Outdoor Marketing Versus Being A Hunter with Dan Infalt

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A Hunter


Today’s multi-billion dollar whitetail industry has created a sense of having to have product X to be a successful hunter. Dan Infalt who runs The Hunting Beast forum is back to share his thoughts on hunting shows that are scripted and produced mainly for outdoor marketing campaigns. Laying down what it does to the hunting community, he talks about how it sets unrealistic expectations on what it means to become a hunter. Dan then turns the spotlight on YouTube channels that depict the reality of hunting, especially by hunters who film, edit, and produce their show ad-free.

Listen to the podcast here:

Outdoor Marketing Versus Being A Hunter with Dan Infalt

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterWelcome to part two with Dan Infalt. In this section, we’re going to talk about marketing outdoors versus being a hunter and hunting bees. Dan, welcome to the show.

Bruce, thanks for having me.

A while back, you had a great article. It was marketing the outdoors versus being a hunter. What gets you going on this topic?

I don’t watch hunting on TV. It always turned me off, but if I’m bored, I put on some hunting shows and it turned me off and I went on a rant about it. I did get a lot of hell for that article. I got some nasty messages. It was a little harsh, but it wasn’t aimed at anybody in particular and it was aimed at them upping the game. It wasn’t telling that they’re bad people because I don’t have any offense to anybody who hunts. I don’t care if you hunt on a game farm. I don’t care if you hunt on 800 acres that you have managed and you have mock scrapes over. I don’t care about any of that. If you put this stuff on TV, 99% of your viewers come on back. You’re out of touch with them. These guys tend to be soulless because they’ve got a passion for hunting. They’ve got a passion that they want to share with people, but then they get tied up into this advertising. They’re getting the money from the advertisers, having to use the sponsor products and having to make ads. It justifies what they do by promoting this stuff and lying to you about you have to have this to kill a deer. What they’re doing is selling themselves out and they’re forgetting that passion they had that drove them into getting into that field in the first place. They’re just following along with the script that’s been written for them so that they can get through thirteen weeks every year on TV. It set me off.

I don’t care how much money you have. You can’t buy the hunting experience of the people who are in public land, the DIY hunters. You can’t buy the hunting tradition like freezing your butt off on all day sits.

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I would rather watch a show where a guy shows his day-to-day struggles in hunting just like I do. If he doesn’t kill the deer in that show, I’m okay with that. I’d rather see the struggles going after him and how he plays it rather than showing him kills and sitting there posing with a deer and talking about all the products he used to kill it.

Why do you think the outdoor industry has gotten to this point?

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterAt some point in the past, somebody went overboard with trying to get sponsor money. When it’s turned into that work, that’s what our sponsors expect. It should be paid advertisement. You put up the ad and the hunter doesn’t have to lie and doesn’t have to go push this crap on somebody. That’s what I’d rather see. It won’t be in the direction and they’ve ruined hunting TV and hunting shows. A lot of those just seemed fake. It doesn’t seem realistic for your average guy that goes out there trying to get it done.

That’s one thing. I’ve had a lot of kids. They’re younger than I am. Most people are younger than I am and they’re just doing self-filming from start to finish. They’re like, “Here are the trials, the tribulations. Here’s what the hunting is about.” It’s about failing 99 times and you have that one time that you’ll pull the trigger or you open your fingers or however you are shooting your bow and the deal is done. You hunt 100 days a year and maybe the total amount of kill sequence is a half an hour out of 100 sits. There’s no advertising in our world that would pay you for that. Maybe that’s the crux of the problem. If you’re out there and you’re who’s who in the outdoor industry, my email is WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com. I’d love to talk to you about it. Everybody wants to make a buck. It’s a $37 billion industry. ATA is huge. I get it. People have to make a living. A lot of people support it because of all the companies that have come in and been successful in this marketing. I get it.

What we need is a new hero to rise up. You’re old enough like I am. I remember some of the great hunters. On the last episode, you brought up Barry Wensel to me. He was a great man back in his time and I always think about Myles Keller. I spent some days talking to him at shows. I used to work with him and we used to go over to the booth and we’d sit down and talk before and after the shows. I love that guy. Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, he was the guy back when there weren’t all these big bucks. He would go to where he saw the rumor about a buck and hunt it down. There was a giant eight pointer that was in Wisconsin and he went for that buck. He shot it, killed it, and it was a state record for a long time in this state. He came from out of the state to do it and that was a real hunter. That was the guy that went and hunted a deer down. You just don’t see people like that that are the mentors nowadays. The mentors are product salesmen who are pushing stuff on you. They’re lying about things to get you to buy stuff instead of being honest and paving the way for young people. They’re teaching them how to be connivers and they’re tainting the industry.

It’s all for the money. It’s a money game.

