Diary of a Hunting Photographer: Ibex in Spain, Mule Deer in Mexico, and Mountain Lions in Idaho

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In our partner spotlight articles, we tap into the expertise of the seasoned adventurers in our network to share pro tips, wisdom, and trip reports. This time, we’re getting first hand trip reports from ACLIM8 Ambassador, adventure photographer, hunter, and angler, and guide Drew Baker.

Over the past few months, Drew has traveled out of state and overseas on adventure photography and hunting trips. He’s also managed a local getaway or two in his home state of Montana. Each trip has had its own objective, challenges faced along the way, and lessons that Drew was able to walk away with (not to mention an unexpected curveball or two). So we caught up with Drew to learn, first hand, about the wild places he’s been. If you love getting outside—whether to hunt Elk, chase trout, or simply camp with the family—these trip reports will provide inspiration for your next outing and give you a couple pro tips to stash in your memory bank.

Drew Baker with Camera

For folks who don’t know you, what’s your name, social handles, and what do you do? 

My name is Drew Baker and all of my social channels are @drewbakerphoto. I am a professional photographer and videographer in the outdoor space, which is how my relationship with ACLIM8 started. Now, I primarily film for an organization called “The Other Side Ventures” where we take Veterans, or anybody who may have suffered a traumatic and life altering event and help show them how healing the great outdoors can be.

What outdoor trips have you been on recently? What was the impetus for each trip (personal, professional, recreational, etc.)?

Since our Montana hunting season wrapped up in November of 22’ I have been to:

  • Spain to film some Ibex hunts.

  • Iowa to film a whitetail hunt.

  • Florida as a family photographer in the keys. 

  • Mexico to film multiple mule deer hunts, to hunt one myself and film a few desert big horn hunts. 

  • Idaho to film a few mountain lion hunts

  • Nevada for the annual fishing trip to pyramid lake

  • Texas to film a few exotic animal hunts

Busy, busy, busy!


TRIP #1: Filming Ibex Hunts in Spain

 Ibex Hunt Spain Buildings

Okay let’s get into it. What was the first trip you went on? Where to? What was the mission?

The first trip was all the way over in Spain! We flew into Madrid, but other than that, I have no idea what little villages we camped out in. On this trip, I was assigned the task of filming 2 Ibex hunts, as my good friend Will was on a quest to complete his Ibex Grand Slam (harvesting all of the species of Ibex).

What obstacles did you face along the way? Anything unexpected or major that stands out in your memory?

I’d say the biggest and most challenging obstacle had to do with the travel. Having never traveled via plane, to the other side of the world, with tons of camera gear, it was constant packing, unpacking, repacking, keeping things charged and organized. Such a big trip came with a lot of unfamiliar challenges and one big hiccup.

On the return flight home, on a foreign airline (who shall remain nameless), we got picked out as the ‘tourist to pick on that day’. They made a spectacle out of us in the airport, refusing to let me carry-on any camera gear other than pockets full of batteries, which led to everything getting lost somewhere in Germany. My career was literally lost in another country. Multiple cameras, drones, lenses… It was a nightmare. 

Thankfully, a few days after we landed in Montana, they were able to track down the bag and everything finally showed up. Thank God. 

ACLIM8 flat lay COMBAR

Any ridiculous or surprising moments? Any good campfire story material?

Funny you should ask. 

The best story comes from a little seemingly abandoned village somewhere in southern Spain. We were staying in a vacant hotel (no present staff, even) that had to have been 500+ years old. After unpacking, we blew out a candle we’d noticed burning in what seemed like an old bar/bank vault room, then we left to a neighboring town for dinner. Upon returning hours later, we noticed the candle was re-lit. 

At this point everyone was a little spooked, so naturally we decided to push our spiritual luck and mess with the candle a little bit. Over the remaining hours of the night, we watched the blown out candle relight multiple times, lights flicker throughout the motel when asking the candle questions, and sudden gusts of ice cold wind flare up the candle when certain people would talk to it… in a dead calm room mind you. 

It was pretty intense. I definitely wasn’t a believer in “ghost stories” before that trip. But it was tough to deny what happened.

What was the result? Would you call the trip a success? All timer? Or never doing that again?

The trip was a giant success, paranormal activity and all. The friend I was filming ended up completing his Ibex Slam with a handful of mature animals. It was a very cool experience and I was able to capture a ton of incredible footage and photos while I was there. We also got to indulge in some phenomenal cuisine and meet some of the nicest people on the planet. 

I’d do it again in a heartbeat! We’re actually headed back in May! I cannot wait.

What lesson(s) did you take away that outdoor adventurers might find useful? Any a-ha moments? Packing tips? Gear you’re never not bringing with you?

I think the most important lessons I took away are based around being prepared. Whether that’s double checking charged batteries and empty memory cards, brushing up on that foreign language you forgot as soon as you graduated high school, or learning foreign airline carry-on policies. The more you know and prepare going into a trip, the more likely you are to have a pleasurable experience. Especially in a run-and-gun type setting.


TRIP #2: Hunting + Filming Sonoran Mule Deer

ACLIM8 Mexico mule deer

Okay, how about the next trip? Where to? What was the mission?

