Exo Journal — Mindset
There are a lot of variables and added layers of difficulty that come with solo hunting in the backcountry. The questions you may consider include — Is solo hunting actually a good idea? Is it worth it? And is it right for you? I believe a strong case can be made that solo hunting is, in fact, a good idea IF you...
The 2021 Death Hike began with a flight into a remote airstrip, deep in Idaho's Frank Church "River of No Return" Wilderness. Two groups landed at two different airstrips, and upon waving goodbye to the Cessna planes, each group had the goal of hiking out of the wilderness over the next 48 hours.
The most important thing I learned when speaking with Dave is that you should always have a pen and paper available when Dave is speaking. Even in a short, casual conversation, Dave is going to drop some wisdom that you’ll want to write down. These notes will be things you want to remember and reflect on in the future. Dave’s perspective is a result of decades spent as a Marine fighter pilot, mountaineer, and backcountry hunter. Dave’s experience is as deep as his curiosity — a combination that has created an intriguing depth of wisdom.
Two widespread categorizations of hunters are that of the "trophy hunter" and the "meat hunter". Some hunters gladly self-identify as one or the other. Many hunters would say that they are both. Some would say they are neither. The idea that you have to be a meat hunter or a trophy hunter is a false dichotomy. Like nearly all this-or-that categorizations, there is little room left for nuance, complexity, and mystery. You don't have to ascribe to any label or be a certain type of hunter. That said, if I were to choose a label for myself, I would ascribe...
Finding success in the backcountry starts by creating success at home. But you need more than a vision for success; you need a system that will get you there. We created a simple Hunting Habit Tracker (PDF) for you to intentionally define your system for success and ensure that you are consistently following the program.
Looking back on my journey, and the journey of fellow hunters, there seems to be a certain path of growth for backpack hunters. Reflecting on this journey reminds you how far you've come and helps you recognize those little victories throughout the years. This journey is the Evolution of a Backpack Hunter.
To say that I was excited would be an understatement of epic proportions. Having grown up reading stories of adventure in Alaska, it was hard for me to comprehend that I was getting to undertake an Alaskan adventure for myself. Although I had been talking about an Alaskan Caribou hunt for years, I wouldn't believe that it was happening until I stepped foot on the vast Alaskan wilderness. Now, on the other side of the adventure, I wanted to share the five most impactful lessons that I learned from this trip. If you want to hear more about the hunting...
In the heat of the moment, critical decision making is difficult. We typically don't think straight in those situations and would often benefit from listening to that little voice of instinct, instead of over-analyzing. Looking back to times I tried to analyze deeply, it turns out I was wrong more often than not. My instinct though? Dead on the money.
Remembering back years ago when I really took the plunge into the deep pool that is hunting makes me laugh. I used to think hunting was just this thing that only happened in the Fall. Not worrying about stuff like my shooting until a month or so before a hunt was fairly common practice. Scouting was also a thing that never crossed my mind. When I truly wanted to progress as a hunter though, everything changed.
If you have spent any time on extended hunts — backcountry or not — you have experienced the grind. All of us go through it from time to time; some of us deal with it better than others. Those that can endure it have a chance to fill their tags on the last day. Those that surrender to the grind will never know what could have been.
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