#424 The Thinking Woodsman – Tim Kjellesvik

WR 424 | Tim Kjellesvik

The outdoor industry is full of folks waiting for the next best thing. To know how to set yourself apart and be successful, Tim Kjellesvik, host of The Thinking Woodsman podcast, shares his wealth of information on what makes you saleable, marketable, and promotable in the outdoor industry. His article called Five Ways to Set Yourself Apart in the Outdoor Industry answers questions on how you should run a business in this space. He also talks about the hunting tradition and the lessons he learned from his most memorable hunting experiences.

Our guest is Tim Kjellesvik. Tim is the host of The Thinking Woodsman podcast, and the show is dedicated to help us all think, think about hunting, think about strategies, think about our industry, think about how we can get kids in the outdoors. He’s got a great podcast going on and the thing that he’s going to share is that the outdoor industry is full of folks waiting for the next best thing. You know how to set yourself apart and be successful, because he’s going to talk about what makes you saleable, what makes you marketable, what makes you promotable in the outdoor industry. Tim’s got a wealth of information and I can’t wait to share his story with you.

Listen to the podcast:

The Thinking Woodsman – Tim Kjellesvik

Tim, welcome to the show.

How are you?

We’re doing fine. Thanks so much for taking time off. We’re going to talk about collaboration, but I like doing this. I like two guys in the podcast space and the hunting space to get together and share what the heck’s going on, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and some of the challenges we have in the outdoor industry today, so welcome again.

Thanks for having me. There’s definitely a lot to talk about within that.

There sure is but let’s start right off with your podcast. Why you started it? What challenges do you have? What successes do you have? What are you bringing to your listening audience?

My listening audience consists mostly of my mom, so it’s a relatively small audience. We’re in the growth phase. We have only been at it since February of 2016, so relatively new in the podcast space, but the reason I got in was partially because all the great bow hunting podcasts that I love to listen to kept going away. People would start them and they’d run them for a year or two and you’d get invested because that’s what it is. You establish a personal relationship, or at least what feels like a personal relationship, with the host and then they stop doing it.

I appreciate being able to listen to interesting talk and debate about things that go on in the hunting community and the fishing community and just in the outdoors in general, but I want someone that I can count on because I’m going to invest time in this show. I want someone that’s going to be there, show up your show for me, and so I thought maybe I should start a show also and share some of my perspectives because they’re a little different than what I was seeing out there. I already had a website. I already had TheThinkingWoodsman.com. I was already writing, and so I already had a following and a Facebook profile for it and it seemed to fit. Besides people are like, “Why don’t you do a TV show?” Everyone and their brother has a TV show, the market is saturated with hunting TV shows and frankly many of them aren’t very good and I know video is not one of my strong suits yet, so I thought, “Let’s do something that requires a little bit infrastructure, relatively easy to get started on, but I’m going to do a quality show, and I’m going to show up month after month after month.” That’s what we’re doing.

August 31st will be my two years since I’d launched. We have over 440 shows or episodes released. You’ve got a wife, you’ve got kids, you’ve got a job. I have a wife and my kids are all grown up. I have grandkids, so it’s a little bit different. The thing is in the experiment, and I liked how you said that word experiment is, “Can I bring my passions for whitetail hunting over the last 51 years and can I share it with real people in real places?” I’ve been challenged, “You don’t have A-list type people,” and I go, “No, I don’t because I have regular people that are in the bar or they go to church, they go to work and they come home, they watch a football game, they watch the kids and they go deer hunting.”

Friends and family told me I need to get you on the show because it’s like Sam Harris is in Hollywood, California, living country in the city. What a story he has, what a storyline. It’s unbelievable. He literally lives and worked Hollywood and Vine and you can’t get more city than that.

There’s a perception out there that the outdoor media celebrities are experts. There are some guys that consistently kill big bucks that almost live a hermit style existence back in the woods. They eat, sleep and breathe big bucks and you don’t know them other than if you go through big buck registries and look for their names. When it comes to perspective on the outdoors and how to kill a mature buck or how to help someone have their first hunting experience, people default to outdoor celebrities because their profiles are so easy to access and people know them, but many of the outdoor celebrities I know and I’m friends with would be the first tell you, they don’t know it all. A lot of times, they have to rely on guides and people on the ground there wherever they end up. The focus on regular people that’s maybe sometimes also have a regular day job, that’s fine and we need more of that.

