How well do you know Nick Mundt?
You could say that Nick Mundt has spent most of his life outside in pursuit of wild game (or in the woods). Being born and raised in Spearfish, South Dakota and spending more than 15 years as a licensed guide at Seven J Outfitters, Nick Mundt is no rookie to skinning a deer or frying up a fish. He’s known in the outdoor industry to consistently get it done with big animals, no matter where he is. Lucky or good, or both, there’s no doubt that Nick Mundt is a great outdoorsman and one of the most fun people to have in camp. Period!
The Spearfish, South Dakota native, whose dad is a Vietnam vet, Purple Heart recipient, and man among men. Nick is a 3-time SMC champion, father, caretaker, provider, and a Bone Collector in every sense of the word. Here are some questions we had Nick answer, honestly!
List some cool accomplishments or accolades? Weren’t you just named to the Hall of Fame?
Yeah, I was nominated to the Spearfish High School (SD) Fine Arts Hall of Fame a few years ago. The family and I had the pleasure of flying private with our friend, Greg Jensen, in 20 below temps from Minnesota to Spearfish. My wife, Mallory was very pregnant with Della Rose and it made for an exciting trip. It was quite an honor to be nominated for the Fine Arts Hall of Fame. My older brother Eric was one of the first nominees to the SHS Athletic Hall of Fame for Track. I was hoping for the Athletic Hall of Fame myself but I’ll take Fine Arts. haha
What is your secret talent?
I can play the natural voice harmonica like no other!
Rumor has it that you used to be a barber?
Yes, I went to Moler Barber College in Fargo, ND in ’91 and finished in early ’92 and have been cutting hair ever since. I don’t have time to work in a shop anymore but still clean up family and friends from the safety of my kitchen!
People on social media often say that you don’t skin/clean your own animals. What would you say to that?
I’d say they definitely don’t know me. I love to get my hands bloody, I always cape, skin, debone and prepare my meat and a lot of times everyone else’s in camp. I’ve become very good at gutting deer quick and can make short work of a big critter at the meat pole. I really enjoy spending that time after the hunt, it gives me time to reflect on the hunt itself and give ultimate respect to the animal. Caping the head and preparing the cape and horns/antlers/hide to take home is my favorite part.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
That’s tough, there are so many things! Probably the time I was adjusting my fiber optics on my bow sights and I drew back to look at it, settled my pin and just pulled the trigger and dry fired my bow! The cam at the top bent just a little and it was enough to derail everything and leave me standing with everything hanging off my bow with the dumbest look on my face! Felt pretty dumb, to say the least!
Any other random facts about yourself that you’d like the Brotherhood to know?
I love sports! Football, basketball, soccer, and track & field are my favorites. I pretty much played some kind of sport almost every day until I was about 40 and I just ran out of time being on the road so much. I really miss a good pick up game of hoops!
When did you kill your first deer? Tell us the whole story!
I killed my first deer outside of my hometown of Spearfish, SD. I was 14 and had hunted for two years before, I had several opportunities the first two years I was old enough to actually hunt but I wanted a little bit bigger buck than the ones we were seeing. There were several old bachelors that lived on their family farm/ranch west of town and they always let us hunt despite having a reputation of being mean guys. I think the Meink brothers were more misunderstood than mean and they always welcomed my Dad and me into their home for coffee when we would visit. They were really nice guys and we hunted their property for years as well as a neighboring property owned by the Edwards family. We would park in their yard and hunt the creek bottom and alfalfa field directly behind the house. That field had piles of deer in it and I remember one year we had 60 bucks come by us at daylight! At that time licenses were over the counter and there were no mature bucks around. It seemed like every hunter from surrounding states would come to the Black Hills and shoot the first buck they saw, which is fine, there just were no older bucks. Looking back, knowing what I know now, all of the bucks were 1 and 2-year-olds. It was great to always see deer when we went hunting there.
Back then my Dad worked on the road in the oil business as a landman, he would secure leases for the oil companies to drill wells on private farms and ranches. His work took him to various places, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, Utah, and a few others. When I was 14 I got my drivers license and I drove an old blue 77’ Ford F-150, 2 wheel drive with a big white topper on it. I would take myself hunting after school and on weekends, I was all in and I went out every chance I had.
