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 Phelps
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Jason: I’m from PeEll Washington, where I currently still reside.
WBC: What is your day job?
Jason: I am the owner of Phelps Game Calls as well as a Professional Civil Engineer.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Jason: I’m married to my wife Sondi. We have an 8 yr old son (Hunter) and a 6 yr old daughter (Payton).
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Jason: Ever since I can remember I was in the woods with my family. It’s a tradition that dates back for many generations and it just kind of happened naturally.
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: My dad and uncles were who I learned from. They taught me elk behavior, tracking, woodsmanship and everything else required to be successful.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Jason: It would have to be my wife’s first bull because we were able to share it together. It was a tough hunt and after 5 days of hunting hard she was rewarded with a great bull.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Jason: My biggest struggle with hunting is maintaining my physical condition to a point where I can get to the hard to reach places I love to hunt. Regardless though I’ve always been stubborn enough to get to where I need to for success.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Jason: Stubbornness. I’m very competitive and I don’t like to “get beat” by the animal that I’m hunting. When I do, I often times spend more time trying to win the next round instead of moving on to the next opportunity.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Jason: There isn’t a single piece of gear I need for every hunt, however my Kifaru pack is with me on every hunt.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species (i.e. terrain, location, topography, region, state)?
Jason: Elk at timberline during the peak of the rut. I like a good mix of timber and open areas in broken terrain.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Jason: It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Only 10% of hunters consistently kill animals year in and year out and in order to be in that group a lot of hard work will be required. As I’m getting a little older I’m starting to appreciate the hunt more for what it is than just killing.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
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 phelpsgamecalls. Don’t forget to check out his online store https://phelpsgamecalls.com/. His diaphrams and bugle tubes are what Washington Backcountry will be packing on our elk hunts this year.
You can also learn more about elk hunting and calling elk by listening to Steven Rinella’s interview with Jason on the MeatEater Podcast at https://themeateater.com/podcasts/ep-131-calling-elk/
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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