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?
Dan: Dan Staton
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Dan: Spokane, WA
WBC: What is your day job?
Dan: Digital Media
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Dan: Married with two kiddos.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Dan: My dad took me out when I was 5 years old on grouse hunts, which led to getting my hunter safety class when I was 10, then started deer hunting at age 11.
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?
Dan: My dad definitely is responsible for introducing me to hunting deer. Once I cleared high school sports, I picked it back up and discovered elk hunting. I immediately bought a bow and my life took on a new direction as a bowhunter.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Dan: I enjoy elk hunting in September chasing bugles on public land. It’s such a challenge with very low odds of success – it’s what keeps me coming back fall after fall. The meat is number 1 and the wild landscapes are hard to beat.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Dan: Specifically bowhunting, it’s gaining popularity and having to really hustle to find places with decent density of animals to hunt. It’s been really tough in Idaho as of late, there’s a lot of predation, high numbers of hunters, generous seasons and in my opinion, way too much access via roads.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Dan: Generally speaking, I am never satisfied with my ability to shoot a bow. I am extremely critical on my set-up, technique and execution. I’m constantly working towards becoming the best I can be. If I have a shot opportunity, I want to capitalize every time. So my weakness is avoiding complacency when it comes to archery. It probably doesn’t sound like a weakness, but I am truly paranoid if I don’t shoot weekly and the sessions need to be worthwhile regardless of how busy life can be.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Dan: That’s a tough one… everything starts from the ground up so I am going to say Kenetrek Boots, specifically the Mountain Guides. I tote a backpack everywhere I go so the other one is my EXO 4800.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Dan: I love elk hunting in open country that has conducive to glassing and intercepting elk. Places where country is big, access is limited, and fitness is a prerequisite.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Dan: Less is More. Go hard in bursts. Plan more 3-4 day hunts in great areas versus 10 day hunts in ok places. Hit it hard, hunt dark to dark, and go solo. Solo hunting is the most rewarding and effective style that I grown to love.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
We want to thank Dan for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Dan and what he does with Elk Shape, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account, swinging by his website and listening to his podcast.
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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