Show Notes:

You cannot always control what comes at you in life, but you can decide how you will react. On this episode I share about how hunting not only helped me to survive a year of pandemic, but it helped me to thrive, to come out better.

  • Often in life we find ourselves in a mess because of our own mistakes or choices. Sometimes we are in difficult places because of someone else’s mistakes and choices. And then there are times where our lives are impacted by factors beyond the control or negligence of ourselves or those around us. Those can be exceptionally hard times because we do not understand the reason or the solution. We feel powerless in the face of factors beyond our control. But we are NOT powerless.
  • We have complete control over how we respond, how we bounce back, how we focus our thoughts and our lives. We can be driven to internalize our frustrations and fears, we can let those emotions lash out at people or groups, or we can let those forces propel us on to something good. Maybe even something better.
  • COVID pushed me deeper into the woods, more into my family, and more into God’s beautiful creation. I didn’t like everything about the past year by any means, but I focused myself on things that were good. And that didn’t just help me to get through, I came through better in many ways. This has been a year of thriving for me. The good outweighed the bad, the fun outweighed the loss, the beauty outweighed the ugly, and the peace outweighed the turmoil.

No matter what comes next, you don’t have to defer your thriving. You can thrive in spite of what happens. You can have your best  year yet.


The New Hunters Guide Podcast has now expanded to video and has launched on YouTube! We are now not only able to reach more people but we can do more things and unique things with video that we could not do with audio alone. 

Please help us launch and grow the new YouTube channel buy subscribing, commenting, and liking videos! It all effects the YouTube algorithm and helps us reach more people.  You can find the new channel here 

Show Notes:

From beginner to expert, the backpack is a staple piece of gear for almost all hunters. Picking the right backpack is very important because you will use it for almost every hunt in every season. It is an important decision but it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. On this episode I talk about how to pick the right backpack and what to put inside it. 

Take Aways

  • Do not let other people, especially ones selling backpacks tell you what is important to you.
  • Start with something you already have or can get cheap, hunt with it, and let experience tell you what features matter to you.
  • More expensive does not always mean more useful for YOU. 
  • The features that often add cost are not always features that will benefit you or your hunting style.
  • The best backpack out there is the one that will do what YOU need it to do, reliably and consistently. And that usually amounts to something that will carry your stuff. 
  • Your pack does need to be comfortable, concealable, and rugged.
  • Bigger is not better, in fact often smaller is better for longer hunts.


Show Notes:

Navigating the woods in search of game is an involved pursuit. Navigating other hunters can further add to the difficulty of the sport. On this episode I talk about how to deal with other hunters to maximize both your chances of success and theirs.

Take Aways

  • The one big thing is that game is most often found where hunters are absent. If you are too close to other hunters then you can improve your odds by distancing yourself.
  • If you see other hunters from a distance, the best thing to do is often turn around and look for an area without other hunters.
  • If other hunters approach you, your best chance of success is often to withdraw and look for a place with less hunting pressure.
  • Parking lots are great places to chat with other hunters. Deep in the woods is not a great place for talking.
  • Always have a backup plan, and maybe more than one, incase the area you plan to hunt has too many other hunters around.
  • Often the best thing you can do is just go further into the woods than other hunters are willing to go.
  • If you suspect other hunters are in the area, be doubly cautious about using a firearm or getting downrange of someone else.
  • Listen to this episode for real examples, stories, and more precise advice. 

Show Notes:

Anything that is made can be made wrong. But much of the time people think their gun is a lemon, it is actually a situation that is caused by or can be fixed by the user. On this episode I talk about common issues that are mistaken for firearm defects and then what to do if you really get a gun that is a lemon.

