Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I had the good fortune of having some of the world’s best blacktail hunting a short walk out my back door. I spent a majority of my childhood roaming those woods pretending to bowhunt deer and coyotes. I developed a strong passion for those small crafty deer that has lasted a lifetime. I started shooting a bow at age 5 and was rarely without my fiberglass recurve or the shortlasting stickbows I fashioned from any likely looking branch. At age 12 my dad took me to eastern Oregon for an archery elk hunt and I was instantly hooked. For the next 20+ years I bowhunted elk and blacktails religiously with a few side trips for mule deer, whitetails, bears and antelope.
In 2006, I started hunting with lifelong friends, Ben Morris and Brian Call. Instantly our success rate skyrocketed. While I was teaching them about bowhunting for elk and deer, they were teaching me the value of teamwork and sacrificing for your partners. A brotherhood was born. Since then we have hunted the backcounty all over Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. I have never had such unselfish and hardworking hunting partners. Gritty in every sense of the word.
In 2010 a new job opportunity brought our family to western Idaho. While it saddens me deeply to miss archery hunting the blacktail rut every year, I have developed a new passion chasing high country and desert mule deer. Since moving to Idaho, I have experienced the most cherished hunts of my life as I have watched my wife and two of my daughters take three nice muley bucks and three elk. My passion for hunting is ever changing and is a constant reminder of the beauty our Father in Heaven has created for us so that we may have joy.
For as long as I can remember I have loved the outdoors. I was lucky enough to be raised on more than 25 acres of land which was bordered by acres and acres of timber land. I consider myself fortunate to have had this opportunity. It was amazing to walk out my front door and hunt, fish and endlessly explore. Some of my fondest memories are of my dad and his hunting trips. As a little boy I couldn’t wait for him to get home so I could ask him, “dad did you get anything?” And then I couldn’t wait for the story that I knew would follow. I loved listening to those stories and I looked forward to the day that I would be part of them. Over the past 25 years I have been blessed to hunt with my dad, uncles, cousins, and close friends. I have learned many things from them over the years. As a father of four wonderful kids I am excited to pass my hunting heritage on to them.
Growing up half way around the world in the city of Dundee, Scotland. I had the opportunity to hunt the endangered and elusive Highland Haggis. An unfamiliar creature to even the most seasoned American hunter. This two legged animal who is wee in stature. Covered in ginger curly hair and ferocious when cornered,much like most Scottish people. Has been hunted by Haggis Bashers in my clan for a thousand years. Traditionally this is done by tossing a wooden caber (debarked tree trunk) end over end until you bash your prey. Which does two fold, hammers the wee bugger and tenderizes the meat at the same time. I am currently working on developing an Elk caber, updates to follow. Like all young Scottish boys I’ve dreamt of becoming an American Redneck Hunter! OK...no it was playing for Scotland in the World Cup. Alright back to reality-- few people know that I was a mail order husband at the tender age of 23 yrs old. This is how I entered this blessed United States of America. Legally by the way and I have the green card to prove it. Our lawyers have it on file if proof is needed. My first hunting experience was 20+ years later and 50+ pounds heavier. When in 2012 I followed Brian, Ben, Anthony, and Steve around Sled Springs , Oregon with a video camera. After two days of hiking which felt like 55 miles a day ,we hadn’t seen or heard anything. I began to think that “elk” were kept as pets by Shrek and his other imaginary fairy tale creatures in the woods. The only way I was going to see one was if I had been drinking Scotch for breakfast. Then it happened! Something answered Brian's bugle. Still a sceptic I asked was that Anthony? No! Mark that was a bull elk! The next thing I know we were sprinting through some woods in Oregon. Brian suddenly stops and rips off another bugle. Then the heavens were opened upon us! A high pitched scream to my right then another somewhere in front of me and again on our left two more screams. It’s at this moment that everything begins to happen in slow motion for me. Brian says something to me but I can’t hear him over my beating heart and bull elks screaming all around us. Brian then motions for me to stay and takes off running like a toddler in a toy store. Then I realize the only weapon we had,with it’s razor sharp arrows, has left the vicinity. I look at my hands and realize I have a camera to document my first trip to the woods and apparently to film my death! To say my senses were in a heightened state is not enough. At that moment, I knew how cavemen felt, when they were surrounded by big screaming Bloody Dinosaurs. We had found a 100+ cows and at least a half a dozen mature bulls trying to divide them up. So that experience is the beginning of my journey to becoming a HUNTER. I hope you follow it and enjoy it and have a few laughs along the way. The Gritty Scotsman:-)