American Outdoor News is committed to bringing you the best of the outdoors through their cross-platform format of diverse topics. Their focus is to inspire the passion of the outdoors by providing relevant, engaging, and quality content to their readers. American Outdoor News has handpicked a diverse staff of writers that are seasoned professional outdoorsmen in their respective fields, and they have drawn from their own personal experiences to share their adventures with our readers. The September issue features topics like the DC initiative which is being pioneered by a group of regular women supporting the Second Amendment rights on the Capitol Hill. There are also stories about the importance of being in shape for the coming hunting season, the Whitetail Experience, and the vision of American Outdoor News.
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Media Spot Light Wednesday – American Outdoor News with Chris Avena
Welcome to another Wednesday Spotlight on American Outdoor News with Editor Chris Avena. Chris, welcome back to the show.
Thanks for having me again, Bruce. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Chris has developed a great digital magazine and he’s going to share what’s coming up in the September issue. Before we get in there, I wanted to talk about something that’s really heating up across the outdoor world, and that’s R3. It stands for recruit, retain and reactivate hunters. As everybody knows, we’re losing hunters. One thing that people in the podcast world and in the media world are doing is helping people figure out that hunting isn’t hard. Hunting is good, the meat’s good. We’re trying to create a buzz that, “I want to find out what this is about.” Chris, please share with the audience what American Outdoor News is doing to promote R3?
American Outdoor News basically embraces everything outdoors. It’s not just a hunting publication. There’s fishing, hiking, shooting sports, so it promotes getting people back into the outdoors and not just hunting. We love to get young people back out to the range, get them involved in shooting sports, get them out into the woods, whether you’re quadding, fishing, boating or something to get people back out into the outdoors. Whether they hunt, that’s great. If not, maybe there’s an interest that can ease into the hunting. We’re always looking to promote new people into the outdoors and some of the stories that we publish, maybe that can help some of these people open their eyes to what exactly we do as outdoorsmen and maybe open the door. Maybe they can live vicariously through some of these people’s eyes by reading some of their stories or watching some of the videos. Maybe that’ll pique their interest and get them back out there.
When you think about your upcoming September 2019 release, tell some of the stories that would actually do what you just said.
Larry Weishuhn, Mr. Whitetail, has been so gracious and accommodating. He’s been writing for me since I started the magazine. He submitted an article to me called The Whitetail Experience. No better person to read about whitetail hunting than Larry Weishuhn, Mr. Whitetail himself. We got that to look forward to. Our cover story with Melissa Bachman, we did a pretty nice interview with her. She’ll be on the cover. Melissa is always a gracious host and she’s always revealing what she does, how she does it. She’s come under fire in recent years from anti-hunters, so how she overcame that, things of that nature. As for getting in shape for the season, Gus Congemi from Live the Wild Life TV, he’s always in peak condition.
He always goes on some of the most physically demanding hunts and he shared some of his training secrets with us, some videos and some exercises on how he stays in shape. It’s important to not just stay in shape for hunting season but to live a healthy lifestyle. You never know when a destination hunt’s going to come up unexpectedly. You don’t want to be out of shape for it. Trust me, I’ve been there and it’s not a fun experience because you really struggle to keep up with the guides and it’s not fair to them either. I trained daily. I try to stay in shape, do some cardio, and do some free weights, anything for the season. Even hiking into the woods, hiking to your stand, dragging a deer out of the woods, it can be physically demanding if you’re not ready for it. You don’t want to hurt yourself trying to drag a deer back to camp.
I came out with the two-way section to my magazine this year to promote the Second Amendment. We find out about what exactly the Second Amendment means to somebody. We all know the broad brush definition, the right to bear arms, but I believe that it means something personal to each and every one of us. That’s what honing in on in the two-way section. We got into reciprocity a little bit in the last issue. The summer issue is out, so you can check that out. We have some comments from Donald Trump Jr. as well as some other well-known outdoorsmen in that section. We will have something about The D.C. Project in our fall issue.
The D.C. Project is basically a non-for-profit, nonpartisan initiative that establishes relationships with local legislators. It’s a woman’s pro Second Amendment Group. They went to Washington. They had one woman from every state, people like Mia Anstine, Becky Lou Lacock and some tremendous people in the industry. They are some remarkable women that actually went to the hill. They went to the Capitol to meet with their legislators and say, “We’re regular people. We want to have the right to bear arms. We’re not a threat to society.” You’ve got soccer moms that are out there involved in shooting sports and this is the face that they want to bring to Washington to let their legislators know that owning a gun doesn’t mean that you know the narrative behind that.
