Category Archives: Backpack Hunting

Dana goes REALLY BIG on the Facebook Pack Giveway!

Did you win?!  Watch the video to find out!!!


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Disc Golf, Military & Tactical, Mountains & Trails, Mystery Ranch Employees, Playing with Fire, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, What's Hot | 10 Comments



My introduction to antler hunting was a parody.  Seventeen elk sheds the first year and ten the second led me to think I had found a honey hole.  Assuming the following years would produce equally high yields I sold many of them to a local chandelier builder.  $350 was the reward – I had hoped for $900.

The secret spot was discovered the third spring.  Snowmobiles and four-wheelers had scavenged the place.  I witnessed two individuals chase down a six point bull on their four-wheelers, hooting and hollering, trying to get him to drop his antlers.  Their arrogance and lack of respect disgusted me.  Ethics should play a role in all types of hunting.

I’ve been shed hunting for eight years now.  After the grandeur of the first two years, I’ve come to value the antlers I find a whole lot more.  The sentimental value of each one, even if it’s chewed up, has more worth than the money they fetch.  Although the chewed up sheds usually do become dog bones.

My house is loaded with deer and elk antlers.  They are the primary decorative piece, despite my family’s and roommate’s objection.  In my kitchen alone there are twenty two … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountains & Trails, Trip Reports | 12 Comments

Shed Obsession

As the landscape changes from a fresh blanket of snow to a green world of new life it becomes harder for us as sportsmen to fill the obsession of being in the outdoors. It seems like yesterday we were climbing into our tree stands and settling in behind our spotting scopes in hopes of pursuing the animals we obsess about all year long. Now that the season is over it is once again time to prepare for the season to come.

Scouting for deer in our world begins with hunting for sheds. This process starts in early winter when we start to search for areas that our deer are wintering in. This year we did a late December archery mule deer hunt with Sitka Athletes Mark Seacat and Jeff Simpson. Our primary strategy was to hunt over food sources. With ground blinds brushed into the cover of alfalfa round bales we settled into to sub-zero degree temperatures to embark on our hunt.

During this time of year the numbers of deer observed per sit is high. In a good evening we would see up to 150 mule deer. On the third night Jeff was able to connect with mature mule … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Trip Reports | 5 Comments

Winners Announced!!! 2011 Mystery Ranch Photo and Video Contest


The entries have been received, the chads dimpled, ties settled with sewing machines at 20 paces and recounts recounted. We are proud to announce and showcase the winners of the 2011 Mystery Ranch photo and video contest. Congratulations to grand prize winners Ryan Krueger, Matthew Irving and KGB Productions and thanks to everyone who entered your unbelievably awesome photos and videos.… READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Disc Golf, Military & Tactical, Mountains & Trails, Mystery Ranch Employees, Mystery Ranch on Denali, Playing with Fire, Skiing, Stories from the Floor, Trip Reports, What's Hot | Leave a comment

“Seacat Season” Slideshow

NWT Mountain Caribou


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Dana DNA, Mountains & Trails, Mystery Ranch Employees, Trip Reports | 6 Comments

2010 – A Year For Me to Remember


As my 2010 hunting year comes to a close, I know I have been blessed with many opportunities and more than my share of success. In visiting with Mark Seacat, he asked if I wanted to write a short blog about my hunts. I’m certainly not much of a writer but I have a lot of respect for Mark and the products that he represents so I’ll make a stab at it.

I had several very memorable hunts this year but probably the highlight was my trip to the NWT to hunt with Ram Head Outfitters. My goal was to take a sheep, caribou and moose with my bow. On the third day of the hunt while stalking a nice 140 class ram, we ran into a real monster of a ram. With the conditions not being the best for stalking into bow range, I made the decision to take the ram with the guide’s rifle at 265 yards. He was a beautiful 10 1/2 year old ram with horns that stretched the tape to 41″ in length and 14″ bases. After drying, he officially netted 167 5/8″ B&C.

My Mystery Ranch 6500 really served me well for multiple uses.


Posted in Backpack Hunting, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Steven Drake’s 2010 Montana Hunting Season Slideshow



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My Rifle Gives Me Little Advantage


The elk have moved out of the high country and into the thick and dense low lands.  The bulls are grouping up and have quit bugling.  My sight and sound advantage has been taken away.  A positive attitude and the liklihood of snow are all I’ve got now.

This year I’ve been blessed with drawing a limited entry elk permit in a unit with high potential for big bulls.  I am able to archery hunt AND rifle hunt.  Previous years I’ve only been allowed to archery hunt.  Last September, I was fortunate enough to take a beautiful six point bull the third week of the bow season, in this unit. My success left me optimistic about this fall’s opportunities.  So far, that opportunity has been just out of reach.

Elk season started off with me walking up on another archer’s kill that was never recovered.  The meat was too far gone by the time I found him.  I left the bull hoping that the hunter would eventually find him and punch out their tag.

I hunted the low country the first two weeks of the season with a few chances on smaller bulls.  The rut was slow to start so … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountains & Trails, Mystery Ranch Employees, Trip Reports | 3 Comments

Preston Edwards. A Hunting Industry Insider’s view on the Crew Cab

2009 Colorado Muzzleloader Buck

I’ll admit, I had my doubts when Mark Seacat of Mystery Ranch Packs started his sales pitch about how great his packs are. I have tried a lot of packs and liked very few of them over the years, and I didn’t expect much different out of these ones. Mark wouldn’t back down though, and I did know from previous conversations with him that he was not just another salesman pitching a product. He is a hard core hunter that, unlike many sales guys, actually really uses the products he sells, and he takes it to extremes when he does. A quick glance at the photos on his iPhone had proven that.

I kept listening. Before I knew it he had me fitted, had a Crew Cab pack loaded with 80 pounds worth of sandbags, and made me pack the thing around the floor of the Western Hunting Expo where he was giving me this rundown. After carrying this huge pack around for awhile with relative ease and comfort Mark had my attention for sure, but carrying a pack around indoors on nice carpeted floors is hardly a test to write home about. I was still skeptical, but I liked … READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountains & Trails, Trip Reports | 2 Comments

2010 Montana Archery Antelope Hunt – VIDEO

Pronghorn at sunset

The learning curve in hunting as an archer is steep.  Many seasons of spot and stalk techniques have left me close but empty handed. After years of hard work and persistence, I was fortunate enough to harvest my first Pronghorn Antelope with archery equipment.  This short video documents my first two weeks of the season – from stalk to harvest. Enjoy!… READ MORE >

Posted in Backpack Hunting, Mountains & Trails, Mystery Ranch Employees, Trip Reports, Uncategorized | 5 Comments