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, Ryan Callaghan. Born and raised in Montana, Ryan grew up fishing and hunting as much of the state as possible. He fell into guiding naturally and has been able to see some amazing places because of it. In 2011, Ryan traded in his truck bed for an apartment; his seasonal life for a spot with First Lite in Ketchum, Idaho. Working as the marketing manager at First Lite has been incredibly gratifying. He gets to exercise his brain, work on filling his freezer and still guides a trip or two.
Do you read a lot? What book are you reading?
I really enjoy reading and I usually have several open books kicking around. The best thing I have read this year is West With The Night, by Beryl Markham. I am currently working through Westering Man: The Life of Joseph Walker, by Bil Gilbert (not a sit down and easily digest book) and on the lookout for others. I love history books, but I have also read pretty much every Stephen King book out there.
If you had to recommend 5 books for someone new to hunting, what would they be?
I’ve honestly never really gotten into “hunting” books, but I love books that paint the scene and make you want to see what’s around the next corner. For me, that’s the difference between a lifelong hunter and someone that gets out infrequently – the desire to go over the next ridge, appreciate the day and hike back in the dark.
Read all the Jack London you can, that’s what bred some serious wanderlust for me. I would also highly recommend the poems of Robert W. Service. I do not regularly digest poetry but I spent a series of snowed-in days confined to the tent and his poems really hit home – maybe that’s a case of the environment making the book? While I am firmly not on the Hemingway bandwagon (go ahead and pick a fight, Steve and Dan), The Short Happy Life Of Francis Macomber and the malarial delirium scene from Green Hills Of Africa are must reads. Purely speaking from the pulpit here, go ahead and read Bryce Courtenay’s The Power Of One, which made me wish I had started out as more of a naturalist.
What about magazines? Which ones do you read?
At airports, I pick up Wired, The Atlantic and GQ. I am very guilty of glossing through hunting magazines, unless I am looking for a specific article on bow or arrow tuning or something.
Which websites do you go to regularly?
I will pour a glass of Beam and waste two hours on Google Maps or Google Earth in the blink of an eye. I get dragged into Huffington Post, Outside Magazine, NPR and links to local papers from home like The Billings Gazette and The Missoulian. I have spent many, many hours checking up on First Lite as we prepare to launch a new site here shortly.
Is it difficult to keep up with the news while hunting?
Yes. Once I was in camp in Eastern Montana waiting on a group of hunters to come in and they ended up being a day late with the news of Hurricane Katrina and plenty of speculation. It took me several weeks to process that.
How else do you get news and other media? Do you use social media?
I am a compete NPR nerd and I listen every day that I can. I am on social media and run a good deal of the social for First Lite. I actually read quite a bit of Outside Magazine via social channels.
Do you watch TV? Which shows?
Very little. I don’t actually own a television at this point. I think Parts Unknown is amazing (I am not kissing ass, ZPZ), but I don’t get to see it very often. My two major confessions here would be Parks and Recreation (Aubrey Plaza is cute as a button) and Game of Thrones (who would have thought?) I actually got kind of called out one time in hunting camp for reading a book about dragons (my mother had strongly suggested it because its author is from Montana): “You like dragons, do ya?” You can mow through a lot of books while guiding a season. I am actually listening to The Daily Show as I type.
Do you ever go to the movies?
I love movies but I have not been to a movie theatre in years. Netflix!
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