Q&A with Dave Loescher
goHUNT welcomes Western hunting expert to oversee INSIDER program
goHUNT is very excited to announce that Dave Loescher has joined the team. Dave is the heart and soul of goHUNT INSIDER (coming later this month) — he is 100% focused on making sure that our INSIDERs get the edge they need to be successful in their hunting strategies and pursuits. He consistently researches the ever-changing rules, regulations and season structures across the Western US, analyzing data and leveraging his many relationships within the industry to produce the invaluable content exclusive to INSIDERs.
goHUNT: How long have you been hunting? How did you get started?
Dave Loescher: My dad introduced me to small game hunting at a very young age. I could not wait for the chance to join my dad and brother on big game hunts. I took my first turkey at age 10 and harvested my first buck mule deer and bull elk at age 12. I have been addicted ever since.
GH: By your estimate, how many hunts have you been on? How many days do you think you spend out hunting each year?
DL: I have easily been on over 90 big game hunts for myself and another 40 for friends, family and guiding clients. A typical hunting year for me would include about 45-60 days of hunting. Scouting days would add more.
GH: What is your most memorable hunt?
DL: My most memorable hunt would have to be my DIY Alaska moose hunt in 2013 with my brother Pat. We chose a remote destination, rented rafting equipment, arranged an air charter service — and then saw fewer wildlife in two weeks than any other hunt I had ever been on. This hunt was mentally excruciating and helped me to appreciate all the other hunts I have been on.
GH: What harvest are you most proud of?
DL: I am most proud of my Nevada mule deer that I harvested in 2005. We hunted a part of Nevada that was no longer known for big bucks. With virtually no experience within the unit, and having to rely solely on digital mapping (which has come a long way since 2005), I was able to find a buck scouting and then returned to harvest the 186” 6x4.
GH: Where is your favorite place to hunt? Favorite species?
DL: I have a love/hate relationship with the Arizona Strip and the mule deer that live there. It is intriguing because of the chance to encounter a true dinosaur of a buck. It is demoralizing because it will often send the most capable of hunters away feeling incapable. I really hope to get another chance to hunt there again.
GH: Tell us about your family and how you introduced your kids to the sport.
DL: In 1994 I married an incredible woman named Becky that was not raised in a hunting family. She has completely supported my passion for big game hunting and has been supportive as I have introduced each of our four children to what I feel is America’s pastime. My kids learned to shoot and respect firearms at a young age. They also accompanied me on some hunts and scouting trips prior to having the opportunity to harvest their own animals. This has been a great family activity, with memories forged that will last a lifetime.
GH: Word on the street is that you have some other “kids.” Can you tell us about them?
DL: A hunting buddy of mine showed up to my house one day with a newborn goat and a bottle to feed it with. Instantly my children were in love, and I have to admit that I thought it was kinda cool too! I knew I had no interest raising a goat that would just lay around and eat hay and become a barn potato. After a little research and talking with another friend, I found that goats could be used as pack animals if they are friendly with people and have the heart to work. Today I have two pack goats (named Pedro and Vinnie) and they are great companions on backcountry hunts. They help to carry camp equipment in and then carry the harvest out. Unlike horses and mules, there is no need to pack in feed for them because they can find what they need growing around the trail and camp, but make sure to pack enough water on hot trips!
GH: How do you research your hunts? How important is it to you?
DL: The most important requirement for me when researching hunts has to do with dates and weapon type. Once I have selected my season that fits my schedule, then I typically look for areas that have the trophy potential that I am after. Being confident with different weapon types helps to increase the number of options that I have to pick from. If the dates and trophy quality fit, then I will look for trends in harvest and quota. A nosediving harvest quota with a dropping tag quota is usually not a good sign.
GH:Why is deep research so critical in successful hunting?
DL: Being in the field requires preparation and advanced knowledge. Equally important is the need for research prior to application season when selecting hunt or unit choices, or researching a unit prior to heading afield. Without research and scouting, you are basically leaving it all up to luck for your success. I am just not that lucky.
GH: What is INSIDER and why have you chosen to dedicate your time to it?
DL: The goHUNT INSIDER program will soon be available to provide serious western big game hunters with the information necessary to find success. Finding time to research the various states and hunt choices is often overwhelming and difficult. goHUNT INSIDER has consolidated mountains of fragmented data and information and brought it together into one easy location to help INSIDERs to become educated and well-informed. There is no substitute for knowledge -- Learn. Prepare. Hunt.