ElkShape Podcast CLAY HAYES

ElkShape Podcast CLAY HAYES – Today we get to sit down in person and chat with History Channels’ Alone Season 8 Winner Clay Hayes. I met Clay a few years prior to him participating in the show while he was primarily doing YouTube and bow building. It was a very enjoyable conversation on how he decided to quit his steady corporate job as a Wildlife Biologist and go out on his own as a YouTuber. Clay is a remarkable woodsman and outdoorsman, we get to know his story and some behind the scenes of the making of the show Alone.
@clayhayeshunter

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[Music] Thank you [Music] Guys what's up we're in uh Idaho hanging Out with the homie clay Hayes season Eight alone winner that's what probably Most people introduce you guys but I'm Introducing as badass real bow hunter so That's like self bows stick boasts like Trad life like real bow hunting And uh family man and a guy who uh gets After it so welcome to the podcast man Appreciate it appreciate the opportunity Thanks for letting us invade your space I like in-person podcasts way more Got a boxer dog what's your dog's name That's Lily Lily I grew up with boxers yeah yeah My mom my mom raised quite a few litter They're good dogs yeah she's pretty Smart how old is she I think she's nine She's getting up there yeah yeah they're Good getting a little gray face yeah They're always excited so man like You won alone I did yep So you should be retired right like That's what it's amazing how many Comments I've got like that oh man You're set now I just want to know how Much does the government take out they Take a a third of it yeah so the Government was stoked that you won oh Yeah yeah so there's that and then you Clear that or you know then you're in a

Different category you probably weren't In so there's just certain limitations So More Money More Problems uh but I Really like your story like uh wildlife Biologist by trade for Idaho Fish and Game working on habitat We'll get into that uh Uh decided to take the leap And tried doing like this digital era Thing where like you do YouTube and quit Your stability every two weeks Paycheck yep to go do what you really Wanted to do man are you crazy I am Quite possibly yes yeah It was uh it was a it wasn't a hard Decision for me but it was a it Definitely like when I went in to give My notice my heart was pounding I mean It was in my throat but it was like man Once I did that and I walked out of that Office after giving my two weeks no or Yeah after giving my notice like I was Free It's like That is a Feeling That is Indescribable really like I can do Whatever I want to You didn't grow up in Idaho no no I grew Up in Northwest Florida Um grew up on a a ranch my dad's a Cutting horse trainer So I grew up riding horses dealing with Cows we raised bison when I was a kid my

Parents sold bison meat So I grew up on that stuff And grew up at a time when Northwest Florida at least our part was a very Rural area it's been kind of co-opted Into Pensacola now it's a big there's Other houses and people everywhere now But when I was a kid it's all Pine Forest bobwhite quail Cotton tails and uh just big Open Country and I had lots of lots of land I Could roam around on and spend time in The in the swamps and Be a feral kid feral kids where it's at There's not enough of them anymore it's A Dying Breed yeah which is scary Well we uh we give ours free reign so They're they're pretty doggone feral we Have to make them take a shower they Come in the house and their feet are Black and all it's like dude you gotta You gotta get in the shower before you Get in bed that's fair uh how old were You when you finally came out and Visited out west first time I ever went West was I was probably 13 14 something like that Um And I can't remember it was Pueblo Colorado or Gillette Wyoming but we went Out for the High School Rodeo finals the National High School Rodeo finals I I Um I made finals in The Cutting which if

You're not familiar with cutting you Just have to Google it Um it's a judged event it's not like you Know roping or riding bulls or anything Any of the other rodeo events that you'd Normally be objective be familiar with Yeah but yep I went out for the the High School Rodeo finals and fell in love With it knew that this is where I needed To be And so um Went to uh went to college for natural Resources Wildlife Sciences Ended up getting a masters from Mississippi State and then once I Graduated with that we uh Liz and I Loaded up everything we owned which all Fit in the back of a half ton pickup and We drove to Idaho Of all places yep did you have a job Lined out or you just drove to Idaho we Had I first came out Um To Idaho for a temporary job temporary Technician so we came out had six months Job worked this summer went back to Florida for that winter and then came Back out the next year And then got hired on as a permanent Technician which then I got took a Promotion into a wildlife biologist and That was in 2009 or 10 I can't remember it must have Been 10 because that's when we moved up

Here we were in southeast Idaho around Idaho Falls Um but then moved up here near Lewiston Uh in 2010 I think You met Liz in college did you guys grow High School sweethearts how did you guys Meet yeah we uh we we started data in High school so we've been together since We were 17. Dang yep she grew up You know I don't know 10 miles down the Road Yep that's cool you guys got two boys Yeah Kauai and Finn 10 and 13. Finn is uh he's he's running around here Somewhere I'm sure you get to see him Um Cory's still sleeping I'm sure yeah Finn's the hunter uh Coy doesn't really Care about it yeah yeah he's uh he Doesn't he doesn't really care to get Out there he likes to hike and backpack And stuff like that like to fish but Doesn't really care about the hunting uh Finn Actually does like his when I have him On a bow hunting video like they do way Better than mine he's got a he did a uh We went down to South Florida Uh this past year and uh got to hunt With my buddy Scott creeping down there And Finn ended up shooting two pigs with His little bow right there with the the Red and white fletchings on it it'll Send you back dosage bow and smack two

