GEAR REVIEW: Grayboe Phoenix Gun Stock

By Jeff Winslow

Instagram: @sendit110

For the last seven years I have been using my long-range competition rifles to hunt with. While the comfortability and accuracy were unparalleled, carrying a twenty-pound rifle around on all my hunts was becoming too much. I knew at some point I would have to build a specific hunting rifle to meet my needs.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod

By Johnny Mack

A year ago I night hunted for coyotes standing upright for the very first time off of a tripod. What I found is shooting off a tripod is an absolute game changer unless your tripod falls short in stability or height. The tripod I was using at the time was a perfect mix of lightweight and sturdiness but only from the sitting position. Shortly after that hunt, Vortex Optics released the new Vortex Radian Carbon Tripod and I knew that I needed to get my hands on one to see how it would handle afield.

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A Night To Talk Hunting, Conservation & Build Community

Come join Washington Backcountry and The Soulful Hunter Podcast for a fun night of conversation and community building. Doors open at 5pm and all ages are welcome.

You will have opportunity to win sweet prizes from the companies listed below through the raffle and toy donations that will support the families of first responders during this holiday season. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Address of event: 4493 Russell Rd, Unit D, Mukilteo, WA 98275

We want to thank the following companies for their generous donations.

SKB Cases

OnX Maps

Initial Ascent

Vortex Optics


OSS Suppressors

Kelbly’s Rifles

Linguist Game Calls

CrazyElk Company

Annihilator Broadheads

Western Bear Foundation

Str8 Sheet Fabrications

You cannot out give good and Mentorship is Conservation!!!

GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor HD 12×50 vs. Razor UHD 12×50 Binoculars

By Johnny Mack

Purchasing high quality binoculars is an investment that should not be overlooked and can impact the outcome of your hunt. Over this last year, I had the pleasure of trying out a few different models of Vortex Optics and was able to compare them side by side.

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How to identify animal tracks

By Chad Hultz

One of the many things that draw us to the outdoors is the scenic beauty of nature, and for others, it is the wildlife. Sometimes the evidence of wildlife is right in front of you, you just have to look. Coming across a bear, deer, or elk grazing can get the heart pumping with excitement. If you are anything like me, being able to see wildlife can be just the luck of the draw. Learning to identify animal tracks can help you know what wildlife is moving around the area you like to frequent.

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Watch Season 1 of Soul Seekers NOW

by Johnny Mack

The entire first season of Soul Seekers is now live and streaming on CarbonTV! Soul Seekers follows adult onset hunter, Johnny Mack and friends (Clint and Tony) on their journey to ignite their souls through primal adventure while seeking to transform the lives of others. Leading with the mission of “Mentorship is Conservation” and standing upon the belief that you cannot out give good, there is always something to be learned and shared when hunter recruitment and mentorship are at the forefront of everything.

You can catch every episode for FREE by downloading the carbontv app on ios and android platforms as well as Apple TV, Roku, Firestick, or Google Play stores.

Watch all 9 episodes of Season 1 Now

GEAR REVIEW: Pulsar Thermal Optics

By Johnny Mack

If you are a fan of predator hunting, there is no better way to do it than going out at night and leveling the playing field by using thermal optics. If you want to do it right, have a higher chance of success and be able relive your hunt for later enjoyment, then look no further than Pulsar Thermal Optics.

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With No Risk, There Is No Reward

By Dennis Deitchman

IG: @dennis_deitchman

I have always been pretty physically fit, and what I thought was mentally fit. In reality, I was just being stubborn and completing tasks in hopes of coming out the other side “fixed”. I could not be in the moment. I could not recognize my accomplishments for what they actually were, and never felt like my successes were ever good enough. I didn’t feel as if it was me accomplishing these feats, I always felt as if it were someone else checking these boxes off I had created in my mind. I felt that since I struggled while doing something hard, and there were thoughts of giving up the whole time, that I was unworthy to even mention it. I almost felt ashamed that I would struggle so much on hard hikes, long unsuccessful hunts, or intense workouts. I was always putting myself down, saying I was not good enough, and nitpicking every little thing. Always striving for “perfection” and in my eyes, always falling short.

