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Ego Is the Enemy – New Podcast

GRITTY BOWMEN_Episode 223_EGO_800x400

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down for another Gritty Bowmen podcast with my good friends, Brian Call (Gritty Bowmen podcast) and Jordan Harbertson (MTN OPS). Brian has been kind enough to invite me onto his podcast several times in the past couple of years, and we’ve had some GREAT discussions about elk and elk hunting. However, the most popular podcast we have done (and the most-downloaded Gritty Bowmen podcast) was the one we did earlier this year on “Extreme Ownership”, which was our version of a Gritty Bowmen “Book Club” review of the book (Extreme Ownership) by Jocko Willink. And while we did relate some aspects of the topic to elk hunting a couple of times, the theme of the podcast was more relative to business and entrepreneurs. If you missed that podcast, definitely check it out (the link is at the bottom of the page).

Books for Entrepreneurs_1200x900The responses from that podcast were insane, and it opened our eyes to several things.

First, we aren’t the only “nerds” who read books. Second, there are a lot of hunters who dream about being an entrepreneur. And third, there are multiple topics that apply to hunting, life, and business. So, we asked our respective followers what books they would like us to do a podcast about next. And while there were SEVERAL great recommendations, the topic we chose for our most recent podcast is based upon the book, Ego Is the Enemy (written by Ryan Holiday).

I would urge you to listen to this podcast. The book has been life-changing for me, and having the opportunity to discuss Ego with my good friends Brian and Jordan was really awesome. Again, the topic can be applied to so many aspects of life: business, family, friends, and elk hunting.


In addition to sharing our thoughts and experiences (and struggles) with Ego, I used the podcast as an opportunity to announce the giveaway of some Bully Bull EXTREME bugle tubes with the new Sitka SubAlpine covers (amazing pattern, by the way!).

Sitka Subalpine Bugle CoverSeveral years ago, my wife cut a sleeve off one of my Sitka Optifade shirts and sewed it to fit snugly over one of my bugle tubes. Since that time, I have received hundreds of requests from elk hunters asking where they can buy the Sitka bugle tube covers. And until now, they have not been available at all. However, to help promote the launch of Sitka’s new SubAlpine camo pattern, I convinced Sitka to have a handful of the bugle tube covers made up, and I connected them with Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls to package them with my personal favorite bugle tube – the Bully Bull EXTREME. Several of the bugle tubes with the new SubAlpine covers were given out by Sitka last fall, and last month, they gave me the remaining tubes and covers to giveaway!

When I mentioned I was going to be giving some away on Instagram a couple weeks ago, I thought I might need to find a secure storage facility to house them in…people were emailing, messaging, and calling me – begging (and threatening me) to get their hands on these new tubes. Unfortunately, there are only so many of these custom covers, and I can’t play favorites.

If you listen to the “Ego Is the Enemy” podcast, I share the details of the first giveaway – and your opportunity to win a free bugle tube with SubAlpine cover – at the very end of the podcast. But, since you are on my email list, I’m going to give you preferential treatment, and several additional opportunities to get your hands on one of these awesome tubes.

  • First – Be sure you are following Elk101 on Facebook and Instagram. We will be doing multiple giveaways on both platforms this month.
  • Second – Click Here for a chance to win a “Bugle Tube a Day” for 10 Days!
  • Third – Sign Up for the University of Elk Hunting Online Course during the month of March…I will be randomly selecting 10 people who sign up for the Online Course during the month of March to receive free bugle tubes. Click Here to Sign Up Now. (If you are already signed up, watch your emails for more opportunities for you to win).

And stay tuned for several more giveaways in the coming days…

PDF NotesOK, back to the topic of Ego. I took 8 or 9 pages of notes while reading “Ego Is the Enemy”, and I compiled those notes (and quotes from the book) into a PDF. If you don’t want to read the book, but want to get an idea of what it’s about, you can click here to Download the PDF of my booknotes.

