now it isn’t and shouldn’t only be about a number on the scale, I also have lofty strength and conditioning goals I am after. Truly as long as you feel better physically that is what truly matters. Everyone will have different goals, motivations, styles, and preferences. This is just what works for me. I am no expert, I just want to offer some information to those that may be looking for a more sustainable type of “diet” as this one allows you to eat whatever it is you desire as long as it fits within your macronutrient numbers for the day. IIFYM.com is another good resource to check out if you have any questions about how this works.

Please if any of you have any questions on macronutrients, MyFitnessPal, calculating your macros, meal ideas, whatever reach out and ask! I am more than happy to do whatever I can to help any of you with your goals for the 2018 health and hunting seasons!

Functional Fitness for the Mountain Hunter 2.0

Functional Fitness for the Mountain Hunter 2.0

Functional Fitness and Strength for the Mountain Hunter 2.0

 Hopefully at this point in the season you have all been getting some workouts in, whether it be in the gym, in the streets, or in the mountains. Turkey season is well underway in many states along with spring bear seasons. Don't forget about the all too addicting shed season that has been going for a few weeks now! If you have been getting in some workouts and are ready to up your game to a new level then this may just be the article and workout plan you need. This is definitely a more advanced workout plan, more aimed at those with access to a gym but supplemental exercises can always be done if you have no way into a gym environment. I truly hope some of you tried out the circuits from the first functional fitness post; a huge thank you to those who reached out and let us know how they went for you, what you liked and didn't like, and how they aided you in this early 2017 season.
 Let's get this thing started shall we? No more need for more blabber about the importance of physical fitness in the mountains, just get to freakin' work already!

Day 1:
-250m row or 400m run
-5 pull-ups
-12 burpees
-10 single-arm dumbbell snatches
5 rounds for time

Day 2:
-10 box jumps
-10 wall balls
-10 kettlebell stiff-legged deadlifts
-20 push-ups
-50ft farmer's carry (45lbs in each hand)
5 rounds for time

Day 3:
-250m row or 400m run
-8 toes to bar
-10 burpees
-30 second plank
-10 kettlebell sumo deadlifts (heavy kettlebell)
5 rounds for time

Day 4:
-10 back squats (comfortable weight for you)
-8 pull-ups
-30 second weighted (10-45lb plate) plank
-6 burpees jump over small box
-10 sit-ups
5 rounds for time

Day 5:
-10 (each leg) weighted step back lunges
-15 push-ups
-10 box jumps
-250m row or 400m run
-10 dumbbell push-press
5 rounds for time

 If you are unsure about any of these movements, don't hesitate to shoot us an email at contact@pnwild.com or just search for them on youtube/google. Again, please send us an email or tag us in an instagram video or photo if you do these workouts. Hit the gym, hit the track, hit the hills, and get your sweat on! August and September are right around the corner! Good luck everyone!

Public Land Trail Cams 101

Public Land Trail Cams 101
 

    In preparation for my 2016 limited entry bull elk hunt in my home state of Washington I really hit the trail camera game hard. I bought new cameras and borrowed many others. Without being any sort of trail camera pro I did my homework; whether it be asking people on social media, listening to podcasts, or simply researching on the internet. I had a total of 8 cameras out starting in late May. Some failed but some produced thousands of photos. There was a lot of trial and error for me this past spring and summer so that is why i'm writing this, to hopefully help out a handful of hunters trying game cams out for the first time.

