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Interview with John Nolan AFSOC Air Force Tactical Air Combat Controller (ret) from The Hornets Nest

The Hornet's Nest

We had the chance to interview John Nolan who was a Special Operations Advisor for the upcoming movie The Hornets Nest.  John runs an organization that benefits wounded warriors and veterans that need help in regards to PTSD.  John’s group takes veterans hunting near Monroe, LA.

What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?

Toilet paper…..you only forget it once, usually on the day you’re wearing your favorite socks.

What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?

Patience as a skillset, not just a virtue.

What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?

Shotgunning and Archery……close-in hunting.

Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?

The product it produces: Love. Either love with one another like Father and Son, or Love of the land, trees, waterways, habitat, etc.

How were you introduced to hunting?

My Great Grandfather’s land in Oak Ridge, Louisiana was shared by the family as hunting and fishing grounds when I was a kid.  Family introduced me to hunting.  (and as extended family, I introduce hunting to my Brothers-from-other-mothers)

Who were the influencers in your life that helped you get into hunting?

Johnny Nolan, Sr., Earl Nolan, Jr., and both of my WWII Veteran Grandfathers. (Earl Nolan, Sr. and John “Red” Mills, their stories are amazing as well)

Tell us about your first hunt?

With my Dad hunting rabbits in Oak Ridge.  I had his old bolt action .410 shotgun (My son has it today) and we would walk down the road waiting to see one, it was my introduction to blisters, quick shooting and PATIENCE.

What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?

Do not shoot the first, second, or third species you are hunting (patience)…..know their patterns, food type, watering holes, habits…..practice your marksmanship extensively…learn to cook….practice insert and exfil from the habitat without leaving a trace…honor the harvest you are chasing by respecting and consuming it.

What species would you most like to hunt?

Mountain Lion.

What gear do you carry that you could not live without?

Food and Water. A good multi-tool. A great knife. Rope. Worn Boots. After that, it depends on what I’m hunting.

What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?

The .308…..if it’s bigger than that, I’ve always wanted a .338Lapua. I like the 30-caliber rounds best, grew up shooting 30-06’s, but never had the money to explore other things.

What is your most memorable hunt?

I left work on a Friday to try and catch this buck that I had been tracking for weeks…..climbed into the stand around 1600hrs, out he steps at 1625 and BANG, he buckled up and fell perfectly….like, back the truck up and pull him in perfect.  Why I remember it so much was the work I put in: weeks of stalking him, walking in from all angles to catch other avenues of approach, the 1 mile walk all the way around a lake to get on the stand that afternoon (so I wouldn’t leave my “city boy scent” in the woods from working all day before hunting) That hunt made my Dad notice that I love the woods and the hunt….a big 8-point dominant buck didn’t hurt, either.

What is your favorite archery and arrow set up?

I wish I knew, that’s my bucket list.

What five pieces of gear do you carry with you on every hunt that you could not live without?

TOILET PAPER, Knife, Rope, Water, Food

What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?

Delta Waterfowl, Coastal Conservation Association

What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for small game?

Aim small/miss small; experiment with different shotguns/rifles; hunt with dogs at least once in your life—man’s best friend is AMAZING!

What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Spring Gobbler Season?

I have never been Turkey hunting; part of my “journey” is to experience these new things with my son, Joseph, and fellow combat veterans.

What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Deer Archery Season?

Safety, Scent Control, Patience

What three tried and true tips do you have to offer deer hunters?

Put in the work (food plots, feeders, etc), manage the herd (don’t kill the young’uns), use technology to your advantage (cameras, camo, ammo, etc.)

In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?

Like the great Mongo once said, “Mongo only pawn in game of life”; Humility, patience and perspective are the lessons.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Warrior Hunts of NELVA on Facebook

Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?

TP Outdoors Adventures on YouTube; shows air locally here in Northeast Louisiana until posted to YouTube.

What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?

I like it up close….a 400-yard shot is great, but a 40-yard shot gives you a FEELING that distance shots just can’t compete with.

When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?

Never had that happen, but I would convey Selfless Service to others IS what makes America the greatest country on the planet no matter what you do, do it for others.

EDITORS NOTE:  We hope you will go and check out The Hornets Nest.  The movie is about the real work of our soldiers in Afghanistan and looking at the trailer, we can’t wait to see it!

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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