In the Media Diet column, Zero Point Zero Production asks prominent hunters about their reading and media consumption habits. What hunting magazines are they reading? How do they get their news when they’re at home? What about when on a hunting trip? What is on their Netflix queues? The answers to all these questions, and more, lie ahead. Up next, Janis Putelis. An Associate Producer on MeatEater with Steven Rinella, Janis guided big game hunts in Colorado and Arizona for 12 years, as well as fly fishing tours in Colorado. He resides in Salt Lake City, UT with his wife of ten years, Jennifer Jones, and their two daughters.
Do you read a lot?
My media diet is a little light these days. It’s not that I’m trying to ingest less, but a two-and-a-half year-old daughter coupled with a three month-old daughter has diminished my reading time. What I do read (out loud) a lot of these days are children’s books, and one we are particularly fond of is Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin. My daughter enjoys the tale of a rambunctious squirrel, but I enjoy the subtler messages concerning the circle of life that appear in the story.
What are these subtler messages?
The squirrels in the book bring offerings of dead mice, fish, a mole and an egg to the ruler of Owl Island, Mr. Brown (an old, big owl fond of such things) for access to his island to collect nuts. Although no killing actually occurs in the book, it is clear that the animals of the forest eat each other, and my daughter and I are able to discuss this. In the end, Nutkin is almost skinned and eaten by Mr. Brown, which is another lesson I enjoy sharing with my daughter. When she watched me skin a couple of fox squirrels in Michigan over the holidays, she asked if I was skinning Squirrel Nutkin, like Mr. Brown. It’s refreshing to read a children’s book that depicts nature in a little “closer to true” form versus the “no harm done”, fairy tale themes of many others.
What are you personally reading?
I’m halfway through Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell, a popular history about Custer and the Little Bighorn. This is a deviation of my normal book intake, which for almost ten years has consisted solely of hunting topics. Some of my all-time favorites include A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold, Use Enough Gun by Robert Ruark, Death in the Long Grass by Peter Hathaway Capstick, The River Why by David James Duncan and anything written by Jack O’Connor. Zane Grey’s fishing stories and Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway’s hunting tales have always interested me as well.
What websites do you go to frequently?
Since my interest in guns, shooting, and hunting has hardly waned, I spend a significant portion of my reading time on Chuck Hawks’ website: Guns and Shooting Online. There is no other single source of quality, unbiased guns and shooting information in the world that I know of. Every time I read one of his articles, I think, “Man, that was good!” He always makes a strong point that is hard to debate. My most regular website is probably NOAA; I need to know how warmly to dress my girls.
Do you read magazines?
I have a subscription to Western Hunter, Eastman’s and my favorite hunting magazine, Bugle. They all offer good info, but Bugle’s writing is a notch above the rest. The first column I read in every issue is Wayne van Zwoll’s “Rifles and Cartridges.” When I’m in the airport, I’ll snag a copy of Outside or Field and Stream.
Do you keep up with the news? Is it hard to do so while hunting?
News, schnews! When I do get news, it’s from NPR, but I don’t make a point to keep up with it. I have many more pertinent things to worry about. The partisan politics these days make me want to vomit, so I try to remove myself from that sector of the news anyhow. I’ll leave it at this: What happened to Team USA? So, no, it’s not difficult to keep up with the news while hunting. We carry a satellite phone to check in with our families, and that’s all the news I need.
I listen to NPR more for its other shows. My two favorites are This American Life and Car Talk. They are always funny, entertaining and, most importantly, educational.
Do you use social media?
I use Facebook as a source for news that is relevant to the hunting industry and our hunting lifestyle. I have very few friends on Facebook (<150), but I follow conservation organizations like Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, Mule Deer Foundation, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the National Shooting Sports Foundation to keep me up to speed on the state of hunting, fishing and wild places.
Do you watch television?
We don’t own a TV, but we do stream The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on HULU. That’s the extent of my TV watching.
Do you ever go to the movies?
I love going to the movies but it’s a big chunk of time that I’m away from my kids. It’s probably been three years since I’ve entered a movie theater. I’m sure as the kids get a bit older, I’ll get back into it. I would just rather hang with them instead at this point. We’ll grab a Red Box DVD every so often, but it takes us two nights to get through a flick.
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