Poor accuracy can be caused by a great many things such as:

  • Loose action screws
  • Loose scope mounts
  • Loose scope rings
  • Loose scopes
  • Poor scopes
  • Defective scopes
  • Poor ammo
  • Dirty ammo
  • Ammo that the gun doesn’t favor
  • Poor shooting position
  • A poor shooting rest
  • And many other things other than a defect

Failures to feed right can also be caused by lots of things:

  • Not cleaning a new gun before using it
  • Dirt or gunk building up in the gas system or the action
  • Too much oil in a gun
  • Underpowered ammo
  • Ammo that the gun doesn’t favor
  • Dirty ammo
  • Ammo that the gun is not setup for
  • A magazine that is not in all the way
  • Loose screws
  • A grip that isn’t firm enough
  • Shooting position that isn’t firm enough
  • And lots of other things

But there are still times when a firearm is truly defective and the solution is often easy. Return it to the manufacturer to be repaired or replaced. This is not that difficult to do or that expensive. If you have verified that none of the above issues are the cause of your problem and can document that on paper with your return, it helps make sure you are only sending the gun back for a real problem.

Most firearm manufactures will repair or replace guns that are truly defective without cost or question. No need to fret. You may also have the gun warrantied through the dealer your purchased it through, giving you two options to get it fixed.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about what to look for and what to do. 


Show Notes:

Every hunter will face opportunities to get discouraged with what seems like a poor hunt. But the very nature of hunting makes it a pursuit were success can happen in an unexpected instant. On this episode I talk about how quickly things can turn around and how you can take advantage of those unanticipated opportunities.

How to have more turn around moments:

  1. Always be ready – If you are not ready and able to take a shot within two seconds you may miss turn around moments.
  2. Pay careful attention – Whitetails, turkeys, and many other animals can appear unannounced, silent and seemingly from nowhere.
  3. Assume there is always a deer close by – Don’t get lax or sloppy because you assume no animals are around. Your quarry really could be feet away from you and you not realize it.
  4. Stay positive – You hunt better when you believe it matters. You can always have a good day in the woods, no matter what the animals do.
  5. Never give up – Everyone has a time they need to leave the woods but realize success can come even at the last minute you are out there.

Listen to the episode for more!

Show Notes:

Hunters should be able to focus on hunting without needing a graduate degree in thermodynamics, but if you want quality gear that performs under icy conditions you need to know the basics of how different insulations work and what is on the market. On this episode I talk about the major types of natural and synthetic insulation used in hunting gear so you can make informed decisions when considering what gear to buy and use.

Types of Insulation & Insulating Materials:

  1. Cotton – The worst material for cold weather hunting gear hands down. It is only warm until it gets wet, then it drains the warmth out of you.
  2. Wool – Very warm, preforms well when wet, but you need a lot of it for outer layers. Merino wool is revered as the best for socks and base layers.
  3. Down – The gold standard by which all insulation is measured by. Warm enough to keep a goose alive flying at 3,000 feet at 50 MPH when it is 20 degrees outside. And thin and light enough to still enable a bird to fly 1,000 miles in a single day. But it is not very warm if it gets wet.
  4. Treated Down –  Chemically treated goose down designed to keep the insulation from getting wet to improve warmth in moist conditions.
  5. Fleece – Specially knit polyester that is good at keeping wind out and great at trapping heat in while wicking away moister. Makes a great mid layer and liner for an outer layer.
  6. Polyester Fill – A no frills and no special brand generic inter-garment insulation that helps keeps you warm and dry.
  7. Thermolite – Slightly more frills and fancier branding than Polyester Fill. Geared at providing lightweight insulation.
  8. Primaloft – Essentially a synthetic goose down developed for the military, designed to be as warm as down but also retain its insulating properties when wet.
  9. Thinsulate – Another down alternative, this insulation is best known for its thin fibers and thus thinner overall profile making it ideal for many specialty applications ranging from pants to gloves.
  10. Cocona – A science heavy synthetic insulator that focuses around helping maintain an ideal core temperature. If you are cold it helps you warm up, if you are hot it helps you cool down.

