Bob’s Rifle Setup


America’s rifle, the Remington model 700. I recently purchased a Remington model 700 chambered in 7mm rem mag and I’ll tell you about the build so far and why I chose this gun, caliber and accessories. Although we do some archery hunting, we mostly hunt with a gun and it’s the Remington model 700 that’s taken the majority of our animals. 

My first rifle was a 300 Weatherby vanguard topped with a Nikon 3-9x40 prostaff. It was a Walmart combo special, but at 16 years old I was beyond excited. I took my first buck with that gun, along with a couple of black bears. After a few years of driving logging roads and doing day hunts, I took up an interest in backcountry hunting. My Weatherby wasn’t the fanciest and was on the heavy side. So I decided to buy a Tikka T3 superlite chambered in 308 Winchester topped with a Nikon monarch 4-16x50. That rifle took a handful of bucks and another black bear. Last year, we decided to pack in and give the high buck hunt here in Washington a try. There were four of us packing in and figured that we’d only need two rifles since we’d be hunting in teams of two. Patrick brought his Kimber chambered in 6.5 creedmoor and Jeff brought his Remington 700 chambered in 7mm rem mag. Pat’s rifle is very light and Jeff’s is on the heavy side. After eight days of hunting we all harvested deer and the Remington 700 put them all down. Most of our shot opportunities were around 400 yards and Jeff’s gun was better suited for long range. Obviously the 6.5 is capable of shots that far but we hadn’t practiced taking pokes at those distances with the Kimber. The 7mm had been shot through a chronograph and dialed for longer ranges. After seeing this rifles performance first hand, I knew that I had to have one for myself. 


The Remington 700 was introduced in 1962 and since then, more than 5 million rifles have been sold. There’s something to be said for that many sales. They have been known to be very accurate and have tight barrel and chamber tolerances. Something that any hunter or marksman can appreciate. The M24 and M40 military sniper rifles used by the US Army and USMC are both based on the model 700 design. If our armed forces trust taking this rifle to war, I think we can rely on it while in the field chasing game. It just so happens that the 7mm rem mag was introduced in 1962 as well and they have been best friends ever since. Like peas and carrots. While I realize that a 243 could kill any game animal in the lower 48 at a reasonable distance, there’s just something about the 7’s ballistics that put a smirk on my face. It is very fast, flat shooting and has a high ballistic coefficient. It also has great sectional density, which is what you want for penetrating an animals thick hide and destroying its vitals. 

The model of my Remington 700 is the long range. I believe that the only difference from the standard version is that mine came with a heavy barrel and a Bell & Carlson M40 stock. I had an idea of what modifications I wanted to do to the rifle before I even bought it. An aftermarket trigger, muzzle brake and an extended bolt handle are the only mods that I’ve made, so far. Benchmark Barrels out of Arlington, Wa did all of the work and I highly recommend them. They did all of the work on Jeff and Patrick’s rifles as well. Triggers were the first thing that I did a lot of research on and I ended up going with a Triggertech Primary. By upgrading your trigger, it’s one of the cheapest ways to improve accuracy. This trigger features frictionless release technology, provides a true zero-creep break, extremely short over travel and offers outstanding reliability. The pull ranges from 1.5 to 4 pounds and I set mine at 2.5. I figured for hunting situations I wouldn’t want it so light that I couldn’t feel it if my fingers were numb, or if I had gloves on. Another way to improve accuracy and significantly reduce felt recoil is to install a muzzle brake. I went with a Miller three port brake. The larger bolt handle that I had installed will help with quicker follow up shots and make it a lot easier to grip and chamber another round. Harris bipods are what I’ve always used so that’s what I went with for this gun. I’ve found that cantering can be an issue while mountain hunting so I got the S model that allows you to tilt and lock the bipod to keep the gun level. With so many options for a scope, I wanted one that would be reliable and could be used for long range and closer shots. I ended up going with the Vortex Viper PST GEN II 5-25X50. Jeff runs this scope on his rifle and it’s worked out great for all of us. So, that made my decision making on which scope to go with pretty easy. 

