Tony Mudd lives in Reno, Nevada with his 13 year old daughter, Gabrielle. Tony grew up in Michigan and started chasing whitetails with a bow 34 plus years ago. He arrowed an 8 point that first year from a make shift ground blind, and an old Bear bow. Needless to say, that archery hunt lit a fire in his soul that has and will last a life time! The first 10 years he shot compounds with fingers, and then to switched to longbows and recurves exclusively, taking several record class animals. In 2002 he switched back to the compound, and picked up a release for the first time.
Tony has arrowed well over one hundred big game animals. He was the 24th bowhunter in the world to complete the Archery Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep, and he’s arrowed 22 of the 29 North American Big Game animals with hopes to take the other 7 one day. Tony’s favorite animals to bow hunt are Brown and Grizzly bears, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Whitetails and any other big game animal!! His favorite way to hunt is backpacking.
He is a Pro Staffer for PSE, American’s Best Strings, Carbon Force Arrows and is a Life Member of SCI, NRA, Wild Sheep, GRAND SLAM/OVIS, Idaho Bowhunters and the Alaska Bowhunters. He is a senior member and scorer for the P&Y club.
When not hunting Tony spends the majority of his time with is daughter, helping others get into archery and shooting 3D. He also loves mountain trail running and hitting the weights a fare bit as well.
How long have you been hunting?
I’ve been chasing critters for 39 years and the last 34 years exclusively with a bow.
Where do you live?
I live in Reno NV, but home will always be where I grew up and started bow hunting in Niles, Michigan.
What is your favorite species to hunt?
Tough, tough question! If I had to choose one animal to hunt I guess it would be a screaming bull elk, or one of the big dangerous bears, or a Dall sheep, or a big whitetail! See I told you it was a tough question! 🙂 What ever I’m hunting at the time is my favorite!
How many sheep hunts have you been on?
I have been on 5 sheep hunts 4 of which I was the hunter.
Where were your sheep hunts? Which outfitter did you hunt with? Why did you choose this outfitter?
My first sheep hunt was a DIY desert sheep hunt in the Muddy (had to be a good omen!!) mountains in Nevada. I was fortunate to have killed a beautiful ram on the 9th day.
The next three hunts I hunted with 3 different outfitters. For Dall sheep I choose Braun Kopsack for several reasons; at the time he had killed more Dall sheep with a bow than anyone (that still may be the case), he had several in the top ten of the Pope and Young record book and was highly recommended as well. I killed my Dall on the second day of a planned 10 day backpack hunt.
My Stone hunt was with British Columbia Safari’s, Keith Connors and Shane Black. They wanted to start taking bow hunters and I was the first. I choose this out fit based on the concessions they were willing to provide to make this a successful hunt. I hunted with an excellent guide by the name of Allan Crawford. Al’s hunters have never left the mountain without a ram. I certainly didn’t want to change that! On the 6th day Al got me within 100 yards and I covered the next 45 yards and made a tough, steep, uphill shot. The ram didn’t go 20 yards before tipping over and falling a short distance.
My last sheep hunt was drawn in the Wyoming State draw. This finished my Grand Slam of North American wild sheep. I hunted with Wind River Outfitters owned by Fritz Meyers of Dubois Wyoming. My guide was a young man by the name of Cody Brown. This was by far the luckiest hunt I have ever been on and an exciting story in the full length version! Can’t do a short version on this one!
Did the outfitter offer you the proper gear list and preparation information?
As for the proper gear list and preparation most outfitters give you a basic list but the best thing to do is collect different lists from different sheep hunters. Especially very experienced sheep hunters and DIY sheep hunters, like Tom Foss, Bryan Martin and Tom Hoffman.
What were the weather conditions throughout your hunt?
As I mentioned recently in your blog, and Tom Foss said, “Hope for the best weather but expect the worst.” I hunted in everything from white out conditions to 80 degree blazing, beating down sun.
What was the hardest part of your hunt?
There wasn’t really a “hardest part”. Sheep country is spectacular; it’s HUGE, BIG and breathtaking. It can be intimidating at times but just take it step by step, enjoy it, be patient and before you know it you might just find yourself 20 yards from a beautiful broadside feeding ram! Something I’m confident you can do with a stickbow!
What were you not prepared for?
For the most part I was prepared for about everything, except for possibly my Stone sheep hunt. It was supposed to be a horseback hunt and it turned out to be a backpack hunt; I could have been in better hiking shape like I was on my Dall hunt.
I led myself to believe we would be on horses more than we were. Don’t assume , ask, and then be prepared for anything. If you get to sit on a horse and don’t have to do a lot of backpacking enjoy it. But if you have to get after it with a pack on your back be ready! As for the horse part I grew up on them so it’s second nature to me. But if a hunter hasn’t been around them much it might be a real good idea to learn to ride at least a little!
What is your gear list for a Stone or Dall Sheep Hunt?
I use Bryan Martin’s equipment list on all my hunts, it’s one of the best lists I have ever used. I have attached that.
What would you change on this list?
What was your loaded pack weight?
For backpack hunts I try and limit my weight to less than 55#.
What size pack & brand of pack did you carry? Would you take this pack again?
4500 cu.in., Eberlestock J107. I would use it again BUT I would like to see it lightened up from 8 plus pounds.
Do you have any recommendations of gear not typically on a gear list?
What physical conditioning program did you do to get ready for your hunt(s)?
Cardio: The best workouts I have found are hiking with heavy packs. I normally start with 50# and gradually work up from there around 80#. Monday, Wednesday and Friday heavy packs. Tuesday and Thursday hiking without packs, or light jogging. I like to use these days to hike and shoot stumps. I’ll vary the hikes fast and slow, and stump shoot while my breathing is labored.
Strength training: I normally do two to three full body workouts per week, until about a month out.
Any other training you would recommend?
As mentioned above, hiking and shooting under pressure and while having an accelerated heart rate is very helpful.
How did you prepare? How far was your shot or shots?
Shooting steep uphills, and steep downhills is a must. My desert ram was 35 yards, the Dall was 25 yards, the Stone was 55 yards and the Bighorn was at 12 yards.
What was your bow set up?
All sheep were shot with a compound, and sights.
Any changes you would make?
Only thing I would change is I had two ram’s life sized and two pedestal shoulder mounts, although they are all beautiful. I should have had them all life sized.