After fifteen years in law enforcement, including a couple of stints as an undercover narcotics agent, John Mulligan retired to the whitetail hunter's paradise of Iowa. He's been hiding out in fields and tree stands ever since, always armed with a compound bow and camera. John's a grinder who's built an impressive resume since leaving the police force, working as a marketing director, photographer, Sitka Whitetail Ambassador, and host of his own web series, Arrow Wild. Archery isn't a post-retirement hobby for John, it's a passion he's had since his youth in Kentucky. His determination and talent have turned that passion into a second career. It's also earned him more time in the woods, and that's what he's really chasing.
Your work ethic is the stuff of legends. What drives you to hustle like that?
John: When I was a kid and trying to save for my first car, I asked my dad how I could make more money. He told me to work more hours. My dad taught me about effort and perseverance through demonstration. His example of work ethic has been a driving force for me. I learned to enjoy the grind which is a good thing cause nothing worthwhile happens overnight.
Hunting, especially bowhunting, requires a ton of preparation. Any pointers for the new guys wondering where to start?
John: Focus on the things you can control and get those dialed in. Wild animals can't be controlled, but being accurate with your equipment, using quality gear, and having confidence in your conditioning can help level the playing field.
What's the worst day you've had in the field? Have you done things differently since?
John: My worst day in the field was the first time I had an unrecovered animal. I felt horrible and sulked for a few days, and then got right back to work. I re-evaluated my gear, took a look at myself, and I made changes where I thought I needed to. Success as a hunter is all about learning from bad days in the field, and making changes to our preparations to make sure they're one-and-done experiences.
What items are always in your truck?
John: I keep ratchet straps, a cooler, and reserve fuel can under my DiamondBack year round. And I always have a camera, binos, and spotting scope handy. The rest depends on the season and the game I'm after.