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 books would they recommend to new hunters? The answers to all these questions, and more, lie ahead. Up next, Ryan Hatfield. Ryan Hatfield is the Editor of Western Hunter and Elk Hunter Magazines, and the co-host of The Western Hunter TV. He has written, edited, and/or co-edited a dozen western hunting books. He lives for backpack hunting rugged and remote public lands across the West. He and his wife, Kylee, live in Cody, Wyoming with their three children.
Do you read a lot?
Being a writer and editor, I often joke that I rarely have time to read books and articles because I’m so busy writing them. I do read some, but I wish I had time for more.
What book are you reading?
The Weiser Indians by Hank Corless. It captures a fascinating history about the Native Americans in my home area of Idaho and some dynamics that happened with the first “white” explorers and the ultimate demise of the native people. I’m a sucker for any and all western U.S. history from the beginning up until about 1900, and especially the West from 1800-1900. Also The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Astoria (the story of the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition around 1810), and other early trappers/explorers journals like Alexander Ross, Bonneville, etc.
If you had to recommend 5 books for someone new to hunting, what would they be?
1) I’m a firm believer in all of Theodore Roosevelt’s books;
2) A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold;
3) Meat Eater by Steven Rinella;
4) Alaska Yukon Trophies Won and Lost by G.O. Young;
5) The trilogy “Idaho’s Greatest Mule Deer, Elk, & Whitetails”, which I wrote, captures all of the history surrounding the most exceptional deer and elk ever taken in Idaho. It’s a great look into a very special past era of hunting in the West, and full of some incredible eye candy as well. You can check them out at www.idahobiggame.com.
What about magazines? Which ones do you read?
The magazines I’m in charge of – Western Hunter and Elk Hunter Magazines – are fantastic resources for western big game hunting, as well as for seeing the true “Big Picture” of hunting, with an introspective and respectful flair. I also enjoy B&C’s Fair Chase, RMEF’s Bugle, and WSF’s Wild Sheep.
Which websites do you go to regularly?
Every western state’s wildlife management agency, Bowsite, MonsterMuleys, ESPN.
Is it difficult to keep up with the news while hunting?
Not as much as it used to be with increased cell service. I seem to stay pretty well in touch, even on some of my remote backcountry backpack hunts.
How else do you get news and other media? Use social media?
I’m fairly active on social media and have a loyal following, for which I’m grateful. I try to bring a broad spectrum – some hunting, some family/life, some humor, and occasionally I use my platform to speak up for important ideals and to try and reach people.
Do you watch TV? Which shows?
I really enjoy sports as a window into lessons for real life. Watching people fail and succeed, stumble and rise, in the public spotlight offers a lot of lessons we can all learn from (more than just reading the score ticker at the bottom of the screen). For hunting shows, my favorites by far are The Western Hunter, MeatEater, and Jim Shockey’s shows.
Do you ever go to the movies?
With three young children, that would be a big NO. My favorite movie on DVD is Jeremiah Johnson, which I can recite beginning to end without even blinking. My favorite quote is, “I ain’t never seen ‘em, but my common sense tells me the Andes is foothills, and the Alps is for children to climb…These here (Rocky Mountains) is God’s finest sculpturings! And there ain’t no laws for the brave ones! And there ain’t no asylums for the crazy ones. And there ain’t no churches, except for this one right here! And there ain’t no priests, exceptin’ the birds. By God, I are a mountain man, and I’ll live ’til an arrow or a bullet finds me. And then I’ll leave my bones on this great map of the magnificent.” I’ll leave this interview with some sound wisdom (another quote from the movie): “Keep your nose in the wind and your eyes along the skyline.”
Fill in the blank: I’d like to see _________ answer these same questions.
Gray Thornton and Chris Denham.
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