Hunting (And Why You Should Care), Reconnecting with Nature, Favorite Trips, and More | Steven Rinella on The Tim Ferriss Show

 Check out The Tim Ferriss Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • In a lot of states, many of the fish & game agencies get no hard funding. In other words, when you pay state tax, they don’t receive any of it.
    • “The bulk of the state fish & game agency’s finances comes from the sale of licenses, tags, and stamps. Hunting licenses, fishing licenses, permits, tags, all the stuff that goes with hunting and fishing.” Steven Rinella
  • “Even if you hate hunters and anglers, you can’t get around the fact that hunter and anglers fund your state’s wildlife apparatus.”Steven Rinella
  • When you help one species, chances are you’re helping other wildlife species in that environment:
    • “By helping elk through improving their habitat and protecting their habitat, you’re helping everything on the landscape. From songbirds to insects…you’re helping everything.” – Steven Rinella
  • When saving wildlife becomes political, sometimes the animals get caught in the crossfire:
    • “When conservation becomes so partisan and so political, oftentimes an animosity towards the animal develops. Because the animal becomes emblematic of what some people might view as Federal overreach.” – Steven Rinella
  • Reconnect with nature by trying to identify where your water source comes from and how it leads back into the ocean:
    • “Ask yourself, when you turn on your faucet and water comes out, where did that water come from? Did it fall as snow, rain? Where was it collected? Is it from an aquifer? What feeds the aquifer? Then ask yourself, when it goes down the drain, what is its path to where it hits the ocean?” – Steven Rinella

Intro

Books Mentioned

How Hunting Works In The US

  • All 50 states in the US have respective state fish & game agencies which are responsible for the stewardship of wildlife
    • “Generally you can say, the people in that state own the wildlife in that state” – Steven Rinella
  • In a lot of states, many of the fish & game agencies get no hard funding. In other words, when you pay state tax, they don’t receive any of it.
    • “The bulk of the state fish & game agency’s finances comes from the sale of licensing, tags, and stamps. Hunting licenses, fishing licenses, permits, tags, all the stuff that goes with hunting and fishing.” Steven Rinella
      • Part of the tax on guns and ammo also goes towards fish & game agencies
  • “Even if you hate hunters and anglers, you can’t get around the fact that hunter and anglers fund your state’s wildlife apparatus.”Steven Rinella
  • When you have a bear in your yard and you call the wildlife agency for help, that person and all of their equipment is funded by hunters and anglers
  • If the number of hunters and anglers continues to fall, so will funding for wildlife. This means less funding for:
    • Habitat improvement
    • Habitat expansion
    • Animal disease work
    • Reintroduction of extirpated species 
      • E.g: At one point New Mexico had run out of Elk. Now, they have a thriving population.

Preserving & Protecting Wildlife

  • One of the best ways to help a wildlife species is by preserving and protecting their habitat
    • When you help one species, chances are you’re helping other wildlife species in that environment:
      • “By helping elk through improving their habitat and protecting their habitat, you’re helping everything on the landscape. From songbirds to insects…you’re helping everything.” – Steven Rinella
  • Hunting foundations do exactly that:
    • “Every year they add to the net amount of pristine wildlife habit that exists in this country. And you cannot say the same thing about PETA.” Steven Rinella
  • When saving wildlife becomes political, the animals get caught in the crossfire:
    • “When conservation becomes so partisan and so political, oftentimes an animosity towards the animal develops. Because the animal becomes emblematic of what some people might view as Federal overreach.”Steven Rinella

Bears Can Be Dangerous

  • One time when Steven and Tim were hunting caribou in Alaska, a hungry grizzly bear started charging them and Steven had to shoot a shotgun shot in the air to scare it away
  • Bears are opportunistic eaters. They’ll eat mostly berries and roots, but are always looking for a big protein meal.
  • Bears have an incredible sense of smell, even from miles away
  • If you’re hunting, always keep your meat 75-100 yards away from your camp. Otherwise, you’re inviting the bear for a meal.
  • Bear attacks are rare but they can be deadly. Do your best to avoid them.

Books Recommendations From Steven

  • Three books Steven recommends:
    • Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn by Evan S. Connell
      • “I view it as a Western literature masterpiece” – Steven Rinella
    • Arctic Dreams by Barry H. Lopez
      • In this book, the author traveled to the Arctic to better understand the indigenous hunters in that area
    • Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan
      • “I had a lifelong fascination with Boone” – Steven Rinella
      • Boone was an amazing hunter who, perhaps unknowingly, overhunted many wildlife species 
        • “My God were they destructive but also just cool…It’s the best piece of work about Boone” 

Becoming A Writer & Writing Advice

  • Steven’s first dream job was to become a fur trapper but after realizing that wasn’t feasible, he shifted towards becoming an outdoor writer
    • Steven sold his first story in 2000 for $4,000. It’s called Dawn Patrol by Steven Rinella
      • Steven says he owes it to his 10th grade English teacher for inspiring him to pursue writing 
        • “He took the time to develop things in kids” – Steven Rinella
  • Steven’s advice to aspiring writers:
    • Try to read everything you can. Then identify the writers whose stories make you jealous and make you wish you wrote it.
      • “Find that handful of writers that make you feel that way. Try to understand what they’re doing.” – Steven Rinella
        • Instead of trying to copy one of them, try to blend a few of their writing styles with your own. You won’t succeed by copying the greats, but you might succeed by using them as inspiration.
  • Authors that Steven used as inspiration: 

How To Reconnect With Nature

  • Get a copy of The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley and make a list of all the birds in your neighborhood
    • Acknowledge the solstices and the equinoxes and be aware of what is happening
      • “Ask yourself, when you turn on your faucet and water comes out, where did that water come from? Did it fall as snow, rain? Where was it collected? Is it from an aquifer? What feeds the aquifer? Then ask yourself, when it goes down the drain, what is its path to where it hits the ocean?” – Steven Rinella
  • Understand the role nature plays in your surroundings first before exploring further:
    • “You’re in nature man, we’re just trained to not notice it” – Steven Rinella

Additional Notes

  • Steven identifies himself as a hunter-conservationist 
    • He enjoys hunting but also stands for clean air, water, food, and conserving natural places
  •  Wolves eat 7 pounds of meat a day
  • Previously, bison were present in Nashville
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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