episode 128 | Apr 23, 2024
Law Enforcement/Military
Law Enforcement/Military
Outdoor Adventure
Experts & Industry Leaders

Silvercore Podcast Ep. 128: From Hunting Criminals to Hunting Elk

Join us as we welcome back the indomitable Mark Horsley to the Silvercore Podcast. In this eye-opening episode, Travis Bader and Mark delve into the gripping world of undercover operations where Mark spent over three decades of his illustrious career. From mastering the art of disguise to pulling off high-stakes operations, Mark shares his unique insights and hair-raising stories from the field. Discover the nuanced tactics of going undercover, the psychological toll it takes, and how Mark used his skills to blend into various roles, sometimes with life-threatening consequences. Whether you're a law enforcement enthusiast or a fan of thrilling real-life stories, this episode will leave you on the edge of your seat. Mark wraps up this episode with a captivating story of his recent Montana Elk Hunt.
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Silvercore Podcast 128 Mark Horsley

[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I'm Travis Bader, and this is the Silvercore podcast. Silvercore has been providing its members with the skills and knowledge necessary to be confident and proficient in the outdoors for over 20 years. And we make it easier for people to deepen their connection to the natural world. If you enjoy the positive and educational content.

[00:00:31] Travis Bader: Please let others know by sharing, commenting, and following so that you can join in on everything that Silvercore stands for. If you'd like to learn more about becoming a member of the Silvercore Club and community, visit our website at silvercore. ca.

[00:00:52] Travis Bader: All right. You might remember him from such podcasts as the Silvercore podcast, episode six and episode 13. Welcoming back my friend, Mark Horsley. Mark, it's really good to have you back here in the studio. 

[00:01:05] Mark Horsley: Thank you very much for the invitation. Uh, the only thing I have to say is I've got only about five minutes.

[00:01:10] Mark Horsley: I can hold my gut in since you've got this on camera. Now, last time we did this, it was audio only. That's right. So, uh, five minutes and counting. 

[00:01:18] Travis Bader: Yeah. You, you emailed me. You said, okay, I got to brush my tooth. So it was like, As long as you don't talk for more than five minutes. I'll be good. Okay, good.

[00:01:24] Travis Bader: We'll switch back and forth. So in the past, we talked about a bunch of things. You talked about, uh, the training that you've done and you did training with a large, uh, municipal police force for a number of years, helped set up their range program, the international shooting you've done, uh, training you've done with the FBI.

[00:01:41] Travis Bader: Um, one of the things that we didn't really get to into, which I found really interesting was the undercover work and for about 30 of the 35 years. Of your work, you were working undercover and that always kind of stuck in the back of my head. Like, how does this guy who's clean cut, who's straight laced, who's, uh, you come across as extremely direct, how do you get selected for undercover work?

[00:02:08] Travis Bader: How does that work? 

[00:02:10] Mark Horsley: Well, I'd love to talk about it. But if I do, I have to kill you. So, uh, okay. Um, there's some interesting stories here for sure. Um, the, there's two kind of technical parts. There's covert work, which is where, um, Um, you're just hiding the fact that you're a police officer. And then there's undercover work where you're representing yourself to be anything but a police officer.

[00:02:34] Mark Horsley: So I'm going to kind of cross between the two of them because probably most of your listeners could care less about the difference. So, uh, so I joined the police department in 1985, I was. Interested in, um, undercover work, did my basic training in the academy, uh, went out and, uh, was in the process of learning, uh, patrol work, uh, you know, entry level, starting from the bottom, working my way up.

[00:03:01] Mark Horsley: And, uh, I expressed an interest to, uh, the undercover program and got laughed out of their office. Uh, they said, uh, you're too big, you're too tall, your teeth are too straight, uh, you don't fit the mold. And this was my first introduction to, um, stereotyping and prejudging and from the police side. Okay. So it's a big part of life that I've always detested.

[00:03:29] Mark Horsley: I detested it in high school, uh, when there was the, the music group, the theater group, the jock group. And I didn't like that. I like to move between different social circles, uh, here. And We're all impacted by this and a lot of, uh, understanding of this comes from the undercover experience. So, what I wanted to establish, uh, with the selectors was how about you evaluate results and not, You're prejudging, and you're what you conceive, uh, a criminal to be like, uh, because I can guarantee you if the police officer doing the selecting for the undercover program thinks that, uh, every, uh, crook is a pencil neck, hinged tooth geek, uh, uh, the, uh, the people Criminal probably doesn't see themselves that way.

[00:04:23] Travis Bader: Right. 

[00:04:24] Mark Horsley: Right. So, um, so we, we kind of work through that and I'm going to give you an example right here, right now. Um, there's a, a, a uniform to do a Silvercore 

[00:04:36] Travis Bader: podcast. 

[00:04:37] Mark Horsley: Okay. So I re I did my research. I always do my research. Uh, I would normally be wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Uh, but if one of your listeners was to sweep by without putting the audio on, they'd think it was some kind of a ukulele podcast or something, and they might not be that interested.

[00:04:55] Mark Horsley: Or if I wore a business suit, they'd think it was a financial podcast or, you know, so I looked it up and I wore the, the, uh, Travis Bader, uh, Silvercore uniform, the ball cap, which is the universal, uh, compensation for hair loss, right? Right. And a t shirt or, you know, the hoodie or whatever. So, uh, you know, so we're, we're understanding, uh, those kinds of prejudging and, and, and we're tapering it to that.

[00:05:23] Mark Horsley: So I asked for an opportunity. 

[00:05:25] Travis Bader: So you established a baseline. You took a look as an outsider perspective, looking at what it is that you're entering into, you establish a baseline as to what kind of the look and feel would be ball caps. Yes. They do stop the reflection of the light up top, which we have here, which is.

[00:05:42] Travis Bader: Especially the 

[00:05:43] Mark Horsley: reflection of the light off the top of my head. That's right. Very little hair left. 

[00:05:47] Travis Bader: Yeah. Yeah. And then, uh, and. So you, you research first and then you come in and you try and match that one 

[00:05:54] Mark Horsley: Well here within limits. Okay. Okay. And this will, this will apply to our discussion about undercover work a little bit without trying too hard.

[00:06:02] Mark Horsley: Mm-Hmm. Okay. So, uh, the 70-year-old man, uh, who is a Harley Davidson enthusiast and has giant Harley Davidson earrings, he's trying too hard. 

[00:06:12] Travis Bader: Mm. 

[00:06:12] Mark Horsley: Um, the 70-year-old man who uses 50 F-bombs a minute to try and show how. In tuning is with the younger generation, the younger generation is actually disappointed by that because they're going, Hey, that guy should be a role model, you know, and so without trying too hard, but, uh, going back to the entry.

[00:06:29] Mark Horsley: So when we talk about undercover work, this is in and out of, uh, undercover work and covert assignments over a 30 year, uh, period, not always full time, but sometimes full time and sometimes bigger, more complex investigations. Anyway, I asked for an opportunity. And, um, I got an opportunity and I performed really well and, uh, things went well.

[00:06:55] Mark Horsley: So here I was there, uh, you know, expanding their view of what an undercover operator could look like. Um, and one of the early successes I had, uh, was, uh, buying heroin. Um, uh, in the Columbia Hotel in downtown Vancouver. And at that time, the heroin users were a very small knit group of people who knew each other.

[00:07:19] Mark Horsley: I was assigned to go in and buy caps of heroin. It was, uh, um, uh, packaged in gel caps at that time. And this was an entry level point to an investigation where we would uh, climb up in amounts and climb up in players, uh, within the, uh, the group, uh, distributing the heroin. Uh, I walked in, uh, to the Columbia Hotel and one of the important things, uh, is to feel comfortable in your environment.

[00:07:48] Mark Horsley: Well, you have to be extremely, uh, comfortable. Confident, have an extremely high self esteem and an extremely low ego, which is the negative side of self esteem. That's what you have to be. So I have to walk into a place like that and feel comfortable. Um, Um, and I walked in the door, this guy waved to me, I walked over and, uh, you know, scored the gel caps at heroin and boom, I was a rock star, uh, in the eyes of the undercover program.

[00:08:23] Mark Horsley: And it was strictly a case of mistaken identity. He thought I was someone else. Well, why am I capitalizing? Job done. Why not capitalize on that? So it went from there, uh, to a lot of different, uh, assignments in a lot of different investigative areas, uh, stolen property, uh, it went, uh, you know, certainly drug work, lots of drug work, uh, but also, uh, major assaults, homicides, uh, you know, different type of investigations.

[00:08:52] Mark Horsley: And, uh, during my career, I was assigned full time to covert. teams, uh, drug unit twice, uh, uh, once in the 80s, uh, once again in, in the early 2000s, uh, and also, uh, gang crime, which was a three and a half year, uh, covert assignment. Also, one of my most fun assignments were, uh, property, uh, assignments, one in which I was tasked with, uh, doing, uh, Commercial break and enters for a three month period.

[00:09:24] Mark Horsley: And, um, it was, uh, an interesting assignment, uh, where I learned a tremendous amount. Uh, uh, I can go into that a little bit if you're interested. So, so 

[00:09:34] Travis Bader: what do you mean you were tasked with doing commercial break and enters? Yes. Okay. Well, that's kind of interesting. Yes. It was a, it was a 

[00:09:40] Mark Horsley: lot 

[00:09:41] Travis Bader: of fun. So, and they 

[00:09:42] Mark Horsley: paid me to do that.

[00:09:44] Travis Bader: So you got to, um, I try and find it's essentially like, I think they call it like a red team analysis of a, um, uh, of a place. You're the movie sneakers would probably be an example of that. If you remember that one with, uh, uh, I think it was river Phoenix and, uh, Robert Redford and, and the. Dan Aykroyd, I think was in there anyways.

[00:10:07] Travis Bader: They, they, they go and they break into banks and places and they turn around and find all the weak spots at the bank. Yeah. So that kind of exactly 

[00:10:13] Mark Horsley: what I did. Yeah, but I didn't get a movie out of it, but other than that, so yeah, what it was is, In a particular area, there was a real, uh, increase in commercial break and enters.

[00:10:27] Mark Horsley: Uh, there was a theory that they were lock pick break and enters. And, um, my task, uh, was to reduce the break and enters by entering these premises. And leaving a note on desk saying, uh, we breached your security, got to here at such and such a time. Could you please call our crime prevention office, uh, and, uh, and get some, uh, target hardening, uh, tips.

[00:10:54] Mark Horsley: So that, that's basically what it was. And it was what we found out. So the rules were that I couldn't break anything. So no broken glass, no broken locks, uh, but I could, uh, if I could defeat a lock, I could do it and I'm not talking at the lock pick level, but if I could defeat a lock, I could do that, but it was to gain entry in any other way possible.

