David Long is co-founder of Alti2ude Outdoors and is an expert on high country mule deer hunting. His book Public Land Mulies: The Bottom Line gives its readers detailed insight into the way David chases mule deer and how he has been able to harvest multiple Boone & Crockett bucks on public land.
Anyone who has the drive to chase trophy mule deer on public land and has done their research, has heard of David Long. David has had published several stories of backcountry hunting success in big name outdoor magazines and has even written his own book detailing the methods he used to take those trophies.
Follow along Minneapolis Outdoor Examiner Christian McHugh and David Long as they talk backcountry hunting, filming, and more.
Who was your biggest outdoor influence growing up?
Three people come to mind: Kirt Darner, Chuck Adams and Dwight Schuh. After reading Kirt’s book, “How to Find Giant Bucks” back when I was in high school…..there was no doubt what my lifelong passion would be – hunting monster muleys. Unfortunately, Kirt’s reputation has been tainted by a few of his actions over the years, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was the one that made me want to be a trophy mule deer hunter.
What do you think is the best way to introduce youth and new hunters to the sport?
Through local hunting clubs. I witnessed this first hand when I lived in Big Piney, Wyoming. There was a local archery club that shot every week and it was impressive how many young kids would show up….they loved it! Not all of these kids grew up to be hunters, but most did. And the ones who didn’t, they still understood the important role hunting plays in conservation because of their time spent shooting in the club.
If you could hunt with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
I would say my grandpa. I really never knew him, he passed when I was extremely young, but I have heard stories of how much he really enjoyed hunting.
What is the biggest mistake you see people making when trying to film their own hunt?
Most people don’t get enough good quality footage of the hunt itself. They film the beginning and then maybe the kill, but they forget to film a lot of the smaller events which tie the entire hunt together. In order to have a good storyline that keeps the viewer interested, this is a must!
What do you think needs to remain the same or be changed in the way our country manages wildlife and natural resources?
This is a very tough question that has a lot of moving pieces and parts. I will simply answer it from a trophy hunting standpoint. I would like to see the number of tags reduced.
You and your wife Cheryl, along with Mike Duplan started Alti2ude Outdoors earlier in the year. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what the goal of the website is?
The site’s mission statement says it all: “ Alti2ude Outdoors is a website dedicated to celebrating the preparation, effort and experience of mountain hunting big game.”
The website has a prostaff that is second to none. We are also currently in the process of bringing a webmaster onboard. Once he gets rolling on the site, you will see a lot of changes coming to the site this winter.
Do you have any plans to write another book?
Yes, I do. I have some great topics that I want to cover, but honestly, it is tough trying to find the time to complete the project. I have no doubt it will be done……I just don’t know when.
Being a major backcountry hunter, what are the most common things you see new backcountry hunters being unprepared for?
The mental aspect…plain and simple. Just this year alone, I personally know of several hunters that cut their trips short because they were not mentally prepared. While it sounds glamorous to talk about spending a week hunting the backcountry on a solo hunt, it can be anything but that most times. Not seeing game, running out of water, being alone for many days, dealing with lightning, physical fatigue, can all mentally drain a guy and the end result usually ends in a shortened trip.
What was your most physically demanding hunt you’ve ever been on?
Believe it or not, it was just a week ago. It was my 2013 Colorado archery mule deer hunt. I hiked more miles and climbed more vertical than ever before. I lost 8 lbs in eight days of hunting. Never did kill a deer but got a great workout.
With all the talk of chasing mulies in the high country over the past 10 years or so, where do you see the state of high mountain mule deer going in the future? (pressure, human presence, populations)
Populations are down right now while hunting pressure is extremely high. I don’t see this changing over the course of the next few years. Unfortunately, this has resulted in “lesser quality” hunts than hunters experienced only a few short years ago. It will cycle. It always does. But for now, if you are wanting a quality experience, a hunter should be seeking out limited quota units.
In your time in the backcountry, have you had any encounters with wolves, lions, or grizzlies?
I have seen numerous mountain lions over the years, but have never had any encounters with wolves or grizzlies.
Some folks might not now that you are an avid marathon runner. How does your drive to run marathon’s help fuel your success on the mountain?
The benefits were never so evident as this year in Colorado. As mentioned earlier, I covered more miles and climbed more vertical feet on this hunt than on any previous hunt. But, with that being said, my conditioning from all of my training was such that I was able to march up and down the hills at 13,000’ in elevation all day long….everyday! Currently I am training for the 2014 Leadville 100 mile race and I can honestly say, at age 47, I am in the best shape of my life.
If you would like to find out more about David and western big game hunting, check out Alti2udeoutdoors.com.