Biology, Bison Hunting, Bison Hunting Tips, Elk Hunting, Non-Traditional Hunting, Pronghorn Antelope, Women in the Outdoors -

RadCast Outdoors Episode #53: Erin Campbell Talks About Her Hunting Journey

Erin Campbell Sighing in Rifle - RadCast Outdoors

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Girt with the Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt

 

Erin Campbell is the Wyoming State Geologist and is the Director of the Wyoming State Geological Survey. She has a PHD from the University of Wyoming in geology and has been living in Wyoming for many years. She just recently picked up the sport of hunting and we asked her to come on the RadCast Outdoors Podcast to discuss it. She is considered a "non-traditional" hunter due to coming into the sport as an adult and her story is intriguing. She shares why she decided to try the sport of hunting and how much she appreciates hunting in her life. 

This episode of RadCast Outdoors is sponsored by PK LuresHi Mountain Seasonings, and Bow Spider. Please go visit our sponsors and thank them for sponsoring RadCast Outdoors by giving them your business.

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 Erin Campbell Episode
[00:00:00] Patrick Edwards: This episode of RadCast outdoors is brought to you by
David Merrill: PK Lures. Bow Spider. And
Patrick Edwards: high mountain seasonings,
David Merrill: Fish On! . Hey, RadCast is on hunting, fishing and everything in between. This is rad cast outdoors. Here are David Merrell and Patrick Edwards.
Hey, everybody, we're rolling down the road. You know, just keep putting episodes and content out. We're back again. I thank you all for coming back and listening. Super excited. We've got another episode coming your way. So sit back, relax, get, get your feet up, you know, get the radio on. If you're driving down the road, you know, we, we welcome that.
Go ahead and listen while you're driving. Just make sure you focus to pay attention, stay safe out there. But I'm David Merrill . I've got Patrick Edwards
Patrick Edwards: here with me. [00:01:00] It's good to be back in the studio David's been putting on some miles. Everybody just got back from
David Merrill: where, well, we just get out the Bow, Spider, you know, a flagship vehicle.
It looks good. 6,000 miles in a month. In a month. Well, that's what
Patrick Edwards: happens when you drive all the way to the east coast?
David Merrill: It was, we did 30 hours straight driving on the way there that is insane. Had a great trade show. Total archery events is where we were at. If you've ever, if you're into our tree or getting into our tree, 3d shoots are probably the most efficient way to get ready to go hunting in the field.
But they're also probably one of the fun. Competition style, family friendly. You know, it's not, it's not high, high pressure, expensive equipment. You just grab what equipment you go. You have, you just go out and have fun. So definitely total archery or any one of those other 3d shoots, even a local shoot.
If you have time, grab your kids, grab your families. Grab some equipment. And if you've never been, and even if you don't have a Bo go with somebody that's going [00:02:00] and just go walk around and see what it's like walking down the course, check it out. I mean, it was, it's a lot of fun. I really, I went to him before I had both spider and now, I mean, as a vendor, they're not as much fun I have to work while everybody's playing, but we do sneak off and go shoot our bows once in a while.
So I saw
Patrick Edwards: a couple of videos on social media, snuck off and shot a field, few shots out there and. You know, it is a game changer. Guys. If you're shooting these total archery challenges, any of these 3d shoots, grab your bow spider, go to bowspider.com. You can pack your boat easily, get in and out. It'll save your arms a lot.
And you know, David's going to be at quite a few of these this summer. So you might just see
David Merrill: him. So, yeah, speaking of hunting and getting started and, and families, I'm really excited for the guests we have this week. Are you Erin?
Patrick Edwards: I am. All right, everybody. We have Erin Campbell here with us. Not in the studio, but you know, from Laramie.
So close enough, you know, here in Wyoming anyway, but, uh, it's great to have you on, she is the state [00:03:00] geologists for the state of Wyoming and she is new into hunting and fishing. And one of our listeners, Melissa suggested that we bring Erin on and talk about. You know, hunting and fishing with the, and how you got started.
So welcome to the podcast. It's great.
Erin Campbell: Thank you so much. It's great to be here
Patrick Edwards: just a little bit, just so everybody knows kind of your background and where you're from and then we'll get into it. Thanks.
Erin Campbell: Well, I have lived in Wyoming. For about 22 years now. And before that I lived all over the Western United States.
I taught at the university of Wyoming and the geology department for 15 years, and then moved over to the Wyoming state geologic survey and was fortunate enough to be appointed as the Wyoming state geologists about, um, almost four years now.
Patrick Edwards: That's awesome. Now that's gotta be a big job. So what all does that entail?
Erin Campbell: It is a big job, but I think it is the best job in the world. I absolutely love my work. So [00:04:00] I direct the Wyoming state geologic survey, and that is a state agencies that studies and reports on all of the energy and mineral resources in the state, in the state as well. The fossil resources and, um, also monitors for geologic hazards, like volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides.
It's a lot of stuff. And then they sell a lot of stuff. And then, um, as the state geologists, I serve on a number of commissions, including the Wyoming oil and gas conservation commission. I'm on the governor's cabinet. Um, I serve on a number of boards. Um, I'm part of the Yellowstone volcano observatory.
And, um, essentially we, we are sort of, the, my agency is, are the watchdogs for the state in terms of making sure that the people of Wyoming, um, have someone monitoring their resources, advocating for [00:05:00] them, and also, um, making sure that we are. Aware of the geologic hazards that are present in our state.
David Merrill: Yeah. Thank you for doing what you're doing. And, uh, I've never really worried about the volcano because if the big one goes off, I figure I don't have to worry about it. I'll just be dead.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. They, if that thing goes off, David and I are pretty darn close to it. So I don't think we stand much of a chance.
We should have
Erin Campbell: some warning. If it goes off, they volcanos volcanos give you a lot of clues before they erupt that we'll know
Patrick Edwards: when it's coming. That's good. And I can drive fast. I guess we can see how fast that goes. Spider Eagle go.
