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?
Dylan: Dylan Dowson
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Dylan: Born and raised in Montana. I am from a small, eastern MT town called Glendive, and I currently live in Missoula, MT.
WBC: What is your day job?
Dylan: I have worked at onX for the past 5 years. I started out in Customer Service and am currently working with Western Marketing and ambassadors. It truly is a dream job for me.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Dylan: I will be married in about a week from now! No children, yet, but we have a dog and two cats.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Dylan: My dad introduced me to hunting at a young age. I remember following him around in the sagebrush and coulees of eastern MT, hunting mule deer and antelope at the age of 4 or 5. It was always something I loved to do and started hunting myself, when I was old enough to do so at the age of 12.
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?
Dylan: I would say my dad was my mentor growing up for sure. I learned a lot from him about hunting deer, antelope, and occasionally pheasants (when our deer tags were filled). I would say we learned how to (or how not to in some cases) hunt elk together as I became older and a bow hunter. Since then, there have been many people I respect and look up to as hunters. Fortunately, in the position I am in with my job, I have gotten to meet and hunt with a few of those people.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Dylan: This is a tough one! I have quite a few to choose from but one that stands out was my fiance’s (probably wife by the time you are reading this) first big game animal. She hadn’t even shot a gun or bow when we first met, but since then she has become a great shot and hunter. When it all came together on her first buck, which happened to be a great mule deer on our first day out, it was amazingly rewarding to watch her appreciation and respect grow for hunting and the animals we hunt. I felt more accomplished helping her on that hunt than if I would have harvested the buck myself. My first archery bull would be another all time favorite that I won’t forget.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Dylan: Finding the time to do more of it! I would love to explore more out of state hunts and get to Alaska sometime in the near future, but time (and money for some of the more sought after Alaska species I dream about hunting) seems to not be on my side quite yet.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Dylan: I would say one of my weaknesses is being overly aggressive in certain situations. On the flip side, I have found success specifically from being aggressive. I think learning when to be aggressive and when to be patient is something I need to continue working on.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Dylan: Shameless product plug for onX here, but it really is true. Without onX, I would have far less success stories to tell and probably would have had to spend the night in the woods a few times. I can’t imagine going without it now.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Dylan: I always think about how I love hunting extremely challenging terrain, until I am out there hiking in it haha. But there is something about difficult country and situations that make me want to do more of it. I think the struggle makes it that much more rewarding when it finally comes together. As for species, I would have to say elk with a bow in hand, but rifle mule deer is a very close second.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or known when you first started hunting?
Dylan: I am still learning a ton each time I go out, but I would say I wish I had been more comfortable with making mistakes and screwing things up once in a while. It’s the best way to learn and be better next time.
WBC: What is your favorite inspirational quote or verse?
Dylan: The one that came to mind for hunting is “Embrace the Suck”. It’s all part of the experience and those difficult moments are sometimes the ones you end up remembering the most.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
- Personal Instagram: @dylan.hunter.dowson
- onX: @onXHunt Website: http://www.onxmaps.com
We want to thank Dylan for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Dylan and what he does, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his social media account along with our podcast episode we recorded together on The Soulful Hunter by clicking HERE.
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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