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?
Andrew: Andrew McKean
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Andrew: I grew up on a farm in northern Missouri. But I now live in Glasgow, Montana, which the Washington Post just identified as the most remote town in America.
WBC: What is your day job?
Andrew: I’m a freelance writer, mainly writing about hunting, fishing, and conservation.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Andrew: I’ve been married to my wife for 21 years this fall. We have three kids – 17-year-old identical twin boys and a 14-year-old girl. We’ve always had Labs. My current companion is named Nellie, but she probably won’t come when you call her.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Andrew: I started hunting because my dad was a hunter. He wasn’t much for shotguns, but he loved rifles and deer hunting. I grew up in a rural area where everyone hunted pretty much all year round. I never thought much about the why, but as I got older, I found that I was most peaceful walking the woods alone with a gun.
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?
Andrew: I guess my dad was my mentor, but it wasn’t an especially active exchange of information. I just tagged along, and watched what he did. But I think I was ready to shoot and hunt before he thought I was, and it took a neighbor, a guy named Wes Cullor, who was a bulldozer operator building a pond on our farm, to show me how to shoot. He had a little semi-auto .22 rifle, and he had me shooting at dirt clods out at the pond site when I was maybe 7 or 8. That really cinched it for me that shooting was fun and something I wanted to do more of.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Andrew: I have a couple. I love hunting elk almost anywhere, but especially in the Missouri River Breaks near my home. It’s open country, but it’s a chess game to figure out where they’re moving and how to use the country to sneak close to them. But I also love hunting wild pheasants, just me and my dog or maybe one kid or a buddy.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Andrew: Finding the time to do it the way I want. I don’t like to be in a hurry or distracted when I hunt, but sometimes it feels like it’s just a sprint to go and get back. And while my kids are great outdoorsmen and very capable hunters, I often feel like I’m having to harangue them to go with me.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Andrew: I can be a little too intense and too focused on the outcome of a hunt. I think that’s offputting to my kids, who just want to go and have a good time and not be so focused on the outcome. I need to back off a little bit and let them lead the experience.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Andrew: A good pocketknife. But close behind is a binocular. I feel like I’m missing way more than half the hunt if I don’t glass frequently with a good binocular.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species (i.e. terrain, location, topography, region, state)?
Andrew: I love hunting mule deer in broken country, like river breaks or badlands. We’re pretty lucky to have a lot of deer and a lot of that sort of habitat where I live in eastern Montana.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Andrew: I wish someone had told me that every day you hunt, you will learn something new. It might be small or it might be profound, but that one of the things you should do is be open to learning. Don’t assume anything. Watch, listen, learn, and remember. That makes any day of hunting special.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Andrew: You can find me personally on Facebook: andrew.mckean.77; Instagram: @aemckean; Twitter: @amckean.
We want to thank Andrew for allowing us to interview him and for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Andrew, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his social media accounts. You also can find several of Andrew’s writings in Outdoor Life Magazine and other hunting publications. He also writes articles for Powderhook. Powderhook is a web and app based digital mentoring platform to help the growth of the hunting and fishing communities (Link to Mentoring 101 article).
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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