David Merrill: Well, my boy. Just super interested in rocks and geology and fossils.
So we just, on the way home, we stopped at a rock shop and got him a couple of different fossils and he, he, he's pretty ecstatic about it. Yeah, I
Patrick Edwards: guess it wouldn't be this past weekend, but the weekend [00:06:00] before my kids and I, we were at Glendo for the weekend and we were looking at the rocks and then.
Plants, you know, fossilized into the rocks. So they thought that was really cool. And it was really cool. Like it was like some ferns and different things that were just kind of smashed into those rocks long, long time ago. It was pretty neat. Tell us a little bit about him. I was intrigued when I was talking to you before, um, kind of when we had our first phone call, just talking about coming into hunting later in life and fishing.
And some of these things, you know, you, you have the traditional route that David and I took, you know, we were little kids that grew up around hunting and fishing and our dads did it. And so we didn't really get a choice. Yeah, it was. You're going. You know, you're going to figure this out.
David Merrill: And, and our kids don't really get a choice.
Cause my hobby and passion is whether it's fishing or hunting. Right. And it's, it's neat to see. We we've had a podcast, we talked about Turkey hunting and hunter and I went on our Turkey hunts. We never got one, he got a shot, but then we had some tears and you know, but he's now already on the drive [00:07:00] home saying, dad, can we go again next year?
Right. And that. And on an all time ask and to go fishing and you know, and you know how that is Patrick. So it's w I joke jokingly say forced because any kid that's lucky enough to live here and get to go enjoy the activities we're taking them on is, is fortunate. Yeah.
Patrick Edwards: I'm just always intrigued, like the non-traditional route that hunters take and why they take it.
So, you know, Erin, just share with us a little bit about why. Why hunting and, you know, w what, what have you even sparked the interest to get it?
Erin Campbell: Well, , uh, definitely years ago, I found myself, um, with kids who were teenagers and doing their own thing, and didn't really want to hang out with their mom so much anymore.
And I was divorced and I had a lot of free time to, or I guess not more free time, but I was able to choose how I want. I spend my free time. And so I thought about it and, um, started looking at different things. And first [00:08:00] I took up fly fishing and loved that. And then a couple of years after that was the year I turned 50.
And in that year I decided that in the year I turned 50, I would try to do 50 new things. And so one of the things I wanted to try was hunting and I didn't grow up with any exposure to hunting or fishing. In fact, I'd never even held a rifle when I decided I wanted to try this. So I started out by, um, taking hunter safety to see if I could feel comfortable holding a firearm.
And I really appreciated the game and fish hunter safety program. It made me feel like this was something I could do. And I wanted to try hunting, um, because I felt like if I am a person who eats meat, I should be able to. I should be able to harvest what I eat and if I wasn't willing to do that, then I might have to rethink my food choices.
[00:09:00] So I, um, did a hunter safety. I tried a lot of different rifles. I found the caliber. That was the highest caliber I could. I could fire and still feel comfortable with it. Um, I bought a rifle and then I just shot and shot and shot. Um, And then there were a number of programs in Wyoming that are really helpful, helpful for beginning hunters.
So I applied for the game and fish beyond bow class. And if you're familiar with, um, the bow program, it's C becoming an outdoors woman. And so beyond bow is the course for women interested in learning to hunt. So I took that. And that was a fantastic program. And I also applied for the Wyoming women's antelope hunt and was fortunate enough to be accepted into that program as well.
So I got shooting [00:10:00] lessons from a friend. Um, I bought a light, a rifle I took beyond bow. And then my first time trip was the Wyoming women's cantaloupe
David Merrill: punch. Well, Erin , I want to congratulate you because everything you just said is a perfect conversion story to how somebody should go about getting into hunting, you know, starting with hunter safety.
What is this about? What are the laws and what does it entail? And then going, moving on to what is a. Appropriate caliber, not, you know, I know ego involved with that and then moving into, I'm going to be proficient and effective with this before I ever attempt anything in the field to just, I really want to applaud that whoever helped you make those choices and assisted you and mentored you along the way, really, it sounds like you kind of had the, uh, the Goldilocks story there.
Erin Campbell: Um, also. I just, um, I, I take it really seriously. So when after I bought a rifle, I shot it and shot it and shot it and shot it until I [00:11:00] knew when I was going to. The target at 200 yards. Every I could feel when I was ready to pull the trigger, if I was going to hit it because I knew I wouldn't, I wouldn't go hunting until I felt that level of comfort, really grateful to have a lot of help from people.
I had friends who helped. I had friends who offered their husbands and a lot of good advice, a lot of good tricks.
David Merrill: So we're, we're here in the, uh, red cast studio headquarters. And if you were here, you could see all the, the mounts and trophies and pictures. Right. But people look from a non-hunting background, look at that and see something morbid something off.
And I don't know how to express it in any other way, but to, to tell people that. I'm so passionate about hiking, backpacking wilderness skills. And I want to go climb that peak and look off of it and take that photo. And then I want to look around and understand how the animals utilize the landscape.
Almost like a [00:12:00] geologist in, in a little tiny aspect. I'm more looking at the, the game, right. But why is it here? How is it here? How's it moving forward? And I wanted to know, do you feel the same? Did, did you see a conversion from kind of being a passive. Um, enjoyer of nature to someone who's actually a consumptive consumer that's completely immersed in, you know, the aspect of, of being able to harvest an animal.
I mean, that's, that's something people just kind of, I mean, Hollywood, when I say people, anti hunters and Hollywood just kind of downplays us as redneck Hicks that don't have any education. And I mean, what I've found, that's not the
Erin Campbell: truth. And you made a really good analogy with appreciation for the landscape as a geologist and also as a hunter.
