These are the important things in our lives:  God,  family, careers, hobbies, and dreams we hope to accomplish one day. In order to be successful in these things, we make it a top priority to work harder today than we did the day before. This is Top Priority Hunting, a group dedicated to producing high quality hunting films and stories for those who share our passion for the outdoors and everything it has to offer. Particularly, archery hunting the mountains of Idaho, where we all call home.

Top Priority Hunting Members:

Justin Nelson:TP Bear SP17-8

Justin can’t remember a time when he didn’t have a bow in his hands. He has been hunting as far back as he can remember. Big game is his passion, but he enjoys hunting anything and everything he can. It’s a passion he was born with and hopes to pass down to his son, Jackson, and daughter, Jaycie. He loves spending time with his “top priorites” God, his wife Aubrey, and his kids in the beautiful outdoors of Idaho, where he calls home.

Jeremy Stairs:IMG_8499

Jeremy has always had an unquenchable thirst to be outdoors and closer to nature. Whether on foot or horseback, Jeremy enjoys it all.  He was in his early twenties the first time he was blessed to go hunting.  It made his love for the outdoors grow. Jeremy married his best friend and sweetheart Corinne. They have four beautiful children, three boys and a girl. Teaching them how to hunt responsibly and effectively is a priority for him. With every hunt and every harvest of game,  he remembers the gift of being outdoors is a gift from God.

Garrett Bowen:2017 Elk-68

Garrett grew up in a hunting family. He hunted with his dad well before he could hunt for himself. His passion has always been hunting and being in the mountains, no matter the outcome. He grew up in the small town of New Plymouth, where he will always call home. Garrett currently resides in Parker Colorado working as a superintendent. Garrett is the youngest member of the Top Priority Crew and is the social media director of the company. In his short time with the crew he has taken many animals with his bow and even a few with his rifle. Garrett has enjoyed hunting with a dedicated group of guys who love sharing their hunts and experiences with other people.


1 Comment

  1. Justin,
    I just watched the video of you and your dad elk hunting. I can’t tell you how touched I was with this video. I remember hunting with my dad, but I only was able to hunt with him for a short time. He passed away one morning on the opening day of out deer season, I was 17 years old. It’s a picture I will never forget. I even wrote a story about that day.Thought you might like to read it. Hope you have continued success and maybe someday, we could share a hunting camp.
    Tim Townsend