When you think about all the things you did, I see your magazine covers, how many editions have you published so far?
In 2019, two. We publish four a year. We’re a quarterly publication. We have two more that will be coming out. We had Jana Waller on our spring cover. Jana is always accommodating. She is a true warrior and a great representation and role model for our industry. You can go to our website and read that edition, read the interview. You can watch a video if you want. That was a pretty good edition. Larry Weishuhn is on this cover. We have an interview with Larry. We have an interview with the Dallas Safari Club. I became a board member of the northeast chapter of the Dallas Safari Club. We have a little insight into what they’re all about. The Dallas Safari club has eleven chapters throughout the country. I’m thrilled to be on the board of the northeast chapter that covers New York to Maine. We’re looking to promote, get people involved in the outdoors and get them involved in the Dallas Safari Club. That’s another article in that issue. Melissa Bachman will be on the spring cover and we have Eva Shockey for the winter cover. That interview is already done. I did that a couple of months ago.
How did you get into this? What was the juice that made you become the editor of American Outdoor News?Hunting is a physically demanding sport, so it’s best to stay in shape all the time. Click To Tweet
That happened by accident. Me and a friend of mine were talking about buying somebody’s magazine. The numbers didn’t add up and I basically said that I could do this on my own. I don’t have to buy somebody’s magazine. I started American Outdoor News. I produced one issue in the late fall of 2017, rolling into show season. Our first full year was in 2018. We had started out with Donna Boddington on the cover. She’s a great lady. She’s married to Craig Boddington and she goes with him on all of his adventures. That was a pretty insightful interview. Kevin Paulson from HuntingLife did that interview. It was a great first issue. From there, Joe Mantegna was on our cover. That was an interesting interview. Joe’s an interesting guy. There’s a lot more to him than meets the eye. He’s a big gun enthusiast. You could see his show on The Outdoor Channel, Gun Stories where he talks about the history of guns, things of that nature. We had Lee and Tiffany on the cover last year as well as Jim Shockey. We’ve been very blessed to have some of the top names in the industry to grace the cover of our publication.
Good for you. When you think about the growth and where you wanted to go, what are three important things to you that your magazine communicates with your readership?
I want an adventure. Not everybody could afford it. I always like to read and I like to read about something that I wasn’t normally able to do. That was my adventure until I started getting into doing things myself. It piqued my interest, got me off my couch and into the woods again.
When you think of kids, do you have a kid section or a young adult section where they can go and relate not only through your magazine, but get on a community and social media? Is there anything like that available through AON?
Not really. We have a trophy room where people can send me their pictures of how they filled the tags throughout the course of the year. I do get a lot of proud parents that send pictures of their young son or daughter that took that first deer or their first turkey. I’m always thrilled to post something like that in the magazine.
When you think about hunting now and the uphill battle we’re facing, what do you think the impact to your magazine is going to be to create the positive vibe and basically get people interested in hunting?
That’s an uphill battle. We don’t only have to worry about the antis that are always coming after us about what we do and the lifestyle we lead. Hunters ourselves, we’re our own worst enemy. Bowhunters don’t like crossbow hunters. Rifle hunters don’t like a bowhunter. We should band together. There’s strength in numbers. We all love to be outdoors. We all love to hunt. We love to share the hunting camp with our friends. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t care if you’re hunting with a slingshot, I’ll support you. That’s what it’s about. We want to support the outdoors more. We want to promote the outdoors and we want to bring adventure to people.
We have some exciting content. Some of the best people in the industry have written or do write for American Outdoor News. Jeff Fuller from The SportingDog Adventures writes for me in every issue. Gus Congemi from Live the Wild Life TV, he is always on some of the most strenuous and physically demanding hunts. He’s a very exciting guy to watch. You can watch his show on The Pursuit Channel. He writes for me regularly. The Boddingtons, Craig Boddington, Brittany Boddington have both written for me. Larry Weishuhn writes for me and it goes on and on. I’ve been very fortunate and content-wise, it can’t be beaten. It’s outstanding what some of these people that submitted and I just hope that people enjoy reading it.
My show reaches a thousand people there. Some people out there are saying, “I like to do something like that.” What are three things that you would say, “If you want to jump in the water, come ahead, but here are three things you better know how to do?”
That’s actually something you can read about in this issue. In Larry Weishuhn’s interview, we discussed what a young person needs to do to get into the outdoor industry. He struck on something very important. It’s great to love the outdoors, but it’s a business. You better take some business courses and know what you’re doing because you can produce a show, you can produce a magazine or website, but how are you going to monetize it? How are you going to make money? It’s about you making a living doing what you love to do. Take some business courses, take some writing courses, get a solid background behind you to move it forward and monetize your business.
