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. Being new to hunting can be frustrating and defeating, so much that it is hard to stay motivated.
This blog series is meant to be a way to inspire and motivate you and others when it comes to hunting your dreams, and at the same time making a difference in recruiting new members and building community in the hunting world. Hopefully the advice and insight shared by our guests can help you feel like you are not alone in your struggle against the wild, as well as build confidence in your chase.
WBC: What is your name?
Jeff: Jeff Winslow
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Jeff: I am from Napavine Washington. I currently live in Williston North Dakota.
WBC: What is your day job?
Jeff: I am a high school physical education teacher.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Jeff: I have a beautiful wife Christina, along with three kids: David (6), Abbigail (4), and Lauren (2).
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Jeff: I originally got started hunting because a majority of my friends were hunters and I was looking for an excuse to spend more time with them. I took my hunters safety course when I was a senior in high school and I was hunting that fall.
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?
Jeff: I currently have a hunting mentor, but not in the traditional aspect (father, grandfather, or uncle). It was not until 10 years ago, when I moved to North Dakota and found my true hunting mentor. He was the 7th grade science teacher at the school that I worked at. He is really responsible for where I am in the hunting community today.
The biggest thing I learned from my mentor was patience. For a long time, I would see an animal and go after it at 100 mph. He taught me how to set up on a hill or tree line and be patient. Observe and look for what the animal is doing and where it is going. He taught me that I need to let the animals behavior and clues it gives dictate my decisions.
WBC: If you did not have a mentor how did you learn to hunt?
Jeff: Not having a mentor until later in life, I had to learn the old-fashioned way in my youth, by trial and error.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Jeff: My favorite hunt unbelievably was an archery hunt in the badlands of North Dakota. The reason I say unbelievably is that the people who know of this hunt, know this was the smallest deer I have ever taken. It was an archery hunt towards the end of October. I was with my best friends and I needed to fill my tag before basketball season started (I used to be the varsity head basketball coach). To make a long story short, the wind was swirling all day, which made hunting spot and stalk mule deer very difficult. I finally got a break in the wind and made a long move to close the gap to 50 yards. I made a perfect shot and the rest was history.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Jeff: My fitness level is by far my biggest hurdle when hunting. I feel as though my mental toughness has on more than one occasion pulled me through on a hunt when I was struggling physically. Hunting would definitely be a lot better and easier if I was in shape.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Jeff: As I said previously, my fitness and mental toughness at times can be detrimental. For example, I was hunting river bottom white tails in the winter last year, and was pushing through willows while it was about 10 degrees Farenheit outside. I was trying to get to my tree stand quickly. In my own stubbornness, I pushed excessively hard. I got super sweaty and had to turn around and head back to the truck so I wouldn’t have to mess with hypothermia. That was just a stupid decision on my part. I should have left earlier and taken more time to get to my final destination.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Jeff: That is a tough one because I feel every piece of equipment I carry has a very specific need to fill. However, if I had to choose one it would be my bino’s.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species (i.e. terrain location, topography, region, and or state)?
Jeff: I have been many places to hunt as well as hunted several different animals. With that being said, I would have to say my favorite place to be is by far Sturgis Saskatchewan with my buddy’s from Jim Lake Outfitter hunting waterfowl. Like I said, I hunt a variety of animals in many different ways, but to me, I cannot say no to a layout blind in a pea field with thousands of mallards flying around and geese coming in wave after wave following the ducks. Just thinking about this response, makes find my happy place mentally.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Jeff: Hunting is not all about killing animals. There were many hunting trips that went without killing animals in my younger years. More often than not, I let not filling a tag ruin many of my experiences.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Jeff: You can find me on Instagram @sendit110
We want to thank Jeff for allowing us to interview him and for him sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Jeff, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his Instagram account sendit110.
If you enjoyed reading the blog 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.
If you would like to be featured in the blog series or know someone who should be, let us know by emailing us or direct message on Instagram.
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