Um, one of another reason I got into hunting and fishing was when I moved into an administrative role, I didn't get to do the geology field work that I had done before. And [00:13:00] so I would, in the past, I would spend six to eight weeks a year out in the field doing geology. And, um, and then I wasn't able to do that anymore.
And it's hard to get out there. I know some people like to just hike, but I like to have a purpose for being out there or a goal. And I think that, um, you're right. Observing, observing the wildlife, um, hunting, having, having a reason to be out there or fishing, having a reason to be out there is definitely a big thing.
David Merrill: So speaking to someone here recently who was, you know, big into rock climbing, it was, and I've spoken to a couple other people and they they've mentioned that, you know, when you go on a, you know, a backpack trip where you're hiking and just your, your goal is to do a 50 mile or like we did in Scouts, or your goal is to do, you know, a rock climbing or just ascend a peak, do one of the.
Uh, sense you're on a time schedule, you're on a timeframe. You're like, oh, we gotta be to this point in the trail by this time. And [00:14:00] if we don't make it to here, we're going to delay. And you're, you feel very structured and rigid when you're doing those kinds of wilderness activities. Fishing is less so and hunting is even less so right.
I might hike out to a Ridge and just say, you know what? Um, I'm going to immerse myself in nature. I'm going to let the animals tell me and dictate where I'm going to be, what I'm going to do. And I may, I may make it 10 miles. I make him make it 200 feet and I just sit down and glass and enjoy probably my favorite part.
Aaron is actually watching animals through binoculars and spotting scopes in, and then moving in and getting to interact with them on almost a personal level. Really. So, can you speak to that about your experience of finally getting closer to that wildlife?
Erin Campbell: Yes. I think that that's a really, that's an interesting point about, um, it does, it feels very intimate when you're, when you're hunting or, or preparing to hunt.
I think, um, you know, I've, I've watched [00:15:00] wildlife before, but you would, you know, oh, there's, there's a deer, there's an elk, but when you're. When you're really observing what they're doing and trying to predict where they would go. It is very different and I'm not very experienced in that. So, um, I've only, I've only hunted pronghorn, but even so now, now when I, when I'm out and observing pronghorn, it's a different way of observing it.
Absolutely.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. And we talked about it too, you know, before, when I, you to schedule this, you know, there, there is a totally different mindset than hunters have than people that are just going out for a walk. And you have to get into that mindset when you're a hunter or a fishermen for that manner. I mean, I was just out this past weekend to keyhole reservoir.
Um, my wife and I were fishing out there and I mean, we were. Trying to find fish. So we had a focus on where we were going, why we're going there? You know, what's the time of year. Why are the fish where they're at? Well, it's [00:16:00] the same thing with hunting and you just have much more of a connection to the wildlife, but also.
When you harvest an animal, that's a whole nother experience as well, because you know, you, you've now taken that animal's life, but you also appreciate it a lot. And we talked about that a little bit, so I wanted you to see, see if you could share just a little bit about your first harvest. So tell us about that first
Erin Campbell: hunt.
Oh, I'd love to talk about my first hunt. Um, so that was at the Wyoming women's antelope hunt and, um, that's a fantastic program. For both novice and experienced hunters. And, um, so the first day before I went hunting that first day, I was so nervous. I didn't sleep at all the night before. Um, I kept thinking, am I, will I not be able to pull the trigger?
Will I go, I throw up, will I cry? I didn't know. I didn't know how I would feel. Um, so the first day we went out and I had a [00:17:00] wonderful guide. Who, um, was guiding me. And actually we were, we were on governor Gordon's ranch and Everett Gordon is my boss. So that was a little intimidating to be hunting in boss's ranch.
But, um, the guide was fantastic and we spent all day. Um, at the very, we didn't find any, we didn't find any good bucks. And so at the end of the day, he finally got me set up. We were on the side of a hill. It was getting late in the day. Um, it was a little farther than I was comfortable shooting. Um, it wasn't very stable.
And I was, I was watching this beautiful, beautiful buck and, and I just didn't feel, I didn't feel right. I know what I knew. It wasn't, it wasn't going to be a shot. I knew I would get. And, uh, so I apologized to the guide and he said, no, no, it's fine. It's fine. I'd rather you wouldn't shoot if you, if you aren't sure.
But we went back the next morning and, um, [00:18:00] He was getting me all pumped up. He had the Def Leppard cranked in the truck. And so we were, we drove back out and hiked back to where we had been the day before. And sure enough, um, the herd was there and it was just beautiful, Chris. Say, um, with some lights, no, and a view of the big horns and just this gorgeous day.
And, and he got me set up on a rock out crops. So that made me feel really good as well. This nice sound sandstone outcrops, and I was very stable and it was just a perfect shot. And, um, And, and when I, um, pulled the trigger, I knew I was going to hit right where I wanted to hit. And, and the animal went down, got up, went a few yards and went down and stayed down.
And, um, the adrenaline was huge, but also the feeling [00:19:00] of taking of harvesting an animal was. It felt really right in a strange way. And I'm not someone who kills capriciously. When I see worms stranded on the sidewalk, after a rain, I moved them to the dirt. So this wasn't something that I took lightly. Um, but it was.
It, it just felt like part of, part of the human experience in some way. And so we, and then the adrenaline of course afterwards takes over and the guy said, let me just, let me take your rifle. Cause I was kind of shaky So we hiked over to where, um, where the, the animal was. And I thought, okay, am I going to throw up? Am I going to cry?
But I was really just fascinated. I was just fascinated by, by this animal that had been alive. And then I had, I had taken his life. And, but not in a bad way or a triumphant way. It just felt like part of the cycle of life, I guess. And,
David Merrill: and you're [00:20:00] you're right. I want to speak to, to two points you you've kind of mentioned is, is one people in the city have no problem killing a rat or a mouse and, you know, throwing it in the garbage and just wasting that life.
