Behind Every Great Hunter is a Mentor and Hunting Partner

Hiking up a mountain is more difficult on your engine, but hiking down is really tough on your brakes. With this in mind, it shouldn’t be a
surprise that many dread the descent just as much, if not more, than getting to the top. Sure, there’s the promise of pizza, beer, a doughnut, steak, anything but Mountain House, to get back to the truck, car or plane – but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly fun.
With a good hunt comes good memories that can fuel a hunter, and it’s
amazing how the body can calibrate.
It can gauge the distance remaining, measure the energy stores and make it happen. In the face of sudden change, recalibration can take a little while and can lead to illogical, irrational and irritating whining or decision making. The body is likely capable, but it’s the brain that can get in the way.

There might be a buck, bull or billy that is just one ridge over, or just down in that bowl. You feel like you need to make the move now. Your body can get you over or down there, but is your brain right enough to get your body back?

Two weeks before I started my teaching career, my mentor teacher asked if I had any questions. I replied, “I don’t know enough to know what to ask.” It was true; I had never student-taught, so without being in the
classroom I had no idea what to expect, nor did I know what needed clarity. The same goes with hunting. The more you hunt, the more you establish a hunting program. How you prepare. What you take. How you handle adversity and the amount of risk you tolerate.
Then there are the specific logistics pertaining to the quarry. You’ve hunted the alpine, but have you been on an unfamiliar mountain in fog? You’ve been cold, but have you been cold and wet? You’ve hunted bear in Washington, but that’s not Alaska. Same goes for deer, etc., and even for a new hunting buddy.

Often you don’t know how this new buddy will pan out because a hunt is
more complex than who gets first shot at the first shooter critter.
You can be great friends off the mountain, but what happens when your buddy trips on a root? Do you say, “You OK?” every time? Or just when it looks bad?
Your buddy is packing out a huge bear he shot with his bow. His pack is
heavy. He is out of shape. Do you say, “Hey, you’re almost there! Doing great!” on the pack out, even though he’s putting you on schedule to reach the dock four hours after the sun sets? Do you walk ahead to pull him, or walk behind?

Some people don’t want encouragement. They just want to be left alone. They don’t think it’s funny to play the Rocky theme song to motivate.
Others need it. These sorts of things ruin hunts. Along with attitude,
communication is important. The plan was to meet at the back of the muskeg and decide what to do from there. You don’t have radios. You don’t have cell service. You’re back at where you pointed to on the map. It’s a half-hour after you planned to meet. What’s the move? Assume your buddy is on a deer? Assume he is lost? Wait? Search? Or just assume he’ll meet you back at camp if you don’t hear a shot?
You’re 1,000 yards from the road, crashing through thick brush. You take
a left to check a game trail that might be easier. Your buddy follows one to the right. The forest and a creek conspire to swallow all other sounds. Before you know it, you’re separated. Do you backtrack and assume he or she will too? Or just continue to the road, hoping your
buddy does too?
Being on the same page is of vital importance. It’s best to know who you
are hunting with before you agree to the hunt, especially if you’re just along for the experience and to help pack meat. Are you a valued asset to the program who will earn some of the take, or just a sucker tricked into sharing the burden?

Trust is at the core of the hunting buddy. Trust first that the buddy is in shape enough mentally and physically to execute the hunt. I know that the dudes I hunt with can keep it together because they have proven to take it seriously.
They appreciate that ordinary day hunts can turn into overnighters. They
are in shape, have the same ethics and aren’t just driven by foolish bravado. They all would walk away before putting the program at risk.
You also owe it to whoever you are hunting with to do and be the same.
Prove you can do the smart thing, not the risky thing. Few people want to hunt with a loose cannon. A good buddy will take care of you should something happen, but making foolish decisions puts you both at risk. That’s selfish.

The knees are done. Muddy soil giving way beneath your boots has become
old. Branches to the face is passing over into something more than annoying. The monotony of a trail or old logging road, or lack of both; everything plays you and your hunting buddies. Remember that the whole thing was a choice and is much better than the alternative – stagnancy. You know as soon as you get back to the truck you’ll be happy you endured it all, especially if you have fresh backstrap for the grill.
If you need to, take your time. Stop for a drink of water and some Sour Patch Kids and get your head right. Your mindset makes all the difference. AmSJ

Editor’s note: Ketchikan-based Jeff Lund is the author of Going Home, a memoir about hunting and fishing in Alaska. Get it at

Knife Tactics for Gun Fighters

Don’t bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

We all have heard the saying, “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight“. Well what if you’re in that predicament – that you and a bad guy are in that mano mano, face-to-face situation. Bad guy pulls a knife out, you’re able to pull your pistol out, but due to the close quarter distance – you’re both in a stalemate position. What are some options now for those “in your face” situation.


Enter Jared Wihongi of Black Label Tactical, he is a 16 year Law Enforcement Officer with 13 years as a SWAT operator. Wihongi currently contracts with the U.S. government to teach to Law Enforcement and military personnel in hand to hand combative methods.