Most synthetic insulations are geared to help deal with moisture and retain much of their warmth when wet. But each has its strengths. It is hard if not impossible to definitively say which synthetic insulation is warmest. It more so depends on the application, the amount used, and all the other factors that go into garment construction.

Listen to the episode to learn more about each type of insulation and what types activities they are best used for.

Here is my episode I referenced about hunting bibs that provides some of the back story and why I found a need to start learning about these things.


Show Notes:

When the temperature drops and the wind blows you need to dress for the weather in order to have a comfortable hunt. On this episode I talk about the niche that bibs fill and what features are important for helping you pick out a pair that is right for you this deer season. 

The difference between the best bibs and the worst bibs are two-fold, it is a factor of the construction and materials.

The main elements of bib construction include some or all of the below:

  • Outer finish – This is the texture and ultimately the noisiness of the garment.
  • Outer layer – This provides wind and/or rain resistance.
  • Insultation – This determines how warm the bibs are and what conditions you can expect that warmth to function under.
  • Inner layer – This is the part the touches you and should hold warmth and wick away moisture 

The materials most often used for bibs include:

  • Natural fibers like cotton or wool.
  • Natural or treated goose down.
  • Cheap polyesters, usually with no fancy brand names.
  • Better polyesters like fleece.
  • Fancy synthetic insulation, like Primaloft, Thinsulate, Cocona, etc. 
  • Weather proof membranes like nylon, Gore-Tex, etc.

Cost is mostly a factor of construction and materials. For new hunters I recommend gear with the right construction for your hunting needs while not worrying about the fanciest of materials. This helps you find something that is built for your activity but is still relatively affordable.  

Listen to the episode to hear how these elements work together and find out which are most important for your specific needs.


Show Notes:

Few things are more exciting than taking a buck after a lot of hard work and weeks of expectation. What you do next with that trophy should be something you have already considered and planned out, not something you jump into with while overcome with emotion. On this episode I dig into what you need to think about and plan for so that when you do take a great deer your next steps can be informed, thoughtful, and hopefully not a huge waste of money.

Take Aways

  • Mounting the head and neck of a deer is expensive, takes up a lot of space, and is a process. It is not a decision to make spur of the moment.
  • If you wait until you have a deer on the ground before considering these things you will very likely do something you regret later. Adrenaline, excitement, and fatigue can prompt you to do all kinds of things.
  • There are many easier and simpler ways to turn your buck into a trophy that you can be thrilled with for decades to come.
  • Most new hunters would be served best with a whitetail or turkey mount that is easy and inexpensive like these:

Show Notes:

Recoil is one of the most vivid parts of shooting and hunting for many who are beginners. It permeates people’s thinking and memory and is often little understood and not properly managed. On this episode I talk about the effect recoil has on hunting, the science behind it, and what you can do to better manage it and be a more effective hunter.

  • Recoil effects accuracy, fun, shooter confidence, and health. The better you understand it the more effective of a hunter and shooter you can be.
  • Recoil is a measure of action and re-action, felt recoil on the other hand accounts for the real life factors that determine how it effect us.
  • Felt recoil is a function of bullet weight, powder charge, gun weight, shooter mass, and mitigating factors. Adjust any of those and you can change the felt recoil.
  • There is a macho factor that goes along with heavy recoil, nothing has perhaps done more to damage our sport and dissuade children and newcomers alike than this nonsense.
  • People often use more gun than they need for a hunt, which comes with more recoil than they need, which makes them a less effective marksman and a less effective hunter in many cases.
  • Whether you are hunting coyotes, varmints, turkeys, whitetail deer, elk, moose, or anything in between, do the best that you can to pick a firearm and ammunition combo that is the right balance of power and recoil to do the job well and be as manageable as possible.
  • There are three big things you can do to improve your accuracy and effectiveness with higher recoil firearms, they are covered in the episode.
  • Some people just should not shoot certain guns, the physics of their body size and composition hinder their ability to safely and effectively use high recoil firearms.
    • There comes a point where no amount of practice or pride will improve the situation, it’s science.