After moving back to SE Iowa after college I embarked on a quest to kill big Iowa bucks with my bow. Easy right? I live in SE Iowa and booners are around every corner and in every 10 acres. Not so much. After 2 years of pure struggle I finally put a big buck down (an eight that went 154 inches). I had finally put the pieces together and started to consistently kill a pop and young buck 9 out of 10 years even after getting married and having kids. Using my knight rifle I was able to add to my total 6 more over that 150 inch mark and 7 of those bucks were on camera self-filming.
You would think the next step would be to shoot a 180+ while self-filming, right? For most yes, but for me I love adventure and was reading a lot about DIY public ground back pack hunting and was going to give it a try. I had done some guided hunts in South Dakota and Wyoming and had a great time and had success, but I wanted to be able to go out west once or twice every year, and with a family, a guided hunt was becoming more and more difficult to justify. Also, I love the satisfaction of DIY, knowing full well that I was setting myself up for years of failure and hard work. Sounds fun right? For me it is. First I started to train and research what I needed to survive off of in the back country 10+ miles deep and over 12000 ft. for 10 days. I lost over 50 pounds and saved and bought the best equipment I could buy. I was going alone with no prior back country experience. So why embark on this journey you might be asking. Simple; it’s the journey and the adventure that I was seeking not a trophy or accolades that I was someone special because I am not. See for me I DIY Public ground backpack hunt no matter the outcome of success! It reenergizes me to be a better husband, father, and leader. Having no phone to look at and no Facebook or Instagram to compare myself to others too is a great place to be for 10 days to refocus, slow down, and spend time with the lord with NO Distractions. To push myself physically year round to prepare for it has done so much for my physical health and mental health. I am not a guru on physical fitness nor do I proclaim to be, but I will tell you it is worth it. I had no idea how bad I felt until I felt so much better by eating healthier and pushing my body beyond what I thought I could do. I reached out to friend that was a personal trainer to put a plan together for my goals.
I would recommend if you are like me with no prior lifting/working out experience to do so and be safe. It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of! Never once did I set foot in a gym. It was all at home and a lot of times with my sons helping out. I don’t have time to drive to a gym so this was all done after kids went to bed or before they got up, and a lot of times it was after my wife had gone to bed too. Trying to keep priorities straight, but still reaching the goals I set was a real struggle. Finding time to shoot my Matthews more to prepare for those 60+ yard shots that the western terrain demands of you were also something I had to make time for. After saying that, I was all in and loved the discipline it required to prepare for such an adventure. With two trips planned and tags bought (one drawn and one elk OTC both in Colorado and two different spots) it was down to researching my pack list. Trip one High Country Mule Deer Colorado!
Jeremy Roland has been with Final Descent Outdoors four years and is based in south east Iowa. Jeremy is in the land of giants and has the deer on the wall to prove it. Jeremy and his family farm several thousand acres in southern Iowa where he also hunts. Jeremy actually stumbled onto a Final Descent Outdoors episode in 2013 and sent an email in regards to the show. Jeremy helps lead a house church and wanted to use his passion for hunting for the Kingdom of God. The rest is history.