Don't just believe that you got the right product or the right trick; you've got to work hard at it. Click To Tweet

It’s your route. You must remember some of those. When the first video came off from Dan Fitzgerald out of Michigan, we all sat there with our jaws hanging out. They’re shooting deer on video. They used to block the shot when people kill the deer. Kids nowadays don’t know what we’re talking about, but they used to make a black screen when the shot would be taken because they would not show a kill on TV. When the videos came out from Dan Fitzgerald and stuff like that pass him through video on VHS, we were all shocked at that stuff. Those guys were mentors back then. He started into that sales stuff, but I think everybody got pushed that way. We’ve lost those old school hunters. A lot of these guys on these TV shows, they don’t know the first thing about hunting. They’re sitting over manicured food plots and stuff and tree stand with trail cameras with the name of the deer. “I’m going to hunt Freddie.” I couldn’t name a deer. I’ve got nice bucks that come up in my yard. We’ve got a big tom turkey to come to eat on our bird feeder. I would never go out there and shoot it. It’s a different world for me. To see that stuff, I bet you those guys couldn’t go on and take a look at a set of buck tracks and tell you it’s a buck by the way it places its last foot. Everybody knew that when I was a kid. I work at the tracks and tell you if it was a buck or a doe. They don’t know those basic skills anymore because they just get into this food trail camera sales game. I would like to see more of an educational aspect.

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterYou can tell a buck from a doe on how they pee or where they pee.

A buck got smaller hips in the back and a bigger chest and a doe have a bigger end and a smaller chest. The hind foot is outside on the doe and it’s inside on buck with those tracks.

Just think of railroad tracks on a big buck.

The woodsmanship is all gone.

It’s a lost art. I was just going to say that about my uncle Henry who lived on a farm in Rhode Island. I’ve watched him kill the first buck I ever saw killed with this .45/70. The buck came on a ridge and he said, “Bruce, you go get my .45/70.” I carried it out to him and he killed it. He said, “I’ve been looking for that sucker for over a month.” He got a favorite stump and he went on that stump. It was in the right place and he knew how to get in and get out. He’d sit there very patiently and he got it. He takes the Benoit Brothers in Maine and they get on a track. They stay on the track until they killed the deer or it gets dark. If it gets dark, they’d go back. That’s how I learned that once you get on an animal, it could be an elk or it could be a deer, they know you’re on them quickly and you’ll see them start circling. If you don’t pressure them real hard, you can see and figure out where they’re going to go bed because of the way they start to meander. All those little hidden woodsmanship, it’s your craft and it’s been lost. I can say that because I’m 72 years old and I know it’s been lost because of the commercialization of hunting.

These young guys are starting to believe that it’s about having the right product or the right trick. How many times have you been asked, “What’s the trick?” Many times, you just roll your eyes and you’re like, “There’s no trick. The trick is you’ve got to work hard at it.”

It’s being good at anything. It’s being skilled on anything. It’s repetition and patience. I’m not a patient hunter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blown hunts because I haven’t been patient. That’s on me. I’m like, “Why do I have to wait 30 seconds more?” That’s on me, but that’s okay. The older I get, the more patient I am. It’s very simple. I killed my first deer in Wisconsin in 1966 with some plaid and blue jeans. I did have a pair of rubber boots that are laced at the top, a red hat, a pair of gloves and a shotgun with slugs. We were along the Baraboo River outside La Valle and we hunted in the farm and we drove it. We drove up with 20 or 30 guys and ten standers and we just drove both sides of the river. We killed a lot of deer. That’s how it was done and the whole thing has evolved. Saying that, it can be as simple as you want it to be.

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There are two ways to kill a giant buck. You can earn it or you can buy it. When you earn it, there’s a lot more heart into it. You get a real feeling of accomplishment. Some people get their feeling of accomplishment by setting up a farm with food plots, scrapes, cameras and stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just not my sense of accomplishment. My sense of accomplishment is outsmarting them on their turf, on their ground, on their land, where they live and going in there manipulating anything and figuring them out like a chess game and cutting them off.

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterYou’re unique. You’re in the top 5%. It’s even higher than that of the people that are skilled enough to do what you’re doing. There are a lot of guys and gals that are nobody’s radar screen. They just kill buck after buck and you go in their garage. I’ve seen a couple of these guys and I go, “Why do they want to score them?” I had the joy of outfoxing that deer. We ate them. I got the horns every once in a while, and they go, “I wonder when your kids are going to come up so I can hunt with them.” That’s it. They’ve been not in the same 200 acres. That’s where they hunt.

You’ve done it in the south of Tennessee and stuff like that or Alabama where you can kill a buck a day. You got some guys on there that become killer. I never heard their names or anything. The buck only gets 100 inches when they mature. They’re not going to be record book bucks. They just keep their mouth shut. There are a lot of people like that. There’s a lot more than people know. It’d be nice to see a couple of those hardcore killers that are young yet come out with some show or something and teach the young people.

