Friday, January 4, 2013

The Truth About Western Hunting

Image of Ryan Hatfield © The Western Hunter TV.

Hunting the West, in a word, is tough. Trying to describe it to my friends back East is difficult to do because most don't understand it. Think about it. Back East I might hike in 300 yards, hunt from a treestand or blind and then hike back out. If I was fortunate enough to kill an animal I would drag it out or load it on an ATV. I know I am generalizing, but you get the point. Now take hunting out West. Rugged mountains, hiking in mile after mile after mile, climbing steep hillsides, glassing and then waiting. Then you put a stalk on the animal that could last hours. If you are lucky enough to kill an animal then you have to pack it out. It might not seem like a lot, but let me tell you it takes work and The Western Hunter TV showed it well in the premiere episode on Wednesday on The Sportsman Channel.

The Western Hunter is firmly committed to the fair chase hunting of all wild, freeranging western big game. Our mission is to educate, inspire, entertain, and share, as well as make our audience better hunters, more thoughtful sportsmen, and dedicated conservationists.

Bowhunting is my true love, but I also respect rifle hunters. Watching Ryan Hatfield, editor of The Western Hunter magazine and host of The Western Hunter, on his Wyoming elk hunt was exciting for me. He used a rifle on his hunt, but that didn't make it easy. I thought the way that the story was told was at a great pace and the voice over kept you wanting more. But that wasn't what really captured it for me. What grabbed my attention was the description of the stalk on the lone bull elk. How they (I am including Nate Simmons in this as he had to hike behind filming with the camera) had glass him up from five miles away and had to scale an extremely muddy mountain side in order to wait out this bull. It was right on and I felt like I was siting right there.

To be honest, that part was good, but it got even better when Ryan began to vocalize how the work begins after the kill. That is what captured my attention. Most outdoor shows end with a hero shot of the hunter talking about his kill. Not with The Western Hunter. It goes beyond that as the breaking down of the elk is shown being shared by friends and the grueling pack out is documented. I appreciate this now more than ever because after arrowing my very first elk this past September, I understand what it takes to pack out an animal from deep down a mountain. Even still, I know that I didn't have to pack it out 4, 5 or 6 miles. That must have been one hell of a pack out. 

My DVR is now set to record a show that truly shares the ups and downs of Western hunting and what really goes into it without having to glam it up. They let the fair chase hunting for free range animals speak for itself. Well done you guys. Well done.

The Western Hunter Trailer from The Western Hunter on Vimeo.


  1. I cannot tell you how excited I have bee for this series to come out. A show that finally goes into what western hunting is all about, from the start of the hunt, to the end with packing out the harvest. I can easily see this becoming my ne favorite.

  2. I didn't catch it, but I'll make a point to try next time I see it on.

    But I agree, hunting the west is a whole different ball game than most eastern hunts. I did log some serious boot (and canoe) miles in the Smoky Mountains of NC, and a hunt in the NY Forever Wild ranks as one of my top wilderness experiences... but in general, there's not much tougher than a real western hunt.

    Now I'm jonesing for another elk hunt!

  3. The only time I've ever wished I had a TV...saw the trailer last month and wanted to watch this show, now after reading your review, I really want to watch it!

  4. I watched it, loved it, and am looking forward to future episodes.