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?
Tyler: Tyler Nelson
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Tyler: I grew up in Lynden, but currently I live in Blaine Washington.
WBC: What is your day job?
Tyler: I work in stainless steel and sheet metal fabrication.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Tyler: I just got married to my girlfriend of 8 years in August 2018! We have two dogs but no kids yet.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Tyler: I can always remember wanting to go hunting. I didn’t know why and I didn’t know how, but I can always remember wanting to go. Growing up in Boy Scouts and having a few family members who hunted, it seemed to always draw me. I loved the outdoors. In high school I tried my hand at waterfowl hunting with little success at first. Slowly I found my way and made connections which led to more success in the duck blind, but I still always had an urge to go out for big game.
In my early 20’s I finally had a good job that led to some extra spending money. I bought my first bow that was used from a friend (which I still use today) and a coworker at the time decided to buy one too and off we went. I fell in love with archery first, and very quickly hunting as a whole.
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?
Tyler: I haven’t really had one specific mentor. I’ve more learned little bits from a lot of different people along the way.
WBC: If you did not have a mentor how did you learn to hunt?
Tyler: Without having a specific mentor, my coworker and I did some nice hikes with bows in our hands for the first couple years. However in the past few years, I have listened to hundreds of hunting podcasts which have helped me avoid wandering the woods with a bow in tow. Listening to people talk about hunting is helpful, but it does not beat actually getting out and doing it for yourself.
The past few years I have also met some great people I now consider good friends that were willing to take me hunting and show me more about how things work in the woods. I will always be grateful to these people for helping me, and eventually leading me towards more success.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Tyler: My favorite hunt was the first elk hunt I ever went on. Me and the coworker that I started bowhunting with at the time, decided we wanted to chase elk in Western Washington. So we linked up with his brother-in-law and made a plan for what we were going to do. When September rolled around, we hit the woods with high hopes and spirits.
We were several days into the hunt, and we still hadn’t heard a bugle. We were starting to lose a little hope. The last few days of the hunt turned out to be eventful and lifted our spirits. One morning while we were pursuing elk, we found a couple of does and a young buck. We decided to go after the buck since my friend had never killed a big game animal and the seasons overlapped. In that moment, I was able to help my friend stalk in and harvest his first deer! It was a moment I will never forget.
After taking the deer back to town, we headed back to the woods to see if we could possibly double down on our good fortune. We ended up finding a herd of elk a few hours later and set our sights on our first elk of the trip! We put a stalk on them and managed to get into the middle of the herd to try and get a shot at a legal bull (which is still one of the coolest things I have done while hunting so far).
We were 15-25 yards from several cows and a spike that we managed to avoid spooking when I finally had a shot opportunity at the bull. When I sent the arrow on my very first elk, I released what I thought to be a perfect shot or so I thought. Being a total rookie at the time, I ended up hitting a branch that I didn’t see or paid any attention to. The branch ended up deflecting my arrow low and just grazing the bottom of the bull. The woods erupted and we stood up to watch as the herd left the country along with the bull. We made our way to the place of the shot and found one drop of blood, but no arrow to be found. We decided to follow the tracks of the herd for a little over 2 miles finding zero blood and no bull.
Even though I had an epic fail with the first bull I ever released an arrow on, it will always hold a special place in my heart. I went to bed that night thinking of all the things that could have been. The next day, my friend’s brother-in-law killed a big black bear with his bow that stalked in on us as we cow called. He shot the bear at 20 yards while it was sneaking up behind us! Talk about getting your blood pumping! I learned so much that trip about elk hunting and got to experience some amazing things. I don’t know if that will be my favorite hunting trip forever, but I know I will always look back on it fondly.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Tyler: I would say my biggest struggle would be the same thing most newer hunters fight with, and that is indecisiveness. Being a little green still, I haven’t experienced enough to make a quick action decision and go with it. Instead I will overthink it not wanting to make the wrong choice.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Tyler: I feel like my tendency to overthink things inhibits my ability to just go out and do something whether it be the right decision or not. I need to be more decisive when it comes to making a move and fully commit. Creating a backup plan would be helpful when feeling like I am over thinking.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Tyler: My bino harness. I keep everything in there! My binos, range finder, tags, wind checker, fire starter, and a replaceable blade knife with extra blades. In case I don’t take my pack or set it down somewhere for a stalk. I have everything I need to get by.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Tyler: Idaho archery elk hunting has quickly become my favorite hunt. I look forward to it all year long.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Tyler: I think the best advice I could have gotten would be don’t be afraid to try something new. Go on different types of hunts and don’t be afraid to try an out of state hunt if that’s what you want to do. The more you are in the field the more opportunity for experiences and knowledge you can gain. Every little bit helps. It just takes time.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Tyler: I am on Instagram. My handle is @tyler_nelson.nw.
We want to thank Tyler for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Tyler and what he does, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account.
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. Remember, mentorship is conservation.
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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