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Welcome to another edition of Whitetail Rendezvous. This is Bruce Hutcheon, your host, and I want to welcome Lindsay Persico.
Lindsay: Thanks Bruce
Bruce: Thank you for that, on the show today and this lady loves to hunt. And I reached out to her, and she agreed to be on the show today. So Lindsay, share with us why you love the hunt and just open up the show for us.
Lindsay: Okay. Well, I guess I love to hunt because it’s something I grew up doing, and watching my dad do it helped me be interested in it at a very young age. And he started taking me out before I was of age to hunt so I could go along and see what they did, and just to get me out of the house, probably give my mom a break, really.
And I just would sit out there, and watch him do his thing, and listen to the sounds around me, and see the animals, and the flowers, and the trees, and I guess all that stuff. I was fascinated about it at a very young age. And then seeing the animals that my dad would bring home, and seeing my mom cook them up, and getting to eat the good meat, and growing up on all that stuff, it fueled the passion in me for the same thing. And I loved going outside and getting out in the outdoors, and getting that fresh air. It just fuels my souls, and it’s what I live for.
Bruce: What’s one of the best tips you ever received about hunting, and who gave it to you?
Lindsay: I would say probably it came from my dad. We do a lot of hunting in Canyon Country, and there’s a lot of fields up top. We have the high mountain prairie where I grew up, and the fields are up there. They draw the deer up there in the nighttime to feed, and then they go back down into the canyon. . .
. . . And I grew up going and sitting on those hillsides and glassing for the deer, trying to find them in their bed.
And I’d say my dad gave me the best advice when he told me to go out, and sit down on the hillside, pull up your binoculars, and do just a general scan of the hillside, a quick scan, to see if there’s anything out there that’s really obvious. And then slow down, and take apart the hillside. Look behind each bush. Look behind the trees. Check out the funny-looking shadows and try to find them that way. And then just put my binoculars down and just look with my naked eye and see if I can find any movement.
There’s been a lot of times where I’ve pulled my glasses down after glassing for an hour or more, and all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, there’ll be some movement of some deer that were moving across another corner of the hillside that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t put my binoculars down. So just some general glassing tips that my dad gave me probably have helped me spot more game than I ever would have if I hadn’t learned those little tricks.
Bruce: If you had to choose one game animal to hunt, what would it be?
Lindsay: One game animal? That’s hard. They’re all so fun and so different. I do love hunting whitetails. It’s probably the thing I’ve hunted the most in my life. I’d have to pick whitetails, I’d say.
Bruce: Okay. What number of animals, just in species, what species of animals have you harvested?
Lindsay: Have I harvested? Whitetail deer and mule deer, both. I’ve also harvested elk, my first elk last year, which was really exciting. Antelope, black bear, cougars, and then small game things like coyotes and such.
Bruce: What would you say to women who are listening to this show because a friend said, “Hey, you need to listen to Whitetail Rendezvous. They’ve got neat people on there and you might be interested in joining us in the outdoors”? So what advice would you give to those listeners?
Lindsay: I would say just get out there, and check it out, and see how you feel when you get outside because there’s a lot of people who, at first they might be intimidated by it or feel uncomfortable because they’ve never done it. They might be embarrassed or feel like they might do something wrong, but when it comes to getting outside and just experiencing it, you can’t really go wrong. You get out there, and you’ll fall in love with it. You’ll see something you haven’t seen before. You might feel something you haven’t felt before. And I’ve seen, from the young people that I’ve taken out with me, something comes alive inside of them and they find that passion too, most of the time.
Bruce: Do you have any specific programs that you introduce ladies to the sport or even kids?
Lindsay: No, not really. I was a part of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. I was on their board, and they have some really neat things that they do for kids. They just recently were a part of a youth outdoor expo, and when I went there, it was just very encouraging to see all of the different companies and organizations that are reaching out to kids. They have camps for kids to try to get them introduced to the outdoors and a lot of different things like that. There are becoming more and more programs like that as people are realizing that kids are interested, and women are interested. They’re making more and more things like that. But the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers was one that I did see that had a lot of stuff for youth.
Bruce: One thing you said in your bio, you’re an advocate for the amazing privilege of hunting. Can you expand that a little bit?
Lindsay: Yeah, that was a part of what I was working with at Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. I’m a mother of three, and I really have a lot of stuff that pulls my time. And I couldn’t keep up with their schedule, so I recently stepped off the board. But I’m still a huge advocate for what they do.