I first listened to the book on Audible, and then bought a hard copy of the book so I could highlight it and take notes. About halfway through my initial listen to the audiobook, I found that I had been thinking about all the people I knew who struggled with each of the different aspects of Ego that were being discussed in the book. It was then that it dawned on me…the very fact that I was mentally assessing the egos of others was pointing a pretty accusatory finger right back at me. I was the one I needed to be concerned about. It is my Ego – not theirs – that is my problem. The second time reading the book, I was able to apply the message directly to myself, and it made me realize how much Ego affects every one of us…oftentimes without us even realizing it. And that can have a very negative effect on every aspect of our lives.

(If you missed our insanely popular podcast on “Extreme Ownership”, you can Check It Out HERE)

I know that this post and this topic are not 100% related to Elk Hunting. But I found several areas in each phase of Ego – aspiring to success, achieving success, and failing – that are applicable to Elk Hunting. Beyond that, I truly feel that this book, and the introspective look at our own egos, will make us better people in general, and that in turn can only help us become better elk hunters!


Heck, let’s giveaway another Bully Bull EXTREME Bugle Tube with the Sitka SubAlpine Cover….just leave a comment below about how Ego has affected you (in life, business, elk hunting, or otherwise). I’ll pick a winner for another bugle tube randomly from the comments…



  1. Josh Bryant says:

    Ego traps us in a world of self focus. Only when we begin to get outside of ourself and our intrinsic self serving interest can we open our eyes and hearts to a world full of hurting people. Once we begin to see through the eyes of Christ we can move forward with seeing through His eyes and His heart of love. I have found it absolutely imperative to constantly recognize my natural tendency toward pride and self focus and allow Him to change me from within. Appreciate you guys taking the time to talk about this subject. It is both helpful and needful.

  2. Tyson Woods says:

    Ego puts a damper on most everything we do, if we let it. My 2015 season was focused on being somebody and being recognized. Everything fell apart that year. I went into my 2016 season to have fun and do things for myself. It ended up being a highly successful season, and I learned a lot. I learned how to keep the success and make goals for the right reasons.

  3. Garett Bowmaster says:

    Like others on here I am planning my first elk hunting trip this fall. In preparation it has come to my attention my physical fitness level is not at the level I had thought. I use to wrestle and workout every day but after graduating and getting a job where I am sitting down all day I lost both the strength and endurance I once had. Getting back in the gym ment admitting to meself just how our of shape I truly was. However the inspiration I getting from finally going on my first western hunt has helped me loss my ego and start rebuilding my fitness from scratch.

  4. Dan Fletcher says:

    First off, this might be the first time I have ever left a comment online. I am planning my first western hunt this fall and have been immersed in books (reading my fourth now)/ podcasts (Gritty/Hunt Backcountry from Exo)/ this website and the online course. I think Ego gets in the way of for everyone, for me, I long to not have desk job and to be doing something I love. However my ego/pride get in the way and won’t allow me to take that first step for fear of failing. I have three small kids and the thought of telling them that I have failed at something is overwhelming, but in reality we all fail and fall short of goals etc. Never failing only means you have never tried.

  5. AZ_FJ says:

    Ego can get in the way of learning. I have a nephew who is an amazing young man, who isn’t even supposed to be alive today – because of medical issues he was born with. He is selfless and has the kind of humility we all should have. I know when my ego gets in the way, I just have to think about him…

  6. Wayne harper says:

    Can’t wait for subalpine to come out!! Really love the bugle tubes Rocky Mountain game calls have been making! Keep up the good work.

  7. Eric Rynearson says:

    Corey listening to the podcast and reflecting back there are so many people and things I have noticed ego problems! Makes me want to really think about what I say or do and not intentionally letting ego take over but has so many ways of coming out! I will get the book and read it not only to better myself but influence others around me not only in everyday life but my hunting ventures as well!!

