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. Whether you are new or experienced, hunting can be frustrating and defeating.
This series is meant to be a way to inspire, educate and motivate you when it comes to hunting. Hopefully the advice and insight shared by our guests can help you feel like you are not alone in your struggle against the wild, while you build confidence in your chase.
WBC: What is your name?
Dustin: Dustin Coy
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Dustin: I live in Rock Island, Washington, which is in Central Washington.
WBC: What is your day job?
Dustin: I am a finish carpenter.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Dustin: My wife Samantha and I have six children and are currently awaiting our 7th, (any day now). We have horses, goats, pigs, labs, cats, turkeys, chickens, and rabbits. There’s no shortage of fun at our house, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Dustin: Hunting was something my Dad and Grandpa did together, it was like a “Right of Passage” to join them. I had dreamt of joining the men in my family since I was a little boy.
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?
Dustin: I spent time mule deer hunting with my Dad and Grandpa. They explained how to read the terrain we hunted and that sometimes a little weather can get the critters moving. My Dad taught me that opportunity may only show up for a split second, so being able to capitalize on it is how I learned to fill tags. Having a sense of humility and realizing there’s always something new to learn, has been my biggest lessons learned.
WBC: If you did not have a mentor, how did you learn to hunt?
Dustin: There were about six years where we moved away from family and I didn’t have anybody to continue and mentor me. At that point I had to make an effort to go and try out new areas and learn how to hunt a completely new species in blacktail deer by trial and error.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Dustin: I always dreamed about hunting out of state since I was a kid. Alaska has always been a destination that I wanted to experience, and in October of 2018, I had the opportunity to join my good friend Abe Henderson, of Alaska DIY, for a caribou hunt. It was an amazing adventure with challenges of unimaginable weather and tests of my physical limits. I learned so much about backpacking in extreme weather on that trip. I was able to harvest a bull caribou which was my first Alaskan big game animal.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Dustin: I haven’t spent a lot of time scouting but I know it could be really productive. Having never killed any big mature mule deer bucks, I know that I could but it will take time. I, like many people, have to hunt the time I have available. For me extra time away from the family is hard to justify.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Dustin: I have been a bit hasty to fill tags. A lack of patience has sometimes cause me to miss opportunities on mature animals.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Dustin: I always have a bino harness, they are great for organizing stuff you need at the ready. binoculars, rangefinder, calls, etc. I really love my Tyto knife, they are ultralight and blades are sharp as heck. I have those with me all the time.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Dustin: It’s got to be Eastern Washington spike elk hunts. They aren’t the most glorious hunt but it’s my favorite place to chase Rocky Mountain elk with my Dad and brother. I can’t wait for the rest of my family to join us on that hunt someday. It’s definitely become a tradition.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Dustin: There’s always that point of a hunt where you’re getting tired and not seeing animals. I know how easy it can be to get discouraged or stomp down the trail on your way to camp or the truck. The animals don’t just vaporize so keep your head on a swivel and walk slower than you think. The slower the better. You will end up seeing more animals.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Dustin: You can find me on Instagram as the @Cascades_Hunting.
We want to thank Dustin for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Dustin and what he does, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account.
If you enjoyed reading the article 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 and you cannot out give good.
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