HUSHIN

What was one defining moment for you, when onXmaps helped your hunt?

Brian McElrea:

Without a doubt it happened in 2012 on my New Mexico rifle elk hunt. The bull I was after was in a maze of checkerboard public and private land. The OnXmaps chip was the only reason I pulled the trigger after much deliberation we were assured the bull was on public land. Without that chip I would have never hunted that elk.

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Casey Lavree:

A few years ago while in Colorado hunting deer, we were parked on a county road glassing the mountain. We were approached by one of the "lovely"  landowners of the valley.  We assured him we knew what was public and what was private due to the OnX map chip. He assured us that "those damn chips" were way off and not to trust them. About the same time this sweetheart pulled away a Colorado Conservation Officer stopped to talk with us. He informed us that the OnX chip is what he went by and that we would be wise to do the same. Long story short I ended up killing a mature buck on the last day 120 feet from "sweet cheeks " property boundary.

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Eric Chesser:

During an elk hunt in Utah I had a run in with a landowner about the private land boundaries. I knew I was on public land thanks to the onX boundary layer. The map gave me confidence to stick up for myself while the landowner tried to intimidate me out of the area. After a long argument about what was private and what wasn't he confessed that I was indeed on public land but he felt I was "ruining his hunt". He also told me the game warden gave him permission to kick people off this specific piece of public land, again, I called his bluff and dialed the Game Warden myself. He confirmed I was on public land and called to tell the old man he has no right to harass me, or anyone else who hunts on the piece. Makes me wonder how often this stuff happens and that's why I'll never head to a hunt without researching the area and downloading the offline maps.

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What is your favorite species to hunt? Why?

Brian McElrea:

Archery elk is hands down my favorite species to hunt. Screaming bulls up close and personal is what I live for.

Casey Lavree:

Archery Elk. I am fortunate enough to have a father who has always included me in all outdoor activities. One of the fondest memories I have was being 8 years old and screaming(with my voice) through a bugle tube while my dad was set up 50 yards in front of me. Even though my voice finally deepened(balls dropped) the passion has only grown.

Eric Chesser:

Archery hunting elk in the rut is my favorite hunt of the year. Everything from sitting water holes to chasing screaming bulls, they're just so big and powerful!

Who were your biggest inspirations in hunting (personal and industry)?

Brian McElrea:

My dad paved the way to my outdoor obsession and is the person I look up to and respect the most in life. He started taking me upland bird hunting when I was 3 years old and as a kid I was fortunate enough to go on a lot of trips with him.

Casey Lavree:

My Dad has always been my biggest inspiration for me getting involved in the outdoors and that’s because he always involved me.  

Eric Chesser:

My father introduced me to hunting at a young age. He'd take me on the mountain with him during the mule deer hunt and even let me drive the dirt roads so he could look for bucks. He grew up in a small town so hunting was a way of life. I learned and continue to learn so much from him.

Another person who inspired me to film my hunts was Mike Brownlee. I must've watched his VHS series "Mega Bucks" a hundred times over. Through his content I learned a lot about mule deer, their habits and how to film my own hunts. Hollywood actors could take the back seat, if I could meet anyone at that time in my life it would be Mike Brownlee.

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Which conservation groups do you belong to/support?

Brian McElrea:

Life time member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Our public lands are the most valuable resource to our country and to how I live my life. They do a great job fighting to keep our access and inspiring a younger demographic of outdoor enthusiasts to get active.

Casey Lavree:

BHA in my opinion is thee most important conservation group right now. Without our public lands we have nothing to conserve.  

Eric Chesser:

As a kid my favorite thing to show up in the mailbox was Bugle Magazine. I'd flip right to the middle where they always had the live photos section, it was my favorite section by far. My dad has supported the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for years and so will I. It's my favorite animal to hunt and their work helps a lot more than just elk.

What is one of your most memorable hunting trips?

Brian McElrea:

2012 | New Meixco – Gila National Forest with my dad and several great friends. We killed 3 amazing bulls the first 2 days of the season. It is also when I met Casey for the first time forming a friendship that eventually led me to Hush.

Casey Lavree:

My first archery bull. The tables finally changed when I was 15, my dad now being set up behind me called in a beautiful 5x5 bull that I was able to hang my tag on. A hunt neither of us will soon forget.

Eric Chesser:

2013- Limited Entry Bull Elk. After waiting 11 years to draw my dream tag I put every ounce of effort and every second of time into this hunt. Setting trail cams, shooting my bow, studying maps etc. Whatever would help my odds of harvesting. After a very emotional hunt I was able to walk away with my number one bull, "The Fire Bull". I truly experienced the ultimate highs and lows of archery hunting on this one and I was lucky enough to do it with my great friend Garrett, who also had the same tag as me. He ended up taking a great bull on the second to last day which was icing on the cake to an already unbelievable experience.

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In your opinion, which species is the most challenging to hunt?

Brian McElrea:

Trying to kill a wise mature herd bull with your bow has proven to be my biggest challenge. Maybe that’s why I love it so much?

Casey Lavree:

A big/old/mature mule deer is the smartest creature in the woods. I swear they have a sixth maybe seventh sense.  

Eric Chesser:

Out of all the animals I have hunted, a big mature whitetail has been the most difficult. Maybe because I have not spent much time around them, or because I have only hunted them a few times. Either way from my own experiences I can tell those wise old whitetail bucks in highly hunted areas only get big for one reason,they're smart.

What is the scariest situation you’ve ever had in the woods?

Brian McElrea:

Forgetting to pack wet wipes. Not good…

Casey Lavree:

Anytime I run into a snake at close proximities is the scariest situation of my life!

Eric Chesser:

The scariest moment in the woods for me was when my good friends father dropped to the ground and passed out while shed hunting. I was in no danger at the time, but the feeling of being helpless and not knowing how to respond was very scary. Luckily my friend, who was his son, was a registered nurse and knew exactly what to do. Life flight had to come pick us up and everything ended up ok, but it really opened my eyes to the fact that anything can happen to anyone at any moment and knowing basic medical skills can help save someone’s life.

In your own words, what does hunting mean to you?

Brian McElrea:

Hunting and fishing mean everything to me. I’m lucky in the sense that I’ve found my passion for living. Aside from the obvious of my family and friends it represents my purpose. Regardless of what happens in my future I know that hunting and fishing will be where I go to escape the stresses of life.

Casey Lavree:

Hunting/Fishing is what has made me the person I am today. It seems like a good portion of the valuable lessons I have learned here on this earth have come while in a high mountain meadow or a wandering stream. The things I try to instill in my kids came from a passion that my dad shared with me. Never give up, give back, patience, honesty, time and pressure, love, sharing, loyalty. All cliches but all secrets that aren't so secret to being happy!

Eric Chesser:

For me hunting means everything. It's a part of who I am, it's taught me so many life lessons and it's what I look forward to each and every year. I've learned how to set goals, work hard and be persistent. Hunting allows me to explore a world you cannot discover in the office, or on the couch. I've made memories with close friend and family and have connected with so many great people across the world because of it. Hunting allows me to do something I am passionate about and inspire others to do the same.