  8. Jason Sheppard says:

    I hunt alone in the Selway, Why? because it forces me to be totally dependent on the Lord, my wife does not like it, is it the smartest thing to do? It depends on the your view point, Is it my mountain man , grit , boomstick toting , backwoods peckerwood ego? I have been accused of that, I trust, will he get me out of here alive? So far so good, called in a Wolf pack with cow calls one howled at me very cool and very spooky at the same time they took off when they caught my scent and realized I wasn’t an elk, Why because I didn’t jump when they howled. Hunting is so much more to me than whacking that 400 plus bull for wall mounts or bragging rights with the boys, for me it is complete alone time with my creator away from it all, second complete trust in him, the awesomeness of his creation and me a little speck in it all, I have had a 300 pound spike staring at me at 15 feet with my 460sw pointing right at his head I didn’t shoot. it was too cool he thought I was an Elk at first and then he realized oh wait a second, I also had no tree cover to jump behind in case he went a kicking and miles away by myself and only 2 foot saplings in an old burn out with only brush for cover well sometimes they drop and well some times they go wild and kicking not taking that chance and then a few seconds later a nice 5×5 total broadside grazing at 50 yrds totally unaware I was there. It was my fifth day out and I was tired beyond tired only about 70 yrds from the truck but, put a fork in me I was done. I left him there alive and well and an awesome memory for me. I learned this, Huntin isn’t always about the kill it is about the experience and memories however you want to take it. unless of course you are starving, and success well I have let her fly and sometimes I have said no, either way If I got into em, It was an adventure and successful. And that is why my heart likes these good ol boys at elk101 even though I don’t know them personally I sense a lot of GOOD in them. EGO or EGO aside. j

  9. Caleb Haynes says:

    Corey, another first timer here heading out to Wyoming in the Fall. Thanks for all you do to try and help everyone out,not just newbies.

  10. Drostan Orme says:

    Awesome stuff! I love a good read, I read extreme ownership a couple years ago and it changed my life for the better; great podcast on that. This one just inspired me to get this book. Great stuff again; can’t wait for it to get here, so I can dig in. Thanks Corey!

  11. Brent R. says:

    Ego, the thing that makes military leaders think they are great leaders. Setting aside one’s ego allows troops to determine if you are a great leader. Sec. (GEN) Mattis is a great example of this. Hard for me to have an ego when it comes to elk hunting as I’m about 0/8 in the success column…or has it been my ego that has lead to this pitiful record?

  12. 2Plustwo says:

    Really like these book club podcasts. Excellent work all three of you!

  13. Justin Steimer says:

    Corey, after reading your PDF notes on the Book, I looked up two Proverbs that speak the same truths. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Prov 11:2) and “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Prov. 29:23)

  14. Matthew Carlock says:

    Corey, what a truly amazing podcast! A real gut check!!! Looking forward to reading the book which isn’t a normal thing for me to say. I’ve always strived to stay as humble as possible but after listening to you guys speak about this it really opened my eyes on how much ego I still have. I’m really looking forward to this book not only to changing my life for my passion of hunting and helping others become more successful but at home with my wife and kids.
    Again thank you for all you do!

  15. Joe White says:

    Hey Corey – thanks for all you do to help promote hunting and to help hunters be their best. Ego can be a real problem in the hunting industry. People are always obsessing about inches and looking to outdo the next guy. I have seen people just about come to blows when people are in “their spot” and it can ruin relationships for years if not decades. I really enjoy how you guys bring a very relevant topic (that doesn’t necessarily pertain to hunting) to light and talk about how it affects us as people. While I don’t really struggle with ego (I am still an elk noob and haven’t notched my tag yet) I have seen it’s effects in the whitetail woods back in my home state of Michigan. As I am starting to introduce my kids to the outdoors, I find it very important to show them how amazingly positive hunting can be and to make lasting memories with them without worrying about taking the biggest and the best. I took my 9 year old son mule deer hunting with me for the first time last year. It was a pretty tough hunt because he wasn’t able to make it to the top of the mountain but I wanted him to have a good experience rather than force him to be miserable climbing to the top like I normally do. We only saw one deer which turned out to be small forked horn that I was able to take. Even though this is probably the smallest deer that I have taken in 20 years, it is also one of the most special. My son was so excited and thankful that it brought tears to my eyes. He was able to see the whole process with his eyes and he is now most likely hooked for life. I was able to show him the video of you and your son taking that first elk and he constantly talks about how he can’t wait to do that with me. These are memories that I will always cherish and it is definitely not about the inches. Thanks again!

