Zach, how long have you been hunting?
I have been hunting big game since I turned 12 the legal hunting age in Idaho so almost 20 years now. I shot my first deer with a bow 2 days after I turned 12. I have really been hunting though ever since I was old enough for my parents to turn me loose with a pellet gun. I would be up on the hill above the house shooting rabbits and birds. I started shooting a bow when I was 4 years old as well and not long after I was shooting ground squirrels with my bow.
What is your weapon of choice on your solo adventures?
Most of my hunts I have a bow in my hand. I hunt with a rifle some, but mostly I use my bow. That is what is cool about the show we have archery hunters, rifle hunters, and muzzleloader hunters. It’s a good mix of everything.
Who are your hunting heroes?
First and foremost I would have to say my dad for more reasons than I can say. Growing up it was always him and his hunting buddies I looked up to. Now days I have a lot of guys that are not really my heroes so much, but guys I respect a lot because they get it done. People like Dennis Howell, Rockie Jacobsen, and my buddy Nate Simmons. Then there are some of my friends that no one really knows about like Reed Stewart, Kirk Giles, Fred Waymire and my best hunting buddy Virgil Larsen. All these guys I have listed, some of them in the public eye and some not, but they all have one thing in common. They hunt there butts off on public land and usually come away from a hunt with a nice animal.
What states and or provinces are your favorite destinations?
Pretty much the western states for me, some of the guys on the show are whitetail guys, but I like elk and mulies and such. I have hunted Idaho, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Utah and Missouri. I had great hunts in all of those states. My personal goal is to kill a good bull elk in every western state. I really want to hunt in British Columbia someday. I drove through there on the way to Alaska and it was absolutely hunter’s paradise.
How long have you been videoing hunts?
My group of hunting buddies has been videoing our bear hunting for almost 10 years now and the last few years have been videoing a lot of our other hunts. Some of the other guys have been doing it for several years as well.
So, how long has the Solo Hunters Show been in production?
Solo Hunters is fairly new, but it has been in the works for quite a while. Tim has put together a great show and we have a great group of guys. I think it will be around for a long time.
What species do you hunt on the show?
We have a lot of western stuff; Elk, mule deer, antelope and black bears, as well as your typical whitetail stuff. This year we got some really cool stuff like Mountain Goats and some sweet Bighorn Sheep. We have a lot of cool hunts coming in 2011.
What is your favorite state and species to hunt and why?
I like to hunt all over for a variety of game, but when it comes down to it I would have to say Idaho elk. They are tough, public land, hard hunted bulls so when you put a good bull in the dirt you know you earned him. I grew up hunting them and every September that is where I can be found.
What is primary goal or message of the “Solo Hunters” TV show?
Our goal is to bring you primarily self guided hunts. Just regular guys out hunting like everyone else most of the time on public land. That’s what I want to see on TV and I think it is pretty rare these days.
What is your video equipment list comprised of for your solo hunts?
I just have a small Canon HD camera. I am in the process of getting a new camera, but it is going to be a small camera as well. They shoot better quality video than the bigger cameras of a couple years ago and they are nice to carry. Having a good tripod is the key though. Without it you may as well leave the camera home. We use a pretty Heavy duty tripod so it’s kind of heavy, but you can use the same tripod for your spotting scope.
Is Solo Hunters TV show of single day or multi-day backcountry hunts?
Both really, we have been mostly videoing day hunts, but I am going to start videoing more of my backpack hunts.
Being a backcountry hunter myself, how do you pack your video gear and standard gear for a multi-day backcountry hunt?
I just get a good soft case for my camera and throw it in. Then strap the tripod to the outside of the pack. I am looking in to getting one of those solar packs that they are making so I can charge my camera on long backcountry trips.
Do you hunt solo all the time for video, or do you have someone video your hunting?
I do both, but videoing most of my bow hunts by myself just isn’t feasible. Its one thing if you’re sitting in a stand for bears or in an antelope blind. You can video yourself then, but running and gunning chasing elk, or stalking a mule deer with a bow is pretty tough to do on your own. So usually my buddies and I will just take turn with the camera.
What types of land do you hunt in the Solo Hunters show?
As you can tell it’s usually the mountains for me. Usually public land, but that’s not to say we wont be sitting in a treestand on private land for Whitetail once in a while as well.
What is the most difficult species to video while solo hunting and why?
I would have to say elk or mule deer with a bow. Elk cause its hard to talk a buddy to go along and just video. And mulies because sneaking up on one by your self is hard enough, but with a camera man too it gets real tough.
What was the scariest hunt you have ever recorded and will it make it to the Solo Hunters Show?
I really haven’t been on a scary hunt so far. I guess the scariest for me would have to be bear hunting. Not because of the bears, but the treestands. I hate heights.
What was the most rewarding hunt you have ever recorded and will it make it to the Solo Hunters Show?
Most rewarding hunt would have to be my Idaho Mountain Goat this year and yes it will be on the show.
What tools do you use to help you plan your solo adventures?
I personally do a lot of research on the internet. Everything from Bowsite, monstermuleys and even Facebook. There are a lot of great people out there willing to help you out. Then I talk to different people in the game agencies and Forest service and BLM offices. I also use resources such as Eastmans Hunting Journal. Then lastly I go to google earth and take a look around. You would be surprised how much you can learn about an area without ever stepping foot in it.
Will you ever be able to answer “Why do you do, what you do”?
I can only speak for myself but I am sure the rest of the guys would agree. Probably not. I don’t think most hunters can, I have tried to explain to my wife why I love it so much. She is even a hunter, but can’t understand how I can love it so much. I really don’t know why, I was just made to hunt the mountains of the west.