And they go out, and they’re a very active voice for keeping our public lands available for hunters. And public land is huge when you’re somebody who doesn’t have family property or access to large tracts of land to hunt. There’s only so much countryside out there for the average person to just go and be able to utilize. So I’ve written a few different things about just public lands and what’s available, and I’ve tried to support, as much as I can, the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and other places that are advocates for keeping that property available to anybody who wants to get outside and hunt.
Bruce: Where have your articles been published?
Lindsay: I currently write for Earned – The Do it Yourself Journal. It’s an online hunting magazine. And I also have my own blog where I post all my stories. It’s a WordPress blog I call HuntFiber and lots of those articles have been shared around to different places like Camo Is the New Black. It’s focused on women and kind of geared towards women. It’s a really neat site. I’ve also been featured on Racked Up Outdoors, who I just became a pro staff member with. They’ve shared some of my things.
The Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Montana Wilderness Association, I live over in Montana, and they’ve shared a lot of my different stories. I’m working on an article for Bugle at the moment. We’ll see how that goes. It’s about women and hunting.
Bruce: Well, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s pretty near and dear to my heart. I was there at the beginning, and I became life member 200.
Lindsay: Oh, neat. Yeah, they’re a wonderful organization.
Bruce: Yep, they’ve done a tremendous amount of good in the Western part in re-establishing elk in the Midwest and the East. That’s for sure. Let’s talk about a couple of your aha! moments when you’re hunting whitetails?
Lindsay: Okay. I’d say one of the biggest realizations I had when out hunting whitetails was after I shot my first whitetail over 500 yards away. I have always been hunting situations where it was hard to get close to the game. Out there in those canyons, they’re far away a lot of times when you spot them. And there are some times where you can circle around, and you can sneak in on them, but the countryside where I hunt is very dense. The underbrush is really thick, and it’s out West here where the humidity is really low. And by the fall, everything is just dried to a crisp and very loud. So sneaking up on a big buck that’s bedded down in those timbered canyons is a really hard thing to do.
A lot of times we would spot them far away and try to get as close as we could, and you’d have to make a decently long shot on one. I think my first deer was about 250 yards, and they just kept getting further and further out as I hunted. But not too many years ago, I shot one that was over 500 yards away. I had a friend’s rifle he had set up specifically for long-range. And I think that just opened up my eyes to the fact that, “Hey, glass a little further out there. Maybe go practice the range a little more further out and set up a gun for long-range.” And since then, I’ve just had so much fun. It’s changed my hunting game. I do a lot of long-range hunting on the whitetails. I like shooting them up close too. It’s fun. Archery hunting for whitetails, and I like all of those aspects, but that just opened a whole new avenue for me.
Bruce: Let’s stay right there and talk about how much practice it took so you could settle in and be comfortable squeezing the trigger, doing everything you need to do right, and take that 500-yard shot, and make an ethical and humane kill?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think that’s a big part of long-range shooting is it’s not just going out there and slinging lead far away and trying to hit something. There’s so much skill and so much tactical stuff that goes into that. It’s not just having the gun set up like that. I went out on the range a lot and shot with my husband, with my dad, and with his friend that had set up his rifle. And we sighted in guns and practiced for a long time on holding steady and breathing. Your breathing has to be right. You have to squeeze the trigger with a certain part of your finger. There’s so many little things that go into it, so many details. But that was part of the fun of it. It’s so much fun to get out in the outdoors and go shooting, and who doesn’t enjoy that stuff?
And now, on top of that, you’ve got your rifle set up with a certain scope that’s able to be set to whatever range you have. You’ve got your range finder, to get that dialed in properly. You have to check your wind because, especially in those canyons, the wind can be varied, either close to you or far away. And one of the days when I was shooting a long-range shot on a whitetail, it just happened to be the perfect wind. I wrote a story about it. It’s never no wind in those canyons, but on this hunt, for some reason, it was just a completely still day.
And I wrote a story called . . . Oh, which one was it? It was in my August stories, but it was my longest shot on a whitetail. I didn’t even think about shooting. It was 837 yards, I believe. And we saw that just a little buck, he came up over the ridge. And my dad looked at his friend and said, “Well, your rifle’s set up for about that,” and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, we can [inaudible 00:12:01] that in.” And I looked at him shocked because I hadn’t even considered shooting it. I thought it was too far out there, but he said, “No, we can do it. Just do the same things that you did before.” And we did it. It was a one-shot, one-kill, very ethical. The deer died quickly, and I was just so excited to be able to be a part of it.
