Justin puts his whole heart into his adventures, and has the success stories to prove it. Plus he makes his passion for the outdoors personal, taking care to be a good steward of the environment and pass those values down to his children. That’s why we’re proud to call him a YETI Ambassador, and why you’ll find him in the field almost every day, with a smile on his face and an adventure in mind.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning?
I usually don’t sleep! I mean I’m laying down in a bed but especially the night before a big hunt or a big dive I just toss and turn all night. There’s just so much unknown of what the day will hold in both the field and ocean that my mind is racing a million miles a minute. But all nerves and brain chatter ceases as I grab my bow or dunk my head under water, and it’s “game time.”
Where is your favourite place hunt?
ANYWHERE! I really love the familiarity of wandering around the fields and swimming through the ocean I grew up in. However, I love seeing new grass or new colors, and chasing different pray both above and below the surface just as much. My smile is the same as long as I’m outside, big and crooked-teeth fille
Tell us a favourite story from a day out:
I was with my dad on an elk hunt. As we saw a monster bull steering his cows into the timber we had to act fast to get in front of them. Once out of sight it was a sprint to the timber’s edge and once there it was time go full Smeagol and work my way as quietly as possible through the dead fall, logs and bushes to go unnoticed by the fast-approaching herd. With the a strong wind running from my left to right I paralleled the herd until they turned and started to walking into the timber. It was at this time that I was less than 15 yards from the head cows and picked my spot against a fallen tree’s roots to wait for my opportunity. One, two, three… nine, ten cows start to walk past and my nerves start to get the best of me as I start to shake. I take a few deep breaths as I try to calm myself, preparing for the bull to step out any time. It’s at this point that he lets out a core-rattling bugle not 60 yards away as I start to see the tips of his antlers. That’s when everything kind of went into slow motion. Within seconds he crested the nob and was standing 43 yards broadside sniffing a cow. With the cow grazing and bull’s attention fully occupied I slowly drew my bow and settled my pin, went through my shot cycle and sent my arrow his way. He didn’t make it 20 yards before he expired in sight. I sat in disbelief and couldn’t believe it all fell together. To have my dad walk up on the bull with me made it a day I’ll never forget!
How do you up your game year after year?
Listening to whoever I’m hunting or diving with. I was told a long time ago everyone has a quiver of arrows and it’s our job in life to take arrows from different people along our journey through life and to add them to our own quiver. Basically learn from everyone; let it be someone new to the outdoors or an old veteran. Everyone has something to learn. So for me, no matter where I am or whom I’m with, I try to take the mental notes and learn from them to add to my quiver. So when I’m presented with a situation that I’ve got some time to think before I act, I can look through my quiver and choose which arrow suits the situation.
If you could do anything better, what would it be?
Everything, the only time we can’t improve is when we’re dead. I wish I could be better father, husband, son, brother, friend, the list goes on and on and on and on…
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to?
My dad for sure. Not all heroes wear capes and mine drags his toes when he walks. In my opinion I look up to everyone, everyone has some traits to look up to, even my younger brother.
What haven’t you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
Scars. I’ve got some crazy scars that are constant reminders that I’m not supposed to be here. As a baby I was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma and wasn’t given best odds to survive to my first birthday, but I’m here!
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
Every time I get busted by a dream animal and they run out to 150 yards and stand there for eternity staring back at me. As much as I wish I had a rifle in my hand, I love that I don’t and I just turn around and look for my next opportunity.