Over Twenty years, it’s hard to believe we have been watching Archer’s Choice all this time. We literally have watched you two grow together, RJ grow up before our eyes and so many great hunts. What is your absolute favorite memory from the years of shooting TV together?
This a hard first question, LOL! We have had so many great memories all across the globe. We have bee blessed to share so much with our son RJ, from deer hunting to stalking water buffalo in Australia and nearly everything in between. However these times now are so exciting for RJ is with us full time and watching him grow into a true outdoorsman, learning searching and exploring.
I think as we look back the one time that stands out more than any other is we were all actually hunting deer at home, RJ, Vicki & I were in a ground blind and spotted a deer coming out, and you could hear RJ, Mom & Dad’s heart start pounding, I was on the camera and RJ had his shotgun tag as the doe walked through the window openings I told RJ to wait for it wasn’t on camera! And right in the moment he looked up and ask Mom & Dad why does everything have to be on camera………Right then I looked at Vicki & she looked at me and I turned off the camera and we both told him to shoot when he has the shot….and he did and it was a perfect shot!!!!! We learned right then from a 10yr old boy what is truly important in life!
Moose, Bears, Sheep, Turkey, Elk, Whitetail, Mule Deer. If you could only hunt one, which one is it and why?
We love it all, to hunt only one would be devastating to all! We need to be stewards of the land & animals but if your just imagining we guess in the spring we would start with our turkey, then head north for bear, climbing the peaks in August for sheep, then climb down the valley into the swamps and rivers to chase moose, pack them out and bugle in a bull elk then head to the Midwest for Whitetails and then back west for the rut of the mule deer…Oh and in between we would hunt some squirrels and do some waterfowl, chase some hogs and kill some predators. I guess our DNA just does not allow us to hunt just one…..LOL
RJ is growing up, tell us about his new show Moving Forward.
We are so proud of him, he had this idea and wanted him and his buddy, Case Kempfer who are both two rednecks, one from the south and RJ from the Midwest who are not college material but rather to young men who are willing to work hard and want to learn. So that is what they are doing, traveling all around learning from real mentors who made a good living in the labor force, jobs that make a difference and are truly fulfilling. They really have a good thing going and their goal is to help all their young viewers show them what is out there for them, have fun learning and educating not only themselves but all who watch.
Ralph, back in 2015, you had a scary incident after a photo shoot with your heart. Tell us about what happened and what advice you can offer to other men who often ignore their health.(I ask this because I also have had heart issues)
We were on a photo shoot and I just wasn’t feeling good, I felt some pressure on my chest and just not normal. Vicki noticed it but I wanted to get through the shoot, then headed back home and payed down. She woke me a little bit later and asked how I felt and there was no change she went and got a blood pressure kit from Mom down the road and checked me. That was when she gave me the option to either have her drive me to the hospital or she was calling 911. Well even though I am stubborn I agreed to her driving me in.
The next thing I know is the doctor said they are bringing the ambulance around and taking to me to Rockford immediately. My pressure was climbing like crazy and this was serious!
The bottom line is don’t kid yourself, do not take any chances, if you are not feeling right the only thing to do is go get checked, stop being that macho guy or girl and saying I got this! I learned we don’t have this it is out of our hands and pay true attention to the warning signs. I did and thanks to my wife I am still here doing what I love and enjoying my family & friends.
I ended up having 97% blockage on the widow maker and if I was up on a mountain, in a tree stand or just walking in the woods alone I probably would not be here today.
DO your love ones a favor and don’t take chances…..if something feels off go get checked. Hope your doing better as well….
Over the 20 years of filming together, what have you learned about each other?
We both have learned how so many couples can not spend as much time as we do together. LOL! We are probably together 360 days a year and yes we have those times but if you work together learn each others attributes and understand this is a partnership and you must be willing to go the extra mile for each other then you will realize you truly did find your sole mate. Oh and I learned to always make sure Vicki has her coffee in the mornings. NO MATTER WHAT!