Bruce: Talk to me about the equipment you have set up now. The caliber, is it a bolt action? What type of scope, and do you load your own bullets?
Lindsay: We do. My husband actually is very, very intelligent when it comes to the reloading. He’s been teaching me, and it’s been fun to get in on that. But he’s really the brains behind that operation. We have currently been setting up a couple new rifles. The rifle that we were using for long-range, it was a Remington, and it is a bolt action. All of our rifles we use Vortex Optics on, and we’ve been just blown away by the quality and how well they do. The guns that I’ve shot a lot of my deer with have been a friend’s gun, and they were a 260-caliber, all bolt action rifles with Vortex scopes.
Bruce: Now, do you have the range compensator, a ballistic compensator, on your scope so you can just dial it in?
Lindsay: Our setups are to where we take the bullets that we’ve reloaded, and we put all this information into a little calculator. And it’ll come out with. . . at the end we’ll be shooting this gun with this bullet that you’ve reloaded, and it’s this far away. It’ll tell you how many clicks you have to adjust on your scope to be dialed in so you can just aim right on. Your crosshairs are right on.
We also have the crosshairs in our riflescopes where there’s adjustments on the crosshair so that if you’re having to shoot quickly, and you know generally how far away the animal is, and they [inaudible 00:14:12] move a little bit or whatever, you can hold up to the certain amounts that you need to on your crosshairs as well. So we have both of those options.
Bruce: And the rifles you’re building now, what caliber are those?
Lindsay: They are .270s. We have the same rifles. My husband and I are building the exact same gun for each of us so that, when we’re out there in the field, if we need to switch rifles over or whatever, they’re all set up exactly the same, same rifle, same caliber, same scope gonna be sighted into the same. And then we have the same range finders. So we get out there, we’re like a little team. We can sight them together. It works really well for us.
Bruce: What range do you use to sight in your rifles?
Lindsay: We just take them out to the local range here, and we usually sight them heads-on at 100 yards. And then we use the adjustments from there when we’re out hunting.
Bruce: What would you recommend to women, or youths, or some guy that’s just getting into hunting caliber-wise and magnification of the scope out in your country?
Lindsay: Gee, well, it really depends on what you’re hunting. I think that the .270 is a really good caliber all around. You could shoot an elk with that. You can shoot deer with that a lot of times. It just depends. You wanna make a good shot, and you can shoot them with a lot of things. But if you’re really gonna get into long-range, my husband has the Remington Sendero, the 7 millimeter. And that is just a flat shooting rifle. It’s a really good gun for long-range if you’re getting interested in that.
The scope that we use, obviously I said that they’re all the Vortex scope, but . . . Let me pull up this article here for you, and I can give you some real specifics on it. We set up my AR-15 actually with a really neat scope that is good for long-range, and my AR’s only .223, so it wouldn’t shoot much more. We used it for antelope last year, and it worked really well. But the scope could go on a 7-millimeter or whatever, but it’s a 6-24×50. It’s got the EBR 50 MOA reticle. That’s the one I was talking about where you can use the reticle itself to measure how far away something is and to just adjust for the distance. It’s a Viper PST from Vortex Optics, and it’s a wonderful scope. I’ve been really impressed with it.
Bruce: For our listeners who might not know what MOA is, can you just spend a minute on that?
Lindsay: It’s minutes of angle, and I guess there’s different ways to measure. It’s kinda complicated, and to be honest, my understanding of it is not . . . I can’t explain how that works. I just know when I look through my scope, and I see the minutes of angle, I know how much I need to adjust based on my readout on my card.
Bruce: Fair enough. Let’s talk about, you’re going to a new area, brand new, you haven’t hunted before. And you get a couple of days to scout before season opens. What are you gonna do?
Lindsay: Well, I’m kind of in the middle of that right now. I just moved to Montana, so all the hunting over here is new. Last year was my first year hunting here as a resident, and the areas are all signed up in the air. But my husband will be like, “Well, we’re gonna put in for antelope. We’re gonna put into this area,” that I don’t even know what that means because I’ve never really hunted there.
But go out, we take our GPS’s that have the Onix Map HUNT chip in them, and it shows us where public land is, the boundary lines for public land, and private land, and everything real detailed on there. And we’ll take those out, and we’ll go and look at which areas are available for us to hunt, and see the terrain that’s there, and see what exactly we’re looking for, if we’re looking for antelope, or we’re looking for elk, or whatever, try to find what seems to be a good area to head off into and then go explore that area a little bit.
