December 05, 2013
Lessons From the Radio Book Tour
By Scott Bestul
I'm sure that by now most of you have already purchased a copy of The Total Deer Hunter Manual, the new definitive guide to our sport penned by me and Dave. However, our publisher informs us that there are great swaths of the buying public who may not realize that this book would make a stupendous Christmas present. So as public service, I've been talking to radio show hosts across the country, shamelessly plugging our work.
So far it's been a fun, fascinating, and educational experience—largely because nary a show host who's interviewed me has been a deer hunter. These are not hook-and-bullet broadcasts, but general interest shows whose audience, from what I've gathered, is comprised of mainly non-hunters. Consequently, the questions rarely center on technical details of hunting, but rather the aspects of our sport that non-hunters find interesting or odd. They want to know why we do what we do and why we love it. So I do my best to explain, educate and, at times, laugh along with them about some of the behavior we accept as normal. All of this has allowed me me to sketch a profile of those oddballs out there who are not obsessed by deer. Here are my conculsions:
They get making meat. Hands down, the most common questions I get are about eating venison. How do I like to cook it? Do I butcher my own deer? Does your family like venison? Non-hunters not only have zero problem with what we do as long as we eat our deer, most seem to admire us for it.
They get the beauty of the outdoors. F&S features some of the world's best wildlife photography, and many such images are featured in our book. Every host has gushed about the stunning photography and seems appreciative of the amazing sights we experience each fall.
Safety is important. I've answered many questions about gun-handling, hunting from treestands, and generally staying safe in the woods. People out there are worried about our safety, and wondering if we're thinking of them, particularly during firearms seasons. I assure them that yes, we are, and that today's hunter is borderline anal about safety in comparison to our predecessors.
Antlers are appreciated. I've been asked several questions about big-racked bucks. Are they older, smarter, or genetically superior to smaller bucks? Why do some bucks grow huge, oddly-shaped antlers, while others grow like picket fences? In short, we are not the only ones who find antlers amazing examples of Nature's art.
Hunters are a little crazy. You guys actually take scentless showers? Do you really pour deer pee on your boots to attract deer? One host actually read aloud Dave's section on how to field dress a buck, giggling hysterically, and that was before he got to the part when Hurteau referred to the buck's "tallywhacker"—and then he roared. We do engage in some certifiably goofy behaviors as we chase deer, and I've had a ball viewing our bizarre rituals through a non-hunter's eyes.
So there you have it, my profile of the non-hunting populace through the questions I've been asked and not asked. I've got several more interviews scheduled this month, and maybe I'll run into a raving anti ready to drag me over the proverbial coals. Which will be fine, of course—as long as he buys someone he loves a copy of our most excellent book for a Christmas present.