Public Land Hunter: Randy Newberg Interview

We are absolutely honored to interview Randy Newberg.  We have been following and watching his progression through the industry over the last decade.  Randy works hard to represent hunters throughout North America and his television shows like On Your Own Adventures and Fresh Tracks as well as his Hunt Talk Podcast and Hunttalk forum are best in class.  Here is our interview with Randy Newberg Hunter.

Randy Newberg Interview

Who taught you how to hunt?

Randy Newberg – My family and my community. For me, coming from a hunting family and a hunting culture, hunting was learned from many mentors, both family and friends. My Dad was the first to take me, but on almost all trips we were joined by Uncles and Grandpas and cousins. And very often it was a neighbor or school teacher who had some skills to pass along.

What is the most important lesson you learned from that person?

It took me until my late 30’s to realize what I find as the most valuable lesson, but the lesson is this – I am a Hunter. That is who I am and where I come from. It is in my DNA, going back to when my great-great-grandparents lived in the bogs of Finland and Sweden. I wish I had understood that earlier.
Being a hunter is not about grabbing my rifle or bow for a month each fall. It is a lifetime experience. It is being a leader. Being a hunter is an everyday acceptance of the responsibility that hunters have relished; teaching, providing, caring for the land, advocating for all wild creatures, and being a spokesman for the natural world in a society that has become very “unnatural.”

What is a hunting lesson you would like to share?

That hunting is far more important to our society than just filling a tag or what size buck/bull you shot last season. Hunting is one of the most important activities in our society, a society that understands less about hunting as society becomes more disconnected from the landscape.

If hunting is to have a bright future, it requires all of us to work toward that goal. Hunting will prosper or struggle based on our own action or inaction. Every one of us is an ambassador who will form the image and future of hunting. Think about that in your actions, your allocation of your time and volunteerism, and what that means for your family.

For your kids and grandkids to have the same hunting future you had, requires your engagement. The days of buying a license and calling that your contribution to hunting and conservation are long-since gone.

How did your 2016 hunting season go?

It was one of our best seasons ever. Sometimes you work your tail off and things just won’t roll your way. Sometimes you work just as hard and everything lands in your lap. Just how hunting is. I’ll take the good luck in years like 2016. It offsets the terrible luck we had in 2015.

Photo Courtesy of Marcus Hockett

Of course, we have to ask about that Monster Bull you took that we have all seen all across Facebook. Tell us about the struggle of getting that bull packed out of the valley?

My body hurts just recounting the story. Anyone who hunted Colorado 3rd season in 2016 knows how hot it was. Elk, already in winter coats, don’t do well in those temps. They head to dark north-facing canyons. You either go in there to get ‘em or you go home with your tag unpunched.

We (may camera man Marcus Hockett was with me) had glassed some bulls and spent most the day trying to find an easy way to them. There was no easy way. Having invested 19 preference points for the tag, I passed some nice bulls that I still question.

When I saw this bull, he was almost straight down in a canyon. Big elk cause grown men to do some stupid things. Shooting this bull in that canyon was one of those stupid things.

We were already 600’ down into the canyon. To where the bull stood, it was another 800’ of vertical and a quarter mile horizontal down to where he got hung up in some oak brush (thankfully).   Words do not adequately describe the terrain, mostly rocks and cliffs, we had to navigate just to get him quartered and hanging in game bags. Then, to come out in the dark, through oak brush jungles, was probably as dangerous as it was excruciating.

We shot him just before dark on a Sunday night. We got back to camp that night around 1:30 am, having only hauled out all our production gear due to the dangers of traversing this unknown terrain in the dark. We woke the next morning, questioning what the hell we had just done.

With the weather being so warm, we knew we had to get back down in there and start the boning and extraction. That first day of packing, we got all of it boned and trimmed. We shuttled both hinds, one front, and all the trim and loins to a bench about midway out of the canyon, leaving the head and one front down in the bottom for the next day. On our way out that night, we took with us a hind and the trim/loin bags, leaving the rest on that bench.

The second morning, we got down to the bench and extracted the other hind and a front. That left us the head and one front that was still all the way in the bottom. That was the hardest load. We were physically spent by this time and the oak brush kept ripping at the antlers on my pack. Yet, we made it out by late afternoon.

Two long hard days for one elk is not the norm. Usually we take some of it out when we first head back to camp. I felt it was going to be tough enough to navigate this brush and cliffs with our packs full of production gear, especially in the dark. And normally I will take heavier loads, such that we can get it in four pack loads, or in this case, two trips. The terrain and brush was just too tough for that.

I suspect the elk got the last laugh on this one. I’m 52 years old. I’m too old for those kind of extractions.

What has hunting taught you about yourself?

That failure is one life’s most valuable events. I did not realize this, but growing up as a hunter prepared me for business life.

In hunting, you go out with the understanding that you will fail 9 out or 10 times, yet you go after it with the same missionary zeal every time you leave the trailhead. I’ve never feared failure and I think a large part of that is because I have hunted all my life, I come from a culture and community of hunters. I use failure as a teaching tool.

Hunting requires critical analysis of large amounts of information, often times with many variables and unknowns, and usually requiring quick decisions that involve risk analysis.   How I process this information is often a function of my past failures. Failure helps guide me from the wrong decisions, which over time, result in more correct decisions.

Sounds to me like self-guided public land elk hunting should be a requirement of every business school curriculum. Maybe we need to teach and MBA class based on the decisions required of hunters to be successful, many of which are built on past failures and adapting to rapidly changing landscapes.

Photo Courtesy of Marcus Hockett

Continue reading the rest of the interview here.

By Kevin Paulson –

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