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?
Jared: Jared Larsen
WBC: Where are you from and where do you currently live?
Jared: I was raised and began hunting in Waupun WI. I currently live in Missoula Montana.
WBC: What is your day job?
Jared: I am the Community Engagement Specialist at onX.
WBC: Do you have any family or pets?
Jared: I’m the youngest of three siblings. My mom and dad are still back home in Wisconsin with our black lab Mako.
WBC: How and why did you get started into hunting?
Jared: I was fortunate, as my dad is a very avid hunter. I can recall going out to goose blinds and getting busted by deer with him since I was maybe four or five. I guess you could say the outdoors were instilled in me, and I certainly will be doing it for as long as I am able to.
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?
Jared: My old man filled this role as well. We spent countless hours shooting arrows in the yard, in the duck blind, chasing turkeys and everything in between. I learned most everything I know from him, my uncle’s, brother and cousins. Again, I was really fortunate growing up in the family I did as we traveled to hunt quite a bit. From those travels you find out pretty quick that most hunts are “unsuccessful” if your success is based upon a punched tag. My dad made sure that a punched tag was not synonymous with a successful hunt. To this day that is the most important lesson I’ve learned in the woods is to enjoy the chase, the failures, camaraderie and sometimes misery that hunting is. You’ll enjoy hunting a lot more if you take that perspective.
WBC: What has been your favorite hunt? Why?
Jared: This is a really tough question, as there are too many to choose from. Before moving out here, my Dad, his brothers, my brother, and cousins, so a total of 8 of us, would make annual treks west in September. Twenty hour drives provided lots of time to bond and b.s. in the car. By the time we got to the mountains everyone was so stoked to go chase a bugle. We had some great hunts and a few really tough ones through the years. The most memorable for me was when my dad stuck his first bull. I wasn’t with him, but got the radio call to come help pack it out, a few hours I will never forget. To ice the cake my brother arrowed a bull the very next morning. That was a sweet week in Montana.
WBC: What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to hunting?
Jared: The cost of hunting can be absolutely overwhelming sometimes. On more than one occasion I’ve had to sit at home waiting for texts from family or buddies that invited me on hunts that I simply couldn’t afford to join them on. On the flip side, I’ve ran the credit card a few times when I probably shouldn’t have. I guess the advice I’d give for this is, hunt with more affordable gear and equipment, and spend more money actually going hunting. That’s what I’ve always tried to do and the experience and memories of a trip are worth a lot more than a new bow.
WBC: Our strengths can also be our weaknesses. What are your weaknesses that can inhibit you on your hunts?
Jared: I’ve spent quite a bit of time in treestands. Most years when in Wisconsin and Iowa for college I spent between 100-150 hours in a tree stand. That time sitting still is made up by being incredibly impatient in the turkey and elk woods. I don’t have nearly the experience with elk, but chasing turkeys I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been busted trying to close the distance, or make things happen too hastily.
WBC: What piece of gear can you not hunt without?
Jared: Depends what I am hunting. If I’m back home in a treestand for whitetails, it’s my Ozonics. Out west it is honestly my onX Hunt app. Public lands out here aren’t posted on the corners, private lands sometimes have no trespassing signs, but certainly not everywhere. It is incredibly hard to figure out where you can and cannot be without the app. Not to mention it is one of the cheapest pieces of gear you can buy.
WBC: What is your favorite place to hunt and or species?
Jared: Without question it is my Aunt’s farm in western Iowa. It’s in the Missouri River Valley and turns from absolutely dead flat cornfields to steep hills, timbered ridges, and grassy coulees. There is something about November mornings waiting for first light with high hopes of a mature whitetail making an appearance. I can’t wait to get back there in 2019!
WBC: What is one piece of advice you would have liked to have or know when you first started hunting?
Jared: Not to care about the size of the critter you harvest, or what other people will say or think about it. I hunted based upon scores for too long. Now, if I get worked up over a critter when it is coming in, you know when your heart starts pounding out of your chest, hands get all shaky, and you all but close your eyes in fear something is going to go wrong, that’s when I know I want to squeeze the trigger. I was probably given this advice way back when, but it took me a while to come to my senses and listen to it.
WBC: What is your social media account handles or website?
Jared: Instagram is really the only social I am active on. You can find me @jaredclarsen.
We want to thank Jared for sharing his insight and thoughts. If you want to know more about Jared and what he does, be sure to check out his Instagram account.
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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