Without any type of revenue, advertising and sponsorships, it’s going to be very difficult to continue to do what you love to do. It’s great to have a hobby, but let’s see how we could make money with that hobby. For me, it’s always been through relationships. I’ve been around the industry for a long time. I’ve met some amazing people, whether they’re with the manufacturer, hosting a TV show or a blog or something. There are amazing people in this industry. They’re always willing to help, but you have to be willing to help yourself. You’ve got to have a strong base coming in and a game plan.
Here are a couple of takeaways. One, it isn’t easy to find yourself an internship and basically go to work for free and learn the industry. A guy like Steve Rinella didn’t start off at the top of his game. If you go back and read Jim Shockey’s episode, talk about his childhood and everything that he had to do to get to where he is now, it’s taken a long time. Everybody in the industry that you go, “I wish I could be like them,” get around them, read about them and find a backstory because nobody has it easy. It doesn’t exist.The Second Amendment can mean something personal to each and everyone. Click To Tweet
Chris and I were talking about Whitetail Rendezvous and it began as a goal to get over 500,000 listeners, which we got, over 600 guests, which we have. It’s at the point that it’s not a hobby anymore. It’s a business endeavor and I’m bringing out products and different things to engage people to say, “Bruce brings value. Bruce is an authority and an influencer in the business,” just like Chris is. We all reach it at a different time. That’s the one thing I have learned. It’s a timing thing and it’s not so much about the money, it’s about the timing and how you can resonate with your community.
If you want to emulate somebody, find out the steps they took to get to the position they’re at. They already laid out the blueprint on how to get there. Follow exactly what they did and you’ll reach your goals.
Where’s next? What’s next for American Outdoor News?
We’re always trying to introduce new sections to the magazine. The two-way section was new this year. I thought that the left already has that narrative out there. They did a pretty good job of marketing it and putting it out there. Not that we agree with it in any way, shape or form, but I thought we needed to get our voice out there. I know the Second Amendment means something personal to everybody and that’s what I wanted out there. That’s similar to what The D.C. Project is doing. They’re putting a face behind gun ownership and they’re getting right in front of their legislators. They’re saying, “We’re normal people. We’re not criminals. We’re not sadists. We’re not going into a mass shooting spree or something ridiculous. They just want to be able to enjoy shooting sports and protect their family.”
We put in a new podcast section called Podcast Pages. You could find Whitetail Rendezvous there. Larry Weishuhn came out with a new radio podcast with Big Billy Kinder. That’ll be on there. We’re always looking to expand. We have a social section to see what people do outside of the hunting season, different fundraisers, different shows, trade shows, banquets, things of that nature. There’s always something going on behind the scenes of the outdoor industry. That’s what the social outdoors section shows. We’re growing. We’re always open to suggestions. We want to see what you like and what you look forward to. Feel free to shoot me an email and let me know what you would like to see in the publication because we’ll try something.
Chris, how would somebody get ahold of you?
They can go to my Facebook page. It’s American Outdoor News on Facebook. They can text me from there. You can go to the website, AmericanOutdoorNews.com. You get in touch with me through that or shoot me an email at Editor@AmericanOutdoorNews.com.
Do you have any last words or last thoughts about the upcoming hunting season for our audience?
I’m looking forward to the season. In fact, I’ll be upstate preparing. I’m getting a little bit of a late start, so I need to set up my trail cameras. It’s about time to really start your food plots if you haven’t started them already, deciding your weapons, rifles and bow. There are a lot of things you need to do if you’re not hunting private land. You need to secure a spot to hunt. Knock on doors, go to your local farmers and see if they’ll let you hunt that land. Secure a place. Don’t wait until the last minute and go on state land and go wandering aimlessly because that’s potluck. You’re going to come up empty 90% of the time if you don’t secure a place or if you don’t scout out a place. There are plenty of things that you need to do to prepare for the season.
Chris Avena, it’s always a pleasure to have you on the show and I can’t wait until we do the winter show coming up. Thank you for all the support you’ve given to the show and Deer Hunting Institute.
Likewise, Bruce. I appreciate all your support as well.
- American Outdoor News
- Melissa Bachman
- Live the Wild Life TV
- The D.C. Project
- Jana Waller – American Outdoor News previous episode
- Larry Weishuhn – American Outdoor News previous episode
- Dallas Safari Club – American Outdoor News previous episode
- Eva Shockey
- Gun Stories
- The SportingDog Adventures
- American Outdoor News – Facebook Page
- Deer Hunting Institute
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 like-minded.
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.