[00:11:17] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so a lot of it was unlocked doors, uh, uh, but then it was, uh, doing things like, uh, somebody's exiting and you look like you belong and I hold the door for you, I forgot my keys, I got to leave a message on your boss's desk, could you open the door for me, the janitors, uh, but one of the really interesting things I learned from this is is that when people look at things, they will see what they expect to see, but they won't see what they don't expect to see at times.

[00:11:51] Mark Horsley: So I was in a, in a mall that was locked and secured and there was a security guard there and I just stood still. He looked directly at me and didn't see me. I sat on one of the chairs in the, uh, in the mall. And he didn't expect to see anybody sitting there. I didn't look like I didn't belong there and he didn't even see me.

[00:12:15] Mark Horsley: So there was a lot of really, it's, it's, it's telling, uh, uh, we, uh, we bought a house one time that had a major structural defect. And we brought in the engineer for the inspection. And when he pointed it out to me, I go, I can't believe I didn't see that. But it's one of the really interesting things about people.

[00:12:35] Mark Horsley: They will see what they expect to see. And if it's not within their realm of expectation, they won't see it. And we got to watch for that in ourselves. Right. 

[00:12:44] Travis Bader: So you exploit that as an undercover operator? Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So what do they call it? Human hacking or basically looking at the, the human variable tends to be the, the The weakest point of any security system, because you can have the sharks with laser beams on their head and a moat, but if you're able to give the, uh, the drawbridge guy a nod to lower that drawbridge, you're in.

[00:13:07] Mark Horsley: Yeah, it was, it was interesting. Um, uh, It went a little farther than that. And I ended up getting myself into a pile of trouble with this one. Um, I'm a results guy and I, I look at how can I achieve a result, you know, whether, um, you know, I'm trying to shoot a perfect target in marksmanship, uh, sports, uh, you know, in, in target sports, or in this case, I was trying to lower the commercial break and enters.

[00:13:37] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so. It seemed very logical to me, uh, to figure out who was doing them and then take away opportunity from them. And so I had kind of a liberal, uh, interpretation of Breach of the Peace. And I was removing them from the area where they were doing their commercial B& Es prior to the B& Es. I thought it was good.

[00:13:59] Mark Horsley: And, and, you know, Horsby, you're a rock star, way to go until they found out I was kind of violating their rights a little bit. So there's a sex. There's a section in the, in that particular police department's procedure manual that's attributed to me as far as the, the use of breach of the peace and the interpretation of it.

[00:14:19] Mark Horsley: I thought really because there has to be a violent, uh, you know, sort of aspect to that, uh, use of that. Uh, law, I thought, well, sooner or later, someone's going to get pissed off with these guys and punch them out. And, uh, but that was maybe too big a stretch. Yeah. The presupposition of violence. Yeah. But I did get a 70 percent reduction in commercial B and E.

[00:14:41] Mark Horsley: So, but, so what went from a potential commendation went to discipline. So, but I learned, you know, you learn from experiences and 

[00:14:50] Travis Bader: I was young. You know, if you're not pushing your boundaries and making those mistakes and you're really not learning. I mean, I, that's what I tell everyone I work with, I don't care if you make mistakes, right.

[00:15:01] Travis Bader: We just hopefully don't make the same ones over and over again. If you're pushing yourself and it happens, that means, it means you're trying. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that would be a lot of fun. That'd be like a giant puzzle box. Like how do I, there's so many different ways that you can attack it. Okay. Let's see, banks, banks getting broken into.

[00:15:17] Travis Bader: We can take a look at alarm systems, locks and cameras. We can take a look at the people on it, what they look like on the job. Okay. You can start befriending people outside of work. And then, 

[00:15:27] Mark Horsley: um. Well, here's, here's one of the things, cause I know you're probably going to ask me a few things about, uh, fitting in with appearance and undercover.

[00:15:36] Mark Horsley: So in that job, uh, actually being completely non threatening, uh, having a clean cut, experience, uh, you know, appearance, uh, made quite a difference. So, you know, um, uh, how many times do you Do people hold the door open for a pretty woman or a guy in a business suit or a guy that's just sort of dressed, uh, upper casual and, and he looks clean cut.

[00:16:01] Mark Horsley: And uh, so, you know, you, you, you got to fit, uh, what's the most effective appearance for the assignment. Right. 

[00:16:11] Travis Bader: So to some degree, I guess you'd have to be a little bit of a chameleon cause you want to be able to, uh, match your body language, match your attire, match their, uh, speech patterns, cadence in ways where it's not super obvious.

[00:16:27] Travis Bader: And so they're not just, you're just mimicking me, right. But like you're saying before, you don't want to go overboard. Like what, what percentage of self do you retain when you're going undercover?

[00:16:44] Mark Horsley: Yeah, I've got to be really careful here because I, I, uh, respectfully, I've got to make sure that I'm not, uh, betraying my, um, trade secrets. Fair enough. Uh, but, I mean, uh, it comes down to how comfortable do you feel and why would you not feel comfortable? In a certain environment, that's where I talk about massive self esteem, uh, and very little ego or excellent ego control, um, where, you know, that, that kind of comes into it, but when you look at it, um, I mean, the one thing I can say is, as a, as a Canadian, Where do I not have a right to be?

[00:17:30] Mark Horsley: Like, um, uh, uh, for example, if the investigation takes us into a gay club, regardless of my sexual preferences, I have the right to be in there. It's a, a public place. place. So why would I feel uncomfortable in there? So that that's what a lot of it has to do with because I mean, I got a comment on fictional works because they just drive me nuts and so disappointing.

[00:17:56] Mark Horsley: They so misrepresent Uh, uh, covert work, undercover work, all police work. And, and maybe it doesn't matter, uh, to people watching it for entertainment, but it's brutal. Like I can't even watch it because, you know, this, when they're deep undercover, they walk in the bar and the first thing they do is, you know, look everywhere like this.

[00:18:16] Mark Horsley: When you walk into a bar, you look for what? If a seat, how it works, do you go up to the counter for a beer or is there a server? I mean, those are the things you do. So why would you do anything different? Yeah. If you're entering a bar and then why would you feel uncomfortable about being in there? Right.

[00:18:36] Mark Horsley: So 

[00:18:37] Travis Bader: is there any fictional work out there that you think kind of gets it? Uh, 

[00:18:43] Mark Horsley: Lawrence Fishburne did one movie called Deep Cover. I thought that was pretty close. I mean, there was some artistic license, but it was pretty close. Uh, but a lot of them, like one of the worst ones, uh, is it, and I can't even watch it.

[00:19:00] Mark Horsley: I've watched a few of them is a TV show called FBI. I mean, I have great respect for that agency. I've trained with them. Uh, I, I took courses with them. I, I trained at Quantico Virginia and, uh, they're professional. They're highly disciplined and it's the, just the lack of it. Like it's just everything that they're not is portrayed in that show.

[00:19:22] Mark Horsley: So I, I just, I struggle with it. Right. And then. There's this thing that I'm so opposed to, is the best stories in policing don't all involve murder and violence. They don't. So, it's, it's the entertainment industry's obsession with, with, With murder and violence. Like, I just want to see a show that doesn't have murder and violence and murder can be part of a, uh, of a story, but it doesn't have to be like it's, it's gratuitous.

[00:19:51] Mark Horsley: And even books, try and find a good book written recently that isn't about murder and violence and some weirdo perversion, you know, cause some of the best stories don't involve any of that. 

[00:20:02] Travis Bader: I mean, they're just going off a template since the very first book was ever printed. Right. It's a, the, the, the, the, the, the, the, Humans seem to be negatively biased.

[00:20:10] Travis Bader: They're looking for things that are going to be inflammatory or dangerous. And maybe that's the fastest way to hack a person's attention. 

[00:20:17] Mark Horsley: Yeah. I don't know. It's a, I mean, I've there, I've aired my pet peeve. I'm done. 

[00:20:23] Travis Bader: Well, you say about ego, uh, minimal ego or ego control. Um, so having a healthy ego is important for, in some respects, having an out of control ego is completely, um, problematic.

[00:20:38] Travis Bader: Um, I've never known you to have an ego. Do you practice ego control or is it just something that you've, uh, been able to, 

[00:20:50] Mark Horsley: I took a, I took a course years and years ago, and, um, the, the instructor said it to me the perfect way, uh, that self esteem is positive. You need to have great self esteem to succeed in life because you A lot of life tries to crush you.

[00:21:07] Mark Horsley: And, uh, as parents, we try to build our children's self esteem, uh, because a lot of the world's going to crush them, but ego, as he described, it was the negative side of self esteem. So consider self esteem, uh, what you want and ego, the negative side. So yes, it has to be controlled. And, and it's very, very common for undercover operators Get out of control egos because they get built up by their teams, by their handlers, and it goes to their head.

[00:21:40] Mark Horsley: And pretty soon they can't fit their ball cap on, they can't get through the doorway. And it was really well described by one operator to me where he got to the Dressed down by his boss about this. And he said, I needed that. And, uh, because you have to have this confidence to go into very tenuous situations, but it can't be ego based.

[00:22:01] Mark Horsley: Uh, like I can't believe that, you know, there's a number of factors that will play into whether I'm going to be successful in the objective or not, right. And it can't just be ego based. Um, uh, so I, I don't know if I'm explaining it properly, but, um, uh, Anything that tries to stomp on another person, that's going to be ego.

[00:22:24] Mark Horsley: Anything that tries to bring the best out of yourself, that's going to be self esteem. 

[00:22:29] Travis Bader: Interesting. So like that old adage, you can have the tallest tower in the city by building the tallest tower or by tearing everyone else's down. I think 

[00:22:38] Mark Horsley: that's a good analogy. Yeah. Yeah. And if you feel threatened by others who are good at what they do.

[00:22:47] Mark Horsley: That's an indication of leading to what you're talking about because you'd rather destroy their success than build yourself better. Why not? Why not learn from them? Why not become better from them? 

[00:22:59] Travis Bader: A hundred percent. Yeah. So, um, when you're looking at different people, you're establishing a baseline, what are some of the things that you use?

[00:23:10] Travis Bader: To profile, let's say in day to day life, whether policing, if you can talk about it without giving away tradecraft, day to day life, how you'd, uh, apply what you've learned and what do you do so that others are reading the profile that you want to have them read on you? 

[00:23:27] Mark Horsley: Right. Okay. Um, so you try to, uh, uh, think about I want to separate professional from personal.

[00:23:36] Mark Horsley: Um, uh, I mean, professionally, if, if you're working undercover or a covert capacity, you want to fit in without standing out, you want to be unmemorable, um, and non threatening. And, uh, and then if you take that to the personal side, my, my wife says that I, um, uh, don't look friendly. And, uh, I have a kind of a reptilian forehead and I'm losing my hair.

[00:24:04] Mark Horsley: And , I, I shouldn't say I'm losing my hair. I lost my hair . Okay. And, uh, battle's over. So, so she says, uh, you should have a friendly haircut. And I go, well, how do I get a, like, I'm going to have to comb over from mid back to get a friendly haircut. So, so, you know, uh, but I, I know that that's the appearance that I have and I can see the reaction sometimes in people.