WR 424 | Tim Kjellesvik
Tim Kjellesvik: Kill a doe, kill a small deer, whatever’s legal, whatever fits your idea of a trophy, we have to be encouraging people to do that.

I like to tell people during my shows and I’ll throw it out, Whitetail Rendezvous is about real people in real places. If you’re A-list or no-list, it doesn’t matter. If you get out there and mix it up with mature bucks, I’m focusing on mature bucks for hunters that have been at it for awhile, your youth and somebody just entering and kill whatever you want to kill, kill whatever’s legal, I don’t have any problem but I’m truly amazed if you read some of their stuff from Kip Adams and Lindsay Thomas, what they put out, if you think about, they’ve seen an incremental trend. Trends take a long time to make it a statement, but with the trends they’re seeing are two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half-year old bucks are becoming more of the harvest than typically less than that. If we let a one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half-year old deer walk, then we have an opportunity to hunt a mature buck and that’s challenging.

You and I could go in the woods, you with a stick and string, me with my crossbow or rifle or whatever, and we can kill some deer every single year. There’s no question I could kill multiple deer in multiple states if I choose to do that or I could go and say, “No. This is my framework, four-and-a-half-years old or bigger. I’d like to be 150 points when we crack.” That’s what you’re looking for. When a deer comes by, you see him or you put your glasses on him, and then you go, “That’s a shooter to me,” whether it would be you or not, but we’re seeing more and more people getting that mentality because it’s a challenge. It’s a hunt. I shoot does every year and we put them in the freezer and make jerky and everything else. In the farm that we hunt, Eddie, he says, “Shoot all the does you want,” because they’re eating his food. We have big food plots. Not little ones.

You mentioned shooting does. In the professional hunting world, there is an unfortunate stigma about shooting does. My family, we live off venison. We don’t buy any red meat in our household year round. Even if it’s red meat, we’re eating venison. It’s cost effective, it’s safe, it’s healthy. I can procure it myself, but I still get the jitters when I have a doe coming in because does are wildly animals. There’s no such thing as a free throw at a doe. They’ve been around the block, especially a big mature doe. They know what to look for and I’ve been busted by does just like I’ve been busted by great bucks.

I wrote an article on TheThinkingWoodsman.com titled The Very Best Anti‑Hunters. The premise was that ourselves, we in the hunting community, tend to be the best anti-hunters because we can be so judgmental about the hunting practices of each other that if you imagine someone that’s new to our heritage, trying to figure things out, a little self conscious, a little insecure, and then you have a fellow hunter give them crap because they didn’t spend $1,200 on a new bow or they shot a buck at 120 or they don’t even know what the score is, do you think they’re going to want to hang out with us anymore?

Do you think they’re going to want to invest the time and the money required to chase deer? No, they are going to find something else to do. We need as many people on board with the pro-hunting agenda as possible. Kill a doe, kill a small deer, whatever’s legal, whatever fits your idea of a trophy, we have to be encouraging people to do that. Otherwise, we’re looking at a decline in our numbers. A decline in our numbers means a decline in our voice legislatively, which means that we will be legislated out of our constitutional rights.

In social media, we see it all the time where somebody just goes “You shot that?” and it’s like “Don’t be stupid.” That’s my two cents and if you’re pissed off, the audience, that’s okay. I’m good with that because just stop it.

I worked for Mark and Terry Drury. I write for Drury Outdoors. If you’ve ever been to DruryOutdoors.com, go to the Journals tab. Any time one of their field staff members kills something, they call me, we talk about it, I write it up, and put it in the journal. We’re also working on a bow fishing Drury Outdoors segment. I’m buddies and I worked with Ray Eye, legendary turkey hunter. These guys have killed more animals than most people I’ve ever seen, trophy animals across the board. They’re not impressed by people that hold such a high standard for others that they can’t encourage others to kill a small deer. Out of all people, they could be the most judgmental, but they happen to be the most inviting, welcoming, encouraging of people that are figuring this sport out. If a Mark Drury can be welcoming and give someone an attaboy for killing a small buck, most of us mortal whitetail hunters can do the same.