Right. And that's, that is part of the ecosystem. And. W we need mice, we need rats, right? We need snakes. We need, we need these species. And the other one you spoke to is, you know, this cancel culture right now. When, when you take a picture with that guide of this antelope that you just spent, you know, a lot of your time and energy working to achieve, right.
And you want to share that moment. You want to, I guess, memorialize that moment. It's not a. You know, at the end of the day, when the meat's all gone, all we have is the stories left to tell and pictures to look at.
Erin Campbell: Right. And one of the things actually, they taught us in the beyond bow class that I thought was an excellent part of the curriculum was, um, [00:21:00] taking respectful photos and, and posting those photos in a respectful way.
And I, I do think that that's important where, um, you know, if people are. Sort of making fun of the carcass that's that gives everyone a bad name, but there for the rest of us, I mean, it was commemorating a really important, important moment in my life. And I, I love that photograph and I have it framed on my dress.
David Merrill: And sort of go into detail for somebody who's listening. Who's not, you know, starting out, I mean, blood and guts and Goran and you know, and inappropriate positions and posture. No, you need to be solemn, respectful. This animal did just lose his life so that you can continue to live. And that, I mean, that's the way I feel.
Some people don't feel that way and I don't agree with them. So, but for somebody taking those new photos out there, you know, definitely. Clean clean, clean it up as clean as you can and take some nice photos.
Patrick Edwards: And the other thing too, like you think about [00:22:00] when you go and you procure something yourself out in the field and you get a picture with that, you have a connection to that animal forever.
You're not going to forget that, you know, that person appreciates that animal. They're going to consume that animal. They're going to share that with their friends. It's going to be a really good thing. You know, you buy something at the store. It's not the same thing. And I was telling Erin, you know, previous, this is like our family, you know, we, we buy local beef, you know, we raise our own pigs, we raised chickens, you know, we hunt, we fish and I really appreciate every animal that we consume because.
You know, we, we put a lot of work into that and I think that that is the big difference.
David Merrill: I know at the Edward's house, you know, if you come over and are lucky enough, you're going to have a walleye, fish fry, and Patrick's very, very proud and should be rightfully so. Check out these wallet. I caught, I cleaned, I processed, I froze.
And now I've [00:23:00] prepared in one of the best ways you'll ever have offline. But Erin, can you speak to that in the difference of, you know, cooking a meal for your friends and family, when you've gone to the store and bought burger, versus when you've pulled them? Antelope, uh, pieces of meat out and cooked at it.
I mean, what's the difference for, for you as a new person? Cause I mean, I've grown up with this.
Erin Campbell: Yeah. So, um, one thing I also do is I like to, I like to, um, put your, the, the animal myself. And so, um, I feel like. That way I can from start to finish. I I'm involved in the process the entire way I use every single piece of that, of that animal.
Um, and it's prepared with care and respect. Um, my dog. Who is she's 17 now. And she can't look up the carcass. She can't, she doesn't want to see [00:24:00] anything be shot, but once I bring it into the kitchen to butcher it, she helped me butcher it and label it and she loves eating it. Um, and. I feel like I'm not sure how to express it.
Um, it's, it's having an understanding of where your food has come from and a respect for that food that you don't get when someone else has done the butchering and the slaughtering. Um, and I, I, um, also my sister came to visit last summer and. Prepared some antelope for her and her family. And she's very much from an urban environment and she loved it and she loved the idea of it.
And I gave her some leftovers to take, to visit some friends that she had had, who are also very much from the city. And they were also very excited about it. And so I, I do wonder if, um, you know, we could change the perspective of that, of the hunting in terms of. [00:25:00] These are people who love food and gourmet food and so something special and unique.
And so, and, and being able to show the pictures of the process, I think gave them more respect for the food. And I was very proud to be able to introduce them to that.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. And I think it goes back to branding, you know, being a business guy, a lot of it has to do with branding and how you present something because unfortunately in our society through Hollywood and a number of other places it's hunting is just these thugs that are out there with guns and just trying to
David Merrill: kill everything.
And we need to, we need to eradicate it and make it illegal today. And it's
Patrick Edwards: like, no, that's not actually what most of us are like now are there people out there like that? Sure. I'm, I'm sure. Well,
David Merrill: actually, if you're alive today, Patrick, you need to go thank a hunter because it wasn't gathers that kept your family and your ancestors.
Patrick Edwards: Exactly. I mean, you have to have protein and I don't know. I think a lot of it has to do with the branding aspect [00:26:00] of just what hunting is all about, why we do it. You know, and I think that a lot of people don't really understand why we do it. They just think, oh, why would you kill something? Well, it's not, I'm not just killing something and explaining that, giving them the why I was talking to David about that earlier today.
You know, people really want to know the why. Well, you know, I hope people are just more receptive to why you're doing it. And you were talking about it too. You were talking about the conviction you had. You know, I want to be able to procure this myself. I want to be ethical in the way I do my protein. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Because I think that's important. Sure.
Erin Campbell: Um, you know, really the first, the first thing was, I didn't want to be hypocritical. I didn't want to, um, you know, eat meat, but not be willing to harvest it. I didn't think that that was right. And so that's one of the, sort of a test for myself when I went out to do this.
Um, you know, if I, if I can't [00:27:00] consciously, if I can't do this, I can't have someone else be doing this for me. I D I don't want the slaughterhouse taking, doing the dirty work. I want to be able to, to do this myself. And, um, and, and, and like I said before, the strange thing was that it just felt really, it felt like the right thing to do when I, when I was in the field as well, it felt like I, I don't know, I was proud of what I had comped and accomplished, not just because I had killed an animal, but that I had sort of taken responsibility for what I was going to eat and what I was going to feed my family and, and take it from, start to finish as well.
The, the field dressing, the butchering, um, you know, disposing of the, of the carcass, things like that. I, I felt really strongly that that was important.