  16. Mike S. says:

    I am going on my first elk hunt this fall, and after looking at all the things I need to do to prepare for this task, it is a pretty humbling experience. I guess I could let my ego get in my way and fool myself into thinking that I’m already in good enough shape, and that my shooting skills are completely up to par, but that would be completely foolish on my part. I think that if we let ego get in the way, that is when we really stop striving to become better, and fool ourselves into thinking that status quo is a satisfactory result.

  17. Norman Peters says:

    Ego got the best of me this past September. Thinking I new everything and ignoring my hunting partners ideas and tactics led to a huge fail. If only I had gotten off my high horse and listened to his set up strategie we would’ve tagged out the second morning! Ego was in the way, leading to failure and disappointment. We ended up going home eating tag soup. Looking back now I’m surprised he didn’t use that tag on me!

  18. Norman Peters says:

    This past year hunting elk in Alberta Canada I really struggled to let go of my ego. Looking back now we could’ve tagged out and had meat in the freezer if I just could’ve let go of my ego. I was going to be the hero when it all came together and we would tag out, but that moment never came. We could’ve tagged out the first morning if I had only listened to his idea but ego was in the way. Thinking I new it all, not listening to my hunting partners ideas, we did it my way failing miserably. After listening to “extreme ownership” and “ego is the enemy” I can now see where I screwed up so bad not just in hunting but in my lifestyle and it’s teached me to look at my life instead always looking at others. Great podcasts from great people !!

  19. Kyle Morgan says:

    Ego has held me (and many others) back over the course of my career. When I first got into graduate school, it was my ego that prevented me from taking the advice of my committees, the advice of my peers, and working with others (after all – the people I was working with are all fighting for the same jobs at the end of our program – ego is a common issue in academia because we all thing we know everything. I struggled through those first 3 years, until 2 years ago my main advisor pulled me aside and gave me Ryan’s book as a reading assignment (thought it was odd seeing as we were doing a formal reading course on memory). It didn’t take me long to figure out why he did that. I can honestly say Ryan’s book has changed my life, and since I have read it (5 times) my worklife and overall quality of work has improved drastically. Ego hinders us all and working on it is more important than most people care to consider.

  20. Doug Stanton says:

    I was actually watching the podcast before I saw your email and really enjoyed it. It’s inspired me to start reading more. It brought to mind one of my favorite bible verses which I often fall short on – Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Which was one of Brian’s quotes from the book “there’s nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” If I can keep reminding myself of having that mindset, it really helps me a lot to keep my ego in check.

  21. Nate Hanan says:

    In my younger and dumber years, ego often kept me from seeking advice from older men. Instead of swallowing my pride and gleaning wisdom from men that had walked the path before me, I often tried to go it alone. Wish I would have done things a little different.

  22. Kevin Eric Jones says:

    I’ll keep it short and simple, but overseas in the Army and I thought I was invincible. I openly joked how I was going to stick an arm or leg to get shot in just so I could get a purple heart (dark infantry humor I suppose). Of-course, I didn’t really want to get one, I didn’t think that would ever happen. End the end I have a lovely scar to remind me every day to be careful what you wish for and remember no one is invincible. Young, dumb and one lucky SOB. Really loving the UEH course, just started a week ago and it’s awesome!

  23. Jeremy K says:

    Hello to all. Many things came easily to me such as school and sports in my youth. Because they came easily I thought that I was better and that everyone else needed to know it. I was not aware of the development of my demeanor until my family had pointed it out. Being young it was not possible to see how my ego could actually have had a negative affect on all of those around me.

