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What a season!

I apologize for the delay as we have been very busy in the shop and in the field.

Where to begin…..We started the year in Canada fishing for Kings. We had a great trip, caught our limit of “Tyee’s” I broke and dislocated my thumb. All in all a great trip.

We came into some new ground during bear season and had a fantastic trip. Some new clients and hunting buddies. We were all over bears, spotting 7 the first morning.

Alaska was next on the docket with a very long road trip from Stanwood Wa to Craig Ak. with boat in tow and 20 hours round trip on ferries it was one for the books. We caught a massive amount of fish, crab and shrimp. That, coupled with a black bear and a sitka black tail deer = we were not freezer poor.

Then it was the annual boys deer trip in Eastern Wa. which was very memorable. We stacked the deer like cord wood and came away with some amazing footage. Also, a great friend Harvey Aney (70 years young) made an amazing 639 yard shot on a whopper muley.

After Halloween we headed to SW Montana for some elk and deer. It ended up being a great trip with Uncle John stopping in for 2 weeks on his way back from Wyoming and Travis coming over to be camera man. With everyones efforts we were able to get 2 monster deer on film. A 5×6 and a 6×6 that was almost 200″. We finished the trip with a last day 5 point bull and now we cant wait to go and start all over in 2013.

More details and pictures to come.

We are looking for a video editor also. If you know of anyone please email us. Thank you!


Well, it is that time of the year. Time to write checks and hope for the best. We have put in for most of the western states and Alaska this year. Hoping for the best, but we have already had some of that wishful money returned.

There are many different cutoff dates for applying, but March 15th holds true for a lot of the draws so get your apps in now!

We here at Cantrell Outdoors use the MRS section of the Eastmans Hunting/Bowhunting Journals for a lot of helpful information in our draw selection. We all subscribe and pay our money, we do not get a kick back for putting them in this article. I really do believe that their magazines are some of the best resources you can use to help you in selecting your states and areas.

That being said, read it and put in. Put in for as many states as possible. I don’t care if you don’t have the money or the time….just put in. The world could end or something of that cataclysmic nature. Long story short, we all love to hunt and everyone(myself included) is not getting any younger. So, throw caution to the wind and let’s do this.

You will not get drawn for everything. So, don’t worry about all the time. If you do not have the money, then buy a bonus point. That way you are one step closer for next year. Some of these “Quality” western tags take 20+ years to draw, so just put in. It is exciting.

I wish everyone the best of luck this year. I am looking forward to being out in the woods with some of you and hopefully hearing or reading your stories this fall. Take care, Cantrell Outdoors.

WOW! We have been busy…

Well, it is half way through our seasons here and we have been busy.

1. Modern Deer Season. We put our shooting system to the test this year with some semi-long, very steep shots. I met with Brian Holiday of  Square Peg Studios this morning to get our video produced into something everyone will want to watch. We have some amazing raw footage of a two shots at 512 yards at a very steep angle with vapor trails and a killer “kill shot” dumping a massive 300lb mule deer in its tracks with the Cantrell Outdoors Shooting System. It really highlights the need for our system vs a very capable shooter with a very nice custom rifle who has to guess hold over and angle. Unfortunately, the first shot missed…but the Cantrell Outdoors Shooting System does not miss. Call it an unfair advantage, but it is all the mathematical calculations dialed in for you in an instant for a sure first shot every time. Here is proof…300lb mule deer

2. We had pro staffers “Uncle John” Boyd and Ron Cantrell head to Wyoming on an Antelope hunt. They both ended their hunt with full freezers and lighter wallets from taxidermy bills. They both took nice bucks and Uncle John took his buck at 1/4 mile, also known as a “chip shot” for our 300 Ultra Mag Shooting System. We have some great footage being edited for that also and am looking forward to getting it all on our site very soon.

3. Our gun shop has been busy with custom builds for clients and building up our dealer accounts with some fantastic companies such as Armalite Inc, Starlight Cases, and Olympic Arms to name a few. We will of course have our Cantrell Outdoors Shooting System, and now we have just about everything else that you could want also.

4. I know it has been a long time coming….and we will soon have “professional” video available. We have tried to put some video together with no avail and now we will have something that we will be proud to put out. We have a ton of Great hunts from all over the world that will be coming soon. We appreciate your patience.

Special Thanks to Joe and Travis Nickelsen. It was a team effort to get this buck.

300lb mule deer

certified 300lb mule deer

Gun Shop is OPEN!

