In this day and age where you’re fighting for space and for time, American Outdoor News is bringing the best of the outdoors through a cross-platform format of diverse topics. Chris Avena started the quarterly digital magazine in 2018. He was introduced on his first deer hunt in his mid-teens. That started him on a journey that has become who he is today, and in 2010, he started his social network for hunters called SeeMeHunt.com. Chris discloses the focus of American Outdoor News which is to inspire the passion of the outdoors by providing relevant, engaging, and quality content to our readers. He says their diverse staff of writers are seasoned professional outdoorsmen in their perspective fields who have drawn on their own personal experiences to share their adventures with the readers. Whether you are passionate about hiking the Appalachian Trail, hunting the Plains of Africa or fishing the Sea of Cortez, American Outdoor News has it covered.
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Discover American Outdoor News with Chris Avena
We have Chris Avena on this episode. He is the Publisher of American Outdoor News. Welcome to the show again, Chris. You were on a couple of months ago and you get your first quarterly out. Let’s jump right in. Tell the people where they need to go to and what they’re going to find when they get there?
Bruce, thanks for having me on. You could go to our website, AmericanOutdoorNews.com and subscribe to the magazine. It’s free. It will be delivered quarterly to your email or you can go to our Facebook page, American Outdoor News. You can subscribe there or read the articles from the Facebook page.
Why did you start this, Chris?
I’ve been involved in the outdoor industry for a little while. I have a social network for hunters called SeeMeHunt. I was speaking with a friend of mine about buying a magazine and then we’re asking a crazy number for it. I said, “I don’t need you. I could do this on my own.” Rather indignantly, he said, “Go ahead.” It was a hold my beer moment. I said, “I found my software that worked for me and put together an amazing team of writers,” and off we went. I launched one issue in 2017 going into SHOT Show so I had something to speak to manufacturers about. 2018 was our first full run. We’ve been very fortunate with the feature stories and the interviews that we had. We had Donna Boddington, Lee and Tiffany, Jim Shockey and Joe Montana on full feature covers. We just launched our first spring issue with Jana Waller on the cover. We’ve been pretty fortunate with the people who have wanted to participate in the magazine. Larry Weishuhn writes in almost every issue for us. Gus Congemi from Live the Wildlife TV, Jeff Fuller from Sporting Dogs TV. I’ve been very fortunate with the people who’ve wanted to contribute to the magazine because the content is outstanding.
In this day and age where you’re fighting for space and for time, congratulations on getting the magazine that’s up and running and that’s been successful. I know my friend over at Prois, Kirstie Pike, is one of your advertisers. You go through the magazine, you’re going to see name, brand and people that are highly recognizable.
I’ve been friends with Kirstie for a long time. They are good people. I always supported their product and she’s there to support me. It’s good to have friendships in the industry and I’m happy to have them aboard.
How did you get started in hunting?
That’s an interesting story. If you think of New York, you don’t think hunting right away but we do have some amazing hunting here in New York. My dad was not an outdoorsman by any stretch of the imagination. It was my uncle who would always take me on camping trips with my cousins and we go hiking. He ingrained the outdoors in my DNA. He was the one that took me on my first hunting trip but it was Teddy Roosevelt that inspired me to go hunting. We would go on field trips to the Sagamore Hill growing up. His summer retreat is Camp David. I would see all those trophies on the wall. His African lions, Cape buffalo and all kinds of exotic animals. As a kid I’d say, “That’s what I want to do when I get older.” My uncle took me on my first hunting trip and I’ve been doing it since my mid-teens.
When you think about that and the things that you’ve seen, what are some of the challenges to hunting?
That’s an interesting story. There are a lot of adversity, a lot of antis and the gun laws. There are so many things coming at us that are trying to inhibit our rights. The gun laws are a big factor in that.
What can a hunter do to make hunting more mainstream?
Unity, for one, is a big help because there’s so much interior strife. “Who’s a bow hunter? Who’s a crossbow hunter? That’s not hunting. I use a rifle.” Who cares? To me, hunting is hunting. I’d hunt out with a slingshot if I could. We have to come together as hunters, get out there, support each other and get kids into the outdoors. Start them young. If they don’t want to hunt, get them into the outdoors. Maybe they will at a later date.
