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?
Chris: Chris Mann
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Chris: Raised in Washington at the foothills of the Cascades in a small ag. town called Wenatchee. I moved away for a handful of years and am now currently living in Pullman attending Washington State University.
WBC: What is your day job?
Chris: I am a full time student. I also work for the WSU Veterans Center serving the Chair of the Student Veterans Committee where I am the voice for veterans in issues with the administration. I also hunt and guide hunts all over the country, filming production for my own social platforms.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Chris: I am the definition of a bachelor. No kids, no wife, just an 18 month old chocolate lab.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Chris: I grew up in a hunting family. My passion for hunting was put on the back burners once I joined the military. The following decade I maybe went on two hunts when I was able to come home to hunt with my dad. Once I left the military I went into a dark spiral and the thing that the people close to me supported was….getting back to the woods. I started hunting again in the fall of 2013 and this jump started a passion and addiction. Since then I have gotten involved in using my platforms and knowledge to help other veterans get out and enjoy some outdoor recreation.
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?
Chris: I have had a lot of hunting mentors. My dad and uncles obviously were the most influential in shaping my way of hunting. However I find that I can take something new from everyone I get in the woods with. Learning about hunting never ends. If the learning ever stops, then really what else is there to push you? I learn something each time I blow a stalk or when guiding I learn something from my hunter.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Chase: There have been a lot that I have really enjoyed. I think one that sticks out the most would be a huge failure on my part during my first season archery elk hunting in Idaho. Opening morning I had a bull fired up and he ran down the mountain to come run me off. I ended up taking a bad shot and nicked a branch. That experience was incredible. The other would have to be the Sandhill Crane hunt in Texas last year. Myself and 6 vets went down to hunt with a well known outfitter and none of us had ever shot cranes. So many laughs and smiles.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Chris: Time…there is never enough time. There are only so many hours in the day and days in the season. Enjoy the time you have and utilize it to the max.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Chris: My knees… I have thrashed knees from the Marines and years of damage and wear and tear can sometimes make hiking steep terrain a slow issue for me. I will eventually get to the top but it’s not gonna be at Cam Hanes speed.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Chase: My bow release. But the one thing that I truly will never leave camp without when in the backcountry is a GPS or at least a map. I’ve forgotten a lot of things when I go hunting. This last week I left my rangefinder in the truck and didn’t realize until I was 5 miles up a mountain, but I never forget someway to know where I am.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Chris: Every hunt is a little unique and special.. I have hunted the hogs on the plains in Texas and in the scrub brush. High mountain mule deer way up in the wilderness zones. But elk are by far my favorite.. The chess match is amazing. Chasing and finding a fired up bull screaming his face off is something you just can’t beat.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Chris: PUT IN FOR SPECIAL HUNTS!!!! If you’re like me and living in Washington, the good hunts require a draw. Also, Travel. Save some funds if that’s an option and check out other states. Each state has a new adventure and opportunity for growth
WBC: What is your favorite inspirational quote or verse?
Chris: John 15:13 – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend” (This is tatted on my arm). I have always loved the idea of being your brother’s keeper. Not just blood, this was my military team, this is other veterans who come to me for help or advice. Looking out for another is key!
WBC: Do you have a favorite social media page that inspires you to be a better outdoorsman?
Chris: I follow a lot of pages. I like seeing some of the non-profit organization pages and seeing kids hunting especially the “hunt of a lifetime” kids.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
We want to thank Chris for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Chris and what he does, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his social media accounts.
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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