That’s a good idea. If you’re one of those on the radar guy or gal and you’ve got to figure it out, get in touch with me or get in touch with Dan. You can reach me at WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com. Dan, how do they get in touch with you?

The Hunting Beast, or just google my name. It pops up everywhere.

Yeah, it does. I have a good friend from Wisconsin. He’s got a barn and he refuses. I’ve hunted with him in Buffalo County and he says, “I refuse to get involved in that. I have a very successful business and I have no desire. I’ve been asked a lot of times. I hunt because I want to hunt. I enjoy hunting.” He’s like you. He says, “I want to get on a deer and I want to kill that deer. If I hunt that one deer the whole season and don’t get them, I’m good with that. If I get them, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.” There are a lot of guys and gals like that. He doesn’t need the money, but there are other people that don’t care about being on the radar. When I think about the whole thing, that’s where the transition is. All of a sudden, up and comers and kids who are hunters and who are very successful are going, “I don’t want any part of that. I just don’t want to be in advertising. I don’t want to have my track wrapped. I don’t care. I’m going to shoot the broadheads I shoot with because they do the job and then shoot the arrows because they stay together. I’m going to shoot whatever bow I want and with the release if I want.” I know some guys haven’t changed their gear in years and it’s still killing deer.

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterI was killing deer back in the early ‘80s. I can remember being fully drawn and the string popping out the camp where I’m into another deer. I killed deer. Nowadays, you start talking to somebody about hunting and they start rattling off like, “I’ve got this kind of bow and it costs this much.” I don’t care what bow you’ve got. It’s for hunting. People are turning it into products and that’s because they’re being brainwashed at that when they turn on these TV shows.

One thing I’ve heard at ATA, a guy was getting sponsored and he gets $100,000 for a show. All of a sudden, ten people are getting $10,000 for their content. It’s changed. There are YouTube channels, CarbonTV. Nick Abany out of New Jersey has something going on where you could send the film, he edits it and produces it. There’s so much content out there. It’s just exploding.

YouTube is getting pretty good. It’s a good replacement for TV. I like what Don is doing, and a few of the other ones.

You can find real hunts. Here we are shivering in the ground blind or shivering in the tree stand. I went ten days in a row and I’m still shivering.

I’ve got a show on YouTube. It’s a good one. It’s still rough but I put a lot of those hunters together and how I set up and all that stuff.

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A Hunter


How would somebody find that?

Just search my name on YouTube or Hunting Beast on YouTube. It pops right up.

We’re not anti-materialism, but start thinking about why you’re hunting. Make it simple. That’s the biggest thing that I can say. Just make it simple.

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterThere are so many people that would film for something or on YouTube or TV or whatever. Because of how easy it is now, everybody is doing it. If you’ve been doing this for a while, take a step back and think about why you got into it. Go back to your passion and follow your dreams in your heart with some sponsors telling you to do or what you’ve got to do to pay for your show. If your show doesn’t get paid for because you won’t sell out, that’s fine. I’d be happier to watch you on YouTube without that sponsor that walkthrough on TV whining to me about some product. Follow your heart and do what you believe is right and remember why you got into it if you’re one of the guys up there filming.

That goes for gals too because there are a lot of great gals out there hunting and they are extremely successful. They’ve got great followings in social media. I just think back the world of social media and hunting. The good beyond the ugly would completely be exposed to NTA hunters. They rail on us all the time and then we rail on each other because you shouldn’t have killed that little deer. “I want to kill because I’m going to eat it.” It was my nephew’s first hunt and I told him, “If you see a deer, it’s legal to shoot it.” The story is over. Hunting tradition is too important not to keep because there are so many lessons learned about life in hunting camp.

All people need is some release. You need something to do. For some, it’s sitting on a bar stool. For some, it’s chasing women. For some, it’s playing sports and for us, it’s hunting. I see that the hunting world is a great direction to go. It’s ethical and moral. You’re doing good things and your family should support that more than some of the other things you could be doing. You’ve got to go out and you’ve got to do something in your free time. I just think that the hunting and the chase for these bucks is a good moral thing to do.

Dan, thanks so much for being on the show and I can’t wait for the next session.

Thanks for having me.

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About Dan Infalt

WTR Infalt 2 | Being A HunterDan Infalt is an old school hunter who started hunting in the 1970’s. He has taken many trophy bucks over the years, but spends most of his time these days helping others improve their skills.
Dan runs a forum website ( www.THEHUNTINGBEAST.com ) where people can talk back and forth about hunting tactics and woodsmanship He also sells in depth tactical DVD’s on that website and hosts annual scouting workshops.
Dan also has a site called www.huntingbeastgear.com where he sells hunting gear designed for mobile hunters. You can also find Dan on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.