Pigs with it and he shot one right out From underneath me I was sitting there Waiting for this pig he Finn's sitting On the ground and I'm standing up and There's palm you know palm fronds Everywhere I'm waiting for this pig to Clear a palm frond and all of a sudden I Hear swack Yeah and he shot this pig before I ever Got a shot I was like you little turd Love it good job Finn no that's cool to Wildlife biology master's degree We were kind of joking earlier but like There's a lot of newer Hunters coming to The scene adult onset maybe from covid Maybe it's just because we have a lot of Human beings and urban sprawl I don't Care why but your phone probably rang a Lot with the same dumb asses Asking the same dumbass questions where Should I go hunting you're the biologist Oh yeah So at uh when I was working for fish and Game there's Um all of the biologists have to rotate Through the front office like one day a Month you gotta spend in the front Office answering phones answering People's questions and stuff like that And come on Um and so you know in August You start if that's you get you get your Days in August September then you start Getting those calls and you'll get

You'll you'll get 50 calls a day and and It's the same call 50 times a day you Know sometimes you'll get a guy that Calls and he's done his research And he's saying you know I'm interested In going into this drainage or that like What's the elk population doing in this Unit he's got specific questions you Know that that guy you can help like you Can answer that guy's questions like Okay you know if I've ever been in if He's asking about a specific drainage if I've ever been in there I'll say yeah You know you can expect this type of Stuff or whatever or you can answer Questions about how population Trends And things like that Um but the guy that calls and say hey Going to I'm thinking about going to Idaho just looking for a place to go It's like I can't help that guy because I get that call 50 times a day and I Don't have A thousand different places that I can Send people you know I can make General Recommendations like okay what type of Hunt do you want to do like are you are You wanting to do a 10-day Back Country Backpacking trip are you looking to car Camp are you like what's your physical Abilities how much effort do you want to Put into it that type of stuff and I can Kind of give them some general ideas but I can't like I can't tell them to go you

Know I can't give them a GPS location no you Cannot yeah no that's great uh so guys Listening if that is you biologist then There's difference like in Idaho you Guys had like habitat biologists like Yourself but then you had like Populations biologists too right that do The aerial surveys and the studies and The objectives and CAF counts and Collaring animals and you know there's Some good questions to ask like once You've done your prerequisite homework Yeah Um really start picking the brains of The biologists once you know kind of the Lay of the land hey is this road open I Was thinking about hitting this Trailhead and here was my strategy yeah It's gonna be able here Camp here have You seen any elk feed on this feature What is like The Fringe food like get Into the ask them the biology questions I'm sure you guys have tons of Information absolutely yeah yeah you Just got to do your research and there's A lot of information in the the elk Management plans too I mean all of the Units are broken down in there they all Have cow calf bull ratios and then There's tons of harvest statistics on The uh on the internet so there's lots Of information out there to be had yeah Did you ever get involved in the

Surveying uh or the Aerials or I did I've done some aerial surveys I didn't Like doing it because It's incredibly dangerous I mean you're It's high risk flying because you're Flying very very low Oftentimes you're flying you know In in trees basically Um And it's the number one killer of Wildlife biologists so it's not Something I wanted to be doing but I Mean I did it when I was younger it's Fun it's really fun to do you know when You're out on winter range and there's 3 000 elk in a herd and you're breaking Them apart and Counting groups of them And pushing you know it's it's fun but It's also very dangerous yeah that makes Sense The Panhandle northern Idaho doesn't Have an objective for Oak which has Always been kind of like I've never understood why other than Maybe it's just impossible for them to Know their numbers because of the way That it's the land features the Topography the timber Um Did you ever get hear the reasons why No I I don't have any idea I worked in The Clearwater region and it's it might It may have something to do with the How they do their surveys or how the

Um how the topography and the cover Affects their ability to do surveys I Don't really know like when I was doing The surveys I was in Southern Idaho Where their winter range is wide open I Mean it's Sagebrush and maybe Specifically in South Dakota I was uh so I was the senior Tech at Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area which is a big Winter range Uh little south east of Idaho Falls and There's there was at least when I was There I don't know what the populations Are now But when I was there they were Gobs and gobs of elk and I mean it's It's a cool area yeah there's a That area got hit pretty hard with snow This year And south of there in Utah and Wyoming That whole little like triangle in there I'm wondering how those oak numbers are Doing I kind of pay attention yeah the Snowpacks we'll see uh how long you been Elk hunting man First season was probably 2008 or nine I can't remember exactly But Um it took me a long time to kill an elk With a bow I killed a few of the with my Flintlock there those first couple years But I don't think I killed an elk For like with a bow for maybe six or Seven seasons yeah and I mean I made

Some like if I I had some great Opportunities like if I knew what I know Now and could go back then and have some Of those same opportunities I could have Killed elk every year But they were just I mean I grew up in The Southeast hunting whitetails and our Whitetails I'm not I'm talking Florida Whitetail so I like a a mature dough Might be 80 pounds You know mature Buck the first deer I Ever shot was a five and a half year old Uh four by fours we called him an eight Point down there and he dressed out at 98 pounds so I grew up hunting these Things I mean I like dogs and then to Come out west and to be close to an Animal that's five six maybe 700 pounds That's like a freaking horse man And they were just intimidating Um and I was hunting them like Whitetails like being super like it Um You know if a whitetail A whitetail might Um Catch a glimpse of you and you might not Spook it off but if they are even the Least bit curious about something about You like they're Never Gonna Let You Get Drawn on them you're never going to be Able to draw on that deer and I was the Same I was just too timid about them I Wasn't aggressive enough with the elk I

Didn't know what I could get away with And now I've think I've pretty well got It figured out like I mean you can be Pretty damn aggressive with elk like I Walk through the woods just Intentionally breaking stuff Um and a lot of times you can walk right Up on them Yeah it's a huge huge feature at the Camps we do is like you're not white Toning no and it's the a lot of these Guys from the Midwest and East are Coming out west and it's a different Mindset there is no sneaking and if You're sneaking you're a predator if You're a predator they're not going to Have tolerance but if you're loud and Obnoxious You're going to have a chance and then The amount of Crap you can get away with especially if Like a cow or an elk just any type of Bull is maybe picked you off And you just happen to vocalize a little With a cow call or something while You're drawing your bow back and they Watch you draw your bow back it's Incredible you would never get away Without the whites no right I definitely Think people air on the side of passive Passivity versus being aggressive with Elk and that's why the learning curves Are long mine was too mine was uh five Minutes in Washington killed him with a

