Welcome to the Lifestyle: MeatEater and Hunter Recruitment Part I

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On Sunday, January 6, Timothy Ferriss is making a guest appearance on my television show, MeatEater, which airs on Sportsman Channel. As many of you know, Tim is the author of the phenomenally successful 4-Hour series, including The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Body, which each sold hundreds of thousands of copies and spent months on the New York Times Bestseller list. The works are particularly embraced by guys in their twenties and thirties who are looking for an extra edge in life, whether it’s with money, studying, employment, workouts, physical endurance, or even sex. Tim supplies this help in an easily accessible way, and encourages his readers to become students of the art of learning so that their lives can be continually enriched through experimentation and self-improvement.

I first became friends with Tim in the summer of 2011, when he contacted me while researching his most recent book, The 4-Hour Chef. He was looking for some information on hunting and wild game cooking, which I was happy to supply. We ended up talking on the phone a number of times, and emailing a bunch, and pretty soon we were planning a trip to chase deer in South Carolina. Tim bagged his first whitetail on that outing (as well as his first squirrel and his first shotgun-killed pigeon), an experience he chronicles in The 4-Hour Chef. I was impressed by Tim’s cool-headedness, and also his willingness to get grubby after the deer was down. In fact, we had such a good time down there that we decided to get together again for a far more adventurous and rugged hunt for caribou in Alaska’s Brooks Range. This time, we agreed, we’d bring along some cameras to capture what happened.

As this was going on, a lot of my hunting buddies were dismayed that I’d willingly introduce someone of such massive popularity to the hunting lifestyle. They feared that a guy like Timothy Ferriss would inspire legions of wannabes to flood into the woods with guns blazing, overrunning our favorite hunting grounds and driving the game into hiding. To support their concerns, all they had to do was point to Tim’s massive following. Together, his books have spent 4.5 years on the New York Times bestseller list and have been translated into 35 languages. He’s got over 150,000 Facebook fans, over 400,000 Twitter followers, a blog with well over a 1-million monthly readers. In other words, his message sells in a big way. All he’d have to do is say a nice thing or two about hunting and… voila! It’d be all over: goodbye to solitude in the fields and mountains; hello to educated elk and turkey.

To be perfectly honest, I actually did share some of their concerns. Part of me almost wishes I could believe they were right, that the best thing for hunting would be fewer hunters. After all, there’d be more game available for yours truly. And since there’d be less hunting pressure, there’d be longer seasons and larger bag limits, right? What’s more, I tell myself, fewer hunters would almost certainly mean fewer anti-hunters. And what could be better than that? But whenever I start having these thoughts, I always remember to slap myself in the face and return to reality. And reality can be summed up in two short sentences: 1) Ninety-five percent of American adults do not hunt. 2) We live in a democracy. And if you stop and consider those two sentences for a moment or two, you’ll see that hunters need all the support that we can get. And you’ll hopefully come to the conclusion that hunter recruitment is in our own best interest. If you agree, stay tuned here for the next three installments of this article.

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