[00:24:29] Mark Horsley: So I work really hard to be outgoing and friendly and, and put people at ease. And, uh, so that's how I would apply it in, uh, in your personal life to be sort of, sort of aware of what you look like, how you come across and, uh, um, you know, I, I've got a really good friend, um, he, if he was, um, uh, an actor, they would cast him as an axe murderer cause he's just like a frightening looking dude, right?

[00:24:53] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so he's the same thing. He has to work hard at that to put people at ease and be non threatening. And then. One of the challenges, uh, in different undercover roles is that, um, sometimes you have to take on this different persona and you have to satisfy sort of, uh, requirements of your appearance that you can't change on your days off and, and looking like a French Canadian bank robber on your days off becomes real tired real quick.

[00:25:23] Mark Horsley: And uh, uh, so there were definitely a lot of challenges with that and it's not like every undercover assignment involved that. But I certainly experienced that. 

[00:25:32] Travis Bader: How do you look like a French Canadian bank robber? You a little thin mustache and black and white striped shirt. And 

[00:25:38] Mark Horsley: well, it's what you think a French Canadian bank robber looks like.

[00:25:42] Mark Horsley: But, uh, so there were times in my career where I, uh, played long term undercover operations, uh, with a certain appearance, um, that really conflicted with, uh, family life, uh, um, for sure. That was challenging. 

[00:25:59] Travis Bader: Do you have. You strike me as a type of person who has a high level of compartmentalization and can compartmentalize different things into different areas without having a bleed over.

[00:26:11] Travis Bader: Did you find that, is that true? Am I, am I correct in that assumption or was there challenges in that, uh, in that bleed over? 

[00:26:19] Mark Horsley: Um, yeah. So, my, my wife and I married really young and, uh, we've been married over 40 years. Um, and, uh, we grew up together in a certain sense. She's a registered nurse and, uh, pretty soon we had to come to an agreement on what was and what wasn't dinner, uh, table conversation, uh, conversation.

[00:26:40] Mark Horsley: Cause nurses, like they can gross out a policeman easily, easily, and, and vice versa. So there was some over enthusiasm early in my policing career and probably early in her nursing career, uh, for sure. But then it became very balanced. So later on, uh, we came down to, um, we had a rule, five minute rule.

[00:27:01] Mark Horsley: You're allowed to talk about work for five minutes. So think about. You have to think about it a little bit, you have to be really concise, and you only have five minutes. And the theory behind that is, um, it's my burden in providing for our family, and we were a dual career couple, uh, and it's not her burden, and vice versa.

[00:27:21] Mark Horsley: So, you can summarize in, in five minutes. And that, that's what we came to. So, yeah, there was a huge difference. Separation between my work life and my family life and where it was challenging was where my appearance was such that, uh, you know, I couldn't change it on my days off that. So that was, that was a little bit difficult, but there's a really, really important thing in training undercover operators because initially we were self trained, uh, Uh, there was a, a federal agency course that some people took, uh, but it was just basically trial by fire, figure it out on your own, get a little coaching and guidance.

[00:27:59] Mark Horsley: Now it's very formal, but, uh, people are tested by psychologists. But there's one really, really important thing that has always been in place. As soon as you start using undercover techniques in your personal life, you have to be removed from the undercover program. You can't do it. 

[00:28:19] Travis Bader: And that's going to, do you have a buddy system for people or is that all self reporting?

[00:28:23] Mark Horsley: No, it's a supervisory system. So as soon as that's detected or reported and, and looked into, a person needs to be suspended until that's resolved, uh, because the person is more important than the operation. And, and, uh, you know, I have lots and lots of examples, uh, where people, uh, forgot who they were. Uh, in, in one case, uh, uh, an undercover operator, uh, met a woman while he was, uh, in a long term under, uh, undercover operation, uh, at a, as a high level drug trafficker with a fancy, uh, apartment, uh, fancy cars, uh, jewelry, money, all that kind of stuff.

[00:29:04] Mark Horsley: So she fell in love with a drug dealer. Drug 

[00:29:07] Travis Bader: trafficker, 

[00:29:08] Mark Horsley: they, she knew eventually that he wasn't and was a police officer, but you can imagine how disastrous that clash of values was when she found out that he was a police officer on a police officer's salary. Right? Sure. And, um. And there was another case where an undercover operator used their undercover ID to, uh, access, uh, um, a hotel for an extramarital affair.

[00:29:36] Mark Horsley: And, uh, you know, those are, so, uh, eventually I became a supervisor of these people. programs and these people, and these were things that we would watch for. So in my own life, yes, I was absolutely, um, uh, compartmentalizing, uh, the authorized legal technique of deception for police work, but never exercised in my personal life.

[00:30:02] Mark Horsley: So they're absolutely, you have to, you're playing a role and you have to be able to, to separate that. Uh, uh, for example, um, I try not to use words that would embarrass my mom, God rest her soul, right? Like, uh, in my personal life, but I, I've been known to use bad words in other situations. Uh, roles that I'm in, you know, and I'm no saint, but I, I try, you know, right.

[00:30:26] Mark Horsley: So 

[00:30:26] Travis Bader: is it like a switch you can flip in your head when you're going or 

[00:30:29] Mark Horsley: you're playing a part, then you're not playing a part. And, uh, there's always a transition from work to home. There is, uh, especially when you're in, uh, involved in high adrenaline, um, experiences, there is a, you know, A, um, uh, a period post adrenaline period, but there, there has to be that separation that turn it on, turn it off.

[00:30:52] Mark Horsley: There ha absolutely has to be that. 

[00:30:55] Travis Bader: I mean, you're not going in and doing undercover work at people when they're at the best points in their life, living their best life. You're, you tend to go in and find people in some of the worst areas of society and worst times in their life. You, you'll see the worst in people essentially for 35 years.

[00:31:13] Travis Bader: Uh, is there, you know, they talk about that thin blue line, right? And you're, you're walking that line between being lawful and protecting others, and you're right there on that edge, having to interact with all those who are on the other side of that. Does that get difficult? I mean, I would think for an undercover operator, that would be that thin blue guy gets really, really thin.

[00:31:41] Mark Horsley: Um, I, I didn't find it so, uh, I mean, there is a rule book, right, that we have to follow that they don't have to follow. And you know, I, I already discussed my first crossing the line, um, which was a good lesson. Yeah. But there is a rule book and, uh, uh, but there's an awful lot you can do to, to catch the bad guy.

[00:32:05] Mark Horsley: And, and you do see the ugliest side of humanity, um, actually on both sides of the line. And, uh, uh, so it, it, it's, uh, you know, like 35 years of policing helped me really understand people, but to keep it in perspective. I had to remember that, uh, I was constantly looking at the worst few of them, and that that wasn't representative of all people.

[00:32:31] Mark Horsley: Uh, I did a lot of motorcycle travel with, uh, my brother John, and one of the greatest things of that, because it was during a lot of, uh, period where I was working covert assignments and undercover work, was, um, I We, we would travel everywhere, uh, and meet all these wonderful people. And it was just a reminder that most people in the world are really good, but yes, we're using deception, um, and not representing who we actually are as an investigative technique with an end goal.

[00:33:03] Mark Horsley: That's what it was. So no, I, I didn't find a big struggle with it. I didn't, I didn't lose track of who I was, um, uh, ever. I played a role and, uh, uh, mind you, um, others did, but it was something that we, we really had to watch for. So, no, I, I, uh, you got to be really, really careful, um, that you're, you're using the techniques.

[00:33:31] Mark Horsley: In the appropriate area. It's very much like, um, I was a very skilled interviewer, uh, interrogator, uh, you don't use those skills on other police officers, you don't use them on your friends, you sure as shit don't use, excuse my French, you sure as Lee, don't use those on your wife. You knew it, you knew it was coming.

[00:33:53] Mark Horsley: Oh yes. You know, it 

[00:33:55] Travis Bader: was coming. No, no, that's a, that's a recipe for disaster. No, if you care about your wife and you'd want a long term relationship, leave that at home or leave that at work. 

[00:34:06] Mark Horsley: Yeah. There's a time and a place, right? Yeah. So, 

[00:34:09] Travis Bader: um, you know. You can't be the only person whose results oriented. I mean, a type personality is a lot of them on the police force and getting into, uh, undercover work.

[00:34:25] Travis Bader: Is it a difficult thing to balance when you know, someone is a criminal and they know you've done unlawful things? Is that ever. Maybe not for you, but have you noticed that in others where that ambition gets ahead of people to, uh, and see the end result? 

[00:34:42] Mark Horsley: That's, uh, that's the, um, uh, the imbalance, uh, between self esteem and ego.

[00:34:49] Mark Horsley: Yes, I'm sure I've seen that. And it's, um, uh, you know, it's something that it's dangerous. I mean, you got to remember policing is imperfect people serving people. people. But, held to the highest standard of anyone in society. And as it should be. Um, I mean arguably, uh, politicians should be held to a much higher standard.

[00:35:14] Mark Horsley: Arguably, uh, A prime minister, for example, should probably go through a background check that a police constable would go to, go through, arguably. But I have no beef with us being held to that standard, but, uh, it is imperfect people serving imperfect people. So sure, there, there's, there, there's temptation, there's, there's challenges for sure.

[00:35:39] Mark Horsley: Uh, but, but the, the, the, the amount of latitude you have in undercover work is really, really broad. Like you're representing, uh, yourself to be anything but a police officer. And so that, uh, uh, allows for crimes to take place or to learn about them or get, gather evidence. Uh, and there is also, um, Uh, exceptional and, and, uh, you know, unintended things that come out and you learn, have you watched the, the, uh, the video, uh, Operation Wheelchair?

[00:36:14] Mark Horsley: That was, that was my 2015, uh, undercover assignment, uh, in the downtown Eastside. And it's the most, uh, attention I ever got for the biggest failure of an investigation, right? Cause I was unsuccessful in getting assaulted or robbed in that investigation. Right. Why don't 

[00:36:33] Travis Bader: you tell the listeners about that one?

[00:36:34] Travis Bader: I'll put a link to it as well, if they want to watch it. 

[00:36:37] Mark Horsley: Really, really quickly. We had a whole bunch of, um, uh, crimes against people who were handicapped, uh, in wheelchair. They were robberies and assaults. Uh, but there was no pattern, there was different times a day, different days a week, all this kind of thing.

[00:36:52] Mark Horsley: So, uh, I, uh, uh, went undercover and it, it, it sounds simpler than it was. First of all, I went to GF Strong and I spoke to a peer counselor, uh, named Walt, uh, who, he was a full time counselor for people who were new, newly paralyzed, and Walt's a quadriplegic. And I had to understand what it was like from him to be a person in a wheelchair.

[00:37:20] Mark Horsley: I had to learn how to drive a power wheelchair, which was frightening. And then, um, you know, how I would play this role. So I think I did a good job playing the role. But the unintended, uh, result here was no crimes. Uh, but all this kindness that I was shown by people in the downtown East side. And it was phenomenal.