Bruce: Now, do you use any of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website, or Google Earth?
Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. If there’s an area that I’m looking I can’t drive to right away and check it out with my GPS, I will go on their websites, and look it up, and see what I can see from the topographical map. The map on the GPS is pretty good, too. You can get on there even when you’re not in that area if you have a chip for that area, and check it out.
Bruce: Let’s talk about the resources that you use to get whitetail smart or just get big game smart.
Lindsay: I don’t have regular TV, so I don’t watch a lot of hunting shows. I do like to watch the Randy Newberg shows that he’s got on there. He’s got a lot of do-it-yourself hunting shows. And I like watching and seeing what he does, because he has great ideas for just the average person who wants to go out and hunt on their own. And that’s always a complicated thing when you’re . . . And it’s all up to you to figure out the area, to figure out what the animals are doing, and he’s motivating. You see him have some neat successes and just a lot of fun, even if he doesn’t end up getting an animal.
I like watching that and the Earned – Do It Yourself Journal, the one that I write for. They’re all do-it-yourself articles as well. They’re just all different menagerie of things whether it’s how to try to find big whitetails or mule deer in different country to different gear that you might want to check out and use. And I like just reading that and seeing what they have. The writers are always interesting. And I guess that’s really the only stuff I go on and look at.
Bruce: Do you have any favorite whitetail books that you’ve read? Or what magazines do you subscribe to about whitetails or other big game animals?
Lindsay: We do get Bugle, which I love, and there’s always really good stuff in there. And we get a Montana Outdoors magazine that’s about local stuff here in Montana, and that’s always really interesting to read too. As for books, nothing really specific comes to mind, just a regular book that’s fun because everybody needs more humor in your life. I love Patrick McManus’ books. They have some great books out there for people who love the outdoors, and it’s hunting-related kind of comedy. And a lot of people that have been outside can really relate to that.
Bruce: Let’s talk about any challenges you have right now, and you just can’t find the answer to a question to something that’s bugging you about hunting any big animal. Is there anything that comes to mind?
Lindsay: I guess learning about elk hunting has been a challenge. I have gone along on a lot of elk hunts, even since I was little. My dad archery hunts for elk every year, and I went along with him a lot and even tried and went out with the tags he sent, and would get really close to them. But I never connected until last year.
I guess a lot of times I looked at elk as if they would act a lot like deer do, like the whitetail deer I’ve hunted, and I expected them to have similar patterns and similar ways of going about their day. I would think they’d be in a similar place as a whitetail would in midday. But I’m learning that they’re a totally different animal, and they act totally differently in the woods. So I guess learning those habits and the ways that they go about their day has been a challenge for me lately.
Bruce: Thanks for that. I just wrote that down. We’ve got a couple of minutes left on the show. Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d really like to talk about with our listeners?
Lindsay: I guess I would just say one thing to remember when you’re out there is to try to stay out as long as you can, to get out a little bit longer. I know there’s a lot of times where my mind, out in the woods, is my biggest enemy. I’ll be either hungry or tired or disappointed because I did something. There’s always a good reason to head back to the truck, but a lot of times, you just never know what might happen if you just stick it out for five more minutes or ten more minutes. And you spend a lot of time getting ready to get out there in the woods, and you might as well stick it out as long as you can.
I know there’s so many stories where we were headed back to the vehicle at the end of the hunt, and we were like, “Man, there’s another half-an-hour of daylight left. We need to find some place to just go and look for something and see if we can find something.” And there was one hunt where we were headed back to the truck, and there was a small patch of timber, just a tiny little patch of timber out in the middle of the field. And we thought, “Well, you know, we’ll detour. It’s not that far out there. We’ll detour a little bit. We’ll go around, and just walk through it, and make sure there’s nothing hiding out in there.”
And sure enough, we get right to the edge of that little timber patch, and up out of the grass jumps two big whitetail bucks. And my partner was able to shoot one, and it was just five more minutes out of the way. If we had kept going back to that truck, we would’ve walked right past him. I’m sure there’s so many times we’ve done that out in the woods. But take those little detours and stick out those extra five minutes, and it’ll probably pay off, more often than not.
Bruce: Share with me the changes in women’s hunting apparel over the last five to ten years?