David Merrill: So speaking of butchering and, and, you know, finishing out, we do have a sponsor that I'm going to shamelessly plug at the [00:28:00] moment Han's with high mountain seasoning has been sponsoring us and supporting us and an all Patrick and I, when we started this, we talked about, we only wanted to work with companies who we believed in, believed in their product.
And, and we're, we're a tight knit community here in Wyoming, but having, having high mountain seasoning on board, you know, if you're just getting into this. They have go to their website, high mountain jerky.com. They have everything you need for either the wild game, the fish, or the domestic game to prepare it from start to finish and cook some really nice gourmet meals.
Patrick Edwards: And like David said, I mean, there's some fantastic people that work there. One of them is Edgar. You know, he's kind of the foreman, making sure everything gets done. I'll tell you, Edgar is one heck of a cook he made. So. Pork ribs, not too long ago that I was able to eat. And it was all made with high mountain seasonings and it was some of the best pork ribs I've ever eaten in my life.
You can use it for just about anything cook, so help support them. Like David said, they're great [00:29:00] folks and they care a lot about their craft and they care a lot about what they do. And we just, we're just so appreciative to have them as a sponsor. Really truly, genuinely
David Merrill: good people. So, Erin , I had a question about, you know, when you first got started, you've gone through kind of, we talked, gave you kudos for, you know, taking all the right steps.
What was something now that you've kind of gone through the whole cycle one year? What was something that you were maybe the, uh, beyond Bow class didn't really cover in depth or something you didn't know or something you would have known that maybe we can. Help as, as you know, mentors and sportsmen pass onto the next group of people coming into this sport.
Erin Campbell: You know, um, I think the thing I still am trying to learn is, um, where, where to find the wildlife and, and at different times of the day and [00:30:00] different part times of the season, um, and stocking, I could use some work on my stalking. Um, so those are, those are things I would, I could definitely learn more about.
Patrick Edwards: As a fisherman. I know I'm still learning the patterns of the fish and the movements and the different things. The wildlife throw a lot of different wrenches at you and things change based on weather and lots of different things, but there's, there's a lot of great hunters out there. David's one of them that can kind of help.
You know, people with the mentorship of how to find them, where to find them when you know, and all those things. I mean, it does make a difference. Having someone be able to kind of pass that
David Merrill: knowledge along to that, Patrick, you know, as, as an avid L Connor and anybody that knows me knows that's my, that's my bread and butter that I learned something new.
Every time I go on the elk woods, Aaron I've been doing it almost 20 years. You know, the best, uh, the best teachers are actual predators, right. [00:31:00] And predators fail more often than they succeed. And so that's why they're the best teachers is, you know, to you and me, it's kind of a game. It still is life or death for an animal, but for the most part, we're going to come home as long as we pay attention and use first aid and safety and, and be smart.
But for those. Grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves. They truly do depend on, you know, they don't get to go to the grocery store later. They're either eating stuff you don't want to eat, or they're not eating. So, you know, they, they fail more often than they succeed. But a couple quick tips in, in the elk world.
Cause I know you talked about elk is something you want to get into. Um, early in the season, they're going to be using north slopes, heavy timber later in the season, as it gets cooler, they're going to move out into those Southern slopes, more open. So depending on the time of year, that kind of gives you which side of the mountain to even look on.
And the other couple things I'd think about is wind. I mean, wind is [00:32:00] key, no matter what you're doing, you know, they're going to smell you. And, uh, it's the first three rules of elk hunting is wind, wind, and wind. Um, you can get away with being heard twice. You can get away with being seen. You cannot get away with being smelled.
So that's just something to, you know, make a little noise. You can cover it up. Natural animal noises or just time dissipate sound. And they go back to their routine, little bit of movement. You hold still, they're going to watch you for a while, but then they'll go back to their thing. Right. But if they smell you, they're gone, they're
Patrick Edwards: gone well, and you brought up a fun point.
I, it recalled a story in my brain. We have this, uh, instructor. CWC his name's Todd Gunther and he teaches our anthropology archeology program. And you talked about predators, right. And how they kind of show you. How to hunt? Well, our students, it was a few years ago. They found the highest known Buffalo jump in the world.
And it's up off the [00:33:00] Dinwoody up here in the, in the winds. And,
David Merrill: um, there's that don't know what a Buffalo jump is, is. Um, native Americans would get in a group and, you know, whatever and chase Buffalo towards a cliff, and the Buffalo are going to run from predators and they're going to run off the
Patrick Edwards: drop.
Right. And so these drops. That high, like this particular one is only about six feet, but all you need them to do is fall off of it and break something. Right. So anyway, so Todd and his students, they found this and he was talking to some elders from the reservation here at the wind river Indian reservation and said, Hey, you know, we, we found this, this is really cool.
And just describing it. And he's like, man, you know, how do you, how did your ancestors learn to do that? And he's. Well, the wolves and sure enough, Todd went up there during the winter time. He hiked in there and observed wolves using the same paths, the same, the same, everything that they were that anyone would have used to use that Buffalo jumps.
So it makes a lot of sense. You know,
David Merrill: they did this similar [00:34:00] thing. Um, the Shoshones did with the sheep. Oh, absolutely. They built sheep traps and they basically it's a triangle at the top of the triangle is like a six foot. Um, log wall that the chief would have to jump over. Right. And all I did is at the mouth of the triangle at the bottom.
Two guys appeared and cheaper kind of run up hill to get away from danger every time and they're toast. And so these little tricks, Aaron, you can pick up one, I'll give you for antelope. That is very successful is they see very well as you, as you're well aware of now, early morning and late evening. Hike with the sun to your back, not to your face.
If you come out of the sun, antelope have just as hard a time squinting in the sun as we. Great
Erin Campbell: advice. Thank you.
David Merrill: It was a little more if you've got the sun to your back and they're having to look up into the sun, then if the sun is to your back and you're coming at them and they, you are now completely illuminated.
And you're having to squint look at them.
