5 Off-the-Beaten-Path Hunting Podcasts You Should Be Listening To
Today, more than 90 million Americans listen to podcasts each month. I honestly don’t know when the first hunting and outdoor podcast started, but one thing is for sure – they’re a hot item today. And why not? Considering there are no real obstacles to creating them, I can’t imagine they’ll lose popularity any time soon. Hunting can use any boost it can get to combat the declining number of hunters.
“I’ve found that podcasting can be the next best thing to taking a new person hunting,” said Cable Smith, host of the popular Lone Star Outdoor Show. “It’s also been an effective way to spread the word about conservation and the current events affecting our hunting future. Of course, we love to talk about hunting and have a little fun, too.”
There are long-standing hunting podcasts with massive followings, and they are so popular that thousands of people flock to download them as soon as new episodes appear. Established productions include Smith’s Lone Star Outdoor Show, as well as Mark Kenyon’s Wired to Hunt Podcast and Steve Rinella’s Meateater Podcast. Popular themes include whitetails, bowhunting, archery, and backcountry adventures.
I was late to the podcasting game. As a long-time reader of written hunting content, I never thought I would take such a liking to them. But after giving them a try, I soon became hooked. I’m a diehard fan of hunting and the outdoor lifestyle, and podcasts opened a new world for me.
New podcasts continue to appear. The common denominator is passionate hunters and outdoorsmen who want to celebrate and share their love for the outdoors. While some podcasters dream of generating a healthy income, others want to spread the word about conservation, our hunting heritage, and of course, their hunting adventures. Some record their podcasts from studios; however, most are borne from garages, basements, spare bedrooms, and sheds. In fact, for some shows, it’s not uncommon to hear cracking beer tabs amid the chatter and laughter. I’ve had the privilege of being a guest on a few hunting podcasts and have to admit; it’s fun. After all, what serious hunter doesn’t like talking about his favorite hunts, strategies, and ventures?
Amid the vast amount of rich hunting content offered by podcasts, I’ve found that many of the less-established ones are most appealing. After all, in my experience, they’re seldom about knowing it all and offer some of the best insights. These are the programs that come from the everyman – experienced sportsmen with a lot of valuable information to share with old and new hunters alike. It’s not only about successful hunts, either; rather, it’s about real experiences of real sportsmen – complete with blunders.
With new spirited hunters joining the podcast ranks every day, here are a few that have caught my attention (in no particular order) – all with healthy followings, interesting guests, and their unique flair.
The Chasing Tales Outdoors Podcast
Walter Lee and his Chasing Tales podcast has a couple of main goals: to document Lee’s adventures and to inspire others to pursue their own outdoor dreams. The show offers weekly episodes covering hunts from around the country.
“In 2020, we will be chasing elk in Colorado and whitetails in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. We also hope to hunt the Midwest again if time allows,” said Lee. This show has a great feel with down-home guys and authentic hunting experiences.
The Bowhunter Chronicles Podcast
Host Adam Miller uses the Bowhunter Chronicles to share his passion for archery and bowhunting. Based in Western Michigan, Adam and the gang seek to overcome their barriers and invite their listeners to learn along with them.
“We are trying to bring our audience content that empowers them to want to improve,” said Miller.
The show is heavy on bowhunting tactics, but it doesn’t stop there. In addition to engaging hunt recaps and bowhunting strategies, this podcast provides product reviews and archery tech tips. With most hunts taking place in Michigan, the Bowhunter Chronicles seeks to add an out-of-state hunt each year as well. Wherever their adventures take them, they showcase hard-to-hunt areas with minimal use of gimmicks and TV-style tactics.
Whitetail Legacy Podcast
Cody Jenkins and co-host Ryan Nelson celebrate the unknown, relatable guys who get it done with stick and string.
“We don’t cater to celebrity guests. We find the normal guys having success on both private and public land and let them tell their stories,” said Jenkins.
In fact, for 2020, Jenkins and Nelson plan to continue rolling out their popular Legend of the Woods series – a deep dive into a variety of successful hunters on public land. Living and hunting in Illinois, the Whitetail Legacy boys have a real passion for deer hunting and are adept at communicating with the average whitetail nut. It’s like sharing a hunting camp with a couple of fellow hunters.
The Whitetail Distraction Podcast
Co-hosts Austin Schweitzer and Charles Hedland pride themselves on deer hunting on public land – no easy feat, especially considering the sky-high hunter numbers in their home state of Pennsylvania. And these PA boys love to share their hunting successes, struggles, and tips on the Whitetail Distraction Podcast.
“We strive to share campfire-style hunting stories,” Schweitzer said.
The show not only features stories about deer and turkey hunting, but it also provides insights on popular hunting gear and public land strategies. For 2020, the WTD crew plans to make more use of their YouTube channel, bowfish in Maryland, and bowhunt in Missouri, Tennesse, and Ohio. Usually recorded in their recently completed “Rack Shack,” the podcast has no shortage of helpful hunting information and laughter.
The Southern Ground Hunting Podcast
Host Parker McDonald is a serious public land hunter, and his passion comes through loud and clear. Part of the Sportsmen’s Nation Outdoor Network, Southern Ground’s content isn’t limited to public land hunting.
“I do my best to cover a wide range of topics that are sure to pique the interest of any outdoor addict,” said McDonald.
The podcast is full of hunting tips and stories but make no mistake; it’s mostly about the outdoor experience. The content speaks to successes, failures, and lessons learned in the field. In my experience, this show is one of the few based in the South. Still, it offers great content for any hunter, regardless of location.
Bowhunters, whitetail hunters, backcountry hunters, and every sportsman in between can immerse themselves in interesting stories, hunting tips, and comical conversations – anywhere they carry their smartphones. Available year-round, they’re a great resource between hunts and seasons.
If you haven’t tried outdoor podcasts, you’re missing out. Give them a try. And like when you’re hunting, get off the beaten path and check out some of the newer guys too – the shows featuring everyday hunters like you. They’re available on several platforms, including Apple, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and Podbean. Pure hunting information, humor, and community are out there waiting for you. And it’s free.
Based in Texas, Jerald Kopp is President of 1st Light Hunting Journal. His articles cover a variety of topics about hunting and the outdoor lifestyle. Jerald is an avid outdoorsman with deer hunting and whitetails being by far his greatest passion. He was introduced to hunting and fishing at an early age and has been enjoying it for 40+ years. In 2005, he established the Empowerment Outfitter Network (EON) – a faith-based non-profit organization that provides hunting opportunities for disabled and terminally-ill children and youth. When not hunting, he spends his time traveling and enjoying life with Amy, his wife of over 30 years. Jerald and Amy have two adult daughters and a son-in-law.