[00:37:42] Mark Horsley: So remember, I was like 2015, I was a 30 year cop. And, uh, I, Uh, you never think you've seen it all, but you think you've seen enough that nothing would surprise you. Well, I was surprised. And, uh, so, and it was, I mean, watch the video. I don't want to get too into it, but the bottom line is, is that the people were very compassionate and they looked out for me and there was a real community down there, uh, when people drive through and they're horrified by what they see.

[00:38:10] Mark Horsley: I understand that. But what I think a lot of people don't understand is that we, as a society, have an obligation to protect those people that are down there, and they're not all bad. Circumstances, in many cases, took them there. There's an awful lot of, for example, people who are addicted to painkillers who came out of, uh, you know, industry, like, uh, construction, logging, and so forth.

[00:38:37] Mark Horsley: And, uh, Uh, I think we have to remember, uh, they're human beings and they have wonderful traits. They're imperfect, but so are we, right. You know? So I don't want to get like, it's a three minute video. Yeah. Spend the time. 

[00:38:54] Travis Bader: Yeah, it's a good video. I enjoy that one. And when you say a massive failure, it's probably like you, Most successful failure that they, you have out there.

[00:39:02] Travis Bader: Well, I thought, 

[00:39:03] Mark Horsley: I thought about it and I thought, gee, was I ever successful in getting robbed or mugged in my undercover? And I was, and I've got a couple where I was, um, but not that time. And I really, really wanted it. And I really wanted it because, uh, you know, I mean, it, it, it was a certain amount of danger involved that there was one point in the video where I was sure the guy was going to rob me and no, no, no, no.

[00:39:28] Mark Horsley: What's that 

[00:39:29] Travis Bader: got to feel like, all hungered up waiting to get robbed, maybe hurt, maybe stabbed, maybe. 

[00:39:36] Mark Horsley: Okay. So I'm in that circumstances for a number of hours over a number of weeks versus someone who lives that every day, uh, I can do that. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I don't think I, I telegraphed my anxiousness. I think I was ready to take the hits.

[00:39:58] Mark Horsley: I was ready to take the hits. Yeah. 

[00:40:02] Travis Bader: I'm just thinking about the, uh, things that you can talk about and things that you can't talk about without putting you into a bit of an awkward spot. When you're doing interview and interrogation, when you're talking with individuals, uh, I remember years ago, I did a few courses on interview and interrogation.

[00:40:21] Travis Bader: The read courses, one of them did their basic and their advanced course with VPD. And, um, you know, there's a lot of, uh, theme development and there's a. Uh, it's very different than what people show in, in the TV shows where they're hitting them with a book in there. You did it. Didn't you? It's a very, very different, uh, process.

[00:40:42] Travis Bader: And a lot of it's trying to be compassionate to the person that you are interviewing and trying to, uh, uh, maybe minimize some of the things that they've been doing so that you can elicit a proper, um, a legal confession. Um, Did you ever find yourself when doing cover work or doing interviewing and interrogation where you're just with absolutely repulsive people that, you know, are absolutely repulsive people, but you have to sit there and play the game.

[00:41:12] Travis Bader: And, and how, if so, how'd you deal with that?

[00:41:18] Mark Horsley: Yes, is the answer. I think you want more than that. Uh, yes, I've been with, uh, reprehensible, repulsive people and, uh, you know, uh, not telegraphing how I felt was, uh, critical. Um, uh, yes, it's a, it's a very, uh, challenging and difficult thing to do. Um, one of the things that, um, Comes to mind, and it's not exactly where you want it to go, I don't think, is the whole issue with false confession.

[00:41:53] Mark Horsley: And, uh, I ran into that quite a few times, and this is where that imbalance between self esteem and ego happens again, because the, um, the investigator wants the confession, they get the confession and they go, yeah, I got the confession, but hang on a second. You've just put a person in a room who's never done anything noteworthy in their entire life.

[00:42:15] Mark Horsley: Um, they have no attention because of achievement in their entire life. And then they're going to take credit for something that there's going to be consequences for, but for a brief period of time, they feel like they're a somebody. And you got to so watch for that. And that's where, you know, that, um, uh, self esteem has to dominate the ego.

[00:42:42] Mark Horsley: And, and make sure that you recognize that and, and, uh, look at it very carefully. There's, with, um, uh, DNA evidence, uh, we get, uh, people who have, uh, been imprisoned for things that they didn't do, but in many cases, their conviction was based on a confession. And, uh, so, you know, there, now we have more tools.

[00:43:05] Mark Horsley: I say we, I'm a retired policeman, but we have more, more tools to verify, uh, uh, stories. But, yes, um, uh, the ability to, uh, not, uh, Show how, how you truly feel about someone is, is very important. Um, some of those skills are built from 40 years of marriage, where you are really good at pretending you care about something that maybe you don't, but like which color.

[00:43:34] Mark Horsley: Do you like this color? That looks exactly like that color. Oh, whichever one you love, dear. You're real good at reading the person, right? Yeah. It's not in the course, but perhaps it should be. 

[00:43:48] Travis Bader: Yeah. Okay. Is there anything that you had takeaways from that line of work that you think would be applicable to people in their everyday life?

[00:43:55] Travis Bader: Like, certainly I think from a public safety standpoint for an individual, establishing a baseline and not acting outside of that would be just a, a basic personal safety, uh, aspect. 

[00:44:07] Mark Horsley: I think there's an awful lot of people that go through life, nothing to do with policing who are playing a part, like, That's not them, and they're, they're being somebody that's not, you know, they're betraying their core values, uh, they're, they're, they're not listening to their moral compass, and it's like they're, they're playing a part in, in a bad movie that they feel they're assigned, so I don't think that applies necessarily just to policing, but it, it applies to many other aspects of life, like, um, uh, and then the whole bit about, uh, Uh, you know, a lot of people feel that something didn't happen if nobody knows that it happened.

[00:44:50] Travis Bader: But 

[00:44:50] Mark Horsley: if, if you're answering to yourself and you know, it happened, uh, you know, then it happened. That's it. So, but, but watch people. I mean, you know, uh, they betray themselves in their own life because they're not following who they really are. They're playing a part. You know, a bad part in a bad movie in their, in their lives, right?

[00:45:13] Mark Horsley: So I, I don't think that's, I mean, it's, it's human nature. It's part of understanding, uh, uh, humanity, the imperfection in people. Uh, but I think it's really important to understand. 

[00:45:25] Travis Bader: Did you take the time to create a, um, A checklist of your value system and everything. So you knew that you're, or is it just square to where you got it?

[00:45:34] Travis Bader: You know where it's at. 

[00:45:37] Mark Horsley: No, I, I think I review that regularly. And then, and then, um, you know, uh, the same thing in a, in a, in a marriage long term partnership of like, what's the most important thing. You know, list of priorities, that, that kind of thing. And it always has to do with that, but, but it was always very, I mean, it's clear to me, um, the more complicated people make decisions, the less likely they are to follow a path, right?

[00:46:04] Mark Horsley: So the, the simpler and clearer it is, uh, the easier it is. I mean, I gotta, I gotta, I don't know if you have time, you'll probably edit this out cause it's a bit racy, but, um, I taught a course down the end. Uh, location in the United States, and, uh, um, there was a student on the course who was having, uh, difficulty with her gun, and, um, I assisted her with that, colleague to colleague, uh, got it fixed, and, um, Uh, she was very appreciative, uh, and would come and sit with me.

[00:46:38] Mark Horsley: It was a week long course. At lunchtime, I introduced her to other instructors, my friends, and you know, I'm just a kind of friendly, outgoing guy. Well, the Friday comes around, she shows up at my door, and, um, she had, uh, a bottle of wine and two glasses. And I, and I said, Oh yeah, come on in. We're just cleaning guns.

[00:46:57] Mark Horsley: Uh, I don't drink wine, but, uh, my buddy Dale will have a glass of your wine. Right. He, she didn't know he was in there. And so she, you know, she says, well, you know, um, uh, I'm going to back up just a little bit cause I missed a really important part, this, you can tell this isn't rehearsed cause I missed it.

[00:47:15] Mark Horsley: The Thursday was a banquet and she said to me, uh, that, uh, there's limited parking at this banquet. So we should probably drive together. I said, Hey guys, there's limited parking at this banquet. I had a minivan rented and I, I cleared everything out, put the seats up, you know, all my equipment out of it.

[00:47:34] Mark Horsley: And like nine of us pack into this minivan. We get to the. Place for the banquet and it looks like an empty Costco parking lot, but I didn't think anything of it So then the next day she shows up with a glass wine. Well, she says we should go out to dinner So it's a good idea. Hey, I'll call some of my buddies and Dale.

[00:47:54] Mark Horsley: Hey Dale, you want to go? You know, so we go there's like 12 of us out for dinner And then, uh, I get back and I've taught all week. I've been up for a run every morning, um, uh, uh, you know, try to maintain my fitness schedule. And, um, I'm, I'm heading to bed. I am bagged. She knocks on the door. Yeah. And, uh, I forgot my, my phone.

[00:48:16] Mark Horsley: Wine glasses. Oh, come on in, grab them and I'm like hoping she'll grab them and leave, but I'm being polite and I go, uh, she's I hope she doesn't. You know, I don't want to draw attention to the fact that a couple of her buttons are undone, you know, and embarrass her. So I'm I'm I'm politely averting my eyes and then.

[00:48:32] Mark Horsley: She, she leans over and, and I, I, I'm thinking to myself, her back must be sore. You know, she's kind of leaning over and, and then she gets on the bed and I thought, well, she, I guess she's kind of stretching. No, I didn't clue in at all. Right. I I've been married, I've been married forever. I didn't clue in at all.

[00:48:50] Mark Horsley: And, and then finally it was like this light bulb went on and I, I thought, oh my God, I knew she was, she was married. She was from a, uh, another agency and all this kind of, but the funniest part was when I suddenly realized, because I'm not, I don't fix someone's gun because I want to get them into bed. I don't, I'm not polite to a person.

[00:49:13] Mark Horsley: And you don't not looking for. Yeah. Don't see what you're not looking for. Anyway. Okay. My wife flew in to, uh, uh, the, the, the next day, and the first thing I did is tell her this story, and she laughed and laughed, and she says, you're so oblivious. I said, well, you know, I'm not looking for it, but yeah, so my, I guess my point in a long winded way is, my life is very simple.

[00:49:37] Mark Horsley: Because I have this code and I am who I am. And I don't, I don't spend there all that time with the devil on this shoulder and the angel on this shoulder, you know, trying to talk me into things. It's life is very straightforward. My priorities are straightforward. I 

[00:49:54] Travis Bader: found that, and I do it myself. I'll sit down and I'll create goal lists, you know, personally within, for the family, for work and, and then when things come up, you I'll take a look.