Let’s go back to your podcast. What’s your goal? What’s your message and vision for your podcast?

I run with a lot of people who are not familiar with the outdoors community. One day, they found out that I hunt and one of them said, “You hunt? But you seem smart.” They couldn’t keep in their head that a person could be intelligent and be a hunter. Then they asked me, “When you kill something, what do you do with it?” That shocked me because it told me that there are people that don’t know the facts. There are a number of people out there that don’t understand what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. We’re in real trouble if there’s not someone that can speak cogently to their concerns, some of them valid, and their questions about what we do.

I thought, “I’m going to start an outdoor media brand, The Thinking Woodsman, that is an apologist for the outdoors community.” When I say apologist, I mean it in the classical sense, apologize like you would for Christianity. You would present a case and present a defense for your position and I’m an apologist for those of us that are hunting fish to the people that are in the middle, to the people that don’t know or raised this way, don’t have this mindset, aren’t exposed to it, but they could have their minds changed if someone came along that was respectful and understanding, listened as much as they talk, and was willing to offer some answers to their questions. I thought that my podcast could do that augmented by my writing, my radio work, and my work on television.

Three years from now, where do you want the podcast to be?

I don’t care. I don’t say that flippantly because the podcast to me is a method. It’s a means to an end. My mission is to bring more people into our camp. If that means I cut the podcast tomorrow because I can do more effective work in television or radio or writing, then that’s what I’ll focus on. The podcast is a long-term strategy because I’ve seen it done and I’m committed to it, but I’m not so tied to these methods as I am with the ultimate mission, if that makes sense.

There are some guys that consistently kill big bucks that almost live a hermit style existence back in the woods. Click To Tweet

Folks, you’ve got a couple of guys here, one guy a little younger and one guy a little more mature, but we’re both after the same thing. It is to bring our message saying, “We’re going to talk to hunters about hunting. We’re going to talk to a person about the hunting tradition, all these types of subject matters and we’re going to bring that so you can listen to it and you can share it and say, ‘You need to listen to this’,” to another hunter or a friend at work, just say, “Check this out,” because this Bryan Richey from Moon Stands, he understands how to put a moon stand up, how to put the stands up, the location and everything, and that’s a seminar right there.

That’s a full article right there. If you do that consistently enough and you persist, then your message gets out there. The remuneration as both of you know, we’re supposed to do the work. We’re supposed to plant the seeds and fertilizers, wait, do all those things, and then the sow comes when it comes. It can be frustrating as a business model. It can be frustrating when you look at that, but I’m doing what I set out to do and everything else is going to come along if I can continue to be true to myself, that’s my two cents on it.

I’ve turned sponsors away and I definitely want to be making money and I use products in the field, but I’ve turned sponsors away because I felt like there wasn’t good alignment in our messaging. I’ll continue to do that. I want to have people I can trust and are genuine and also get what I’m doing. I’m not hitting people over the head and I will think about things, I won’t take a knee‑jerk reaction to something. There are things that we do in our hunting community that we could do better or differently.

I’ve got a video up on my YouTube channel. People can search for Tim KJ or The Thinking Woodsman on YouTube, they can find my channel. I’ve got bow fishing videos, I’ve got whitetail archery hunting videos, but the one that’s got a lot of steam behind it, last I checked, it was at 52,000 views, is an anti-hunter video, Whitetail Hunt, this past year where we were in a rural subdivision on these finger ridges back here in the foothills of the Ozarks. You got to watch it. There’s no video of the actual people. It’s me reacting to them. They found out we were hunting in this area, so they went out into their front yards and they started barking like dogs. These grown men and women were barking like dogs, howling, singing show tunes, whistling, turning their dogs loose in the neighborhood because they thought that they were protecting the deer and they were spoiling our hunt, which is illegal. It’s illegal to do that. That video is up. A lot of people are watching it.

