In our 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, Paul Neess. Paul has hunted since he was eight years old, and is all self-taught. He has been licensed as a pro hunting guide in Idaho for 19 years, specializing in hunting bighorn sheep, elk and mule deer. Paul has also worked at Vortex Optics for 12 years, since the company began. A hunting optics specialist, he currently spends most of his time working on new product development.

CIMG1745Do you read a lot? What book are you reading?
I used to read quite a bit, but it seems harder and harder these days to find the time, especially when the weather is decent outside. I do very much enjoy reading about history in the Western U.S. and I have a nice collection of books relating to the U.S. Western expansion during 1800–1875. I’m also a sucker for a good adventure tale, and have many books in that theme. Currently, I’m reading Where Men Win Glory, by Jon Krakauer, an author whose books I enjoy.

If you had to recommend 5 books for someone new to hunting, what would they be?
Here are a few I’ve enjoyed at different times, in no special order. A mix of practical and philosophical for a new hunter!

A Hunters Heart, by David Petersen – Some great thoughts about why we hunt.

Successful Bowhunting, by M.R. James – Lots of good hunting info, even if you only plan to rifle hunt.

Field Care Handbook, by Bill Sager – Very practical book about taking care of game once killed, very useful for a new hunter with no experience in this kind of thing.

Heart of Home, by Ted Kerasote – Ted is a great writer about the deeper meaning of hunting and the outdoors. Randy already recommended his book Bloodties, so I’ll go with this one.

Complete Guide to Hunting, by Gary Lewis – Another good practical primer for the beginner.

What about magazines? Which ones do you read?
Very few. I mostly see magazines as ad-delivering platforms. As others here have mentioned, one exception is Bugle Magazine, which regularly has well-written, thoughtful stories that I enjoy reading. I do also read Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and Huntin’ Fool, which publish useful information about Western state limited draw hunting tags.

Which websites do you go to regularly?
The ones I hit regularly are and I enjoy reading the forums for hunting info & gossip, as well as keeping tabs on people’s interests and concerns regarding hunting optics, my professional specialty.

I would encourage new hunters to spend some time checking out the websites published by state fish and game agencies. Many of these are full of useful hunting information, not necessarily specific to their state (try Alaska Fish and Game for some interesting reading).

Is it difficult to keep up with the news while hunting?
Absolutely, but I usually prefer to shut out the outside world as much as possible when I’m on a hunting trip. I have a small mental ritual I go through when I begin a hunt of visualizing stepping into the real, outdoor world, and shed my ordinary day-to-day “skin” which would include the news. I will say, however, that it is always interesting to re-engage after a long backcountry trip and see what’s happened in the world while I’ve been out in hunting limbo.

How else do you get news and other media? Do you use social media?
Mostly via the Internet and TV. Although sometimes I feel like the last man standing, I’ve tried really hard to avoid the social media thing. I just don’t know where people can find the time for this stuff, and besides, I pretty much hate cell phones!

Do you watch TV? Which shows?
Not a lot, mostly the news. During our long, cold winters here in WI, I will watch a bit more and have actually long enjoyed the show Survivor, although of course it has utterly nothing to do with real outdoors survival skills.

Do you ever go to the movies?
Infrequently, although I do really enjoy going. I think the last movie I saw was Divergent; we went with my two young daughters who loved it! Surprise, surprise my tastes run more to the documentary action stuff, like Zero Dark Thirty.

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