Lindsay: Oh, boy. Well, I know that when I was at the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers annual rendezvous in Spokane this last year, they had a women’s panel where they discussed a lot of different things about women in the outdoors and the changes in the hunting industry. And one of the big topics was apparel companies were asking them, “What do you want out of hunting apparel for women?” And pretty much unanimously the women said, “It’s hard to find women’s hunting apparel that is practical and useful that fits you, that’s not pink.” And most of the women were like, “We really, really want just really functional, harder-working apparel that fits women, that’s contoured to women, fits women because most of the hunting apparel made for men just doesn’t fit us quite right.” Almost all of us grew up using that because they didn’t have anything for women.
And then they started making camo for women, but it was a lot of pink stuff, a lot of really girly stuff, and frilly stuff, and the intention was focused on those things and not on function and durability. And I’m really seen a shift in that just recently, very recently. They’re starting to make apparel for women that is all about function, and performance, and fit without the silly frills thrown in that we really don’t care about.
Bruce: If you, off the top of your head, three women’s apparel makers that the ladies who are listening to this or guys, hint, hint, birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, whatever, who should they check out?
Lindsay: Definitely First Light. They have just come out with a women’s line that looks like it has a lot of potential and I’m hearing a lot of good stuff about. Also, I’ve heard good about Prois. I’m not sure exactly how they say that, but they’ve been making some women’s gear that I’ve been hearing a lot of good about as well as Unfit or Fit her. I’ve to see what’s it called. I know Cabela’s carries it. OutfitHER I believe is what it’s called. And they make a lot of things that are just functional, fit for women, get-out-there-and-do-some-real-work gear.
Bruce: I think you might have meant P-R-O-I-S. Was that the company you were thinking of?
Bruce: Yeah, it’s called Prois, Kirstie Pike, CEO, out of Gunnison, Colorado.
Lindsay: There you go.
Bruce: Just a little background on Kirstie, she was a trauma nurse at Gunnison Valley Hospital, and loves to hunt, and was sick and tired of wearing her husband’s clothes. They weren’t cut for her. They weren’t functional, and they weren’t cut for her. So she went to work and has created a wonderful, wonderful business, so a shout out for Prois and Kirstie Pike. But ladies, go out and find the right apparel because it makes a huge difference, an extremely huge difference.
Lindsay: There’s nothing like fighting your gear.
Bruce: Yeah, and the fabrics they have now, you will stay warm, no question about it. I think Lindsay would certainly agree to that statement.
Lindsay: Yeah, for sure.
Bruce: Lindsay, we’re at the time of the show that I’m gonna give you an open mic for a couple of minutes here, so anything that you wanna share. Please share about, again, where your blogs are, how to get a hold of you on social networks, anything that you’re passionate about. I know we talked about Backcountry Outdoors. But the mic’s yours, so have at it.
Lindsay: Okay, thank you. If you wanna check out my blog, it’s at HuntFiber.WordPress.com. And I am on social media on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram. If you just search HuntFiber, you’ll find me in there. And the HuntFiber, a lot of people have asked me what that means and why I call it that. But basically it’s just that hunting, for me, is something that’s at the very core and is a part of the fibers that make up who I am, and that’s what that stands for.
I have been enjoying being a part of Earned – The Do It Yourself Journal and Racked Up Outdoors, which is a hunting group that’s involved in a competition with the Pursuit Channel for airtime for a hunting show. So if you wanna ever check them out, that’s a pretty neat thing to see too. They’re doing some really neat stuff.
Aside from that, I guess I’ve just really been having a fun time sharing my passions with everybody. I always wanted to write. It was something I thought about doing a lot and never sat down and did it. And last August, I had a little time on my hands and I decided to try it out. And it’s just blown up from there, and I just love doing it. And I will continue to share all my adventures and my stories with everybody
And I hope to be, pretty soon, getting my little kids out there. I’ve got a seven-year-old and a six-year-old, and my littlest guy will be turning one in about four days. And they love to go outside and love to go along with us on our shooting, and my seven-year-old’s getting really excited to start hunting soon. She went out deer hunting with me this spring a couple times, and it was really fun to have her out there. So get your kids out there and share it with them as well because they’re the next generation of what we’re up to.
Bruce: Lindsay, thank you so much for being a guest on Whitetail Rendezvous, and I look forward to reading your articles and staying connected with you because you’re what’s positive, forward-thinking, and definitely you’re part of the hunting tradition of North America. So thank you.
Lindsay: Thank you very much for having me.