The thing I’m concerned the most with though about the video is not the video itself, but the comments. I tend to let most of the comments go because I can moderate them. The comments from other hunters that are saying things like, “You need to shoot their cat and skin it in front of them,” or, “You need to kill the deer and leave the gut pile there in their driveway,” or even worse things like, “Shoot them.” That’s frustrating. That doesn’t help us in any stretch. I get that people have their angst and they want to fight back, but we can’t take those same tactics that some of the anti-hunters want to with us. We have to be respectful because again, those people in the middle are watching and they’re watching to see who between the two of us, anti-hunters versus hunters, are the most reasonable. My money is going to be on the most reasonable person every time. Some of our brothers and sisters in this community are not making it any easier for us.

Let’s talk about hunting. Let’s talk about your hunting tradition and why you like to go out in the woods every fall, and the rivers, you bow fish, you do a lot of hunting, so let’s talk about that.

Like a lot of guys, most of us are introduced to the great outdoors by their dad. This is a little hard for me. My dad passed away, 63 years old, and in my mind, we still had a lot of time still left in the field. It was early mornings, squirrel hunting when I was a kid, going out to a stand of oak trees and a big pasture and killing fox squirrels with dad, catching walleye in Illinois, the Fox River back in North Central Illinois where I grew up. It was time with him, and for a young boy you want to be like your dad, you want to emulate him, and I was no different. As I grew up, we started bow hunting together and we spent more time fishing.

That was our thing and I knew that at some point in the future, the tables would turn and I would be taking him out and serving as the guide and facilitator for these experiences. He had diabetes and some other health issues and we ended up to where he was in a wheelchair. I would take him out as much as I could and I started doing the outdoor media personally. This is before The Thinking Woodsman when I started catching video, I started writing things down because it was my way of bringing the field to him. When he couldn’t get outdoors because of his ailments, I was able to bring some of the stories and artifacts from those experiences back to him.

All of this ultimately is homage to my dad and what he did for me. I can’t imagine my life without this passion that I have for pursuing fish and game in wild places. It is a homage, a memorial to him. Everything I do, I try to make sure I do to a level of quality that he would be happy with. Like all of us, if you have canine teeth and forward-facing stereoscopic eyes, you are designed by God, I believe, to be a predator. If you believe in macro evolution, then you have to believe that over the millennia, we have evolved into predatory creatures, so whether you’re an atheist, agnostic or Christian, there’s no getting around it. I’m a Christian unabashedly so. We were designed to kill and consume the flesh of other animals, so there’s a lot within that. It was a big question. I hope I answered it for you, but those are my motivations.

If you think about the hunting tradition which your dad passed on to you, he must have been a heck of a guy. You think about that and then you think about, “What is man? Who is man? Are we grazer or are we farmer?” We’re all those, but in the end, since time began, stone axes and you can go all the way back to when the Eskimos came across the land bridge and started populating North America, they killed to eat. There wasn’t a question because up north there isn’t that much. The growing season isn’t that long, so whatever was there, they killed and they ate it, made tools and made clothing, made shelter, and made everything from that, which they took.

I remember an Inuit, one elder, told me one time I was up in that country, he says, “It’s easy. If the caribou come, we live, and if they don’t come, we die.” There’s nothing around, and during the summertime, July and August, the flies are so bad. There’s great trout fishing, so I’m catching a fish and I’m going to eat a fish and then the caribou migrate. On the S‑curves and everything up there, you can see trails that are hundreds of years old. You can see they were etched in the tundra up there and you just say, “How old are they?” It’s amazing.

When I talk about my hunting tradition, which started when I was ten years old and I think about the places I went, I bring that story back from that elder because I sit in their little tents, like Quonset huts and they own the land. We were hunting on their land, but you sit there and you think he not hundreds of years, but literally thousands of years of since they came in and populated. It’s amazing and that’s what hunting has done for me. It has taken me places I would never have gone and then to sit and have a conversation as we are and I become better for it.

Those people are way more healthy than most people in our current civilized modern society.

