It's another #Huntingfamilyfriday and we'd love to introduce you to the Haskell family of South Dakota today! We were excited to hear from Hunting Daddy Jason when he reached out to us to share some of his personal hunting family photos. We loved seeing them so much that we emailed back to learn more about him and his hunting family. Check out the interview below!
Who is in your hunting family and where do you live and hunt?
We live and hunt (mostly) in the state of South Dakota. I personally have hunted in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and have hunts planned for Nebraska and possibly Canada next year. Everyone participates in hunting in some form or fashion. We have four kids that are between the ages of 10 and 5. We all participate in the annual family pheasant hunt. Everyone shoots bows and target practices with the .22.
When did you learn to hunt/fish?
I am now 39 and started big game hunting about 10 years ago. I didn’t grow up in a hunting family, but have always loved the outdoors (hiking, biking, kayaking, you name it). I got into mountaineering after we moved back to South Dakota (we had a small stint in Chicago after college) and started pheasant hunting a little. I feel in love with both and decided I needed to combine the two.
I always thought that I would never be able to shoot an animal as majestic as a deer. For some reason, one year I told my wife that I thought I wanted to try deer hunting. I absolutely feel in love with the intimacy that hunting brought, introducing me to the strength, cunning, and grace with which these critters use to stay alive. I started heading west and hunting more open country and more species of animals. I haven’t looked back since. It was also an eye-opener to be fully aware of the process of procuring healthy fare for the table. It brought a new respect for what and why I eat and a new respect for the animals that roam our planet.
What is one of your favorite hunting/fishing memories?
Every time I take a kid hunting with me it is a cherished hunt and creates unforgettable memories. Probably my most memorable hunt, at this time, would be my bull elk I took in Wyoming last fall. I had hunted in Montana for the three previous years with both bow and rifle and hunted the Breaks and in the mountains and was lucky enough to take one cow. My lottery ticket was picked in WY and I was super excited for the opportunity to try my hand in a trophy unit in Wyoming.
Why is hunting/fishing important to your family?
Hunting is important to our family because it helps bring us closer together. We spend time around the table eating food that we worked hard to attain. We also spend time in the field without the distractions of our media-laden environment. It is nice to slow down and spend time outdoors.
What is your preferred season?
Pheasant season is always looked forward to by our family. It is a huge tradition in SD and a great opportunity for our family to get together for a day of shooting, eating, watching dogs (our pets) work, and putting birds in the freezer!! I love all seasons and hunt everything. Spring bear, antelope, elk, whitetail, mule deer, prairie dogs, coyotes, grouse, pheasants, dove; you name it - I love to hunt it and enjoy including my family when it works.
I prefer archery hunting and spend probably 3 times as much time in the field with a bow than with a rifle. Right now my biggest goal is to take an antelope spot and stalk (no waterholes and no decoys). I was really close last year and actually had a couple shots only to realize that my rangefinder (this is a whole other story) was set on meters. Very frustrating. That is what I love about archery hunting though. No matter if you are absolutely prepared, there are always elements out of your control that can change the shape of your hunt.
What is your best accessory for the outdoors?
Probably the one thing that I can’t live without when in the field is a good pair of binoculars. Even if I can’t get close enough to have the “hunt-mode” switch flipped, I love seeing the animals and how they act in their natural environment. A good set of binoculars and/or a spotter allow me to do this.
Any recipes you can share with us?
I am a steak on the grill kind of guy, but one of my favorite game recipes would be an interesting little snack known specifically to South Dakotans - Chislic. I make my chislic by putting pheasant breast meat in my favorite marinade overnight. Sprinkle the meat with a little Cajun seasoning, cut into bite-size pieces and fry in a pan. They make for a great snack to put out at any occasion (football games, board game night, Halloween, appetizers for any event).
What is your favorite tip for hunting/fishing?
I don’t really have any special tricks. I spend a lot of time in the field and that is probably the biggest key to my success. Success does not always entail throwing an animal in the back of the truck either. Getting a better understanding of the area I hunt or the animals and how they use that area is considered a success in my book.
What is a lesson do you hope to preserve about hunting/fishing for future generations?
The biggest lesson that I would love for my kids to take away from hunting is that eating meat is most healthy when you harvest the animals yourself. Animals were put on this planet for our use, but not our abuse. We have a great responsibility to make sure we do our best to conserve and use these resources with respect and honor.
Any last bit of hunting family wisdom to share?
Whether you hunt or not, I think everyone should spend time in the outdoors trying to get a better understanding of how we fit into the big scheme of things. The only way to do that is to slow down and take a good hard look at the minutia in our world.
A big thank you to Jason and his entire hunting family for sharing their photos and insight about their hunting life!