[00:50:06] Travis Bader: Where does it fall on this list? Is it on this side of this side? Is it a yes or is it no? And it makes, it makes my decisions really easy. And every once in a while, something might come up like a business opportunity that sounds really good. And it's like, okay, do I have to reevaluate my list? And I can take a look.

[00:50:23] Travis Bader: Um, Nope, sorry. I'm going to turn it down. Cause it's going to take my eyes off of what I'm trying to get at over here. Um, but I will, I will do a sort of an iterative approach to looking at where the, um, uh, the direction like for the businesses. But the North star never changes. It's always the same. So if it doesn't lead me to the North star, the decision is simple.

[00:50:45] Travis Bader: I just don't do it. 

[00:50:46] Mark Horsley: I think, uh, uh, people do two things that like, I mean, I supporting a hundred percent what you're saying, but they do two things that, uh, they spend a whole bunch of time worrying about things that haven't happened. And that just clutters their whole mind. And then the flip side of that is they don't have a direction.

[00:51:07] Mark Horsley: And if you don't, you know, if you don't have a goal, how do you know that you're going to, you know, how do you achieve getting there? It's like, it's like you don't have a map, but you're hoping to get somewhere, you know? And, uh, so it's very straightforward. And I'm not saying that life doesn't present difficult decisions, but most, most of them are not that difficult if you know who you are.

[00:51:27] Mark Horsley: And, and if you're in a relationship where your goals are, are written down and they're set and, uh, you know, like, I mean, one, one really important one is, is finances. Like, uh, you know, if you look at it, is that, is this consistent with my goals? Is this within my discretionary range or not? Right? So, yeah, it's, life is more simple than most people make it.

[00:51:51] Mark Horsley: And then most of the things that cause the biggest disruption are things that people regret later, most often. And I, and I take this from, Like in my, in my policing career, uh, you know, 24 years as a supervisor manager, uh, I learned a lot of things about people. And a lot of the time I felt like I was an anthropologist looking at a completely different species because really smart people sometimes do really stupid things.

[00:52:21] Mark Horsley: Yeah. 

[00:52:21] Travis Bader: You 

[00:52:22] Mark Horsley: know. And they could have been avoided and their life would have been a lot better without that. And it doesn't mean, you know, being afraid to confront things that need to be confronted to standing up to things you believe that has nothing to do with it. It just has to do with, you know, making decisions that are consistent with your values, with your moral compass.

[00:52:40] Mark Horsley: That's, that's why they call it a moral compass. Yeah. Right. You know, that's why it's called that. It's pretty descriptive. 

[00:52:45] Travis Bader: That's right. It's not like, uh, you Who was a politician talking about situational ethics? 

[00:52:50] Mark Horsley: And he says, Oh, 

[00:52:50] Travis Bader: you know, you just, uh, depending on what the situation is, and then you can see what ethics that I'm going to have.

[00:52:55] Travis Bader: No, no, you have your ethics and you apply it to the situation. It doesn't work that way. Come on. Yeah. So, you know, uh, three and a half work, three and a half years, you're working a drug case as looking through some of the stuff here. I think you're probably, uh, in a biker role at that, that point. 

[00:53:15] Mark Horsley: Uh, yes, there was a couple of assignments where I, I played a long term assignments where I played a biker, um, necessary for the investigation.

[00:53:26] Travis Bader: Yeah. So on shift, off shift, you're going to have to look like a biker, just like the French, French bank robber, right? Or the, Cool Quad Bank, Robert. 

[00:53:37] Mark Horsley: Yeah. Uh, yeah, that was difficult at times for sure. And, and there, I, I certainly, uh, appreciated assignments that didn't require, uh, being that extreme. And I, and I gotta say that during these timeframes, that was more important than it is right now.

[00:53:53] Mark Horsley: Like, I like the fact that, uh, as a society, we're not as judgmental about a nose ring, multiple piercings, a beard, uh, you know, we don't have as. Uh, like there was a long period of time, especially difficult for women where only a certain body type was, uh, considered to be fit and healthy. And now we have, uh, uh, much greater range, but a lot of this took place during timeframes that were far more judgmental than they are now.

[00:54:20] Mark Horsley: So as a society, that's one area we've advanced in, but yes, that was a problem, uh, during a, uh, a few times. 

[00:54:29] Travis Bader: Did you ever get made?

[00:54:34] Travis Bader: Well, did you ever get, uh, called out? Like, were you after an extended period of being undercover? Did anybody ever say, wait a minute, I saw the outline of his badge and his wallet. The challenge? 

[00:54:48] Mark Horsley: Oh yeah. Obviously nothing that bad. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. Well, the challenge did, but here's the beautiful thing is, um, the criminal element of, Gets really jerked around by people who did the work that I did, and I have no remorse or no apology for it because after being investigated using techniques that were authorized and approved and are legal and convicted and all kinds of things, or even just the threat of, uh, arrest and conviction, all of a sudden that 90 year old lady using the walker going by their house, that's Horsley, that master of disguise, you know, there he is, you know, yeah.

[00:55:28] Mark Horsley: And then, so they'd see cops everywhere, but, uh, I mean, I got a, I got a good story about getting made. Yeah. Okay. So this is years and years ago, uh, I was buying, uh, cocaine in a restaurant and, um, and I had made five or six buys from the same people. And, uh, then I went back in and they said, yeah, uh, but, um, we'll meet you in the rear lane.

[00:55:55] Mark Horsley: I said, okay, yeah, no problem. So we go out the rear lane and they came out with baseball bats, two of them. Whoops. And, um, this seemed odd to me cause they didn't have gloves or balls, right? And, uh, it wasn't really baseball weather. It was raining and, you know, down in Vancouver and, and, uh, so I looked at this and I thought, okay, um, You know, and this thought process I'm explaining takes place in a nanosecond.

[00:56:26] Mark Horsley: Of course. As a police officer, what do you do if you're, you know, you're cornered by a couple guys with baseball bats? Um, you know, it's a use of force situation and, and commands and, uh, and escalating, you know, use of force, uh, whatever. But as a bad guy, what do you do? That's exactly what I did. So I, I ran away and, uh, uh, which made sense, let a couple hours pass, went and changed my clothes, went back into the restaurant and said, what the F were you guys doing?

[00:56:59] Mark Horsley: I actually, Shit myself, and I had to change my pants, like why were you guys, well, we thought you were a cop, and then they sold to me, and, and we built her, we built her case, and away we went, so yeah, yes, was I challenged, uh, in many, many, um, circumstances, yeah. Okay. No. Um, I did, uh, hope I'm not treading too close to the line here.

[00:57:26] Mark Horsley: I did, uh, uh, uh, on one particular, uh, case get searched and I was armed and, uh, now I beat the search and, uh, I'm not going to get into how I did that. Fair enough. But, um, but, uh, I will say that, um, uh, people sometimes don't sense something they don't expect to find. Um, uh, and so, you know, it, it has, certainly there is, we're back to that high level of confidence, you know, I heard, I heard it said there's a college basketball player that everybody's talking about right now.

[00:58:03] Mark Horsley: And, uh, they say, oh, he's awful cocky. And I just said, he has to be. You know, so, you know, you do need that high level of confidence. Right. So, but, uh, uh, you know, if you want to expand a little bit on the appearance thing, did you want to talk a little bit about that? Yeah. Okay. So, there was a time where, um, I had an old car.

[00:58:25] Mark Horsley: Uh, the transmission went, young family, money was tight, you know, we got the big mortgage, we got all that going on. I needed a car and I needed it now. And I went into the Toyota dealership in Port Moody and they would not talk to me. They would not. And I was there with my family, very respectable looking wife and all the rest of that.

[00:58:49] Mark Horsley: But I did have, uh, you know, an appearance that was, you know, particular to a character that I was playing. And, uh, went to another Toyota dealership, walked in, bought a car, but they had 0. 9 percent financing, and I took their financing, so I had to, you know, give my employment. Stuff. Right. And, uh, and I just said to the guy, I really appreciate that you didn't judge me.

[00:59:13] Mark Horsley: And he just looked at me and said, well, you never know. Right. And, and it was true, but there was another, uh, case where my wife and I had, we were both shift workers. We had days off, uh, in the week we went out to Fort Langley for lunch and it was snowy. And there was an elderly man helping his wife who was wheelchair bound into their car.

[00:59:35] Mark Horsley: And me being me, I went over and offered to help scared the bejesus out of them because, you know, it was an intimidating, uh, appearance. Sure. And, uh, but I do also enjoy toying with people during, during that time. So I, we bought a house and we moved in and And we couldn't tell my neighbors who I was or what I was doing.

[00:59:59] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so you've got this very pretty, respectable looking nurse coming and going. And it was in the day where they used to wear their nurse's uniform, coming and going. And this dirtbag, uh, who was vague about what he did for a living and left, you know, three o'clock in the afternoon, came home three or four in the morning.

[01:00:19] Mark Horsley: And, uh, And, uh, and, and I did kind of, uh, enjoy toying with them and I'd have friends and brothers, you know, you knew the neighbor was listening over the fence and they'd talk about my prison time and, you know, it was, we kind of toying with them a little bit, but I think one of my favorites was I was a volunteer youth coach and I was doing a, uh, an investigation that involved a biker persona.

[01:00:44] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so I rode the, uh, uh, the The, uh, motorcycle, uh, up to the community policing station, uh, made lots of noise. They knew I was coming and I went in, uh, and they said you had to fill this thing out for a criminal records check. So I wasn't going to tell them who I was, what I did for a living. Fill this out, you know, date of birth, name, all that kind of stuff.

[01:01:06] Mark Horsley: And the lady behind the counter, she says to me, uh, do you have, uh, any criminal convictions? And I went, uh, convictions? No. No. I was toying with her. That's funny. You gotta have fun with life, right? They do. You do. So, yeah, I mean, there was, there were funny parts. My wife got really tired of, uh, like air travel where they'd look at me, search her.

[01:01:31] Mark Horsley: Uh, yeah. Of course. She got really tired of that, but she saw the humor in it. I mean, you know, yeah. And fortunately there wasn't, you know, there were a few long, long term ones. And then. My kids got to the age where, um, I was very selective in my assignments. I didn't ever want to give them the impression that I was ashamed of what I did for a living.

[01:01:54] Mark Horsley: And unfortunately, your value as an undercover operator, especially as a, as a man, because the criminal world is quite sexist, uh, increases the older you are. And the challenge is, you know, the older you get, the less you want to be intrusive to your personal life. Right. So yeah, that was part of it. Well, 

[01:02:16] Travis Bader: you mentioned that, you know, it's been what, three and a half years since you've retired and you really haven't thought about the 35 years of.

[01:02:23] Travis Bader: Of policing until kind of, you know, putting thoughts together for the podcast here. So many people will define themselves by their career. You seem to have had a fairly successful transition from long service in policing over into civilian life. How did you find that transition? And, uh, what did you do to prepare for that?

