Hunting is hard. Flat out. It takes patience, courage, and grit. More often than not you are left with an unfilled tag in your pocket and a long walk back to the truck. So why do it? Why put in so much time, money and effort if percentages do not go in your favor? I know why I do it. I do it because the effort it takes to successfully harvest an animal is unlike any other feeling in life. Because with no risk there can be no reward. It is what makes hunting and harvesting your own meat so special.
Being new to hunting, I constantly second guess myself and have doubt about if I am doing the right thing, especially since I never had a mentor to bounce questions off of. It is my weakness. It is the internal battle that I struggle with when hunting. Have you ever had questions about what others would do in certain situations? Maybe you catch yourself not staying in the game mentally. I know I often do. I find myself double guessing a move or a plan of attack when I hunt. Being new to hunting can be frustrating and defeating, so much that it is hard to stay motivated.
This blog series is meant to be a way to inspire and motivate you and others when it comes to hunting your dreams, and at the same time making a difference in recruiting new members and building community in the hunting world. Hopefully the advice and insight shared by our guests can help you feel like you are not alone in your struggle against the wild, as well as build confidence in your chase.
WBC: What is your name?
Jason: Jason M Grove
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Jason: I’m from Auburn New York, but currently live in Issaquah Washington.
WBC: What is your day job?
Jason: I am a commercial electrician.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Jason: I’m married to my beautiful wife Rene. We have a 13 yr old son named Denali. We also have a dog named Jackson and a cat named Bella.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Jason: I have always been into being in the outdoors, mostly hiking and camping. I started fly fishing a few years ago and really loved it. The more I hiked I found myself looking at different animal tracks and scat. I eventually stopped hiking on trails made by people. It just wasn’t stimulating to me anymore. Instead, I began to follow deer and elk trails. I love the solitude of being on a game trail, learning the sign and the story of what was happening all around me. There are no other people to break my immersion into the land. I realized that I was hunting in my own way, just without a weapon. I began to look into hunting and taking responsibility for my own meat (the whole process from life to death and then to life again through food). It’s appealing to become more of a part of the natural world, not just an observer, but an active participant.
I started hunting grouse as my first game animal. I figured grouse would be a good small game animal to begin with, and a tasty one at that! Turkey, deer, and elk are the animals I pursue. I enjoy learning about these animals; how they move and why they move. Their strengths and what makes them vulnerable has made me hooked on hunting!
WBC: Did you have a hunting mentor? What did you learn from them and or what did you want or wished to learn from them?
Jason: I did not have a hunting mentor. I think having a mentor would have been a great introduction into the hunting community. There is so much to learn and becoming a hunter later in life can be frustrating. I don’t think people who grew up hunting realize how much knowledge has been passed on to them. The simple things they have learned such as playing the wind, understanding animal behavior, where and how to look for sign, what areas might hold animals and how to look for them, can be taken for granted. Older, or more experienced hunters, are a wealth of knowledge about the natural world.
WBC: If you did not have a mentor how did you learn to hunt?
Jason: I learned to hunt by spending as much time in the mountains/woods as possible. I started to look more closely at everything around me to find sign and game trails. I used the internet (forums, articles, YouTube) for information on gear, animal behavior, stalking, etc. I definitely think a mentor would have helped me get a better start in the hunting world.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Jason: My favorite hunt was a few years ago before I was really interested in hunting. My father-in-law was terminally ill with prostate cancer and my wife’s cousin wanted to get him out for one last hunt. They offered for me to join. I gladly took the offer to see what it was all about and to spend some time with my father-in-law before he passed. The hunt was with modern firearm for elk. My father-in-law was very sick and couldn’t walk very far, so we were pretty limited from getting far from the road! I had an awesome time listening to great stories about him hunting in the backcountry with horses and his love for the mountains. This was my first hunt with him and my last. I was very saddened when he passed. I was hoping we would be able to share our love for the mountains. It sounds strange to say it was my favorite hunt, but it has instilled great memories for me.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Jason: My biggest struggle when it comes to hunting would be finding places to hunt that aren’t overrun with people. Washington state is a tough place to learn to hunt when you have no experience. I didn’t grow up in a hunting family, and have no friends that hunt, so it has been a challenge to find spots to go to. I also feel like most hunters are wary of teaching newcomers because of reluctance to share their hunting areas, which I understand completely. You have to work hard and put your time in, or know someone who has.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Jason: I would say one of my main weaknesses is not slowing down. Most of us have very busy lives with work, family, school, etc. These things are usually not at the pace of the natural world. I find myself moving too fast. This leads me making more noise when hunting, bumping game, and missing key indicators of animal activity. I have to force myself to walk slow, pause and look around. Moving slow helps me get in tune with the real pace of life.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Jason: Without a doubt, my binoculars. They open so much more land that your naked eyes just can’t see. There is something very relaxing about sitting on a ridge line, glassing the surrounding valleys and adjacent ridges.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Jason: The Teanaway in Washington is my favorite place to hunt at this point. The terrain is so expansive and beautiful. I love how quickly you can get away from the road and get a real backcountry experience.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Jason: I would have liked to have known how much patience and persistence it takes to hunt. It can be really frustrating to go out repeatedly and not see any animals. It is a lifestyle that you start to incorporate into everything you do. You begin to look at everything differently.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Jason: I am on Instagram. My handle is Manakiah
We want to thank Jason for allowing us to interview him and for him sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Jason, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account Manakiah.
If you enjoyed reading the blog or can think of anyone that could benefit from the insight given, please share it with others. It is “OUR” job to continue the growth of the hunting and outdoor community. Be sure to invite someone to start hunting with you, you never know what type of impact it may have for them and their life.
If you would like to be featured in the blog series or know someone who should be, let us know by emailing us or direct message on Instagram.
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