WR 424 | Tim Kjellesvik
Tim Kjellesvik: We have to be respectful because those people in the middle are watching to see who between the two of us, anti-hunters versus hunters, are the most reasonable.

They kill seals, they kill caribou, they catch fish, and they eat berries, pretty organic. Let’s throw out the big word organic because everything has to be organic these days, and Sam Harris, in the city, he talks about organic all the time because LA is rampant with it, and he goes, “I eat organic.” “You do?” “Yeah, and I kill it first.” “What do you mean you kill it?” “I go kill a deer and then I eat it, and that’s pure organic.” It’s organic. It does not live in a farm. It doesn’t go out to a food plot. It’s never caged. We’re digressing a little bit, but let’s talk about your hunting experiences and let’s talk about last fall and for the stick in the string, talk to us about one of your hunts.

Probably the most memorable, I was hunting with some friends. They own an outfitting business called Devil’s Backbone Outfitters down in Dora, Missouri, which is in the heart of the Ozarks. Folks that know their whitetail biology know that when whitetail populations were declining across the US, they came to the Ozarks to find animals that they could repopulate elsewhere. Same thing with the wild turkey, Eastern specifically. We went down and had a great fall turkey hunt. Ray Eye had a fall media camp out at Devil’s Backbone, killed a great fall gobbler in Missouri.

A lot of people don’t realize or don’t even focus on the fact that we have a month-long fall turkey season. You can have them with a shotgun. A few weeks after that, we were back down there and I was with my buddy, Billy Cooper, who’s been an outdoor media for probably 40 to 50 years himself. He was my camera guy. After a day and a half of hunting, we put down a buck, end up dry scoring 158 and 1/4 inches. A person of outdoor media that everyone would know this individual’s name, I was talking to him the night before I left and he said, “Tim, it’s not going to be Northern Missouri or Iowa. Don’t expect to see any huge deer,” and I sent him a picture via text. I was like, “I put that down,” and he’s like, “I stand corrected.”

Those are overlooked. It was such an awesome hunt to be there with friends to do a fair chase, no fences. There’s video of this hunt up on TheThinkingWoodsman.com. If you go to the Video page, you can see about a nine-minute hunt. I watched that year. I saw him about 100 yards out and immediately I could see his bases and I could see he was so thick. I couldn’t tell points, but I knew that’s a shooter dear. There’s no way he’s going to walk within me because we’re in this gnarly little cedar oak knob and sure enough, he’s pushing does down by us and some of the does were so scrubby. My camera guy and I weren’t able to be in the same tree together. We were in trees probably fifteen to twenty-feet apart. He walked within ten yards of my tree, stopped, looking forward, looking directly at my tree, and would not turn one way or the other, and all I could see was antlers in the way of the spine. I try to lace one down there by his spine, and so I’m at full draw, and Billy is over there. He’s got the camera trained on me and then the deer and he’s waiting for something.

The standoff probably lasted four minutes with him just there at ten yards, looking around a little bit and I’m at full draw and the does are getting a little skittish and spooky behind me. It’s in a place where if this deer moves anywhere, I had no shooting lanes. It’s done. He’s gone. I’m at full draw, waiting, waiting, waiting, and I had my Garmin VIRB camera reverse mounted on my bow so you can see me waiting and the reaction on my face. One of the does runs and he lifts his head up and he lifts his left front leg up and turns a little bit offering me a little bit of a shot there right next to his spine and I laced him, hit a lung, liver, and it went all the way through and out between his legs. The arrow, if you look at the video, you see the fletching, the back, probably an eighth of the arrow sticking out next to his spine, just a little bit to the right of it, and I thought, “I didn’t get full pass through,” so this deer is not going to have a drain hole in him.

The blood trail is going to be hard to find. We got some good definitely more video, backed out, called my buddies, Chance and Joe, that own the outfitting business, and we waited for them. We waited two hours, probably the longest two hours of my life, and it was dark by the time they got out there. It’s a working cattle ranch also, so they were all over the place. The deer went 50 yards. He piled up in the cedars. He was down. In fact, I’ll never forget, Chance, while we’re walking through the darkness, we weren’t even looking for blood track because we didn’t think we’d find one and he’s like, “Tim, I got something for you.” We all hurried over. It was weird because the arrow broke off, about an eighth of the arrow stayed back by the spine, the rest of it broke off and continued like a two-stage rocket through him and then out between his legs.