 Facing south west

Facing south west


           
    
    Finding a potentially productive spot won't be your biggest challenge. Putting boots on the ground and finding active trails, watering holes, and feeding areas is a great place to start. Once you find areas of high elk traffic camera placement on the tree maybe the part that ends up biting you in the butt. It is an aspect of trail cameras that can be easily overlooked. You may think to yourself, just set it on a tree and point it towards the game trail or watering hole, but there is much more to it than that. From my experience angling your camera at a 45 degree angle facing the game trail may be your best bet. Instead of facing the camera directly down the game trail ('Figure A') place your camera on a tree that provides your camera with a wider margin for error. The angle to the trail will give your camera more area to snap multiple pictures of the critter as it passes by. Also having your camera facing at a 45 degree will allow you to have a better side profile of your buck or bull. 'Figure B' is a photo from one of my most successful cameras; it was on a very heavily used game trail that went from a bedding area to a feeding area. Finding that sweet spot on the tree may require a few test photos but in the long run its totally worth it. The camera in 'Figure A' could have been farther away from the trail, up higher on the tree and angled towards the game trail like 'Figure B'.
    
  
                   

 Figure A camera facing north

Figure A camera facing north

 Figure B camera facing south

Figure B camera facing south


                
    This game camera was one of my most successful cameras it was at an intersection of four heavily used game trails leading towards water in one direction and a meadow in another. I had to do a tad bit of limb trimming to get the cameras view cleared of any interference which is why I always pack a small saw with me when going to hang cameras. Game trails that lead from water or feeding areas to bedding areas were the most effective throughout spring and summer. Figure C was a camera set on a heavily used game trail leading to a meadow.

     Figure C facing north.

    Figure C facing north.

               
    There a few things to be aware of that may effect the ability and success of your trail cameras.  Harsh shadows or sun bursts can trigger your camera producing thousands of pictures of absolutely nothing, while also draining your batteries. There are settings for motion sensitivity on cameras but typically I like mine on the medium setting. In rare instances of finding an area where you are forced to hang the camera facing the sun or where you know shadows will form, I will put the camera on the Low Sensitivity setting. Also, make sure you trim all the branches, ferns, and under brush that could potentially sway in the wind triggering your camera. There is nothing more disheartening than opening up your camera to dead batteries and no pictures of critters because of one little branch you didn't take the time to trim away.

  Figure D facing south

 Figure D facing south

                     
    Figure D camera was placed on another high traffic game trail. This camera is placed perfectly on the tree far enough away to get multiple shots of passing animals. The height on this camera is about eye level and ended up being just about perfect. Typically that is where I will start when setting a camera, take a few photos and then see if any adjustments need to be made. Early morning shadows were minimal and evening shadows were none existent here. In this particular set up the camera did not have a single false photo meaning it was placed perfectly. 

     Figure E  South west

    Figure E  South west

                  
    My final camera and by far most productive camera was placed on a wallow in early July. By early August this wallow was nearly completely dried up so Zack and myself packed in a shovel 8 miles to dig up the wallow, exposing the springs beneath, hoping keep the attention of the nearby wildlife and the soon to be wallowing bulls. Up until late August this camera did not have a single bull on it, but with thousands of photos ranging from the lone cow all the way up to 15 cows or more in a single photo I knew I was in for a treat come the rut as it was only a matter of time before the bulls started to show up.

 Droppy our biggest bull showed up for the first time on 9-6-2016

Droppy our biggest bull showed up for the first time on 9-6-2016

                   

 Big 6

Big 6

                       

    When we returned to our cameras the day before opener we were beyond excited to find these photos. With the game camera positioned in the middle of a meadow facing a wallow there is little interference. The harsh morning shadows on the trees are just too far away to trigger the camera. Over the course of the summer this camera produced over 2000 photos of wildlife and not a single failure.  
    

In conclusion game cameras are extremely useful when used and placed correctly. There will always be some trial and error when placing a camera in a new spot, but keep at it, sometimes the slightest adjustment will make all the difference in picture quality. Remember to watch out for pesky branches and limbs, even if you think its out of the way trim it just to be safe. Pay attention to which way the camera faces for the sunrise and sunset shadows. Look for major game trail intersections to increase your odds of catching animals passing thru. Destination game trails, meaning they lead to something major like bedding, feed or water, should also be high on your target list. Hang the camera eye level or even higher, if you do choose to hang it higher remember to angle it downward with a nearby twig or rock wedged in between the camera and the tree. Salt or feed is very effective but if you are in an area where other hunters are likely to go be careful as that will alert people that a game camera is most likely nearby, increasing the odds of it being noticed or worse, stolen. That being said, I have hung cameras strictly on public land and have never had an issue with one being stolen. Get off the beaten path, go farther, and work hard for those places others will overlook or not be willing to go and you won't have any issues. I hope this blog helps you all getting into game cameras for the first time. I learn something new every time I hang a camera, but with these basic tips you should be well on your way to producing some awesome trail camera photos! Good luck this season, and be sure to let us know how your trail cameras do out there!