Rifle Wanted to get a bow yeah because they Bugle right so got a bow in 2002 And I went to Idaho from 2002 and it Wasn't until 2009 that I killed my first Idaho Bull with a bow now I had some Success in New Mexico I put an asterisk Next to that because it's not North Idaho it's it's it wasn't where at my Home elk Turf I killed a couple Bulls in Montana But man I'm telling you right now like 2002 to 2009 was that's seven years of Pounding the brush Not killing a bull and it wasn't because Of opportunity it's because I knew how To make every mistake yep and I wouldn't Trade honestly I wouldn't trade those Years for anything it's made me the Hunter I am today yeah yeah so yeah I Put in a lot of miles a lot of sore feet And had some amazing experiences yeah I Mean some of the some of the best Experiences I had elk hunting happened During that time I never got to draw my Bow but I I mean like one uh One experience that I constantly Remember is I was probably had been Outcome for maybe three years and had I Was up on a ridge and had seen a cow or A a bull and maybe five or six cows in This valley below me it was late in the Evening so the next morning I got up on There they were back in there I just

Caught the tail end of the last cow Going up into the timber so I hustled Down there got on their Trail And tracked them uh they had gone Through a creek and they'd splashed mud All everything so I tracked them for Like four hours until like I don't know 11 o'clock And uh figured they were bedded Somewhere so I just kind of chilled Pulled out my uh lunch out of my pack And started eating lunch and from Not far 70 yards away maybe just over a Knoll I hear a bugle I mean they were Right there I didn't know it But I crept up to this thing and I could See this bull he was a nice bull but he Was running his cows around you know Doing all of the the herd Behavior Stretching his neck out and checking Cows and this and that and I had a cow Come up the Ridge and come walking Straight to me and dang their step on me I mean she stopped and was looking down At me and I'm I'm kind of like hunkered Down with my bow and she caught me off Guard she came over my right shoulder And I was like facing this way so I Couldn't have I couldn't turn to shoot So I just sit there And she eventually she looked at me for I don't know 10 15 seconds like that and Spooked and wheeled and ran off but Didn't bark

And when she did that the bull come Charging up the hill and he stopped just On the other side of a little fur tree That was eight yards away Bugling I mean when a when a animal that Big bugles that close to you it's like You it vibrates your chest and that was Like one of the really one of the first Really close Encounters I had with a big bull and I I'll remember that till the day I died You will yep I got several of those Types of stories and it's it does Something to you Well I'm obsessed with El cunning it's My North Star man yeah Um I mean I love hunting but no elk is What we keep our eyes on the prize I Love it and I hate it it it's tough and It's getting harder we kind of talked About this off camera a little bit but Like you know we're gonna get into the YouTube thing a little bit um I love YouTube I hate YouTube just like L Cleaning I love elkany I hate elk Hunting uh but I like things that are Hard I'm drawing of things that are Challenging that's elk hunting for sure There's a ton of physicality and more Mentality in my opinion elk hunting you Just got to be kind of tough we're Really lucky but if you're tough and a Little lucky man sky's the limit now Same with YouTube you've been doing

YouTube for how long think I think I put My first video up in 2008 or nine yeah Somewhere right now just yet you hadn't Given two weeks notice yet you're oh no No that was way before you got a real Job yeah yeah and you're like I like Making bows I'm gonna I'm gonna put a Video of me making my bow yep yeah that I I started making YouTube videos Um just on bow making Um Not didn't have any inclination that you Could make money doing it I just enjoyed The creative process of it process of it And uh I like making bows and I like Teaching people how to make bows and so That was a perfect platform for doing That yeah So fast forward I think you said it best earlier but Like at some point It caught on like yeah people were Noticing you're growing a platform You're growing a community yep I so I Started with the bow building video Started doing some bow hunting type Stuff did a film like my first what I Call a film uh premiered at the Backcountry hunters and Anglers Rendezvous in Denver That was in 2013 and that's when it Really kind of started picking up a Little bit I started doing an Educational series with BHA called

Backcountry College just random outdoor Stuff how to build a fire in the rain How to tie knots How to lift a bag you know for a bear Hang that type of stuff Um and I started making a little bit of Money at it Um and then by the time 2017 came along Almost 10 years after I started Um I got to the point where I was making Fair a fair bit of money but I was only Spending maybe five percent of my time The YouTube thing is what I really Wanted to be doing and so I I knew that I could make it like if I invested all My time in it and really gave it a go I Knew that I could make it But you know making that decision to do That it made Liz super nervous because It meant like to take that leap meant That we had no insurance we had no Steady paycheck coming in It gave up all of our security like we Had no nothing to fall back on really And um but I knew that even if the YouTube thing didn't work out like I Could make a living doing something I Can build barns I could do something to Make I'm like we're not going to lose The house you know And so in in the fall of 2017 I walked in to my supervisor office gave My two weeks notice and then walked out

Like I said earlier I walked out of that Office and I was free And it was you know my heart was in my Throat when I went in there to give my Notice But it's like Joy When you when you finally do it and you Walk out and you're like Holy cow man I I can do whatever I want I am totally free that's powerful and There's a lot of people that envy that Or at least look up to that or would Potentially even be willing to To hear this and go for it themselves so Do you have words of advice what have You learned along this journey I don't Think you went to business school no and There's some business involved but I'm Going to call you an influencer because That's kind of what you are and I hate That word despise it but what best Practices what have you learned man from The business side of things Well when you When you go out on your own like this Like there's no the The biggest challenge is that there's no Like Pre-worn in career path it's like you Don't know like everybody that does this Does it differently And so you have you can't like look at This guy and say okay I'm gonna do it

