Today on Wired To Hunt we’ve got a great interview with one of the the top hunters and archers in the nation, John Dudley. Dudley has been writing for outdoor publications, competing for the US Archery team across the world and chasing big game from the mountains out west to the crop fields of the Midwest. And now John is hosting his own show on the Sportsman Channel, Nock On TV. John was kind enough to take some time recently from his day to give the Wired To Hunt Nation the scoop on Nock On TV, how his competitive archery success has helped his hunting, tips for out of state hunting and much more!
W2H: John, for those unfamiliar with Nock On TV, can you tell us how you’re show is different from other hunting programs?
John: Nock On TV is a show that I think will entertain as well as inform. I realize that there are a lot of really good shows out there and quite frankly there is only so many shows that people are going to watch. I want to make a show that is entertaining enough so people will include it in their list but also deliver helpful advice along the way. I am fortunate to have been able to be an avid hunter as well as an avid pro level archer. Although they are similar in many ways, they are different in many ways too. I started shooting competitive archery because I wanted to be a better bow hunter. That is really the main reason. I took a lot of coaching and had a lot of help from some veteran archers along the way. My career has really been through all the ups and downs of what an archer can go through. I feel that because of this experience it allows me to relate to the everyday archer and understand what they are going through and help them in trouble areas. Nock On TV is a show that represents the diehard year round archers who compete and hunt passionately. The TV show is simply a larger platform for me to deliver the good messages about archery. Like I said before, I have been fortunate to have started out as a backyard hunter shooting at pie plates to now competing for the US Archery Team. Many people are responsible for improving my shooting and I feel a responsibility to give back to the archery community what I was given. I think as viewers watch the show they see that passion unfold and relate well to it.
W2H: Given you’re tournament archery experience, what from your archery background has helped you the most in the hunting world, and what from your hunting experience has most helped you in tournaments?
John: This is a great question and honestly it is something that everyone should be able to answer. If you are a hunter and haven’t competed on some level then you are missing out! If you are a competitor and haven’t hunted then you too are missing out!!
Competitive archery is what taught me how good I really am with a bow and it also taught me how bad I am. My hunger to be better as a target archer is what motivated me to get over my #1 trouble of target panic. It was tough but once I did that there was no looking back. Also target archery helped me extend my range and that has greatly improved my success rate. Without being un-ethical if you are able to add 10-20 yards on your effective range it is a serious bonus in the hunting woods. The pressure of target archery has really helped my mental game as well and helps me keep my hunting nerves in order. Instead of feeling frogs in my throat when I big buck is coming in, I am able to settle down and make a shot count. Hunting on the other hand continually teaches me patience. Sometimes it is your day, most the time it is not. Being a hunter teaches you to appreciate the moments when you are not killing something, you enjoy the moment and the surroundings. At tournaments I always did the same. I put in my time and was prepared but knew that I couldn’t always be coming home with a trophy.
W2H: When it came to whitetails, how did your 2010 season go?
John: 2010 was good to me. I shot a really nice buck in Kansas which I worked hard for in some nasty conditions. Then in Iowa I was trying to learn a new farm and put in about 45 days before having an opportunity at a really nice buck. Probably the oldest deer I have shot which I am really happy about. Both bucks came right after some tremendous rainfall so it took a lot of wet pants and cold shivers before I had my chance. Both shots were on the money so I can credit my practice and target shooting for getting me ready for those two moments.
W2H: I’ve been following your experiences over the last couple years, and have really been impressed with your ability to travel from state to state, quickly devise a strategy and put a mature buck down in a short number of days. What advice could you give to the Wired To Hunt Nation about hunting like this?
John: Yes, I am the kind of hunter that each year buys a tag in each of the midwest states. As soon as I strike one I move to another state. I am not gone every day of hunting season but I do travel 4 days at a crack usually so I can be home with family in between. It is tough to be honest and I do think I have a lucky horseshoe somewhere. The bottom line is TIMING. When the weather is right and when the rut is right you need to be able to strike and move again. I remember in 2006 I shot 3 P&Y bucks in 3 states in 4 days. The rut was in action and the moon was perfect so IL, Iowa and Kansas were hammer down for rut activity. I focus on thicker areas where I know bucks cruise looking for the doe’s that are hiding. Also something to make sure you do, and probably most importantly, is SIT ALL DAY! This is so valuable and mentally you need to prepare yourself to do this during November. I know it is tough and after a week or two you start talking to yourself and all the other weird things, BUT you will have a shot! My last 5 bucks during the rut have come after 10:30. That is what I think about and what keeps me in the stand. Once it is Halloween I start packing to stay for the long haul. Also, I like to hunt areas that have lower pressure. You don’t see me hunting with big name outfitters and the reason is I don’t like hunting areas that have had 10 guys in that tree already. You are better off going to an area with lower pressure even if it doesn’t look as good on a map. You will be surprised. Last, but certainly not least, is don’t get too caught up in shooting bucks as big as what is on TV. I have made the mistake to get caught up in passing deer I shouldn’t because I keep thinking about these giant bucks on the TV. Reality is that won’t happen, so that is why you see me shooting deer 120+. I am sure if the readers follow that recipe then success will come!