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Wild Game Stew

By Chris Torborg

IG: @chris.torborg

If you are reading this you have repeatedly heard some form of the following statements about wild game:

  • “My spouse does not like deer, its too gamey.”
  • “Duck tastes like flying liver.”
  • “Geese are good for one thing, dogfood.”

If you or a loved one has said a form of one of these statements, I have a solution for you – learn proper cooking techniques and the right recipes.

There are three root causes for wild game to not taste good:

1. Improper meat care

2. Overcooking

3. Not cooking it long enough.

This recipe covers braising meat which in turn solves problem #3. When you cook meat low and slow something magical happens, the muscles and connective tissue break down and meld into the flavors you surround them with. This recipe is a fool-proof way to make any wild game taste good enough for anybody to eat. And I mean ANYBODY, mother-in-laws included.

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CBD & My Experience

By William Branum

The transition from military to civilian life was the toughest military mission I had ever been on. I went from being surrounded by a TEAM of World Class Professionals who challenged me every day to NO TEAM, NO PURPOSE, and NO MISSION.

I’ve spent my entire adult life in the military and 23 of those 26 years as a Navy SEAL.  As a SEAL, every morning I woke up, knew what I was going to do and with whom I would do it. I was surrounded by a badass team with a badass mission. Then in the summer of 2018,  it was gone.

My nightly routine consisted of just one glass of vodka on the rocks to turn off the noise in my head. One glass turned into another, and another and so on. Eventually the noise would reduce enough for me to go to sleep.  This habit started before my retirement, but had definitely intensified after I retired. I had to drink myself into a drunken mess to quiet my mind, slow down, and be able to rest.

I had heard of CBD oil while I was on active duty but wasn’t about to risk putting my final years in the military or my Top Secret Clearance in jeopardy.  I am also a child of Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs, “Just Say No!” so I was hesitant to try it.  A year after my retirement, I was in Virginia and had lunch with a former SEAL Team mentor.  I told him about my interest in CBD and discussed purchasing it while I was in town.  I was still unfamiliar with its benefits but was curious to know more. Coincidentally he owned some and gave me a bottle.

That night I noticed that I slept a little better and woke up a little less agitated as I had in the previous months. Over the next 30 days with continued use of the CBD Oil, I felt small increments of improvement in my attitude as well as unexpected improvements in pain management.  Some of the sharp stabbing pain I had been experiencing began to decrease in intensity.  Additionally, when I ran out of CBD oil much of the pain and ailments started to reoccur. 

Water boils at 212 degrees F.  I was living around 210 degrees F.  Taking CBD helped bring down the temperature, 208, 205, 200…  It helped me get out of the RED ZONE that I was living in and moved me into something closer to ORANGE or YELLOW, a better headspace.  The new headspace allowed me to practice better self-talk, so I could work on myself as well as start to quiet the noise in my head without alcohol.  I’m still working on me and CBD is a big tool in my tool box.

CBD had such a life changing effect on me that I started my own CBD company to share the highest quality CBD available to veterans and first responders.  Naked Warrior Recovery’s mission is to help you recover from mental and physical trauma, no matter how big or small. 

How CBD works:  CBD is a non-psychoactive (you don’t get high) molecule from the hemp plant.  It has been shown to have many medicinal effects on all mammals.  CBD supports the Endocannabinoid System, a giant neuro-receptor connected to every other system in the body (ie. Central Nerves System, Digestive System, Immune System, Respiratory System, etc.).

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is supported by endogenous cannabinoids that all mammals create.  Sometimes the body does not produce enough natural cannabinoids to support the ECS.  CBD works like a multivitamin to support the ECS to help bring it back into balance.  When the ECS in balance, it helps bring the other systems into balance.  A few other benefits that have been observed from CBD use are reduced chronic inflammation, elliptic seizures, pain, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, acne, and Parkinson’s. 

There is still a lot to be learned about this natural remedy, but the future looks bright!  There are studies coming out almost daily on PUBMED about CBD and the Endocannabinoid System. 

For more information on CBD go to and also check out Episode 91 of The Soulful Hunter Podcast where Johnny Mack and I dive into our experiences with it.

The Holy Grail

By Josh Austin | Instagram – @ihikeupperleft

We all have that “holy grail” hunt; the one that haunts your dreams, the one that keeps you up at night waiting for those special permit results to come in, the one that will create memories for a lifetime if only you could just put all the pieces together to make it work.  Sometimes that “holy grail” hunt isn’t even yours.  Let me tell you about my hunt of a lifetime.  A hunt where I never even picked up a weapon.  