[01:02:46] Mark Horsley: Uh, well, I think if you go back to all the way back to entering policing, for me, it was a consolation career. Um, I, I, I wasn't one of these people that wanted to be a police officer from a young age. I pondered it a little bit in high school, um, but I went off and did other things. I joined the police department when I was 25, but I was already married, already owned a house.

[01:03:10] Mark Horsley: Uh, I was already, uh, going with my life. I already had a life outside of work. Um, always maintained a life outside of work and, uh, uh, uh, I would often see colleagues and I mean, if you're really a person that tries to be honest with yourself, you see people who are deceiving themselves. You see examples of that.

[01:03:32] Mark Horsley: It's not to be smug. It's just to go, okay, I don't want to do that. But they'd say, you know, I'm a real family man and they would use that as, uh, an excuse for a mediocre career as opposed to. It really being true, but for me, it was, I had work weeks that were very demanding, but I was also a good enough planner to plan things.

[01:03:52] Mark Horsley: Uh, I I've said to my kids, don't tell me you didn't have a good childhood cause I've got the photos, right? You know, of all the things, the camping trips, the, the, the canoeing, all the outdoor stuff we did together. And, uh, uh, then when it came to retiring, um, Uh, I was, um, I, I think the best way to describe it is I loved going to work, I enjoyed, uh, my career, the ups and downs, uh, the, the victories, the defeats, the, I enjoyed all the living, everything I learned, and as I approached the end of it, I kind of felt like, I had been in high school for 10 years and it was just time to leave now.

[01:04:35] Mark Horsley: And so I felt good about leaving. I didn't, right to my last day, I never had trouble going. I never, I never hated it. It was a very interesting thing as I kind of, uh, reviewed my career and purged documents and files as I got closer to retiring. It was, uh, Uh, probably a good example of the, uh, compartmentalization that I did is when I looked at files, I looked at really graphic, violent incidents that I hadn't thought of at all in some cases 20 years.

[01:05:11] Mark Horsley: And I thought that was maybe a good sign. And um, uh, so when I, I left, I, I left feeling like I was turning this over to others. And that I was entering a new phase of my life. And, uh, so yeah, it's not that there's anything bad. It's just that, um, well, I'll give you an example. I did a tremendous amount of work.

[01:05:37] Mark Horsley: I had a side business where I did a lot of technical writing and, uh, you know, I'm a pretty good writer, uh, pretty, and I, I always had people saying, you know, you need to write all your stories when you retire. 

[01:05:48] Travis Bader: Hmm. 

[01:05:50] Mark Horsley: I, I'm not finished making them. 

[01:05:52] Travis Bader: Yes. 

[01:05:53] Mark Horsley: I don't want to sit and live in the past. I want to make the stories.

[01:05:58] Mark Horsley: I don't, and, and so a lot of them are going to be lost. Um, and, and I don't spend a tremendous amount of time focused on that. I'm more focused on the present and the future. So, yeah, the last thing. Three and a half years, uh, as a retired person have been fantastic. We staggered our retirements. My wife and I, uh, she retired two and a half years before I did, and that was, I think, a really good decision.

[01:06:23] Mark Horsley: Uh, she found all her own activities and her things to do and, and that worked out really well. Um, But, um, the last two weeks, uh, since you invited me to the podcast have been sort of, uh, lots of memories, nothing, nothing negative, just lots of things that I don't generally fill my mind with. So. 

[01:06:47] Travis Bader: You know, I was thinking about negative memories and negative thoughts.

[01:06:50] Travis Bader: And a lot of people will go through events. You're talking about some horrific things that you're looking at, that you're able to compartmentalize other people have a more difficult time with that. And that resiliency is, um, different in everybody. When people talk about PTSD, I was, uh, talking with Anthony Staziker, he goes by Staz and he's ex British special boat service.

[01:07:14] Travis Bader: He's got a company called ThruDark with his, uh, uh, his friend, Louie, who's also special forces. And he was talking about PTSD. He's like, you know, everyone talks about, you know, the flashbacks, I get the flashbacks. So it's more like. It's really exciting. And I wish I could do that again. And it was, I thought it was interesting looking at different, um, mindsets and perspectives to stressful or traumatic events and how an individual can frame it for themselves to where it's either going to be detrimental to them or something that was an exciting, an event for them.

[01:07:48] Travis Bader: So. I don't know if you. Okay. You opened a can of worms here. Sure I did. 

[01:07:52] Mark Horsley: And that's a good thing. I have very, very strong feelings about this. Um, uh, because I've seen an industry exploit, um, uh, first responders, uh, military. And, and, um, there's been an exponential increase in PTSD cases. Um, PTSD is real.

[01:08:15] Mark Horsley: There's no question about it. But, um, our cases have gone way up, and my question is, how much of that is impacted by improper selection? Are we selecting the wrong people? What are we doing for resiliency training? Because there's no doubt that a person is far better off not having PTSD than being treated for PTSD.

[01:08:43] Mark Horsley: Yeah. Um, Uh, and then, uh, we've got what I view as a change in how we handle, uh, people post traumatic, uh, incidents, um, and I think that what we should be measuring is what is the impact of that. Because remember, I, I come from, you know, as a, as a collegiate athlete running track, it was a ball game. It's all about doing what I needed to do to run a faster time at a given distance as a, as a, uh, you know, precision pistol shooter is a rifle shooter.

[01:09:15] Mark Horsley: It's all about what can I do to put every hole in the X ring. And then you look at this. If you accept that it's better to, um, have people not have PTSD than treat it for them, what can we do to prevent it? Then, um, I, I went, uh, um, One for five in dealing with psychologists, good experiences to bad experiences.

[01:09:39] Mark Horsley: So I had one outstanding experience related to, uh, uh, uh, an employment provided psychologist and the other ones were horrific and, um, In one case, uh, I referred to, because, uh, in an incident, I suffered a brain injury, traumatic brain injury. Part of the healing of a brain that's been damaged and torn is that you get these very vivid dreams.

[01:10:07] Mark Horsley: Um, and the psychologist, And I explained this, and I didn't want to go to a psychologist, but the doctor who was handling my case said that, you know, to do everything you can to fully recover physically, emotionally, mentally, you should do this. So I went. Sure. And I'm explaining this, and she kept referring to it as nightmares.

[01:10:28] Mark Horsley: I said, wait a second, I never said nightmares. I'm talking about. Complex involved dreams, which is all part of getting that brain working together again. So, um, you know, I, I look at it, uh, and, um, uh, I don't have, uh, PTSD. I'm very thankful. Uh, but. In my career, I face the things that I expected I would have to face.

[01:10:56] Mark Horsley: And when I signed up, I knew that somebody might try to kill me. And yes, they did be different. People tried to, to kill me and, and these different things happened. And, uh, we've got to go back to, uh, fictional works. Uh, I'll tell you, man, uh, when it comes to use of force, uh, And, uh, people trying to hurt you or kill you, um, the trauma comes out of the fear of what could have been lost.

[01:11:26] Mark Horsley: Right. Not being a father there to my child, not being a husband there to my wife. It does not come at all from what somebody got that they deserved. Mm. And, uh, and so I look at it and go, okay. I knew what I signed up for, I got what I signed up for, um, PTSD to me would be something where somebody got something they were completely, um, uh, unprepared for.

[01:11:55] Mark Horsley: Like there was a case in Toronto, uh, Metro Toronto area where a fellow was in his front yard and, um, uh, A vehicle, uh, sped through his neighborhood, came up on his front lawn and killed two kids, two, two little kids. That's a PTSD case. Like, how, um, you know, somebody gets, uh, cancer, uh, that could be a PTSD case, um, My grandfather, uh, fought in World War I.

[01:12:22] Mark Horsley: He was shot and returned to battle. Uh, he was hit by a grenade, shrapnel, returned. He was a teenager. That's a different type of, he saw what he saw in trench warfare in the First World War. Sure. I can't go into the afterlife and say to him. If I am honored to meet him, that, uh, something that I did in policing has caused this.

[01:12:45] Mark Horsley: So, but having said everything I said, and I'm, I'm quite passionate about it. If I had PTSD, I would be addressing it, but I'd really rather just not. 

[01:12:57] Travis Bader: You know, 

[01:12:57] Mark Horsley: I, 

[01:12:58] Travis Bader: I agree with that a hundred percent. I think when you say that an industry has been made around PTSD. It's despicable. 

[01:13:05] Mark Horsley: It really is because it's predatory and it's, uh, it's, uh, exploiting people.

[01:13:14] Mark Horsley: And, uh, um, you know, like, I, I gotta, sorry, cause I'm, I'm so passionate about this when I went to see this psychologist and his name is Mike Webster. The first thing he said to me is my goal is to make my services unnecessary as soon as possible. Perfect. Dude, you're my guy. Yeah. Right. Yeah, exactly. I had one session with him.

[01:13:37] Mark Horsley: It lasted, you know, hour and a half. Now it was it. And, uh, and it was, it was awesome. As opposed to other ones. Once a 

[01:13:47] Travis Bader: week, every week, the rest of your life. 

[01:13:49] Mark Horsley: Well, I mean, there should be enough business without having to drum up business, you know? So. 

[01:13:56] Travis Bader: Well, I'm, you know, uh, I have a, of the mindset that a lot of times the treatment is the poison and people who are, you know, Suffering from an event and they might not be able to put their finger on why that was.

[01:14:12] Travis Bader: And they go see a professional and the professional says, well, you know, could be PTSD, it could be this. And they say, Oh, there it is. I am my PTSD. Got it. That's me. I'm, I'm Bob with the PTSD, whatever it is. Um, When the reality is it's like getting a cut or a broken bone. It's like, oh, you had an incident.

[01:14:36] Travis Bader: It was, it looks like you have a broken bone there. Okay. Well, path forward is pretty simple here. We'll put it in the cast. We'll get you going forward and, and we'll have you out of here in no time. In a month, we can check back and see where you're at, but you'll probably have full mobility and you were good to go.

[01:14:50] Travis Bader: And I think if people start taking that approach to, uh, their, their Emotional and mental injuries in the same way that they would approach a physical injury, I think would probably be, it would normalize it for people who are afraid of talking about it. And all of a sudden it's not this big monster out there.

[01:15:09] Travis Bader: It's like, oh yeah, no, I had this thing. I'll just, I'll deal with it. And on we go. That's my two bits. I might have some people out there who hate that, that view, but, 

[01:15:17] Mark Horsley: uh, that. Well, I mean, ultimately it should be the goal. So, uh, I mentioned this traumatic brain injury. I suffered, I dealt with a phenomenal, uh, doctor, uh, Dr.

[01:15:29] Mark Horsley: Rebye. He, um, he was just fantastic. And he said, you have to move forward, um, feeling like you had a brain injury. Not you have a brain injury. This is a key distinction. He said, did you ever pull your hamstring? When, when you, your hamstring, when you were running track, I said, yeah. He said, then, then in grade eight, you had a hamstring pull, but you don't have a hamstring pull.

