What I am shooting now is a Bear Archery Anarchy that they came out with last year. I absolutely love it. My favorite caliber for deer is .280. I shoot a Thompson-Center Encore Pro Hunter. I've killed all kinds of stuff with that .280.
Do you prefer to bow hunt?
I hunt more with a bow simply because the seasons are longer. I love to hunt elk during the rut when they are bugling, and that's during the bow season. I love to gun hunt and muzzleloader hunt. I am just limited by the number of hunts during the year.
What is your opinion of hunting whitetails on commercial, high fence operations? Is it fair chase?
I don't think it is fair chase unless you get down in Texas and you get on a ranch that is 5,000 acres or larger. Then I don't think the fence would come into play.
We don't hunt high fences. I will never oppose people hunting high fences as long as it's legal. I am not going to oppose it because I think hunters need to support each other in whatever way we want to hunt. If a guy wants to hunt with a crossbow instead of compound bow, if I guy wants to hunt with a compound bow instead of a longbow, I don't think hunters need to bicker and fuss over what they hunt and where they hunt as long as it's legal.
I do think the sports networks that show hunting shows — the Outdoor Channel, the Sportsman Channel, the Pursuit Channel — I would like to see them put up a disclaimer at the beginning of a show that the show you are about to see took place behind a high fence, just to let folks know if it's in the wild or not.
What is the biggest issue that faces hunters today?
We are not recruiting new hunters. The attrition rate is heading in the wrong direction. The price to lease land may be getting too high. I think the reason we are struggling to bring in new hunters is because of single-parent households. We have so many single moms who are raising kids who don't have the means to introduce their children to the outdoors.
Do you ever hunt on public land on your television show?
Almost all of our hunting is done on private land because we hunt with outfitters around the country. One of the things we get positive feedback on is that if people like our show, they can pick up the phone and call that outfitter and go and hunt there.
What is your best tip for whitetail deer hunters?
Without a doubt, you got to consider the wind. There are a lot of products on the market nowadays that claim to eliminate human odor, and I can tell you firsthand that there is nothing on the market that can totally eliminate human odor. It may help knock down a lot of human odor, but there is nothing out there that is totally going to wipe it out. So my biggest tip is you got to play the wind. You got to understand thermals.
What is the biggest buck you have killed?
My biggest buck is a 14 pointer that I killed (in south Texas) with a rifle that scored 176 inches gross. My biggest buck that I ever killed with a bow was 159 inches in South Dakota that I killed last year.
Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them the biggest deer I ever killed with a bow is just shy of 160. They think you go to the best places and that they've got the deer tied out for you and all you have to do is climb the tree. It couldn't be further from the truth because I still enjoy so much scouting and hanging my own stands.
Do you have a goal of killing a monster buck?
I've never got caught up in the trophy thing because if you are going to sit there and trophy hunt, you are not going to have enough footage for 13 original episodes on TV.
People think I hunt these places where there is giant deer behind every tree. The truth is when you are out hunting fair chase whitetails, anything can happen. We got our teeth kicked in just like everybody else.
Crossings Beast Feast
Where: Crossings Community Church, 14600 N. Portland
When: Tuesday. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15 per person.
For more information: Call Courtney Cartwright at 302-1257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org