Continue reading “The Holy Grail”

Turkey Hunting 101

By Travis Arnott

Veteran turkey hunters all too often hear the phrase “I don’t know where to go” or “I don’t know anyone to show me the ropes” when talking with new hunters. A quick look into how I got started may help put your fears at ease.  After all, hunting in the spring when the temps are in the 60’s and 70’s and not 38 and raining, is a nice change from the grey Pacific Northwest that we deal with quite often.

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Spicy Italian Baked Bear Spaghetti

By James Forslund

IG: @bearcountryoutdoors

There is a common misconception surrounding bear hunting and the meat that it provides. For centuries, original inhabitants of America used to prefer bear meat over venison. They considered the meat to taste better, they rendered the fat down to cook with and to waterproof things. All the while venison was mostly used for its buckskin. This recipe is a favorite of ours and a great introduction to bear if you have never tried it.

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Contact Your Legislators & Get Involved!

By Johnny Mack

In today’s world of nonstop political action and divisiveness, it’s time we as hunters start getting involved more and have our voices heard. If you have never written a letter or called your local legislator to let them know how important hunting, fishing and trapping are to you and your life, then now is the time.

Continue reading “Contact Your Legislators & Get Involved!”

Washington Backcountry Placed 3rd!!!

We are excited to announce that Washington Backcountry’s submission into the 2021 Badlands Film Festival was selected as a finalist and placed 3rd!!! If you were not able to watch the live streaming event, you still can by going to

For all of you who want to cut right to the chase and watch our featured film “Soul Seeker” you can do so by going to the Washington Backcountry YouTube channel. While you are there, you can also stay up to date with every episode of The Soulful Hunter Podcast and don’t forget to subscribe as we have a lot of amazing content planned for 2021.

Soul Seeker follows Johnny Mack’s journey of how hunting transformed his life along with how it has the power to transform other’s through primal adventure. His message of “Mentorship is Conservation” is the foundation upon what Washington Backcountry stands for. Being a Soul Seeker is defined by more than just going hunting or squeezing the trigger. It is solidified by the idea that hunting and the experiences associated with it are life transformative.

Just like a spark can be ignited in someone’s soul through their experience, it is OUR job to pass the torch onto others making sure hunting lasts for generations to come. Seeking out new people and getting them started in hunting, while simultaneously building a community of support is the least WE as hunter’s can do to give back to something that has provided so much for us. You cannot out give good and you too can become your own Soul Seeker. #mentorshipisconservation

Instagram: @washington_backcountry Facebook: Washington Backcountry Twitter: @WAbackcountry

Instagram: @thesoulfulhunterpodcast Facebook: The Soulful Hunter Podcast

In collaboration with Revol Entertainment. Instagram: @revolentertainment

GEAR REVIEW: Tag Wallet by The Crazy Elk Company

By Johnny Mack

Sometimes in life you don’t realize what you have been missing out on until you experience it first hand and understand the need for it. This was my initial reaction when I came across the Tag Wallet by The Crazy Elk Company. As a newer hunter I was always concerned with how much electrical tape or zip ties I needed to carry with me on a hunt in order to attach my notched tag.

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2021 Badlands Film Festival

By Johnny Mack

I’m excited and honored to announce that my film with Washington Backcountry in collaboration with REVOL Entertainment has been selected as a finalist in the Badlands 2021 film fest. You can watch it during the live streaming event on Feb 5th.


The evening will include:
Hunting films from both professional and amateur filmmakers
Live trophy presentation for feature and short film categories
Prize Giveaway featuring over $15k in prizes
Event should run approximately 2 hours total

Go to the link below to register to win and to watch the film fest.

#soulseeker #mentorshipisconservation #badlandsfilmfestival #badlandsgear #unconditional #hunt

GEAR REVIEW: Initial Ascent IA4K Backpack

By Johnny Mack

When it comes to hunting gear, people often talk about a good pair of boots and a comfortable backpack as being the most essential gear to make or break a hunt (besides your weapon of course). After spending several seasons hunting and packing out animals, I was always left with a excruciating pain between my shoulder blades that would eventually beat me down and made me despise the pack I was wearing.