-Jeff Roberts PNWild

 

Functional Fitness for the Mountain Hunter

Functional Fitness for the Mountain Hunter

   Written by Zack Ellis

    Just under 3 months, that's all that's left. 2017 hunting seasons will be here before we know it. Shed hunting, spring bear, spring turkey, etc. Now is the time to look yourself in the mirror and ask one simple question, "Are you ready?!.....Be honest, are you really ready?" The mountains play no favorites, and they don't hold a grudge. They will send you crying back home if you aren't prepared mentally and physically. So if you have been kicking back enjoying the offseason, and over-indulging in all the food around the holidays, you might want to get your butt back into gear, because the mountains are waiting. No more "I'll start tomorrow" or "I have plenty of time" excuses folks, it’s time to get to work!


     I prepare all year for the mountains, trying my best to stay consistent in my workouts, even during the holidays and the offseason. If you are able to do that, great, but not everyone is. Life gets in the way, honey-do lists need attention after being pushed aside all season, kids happen, etc. So let this article be the push that gets you moving again. Get your brain focused on the relentless climb you'll be making to your favorite glassing spot in just a few short months! This workout program will help you be sure that when you spot the color phased bear of your dreams in a meadow 2 miles away, or a big muley buck bedded in the next basin, your legs and lungs will be able to take you there.


     This entire assortment of exercises was designed so that they all can be performed in the comfort of your home, at the gym, in a park, or anywhere else you like to work out. All you will need is the hunting pack of your choice, and anything that will add weight to your pack, and the motivation to get started. This is a functional fitness program, designed to increase your cardiovascular endurance and build lean muscle to your whole body. You will get out what you put in with this program. How honest you are with yourself, and how hard you’re willing to push, will be what determines your results. Remember, you are your only competition!


Workout #1
15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
10 squats (feet shoulder width, toes point forward)
10 push-ups
5 lunges (each leg)
10 mountain climbers (each leg)
5 push-ups
10 sumo squats (wide legs, toes pointed out)
    Once you are able to complete 8 rounds in 15 minutes with just your pack on, no added weight, add 10lbs. Once you complete 8 rounds in 15 minutes with 10lbs, add another 10lbs.  

Workout #2
15 minute amrap
10 standing knee to elbow (each leg)
10 floor wipers (take off pack, lay on your back, hold pack above chest in bench press position, legs straight out then raise them up to touch left corner of pack, back to the floor, then up to the right corner of pack)
5 burpees (with pack back on)
10 lunges (each leg)

Workout #3
15 minute AMRAP
8 burpees
45 second low plank (on forearms)
12 squats
10 lunges (each leg)
Once you are able to complete 5 rounds in 15 minutes add 10lbs to your pack.


    I suggest doing these 3 workouts with a rest day in between to start. Monday, Wednesday, Friday for example. Once you are feeling good with how these are going, incorporate a cardio day into the mix. Go for a run, or take that mountain bike collecting dust out for a spin, just be active! Be sure you are stretching and taking in plenty of fluids throughout the week as that will seriously aid in your recovery. If you need advice working around an injury, or instructions on any of these movements just ask us, we’re here to help!  


    These circuits will be as hard as you make them. Dig deep and push past your perceived limits, you can always do more. When you’re honest with yourself you may find that one more rep inside you, or the power to fight thru those last 10 seconds. A more advanced workout program is already in the works for late spring and early summer, to really ramp up for hunting season, so get ready!