This way or if I if I work like at this Job I'm going to get this promotion then I can do this and this leads to this Like no there's none of that There's none of that and it's like I Describe like I've tried so many Different things that just don't go Anywhere Um and I I describe it as like have you Ever been in a you ever been in a deep Cave where you like you can't see your Face like there's some lava tubes in South Idaho where you can get back in There and you can't there is no light And it's like being in that You have no concept of where to go and You're like feeling your way around this Dark cave looking for an opening and you Might feel like a little recess and you You might explore that And it may go somewhere and it may not But you got to check it out and Eventually you know you can kind of find A direction that works for you and That's what I've done like I've I mean Like I said I've tried all all kinds of Stuff that doesn't work and you got to Figure out what works for you and what You're comfortable doing Um and what allows you to be genuine Um But yeah there's there's no there's no Like career path that goes along with This but as far as like

Taking the leap and doing it Um you're never going to be ready I Don't think to do that like you're never Going to be At least I wasn't uh I just knew that I Could do it Um and it really Took some convincing for Liz because she Was super nervous about it but Eventually you know she figured that it Was actually working and and got behind It 100 and she does all the business Stuff now she does all the she takes Care of all the stuff that I don't Like doing yeah my wife does the same Thing I uh she was a nurse for Forever and then uh honestly the main Reason She stopped being a nurse was like I Noticed like the day she'd go to the Hospital We have two little ones a six and Eight-year-old they're not little Anymore but um man like it kind of put a Dent in my ability to do elk shape all Day Because it just I got to get him ready For school I gotta take him to school I Gotta make their lunches Doesn't sound hard but and then also Just keep track of things and then she Didn't get home till late they a lot of Nurses work 12 hour shifts so I'm taking The kids getting them home school making

Them dinner I'm just not doing Oak shape Basically and it just came to a point Where I was like you hate going like she Worked on a shitty floor at the hospital It was neuro so it was like spinal Surgeries or like major head trauma and It's always men they get head trauma and We as men turn into cavemen when we have Major head trauma like so just I'll Leave it at that but just horrible Stories of just guys that I would like Literally I would not allow them to do Whatever they did but and you know she Loved her co-workers and stuff but I was Like it came to a point is like I don't like you working you don't like Working and you could help me with the Business stuff which is code for you can Deal with all the business stuff and I Can just make content yep and she's like Done and she just told me the other day She's like hey it's it's coming up on a Year like uh If I'm gonna be a nurse I gotta keep my License I gotta like start working again And I was like well do you want to do Nursing she's like no and I was like Sweet done deal like you're not a nurse Anymore like let your license expire the Same story with us Liz was Um she was in X-ray and so she did that And um same same exact Zach story It's cool to

Work with your spouse or whatever and Honestly my wife does not even hardly Work with me she's always doing what she Wants to do you know what she wants to Do gardening yep Um a home and garden TV projects on our House like that's where all my money Goes man to like I was told I totally Said this to Tyler the camera guy over Here my buddy I was like Alicia will Need the truck today because she will be Going to the hardware store because she Goes to the hardware store every day but She's happy I'm happy and that's cool That you guys are doing that let's talk About the Catalyst Um because I don't want people to just Give a loan all the credit for your Success Um prior to a loan When I met you you were not 100K Subs But you were getting close because uh Joel I met you Joel my buddy Cote and They're like oh man you should check out His YouTube channel he's got I did it Was like at the time I was probably like At 20K subs and I was like oh [ __ ] this Guy's like get inches away to 100. I Gotta check this dude out and um I asked You when I got here where you at subs And you're like 320k That's a huge there's that's a that's a Game changer right uh and not the Monetary like the monetization and ads

People think you make so much money off That whatever but it's really Pennies on The dollar if you're gonna run that Program it's the things that surround The platform right yeah Um your Cadence is one video a week yep That's so much work to me Yeah but it's it's stuff that I like Doing and that I would be doing anyway You know so it's not You know I don't I have a pretty good job you sell film Most of this most of it yeah my oldest Boy uh does some filming for me Um I'm trying to get him Interested in in the cameras and that That would be cool uh and then Finn my Youngest boy he's riding his bicycle Around here he'll go like actually you Know hunting and doing the stuff like That but he doesn't do any of the camera Work or anything like that yeah so I'd Say not yeah 90 95 of the filming that I Do I do myself though you edit yourself Yep and you told me this funny story Where I'm like because dude you're hard To get a hold of like cell phone server I just turned my phone off I can't get No service where you live but like I was Telling Tyler I was like yeah I gotta Coordinate when I talk to Clay like he's Got to go to a special spot stand on one Leg to talk on a phone so you don't have Cell service so I'm like how the hell

Are you uploading videos what were you Doing living out in the Boondocks Uploading I think that's hilarious yeah So Um I think we've had like actual Internet for maybe two years Uh so pre previous to that we ran our Whole business off our cell phones but Cell phone service sucks here and so to Upload a video what I'd have to do is I'd have to take like 100 yards of Extension cord and run it up the hill Till I could see a cell tower set up a Tent pretty sure it's more than 100 Yards that's a hill put my uh put my Laptop couldn't you know connect the Personal hotspot to my laptop in the Tent and let it run overnight it would Still take you know 18 hours to upload a Video You finally got internet it's pretty Cool to be able to sit in the bedroom And like have internet and upload a Video without having to freaking go set Up a tent in a hot spot up on the hill I Tip my that's commitment right there What about filming cameras and stuff Like do you know stuff about cameras or Are you pretty raw have you learned over The years Um I know enough to do what I do uh I Just I I filmed with uh Canon DSLR for a Long time and just this last year just Switched to the Sony's you did yeah the