Cantrell Outdoors Shooting System

Cantrell Outdoors gun shop is now open for business. We are currently adding to our inventory, so if you are looking for any type of weapon: Bolt action rifle, semi auto, pistol or shotgun…WE can get it for you at a great price! We also are a dealer for Starlight Cases. These are, in my humble opinion, the best case on the market. We also carry the Upriser Arms Bipod Swivel. This is a MUST HAVE for any hunter or shooter. I personally shoot with one and we put one on all of our Cantrell Outdoors Shooting Systems. If you are looking to get a Cantrell Outdoors shooting system before season, we have one left. Orders take about 3 months to build, so put them in now!

Send your gun inquires to and we will send you a price and availability on any gun you want.

Thanks for your business,

                                                   Kris Cantrell

2011 Hunting Season is Here!

We have been waiting all year and it is finally here. Archery deer and elk in Washington is here. The cast and crew of Cantrell Outdoors is in the woods. We have already had success with a very exciting bear hunt where client Brian True took his first bear. A beautiful color phase black bear. Long story short, the bear charged and I am still here to tell the story(soon to come).

Washington color phase black bear

Brian True's Washington color phase black bear

I have been guiding and have not had time to do any hunting for myself….until the other day and shot a dandy Bobcat(story to come along with pics) We are getting a few weeks of warm weather which will hinder some of the archery season, but then back to the rain. We will be following some new hunters this year. Along with a modern rifle elk hunt at the famous “Elk Duck” camp.

If you have any good stories and pictures of your hunts so far this year, send them to and you could have your story published here!

Izilo Hunting Safaris, South Africa

Izilo Hunting Safaris

Cantrell Outdoors is proud to present Izilo Hunting Safaris. They are based out of East London. Cantrell Outdoors was there on safari a few years ago and it was fantastic. The people, accommodations, hunting, food, P.H.’s, everything was more than one can expect on a South African hunting Safari. What ever you are looking for in a Safari, we can set you up. Your Professional Hunter Dave Deconing is a well seasoned veteran of the bush. He has guided many successful bow and rifle hunters. Contact us today to set up a hunt of a lifetime.



Cantrell Outdoors Custom Rifle System

Cantrell Outdoors is proud to present our Custom Rifle System. It has taken quite a few years, a lot of hunting trips and a lot of time at the range to figure everything out. We are dialed in now and will be providing a complete package for the long range hunter. How many times have you seen that monster buck or bull just out of range and had to watch it walk away. Well, I was sick of that happening too and have developed this package to take care of that.

This is what you get

-A custom tuned Remington 700 (multiple models avail) in 300 Ultra Mag
-A Leupold scope with M1 turrets from Leupolds custom shop
-60 handmade rounds custom fitted and loaded specifically for your rifle
-2 turrets cut to your hunting grounds average temp and elevation
-Top of the line air line approved hard case
-A certificate of accuracy out to 1200 yards

These rifles will be ready to hunt out of the case as soon as it arrives. The turrets will range from 200-1200 yards. Your rounds will be hand loaded with 210 Berger Hunting VLD bullets for maximum knock down at 3/4 of a mile. I personally shoot this exact system and I guarantee your satisfaction. Don’t ever let that trophy of a lifetime get away again.

Spring Bear and Multi Season Tags


Here is a video about putting in for spring bear for the 2011 season. Also, I talk about the controversial cost of the multi season tag. This is a tag you can put in for deer or elk and hunt all three seasons, or until you tag out. It is 6.50 to put in for it and if you get drawn it is $180!! I know…..I know, it is more than my Deer, Elk, Bear, Cougar, and small game license combined…by a lot! It will allow you to spend more time in the woods and hunt more…..Weather, Work and Wife permitting. Anyways, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below ↓

Whidbey Island Second Deer Tag


Travis and I just returned from our hunt over on Whidbey Island. We have not been over there for a couple of years, and WOW has it changed. It was hard hunting before around all of the private land then, and now it is almost impossible. Luckily we know quite a few people where we could go and hunt their property, but it was still pretty tough. 

When we were heading over there on the ferry, we had mapped out our game plan. I was going to shoot the first deer that was in range. I really, really, really like Whidbey Island black tail. They make some of the best table fare out of any big game animal in Washington. We knew of a couple good bucks, and would try and get Trav a buck. 

The season is only 4 days long, so we did not have a lot of time to be picky. The days are short this time of year and we had the worst storm of the year working our way. We were seeing deer, but all on private property. The end of the second day finished with a good size doe in the back of my truck. She made the mistake of trying to figure out what I was at 20 yards when my Mathews bow let loose my Easton arrow sending my Shuttle T-lock broad head through that deer and she went about 18 yards….It was awesome. I know it is only a doe. If you have ever been over to the island, you would know that the deer over there are tiny. I have shot more deer than I can shake a stick at, but when I drew back on that doe and my heart started pounding I really had to concentrate. 

Calm down…. 