Patrick Edwards: So I was going to have you go into a little bit more detail as far as, you know, what's next for you on the [00:35:00] hunting. What do you want to do? Um, and you know, just kinda, what are your goals for this next?
Erin Campbell: Well, as a matter of fact, I was fortunate enough to draw a bison bull tag.
David Merrill: No, don't be sorry. That is awesome. I am now super ecstatic for you. Hunted Buffalo. And honestly, in my opinion, antelope is one of my favorite elk. I live here for, for ALK, right? I love all species. I mean, doll, sheep, and mule deer and black tails, and even have a Lena, but of all the species. I mean, the one that I feel the most connected to my ancestor or hunters is the bison for whatever reason, it just caveman drawings of, you know, guys, chase and bison.
And so us that I'm super stoked for you. Tell me, tell me, uh, well,
Erin Campbell: so it's area two, um, by Jackson type one tag. I'm pretty nervous. [00:36:00] I am getting a higher caliber rifle for this one. So starting in July, I'm going to start practicing, practicing, practicing. So
David Merrill: just out of curiosity, what caliber
Erin Campbell: were you? I had a 6.5 Creedmore, um, before, and I am still figuring out what I'm going to use, but I've given myself a deadline for that.
The bison, um, lots of friends have offered to let me try their rifles. Um, but I, I think a 300 wind Meg is maybe what I'll go with. Not sure yet. So
David Merrill: I'll, I'll throw, I'll throw my 2 cents in the hat. And this comes from, uh, the late Jack O'Connor. He hunted all over the globe with a two 70 and bragged about it.
And he said the only time that he stepped up to a 30 out six was, uh, for a couple of the big nasty critters. I have a 30 out six with a muzzle break on it and it's. It's manageable. I would, [00:37:00] I would suggest sticking in that, that medium centerfire instead of going to the large centerfire and then going with premium bullets, you'll be fine.
We
Patrick Edwards: have a previous episode with Mr. Rick parish. That would be a good one for you to listen to talking about his bison.
David Merrill: And we have a one with Brian from high mountain seasoning, and he may or may not have drawn again. One other tidbit I want to give you, Aaron is with that type one tag, you know, you're going to.
Tag and drag up there is, is important. That's go listen to those two episodes, but if you shoot a cow on your tag, you're still eligible to draw a type one later. So just keep that under your hat in case you're I would go for a big bull or not. Okay.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. That's exciting though. So you got the, you got the bison tag.
What else did you get or what else did you put in for, I guess? Well,
Erin Campbell: um, I also applied for a, sort of a, what? Wyoming women's antelope punt reunion hunt. Um, the [00:38:00] alumni from the. Women Danilo punch. We call ourselves sisters of the Sage and they are having, uh, um, white tail DOE hunt up around the TC. And so I was selected for that.
I'm really excited about that as well. So I'll be doing that. And then I put in for, um, cow elk as well. Is it a late
Patrick Edwards: season tech. So yeah, this is one of my favorite parts of this show, especially when we have someone who's non traditional. Like I said, coming into the hunting world is I want to ask you is what is your advice for those of us who are traditional hunters to help people like yourself, maybe come into the sport at 30, 40, 50, 60?
How, how, however old, what are some suggestions that you would pass along to have people kind of do better? Hm,
Erin Campbell: what would do better? Um, you know, I think, I think exposing them to the entire experience [00:39:00] might, might help. Um, I took my son along this last fall. He, um, he and I harvested an analytical, he came with.
And so on that hunt, I was the most experienced hunter and he had never, he had never seen anything like that. And, um, he had bought, he, he wouldn't probably wouldn't want to do something like that. And then after he came on the hunt with me and, and was part of the whole experience and the field dressing and the portraying.
Um, he's very much interested in, in starting to hunt himself. So I don't know if I'm inviting people along to see what the, what the experience is like might help. Um, for me personally, I liked having sort of a structured, taking a class here, taking a class there, sort of, not a lot of investments at that point.
I was just trying to see if I liked it. Yeah. And also having an opportunity to learn from instructors where it [00:40:00] wasn't someone that I knew well. So if I made a fool of myself, I might never see those people again. And it wouldn't matter. That was, that was helpful for me. Um, I do think also letting people know the, the benefits of, um, really environmentally, what we're doing is.
It's a benefit to the wildlife population. And it's, it's a benefit, um, environmentally in terms of the fact that we're not buying meat, that has been driven thousands of miles to get to where we are. Um, we have, we're doing the start to finish. There's no feed, lot involved. There's no slaughter house. I think those sorts of things, making people aware of the fact that this is the ultimate field to table situation.
Might help some people that otherwise weren't interested for
David Merrill: listeners out there that maybe are brand new to hunting and are on the fence. There's a, there's a couple of thoughts that come to mind. [00:41:00] And today is the, the hay day of white tail deer and elk. Um, as far as, you know, people are always obsessed with inches, right?
And I think the Boone and Crockett Pope and young club did a good thing by starting a measurement calibration system of these wildlife. Right. And if you look at it, We're getting larger and larger, um, antler sizes, but that comes with larger body sizes, which comes with healthier animals. All in general.
Right. So, if you look back at the turn of the century with the meat market hunting, that a lot of people are not familiar with. And the Pittman Pittman Robertson act that even more people are not familiar with. And I don't want to turn this into five hours, but you know, Pittman Robertson in a nutshell, was sportsman elected to pay a self-imposed tax to support wildlife, to, to fund conservation.
And that's still in effect today. And that's where a big majority of your state fish and why. Budget comes from [00:42:00] where, um, and game warden budgets come from where habitat, I mean the actual purchasing of the ground. So w won't be that dead horse to death, but go look at the meat market hunting and what happened to Turkey's white tail antelope elk.
They were almost all extinct on this continent at the turn of the century. Sportsman stepped up and said, Hey, hold on, wait a sec. We want the opportunity and now to quickly explain it in one, I've been to Africa and Africa's a great place. And Joe Bartlett, one of a filmmakers, and he's been on this podcast.