Switch oh man it's uh and they're nice Like everything about I like everything About them what song is did you end up Running with the A7 S maybe yep is that it that right yeah I Remember switching from Canon to Sony Quite a few years ago and there was a Learning curve man for sure but now you Hand me a Canon DSLR foreign language Yeah I don't even know how to Um Sony's A rad except for the overheat Uh yeah so speaking of like I was kind Of Asking you if you knew much about Filming but I'll be honest with you as a Fan of this the show alone before you Were ever on there a lot I've always Loved that show it's something my wife And I always watch and it's just unique It's a cool it's self-film by the Contestants And I did watch your season and you got A lot of air time and I remember telling My wife I'm like Clay's YouTube days Have really catapulted him he is on the Show more than the other contestants Because he's doing a freaking awesome Rad job at filming his experience that's What stood out to me yeah that's one of The things like uh you know you can Watch the show and some people just Don't have much air time even though They were doing stuff because they just Like the filming just didn't jive with

Them you know some people enjoy the Process some people it's just a burden On them for me I like filming to get a Good shot on film to me is like I get a lot of enjoyment out of that Um so yeah it's uh I think the filming Prior to being on the show really helped Me anyway yeah you killed it so you won Season eight you were in the bush for 74 Days plus all the nonsense leading up to It the training the lockdown it was During covid yeah Um And maybe we'll have to give more Context to the show for those that don't Know but um I don't feel like it's a Spoiler alert now because they're on What season This will be 10 coming up yeah 10's coming up so I Don't remember what Can you describe the feeling when they Surprise you with your wife assuming That's real so they That's the only thing like every other Season Um the S spouse has got to come out There We did ours right in the middle of covet They wouldn't let her come they wouldn't Let Liz come up there man Um and so they had to they told me Themselves But I I don't know man you can look at

The you can watch those final scenes in That season and see the emotion that's Coming you know across I'm not I'm not Usually a very emotional person But that was very emotional for me Um and there's a if you watch closely if You watch my facial expression when they First kind of broke the news I was like I couldn't I didn't really understand What they were saying because for so Long like I The If you allow yourself to start hoping That the next time you see them you're Going to go home with them like it's Going to be over If they come out and you and it's not Over that can be crushing And so I I was guarding myself against That Because they come out for these they Come out for Med checks periodically if You're not familiar with the show like How how often It depends on For us anyway it depended on the time of Season the the duration or uh the time During the time that we were out there That doesn't really make sense but when We were there early the the the Um intervals were fairly long yeah like So you like they dropped you off like I'm gonna just guess but it looks like Sep into September october-ish yeah so

They dropped us off September 18th and I Think the longest I ever went without Seeing anybody if I remember correctly It was about three weeks But as the season it's pretty long as The season grows farther They start coming more often because People's body condition starts to Deteriorate and so they the doctor just Has to keep closer tabs on you and so Towards the end of it they were coming Every seven days or so And so there at the end if you You know if it's getting it's getting on Up there you know it's getting 65 70 Days And they they say okay we're coming for A med check and it's during those times When they're that they're going to tell You that you're the last one so you say Oh man like this is it like they're Coming to tell me I won and if they come And do the med check all that stuff and Then they leave It's like can you imagine you know the The the the That would be crushing for you and so It's tough man and so I I guarded myself Against that like I I totally took that Whole scenario out of my mind like it's This is not possible that they're coming To tell me that I that I am the last one So it was that was not a part of my like Being and so when they told me that when

They broke the news it was like I was Like legitimately confused as to what They were trying to tell me and it Wasn't until they said you're the last One that it sunk in I was like holy [ __ ] Holy crap I I did it like I'm going home and that Was my first thought it wasn't about the Money no it was definitely I'm going Home yeah I'm going home to see my Family yeah Incredible So you just kind of answered a question That I was totally convinced otherwise But I guess I'm gonna I'm gonna just Break it down for you how what cameras Are on your persons as a contestant They give you a Canon Um Um camcorder yeah it's one of the bigger Like a prosumer type camcorders So you got that you got a small little JVC you got maybe three two or three GoPros Um and a bunch of batteries yeah like a Shitload of batteries right ton ton of Batteries because they and media cards Like I mean they give you Limitless Right because really I was convinced Tyler I might have told you this but I Was convinced from an editorial Standpoint you can't get all this Footage after 74 days from how many Contestants 10 10 contestants you

There's not enough time to sort through All this so I figured they had to be Doing not only Med checks but camera Like here's your camera here's your car Here's your fresh batteries oh and what Time stamps or like what highlights did You film so that we can start editing is That true or not absolutely you're spot On so when they come out to do the med Checks they also they give you fresh Batteries and they give you fresh media Cards and they take all of your dead Batteries and media cards and you know Presumably behind the scenes they have Someone that's dedicated to each Conte Each participant that goes through all Their footage wow and I said at one Point I was like man Whoever has to Watch all this crap I'm gonna have to Buy you a beer because they're literally I probably gave them 800 hours yep of footage yep I mean Because there's a lot of time they drill Into your head before you go out there It's like you just just film everything Just keep the camera rolling Which is great advice because if you for Those of you've seen the season like They said it was day number one but it Was actually day two or three I'm just Sitting around a campfire and a mountain Lion comes up behind me it's like 10 Yards and I was sitting by my camper Fire not doing anything like I was just