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Hunting 101: Part 6 – Choosing What Species To Hunt

by Johnny Mack

Once you make the decision to start hunting, it is easy to focus on just one animal as your target goal. Before you get locked in to any specific target animal, there are a few things you might want to consider. More often than not, new hunters focus on hunting one target species, rather than the art of hunting itself.

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Second Focal Plane (SFP) vs First Focal Plane (FFP) – What’s the difference?

By Johnny Mack

If you are new to hunting or shooting and you are in the market for a rifle scope, the amount of options available can be overwhelming at times. Do you go with locking/target turrets, adjustable parallax, what magnification, second focal plane or first etc.? Understanding the differences between second focal plane (sfp) and first focal plane (ffp) rifle scopes is very important.

Continue reading “Second Focal Plane (SFP) vs First Focal Plane (FFP) – What’s the difference?”

GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor HD Gen II

By Johnny Mack

The Vortex Razor HD Gen II is a power house of an optic. Whether you are competing in a PRS match or out in the wild pursing game, this scope has the ability to do it all. With all things in life, there are pros and there are cons. Hopefully this article will help you figure out if this is the right scope for you.

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We Need Your Help!

2020 has been a year like none other! At Washington Backcountry and The Soulful Hunter Podcast we believe and stand firmly upon the notion that YOU CAN’T OUT GIVE GOOD.   With that being said, the kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital are taking the brunt of this pandemic as visitation and other things have been dramatically affected and cut. One of the biggest things that WE can do as a community to bring light and love to them is by contributing financially. We can circle around and support them during these trying times by contributing money to purchase toys and gifts for the children and to brighten their lives a bit this holiday season. 

We sincerely ask that you would find it in your heart and wallet to help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 to buy toys for the children at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Every little bit helps.  From a $1 donation to whatever you can afford, you cannot out give good. We also ask that you share this link with your community of friends, family and businesses and let’s create a legacy of love in this world. Thank you and be blessed. 

For Tax deduction purposes:
Seattle Children’s Hospital Tax ID #911156519


Ep. 53 | How To Take Pics & Video In The Field Like A Pro – with Clint Easley of Revol Entertainment

Continue reading “Ep. 53 | How To Take Pics & Video In The Field Like A Pro – with Clint Easley of Revol Entertainment”

Broadhead Review

By Johnny Mack

After spending all winter dreaming about the fall hunting seasons, I started to take inventory of my gear and look into what items I wanted to switch out or try. Broadheads were at the top of my list. Not because I didn’t like the head I was previously using, but because there is an abundance of cool technology and heads to choose from on the market these days.

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This Is How I Hunt – No. 41 Dylan Dowson

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.

Continue reading “This Is How I Hunt – No. 41 Dylan Dowson”

This Is How I Hunt – No. 40 Lauren Hill

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.

Continue reading “This Is How I Hunt – No. 40 Lauren Hill”

Dutch Oven Wild Game Roast

By Weston Alexander

IG: @bolt_action_hero

A good pot roast is a staple of many families and definitely one of ours. Households across America have their own recipes that has been passed down from generation to generation. It’s the meal that warms our bellies and also our souls. It the center of where we gather for great conversations and to spend quality time with the ones we love. In this recipe I share my take on the pot roast but add my ow twist to it. This recipe is done with a Dutch oven in an open fire.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor UHD 12×50 Binoculars

By Johnny Mack

In the spring of 2020 I had the privilege of using Vortex Razor UHD 12×50 binoculars on my bear hunt. I was beyond elated to be able to use them while hunting after looking through them at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. The first time I looked through them I was blown away with the quality of glass. Previously I was using Vortex Razor HD binos and even though those were very good, the UHD’s are hands far better and in a class of their own.

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GEAR REVIEW: Vortex Razor HD 4000 Rangefinder

By Johnny Mack

This past spring, I had the pleasure of using the Vortex Razor HD 4000 rangefinder on my Washington state spring bear hunt. I was super excited to finally have a rangefinder that matched my binoculars and rifle scope in optical clarity and sharpness. I have used multiple rangefinders in the past only to feel disappointed when trying to range an animal in low light and then not be able to find it.

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This Is How I Hunt – No. 39 Chris Mann

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. Continue reading “This Is How I Hunt – No. 39 Chris Mann”