HOYT: How long have you been on Hoyt's Pro Staff?
BRENDAN: I’ve been a Hoyt Pro Staff member since 2004.
HOYT: What Hoyt bow are you currently shooting? What do you like best about your Hoyt?
BRENDAN: This fall I hunted with the Katera. It is without a doubt the most accurate bow I’ve ever hunted with. I thought it was going to be a tough bow to top, but after tuning in my AlphaMax, Hoyt has outdone themselves. The new AlphaMax is ridiculous. Quiet, smooth, light and fast - what more can you ask for?
HOYT: How have your Hoyts performed for you on some of your more demanding hunts?
BRENDAN: In one word, flawlessly. Durability and accuracy are the most important traits I look for in a hunting bow. Since I started shooting a Hoyt, I have never had a single problem with any of my bows.
My Hoyt absolutely made a difference in my elk hunt this fall. I killed my bull with a shot I’m not sure I could have made two years ago. The confidence I have in my bow makes me a better shot on game. It's one less thing to worry about.
HOYT: You've been able to harvest some incredible trophies - especially for someone so young. How have you been able to find the time and resources to do all these hunts?
BRENDAN: I have really only hunted a few states in the West and Alaska. It’s definitely an advantage that I can hunt up to seven species every year in my home state of Montana. Most of the hunts I do are more time consuming than costly. I guided in Alaska for several years and was able to take almost every animal up there for minimal cost. Aside from one Dall sheep hunt where a guide was legally required, all the other hunts I’ve done are self-guided. With good research and scouting it’s not hard to have a quality hunt at minimal cost.
As far as time goes, I just make the time. My job is pretty flexible, and I don’t have any other hobbies. It’s not necessarily quantity of time off, but how you use it. I try to do a few extended hunts a year, and the rest are short, three- or four-day forays.
HOYT: Tell us about your 2008 archery season. Did you accomplish all your goals?
BRENDAN: 2008 was really good to me. Aside from taking my second Boone & Crockett bull elk in Montana, I arrowed a good whitetail from the ground, a mountain lion, and an antelope. For me, once my elk tag is filled, anything extra is icing on the cake! I also enjoyed a lot of great hunts with friends and family.
HOYT: You're known for having great bowhunting success - with elk in particular. Tell us about your accomplishments regarding elk specifically, and tell us about some of the bigger bulls you've killed.
BRENDAN: I’m blessed to live in a state that allows me to hunt elk every year. I killed my first mature bull on a solo backpack hunt when I was 16. It was definitely a life-changing moment! Since then, I have taken 10 six-point or better bulls - including the largest non-typical elk ever taken in Montana (424 7/8 gross, 410 3/8 net B&C). My top four bulls gross 366, 381, 394, and 424. I’m proud of the fact that seven of the bulls I have taken were older than 8 1/2.
One cool thing about my three biggest bulls is the fact that I was specifically hunting each particular bull when I killed them.
HOYT: How do you prepare for your archery season? Do you shoot a lot in the off-season? Do you compete in any 3D or other tournaments?
BRENDAN: I prepare for my fall like it’s a title fight. Elk hunting out West isn’t a hobby or an activity; it’s a full contact sport. I truly believe in working as hard as I can at the things I have control over (physical conditioning, mental preparation, shooting, and scouting), because the animal and the weather will dictate the rest. I train hard, shoot daily, and scout every chance I get. All my testing and tuning is done in the winter, and by the time the weather is good enough to shoot outside, my hunting setup is locked in. From then on, I shoot outdoors with my complete hunting setup - including broadheads. I don’t shoot 3-D or tournaments at all. Between getting in shape, scouting, and shooting, I don’t have any time for anything else.
HOYT: How do you stay motivated for each hunt?
BRENDAN: I’m motivated by success. I love to hunt, but I love to hunt more when I’m successful. The great thing about hunting is it’s a new challenge every time you step in the woods. It doesn’t matter what you did last year, you have to go at it with the same intensity every time. The elk I’m after this year doesn’t care how many elk I’ve taken in the past. If I don’t bring my "A game", I’ll eat my tag. I like the fact that it never gets easy.
HOYT: Even though it's a long way off, do you have any goals already for your 2009 season? Are there any species you haven't hunted yet but plan to in 2009?
BRENDAN: My #1 goal is to take another big elk! I found several bulls last year after my tag was filled that caught my attention. It will be interesting to see if I can find them again.
I would love to hunt goat or sheep here in Montana. One of these years, I’ll draw a premium elk tag for another state, but until then, I’m happy to hunt Montana.
HOYT: Who are your archery/bowhunting heroes? Who taught you to shoot and hunt?
BRENDAN: My bowhunting hero is Ray Alt. In 1968 he killed the first Boone & Crockett bighorn ram ever taken with a bow. He was hardcore before there was a word for it.
As far as elk hunters go, Dan Evans, Chuck Adams, and Randy Ulmer are all guys I have a ton of respect for. Aside from being stone-cold elk killers, they are all good guys.
My dad introduced me to hunting at an early age and bought me my first bow at about age five. He taught me early on that hunting smart and hard is a deadly combination. Some of the most fun I have every year is hunting with my dad.
HOYT: Anything else you'd like our readers to know about you?
BRENDAN: I would like to thank all the companies that I work with - including Hoyt, FUSE, and Easton. It’s a pleasure to be associated with great people who make products that work.