He's actually there right now and I've been seeing pictures and I'm jealous, but very simply put if a hunter pays through. Allotment of tags through a agency, a state agency that says, Hey, we're going to harvest X amount of antelope to maintain because there's the cyclical where prey, animals move up and up and up and up, they overpopulate, they eat too much.
And the, uh, the predator animals follow this curve and they both crash in their population [00:43:00] numbers. Right. And they. You can see this correlation between Bobcat's and rabbits. You can see it between Wolverines and, and snowshoe hares. You can see it between elk and wolves. It's between every species. You can see it between fish Patrick and simply put by introducing hunting.
We can now stabilize these peaks and valleys to where year after year, we can actually slowly increment and grow the herd to a. Manageable size to where they don't overeat and all die off. Because when I try to explain this to people 10 times, if we take 10 elk out of a hundred and we're left with 90 and the ground can support 90 or 85, and we have five die in the winter, there's enough food to support those other 85.
If we don't take that 10 elk out of the population every year. So this year there's 110 next year. There's 120. What will happen? What mother nature will do is those hundred and 20 will eat everything. And 105 or 110 die that next, or [00:44:00] two or three winners down. It takes some time and rabbits are phenomenal at doing this right.
They're on a seven-year cycle every seven years. There's rabbits, everywhere. And every eighth year there's rabbits, nowhere. Right? And that's with hunting pressure without hunting pressure. And so the last little thing, and I'll I'll get off my soap box is there's only two places on this planet that wildlife numbers have increased during the.
Economic boom of the 21st century and that's north America and South Africa. And that's because South Africa implemented the north American wildlife conservation model where hunters pay into conservation conservation officers protect what biologists say we can harvest. And that system is proven to be very functional and it's scientific based.
And so to sit here and say, well, I don't like cutting animals are you're you're rotten for taking one old. Mature animal out of the herd or take a few doughs, actually, you know, I'm helping serve, help that species not go through that mass die off
Patrick Edwards: every few years. Yeah. You're a [00:45:00] lot more merciful than nature will be that's
David Merrill: for sure.
I mean, and Erin spoke to it. She made a great shot, right, Erin and it's still, it's not, we're not. Saying that it wasn't emotional. I mean, I've still get emotional. I mean, my boy who missed the Turkey, we mentioned that before he was super emotional and I said, you know, buddy, that's haunting, you're not guaranteed anything.
And I think there's a lesson in life that comes with hunting and fishing. When you, when you go out on that fishing trip and you don't catch a fish, Patrick, and the kids, you know what, life's not guaranteed. And that's something that we all need a dose of reality occasion.
Erin Campbell: Uh, one thing you mentioned that I'd like to expand on is the scientific aspect of this and the fact that the biologists are doing these studies and they are determining what the healthy size of this animal group is.
And, um, I think part of the perception is. You know, gaming fish just throws out a bunch of numbers, but it's, there's a [00:46:00] lot of science that goes into those numbers and those numbers change. And sometimes they go up and sometimes they go down. And, um, one thing that I try to emphasize as a geologist and, and also in terms of, um, hunting, is that.
You know, if you are going to accept science, you have to accept all the science and you don't get to pick and choose which, which branch of science you believe in. So, um, you know, medical science, climate science, wildlife biology, they're all very well studied. And so you can't. I agree with one thing and disagree with another.
And I think that the science that is put into managing the wildlife, especially in Wyoming, our game and fish department does an amazing job. But it's something we need to pay attention to. And, and hunting is the, is the means that we, that we use to, you know, reach the numbers that the science has determined as appropriate.
Yeah.
Patrick Edwards: No, I think that's a really good point. You know, you have a lot [00:47:00] of people here. I know locally that they'll complain about the game and fish and they'll say, well, the fisheries guys are just trying to hose this down this year. Cause they reduce the limit on this or whatever. But what they forget, like, like you said, is that these biologists are out there setting gillnets they're checking populations.
You know, they're doing the science, they're looking at growth rates. Cause I mean, I fish places where the fish are overpopulated and the fish. Their growth gets done it, and they're smaller. I don't want to fish there. I don't want to catch a million tiny fish. I want to catch big fish. And so our state agency is one of the best in the entire country.
They are one of the best. I mean, Jim's Zumbo talked about it too. I mean, they are exceptional. I mean, we are very, very lucky here in Wyoming to have the people that we do. Like Dan Thompson that we've had on before. I mean, those guys know what they are.
David Merrill: I will say though, Dan, Dan and greed that the grizzly bear population is conservative.
There is more grizzly bears than they say that's not less.
Patrick Edwards: Well, he made the point too, that the state agency wants to. [00:48:00] Have a delisting. They want to have hunting. They want to have a more con conservationist type role of it. The problem is there's just a litigation that comes into play.
David Merrill: And so here's, here's one Patrick, and I know it's cliche, but facts don't care about your feelings.
I love the scientific method because we all start with a high posit. Right? I think this is what's going on. I'm going to go out test and try and disprove my own theory before I even say it. These are my conclusions and findings. And I still don't say it's concrete. Right. But what's cool about, and people complain a little are antelope tags are yo-yo all the time, every unit, every season, every year.
Right? And you look at another state like Oregon, and we won't get on that one, but they're not getting any of my money. I'm not going back because they keep this tag numbers the same the year after year and year. And I read this article about beware of the money I'm driving. Tags and wildlife and management, because they start managing for how much revenue they're getting [00:49:00] in which they need their revenue.
But Wyoming does a great job. They fly around, they do a fond count in the spring and they go, oh, and you'll see our DOE tags, Aaron in pick a unit red desert. Saratoga or Cheyenne, you'll see it go from 400 old tags down to 20, up to 300 in a three-year period. Right. And that's the state agency doing a wonderful job of mitigating those peaks and valleys to the overall wildlife numbers.