Because we read a lot on social media, we are our own worst enemy on social media because a guy puts up a doe and they say, “Why did you shoot the doe?” “I want to eat it.” That’s why I put it up. You should say, “That’s going to make great backstraps. You’re going to have great a hamburger throughout the year. Congrats to you,” rather than all these snide remarks or otherwise. I found talking to ladies in the industry even gets worst. They get out and they take an African game and they’re ostracized. It’s worse than that.You can be feminine and be a woman in the outdoors. Click To Tweet
I spoke to Melissa Bachman about that. She’s going to be at one of my upcoming issues. It doesn’t fit the left’s narrative. Their definition of woman is supposed to be feminine and supposed to be in the kitchen. You can be an outdoorsman, be feminine and be a woman in the outdoors. Some of the women that I know are as good as any guy I know out there. We should be there to support that. They’re good hunters. They teachable, they have skills, they’re great shooters. It’s something to be commended. It’s the fastest growing demographic in the industry.
I was fortunate to cover the four finalists for Extreme Huntress by Tom Opre. I had Tatiana, Meadow, Jamie and Ulrika on the show and we spoke to that. These ladies are very successful individuals in their own right outside of hunting. Then they’ve chosen hunting as a platform because they love it. It takes them around the world and they’re very good at it. You have ladies like this and you go, “Where’s all this angst coming from?” It’s was hard for me to connect the dots. I fortunately never been in the crossfires of anybody and I don’t wish to be. I do this because I have a passion for the hunting tradition, being a hunter for 53 years.
It will be a tough argument for anybody, anti or otherwise, to claim that a woman who hunts is not feminine or a beautiful woman. Look at the woman that we have in the industry. We have Tiffany, Melissa, Janna. These are all beautiful women. Their skills far surpass mine and many of the guys I know.
Let’s walk through your magazine. Somebody goes to your site, American Outdoor News, and looks at your magazine. What are they going to see?
It’s a digital magazine. First thing in this, you’re going to see a fantastic cover of Jana Waller with a huge bear that she bagged. You’ll be able to flip through it. You’re going to see some articles written by some of the top names in the industry about Texas’ exotics. First thing you’d get to see are some fantastic ads, Dallas Safari Club. We partnered with Dallas Safari Club. They’re sending it out to all their membership as a benefit for being a member of Dallas Safari Club. You get ahead of some articles about Texas’ exotics. I got a great follow-up interview with a Kris Paronto. He talks about his business, Battleline Tactical, a new book he has coming out, as well as a new docu series called War Heroes with Kris Paronto. There are different sections of the magazine. There’s a social section, pictures of people, what they do in the off season, different charities, fundraisers, Dallas Safari Club, conventions, dinners and things of that nature.
There’s a trophy room. If you want to send in pictures of what you took that season, we’re happy to showcase it for you. Send it in with your name, where you got it, what it was, any stats and we’ll post that in our trophy room. We launched in this issue a two-way section, which talks about the Second Amendment. We all know what the broad-brush definition of The Second Amendment is but I believe that it means something significant to each one of us. For me, it means freedom, being able to protect myself and my family. My freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of religion and all our basic rights. I feel that if we lose our Second Amendment right, our right to bear arms, all our other rights will fall like a house of cards because that’s what protects all of our rights. We went out on the street and we got the regular Joe’s opinion about what they feel it means to them, as well as some celebrity hunters and things of that nature. It may evolve as the other issues come out. We might speak about reciprocity, suppressors or things of that nature. It’s always going to be, what does the Second Amendment mean to you?
The Second Amendment folks, if you’re not a member of NRA and proponent of Second Amendment rights, you should be. Everybody in the hunting industry should be a member of QDMA because they do a great job for hunters, the scientific research end of it and take a look at that. They have done a lot of work for whitetail hunters. I firmly believe people should be a member of that. With my upcoming deer hunting institute, you’ll have an opportunity to do that with QDMA. When you think about creating a magazine, where do you hope this thing goes?
I only hope it grows in popularity. We have been growing with each issue. I contribute that to the people involved, the freelance writers and people who have generously donated their time to send me articles. There’s always something for everybody. If you’re a mountain climber, we have articles about climbing Kilimanjaro or climbing Everest in upcoming issues. There’s hiking, fishing and shooting sports. We’re not pigeonholed to just a hunting magazine. It’s American Outdoor News. It encompasses everything in the outdoors. We look to promote people getting back into the outdoors in any way, shape or form, where they want to go fishing, hiking or kayaking. If they want to get involved in shooting sports, we have somebody that writes about shotgun competitions and things of that nature. In our upcoming issue, I have an interview coming with Gabby Franco. She’s an Olympic medalist in shooting. There’s a lot for people to see.