    I had a lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. Because my ego had grown so much I thought that it would be easy to fullfill this dream. I did well in my studies but I thought it was more important to strut around then to study. I did not get into school.

    My son was born when I was 31. When he was 5 he had nearly died because of a mold allergy that took some time to diagnose. During this time I sat down and had a talk with God. This helped me realize that it is more important for me to be happy with myself then to receive the presumptive satisfaction one would get from walking the walk. I did not want my son to have a dad with such an ego and I made a promise to change.

    In the podcast you mentioned life becomes beautiful when you make it beautiful for them. Well, at the age of 40 it finally came true. I did become a veterinarian. Because of my acceptance of who I was and the willingness to change, I now spend most of my days helping others, which in turn helps me, my family, and all of those around me.

  24. Jeff Finn says:

    Corey – love the book reviews!! Maybe there are more of us book-reading hunting nerds than anyone realized. Thanks for letting folks know about Jocko Willink – started following his podcasts and just wrapping up the Extreme Ownership book and will add the Ego is the Enemy book to the top the reading pile. Good stuff.

  25. Dusty the Prodigal Son says:

    Mine is more life related and a little long winded but… I said a prayer to God when I was 25 years old. It entailed MY plans which involved never getting getting married, never having kids, spending the next 10 years solely on building my own business to sell and then retireing at 35 so I could move to a a warm sunny beach for the rest of my life. I am now 34, married To the love of my life and have 2 kids I would die for. I sold my business when I was 29 and live in an inland concrete jungle and I am the happiest man alive. For so long I thought my life was based on my merits, accolades and success until 2015. Jan 2015, I said goodby to a great friend Paul (33 years old, married, 3 kids and wife 7 months pregnant) that died of testicular cancer, in March of the same year, we almost said goodby to my 25 year old cousin Eli who (by the grace of God) beat it. In September of 2015, I was diagnosed with testicular, lung, and lymphnode cancer and thought I’d never hunt again. Thankfully we (my family and I) won that battle. As a result, in 2016 a good friend of mine invited me to spend 10 days in Montana to hunt elk. Although I came home empty handed but it was just enough time and souls searching to realize I got it made and am the luckiest man alive! Like Corey says, there is so much about elk hunting that is applicable to life. Patience, persistence, timing, discipline, humility, concentration, proclivity, and it’s so freeking fun! Corey and his family provide direction and if I draw my montana tag in the next few years, I cannot wait to email a picture of my first raghorn!

  26. David Hewett says:

    Learning to delegate tasks and focus on the result, not the method of achieving the result. We’re all different and do things differently… it is purely ego when we insist that we’re the only one who knows how to do something.

  27. Brett Bueltel says:

    Here’s just 1 example of how my ego has affected me. This year in Colorado, on an elk hunt with my Dad and brother, I struggled with letting go of my ego. We had finally gotten a bull to respond and we tried to decide on the next steps. My ego got in the way when I refused to listen to anything my brother had suggested and instead thinking that my way the way. My arrogance in thinking I knew more than him almost cost us a chance to shoot our first elk together.

  28. Mike Adams says:

    It’s easy to get the ego after a period of success. I called in and killed nice bulls (solo public land) 3 years in a row. Thought I had it all figured out, until last year. I never got a shot at a bull elk all year. More to learn ….

  29. Adam Kopchick says:

    I agree that if you think you don’t have ego you need to read this book twice. And unfortunately I think I’m one of those people.

  30. James Wyatt says:

    I’m a mechanical engineer and I used to be in the military, and my ego has gotten in the way both in my personal and professional life. It can be hlepful in some cases though. One of the best places to check your ego is on “what you know.” I find the older and more educated I get, many times the more I realize I don’t know. So, I make a point to never be satisfied with my knowledge level.

  31. Tyler G says:

    This season i decided not to hunt with my father in law because we never encountered any elk. This year he killed a 6 point bull on a OTC tag. I ate tag soup.

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