So yes, this year it's a bomber. You don't get to go to your favorite spot and shoot your two dough antelope or your two doe white tails, right? But they're moving those hunters around the state to where they're needed. It's just a tool in the tool bag of wildlife management
Patrick Edwards: or that drought that we had in the nineties.
I mean, that's, that's what happened. The antelope population crashed. I mean, we had, I mean, there was no forage and so of course the population didn't do very well. And tag numbers went down. Yeah. Yeah, stunk for hunters, but at the same time, it didn't because the population [00:50:00] rebounded. And you remember
David Merrill: here just a few years ago when we had a 300% snowpack we had a hundred percent die off of fawns in the grays.
Yeah. Drainage. I mean, I I'm, when I hear those kind of numbers, I'm like, Hey, let's do zero tags for a year or two and let those deer, and we, there there's some argument and some studies going on, Aaron with mule deer in Hawaii. I neglected to mention those in my. Bragging of elk and white tail are, this is the heyday for elk.
This is the heyday for white tail, but honestly this is not the heyday for mule deer mule deer. And they're doing some really cool studies on those mule deer. And they are migrating. I mean, I don't remember the Doe's number name, but she migrated from just south of west Yellowstone in Idaho all the way down to rock Springs.
And she went back in six months. That's that's over three mountain range. Patrick. Yeah, that's pretty crazy. 250 some miles. We didn't know that they were going that far. So it's really cool to see the science being applied [00:51:00] and, and to see them actually implementing and using it. But I go back to facts.
Don't care about your feelings. The truth while sometimes unpopular is
Patrick Edwards: the truth. Yep. And we have to, we have to manage the species, but I, I do have to talk about our last sponsor before we wrap this thing up. And that's PK lures this past weekend, I got to enjoy catching some fish on some PKS, uh, went down to keyhole reservoir and caught a whole bunch of crappie .
And this is the time of year. This is early June. This is when the fish are really getting active. Most of them are post bond or right out spawn. So it's a good time to get out and catch some fish. Get your kids out there, get your family out, make some memories, maybe have a fish fry, you know, catch few while I like we did at Glendo a couple of weeks ago.
So go to pklure.com. They've got a little bit of. They've got spoons. So if you're going to a high mountain lake, you can get the really small PK spoon or flutter fish, toss it out in that high mountain lake. They've got jigs for walleyes. They've got crank baits, they've got little
David Merrill: bit of everything. They [00:52:00] got great shirts with SPF in them, so that when you're out there on that lake, you can not get roasted.
And, and that skin cancer, bad stuff,
Patrick Edwards: Patrick. Yes, it is. Go to pklure.com help support another great company. And so Aaron, I want to end the podcast on this. Uh, we, uh, David and I love to eat. And so what is your favorite meal to cook in the outdoors? And just tell us what kind of, about the recipe that
David Merrill: you like to do?
Either one you've procured the, the animal for, or it couldn't, it doesn't have to be when you cook outdoors, but what is your favorite outdoor themed meal?
Erin Campbell: Well, I love to, um, cook my antelope in the bead machine. Um, so if you're not familiar with that, that's the circulating water that keeps it at a constant temperature, and then I can get, um, the backstrap.
Just to it or the Tenderloin to just the right amount of doneness. Um, cause it, we can't over cook it in the soup bead. Um, and you have it in a sealed, sealed [00:53:00] package and the water circulates around the plastic and cooks it just right. And then you take it out and see, or the outside and serve it with some.
Red wine and times sauce and some mushrooms. So that's probably my favorite way to cook the antelope. So
Patrick Edwards: Jack Schmidt, the guy who does our intro, this the deep, booming voice, um, Jack Schmidt, he loves to cook meat that way too. And he swears by that. I've never actually tried it. So I'm going to have to take your word for it, but, uh, he's shown me the setup and I'm sure it's really good.
Well, it
Erin Campbell: looks gross when it comes out of the plastic bag. Yeah. Looks kind of like boiled meat, but it doesn't taste like that. It's it's good.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. That's what he said. He said that some of the best, uh, tender lines he's ever had was, was cooked
David Merrill: that way. So ankle, a little high mountain seasoning on that after it served to and sear it.
Yeah. Well, Erin I'll want to invite you back on the podcast after your bison hunt. I want to hear about it. I wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions, reach out and out, I'll [00:54:00] pick my brain on.
Patrick Edwards: Yeah. So David's gone on a hunt up there and hunted bison. So you can pick his brain. Don't try to pick in mind.
Cause I mean, if it's not fishing, I'm probably not going to be much help, but David can help you out. And like I said, we had a couple of episodes before that talked about bison and we really do wish you the best of luck and it's, it's so cool to welcome you into, you know, the hunting family. And, um, we look forward to hearing more stories from you here in the near few.
Erin Campbell: Well, thank you so much. This is such a
David Merrill: pleasure before I let you go runaway. Um, one thing that needs to be in every outdoorsmen kit bag, whatever, um, outdoor edge is EDC knife, their everyday carry knife has blades that you can interchange one handed very simply. And as far as any new sportsman or any good sportsman, whether you're fishing, whatever, I really do believe in that knife.
Cause you always have a brand new sharp blade in there. There they re they're not a disposable knife by no means are they? But they have a replaceable blade. That's wicked, wicked
Patrick Edwards: sharp. [00:55:00] Yeah. Oh, that's a good one point. And so, all right. So again, everybody, thanks for listening to this episode of rag cast outdoors.
It's been really great having Erin on. If you guys liked the show, please go to your favorite streaming. And, you know, like subscribe rate, um, that really helps David and I a lot go to our social media and, uh, getting, share those posts as well. We'd love to hear from you and tell us where your next tonight's going to be, or where are you going fishing next.
And until next time we'll come back with another great show. So thanks for listening and we'll be back again.


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