I’m excited for you. I’m glad we crossed paths. Let people know how to find you. If they have pictures or articles and they want to submit, how do they do that?
You can email me at Editor@AmericanOutdoorNews.com. If somebody wants to write about a hunt that they went on, I could open up a new section and have somebody write about their hunts. I like the fact that people are writing about their own adventures, Larry Weishuhn, Gus Congemi, Jeff Fuller and the other writers that I have. Not everybody could afford to go on these hunts. They may be able to live the experience through their eyes. That’s what the magazine is about. It’s about getting people to do what they want to do, live their dream.
As a 365 whitetail hunter, I live a thousand miles from the farm that I hunt every fall but I talk to the guys every single weekend. “What’s going on? What are you seeing? When can we frost seed, this and that?” To me, whitetail hunting is 365. Other people, it’s a matter of nine-day gun season where they get with their buddies, they go to the cabin, have a great time, smoke cigars maybe or maybe not smoke cigars, drink hot tea or drink a beer. It doesn’t matter but they are with their buddies and they’d been doing it for years. Mine is 53 years, when I show up the bunkhouse. My buddy and I’ve been doing it together for 53 years. You think about the hunting tradition and that’s where magazines like yours can help with the three Rs: Retention, Reactivation and Recruitment is tell those stories about the hunting tradition and say, “I don’t have that.” Help people become an adult onset hunter because that’s a growing area. People want organic meat. Do you do anything about the adult onset hunter that you’d want to talk about?
The tradition is a big part of it. I’s not just the hunt. It’s the whole experience. It’s getting to camp with friends, family and spending quality time, whether you’re sitting around the campfire, going out for a hike in the woods or going for a spot and talk together. It’s spending that quality time. It is the bonding experience. That’s a big part of it. The other part is the conservation involved we’re calling out whitetail or whatever. There’s a conservation aspect involved. A lot of people don’t even realize that.Spend quality time with friends and family, whether you're just sitting around a campfire or going out for a hike in the woods. Click To Tweet
Chris what do you want to leave the audience with?
We got a lot of things coming in the upcoming issues. I love to see you come subscribe to the magazine at AmericanOutdoorNews.com. You can take a look at our Facebook page, American Outdoor News. If you have any suggestions or anything you’d like to say, feel free to let me know. Leave it out on my Facebook page. I’m always up to try new things and expand the magazine. I want to see what sparks your interest as well.
We’re going to end this segment of Deer Wednesday with Chris Avena of American Outdoor News.
- American Outdoor News
- American Outdoor News – Facebook
- SHOT Show
- Live the Wildlife TV
- Sporting Dogs TV
- Extreme Huntress
- Tatiana Orosova – Previous episode
- Meadow Kouffeld – Previous episode
- Jamie Belknap – Previous episode
- Ulrika Karlsson-Arne – Previous episode
- Dallas Safari Club
- Battleline Tactical
- War Heroes with Kris Paronto
About Chris Avena
Chris Avena grew up a typical New Yorker. When you think New York, it certainly is not hunting that comes to mind. However, he grew up camping and hiking in the Catskill Mountains with his Uncle and cousins. His Uncle took him on his first deer hunt in his mid-teens and that started him on a journey that has become who he is today. His introduction to the outdoor industry started in 2010, Chris started his Social Network for hunters called SeeMeHunt.com. It is a place where hunters and outdoorsmen could meet and talk to other likeminded. In 2017 he took the next step to launch his latest venture. American Outdoor News is a quarterly digital magazine that embraces the outdoor lifestyle. We share our outdoor adventures that encompass hunting, fishing, shooting sports, and outdoor Adventure. I have been involved in the outdoors for as long as I could remember. I have been camping since I was a kid and my uncle introduced me to hunting when I was around 16 years old. As I got older, I became more passionate about being outdoors hunting or camping. About 8 years ago I started SeeMeHunt.com, the social network for hunters, kind of as a hobby. But as time went on, I wanted to become more involved in the outdoor industry. I really enjoyed the outdoor industry. I enjoyed going to the shows, the friends that I have met and being outdoors in general. In 2018, I started a quarterly digital magazine called American Outdoor News. The magazine covers everything from hunting & fishing to shooting sports and outdoor adventure. Our platform is built around bringing more attention to the outdoors. Hopefully there is something in every issue that makes people not just think about being outdoors but actually doing something about it. get out and go on a hike, go and take your kid fishing. Anything is better than sitting in front of the tv or video game.