Who is Last Breath?
My name is Garrett Boelkes. I am married to the most beautiful woman I know, where we live in Central Illinois. I am the co-owner and co-host of Last Breath Media Co. and the Last Breath Huntcast. You can find our content on all major social media outlets, YouTube, The Pursuit Channel, and all major podcast players.
Like most others in this industry, I have a deep passion for all things outdoors. I practice and embrace all methods of hunting with an emphasis on compound archery equipment. My other passions include fitness training, firearm training, photography, and paintball.
Last Breath Media was established in 2014 and it has allowed me to hunt in many places across the US. Including but not limited to: Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas. Though I have been hunting for over 20 years I have found there is always knowledge to be gained and new memories to be made.
Q: Do you hunt with archery equipment or firearms or both?
A: I hunt with both archery and firearm equipment. Each has their own disciplines and skill sets needed to be effective and ethical. Archery offers you the ability to be a student of the game and to not only hone your archery skills but also understand the animal you pursue. Gun hunting allows a sportsman to take advantage of an effective long-range weapon system. I enjoy building a rifle, developing a load, and practicing a one shot, one kill mentality when hunting with a firearm.
Q: What’s your hunting style?
A: My style of hunting is proactively working to enhance my opportunities while responding reactively to new situation. In other words, I do everything I can (within my means) to prepare my ground, gear, and body for the season ahead. But I also react to new sign, movements, patterns, etc. as the season progresses to make sure I do not stagnate my success.
Q: On a level of 1 to 10 how important are game cameras to your hunting success and why?
A: Trail cameras are extremely high on my list when it comes to my gear and my arsenal of hunting necessities. I believe they are one of the most, if not the most important accessory for learning age structure and population densities on your farms. Trail cameras let you know what available bucks are there — which can help with shot discipline. Simply put, it makes passing a 140-inch younger buck easier when you know there is a bigger, more mature buck roaming your farm.
Q: If you’re hunting a specific property, how do you typically use your trail cameras for scouting and hunting (be specific)?
A: I use cameras in many different facets. In fact, we recorded an entire podcast on how our camera use changes throughout the year. We also have a mini-series — Moultrie’s Image Autopsy on YouTube. This breaks down each buck harvest we have made and explains how trail cameras helped us harvest that buck.
Q: What roll do cellular game cameras play in your scouting and do you use them differently than traditional trail cameras?
A: Cellular cameras changed the game for me. Most importantly they allow you to get that valuable information without disrupting your farms or hunt areas. They also give you nearly instant data. Knowing things such as when a buck “day lights,” if he holds a feeding pattern, or seeing a change in his behavior can be very deadly throughout the season.
Q: Tell us about a buck that got away that you still think about to this day?
A: The one that got away is a buck named “Pretty Boy.” This buck was a super star on one of our farms. We watched him grow from a 2 year old to a 5 year old. The summer of 2019 he was our number 1 target buck going into that season. Unfortunately, our entire area was wrecked with EHD and as luck would have it, Pretty Boy was one of the many deer we lost that summer.
Q: Have you skipped something important to go hunting instead? Was it worth it?
A: It was November 29th, 2018. It was my brother’s fiancée’s birthday, but it was also opening day of late firearm season in Illinois. Needless to say, I did not make her birthday party. However, I was able to harvest our number 1 target buck that year — “Tanto”!
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to a new hunter, what would it be?
A: Never stop learning. My hunting methods and tactics are an evolution of the things I have learned over the years.
Hard work cannot guarantee success, but it improves your chances. Unfortunately, hunting is one of the few things that no matter how much you put into it you’re not guaranteed an opportunity. However, I promise the more work you do during pre and post season, the better your odds will be.
And finally, we rise by lifting others up. The hunting community is filled with thousands of amazing people; however, jealousy is very common within it. Congratulate your fellow outdoorsmen and women and do your best to promote this way of life in the best way you can.
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