I, Vicki learned that Ralph has a drive in him like no other, no matter how he feels, he is going to push the limits and himself to total exhaustion. He truly does love what he has been able to do and can tell you all that when you can share the outdoors with your family, you are blessed beyond belief.
What is the absolute best innovation the two of you have seen over the last 20 years?
APPS, the ability to track, view and scout with your handheld little phone. We never imagined this possible, we used to study topo maps, had to buy them all and had a pile of them laying around. We could only imagine what it actually looked like where we were heading and when we got there we were surprised to learn we we wrong. Had to call the local airports in the area we were hunting to get the best weather forecast. Always trying to figure out where exactly we were and hopefully being on the right property. We carried a GPS around and struggled on how to work it. We had to try and map out where we walked and what we saw by memory and so on.
Twenty years ago, we didn’t even have social media. What do you like about social media and what advice would you give to hunters about posting online?
Oh boy this is a good one. First off keyboards give gonads to those who never had any to begin with! Learned this early on and came to realize 10% of the people do 110% of the complaining out there. We know that more arrests have been made due to people posting things that they shouldn’t. Remember special media in instant, and make Dang sure your are following all the game laws in the area before taking a photos and sharing it. Example, in almost every state and province the animal must be tagged before moving the carcass, just go on line during hunting season and see all the deer, bears etc….in the back of trucks, on UTV’s and positioned perfect for photos and no tags on them. BUSTED! Also remember social media once posted is there for ever, and stupid things are there forever. Pay close attention to what you post, never disrespect the animals or the land and for that each other as well. Social media can be a good tool, but with some may wanting their 15 seconds of fame to many are doing things that can hurt all our great lifestyles rather than help it.
I guess the other thing is what we have always tried to stand up for and that is to stop the fighting amongst our own. Stop picking apart eachother and if someone is hunting or using a weapon you wouldn’t use or participate in and its legal, stop bitching. We all need to know and understand we are the minority and the more we fight amongst ourselves the seeker we all become. We are not political people, but the only way we can protect what we love and cherish is to get out and vote for any individuals who truly believe in our lifestyle.
You recently partnered with BaseMap the Hunting and Land App. What is it about this app that drew you to the platform?
First off the people behind it! They are hunters and listen to all to make a better tool for all. How cool is it to have in your pack or pocket a phone that can show you property lines, track movement, sign and weather. Yes they have lots of features however just having the ability to map out your movement or the animals sign, understand boundaries and weather conditions, and don’t forget all the other benefits this truly is a tool that we all need.
How is this app a real benefit for Eastern Whitetail Hunters?
For many years so many thought of this Basemap App as just for western hunters and that is so far from the truth. Deer hunters have never had it so good, to have all this info at their fingertips, property lines, weather, tracking and you can scout right off your phone and not even contaminate a new area. It allows you to be more targeted in your approach and how cool is it you and your hunting group can share what you all learned and help each other out.
With Tracking, Land Lines, Trail Marking, Scrap Marking, Stand Set ups, what feature if your favorite inside of Basemap.
Let’s be clear, we love it all! Ralph, is like most guys, not really a tech guy, and he can use it and gets so excited coming back and sharing it with RJ & I. We used to write notes and keep them around to make better choices on stand placement and where to hunt. Now the notes are all gone and stored on our IPads and phones. We love it!
You admitted to losing a few Spypoint Trail Cameras but now you can mark them inside the app what are other ways that you are using the app to take notes and keep track for future hunts?
Whether running only a couple cameras or a bunch, no matter if you have a lot of land to hunt or just a little, public or private. Never being to the area before, BASEMAP can help you in all the aspects and more and we can tell you talking to the team on a regular basis, they get it and are always willing to listen and try and make things better for all of us. This is the support and team we wanted to get behind and are so excited for the future. Don’t be afraid of this technology, it is just a tremendous way to help keep us all safe, smart and become a better outdoors person! I’m not a techy guy but they believe in keeping it simple for all to learn, share and make that next outdoor experience another great one…
Thank you both…You are both and always have been an inspiration to me personally and the most gracious folks I have met in the industry.
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