A Passion for Bowhunting
I was fortunate enough to have a Dad who inspired my love for the outdoors and my passion for hunting and fishing. He took me with him on all his outdoor adventures from the time I was 3-years old. In the early days, I was his retriever on dove hunts and waterfowl hunts. And when I was 6-years old, Dad was with me when I took my first deer — a 2-year-old 8-point buck. Dad was in the blind with me when I took a shot at that 8 pointer, but when we didn’t see the deer fall, he thought I might have missed it. Dad went to look for the buck and put on a deer drive, thinking I might get a second chance to take a deer later that day. But while he was gone, another buck came into the blind, and I bagged it. After my dad and I located the second buck I shot, we blood trailed the first buck and found it, too. On my first day of deer hunting with my dad, I bagged two big bucks!
During the time I hunted in Arkansas — where I took my first two bucks — the state had a short, two-week deer season for gun hunters. Unfortunately, because my only free time was on the weekends while I attended high school and college, I only had two to five days to hunt deer during the whole year. However, Arkansas allowed bowhunters to hunt deer for six months. And when I went home during the fall and the winter, bow season was always open. I knew that if I bowhunted I’d have a much longer season to hunt. The choice for me was very simple: I could either have five days to hunt with a gun or six months to hunt with a bow. So I became a bowhunter. And the more I bowhunted, the more I enjoyed the challenge of trying to take big whitetails with a bow. I occasionally hunted with a rifle in Texas and New Mexico during this time as well. But around 1990 when my family sold their tile business, I was able to devote more of my time to bowhunting and to managing our ranches.
Why Brittingham Travels Around the World With Gun and Bow
As far back as I can remember, my dad, Robert Brittingham, and my uncle, Juan Brittingham, have hunted in Africa, India and many other exotic destinations all over the world. They started hunting out of the county in 1945, which was 13 years before I was born. So hunting in foreign destinations always was a part of my family heritage. When I was 14-years old, my dad took me to Africa to hunt. However, I didn’t return to Africa until about 1993 when I took my children on the same hunt my dad had taken me. After that hunt with my kids, my interest was renewed in traveling to Africa. Now I go back at least once a year and often as many as three times a year. I also make quite a few trips to Canada and South America, and I’ve been to Mongolia and Tajikistan to hunt mountain sheep.
My father was a graduate from the University of California at Berkeley, prior to World War II. He and my uncle played football. Dad played right end, and my uncle played left end. My uncle was an All-American, and both he and my father played football together in the Rose Bowl. After graduating from college, the two brothers — who had dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico — worked in the shark-fishing business in the Sea of Cortez. When the war began, Americans with dual citizenship had to declare their main citizenship. My uncle declared a Mexican citizenship to take care of the family business. My father volunteered for the navy and became a commander of a PT boat where he fought through the end of World War II. While my father was at war, my uncle began a ceramic tile business in Mexico. When my father returned from the war and saw how successful my uncle’s business was, he decided to start his own ceramic tile business — Dal-Tile — and chose Texas as the base of operation. His business grew into the third-largest ceramic tile business in the world. My dad and my uncle worked really hard, and their work ethic and their passion for hunting spilled over to me.
Why Brittingham Produces Videos
A large number of people would love to go hunting with me. I have opportunities to hunt exceptional animals in some of the greatest places in the world. I really would love to take each and every hunter with me on these hunting trips. However, since I can’t hunt with all of the hunters in the United States, I try to do the next best thing: create exciting videos of my hunting adventures.By using an over-the-shoulder method of producing hunting videos, I enable my viewers to see exceptionally large animals in exotic hunting locations and experience hunts with me and the hunters in my videos. These videos are designed to enable folks at home to feel like they’ve been on these hunts, without actually paying the money or going through all the trouble to take these animals.
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking trophy animals, hunting out of the country, bagging unusual game or traveling to exciting destinations, you’ll discover that my videos attempt to take you to those places and let you experience those hunting adventures. Not only do I want viewers to go on the hunt with me, I also want them to learn — as I learn — from each of these great hunts. I try to portray the hunt exactly as it happens or recreate any events we can’t capture on film. And even though the main goal of my videos is not to teach hunters how to hunt, I believe viewers still can learn right along with us. If I could take every hunter with me on these trips, I would. But since I can’t, hopefully people will be able to feel as though they’re with me by watching these videos.
I minored in range and herd management when I attended school at Texas Tech University, and I’ve dedicated my life to studying wildlife management. We have implemented many wildlife-management practices on the ranches we own and the properties we lease to produce the maximum amount of trophy animals for the habitat we have.
I have three ranches in Texas managed for whitetails and one managed for waterfowl. I also have a ranch on the Colorado/New Mexico border managed primarily for elk, but we do have a healthy mule deer herd and black bear population there as well. Hopefully some of the management techniques that I’ve learned and practice will be helpful to others and beneficial for the lands they hunt. Through our habitat-management videos, viewers can how to produce more trophy bucks on the lands they hunt.