    The Buck Hunter

    I remember growing up in a small town in California as a young boy. I couldn’t wait until the day I would turn twelve, because that was the age you had to be, before you could go hunting for big game. I remember waiting with my Mom and brothers, for my Dad to get home from the opening day of hunting season, to see how big of a deer he had gotten. I remember sitting around at barbeques we would have at the house, listening to my family sharing buck hunting stories. I would sit there for hours and listen to story after story. It seemed like it would be forever before I would get the chance to go hunting with my dad.
    Well that day finally came; I turned twelve and was going hunting with my dad, uncle and cousins for the first time. There was a whole gang of us every year; these were some of the best times I had while growing up. My dad taught me so much, on where to hunt and how to hunt. I remember the first buck I ever got and how my dad had to calm me down before I could take the shot and the proud look on his face, when I was holding my buck for a picture. There was another hunt we once had; it was a hunt that would change my life.
    Every year my family would go to the same spot up in the mountains for the opening weekend of hunting season, It was in September of 1981.This year was no different. We would arrive on Friday, step up camp and then just sit back and share stories about other hunts, who missed what and who got what. As we were waiting around, we got word that my dad’s older brother Mel, had been asked to pack a couple of guys on horseback into the mountains to a nearby lake. This was nothing new, my uncle Mel had been a cowboy for most of his life, after he had retired, and He continued to work and worked at this pack station. Later that night we were getting concerned, Mel had not returned yet. When we got word that a rider had come into the station, he told us that the man packing them in, had to jump into the river to save a horse from drowning. The owner of the pack station grabbed a couple of men and took off to go help my uncle Mel. As we all were waiting, I could see that my dad was really worried about his brother Mel.
    After a few hours the men returned, my uncle Mel was safe, but he was very cold and sick from sitting in the river for hours, trying to keep the horses head above water. As my uncle got off his horse my dad went to him and said, “You need to get the hell out of these mountains before you die up here like me”. I never heard my dad talk to his brother like that, and what did he mean by “Die like me”? Mel went to his trailer to get warmed up while the rest of us calmed down and called it a night.
    The next morning was the opening day of deer season. The weather was terrible; it was cold and raining hard. Dad was making breakfast when I realized he looked really pale, I asked if he was all right, he said, “I don’t feel that good, I’ve got a headache”. I said, “You don’t have to go if you don’t want too”. “Nothing is going to stop me from going hunting” he replied. I didn’t say anything more, I knew how bad of headaches he would get, and I knew he was still upset about the night before. After we ate, we all loaded up, except Mel. He said he was not up to it after the night he had. We all drove up the mountain to where we always start our hunts; it was raining so hard you could barley see the road. As we parked the trucks and got out, the rain stopped and I mean stopped. It was like it was turned off by a switch or something. As we started up the hill, there was normally a little creek we needed to cross. But on that morning, it was more like a river.
    We looked up and down the creek, but there was nowhere to cross. My older brother Kenny handed his rifle to my cousin David then jumped across the swollen creek and grabbed a dead log. He placed the log so that we could all cross safely. When we all had gotten to the other side my dad said to Kenny, “No deer is worth dying over”. Well we all started up the mountain, when we got about 100 yards up the mountain, my dad turned and sat down. David asked, “Are you ok Rob”? My dad didn’t say a word. Then he laid back on the bank, as he did, we could see his eyes were rolled back into his head. David yelled “Oh my God! He is having a heart attack. Someone grab his nitro pills”. My father had a small heart attack a couple of years before and was given some nitro pills. As my brothers and I were looking in his pockets for his pills, David and a good friend Lawrence Martin had started CPR on my dad. As we were looking for his pills, I noticed he had something in his hand, could it be his pills? Did he feel this coming on? I grabbed for his hand, but he was squeezing so hard I couldn’t open it. It was all I could do to pry his fingers off of what he had in his hand, when all of a sudden, he let out a gasp of air and his body went limp. I opened his hand, to find a piece of a stick he broke off of something, he had been squeezing it; I believe to help take away the pain in his chest. At that moment, I knew my father was gone, but we each took turns giving CPR until we were exhausted. As this was all taking place, my cousin Eric, ran back to the truck and back down to the pack station to call for Med-a-Flight and an ambulance. After an hour or so of CPR, David placed a coat over my father’s head and said “I’m sorry boys but he’s gone”. The sound of silence filled the air; all of us were in shock. David tried his best to tell us everything would be ok, as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. I couldn’t help but think he’s gone; my best friend and dad are gone. As we were sitting there, David said to us, “You know what? He died doing what he loved, he loved hunting, he loved you three boys and I thank God your Mother didn’t have to see him go”.
    It took about an hour for the sheriff to arrive, who happened to be a real good friend of my dad’s, Jimmy Scruggs. He asked David, “Who is it” David answered, “It’s Rob”. You could see the emotions on Jimmy’s face; he would have to retrieve a good friend from across the river. Jimmy setup some ropes and hoist to get dad back across the swollen creek. As they placed my dad in the body bag, it hit me in the gut, like I had been punched by someone; my dad was never coming back. The ambulance arrived about the same time they had gotten my dad across the creek. They placed dad on the gurney, then into the ambulance, as my brother Kevin and I shut the doors to the ambulance, it started to pour down rain again. It never rained the whole time during this ordeal, not one drop. It was like God waited for everything to be over, then he would let it rain, Just as it rained tears from all of our eyes. As we started off the mountain, I asked my brothers, “What are we going to tell mom”, Kenny answered “When we walk in the door on the opening day of dear season and dad is not with us, she will know what happened”.
    When we arrived at home, there were people everywhere. They had already heard the news about our father. My mom came out of the house and gave each of us a hug as we cried in her arms. And said word for word what David had said, “He died doing what he loved, he loved deer hunting and he loved you boys, that’s the way I know he wanted to go”. She also said, “I have been waiting all night for someone to come tell me he was gone”. We asked her how she could have known, as she pointed to a dozen roses on the kitchen table. She said, “I have been with your father for 32 years and this is the first time he ever bought me a dozen roses”. The card was signed “The Buck Hunter”.

    Written By
    Tim Townsend

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.