Did you ever find the front broadhead or anything?

I looked a little bit the next day during daylight and couldn’t find anything, but I was shooting a DirtNap Gear broadhead, it’s a fixed blade broadhead and it sliced that deer.

I’m going to give a shout-out to Tom Addleman from DirtNap Gear. He makes the DRT and check it out on the web. It’s a pretty lethal broadhead.

The other cool thing about the DirtNap Gear broadhead is that if you destroy one, you just send it back to Tom and he’ll send you a brand new one, no questions asked. You can buy three or six broadheads and keep sending them back and never have to buy new broadheads.

To standout in the outdoor industry, one has to be genuine and honest. Click To Tweet

They’ve got to see if it was abused, run over by a truck or something or slammed in the door.

One of the things I do on my podcast is a segment called Will it Kill it? and I’ll take a DirtNap Gear broadhead and shoot it at a bowling ball. I shot a Chevy Monte Carlo. I shoot televisions, fire extinguisher, propane tank, a rotating circular saw, just to see what would happen. The results are usually surprising to me. Normally, I have an idea of what will happen and normally I’m wrong. It’s incredible what those broadheads do.

There’s a shout-out for you Tom. You have two guys that think your product is darn good. When you’re thinking about growing and promoting your business, what does that mean to you? We talked about self-promotion. How does that work in this industry? If an audience is thinking, “I like to do that,” what are some of the things you found out about self-promotion you want to share with the audience?

I hate self-promotion. I’m not good at it, I don’t like it. I should be better at it. I don’t like the limelight. I don’t like the spotlight, but on the other hand, I am representing other people and I’m representing a community and I’m representing the sponsors that pay to allow me to put this media out there. In a lot of ways, I have to be active on social media. I definitely get back to people when they contact me.

You and I talked about this. I wrote an article called 5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart in the Outdoor Industry. The answer to how you run a business like this can be found within that. The first one was be genuine and be honest. There are some turds in the outdoor industry, but the people that I know of who are successful are genuinely great people. The guy that comes to my mind first and foremost is Ray Eye. Ray has taken me under his wing and introduced me to people open doors and didn’t have to. A few years ago, I had no following, I had nothing going on other than some ideas and Ray decided to help me. I could do nothing for him. He did not need me, but because he’s a great guy, he chose to help me out and do some things for me. A few years later, I hit this acceleration point because of that. He is a genuine and honest individual.

The other thing is I try to collaborate with people. I try not to compete. You and I both have podcasts and you and I could both easily take the tack of, “I may have you on but don’t reference your show because I don’t want you to draw audience away from my audience.” We have to have an abundance mindset. If you have a quality message, if you have quality content, that’s what people are drawn to. Like my buddy, Jeremy, at Fit to Hunt who you know also, I like what he’s doing. I like him personally, and so I’m going to do what I can to help him succeed. There will probably be some iterative benefits for me also, but I’m not concerned about that. I would love to see Jeremy succeed and be successful.

The other thing I mentioned is getting back to people, following through. There is a pretty low expectation in our industry for following through. There’s a lot of talk, there’s a lot of lip service, but for people who are willing to get the job done, there’s not very many folks that are willing to do that, so you surprise people. At the end of the year, I send my sponsors of the podcast and my whole media outfit an impression report, “Here’s how many people saw your logo via YouTube. Here’s how many people heard your products via my podcast,” or, “Here are the references I made in writings that I’ve done,” because I feel like I owe them some type of return on their investment and I want to make sure that I honor that.

Also want to make sure I thank people for what they do for me. I’ve got some great friends that run companies in the outdoor industry, they send me products or they sponsor trips and things like that, that costs real money. I don’t think people fully realize or appreciate the fact that someone is spending real money to allow you to do these incredible things or have this gear, so say thank you. Be genuinely appreciative for the opportunity. Matt Drury sent me bow fishing rig from PSE right to my door. Aside from being one of the coolest things that’s happened to me, I want to make sure that PSE knows that I’m using their rig out on the river killing fish and I sure am and I’m going to prove it in the DoD TV segment. A simple thank you goes a long way.