It was awesome… 

Now on the third day of our hunt we decide that we should fill the freezer for Trav. He had a few complications with his bow the day before. We talked it over and got him squared away. We were ready to punch our last tag. It was about an hour before dark on the third day when we spotted two deer. I quickly asked Trav how he wanted to make the stalk. 

It was two minutes later and I was about 30 yards behind Travis. He pulled his bow back and swung it around and I strained to see through the bushes. I just focused in on the deer and WHACK! His arrow hit his mark with the deer taking two steps and that was it. We had the deer field dressed and back in the truck about ten minutes later. Perfect. 

We were able to fill the freezer and have a great time. We really need to thank Wayne and Laura for putting us up for 4 days and all the great meals and hospitality. I hope we draw tags again for next year!

2010 Modern Rifle Deer Season Black Bear Adventure

This year was a tough one. We had warm weather for 8 out of the 9 days in Eastern Wa. Our target was mule deer…and the target was small. We had a tough time locating bucks with any size to them. There was a big burn earlier in the year and it had really pushed the deer up high. We hit all of our usual honey holes with little success. We pulled out one decent buck on opening morning and then it was just does and fork & horns for the next few days. A few guys got mid week bucks, but nothing to write home about.

On Tuesday night, against the will of pro staffer Travis Nickelsen, I drove 2 hours away to our august bear hunting grounds to try and whack a late season bruin. I luckily had the company of Trav’s dad, Joe Nickelsen. Old Joe has been around a few times and has killed more critters than you could shake a stick at. The guy lived in Alaska for a good portion of his life….enough said. Unfortunately, Joe had busted his leg just prior to season and was hobbling around on a homemade cane made out of an axe handle, rightly dubbed “The 42 mile Cane”….but that’s another story.

So Joe and I get up to where we want to drive in on a little kicker road and there is wal-mart/piece-o-crap looking barricade across the road stating that the road was closed. Obviously this was not put up by the state. A couple of hunters camped next to the road had most likely put it up. Long story short, I was pissed. I drove 2 hours and now I couldn’t show Joe my spot and we would probably not see any bears. We about just driving up, but in the end didn’t want my truck to get shot up. Also, if I brought Joe home with holes in him, Trav would probably be pretty pissed at me…..

I had just pulled off on a wide spot in the road to glass this steep canyon before we made the 2 hour drive back home and Joe says “There’s your bear right there Kris”. I mumbled a couple of 4 letter words at Joe, still being pretty upset at the barricades and the wasted morning hunt, when Joe says, “REALLY, GET YOUR GUN!” Joe is quite the joker and I didn’t take him seriously at first, but when he told me to get my gun the second time, I knew he was serious. I grabbed my 300 Remington Ultra Mag and looked over the edge of the road at 300lb plus, six and a half foot bear.

I don’t know about you, but bears get me…they get me bad. I start breathing erratic, my heart beat is so strong it about knocks my face off my stock as I try on get a bead on this monster. Needless to say, I have a little “buck fever”. I fumble with my range finder, it reads 398….a chip shot…..BOOM! The bear does not fall down….He runs, he stops, BOOM! It looked like a good shot, this time at 526. I had just nicked his back on the first shot as I didn’t compensate enough for the 45 degree+ angle.

We decide that Joe will go and post up the canyon on the other side and I will go in where I was shooting from…..down into the thick, dark, scary, very scary, patch of aspens the bear disappeared into.

As I made my way down a little kicker road, I ran into a small mule deer doe. She was staring into the aspen patch where we had last seen the bear. This was a good sign that the bear was still in there. It was also a bad sign that the bear was still in there…..and still alive.

After glassing the deer and aspens over for about 20 minutes I figured that there was no buck with the doe, the bear was not coming out, and I had to do something. I first started with a couple of whistles, then loud yells, then small rocks, and still no bear coming out. Plus, that doe just stood there and stared at me! I figured I would move down a little farther towards the bottom where the hill had gave way and there was a large rock slide. I kicked loose a few basketball size rocks into the thick brush just about 80 yards below.

The doe that was now only 60 yards away finally spooks off. I thought…ok, it’s go time. I waited for the big bear to come charging out of the aspens. I waited, heart pounding….nothing. I rolled another rock down, gun at the ready, trying to keep my balance on the steep hillside….still nothing. At this point I glass up the canyon to see if Joe is in the same spot. He is still there, just waiting. I turn back to the aspens, when I catch movement at the end of the aspens up the draw. It is the bear, and he is on the move.

I catch myself with my off hand as I fall into the hillside trying to get stable for a rest. I fumble trying to get my range finder out of my cargo pocket. I click once, power on, twice, the range pops up at 314 and he is moving swiftly up the hill. I think to myself, what the hell are you doing, just shoot it! I pull my rifle to my shoulder and find him in my Leupold scope just as he gets to the top of a little knob above the aspens…..BOOM!