One evening after school, I went to the Meink brothers ranch and parked in the driveway. I grabbed my gun, a Ruger .220 swift, and headed to the south along with the trees to a spot I could see the whole field. There were already deer in the field when I got there. I began scanning with my binos and there were several bucks out. One, in particular, caught my eye and I decided I would try to get him. I crawled on my belly across a grassy flat that had tall weeds to a huge manure pile in the area where they fed cattle in the winter. I crawled up and laid on top of the shit and got my gun situated. I had a dead rest, I knew it was going to be a long shot, around 400 yards. I remember waiting for the buck to clear a group of does and I began to squeeze the trigger when he turned broadside. My crosshairs were just a little over his back when the gun startled me when it fired. I didn’t see the bullet hit because of the recoil so I just looked through my scope and found the buck running around in a melee of deer. I kept watching and he began to slow down and stumble. I remember my heart racing, I was so pumped to finally get my first deer. As I made my way to him I was thinking about my dad and how proud he would be to hear I got one. I was pumped about my shot and also surprised about how long it took him to go down.
When I got to him I was ecstatic!! He was a pretty 4×4, probably 90 inches and 150 lbs on the hoof. Over the years I had watched my dad field dress lots of deer and he always walked me through each step of the process. I was pretty confident I knew what to do but a little scared to screw up at the same time. I started like he had taught me, begin with the weiner and balls and start skinning down to butthole. Lol, so on and so forth. We never split the pelvis, always disconnected and pulled everything through the pelvis hole. To this day that is how I do it and always will. It took me over an hour to get it all done and by that time it was pretty dark. I looked up and headlights were coming across the field in my direction. It was 2 of the Meink brothers, they congratulated me and offered their help. I was pretty much done with the dirty work so they loaded him up and gave me a lift back to my old truck. We loaded him up and I was so excited to get home and show my Mom I forgot to tag my buck!! I remember Basil Meink saying with a chuckle, “you may want to put your tag on him before you head to town” we all laughed and I put my tag on him and headed out. What a hunt it was and I did it all by myself. I have been hooked ever since!
The Meink brothers have all passed to greener pastures now, but each time I drive by their old farm I remember the great times I had there with my Dad and all of the deer we used to see. I believe their farm was bought by the Edwards family and is run by my old friend Eric Edwards who was a year younger than I was in school. Those times were very special and I knew every inch of both farms like the back of my hand! One of the most beautiful places on earth.
Your nickname on Bone Collector is “The Wheel,” please explain?
I was guiding a couple of guys from New York in Montana, we were in a big valley and the only way out was up a super steep gumbo road that was soaking wet and muddy as hell. To the left was the hill and to the right was straight down several hundred feet to the bottom. If we went off we would surely roll to the bottom and our deaths! As I started up, I floored it because I knew speed was going to keep us moving forward and not let us slide off. A guy named Phil, a huge Italian dude, with thinning hair and gold chains was squeezed in the back seat of the 2 door pathfinder. He had his arms across the back and his hands were locked into both “Oh sh-t handles”. As we were spinning out and mud was flying everywhere, he was yelling “if we wreck I’m gonna kill you!!! He was stuck no matter what, he was so big there was no way he would be able to bail out! I was laughing out loud and the guy in the passenger seat, another New York Italian, named John was yelling and laughing too. The whole way he was yelling “Nicky the Wheel, Nicky the Wheel!” It was like mass chaos! When we made it to safety he told me my new Italian name was “ Nicky the Wheel Coyote” and he called me that for several years when he came back to hunt with me! We would meet in the morning or call room to room at the hotel we stayed in and I would say, “Hey Johnny” in my best New York accent and he would always say, “Hey Wheel.” What a great guy John was, he always had a fun attitude and treated me so well. The name stuck and most of the folks at Seven J Outfitters still call me WHEEL!!
What’s the craziest (PG-rated) thing that you’ve ever done?
Bungee Jumped off of the Zambezi River Bridge at Victoria Falls. That was totally stupid! 350 feet to the bottom, crocs, hippos and a bunch of morons running the show in one of the poorest countries on the planet?? Totally stupid but a good memory!!
The tagline on your website is “Beware of Man,” What’s that about?
It just explains me, hunting, fishing, trapping. If there’s an animal that is legal to chase, look out, here I come!
What’s your favorite part about being a part of Bone Collector?
It’s great to be a part of a great team! I feel like we have made a positive impact for hunting and really have helped move the needle to get new people involved in hunting and show folks what hunting is, and is meant to be, not too serious and fun fun fun!
If you could only hunt one animal the rest of your life what would it be?
That’s my toughest question! I love to hunt everything. The hunt I’m on at that moment is always my favorite. If I had to choose it would probably be whitetails because there are so many places and habitats to hunt them. You can stalk them in some places and hunt them from stands and blinds in others and no two places are the same. They are very adaptable creatures and can literally survive anywhere.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully doing the exact thing I’m doing now!! I love my life, my family, my job and I’ll be happy doing this as long as possible. I may add a few other revenue streams in that time, but for the most part, I’ll be right here if it at all possible!
Any final words?
Shoutout to The Brotherhood!! We couldn’t do what we do without y’all!
Want to see more fun facts about Bone Collector. Drop a comment on here or on social media and we’ll put some more together!