I am really looking forward to getting this rifle out into the field and getting time in at the range. Since Jeff, pat and I will be shooting the same caliber and a similar rifle setup, it’ll be nice to know that if something were to happen to one of them in the backcountry, we could easily use one of the other rifles with confidence. Keep in mind that I don’t think that this rifle or caliber is better than any other that people are using. It just happens to be what works for us and our personal preference. Until next time, happy hunting. 


Vortex Razor UHD 18X56 Binocular


 One of my favorite things to do while in the field, is to look through glass. Whether it’s summer scouting for mule deer or trying to turn up an elk shed in May, I absolutely love trying to find things through optics. We recently picked up a new pair of binoculars from Vortex and they did not disappoint. I’m talking about the Razor UHD 18X56’s. 

 Patrick and myself recently went on a scouting trip for our high buck hunt that is coming up in September. We each had binos on our chest, along with a razor spotting scope and the razor 18X56 binos. Oddly enough, this was the first time that I’ve ever had the opportunity to look through binoculars on a tripod. While they are great being handheld, they are amazing on a tripod and this is where they really shine. Trying to keep 18 power magnification steady with your hands is pretty difficult. The temperatures during our scouting trip were in the mid to upper 70’s, so deer movement was pretty slow.  Along with it being slow, we also saw little to no sign. With seeing no deer and no sign, we decided to check this spot off of our list as a no for our high buck hunt. The razors gave me the confidence in making this decision because if there were deer in this area, we definitely would’ve seen them. 

 Who is a fan of keeping one eye closed and squinting for hours on end? Not me. This is one of the downfalls that you have to deal with when using a spotting scope. I’ve heard of some people wearing an eye patch, but if you want to be a pirate, save it for halloween. It doesn’t take long at all for the discomfort to set in while looking through a spotter. For me, if it’s uncomfortable I won’t enjoy it. And if I don’t enjoy it then I won’t do it as much. If I don’t do it, then I won’t spot any animals. This is one of the reasons why my go to for glassing at long distances is now the 18X56 bino. Besides the fact that using them won’t give you a headache, the visual pleasure of using them is another reason. The clarity and colors that come out while looking through them, is superb. They bring in so much light, that any bedded deer in the shadows, doesn’t stand a chance of going unnoticed. Ergonomically they are outstanding as well. In my opinion, 18 power is the perfect magnification to get in close while keeping it crystal clear. The razor spotter is 27-60, but even at 27 power it has nowhere near the clarity as the binoculars at 18. As you can imagine, the further you zoom in with the spotter, things just keep getting more blurry. I’m a big fan of using both of my eyeballs and feel that it’s far more effective. 

 Last year on our high buck hunt, I was one of the lucky ones that got to pack in a spotter. We traveled 7 miles and gained 4,000 ft in elevation to reach our destination. As you can imagine, every ounce of gear adds up. The razor spotter weighs in at 65.6 ounces and the razor binos weigh in at 41.6 ounces. So the spotter is a whole pound and a half heavier than the binocular. Even that is enough for me to skip out on the spotter and bring a jar of peanut butter instead. Aside from them being lighter, they are also a lot more compact and easier to carry in your pack. A spotter can take up a lot of room and be difficult to carry, especially if the spotter has an angled eye piece. The binoculars will easily fit in the lid of my pack or tuck away nicely in the bag unnoticed. 

 For us, glass is one of the most important pieces of gear that we bring into the field. If you don’t have enough confidence that you’ll spot animals at any distance, then maybe you haven’t tried the new Vortex UHD 18X56 binocular. I think they will be a game changer for me this year, and I bet they would be for anybody else as well. The vortex spotting scopes are an outstanding product and all of us really enjoy using them. It’s just my personal preference to use the 18’s. Of course, this all is just my opinion and you may end up not liking them at all. But I highly doubt that. I highly recommend this new optic and encourage everyone to go check them out. Happy hunting.


