Q&A with Cody McCarthy: The newest member of Slayer Calls
By M.D. Johnson
Over the 30 years I’ve been doing this outdoor writing gig, I’ve had the opportunity to interview hundreds of different outdoorsmen and women. Folks from all walks of life — hunters, anglers, trappers, survivalists, guides, outfitters, craftsmen and women. All have a story to tell; an interesting story, all with their fair share of hills and valleys. Successes and failures. Good and bad.
A common denominator would be tough to pinpoint from among the hundreds; however, if I were pressed to name one, it would be passion: A passion for the great outdoors. For the whole of our natural resources and our planet. A love of family and friends. Of life in general.
A recent addition to the Slayer Calls family, Cody McCarthy has this passion, obvious from the moment the young man spoke to answer my first question and continuing throughout the whole of our conversation.
Slayer Calls (SC): Who is Cody McCarthy?
Cody: I’m 29 years old. Originally from Orofino, Idaho. Born in Lewiston, and moved to Eagle [Idaho]. I went to school in Boise at Bishop Kelly High School, and was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to play collegiate football. NOTE: McCarthy’s football resume reads like a plaque on the wall in Canton, Ohio: One-time Idaho player of the year; three-time all state; three-time first team all conference; USA Today Top 50 All-American.
I went on to get a degree in biology. Was a paramedic for three years. I moved back to Boise, and rekindled some flames — some passions — regarding what I wanted to do in life. I became a certified strength and conditioning specialist; that’s what I do currently. I’m happily married to my best friend, Breanna, and we have three beautiful daughters: Lexi, 7; Oakley, 5; and my baby, Sage, 7 months. I’m faith, family, and outdoors. I’m a Christian man. I won my first elk calling contest when I was 8, and [in 2021] was the World Elk Calling Champion [professional division].
SC: What is it about elk and elk hunting that excites you?
Cody: It’s hard. Elk are smart. Their ears, eyes and noses are better [than ours]. They’re big and built for the mountains and rough terrain. The challenge is doing something that’s hard. And they have a beautiful language that takes years to understand. I’m still learning what all that means. I love their tenacity. Their aggression. The way they attack life every day. They’re strong and captivating. I just love the pursuit and the challenge. And the lean protein that comes from the elk is important to our health.
SC: Your first archery bull?
Cody: I was 11. With my bow. And with my Dad. We sat down in a big burn and had given it up for the day. So I gave out this crazy bugle, and this bull comes out into the burn at about 150 yards. We scrambled to set up behind this tiny little Christmas tree. Dad was laying down. And this bull walked right up to the tree like he was going to rake it. His eyes rolled back in his head; he wheeled, Dad cow-called and I drew my bow. I made a great shot and watched him go down. It was a great experience with my father.
SC: Elk calling, Cody, in one sentence?
Cody: A challenging, beautiful communication with these animals.
SC: Most common mistake when it comes to archery hunters and elk calling?
Cody: They quit. You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take. But I think the biggest mistake people make is that they give up on themselves. They don’t believe they’re good enough. Or quality enough. They’re not putting themselves in the best situations. And a 1B to that would be not using emotion [when they’re calling]. You can be the prettiest caller in the world, but if you don’t have emotion … elk are a passionate, aggressive animal, and you need to put that passion and intensity into the call.
SC: Describe, Cody, your role with Slayer Calls?
Cody – I’m the lead of product innovation. And [as of this writing] they’re considering a product coach/educator; someone who knows the product inside and out. Who can explain the product well, and provide examples of how to use that product correctly. How to teach someone else how to use those products. NOTE: Cody McCarthy’s title with Slayer Calls is now “coach and head of product innovation.”
SC: What’s on the docket for Cody McCarthy in 2022? Plans?
Cody: We’re waiting to see what the good Lord turns out for us, but I can guarantee we’ll be hunting an Idaho elk in the mountains with family.
Learn more about Cody and his Dad, Joe in this article.