Finally, I endeavor to do quality work. It’s not enough to be passionate about the outdoors, but you have to communicate in a way that is cogent, that is proofread, you have an English major for a wife, as people don’t think highly of a bunch of typos and incorrect grammar. They think that you don’t care, and as a result, they think that you don’t care about their time because they’re taking time to consume whatever media you put out. You need to honor and respect their time in that. If I write an article for MidWest Outdoors magazine, I’m going to make sure I go through a number of times. The other thing is I don’t want to make extra work for an editor there at the magazine because they go, “Here comes something from Tim. We’re going to have to spend a lot of time looking at this because he never checks his work.” I want people to enjoy getting content from me and I want it to be a pleasure for people to work with me. Those are my guiding principles for how I run this outdoor media company called The Thinking Woodsman.

The five things that Tim shared, you could apply that at any place. We’re talking about an outdoor career, outdoor industry, but you can apply that where you work. I don’t care what your job is, but if you did those five things, will things get better? I can’t guarantee it. Will it make more money? I can’t guarantee it, but you will become a better human being. That’s my thought on that.

We live in a society that seems to be okay with mediocre. The silver lining in that is it doesn’t take much to set yourself apart.


WR 424 | Tim Kjellesvik
Tim Kjellesvik: It’s not enough to be passionate about the outdoors, but you have to communicate in a way that is cogent.

Rich LaRocco got me writing for goHUNT and he said, “Bruce, I’m going to demand a clean copy.” I remember some of my early articles that went to goHUNT, I would arduously pull it together because I was learning my trade and doing all that. It would be three pages on my end and he’d send me four pages of corrections. Not just, “You did this wrong,” it’s, “Take this sentence and here’s why you should have written it better.” Rich, thanks so much. He helped me get into the writing end of the business and then I get the podcast, but if I ever chose to write again, Rich LaRocco is the foundation that I had because he demanded it of me and I don’t know what the heck I was doing. I could write but I couldn’t write. As well you know, there’s a heck of a difference.

It’s rare to find someone who not only has high expectations of an individual, but is also willing to leverage high supports for them because it would have been one thing for him to say, “This is garbage. Do it over or fix it,” but he took a lot of time. You mentioned the word investment, he took a lot of time to sit down and give you a lot of feedback and it’s rare to find people that are willing to do that. Ray Eye does the same thing for me, Mark Strand at MidWest outdoors. They will walk you through, “When you’re filming a TV segment, here are the different shots you need. I saw you do this, Tim. Consider doing this next time.” That’s valuable and not everyone is willing to do that. You need to thank people that are like that and surround yourself with folks that will do that for you.

From my point of view, that’s priceless that you have a gift that people are willing to invest in and that’s huge. Tim, thanks so much. The Thinking Woodsman podcast, tell the folks how to get in touch with you on social media, how to get to your podcast, how to get to your YouTube channel. Let people know how the heck to reach out to you.

The easiest way is to go to the website, TheThinkingWoodsman.com, and there you’ll find links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. My YouTube channel is linked up there. That’s under Tim KJ or The Thinking Woodsman, and the podcast is on iTunes. You can get it for Android, but the hub is TheThinkingWoodsman.com. Go there and get subscribed to the show because as you know, with Whitetail Rendezvous, the best way to get it is to just be subscribed. That way, it automatically loads up on your device whenever a new episode drops.

Any final words?

Bruce, I have to say thank you for having me on. I probably have to return the favor and have you on my show sometime soon.

I love to do it. I’m going to be very interested to see how and where your career goes because you’ve got it together, you’re bringing a lot of thinking. People are going to listen to you. If they listen to the show, “Bruce, how many did it?” “We talked, we had some honey, but mostly it’s thinking about our traditions, our sports, and what we represent when we’re out in the field.”

It’s a little bit of an intellectual approach to our hunting heritage, which makes it a little unique in the outdoor media world.

Have a great day folks.

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