DIY European Skull Mounts


Have you ever shot a buck or a bull that you’re proud of, but just can’t justify the pricey taxidermy bill on a shoulder mount? I’ve been in this situation with multiple deer. Instead of spending $600 on a shoulder mount, ive decided to start doing my own european style mounts. Not only do they save you money, but in my opinion they look really cool. I’ve done a couple in the past but never whitened the skull. In this blog, I’m going to take you through the process of how I did it. I know there are many different ways to do this, but here is how I attempted it for the first time. From start to finish.

After the harvest and while still in the field, I like to remove all of the hide and skin from the head. This saves some weight in your pack and is fun to do while back at camp, reminiscing about the days hunt. Once home, remove the lower jaw and cut off as much meat as possible. Including the eyeballs, tongue and any hair around the base of the antlers. I made the mistake of trying to remove the jaw right after the simmer process, and broke the nose bone on Jeff’s deer because the bones were so fragile. So remove the jaw before the simmer. Now, Its time to make some head stew. I use a large propane turkey cooker and do this outside. Some folks do this on their stove top but my wife isn’t a fan of smelling deer brains inside the home. And neither am i. Place your skull inside the pot and fill to the base of the antlers with water. Take a piece of wood to prop up the antlers and keep the skull fully submerged. Add a small squirt of dish soap to the water. This acts as a degreaser and helps with the removal of flesh. It also helps with the bleaching process by getting rid of oils on the skull. Bring the water up to a boil and then down to a slow simmer. You want to make sure to simmer and not boil, because the bones can break down and fall apart if boiled for too long. Simmer the skull for two hours, give or take. Or until the flesh can easily be removed and cleaned off. Once your head stew is cooked and tender, set the skull aside and let it cool down because it will be very hot.


Now it’s time for the dirty work. You will need a variety of tools and instruments to clean all of the meat and brains out of your skull. Even though it’s gross, I personally enjoy this part. I’ll start by using a knife to remove the biggest chunks of meat that are easily accessible. For all of the tight spots I use needle nose pliers and dental tools. You can find dental tools at any Walmart or most major grocery stores. This is tedious work and takes a good amount of time to get the skull picked clean. The best way I’ve found to remove the brains is to use a pressure washer. Chest waders, safety glasses and an old tee shirt are a must. Because you will get brain matter all over the place. Make sure to do this part out in the yard and away from anything that you want to keep clean. Fire up your pressure washer, stick the tip of the nozzle in the brain stem on the backside of the skull and pull the trigger. Try not to puke. Repeat this process until everything is cleaned out. If you don’t clean it out completely, it’ll stink to high heaven and you don’t want that in your house. I will also pressure wash other areas of the skull where I couldn’t quite get it clean with tools, like the eye sockets and the brain stem area. The bones inside of the nose cavity are very fragile and I do not pressure wash this area, because they will break and fall apart. For the hair around the base of the antlers I use a small flat head screwdriver and pliers to get it clean. A lighter works great for burning off any remaining hair.


Now that your skull is all cleaned up, let’s get to the whitening process. I used salon care 40 volume creme developer and it worked great. I know there are a few different ways to whiten a skull but this was simple and effective. Place your skull in a paint tray or a plastic container that will contain the bleach. Whatever the creme touches, it will turn white. So do your best to keep it off of your clothes and especially the antlers. You can wrap and tape the antlers to make sure that no bleach gets on them if you’d like. Drizzle some creme over the top of your skull and work it into every little crack and crevice. Do this on all sides of the skull. I used a small paint brush and found it was easier than using a big one, because there a lot of tight areas to get into. Once there is a thick layer applied, you can walk away and let it rest for a day or two. If you find that it’s not quite white enough for your liking, you can apply a second coat of creme. One coat was enough for me.

Now that your skull is all cleaned up, bleached and dry, it’s time to show your family and friends. Get yourself a skull hooker and put it up on the wall. For under $10, you just created something that will last forever and look great for generations to come. I think we’ve all seen old shoulder mounts that look more like a faded, dried out carcass than an actual deer. Take your harvest, make a euro and you’ll never have this problem. If you happen to have any questions, go ahead and shoot us a message or email. Good luck on doing your own european style mount!


