Besides having what has got to be one of the most unique and cool names in the hunting industry, Justin’s diverse and very in depth background goes along with his name. I ran across Justing in a facebook group and took notice of him always posting successful trophy photos. I soon realized he was someone that I would be able to learn a lot from, and just as you know he is one of the most down to earth guys, and would help anybody out even if they have done him wrong in the past. What really blew my mind is how successful Justing is on public land which he almost exclusively hunts. Justin is just like us, he lives to hunt, and be an exceptional father to his son. Let’s get to know him a little bit more.
Where are you located, and what type of land do you hunt?
I live in Western North Dakota and I hunt primarily public ground across western North Dakota and Montana. There are vast chunks of public ground across both states that I key on. I prefer to hunt river bottom public ground with archery equipment but can be found chasing deer in the more open terrain with gun during the firearm season.
What is your first memory of hunting?
My first memory of hunting was not necessarily the first time that I went along with my dad hunting but was more so the first big mule deer my dad shot when my brother and I were with him in Wyoming. The entire hunt was full of ups and downs, from when we helped gather firewood for an old man living up on the mountain in a camper, to making food and helping out a search and rescue team that was searching for lost hunters, to my dad narrowly missing out on a getting a shot at an elk, and to spotting the giant mule deer that he ended up harvesting. I will never forget the sight of that big bodied old brute standing in the snow with a coat that almost appeared black in contrast to the snowy backdrop, or the sound of the rifle shattering the silence of the frigid morning air before the deep thud of the bullet finding its mark put the big buck down. My dad never was or ever will be a “trophy hunter” and since the first time I tagged along until as recently as last year when we hunted together, it has always been about the experience and sharing time together in the field. This is something that is getting more and more lost in todays world of social media and the pressure to try to find and kill the biggest buck around, my greatest memories hunting are ones that I shared with my dad, not the memories of me killing my biggest deer and I can not wait to start making these same type of memories with my son Grayson in the future!
What do you wish you knew 10 years ago?
I wish I knew 10 years ago how truly phenomenal the hunting was around here, because since then with blue tongue, cwd, and habitat loss due to flooding the amount of deer and quality of deer has really taken a hit. This hasn’t been a completely negative thing as it has forced me to adapt and seek new hunting areas and I believe it has helped make me a more complete hunter in the process.
I am a whitetail hunter at heart, but I have truly fallen in love with chasing elk during the rut with bow. I think I love hunting the rut more so than I love just hunting a specific species, and it actually works out really well because I get to hunt turkeys in the spring, then elk in September/October, and follow that up by hunting the deer during the rut in November. I love the all-day activity and vocalization that the breeding season for these species offers as it truly makes the hunting experience more exciting and offers different methods and strategies to go after them.
Has traveling to hunt, helped you be a better hunter in your usual spots?
Traveling has definitely helped me to become a better hunter in my local spots I think primarily in the fact that it keeps me from over hunting some of my favorite spots around home. I am pretty aggressive in my hunting style in that I almost never sit the same tree twice in a given year and am constantly bouncing around and trying to have as many “first sits” as I possibly can, so giving these areas a break is not a bad thing. Traveling to different states has also helped me to become a better and more complete hunter by just simply seeing and hunting different terrain that what I normally do back home, and I have also found that calling or still hunting can be more or less effective in different states and areas as well.
What made you start filming your hunts?
I started filming my hunts very early on in my hunting career and a big factor for doing so was to be able to have video to see where I hit the animal and then decide when to take up the trail, and also to be able to relive and share my experiences with friends and family. Filming was also a great way to be able to keep track of deer from year to year and compare the video to trail cam pics and sheds to see how they grew from year to year and how their age and the winter affected their growth the following year. The story building part of following particular deer from year to year until they became mature also added to the experience and self-filming my hunts obviously increased the challenge as well. I believe that killing a mature buck on public ground while self-filming is one of the most difficult tasks a hunter can do and the gratification of making that all come together is an incredible feeling. I am extremely excited to share all of my videos with my son Grayson and even more excited to be his cameraman in the future. The memories we will make and capture will be truly priceless.
What is a tip that you think can help someone be successful?
The best tip that I think I can offer for someone to increase their success is to get intimately familiar with the area you are going to be hunting, when I find a new piece that I want to start hunting, I basically “ruin” it for that first year. What I mean by that is that I get in there and I want to physically jump deer from their beds, I want to find all of the rubs and scrapes, bedding areas, pinch points, transition areas, and I mark every tree that I think would be good for hunting different parts of the year. I utilize the onX app religiously and will mark all of the sign, potential stand locations, bedding areas, and where the most buck sign is. Spending this much time in a mature buck’s bedroom often leads to a low success rate that first year but I want to know everything about the woods right away and it will then help me to be successful every year after. Once I have got in and walked and scouted and marked everything in this area, I will most generally never step foot in there the next year until the morning or evening I am going to hunt for the first time. I then pack my stand in and hang in one of the trees I had marked and try to kill in my first sit. This strategy has been really effective for me and once again I will always try to sit a different tree every sit to keep my scent in a certain area down to a minimum. Have you ever hung a trail cam and the first several pics are of deer smelling the ground and or even your trail cam? I don’t think there is any way to possibly eliminate all human odor and once a big mature deer comes in and picks up your scent, even if its just from where you walked into a particular stand, then odds of him coming back through there again go down substantially.
One of the most underrated hunters in my opinion, if it is in season Justin is hunting it. He travels near and far to do what he was born to do. Not many people you will come across will be as nice, thoughtful, and caring to a complete stranger as Justin. You can follow him on all social media’s at Justin Fisketjon Outdoors.
We had Justin be a guest on our podcast you can find that here.
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