Wihongi demonstrates in this video some basic tactics to get an upper hand so you can come out on top, take a look below.


As you can tell Wihongi self defense methodology is pragmatic and combines the best of both world in gun fighting, knife tactics and grappling skills. Just like in shooting where you dry fire to practice your trigger control, you would need to invest some time into these skills to be proficient.

What are some good training that you have come across?

Video Transcription

[Jared Wihongi] So, um, This is a concept that I’m quite passionate about, is a combination or integration between guns, knives, and empty hands. So I call it Close-Quarter Force Integration Tactics; and essentially it’s my tactics for gunfighters.

[Cameraman] Knife tactics for gun fighters?

[Jared] Yep!

[Cameraman] Uh, can you give us an example of what that curriculum might look like?

[Jared] Yeah! So there’s two ways that this goes. So one is using knife movement and principles– Knife fighting movements and principles, with the gun in the hand, or implimenting the gun. And that’s based on principles of angling, movement, footwork, mobility, controlling distance, so I’m working from a contact distance–clinch ranges. And what I mean by that, is -for example- if I’ve got a– a lot of times when dealing with knife tactics and close ranges, doing those clinch ranges, we’ve got different positions that we try and solve. One of those would be what we call ‘Stalemate’ position. And a stalemate position is, if someone’s presented an edged weapon, and I was able to defend against that somehow, some shape or form, and I’ve got to hold their arm, and now I look to get my weapon presented and get that into the fight, well he wants to survive, too, right? And so a lot of times, you end in these stalemate positions. And now I’ve got a hold of his weapon, he’s got a hold of my weapon, and we’re trying to see who can get free first.

So, immediately, one of the tactics that I would use for this, which comes from knife fighting, is the Duck Under. Down through here, and I move around, and I’m addressing the target from this position. Ok? That’s one example of a knife tactic for gunfighting.

[Cameraman] Got another one?

[Jared] Yeah so, um, another example is, you know, being able to– if I don’t ave my weapon in my hand, and I need to bring it to bear, and maybe we’re somehow tied up in this position, and so now I need to be able to present or free my right hand. I don’t want to release his weapon, also, from this clinch range.
So here I can do what we call an arm-drag motion, and essentially –it’s done quick– but what I’m doing is, he’s got an edged weapon here, so I’m trying to control that, I’m basicaly doing an arm drag. As soon as I’ve done that, my right hand is still tied up, so I do a quick transition to this position here, I continue moving forward, get my weapon out, and address whichever target is available, being careful not to cover my arm, so we use this C motion here.

So again, it’s just another example of close range– extreme close range knife-fighting tactics for gunfighting. Now as you get further out, another example of what we’d do here is in our Kali footwork, we’re constantly using angles. I’m going this direction, I’m going this direction. moving in different directions, because I’m trying to avoid getting hit, and I want to present my weapon, so if I’ve got a weapon in my hand, I might be moving this direction here, Might be moving this direction and cutting here, so as this applies to a little further distance: If I’ve got someone, an aggressor, that’s coming towards me, and he comes up with a knife, then I’m gonna move off-line using my angular footwork and present distance, get my weapon to bear.

If it’s a little closer, for example– that would be a common knife defense movement. If the knife comes in, tap. Ok. So I may use that opportunity, instead of going one-two-three into some kind of a disarm or whatnot, I’ve got a gun. I want to bring that into the fight. So now I’m going to do one-two-three and I move and present my weapon and bring that into the fight. Now, that same motion can be used to one-to-three and push and then bring the weapon and what we call engage-vs-disengage. So I can engage the subject based on the distance that I have. If it’s an open space, disengage, give ’em distance. If he’s got a gun and not a knife, I can’t give him distance. I can’t outrun his bullets. So I have to engage, control his ability to shoot me, and bring my weapon into the fight. Get all these knife tactics presented to a gunfight environment.

[Cameraman] So knife tactics for gunfighters, this sounds like this can be an ongoing thing, this curriculum seems quite deep.

[Jared] It is. It is. We’re just kind of scratching the surface here. It’s really deep, because you can start from distances just outside of arm’s reach, this is all close-quarters stuff, you know most gunfights happen at extreme close-quarters. we’re starting just outside of two arms’ reach, and then we’re progressively moving into clinch distance. That clinch distance sometimes ends on the ground, ground fighting with the guns and the knives, and then we are kind of progressing from there. Various steps in that process. When he’s just getting his weapon out and I’m able to catch it, how do I disrupt that draw stroke, maybe his weapon is coming to bear and it’s not yet pointed at me, is it an edge weapon, is it a firearm, do I know what kind of weapon it is, so there’s all these different ways that I can approach this topic, I can get into a lot of depth with it.

[Cameraman] Well thank you very much, we’re honored by your presence here, and thank you very much for sharing your hours.

[Jared] Thank you guys very much, stay tuned, look forward to a lot of cool things coming up.

Source: Funker Tactical, Black Label Tactical