Why We Hunt - By: Bobby Petit


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” 11/16/17 2/25/18

“25 Reasons Why Hunting Is Conservation” 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.



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. 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. 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 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! 

"Selected"  The elk hunting story

"Selected" The elk hunting story

An elk hunting season to remember

written by Jeff Roberts.

Selected! I was excited when I saw that word next to my 2016 Washington Quality Elk Special Draw application and that's where this story starts.

June 24 — The first trail camera check

As we crested the pass and entered the east side of the mountain range the excitement really hit. I was finally in the elk woods knowing I’d be hunting screaming bull elk for the first time and it was an amazing feeling. 

The first camera check yielded a handful of cows and one really nice bull.

July 15 — Camera check and scouting trip

This time I was out scouting with a new friend of mine, Zack. Zack and I had talked about checking some different areas out just to be more familiar with our unit. On Friday night, we checked the first set of cameras before dark and became really excited: 300 pictures of elk with several bulls and tons of cows and calves! Now we were wondering if we even needed to scout other areas out, but decided to anyway.


We turned up some amazing country and hung some cameras in that area, but the one camera I was most excited about was set up in this giant old heavily used wallow in the middle of a huge meadow.

August 21 — The final check

Zack and I headed to check cameras and scout for a final time before the season opened. On Friday afternoon, we headed into the first set of cameras and as we checked them we realize that it was a bust—2,500 pictures of shadows and trees—and the other two cameras turned out to be duds, too, with nothing on them but a few photos of cows and a handful of deer. With spirits low we headed to our plan B area.

We parked at the plan B trailhead on Friday evening and slept in the truck. On Saturday morning, we hiked in and set up camp. Then, we continued hiking toward the cameras and were extremely pleased with the results of the first one, but nothing was going to prepare us for the wallow camera’s results.

As we checked the wallow camera, we became overwhelmed with 500 photos of elk—yet not a single photo of a bull. I was nervous but Zack assured me with the rut closing in the bulls would be showing up very soon. After we checked the camera, Zack and I started digging up our dried up wallow to see if we could hit water and make it nice and muddy—a trick we learned from our buddy, Paul Servey... thanks again Pauly!


September 9 — The day before opener

My two hunting partners and I met at the trailhead at 5 p.m. and started the three hour hike into our camp. We were about 10 minutes from our campsite when Bobby spotted an elk and it was looking right at us. Our first elk of the trip and it's a bull—talk about exciting! That night we set up camp and fell asleep to that bull barking and bugling occasionally. To say it was hard to sleep was an understatement.

Continued below.


September 10 — Opening day

We’re up and on a bugle at first light, but, with our lack of experience, the bull never came into the open. With a meadow dividing us, he stayed on his side and we stayed on ours, trying to pull him into the meadow. He soon took off toward the mountain behind him without letting us even see him. Our plan was to hunt our way toward the wallow and check the camera to see what had been in the area over the past three weeks. But before we arrived, we decided to bugle from a ridge that Zack and I had located during one of our scouting trips. I let out a bugle and almost immediately got a response.

We discussed a game plan and began to act on it, circling around to get the wind in our faces. I let out another bugle and received another reply in the same spot. We continued to head silently in that direction. Me and my cameraman set up on a game trail with Zack, our caller, behind us about 60 yards. Zack let out a cow call and the bull fired back. Zack hammered him again with a bugle and that was enough to get the bull to come. I could hear twigs snapping as he walked toward us with Zack cow calling behind me. Then, the bull stepped into view. I drew my bow at 17 yards perfectly broadside. The bull stopped and I released my arrow. Only four hours into opening morning and I had just arrowed my first ever bull elk. It wasn't until I checked the footage and saw my arrow that I realized it was not a good shot. Due to all of the emotion and excitement and, most definitely, bull fever I made a bad shot and hit high and far back. As a hunter it's probably the worst feeling in the world and an extremely tough pill to swallow. Knowing it was a bad shot we all backed out and headed to camp.