[01:15:56] Mark Horsley: Now, uh, that being said, uh, we, If we focus on what we can do versus what we can't do, that's, uh, uh, a better way. One of the really key things he said, he said, I, he said, you can return to work with this brain injury. You can do better than you ever did before, outperform anything you ever did at work before, if you follow a few rules.

[01:16:19] Mark Horsley: And one of them, was doing your job. Do your job. Don't do everyone else's job. And, and, and it was like there was some kind of guidelines to how to succeed. And I listened to, you know, what he said about that and, uh, but you're absolutely right. You can have, um, psychological troubles with something, uh, look at it in athletic performances where sometimes people will have trouble overcoming something, but then they do overcome it and they become a world champion or, or, you know, they, they exceed their, their, their Previous performances.

[01:16:52] Mark Horsley: So absolutely. It's something that people can overcome. Uh, I gotta, you can edit this out, but it's a real quick story. Um, I, Andrea and I were, uh, you know, at a really busy stage of life. Two professionals, uh, I felt we'd become distant. We had kids. I was coaching. I had a side business. I was working a demanding profession.

[01:17:16] Mark Horsley: Um, you know, I'm an energetic person. I had a lot on the go, but I felt like we were just growing apart. And so there was, uh, uh, marriage counseling, uh, available, uh, through our, uh, human resources at the police department. And I went and saw a psychologist. Initially, Andrea wouldn't go. And then she, uh, uh, agreed to go and, you know, I'm working on this cause I want to be successful in this partnership.

[01:17:44] Mark Horsley: I love her dearly. I want this to, to work out. And, uh, um, she joined me and of course this was all supposed to be confidential. And, uh, the, um, uh, one of my former partners, uh, Uh, uh, came to talk to me and he says, how, how's things going with your marriage? And I said, well, like what's driving this? I hadn't said anything to anybody but Andrea.

[01:18:07] Mark Horsley: Yeah. So the confidentiality had been breached. Yes. Well, Andrea hit the roof. And, uh, uh, when she found out and, um, she refused to go to any more. And of course I felt betrayed. I didn't go to any more of these sessions, but we realized something. We didn't need the psychologist. We needed the date. That accompanied every visit to the psychologist where we'd usually, you know, daycare arrangements and we'd go out to lunch and we spent time together.

[01:18:37] Mark Horsley: So what we realized is we didn't need the psychologist. We just needed to schedule dates where we, where we'd spend time together and we'd go for a walk or go for a meal or, or do something and, and have that chance. I mean, people who don't have shift work, um, Uh, challenges. I don't think they understand how difficult it is to stay connected with a partner who's on shifts and you, and then you're juggling daycare as well.

[01:19:06] Mark Horsley: I don't think they understand it. And more importantly, I don't think they appreciate it and take best advantage of it, you know, uh, because that. Little bit of time you have for each other every day to just, you know, communicate is huge, but that was a lesson out of that. We didn't need the psychologist.

[01:19:22] Travis Bader: That's a good lesson. You know, it, it reminds me, and I've said this one before, but a crocodile Dundee where He, I think he was at a party in New York. This person is a psychologist or a psychiatrist. What's that? Oh, you don't have those in Wackabow Creek. You go in, you pay him a bunch of money. You talk about your troubles and you see him every week.

[01:19:44] Travis Bader: And he's like, you don't have that. He said, well, we've got Bruce, the bartender. Right. You tell him, tell him your problems. He tells everybody else, no, we're problem. Right. So. Sometimes that breach of confidentiality could be as terrible as it is in the time, the impetus or something that just kind of sheds light on something.

[01:20:01] Travis Bader: And it's, huh, you know what, the solution is pretty obvious now. 

[01:20:05] Mark Horsley: Well, yeah, we, I mean, and we learned something from that, right. But as far as the, uh, uh, you were, I think I took you off topic. Cause you were talking about transitioning from being a police officer to being an old retired. Old retired guy. No purpose in life.

[01:20:22] Travis Bader: Who's shooting all over the world. Who's got a beautiful Elk in Montana. And, um, I'd love to hear that story too. I've seen the pictures, but I'd love to hear the, uh, the elk story as well. 

[01:20:34] Mark Horsley: Okay. Uh, so. So, uh, have a, a friend, uh, Gary Crane, he's retired from, uh, Portland Police Department. He called me up and said, uh, would you like to do an elk hunt in Montana?

[01:20:45] Mark Horsley: I said, yeah. And, and a lot of time people say I'd like to do something someday. Yes. And, uh, this is one of the lessons learned from me is you, you, some day is actually today, my wife would say, when I retire, I want to, I want to do this. I want to play the ukulele. I want to travel to here. And I go, no, no, no, book it now and, and buy it now.

[01:21:06] Mark Horsley: And cause you don't have time. And what Gary says is I have to do it now. Cause he says, I'm going to be 77 years old. On this hunt. So we had to do it well anyway, we, uh, went through the process, put in, uh, bought our, uh, hunting licenses in Montana, uh, put in the draw, and we both drew, uh, wow bull tags. So, um, now we're, we're off on this trip and, um, uh, it was, uh, very interesting because we've had all kinds of gun law changes, different things that have been done.

[01:21:40] Mark Horsley: And, uh, uh, so the process before was I needed an ATF 6, uh, to cross the border, uh, with two hunting rifles, both 30 odd sixes. I got that in 24 hours. I submitted electronically. It's returned to me. Uh, then the next thing I had to find out was, uh, could I bring. Uh, if I couldn't, it wasn't going to stop me from doing the trip.

[01:22:04] Mark Horsley: There's actually ways you can donate it to food banks or I could have given it to Gary and his family. Uh, uh, but I went from government agency to government agency, spent hours and hours and hours. And then I finally, uh, Found, uh, and I can't even remember the names of all these agencies. I finally found somebody that, uh, said I could bring it back and directed me to the, the rule book that said I could.

[01:22:30] Travis Bader: Just had to be boned? Was that the rules? Uh, no, 

[01:22:32] Mark Horsley: you can actually bring the carcass back. But what I did is I had it, uh, uh, cut, wrapped and frozen before I, before I came back. But, uh, then there was the process of trying to get, uh, permits from Canada. And, uh, so previously your, um, uh, ATT, uh, would allow you to take the, your rifles to the border.

[01:22:54] Mark Horsley: You needed nothing. 

[01:22:55] Travis Bader: So your, your PAO. 

[01:22:58] Mark Horsley: Yes. I'm sorry. Just your PAL. Yeah. Because ATD would be for your handguns. Yeah. I'm sorry. I'm getting my, uh, my, uh, uh, categories mixed up, but you're right. It was just your, um, uh, your PAL. Got a guy from the Canadian Firearms Center, talked to him and he says, that's all you need to get to the border.

[01:23:14] Mark Horsley: I said, would you send me an email? And he did, that was awesome. And I'm compiling all of this in a tabbed binder as I, as I'm doing this, now I'm dealing with global affairs and we had a little bit of history trying to get my permits to go to Sweden last year for the world precision pistol championships, which ultimately I got.

[01:23:35] Mark Horsley: And they said, kept referring me to this section about exporting military weapons. Um, uh, calibers, right? Like I'm a 30 odd six shooter. Uh, and we went around and around in circles. Anyway, eventually, um, uh, a friend who's a lawyer got involved and educated them and there was a bit of face saving involved.

[01:23:59] Mark Horsley: And they made me get a general export permit, which the lawyer said was absolutely unnecessary. I'm going to, like, I just call people up and say, what do I need to do this? And I will jump through whatever hoops you got. Anyway, lots and lots of hours, which I'm very resentful of. If that happened during work time, I could accept that.

[01:24:18] Mark Horsley: But this is my time. I'm retired, right? This could be nap time or time for me to wear a cardigan or get new slippers or whatever, 

[01:24:26] Travis Bader: you 

[01:24:27] Mark Horsley: know, so anyway, I had all my stuff in order. I arrived at the border, uh, going, uh, south, so I was driving, pick up my buddy in Washington State, uh, and then we were driving to Montana, and great reception because I was well organized.

[01:24:43] Mark Horsley: They, uh, checked the serial numbers, through I go, no delays at all. Got down to Montana. Wow. Yeah. What a place. I've been through Montana on, uh, camping trips with my family on, uh, motorcycle trips. It's so beautiful. And, uh, they have the most wonderful attitude about hunters. Hunters are, uh, uh, you know, multi billion dollar industry bringing tourists and money, and they're so wonderful to deal with.

[01:25:13] Mark Horsley: I had a little trouble getting my everything online. I got on the phone with this nice lady. And it's like, they actually wanted me to come and we're encouraging. That's refreshing. Oh, it was awesome. Anyway, we got down there, totally different type of hunting. Okay. Because we stayed in a motel. Okay. And, uh, we had an outfitter, uh, and we had a guide and we had one guide for, for two hunters and, uh, but the, they, they said, okay, um, when you come out to the truck every morning, uh, you have a chamber drowned in the rifle safety on.

[01:25:46] Mark Horsley: So, you know, you're in a different country, different rules, nothing unsafe about it, but you're walking out of the hotel lobby. With your rifle slung over your shoulder, your backpack, your food and all that, all that stuff. And you walk right by police officers and they don't even blink an eye. Yeah. It's Montana, right?

[01:26:02] Mark Horsley: How cool. So beautiful. Anyway, day one, we get out and, uh, only see one elk, um, and it's, uh, at about 1200 meters, uh, but the mule deer. The big horns that like, Oh, and the, the scenery and it was spectacular. So the, um, the outfitter I had said, I'd really like to try and get my bull early. I said, any legal bull, um, Uh, I'm not after a trophy bowl.

[01:26:32] Mark Horsley: I'd never shot an elk before. So I was after any legal bowl. My buddy was after more of a trophy bowl. And, uh, so he says, well, we got to go where they are. There's, this was October. He said, there's no real snow pack yet. Uh, in the high country had about 12 to 18 inches of snow. So we get up at five in the morning on day two, we, uh, drive way up this mountain and we started our hunt at 7, 000 feet.

[01:26:59] Travis Bader: Uh, 

[01:27:00] Mark Horsley: we had a young guide who was 20 years old, uh, and inexperienced and not very familiar with his, uh, his navigation equipment. So right away. Uh, we got lost and I'll backtrack again, cause I forgot an important part of the story. I have always hunted with a varmint gun. I shoot Tikka varmint. Yeah. I have what I believe and what I've been told is the only Tikka varmint 30 odd six in North America cause I got it out of Finland.

[01:27:30] Mark Horsley: So it's a 14 pound rifle. Yeah. And I've always said, If, um, you were worried about a few ounces on your rifle, maybe take the 30 pounds that are around your waist off first, right? Like, and I've always ridiculed guys and poked fun and all in, all in good fun. Day one of that hunt, I'm going, I can't carry this rifle.

