Randy Newberg is the host and producer of "Federal Premium's Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg," making him the voice of self-guided public land hunters in America. Newberg shows the common hunter uncommon experiences available on western public lands. Tune in to his series on Thursday nights exclusively on Sportsman Channel at 9:30 p.m. ET, and get more details about his hunts on his forum www.HuntTalk.com
Give our readers a brief synopsis of this season's shows.
This is the season of elk; 60 percent of our episodes are elk episodes, both archery and rifle. People seem to love the way we do elk hunts and I suspect it has a lot to do with our hunting being very similar to how elk hunting occurs for the audience.
Our archery elk hunts result in some very close up encounters — one at 12 yards and the other at 28 yards. People will have to watch to see the outcome.
This season continues our self-guided hunting style, with heavy emphasis on the public lands we are hunting and how those became public lands. Important information I think hunters can benefit from.
We are also adding a 30-second segment that focuses on the greatest public land access program in history — The Land and Water Conservation Fund. This fund has provided millions of acres of public hunting access, yet it goes unnoticed by most of the hunting community. If not reauthorized by Congress next year, hunters will notice that, for sure.
What sets this season apart from others?
This is a season where things go in our favor. We work hard and we finally catch some breaks, as opposed to last year, when around every corner was some bad luck.
We purposefully did more elk hunts this year. I want to dispel the myth that you need to draw some once-in-a-lifetime glory tag and pay for exclusive access, just to go elk hunting. Opportunity exists for the traveling hunter to hunt elk ever year. I think this season shows that, given how many different places we travel to hunt elk in this season — Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
If you could only take one tool (besides your gun or bow) with you on a DIY hunt, what would that be?
A good attitude, and optimism that I will have fun. Yeah, my rifle and bow are primary. As far as an item of gear, that is a tough one. Probably my "never leave home without it item" is my GPS and map chip from OnXMaps that tells me land ownership information.
Now expand that, what is a must have checklist for any DIY hunter?
Not sure we have enough time for that in one space. It would depend upon a backpack hunt or a base camp hunt or a motel-based hunt. Would also depend heavily on the species in question.
If I had to give five things, in addition to the proper mindset, they would be this:
1. The best optics you can afford.
2. Good pack, along with knowledge of how to quarter and pack out an animal.
3. Good boots.
4. Clothing that allows you to be comfortable in all conditions and hunt hard while you are in the field.
5. A GPS that contains a map chip showing land ownership of the area you are hunting.
What are the biggest mistakes rookie DIY hunters make?
Focusing on tactics and not learning where to find the game.
We in TV and magazines are to blame for much of that. New hunters, especially new elk hunters, need to know as much as they can about their quarry. The more you know about them and their seasonal habits, the easier it will be to find them. You can't kill one if you can't find one.
Most game is taken with very similar tactics once you find the animals. The strategies and tactics from one type of hunting, say whitetails, is pretty applicable to other species, say elk.
But, the manners of finding animals on your first hunt for them is not nearly as applicable. Focus on how to find game and you will end up punching a lot of tags.