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?
Tom: Tom Ryle
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Tom: Olympia, Washington.
WBC: What is your day job?
Tom: I am the sales and marketing manager for Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Tom: A beautiful wife of 20 years, as well as 14 and 16 year old daughters.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Tom: I grew up in an outdoor-oriented family. We camped, fished, and hunted my entire life.
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?
Tom: Of course, my dad was my first and most important mentor. He taught me everything I know about salmon fishing and all of the foundational skills of hunting, from ducks to big game. Two things he taught me that readily come to mind are keeping it simple and being patient. I grew up rifle hunting but discovered with time constraints in college with jobs and the military, I wanted longer seasons for more opportunity. I was already into game calling so moving to archery was a natural progression. My love of archery led to some great bowhunting industry mentors whom I’m fortunate to remain close to. They quickly helped hone my skills in archery and the nuances of bowhunting, which helped me find success quickly. They taught me the finer points of the game such as keeping the wind right, thoughtful setups, advanced game calling, treestand use, and a ton of other stuff you learn through many days in the field together hunting a wide variety of game species.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Tom: I am obsessed with coastal Roosevelt elk and our beloved Columbian blacktails but one of the most epic hunts for me was Quebec-Labrador Caribou in the arctic. It’s always a timing thing with caribou migrations, so being fully immersed in one is an experience I’ll never forget. One day, not a caribou for dozens of miles across the bleak tundra, then the next we were literally engulfed in thousands of animals.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Tom: It used to be knowing when to draw my bow. Soooo many animals got smarter because I tried to draw at the wrong time (laughing). These days, the struggle is about making dedicated time to hunt. My family comes first so it’s always a balancing act. I’ve had to scale back and get more creative and focus on more local hunting, which has led to some great learning opportunities. And I’m banking up a lot of preference points in the process!
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Tom: Patience is always a demon to be reckoned with. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hung a treestand, waited for the right wind, got settled, and then spent the next two hours second guessing myself. I once climbed down early from a stand in Kansas and had a 140” class buck show up as I hugged the tree half way down. Or when calling game, I always tell people to wait at least 30 minutes after your last calling sequence because some animals will slip in slowly and silently. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up too soon and blew animals out that were more patient than me, including a 350 class bull in New Mexico that was standing 15 yards behind me when I stood up to leave. That one still hurts!
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Tom: My wind checker. I use an Elmer’s glue bottle filled with corn starch. It’s the best inexpensive wind checker setup I’ve come up with. The flat bottle fits well in any pocket and the twist top cap allows control over how much powder is dispensed.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species (i.e. terrain, location, topography, region, state)?
Tom: Tough call. I love our west coast jungle with mature timber stands and ferns for Rosies and blacktails but Rocky Mountain hunts with crisp air and aspens are hard to beat too. I love New Mexico and the midwest too. Africa was a unique experience and I’d love to go back someday.
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Tom: Keep it simple and just start. All you need is a positive attitude, a license, and the basics to stay dry, stay found, and someone to call if you need help. I grew up hunting with simple tools and skills. You have to just start and get the fire lit…the rest will take care of itself. Finding a mentor or coach will get your started correctly so seek one out.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Tom: You can learn more about what I do on my website and also follow me on my social media accounts.
We want to thank Tom for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Tom and what he does, be sure to follow along on his journey by checking out his social media accounts and website. He offers great insight and tactics for hunting.
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. Remember, mentorship is conservation.
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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