[01:27:50] Mark Horsley: You want to light a rifle. I became an old man and it's like I instantly aged anyway. So my backup rifle, uh, Tikka T3 light with a three by nine Bushnell, it's really what my version of a scout rifle, right? That's really what it is. So that's what I carried day two, cause I was dying day one. Uh, and, uh, uh, anyway, we're climbing, he gets lost and we spent a lot of time trying to find the trail head.

[01:28:18] Mark Horsley: And then we're, um, uh, a whole day. Of climbing and we didn't stop for more than five minutes at any time. We got a foot, foot and a half of snow. Uh, uh, I didn't count how many times I fell because I want to be positive and talk about how many times I got up. Fair enough. In the two days, it was 30. So, uh, uh, it was slippery.

[01:28:44] Mark Horsley: It was, oh, it was, uh, minus 17. Uh, it was cold. Um, probably underestimated the water that I needed. Definitely underestimated the food that I needed to carry. Um, and my, my buddy, what a tough guy. Uh, he, but he knew. 77. 77 years old, but he knew that he couldn't do the entire hunt. So he partway through, uh, we agreed to meet at a certain point in the afternoon.

[01:29:14] Mark Horsley: Anyway, I climbed with this 20 year old. We didn't see anything, nothing. And comes to four o'clock in the afternoon and I am bagged like I am so bagged, but we got a long trek, uh, to get back to where we're going to meet the outfitter. Outfitter dropped us at one spot, picking us up at another spot. Um, so.

[01:29:35] Mark Horsley: I'm eating my final Clif Bar, I'm drinking like the last of my water, and he says, I got bowls. Okay. Nice. And, uh, there's a, a snow covered rock that I proned on and this unbelievable tangle of forest, and then a rise. And he says they're over there in the tree line. And, uh, uh, I get, I get a look at one that's head on, but it's got to have a certain amount of brow time.

[01:30:06] Mark Horsley: So I need confirmation that it's a legal bull. My opportunity misses on that one. I got a second bull. Who's only got a head sticking out from the tree. Now, from my view, it looks like the tree is right here, but the tree could be a hundred meters in front of it. Right, right. So, uh, the, the guy gets on that one, says, yep, he's a legal bull, but it's only the head.

[01:30:31] Mark Horsley: I said, uh, can you arrange it? He gives me a range, but I learned a long time ago. Don't 

[01:30:36] Travis Bader: trust it. 

[01:30:36] Mark Horsley: Trust my range. Yes. Right. So I arranged it, uh, and it was, uh, 472 yards. 

[01:30:44] Travis Bader: Was it similar to what his range was? 

[01:30:46] Mark Horsley: His was closer. It would have been off. 

[01:30:48] Travis Bader: Okay. 

[01:30:49] Mark Horsley: Yeah, it would have been off. So what he did is bounced off a tree closer.

[01:30:53] Mark Horsley: Mm. And what you can do is bounce off a rock farther or a tree closer. So I want to do my own range. Anyway, bull comes, gives me a shoulder. And I'm saying, I'm going to take him if I get a shot, we're talking back and forth and I'm really solid and I got to qualify this. This is my light rifle, but I have trained to 600 meters with it.

[01:31:16] Mark Horsley: I knew what it was I'm watching, you know, all of these things, uh, Uh, you don't have a kestrel, you don't, you know, all this fancy stuff that guys do, this is experience and sense and reading the wind. Of course, you only have the wind where you are, not the wind three quarters the way to target all these other challenges.

[01:31:36] Mark Horsley: Bull steps forward a little farther and, and I press the trigger and the bull disappears. And, uh, the guide says, I think you missed. And I said, I did not miss. I mean, a bull's a big target. If you're used to shooting four inches at 800 meters, a bull's a big target. And, um, so I said, there's no way I missed.

[01:32:01] Mark Horsley: And, and Gary said, he's just not used to a shooter like you. Right. Like, cause, and the kid was fantastic. His name's Jason. He had some horror stories about, you know, some of the ill preparedness of people getting there. Sure. Well, we got to ethically go, whether I missed or I didn't miss. You gotta go check it.

[01:32:21] Mark Horsley: You gotta go check it. Well, this was, uh, as tired as I was, the worst CrossFit race. Exercise workout you've ever seen under logs, over logs, slip and fall, get up, you know, uh, and down we go. It took 45 minutes to cover this 472 yards to where the bull was shot. Get there, there's blood and, um, go up over the next rise and there he is bedded.

[01:32:51] Mark Horsley: And, uh, so, uh, he, this is my respect for this prehistoric beast. Um, they're amazing. He got up out of his bed. Now, later when we field dress, he was lung shot, he was fatally, fatally wounded. It was a perfect hit. It's just an absolute perfect through the, through the, uh, rib cage lung shot. He got up and he started climbing the next ridge and Jason says, take them.

[01:33:19] Mark Horsley: And I said, range? He said 150. I knew it was zero, but you know, you're questioning yourself. Second shot, uh, uh, hits him. I, uh, racked the bolt, Jason says, wait, I don't see anything. I, he's still climbing. And then he starts to waver, you know, he starts to, and down he goes and slides down and get stopped on a, on a tree.

[01:33:43] Mark Horsley: This is tough, tough country. Well, so when we field dressed them, second shot was a heart shot. Okay. So they're both fatal. Good shots. They were both. And, uh, so Jay, Jason said, is it okay if I film you approaching the animal? I said, yeah. He says, you don't seem, you know, we shook hands, we did the high five and he says, you don't seem overly excited.

[01:34:06] Mark Horsley: I said, well, A, I'm really tired. And B, you can't shoot like that. If you're all excited. That's right. Exactly. So, uh, anyway. This is a trained thing. This is So, so Gary had stayed behind from where we shot, but he heard the kill shot and he came down to his credit, crawling through all that stuff at 77 years of age.

[01:34:31] Mark Horsley: He got there after we'd field dressed. So normally they do, uh, a, uh, a gutless dressing. I was going to ask. I don't know. I don't, I've never done it. Um, but because it was late in the day, We had to feel dressed to cool it out and then do the recovery the next day. Right. So, um, anyway, uh, Gary got down and we were able to get a great picture of Gary and I, one with the guide and my brother, uh, uh, John, who's a big hunter.

[01:34:58] Mark Horsley: He says, you know, how come Gary wasn't smiling? Man, we were just so tired. Well, anyway, we had, uh, a trip back to where I'd fired from and I, uh, Uh, slipped, fell, twisted, and tore my ACL. And, uh, so I'm up there, it's, uh, 10 below and getting colder as we're losing light. Uh, it was really great. We got back to where we fired from.

[01:35:27] Mark Horsley: We're getting a range for the walk down. I had a spare set of, uh, gloves. Gary and Jason didn't, they both got frostbite. Oh, really? And as soon as the sun dropped, uh, the wolves went off and I was so hungry. I was thinking. Oh, come in. Cause I'm going to, I'm going to shoot you in each. I was like, I, you know, anyway, uh, so what they call a trail in Montana.

[01:35:51] Mark Horsley: And, and I, I really felt like I was a city slicker, uh, having only hunted everywhere in British Columbia, because there was no trails at all. Uh, and, and Jason, if it Gary's navigation equipment, I don't think we would've got back to the truck four and a half hours. Oh man. After we got back to the shoot location to get to the guide in the truck.

[01:36:17] Mark Horsley: Now, in fairness, we were going really slow cause, uh, I had an injury and, and we'd both fallen so many times. So, uh, but the, um, the outfitter said that he sent guys hunting up the trail, those wimps, 300 meters. Cause we did, we didn't get any footprints until we were 300 meters from the truck. So we got back to the truck at 10 30 at night.

[01:36:40] Mark Horsley: And then we went back to. Uh, the city, the only thing open for food was the Taco Bell and, and, and Gary says, I'm too tired to eat. I said, look, man, after that, you got to put some calories. So I went out and got some burritos. Oh my God. I'm getting, I'm doing a plug for Taco Bell here. Like the truth was. A turd wrapped in last week's underwear would have gone down good at that time.

[01:37:05] Mark Horsley: But no, we had, uh, so we got a bag of tacos and ate those. And to Gary's credit, he got up and went hunting the next morning. Like, uh, what a tough guy. 

[01:37:16] Travis Bader: And did the wolves get to the elk or were you able to retrieve the meat? So, 

[01:37:20] Mark Horsley: okay. So here's a great story. I got, I now I'm bagged. I feel old. Uh, first time in my life, uh, I got this knee injury.

[01:37:29] Mark Horsley: And, uh, you know, the outfitter, the deal with the outfitter is they do the recovery. Oh, really? So, um, now I could have gone, I could have participated, and they'll do it on horseback, ATV, whatever they can do. But this is what they did. They hired, uh, uh, the, the guide was, uh, uh, two times state wrestling champion and, and two of his buddies, not one of these guys made, weighed more than a buck 50 and they went up and brought this elk off that mountain.

[01:38:00] Mark Horsley: Good for them. Oh man, tough. Tough kids, like I have nothing but admiration for them. But, you know, uh, so I got the, uh, the elk back. I got it in, I got it cut wrapped and frozen, uh, and, uh, for transport. It was fantastic. 

[01:38:16] Travis Bader: Beauty. Well, I'm glad I got that story because I was looking at those pictures and I. Was, uh, was keen to hear this story, but wanted to save it for this.

[01:38:23] Mark Horsley: I know you turned off the recorder a long time ago. I know you did. Cause I get pretty pumped when we talk about hunting. I got back and I knew I needed to upgrade the scope on this light rifle, right? Cause it was an old Bushnell three by nine. Now it worked and I knew how it worked. It had hold over reticles and so forth, but I shopped around and, uh, uh, you know, Um, Vortex had sponsored the Precision Pistol Championship, uh, for three years, uh, for the, our national championship.

[01:38:52] Mark Horsley: And I, so I contacted Vortex and said, Hey, can you help me out with, uh, I'd like to upgrade this scope. And I sent them a picture, told them the story, uh, and they sent me a scope and a bunch of swag, and it was really nice. And, but. The, uh, uh, Ken, the marketing guy forwarded this to one of the executive officers in the, um, in Vortex Canada.

[01:39:13] Mark Horsley: And I got this lovely email from him saying, uh, I've never seen such a big buck. Now I can relate to this because he's probably my age and somebody probably showed it to him on their phone. So the picture's really small. And, uh, it's just, it's always been the standing joke. Whenever you see a giant buck.

[01:39:32] Mark Horsley: That gets away. You say, I thought it was an elk when I first saw it. So yeah, he believes it was a buck and I'm not telling him any different. Good. He's keeping his mouth shut and done. That was a hell of a buck. 

[01:39:45] Travis Bader: I love it. Well, is there anything else we should be chatting about before we wrap things up here?

[01:39:51] Mark Horsley: Always, but  not today. 

[01:39:53] Travis Bader: Mark, thank you so much for coming back on the Silvercore podcast. I always enjoy chatting with you. 

[01:39:58] Mark Horsley: My pleasure. Very few people want to listen to old retired guys, so I appreciate it.