Sitting there and the camera was rolling And if the camera wasn't rolling I never Would have got that moment on film that Was one of the most awesome moments of My time there and probably of the entire I wish you could watch the show Yeah I don't know like yes let's talk About the hunting regulations like you Were in BC BC loves their Bears they're Grizzly bears they're protected in Alberta and I've my last podcast was Literally about how grumpy am about that But Um like there's some year Seasons where It seems like it's like free reign kill Whatever you want that you need what was Their limitations on yours yeah so Um you know they they have the Regulations and you you got to follow That stuff so we had um On our season we so at my side I had Moose And had Grizzlies And then Um you know of course mountain lions and Black-tailed deer the only thing so Moose were off limits of course Grizzlies were off limits uh the only Big game that we could hunt were were Deer And of course they would allow us to Hunt cats which Was it you know for somebody to kill a Cat with a bow would be very unlikely

Um so I was when they when they told us Congratulations you can hunt cats I was Like okay great thanks I never thought I'd see one but I you Know of course they'd two or three I you Know I had that opportunity Thought about it later Um I ended up trying my bow was back at My tent like 20 yards away so I tried to Slip back and grab my bow and I should Have what I should have done was just Rush to that camera right yep I should Have rushed it when it was so close and Then ran and got my bow but you know It's Never that that didn't cross my mind During that time yeah that's bummer man I'd really like to have like to me You did kill a deer yep how many just One yeah you just got one deer I Couldn't that's all you're allowed oh God did not know that okay so you got One deer now so that's That's not going to sustain you so you How did you butcher it how did you like Space out the meat how did you procure The meat like what'd you do man yeah so When I when I killed that deer it was uh Uh I don't remember what day it was but It was warm I mean it probably had Gotten up to 80 degrees that day and so You know you're in an area that has an Incredibly High Grizzly density It's warm there's flies

Um and so I you know I quartered it up Put all the meat in Um like all the odds and ends back Straps uh liver all that stuff in the Hide and bundled it up Uh didn't have a pack or anything so You're carrying all that stuff I think I Had about a two mile hike back to camp And so I I took all the meat and like Leap frogged it and just kind of Leapfrogged it in in stages all the way Back to my camp Hung it up for that night and then I Think I hung it for like three days Because I needed to build a smoke house To Cure the meat out so I spent like three Days building a Smokehouse And then cut all the meat into little Strips little jerky strips basically and I I smoked that entire deer I kept the uh I kept the shanks whole And smoked them whole And one of those Shanks I kept all the Way until Thanksgiving day and I cooked That shank on Thanksgiving Day no salt No preservatives no nothing just Smoke over an elder Alder fire for three Days It was freaking awesome that's badass Man no you really like proved your metal Like Did you did you impress yourself at all Along the way did you know your ability

Do you feel like you like kind of What was your mindset Just Day by day I mean I don't know you you don't each I tried To avoid anyway trying to like I never Thought about how much how much is uh I Didn't even keep track of the time I Didn't know how many days I was there I Didn't care I i before I ever went in there I made The commitment that I was not coming out Voluntarily Um so the only two ways for me to come Out of there was to either be the last One or for them to pull me out medically I was In this headspace to I was in the right Frame of mind to do that and to push Your body to that limit you know and you They let you get Pretty run down before they'll pull you Out medically I mean there's been seasons in the past Where guys have gotten Very very very skinny how was the Recovery process and transitioning back To real life after the season Um It was it was interesting coming out of The woods because you don't have any You'd have no they don't give you any Information they don't tell you what day

It is they don't tell you what's going On in the world you don't have any idea What's going on with your family When you're out there and so Um All of this was like covet blew up while I was out there I had no idea what was Going on in the world and so coming out You know you're getting all this Information And it was interesting getting it from The from the Canadian perspective you Know Um but they as far as like nutrition and Stuff like that they have your meals Like catered to you whatever your needs Are So they have a nutritionist there Planning out all your meals and stuff Like that and so they keep you it's not Like they bring you out of the woods and They like kick you loose you know we had To stay I stayed at the lodge where they were Doing all the production stuff for Probably 10 more days after I came out Probably some post-production filming And all that jazz yeah they did some Interviews Um and all that stuff and then uh at the End of that Put me on an airplane back home [Music] Being in the woods for 74 days and then

Having a kind of a short transition to Being then finding yourself in an International Airport was pretty crazy Because you know crazy airports are and And you know I'd been in the woods and I Had I was like had no schedule Had didn't rush to do anything you know It's a very simple very laid-back type Of a you know lifestyle and then to be In an International Airport like that Where there's just chaos people running Around everywhere that was a very very Strange juxtaposition Um but as far as like coming home Some people I I hear some people have Difficulty with that Um for me it was not we you know it was Just like coming home from a long Hunting trip you know I jumped right Back into everything Um With a greater appreciation for Family and everything else that you can Tend to take for granted for certain Because being out there that's one of The that's one of the great benefits of Being out there is it takes away from You everything that you do take for it For granted and it Gives you a much greater appreciation For that that type of stuff Um But uh no it wasn't there was no Problems like transitioning back into my

Everyday life here because I'm used to That I'm used to going away for you know Two weeks three weeks on a hunting trip And then coming back and you know just Picking up everything Yeah I know that life I live that life too And What you said there about you realize The things you take for granted I mean Honey knows that for me but I think Obviously to what you did to a higher Degree because that's a long time by Yourself and you are trying to survive Straight up any motivation to win the Money or was it always just about the Experience I never thought about the Money at all I and and I've said it Before I would have done it had there Not been any money I would have done it Just for the challenge of seeing if I Could do it because it's something that It's like the ultimate challenge you Know for skills that I've Tried to develop my whole life you know We were talking earlier I've been in the Woods doing this stuff since I was You know eight ten years old Um and so it's like now you have this Opportunity To actually put all those things to the Test and figure out if you're as good as You think you are um So now