The next big trip was down to Sonora, Mexico to film and hunt desert mule deer and desert bighorn sheep. We also took a few veterans down there to chase mule deer as well.

What obstacles did you face along the way?

Travel was simpler than the Spain trip. So that was a plus. But this trip’s obstacle stemmed from packing and preparation.

The day we were supposed to leave we were informed that a certain airliner (again, shall remain nameless) was losing a ton of checked luggage in Mexico. So erring on the side of caution, we quickly ditched our checked bags, and packed everything for a two-week trip into a backpack. This meant sacrificing a lot of “extra” camera gear, warm clothes, and other luxury type items. A foolish move. 

I was packed for Florida weather by the end of my clothing detox and it ended up being freezing down there. 

ACLIM8 Animal Tracks

Any ridiculous or surprising moments? Any good campfire story material?

I always underestimated how incredibly giant the mule deer in Mexico get! Behind a camera, or behind the rifle, it didn’t matter. It was such a cool experience to witness such big, mature deer on the hoof. 

Definitely an experience I won’t forget anytime soon.

What was the result? Would you call it a success? All timer? Or never doing that again?

The result was a great success. Definitely an all timer trip. 

Everybody who went down to hunt was successful in filling their tags. Plus I got to film my first sheep hunt, which has been a dream of mine since I started packing a camera around. I can’t wait to go back. 

ACLIM8 Mexico Mule Deer

What lesson(s) did you take away that outdoor adventurers might find useful? Any a-ha moments? Packing tips? Gear you’re never not bringing with you?

Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. This goes for those backyard trips as well. 

I don’t think I’ve been anything but grateful about being over prepared when it comes to the weather. Temperature-appropriate clothing would’ve made life more comfortable when we were sitting in frosty blinds in the early hours of the morning.  


TRIP #3: Filming a Mountain Lion Hunt In Idaho

ACLIM8 Idaho Mountains Paths 

Okay, how about the next trip/outing? Where to? What was the mission?

The last big trip was over to Idaho to film a mountain lion hunt for my friend Will, who is the founder of “The Other Side Ventures”.

What obstacles did you face along the way?

The biggest obstacles we faced had to do with weather, specifically how much strain the massive amounts of snow put on the side-by-sides (UTVs). The strain on the side-by-sides caused multiple breakdowns. We broke a lot of things on that trip, haha. (Read: What Is UTVing: Fundamental Skills, Gear, and How to Get Started)

ACLIM8 UTV Vehicle Rescue

Any ridiculous or surprising moments? Any good campfire story material?

It's always surprising how resilient and tough animals are that survive our brutal northern winters. Mountain lions are no exception. The rugged country these cats live and hunt in continually blows my mind. 

What was the result? Would you call it a success? All timer? Or never doing that again?

It took a lot of days between equipment repairs and waiting on the right weather (you need fresh snow to track mountain lions), but my friend Will was able to harvest a giant Tom. 

Definitely an all-timer trip. Seeing first hand the dedication that the houndman and hunter put into this specific cat made it very special to be a part of. 

ACLIM8 Paw Claws

What lesson(s) did you take away from that one that outdoor adventurers might find useful? Any a-ha moments? Packing tips? Gear you’re never not bringing with you?

The main lesson from this hunt relates back to being prepared on these backcountry trips. 

Having a basic tool kit for repairs, a few spare parts that are prone to breaking, survival and emergency type tools (like the ACLIM8 Combar) and knowledge of how to get yourself out of a bind can save your life when you’re miles from cell phone coverage, let alone another human soul. 

Basic survival skills are crucial in these types of environments. Knowing how to build a fire, how to acquire food and water, and how to navigate yourself off the mountain without relying on battery powered tech might just save your life out there. 

In my pack and in my side-by-side I always carry a compass, waterproof matches, a basic first aid kit and an extra bottle of water—and the Combar, of course.  

ACLIM8 Gloves Knife Saw COMBAR

What’s Next?

Summer and fall will be here before we know it. Any big trip plans in the works?

The next twelve months will be crazy busy! We’ll be heading to:

  • Kodiak Island to film a brown bear hunt. 

  • Spain to film a roe deer and chamois hunt.

  • Africa to chase a handful of wild animals. 

  • And Canada to chase moose, sheep, and bear with a camera.

All by August! 

Follow along on my Instagram or @theothersideventures.




Where are you packing your COMBAR for this summer? Let us know on social media: @aclim8gear. And make sure to sign up for our email newsletter (sign up below) so you never miss an update from Drew and our other ambassadors who are criss-crossing the world putting their gear through its paces.

Think you’d make a good addition to our crew of ambassadors? Check out the team and apply here.

Want to learn more about UTVing—Drew’s means of accessing remote mountain lion country? Check out What Is UTVing: Fundamental Skills, Gear, and How to Get Started.

Want more trip inspiration for the summer ahead? Check out A Family Overlanding Adventure from Baja to the Arctic Circle, by ACLIM8 ambassadors, @family.overland.adventure.

Hungry from all this epicness? Check out the three camping staple meals that keep Drew fueled when he’s out hunting and fishing: Un-Gourmet Camping Recipes: Camp Food for Real People.




Shop the gear from this article: 

ACLIM8 combar pro titanium



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