September 11 — Highs to lows

With very little sleep we headed back in to try and find my bull the following morning. All day we crawled around looking for blood. Our small trail of flagging tape didn’t have us feeling too good about the chances of recovery, but we continued the search in the bee infested deadfall and, after being stung numerous times, I asked myself, “When do I continue to hunt?” and Zack replied, “Whenever you feel it’s right.” We left with a sick feeling, but we were confident that the bull was still alive based on the footage.

September 17 — A new beginning


We were back at it and this morning was turning out to be a good one. Before daylight, we have three bulls bugling in the drainage below us. Once daylight finally arrived, we dropped into the drainage with the wind in our favor. After eight minutes of playing with a bull, trying to get him to come in, he decided that he wasn't interested. We moved in another 100 yards or so and found the bull, but he has us busted—45 yards straight down hill from us. He took off into the brush as we stood there, whispering, trying to figure out our next move. Then, we heard a twig snap right beneath us. Zack and I both have our bows in hand, waiting to see what it is. As it steps into our view, we see that it's a spike.

I set down my bow and grabbed the camera. The spike didn’t even know we were there. He stepped into Zack’s shooting lane and...schwack! Only 45 yards away and Zack has his first ever elk!

Later that afternoon, we packed Zack’s spike back to camp. We ate a big brunch before heading back out. There’s a big storm rolling in so we decided to head toward the wallow meadow and the ridge bordering the meadow. We reached the ridge top and let out a bugle with no reply. So we continued to work our way down the ridge and bugled a few more times with the same results. After the fourth attempt, I suggested that maybe my bugle wasn't reaching down into the drainage since the wind was ripping in our face. I motioned that maybe we should drop into the drainage 500 yards or so and try again. We headed deep into the drainage and into really thick elk sign before I let out a bugle. Still, no reply.

The storm started to pick up. At 4:30 p.m., Zack suggested that we start hunting our way back toward camp. I agreed but, first, I wanted to bugle one more time. The last bugle finally got a response and it’s close! We ran toward the bugling bull and, as we got about 150 yards from where we think he is, I let out a cow mew. The bull was lazy with his response, but now we have him pinpointed! I dropped down into the blown down tree infested drainage to the bottom where the bull was hanging out. Zack was behind me about 50 yards with the camera and began to cow call. My other buddy, Junior, was with us, too, and, as the bull bugles, fired right back with a challenge call! The bull was coming in and he was hot! I could see legs coming through the brush but no view at his headgear yet.

By 5:48 p.m., I have a lane ranged at 19 yards. I nocked an arrow and got ready to draw as I peeked, kneeling down and moving my head slowly to try to see how big the bull was. Finally, I got a glimpse. He had a kicker on his right side, which made him a seven on his right side. I like character! I drew my bow and readied myself as he stepped into my lane. Then, I froze. I couldn't make any sound; my mouth was dry as a bone and he blew right through my first lane! Now what?

I calmed my nerves and spotted another lane even closer to me. Just as he reached it I made some freakish monster noise and he stopped, looking right at me! I let the arrow go with my pin glued to his vitals at 12 yards. He took off running uphill right toward Zack. He stopped and, as he stared at Zack and his cow mews, I nocked another arrow and drew my bow. I settled my 40 yard pin right behind the quartering away shoulder and let it go.

I scrambled to get my eyes on the bull as he stepped into a tiny break in the trees and his legs gave out on him. He went down 10’ from my second shot. It was an emotional 10 minutes filled with hugs and high fives and a even a few tears. All the ups and downs of this season made this journey what it was and I wouldn't change a second of my elk hunt.

The bull ended up being a 7x7 with matching kickers on each side. While he may not be the king of the mountain, he's my bull and I couldn't be more proud to harvest that bull with my buddies that night.

An experience ill never forget, huge thanks to everyone that helped along the way I truly appreciate it!