Forward man like here we are present day Take us through like a average day for You like how do you what's work quote Unquote what's not work what are you Looking forward to What's your primary objectives raising Family just take us through it Okay for so I mean it's hard to describe An average day because there aren't Really any average days because it you Know I might be on any given day we Might be in the back country backpacking Hunting uh or just on a backpacking trip Making content I might be here in the Shop making a bow I might be back in the Woods doing some Bushcraft and video or You know teaching people how to tie Knots or something like that Um and so that's that's my work I go and Make videos about whatever I happen to Be interested in that that day Um and then I come back and and edit it Uh and then upload that to YouTube Um Liz does all the hard stuff I mean She keeps track all the money and keeps Track of the bills she uh you know we Have a patreon site where people can Sign up for a couple bucks and get like Content that other people don't get she Keeps track all that stuff does all the Fills all the orders basically all the Like stuff that makes the business run I Just do you know I make videos it's a Star man yeah so patreon I've heard a

Lot of people doing that that's Essentially a paywall to get more Exclusivity on some of the content yep Basically so the stuff that's on patreon Is like very in-depth detailed bow Building like I explain Every little detail every pop problem That you could run into when you're Building a bow and there's a lot of them Um and so that's that's the primary Reason folks sign up for that for for my Patreon anyway if they're they're super Into bow building that's really cool and Then obviously YouTube monetizing YouTube I mean that Does help right that's kind of a nice Stream of income but it certainly would Never pay all your bills like you've got To do other things it I mean it can it Certainly can if you've got if you've Got the subscriber base Um I mean there's people that make a lot Of money on YouTube I'm not to that Level yet yeah I mean it's just not an Audience for a guy who's kind of like You you know I mean maybe there will be And I hope I certainly pray I mean I Would love that but Um you know we don't make stuff for kids So we don't have Mr Beast you know 30 Million views in a day type thing uh Logan Paul very controversial doing Stupid stuff like that's not like you're Adding a lot of value and education as

Your content Cornerstone Um so there's other things besides Patreon and YouTube you work probably With some companies I would assume what Are some of the favorite companies you Work with Uh so kaffaru first light uh Vortex Those guys uh seek outside those guys Have been with me for a long time since I think two thousand I did a film in 2015 Where we did a back country mule deer Hunt and that was the first time that I Ever really got sponsors Um three rivers archeries in there Um I think that's all of them Some I'm probably leaving somebody yeah There's yeah I get it um But uh yeah those guys uh You know it's an endorsement type type Uh type deal but the thing like Especially and first light's a perfect Example like first light just came on as A sponsor old this last year But I've been wearing first light stuff For 10 years yeah and so it's like I get And I sure I'm sure you get it too I get Daily daily I get a dozen People a day wanting me to pitch some Product and I just got one the other day Four thousand or five thousand dollars To pitch some Um it was like a survival food

Company that was wanting to pay me to Integrate a 30 second ad into a video Five grand I'm not gonna do that because it doesn't Fit with my videos I don't know what These I don't it may be crap like I have No idea what this product is somebody's Saying yes because I am getting the Similar amount of like emails asking for Similar type things that you that are Not vetted and a lot of times honestly I Don't have no Relevancy to the kind of content I'm Making I've got I've gotten them from Mattresses like all kinds of stuff and So somebody's saying yes because they're Like oh yeah turning and burning and That's I'm not I'm not saying that I Would never do that like if I had a Product that I was familiar with that I Liked or that I had some use for maybe I'll do it someday I've never found the Situation where I'd feel comfortable Doing that and so I'm turning down Thousands of dollars a month because I Don't want to do that Um you know but you still get people Like anytime you mention a company or Whatever or they see a sponsor logo on a Video you're like oh you sell out it's Like dude if you had any idea what kind Of money I turned down because I don't Want to pitch products that I don't Believe in or that I don't use or have

No relevancy to this video you would Probably reconsider what you're saying So I don't know the companies I work With are good companies they're they're Um You know there's stuff that I've been Using for years they're well made Um So yeah Don't sell me in fact try to sell me on Not doing the kind of work you do for a Living like what's all the stuff that Maybe makes you pause and question what The hell are you even doing Besides comments like that obviously I did I mean The comments section on YouTube uh is Like a free-for-all you know if anybody Can post anything up there it's all it's Like it's like that across social media Um Most of my comments are really good Every now and then you get somebody That's just like venting or being Unreasonable or whatever I just ignore Those Um but as far as like you know you you Could take those things to heart I guess And like allow them allow people to like Run you down Um I just choose to ignore them and you Know I picture them as just some sad Person that needs this Outlet in some Way

Um but now most of my comments are good As far as like why not to do this Um It is a hustle I mean you gotta stay on Top of it it's not like Um If You can't slack off and still get a Paycheck You know you have to have to Continuously put out content which is Fine for me because I do the things that I want to do anyway I'm just I'm just Documenting my life and putting it on YouTube you know Um I I honestly can't think of one reason Why you would not want to do that uh Unless you're just You like the Idea of just being able to go to work Do your thing and then leave it Like I'm never not working If I you know I just always I'm always working but I But my work is my life If that makes sense it makes sense to me Obviously because I'm in similar shoes As you Um what's your wife's perspective on you Always working Um how do you balance out so that's Changed Dramatically so when we

Um When I was working for a fish and game And doing the YouTube thing especially In those last couple years right up Until I left fish and game it was real It was pretty hard On us because I would go to work you Know for eight ten hours a day and then I would come home and I would be on the Computer for another three four hours And I was just not I wasn't interacting You know she You know koi my oldest boy was a toddler At that time or you know once once it Got on up till I quit he was a little Bit older but like Um It was very difficult on the marriage Because I was not very good at managing My time I had an idea in what in my head What I was trying to build and she Couldn't see what I saw But after I left Fish and Game It got a lot better I mean it like it Was like night and day because then I Had all the time you know we were doing Things together And that's one of the good things about What I do is because we can do like if We go on a hunting trip like one of the Things we do every year is we do our bow Hunting elk Camp is we take the whole Family we go set up a big Walton we just Live at Elk Camp until I kill something