The recoil and sound is tremendous in the steep narrow canyon. I try to regain my sight picture through my scope. I don’t see anything. I pull my eye away from the scope and begin to scan the hill side. I don’t see anything….I listen, all I can hear is the stream below. Did I miss? No….no way. It was only 325 maybe. My rest wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t bad. I had practiced shots like that before, and well out past that distance. I check the turret on my gun. It was dialed for 325, perfect…..right?

Doubt sets in….

I replay the shot over in my head. Yes, I was a little excited. My breathing sucked. I can’t help it…bears just do that to me. I didn’t see him run out, and I know my rifle is on. I shot a hand size group at 788 yards the day before. He must be dead, he must be.

I sit and glass for about ten minutes. I walk back up to the road and glass again. I start the truck and drive around to go pick up Joe, and stop about ten more times and glass. I don’t see anything. I pick Joe up and tell him the story. He reassures me that I made a good shot and the bear is down in the thicket, dead.

We talk about the best way to get down there and I park. I get out and Joe wishes me good luck as he starts a pot of coffee on my tailgate with the Jet Boil. I think “I sure hope I make it back to get some of that coffee”.

Luckily there is an old skidder road that is somewhat walkable that goes half way down and then cuts back towards the bottom. The whole time I am replaying the days events in my head. The first shot, a little high, the second shot felt right on the money, but the angle….the steep, steep angle. He should have been dead, but the angle. Then the last shot. I felt steady when the gun went off. Trigger pull was steady, I didn’t jerk it. My heart and breathe though….man, I was excited. My heart and breathing were out of control. What the heck was wrong with me?…..Nothing. I reminded myself that if I didn’t feel that way, then there is no point in being out here.

I roll some rocks over the edge just above where I had shot. I waited, rolled another, listened, waited, nothing. I thought, OK, there are only two things that could happen, 1. He is down there dead 2. I missed all 3 shots, I suck, he ran away……OR, he is waiting quietly in the bushes and is going to eat me as soon as I get in the bottom. I am hoping for number 1.

The brush is thick, really thick. I try and stay alert as possible as I am looking at the ground for a blood trail. No blood, there is not one drop. I make a circle, and another, and another. I make the circles bigger and bigger. It is so thick and steep and there is so much brush.

Doubt sets in, then more doubt….

I think to myself, “I know I hit this bear, I know he is dead, and I am not leaving until I find him”

I look and look, and nothing. Finally I decide I will go back up, have some coffee and regroup…but, one last circle. I will go and look in front of the knob. Why would I look there? I don’t know….I could see it when I shot and I didn’t see anything there. Let’s say, I had a feeling. I trudge across a creek and back up the other side. Around the side of the knob and through some brush I can see the start of a game trail. I check it for blood, nothing. Doubt sets in again as I duck under some branches and push my way through the brush, and as I pick my head up after clearing the tree branches I see black. I jerk my rifle up to my shoulder (Uncle Mike’s scope covers still on and closed) and get ready for this bear to eat me.

Nothing happens. My heart is beating so hard I can feel my face pushing away from the stock every beat. The bear is dead….A wave of excitement, joy and relief come over me.

Now the work….Oh, the work. This bear is roughly 300lbs, and down in the bottom of a canyon, and it is almost 70 degrees. I begin by caping him out for a Life Size mount. If you have never done this, it is a lot of work. This bear has a large white V on his chest, which in my mind, takes him out of the running to be a rug. I can’t have that cut off and not show. A full mount it is!

I radio up to Joe that I found the bear and to call his son Travis. He was working nearby and hopefully was off of work. Joe, luckily got a hold of him and he was on his way.

I had just finished up packing the hide onto my pack when I heard Trav yell over the side of the rock cliff directly above me. Perfect timing. He put on his pack frame and headed down.

Two trips later we were all up on the road celebrating with victory beer (Just one, we are responsible hunters) and taking pictures with the Victory Bear. It was one of the best hunts, and it was even better that I was able to share it with Joe.

We finished up the  dear season by taking a respectable 5×5 on the last day of the season, but that again….is another story.

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Mule Deer

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Mule Deer

Joe Nickelsen with 2010 Black Bear

Joe Nickelsen with 2010 Black Bear

Travis and Joe Nickelsen glassing through the fog looking for Mule deer

Travis and Joe Nickelsen glassing through the fog looking for Mule deer

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Black Bear in the hanging shed

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Black Bear in the hanging shed

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Mule Deer

Kris Cantrell with his 2010 Mule Deer

Travis Nickelsen with 2010 Black Bear

Travis Nickelsen with 2010 Black Bear

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