Brittingham’s Hunting Equipment
I’ve been around white-tailed deer all my life, and if I had to choose my favorite animal to hunt from all the game animals I enjoy hunting, it would have to be the white-tailed deer. Here is a list of the equipment I use when hunting whitetails. I’m not sponsored by any of these companies, and no one is providing equipment for me. But I’ve tested a wide selection of equipment, and the following is what I believe to be the best equipment for me when hunting white-tailed deer.
I prefer to hunt with the Tech 29 made by Bowtech. The main reason I shoot this bow is because it gives me a lot of speed for a very compact bow. I shoot a 475-grain arrow at 266 feet per second. If I shoot a 400-grain arrow, I’ll push 290 feet per second, which is very good speed for a bow this size. Because I travel extensively, compactness of a bow is very important to me. And this bow is 29 inches, axle to axle. I usually carry a hard-bottom, 31-inch duffel bag on most of my hunting trips. I can pack the bow in the bottom of this bag and pack my clothes around the bow. I can go anywhere in the world without a bow case.
With The Tech 29, I pull 72 to 73 pounds, but I have other bows I hunt with from time to time that go up to 105 pounds. Seventy-two pounds is the maximum limb weight Bowtech makes for the bow I use. With the speed it generates and the energy it delivers at 72 to 73 pounds, I think I can take any North American animal efficiently. I’ve taken four Alaskan moose with this bow set on 72 pounds and had clean passes through two of the moose. The other two shots were with the moose quartering away, and there was no opportunity for the arrow to pass through cleanly.
I use a Carbon Express by Game Tracker called the Terminator Hunter 60/75. I like this shaft because it’s the most-durable shaft and one of the heavier carbon shafts I can find. Excluding the broadhead, it weighs 375 grains. Because of my experience with hunting big game, I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re better off shooting the heaviest shaft you can shoot at the speed your bow will deliver. I believe the retained energy in the arrow, once it leaves the bow, is a very important factor in harvesting game efficiently. I set up my bow to shoot this arrow out to about 60 yards. I have another arrow shaft I shoot from time to time that is only 200 grains with a 100-grain broadhead on the shaft. I have a finished weight of 300 grains, and out of the same bow, this lighter shaft shoots 320 feet per second. With the lighter arrow, I can shoot only one pin all the way to 40 yards. However, I’ve been real pleased with the penetration of the heavier shaft.
Vanes vs. Feathers
I had a bad experience on an elk hunt 20 years ago. After hunting for a week, all my feathers went flat. So I prefer to shoot vanes rather than feathers. I try to use equipment that will eliminate any problem I have in the field. I don’t see enough difference in the flight of the arrow between the vanes and the feathers to worry about water-proofing feathers. Feathers also can be very noisy. I once spooked a really nice buck I wanted to take because the feathers on my quiver made contact with the bark on a tree and made enough noise to spook that deer.
My favorite broadhead is a Wasp Jackhammer, which is a 3-blade mechanical broadhead with a Trocar tip. This broadhead comes in a variety of weights and cutting diameters. The one I use the most for deer hunting is a 100 grain with a 1-3/4-inch cutting diameter. When I’m hunting hogs, I use the same broadhead; however, I prefer the 1-1/8-inch cutting diameter. A big boar hog with that shield over his vitals is one of the toughest animals for a broadhead to penetrate, so I prefer a smaller cutting diameter that offers less resistance. If I’m hunting in Alaska for moose and bear, I use a fixed-blade broadhead. And in these situations I opt for the 3 fixed-blade Wasp.
I use a Game Tamers TS-32, a very large, octagonal-shaped tree stand with a plastic seat mounted to the pedestal on the platform in the center of the stand. The reason I like this stand is because it’s designed so the hunter doesn’t have to stand up to shoot. And because the seat swivels, the hunter has a range of about 300 degrees in the shooting position, which means less movement to take a shot. Also, because you don’t have to stand up, the deer is less likely to see you move when you get into position to shoot. And because the seat is fairly big and deer see it day after day, I don’t think they can tell when there is a hunter in the seat as easily as they can when you are sitting on a small seat or when you are standing. I think deer on the ranches I hunt become accustomed to these seats. When I’m sitting in one, I don’t think they see me as well as they will in other stands.
I’ve been using Leafy Wear Camouflage since 1993. I believe this camo produces the most natural impression, especially if there are leaves on the trees to camouflage the hunter. The pattern I prefer is Advantage camouflage. I also like the scent-blocker suits to help control odor.
I prefer to hunt in a knee-high rubber boot because I believe it helps eliminate scent. I wear LaCrosse boots because they seem to fit my foot a little better than other brands. I wear non-insulated, as well as insulated, LaCrosse knee-high rubber boots — depending on the weather. I like this boot because of its overall comfort and versatility.