By Johnny Mack
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?
Derek: Derek L. Depew
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Derek: I’m from Hammond, Indiana and live in Valparaiso, Indiana now.
WBC: What is your day job?
Derek: I am a police officer.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Derek: I have a wife( Jessica), a son (Easton), two hounds (Sadie and Otis), and a turtle (Fred).
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Derek: I remember as a kid my dad always going on hunting and fishing trips. When he would come home I would run outside to see what he brought home. I started bird and squirrel hunting and when I turned about 10, I started deer 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?
Derek: My father was and still is my mentor. I truly believe you can never stop learning. The minute you think you have it figured out, Mother Nature will humble you. I learned just about everything I know from him. Honestly I cannot think of anything I wish I learned because usually when I think of something we talk about it.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Derek: I would say I have a few that come to mind. One would be when I was able to take my dad turkey hunting and call in his first turkey. To be able to give that back to him was pretty amazing. A close second would be this year’s elk hunt. My main goal was to get my dad and my friend into elk. Neither of them has had that experience and I was able to call in a big bull into 10 yards. Along with working 6 other bulls. Lastly would be taking another friend of mine hunting and he killed his first deer. I seem to get more satisfaction helping those who are seeking firsts.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Derek: I would say my biggest struggle is my own mind. The brain is a powerful thing and if you let it, it can and will allow you to accept defeat. I am learning to take a step back and think of things to be thankful for. It was easy this year on our hunt to chalk up the full moon to not seeing or hearing elk. I finally decided I wasn’t going to accept that and we were going to get into elk no matter what it took.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Derek: Again it would be letting my thoughts get the best of me. Hunt hard, have fun and most of all don’t listen to or make excuses.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Derek: Honestly there isn’t anything I can’t hunt without. If I had to choose something I’d say a solid knife that holds an edge.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Derek: No question on the species would be Elk. Whitetails would be a very close second. Where? I have only hunted Colorado so I’d say aspens groves in Colorado. For Deer, anywhere in the Midwest. Mainly because that’s where big whitetails grow.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Derek: It’s not about killing an animal. I spent many years being really hard on myself. While my dad taught me it’s never a guarantee I don’t recall a lot of emphasis on just enjoying time afield. You would think that’s a given but because of the outside influences, like social media, pressure does build on you causing it to be less enjoyable.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
We want to thank Derek for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Derek and what he does with Mountain Hunter Box, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account and swinging by his website.
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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