That might be the whole month And we just live in the mountains and we Do that together So it's been it's been very good since I Quit but but before I quit it was it was It was tough there for a couple years I Want to answer that really well Yeah so Clay super pumped for you man like You're a hard-working guy But you're really modest like I'm just Gonna give you some observations first Impressions like You've set it up to be simple and you And I both know be a Simple Man like That's that's definitely the way to live Um Your passionate bow Builder like Legitimate Next Level bow building Guru Like this you're the guy And it's incredible this shop what you Do Wow so the patreon might just be worth Its while for those that are maybe Having some interest but start At the beginning go go check out his YouTube channel Any particular videos that are some of Your favorites Um well it depends on I mean the Category I guess uh you know there's There's bow building stuff and there's Bushcraft stuff but my favorite videos Are

The you know out either hiking or Hunting with the kids uh the family type Stuff Um one of my favorite videos is uh has Nothing to do with hunting or bow Building or anything it was uh my oldest Boy and I did a backpacking trip into One of the Wilderness areas here in Idaho And Um He koi struggles with letting big Picture overwhelm him like if he wants To accomplish something it's easy for Him to get overwhelmed and on that trip Like it was a hard trip you know it was This first big backpacking trip uh we we Backpacked into an Alpine Lake did some Fishing and and that type of thing And uh on our way back out of there And we came up and we're sitting on this Bluff and we're looking back across this You know Misty valleys and and ridges That we had climbed over and I pointed And I said that way over there that's Where we just came from And I looked I asked him Um He's probably 10 at the time I asked him before before You did that would you have thought that You could have done that And he he said no and I I looked back to Him and I asked how did you do that

And he he put his head down between his Knees and he thought for a minute he Looked back up he said one step at a Time that's and I'm I'm tearing up Thinking about that moment that that's Powerful Um So that's I mean That's one of my favorite videos and Another one is just like uh Finn my Youngest one Um He uh he ended up killing a pig with a Self bow when he was seven seven years Old spot in stalk on his own like I Wasn't even there We were we were down in South Florida Again we were hunting with um Ryan Gill Who's a big primitive guy down there and I was feeling I'd killed a pig the day Before so I didn't even have my bow it Was me Ryan Finn and then vasten Hall Was in uh whose land we were hunting on Down there We got into this group of pigs I'm Filming for Ryan filming Ryan so I Turned my attention to like getting the Shots on him Finn runs up to me I had I Had one arrow for him had a broad head On him on it I didn't want him walking Around with him like behind us with a Bride I like I hand him his Arrow he runs off And I turned back my attention to to

Ryan like five minutes later he comes Running up to me and says I shot one I Shot one I kind of looked at him like Okay like I didn't know I didn't know What to make of it yeah but I I asked Baston who saw it happen I was like did He really shoot when he said yeah Watched it run off with the arrow and uh So we got on this Blood Trail tracked it For a little ways and he'd killed like It was a big you know it wasn't a huge Pig but it was probably 70 or 80 pounds With a 20 pound self bow had one Arrow I Was like that's that's pretty funny Legendary status I know look out world Finn's coming Wow that was fan yep wow yeah we just Met him so he's 10 now yeah yeah and He's the hunter isn't it funny how it's Kind of you know I always thought my son Would be a hunter I don't know if he's Going to be honestly I don't I thought My daughter would love hunting maybe or What no she just wants to spend time With me on anything but At age four I'm gonna hold you 42. I Would say I'm turning 42 this year Yeah I want my kid to hunt but like I Actually don't really care if he doesn't Ever want to be a hunter then I'm okay With that and if you would have asked me That 10 years ago I'd be like uh yeah my Kid's gonna hunt you know what I mean

Like that kind of but really you don't Decide those things you show them as Much cool stuff as you can And I tip my hat to you man like Kind of jealous that your kids get to Spend a month at Elk Camp living out of The woods hearing your stories every day And helping Mom out and I mean they're Just Gathering so much confidence yeah That's vetted To do anything they want That's cool yeah right and Finn will go Like he'll actually go hunting with me You know some koi likes to uh he likes To hike and there's a lot of geological Activity where we're at so they're Always like picking up different rocks Looking for fossils uh geodes and things Like that Um playing the creek you know they like To build boats and Float them down the Creek stuff like that but you know it's It's good it's really nice to have the Whole family there Um and you know how much of a grind elk Season is it's like The days are long and you're you know You get back to camp and I gotta admit It's so nice to have Liz there To have dinner ready when I get back Because I can eat and then go to bed get Back up the next morning and do it again Oh my God it is that's like a Nutritional recovery Advantage it is

Because when when you know we we did El Camp Um just the guys there for a long time And you'd get back you know you get out Of the woods back to camp but it might Be 9 30 maybe 10 o'clock then you gotta Cook dinner eat You know you're in bed by maybe 10 30 11 And then you're getting up at 4 a.m and You're doing that day after day And I couldn't like I I still even with Liz cooking I can't keep the weight on No and I'm not you know right now I'm 160 pounds I'll lose seven eight pounds At Elk Camp you know over the duration Of the time I'm there Um but it's it's tough but it's the best It's my favorite thing and I'm excited That you're excited about taking your Family On the journey uh Claire Hayes website Is clayhaze.com I wish somebody has clay Whoever you are let's buy that domain Back from himself to me Um it's twisted Stave uh S-t-a-v-e.com uh But I mean if you just Google my name It'll come up yeah and then so with all The other stuff YouTube Instagram Instagram clay Hayes Hunter

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