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Own The Season TV Is All About Educating Hunters with Art Helin
I’m with Art Helin. Art’s from Central Wisconsin. He’s a good friend. Art’s been on the show a few times and I’ve been there a few times at ATA. Art, it’s always great to catch up and find out what’s going on with Own The Season TV and Art Helin Outdoors plus your photography business. Art, welcome to the show.
Thanks, Bruce. It’s always a pleasure being on here. When you share the same passions with people, it makes life a lot easier. You put those passions right up there along with everybody else and you keep it real. I truly enjoy this and speaking with you.
Thanks for that, Art. We’re going to talk about the passion that Art and his wife, Michelle, started Own The Season about. It’s educating people, its educating hunters. It’s doing things for people that have disabilities. You roll it all into one and their life just runs on that passion. Art, let’s talk about Own The Season and how you educate people through that program.
It started for us, Bruce, my wife and I. We started the Learn To Hunt program for our Southwest Wisconsin Longbeards NWTF Chapter, which I happen to be president of when we started that. I had a game warden approached me and asked about the Learn To Hunt program if we’d be interested in becoming mentors and starting a program here. We did and the first year was watching the excitement of the youth and the people around us. We were new hunters. It got me excited about different things. I had a lady reach out to me and talked about some disabled hunters and special needs hunters. I’d love to help them out and take them whether they were hunters with cancer, cancer survivors, paraplegics and quadriplegics. It didn’t matter. If they wanted to be outdoors, we wanted to help.
We touched base with her. We got things started and it’s a roller coaster from there. We have taken numerous hunters out. We had a young gentleman, a turkey hunter that was on a farm accident at nine-years-old. He got caught in a PTO shaft. He was pretty beat up. He’s recovering but he wanted to hunt. Because we’ve done it so much that we know how to get there and there are so many generous people out there and people that are so outgoing that, “If you’re going to do this, you need access to my property,” because it’s easy to access where we can get a vehicle to a tree stand, an ATV, UTV or something to be able to hunt and let them enjoy it.
We were taking a young female hunter. My wife and I were on a bear hunt. We had always done it. It didn’t resonate with me that we were doing anything that much different. We were sitting there one night at supper talking to her and her family and her mom says, “You don’t understand what this means to her.” I said, “I think I do.” She said, “I don’t think you do understand this.” I said, “What do you mean? Explain this to me, please.” She said, “There are so many people and relatives that make promises, friends that make promises until they find out how much work and how much dedication it is to take somebody in a track chair, getting them to a stand or building special stands for them or getting roads so you can get them in if they can’t walk properly. They all make these promises and then they break her heart. It’s family member after family member, friend after friend. We’re going to take her hunting. She gets all excited and then all of a sudden they’d just say, ‘No, we’re not going to do it.’ We didn’t have our hopes up that high even for this bear hunt because we’re like, ‘When they meet her and see how much extra she needs, they’re going to go we can’t do that.’ Yet here we are. We’re in bear camp and you’re doing it.” That’s because we’ve done it so long, we’ve figured out what the needs are for people.
That runs deep because they’re no different than you and me, Bruce. They want to hunt. They just have a disability to get from point A to point B. Once they get to point B, they can hunt. It’s just that how to get from point A to point B. Once you set it up, once you do it, it’s pretty easy to get from point A to point B. That all comes back to the education part and our passion for educating people. Educate people through the TV show, which is Own The Season on MOTV and we try to educate them on how to get these hunters to certain places. If it’s not youth hunters, hunters that are brand new if they’re elderly hunters that are just starting. We had a 78-year-old gentleman who had never hunted in his life and wanted to start because his grandson wanted to start and nobody in the family hunted. They both wanted to be part of it so they could hunt together. It was all about educating them.
Through the show, we try to do that and say that we’re going to educate by starting the show out on this is why we are here. This is why we have chosen this spot and what we’re doing. How we got this person here, whether it’s ourselves, whether it’s a team member that doesn’t have a disability or somebody with a disability, then why we set up the way we did. If the hunt comes together, then we explain why it came together. If it doesn’t, then why it didn’t come together. We’re trying to tie all that into one thing in that show to help these people be successful on their own. If they want to get that next hunter out there, that youth or that disabled, how to get them out and enjoy the woods and enjoy nature like the rest of us do.Own The Season is all about educating hunters who want to learn. Click To Tweet
When you say that, I’m thinking of the couple of people that I’ve seen that still can maneuver, but then you get some people that are in chairs and you have to build ramps. I’ve seen some of your pictures where that’s exactly what you’ve done. The thing I like best about you and Michelle is you’ve got to figure it out and then you make it happen. That’s great.
You have to. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I had a fall and I broke my back in seven places. I am if you want to call it fortunate. Some people say, “I don’t know if I’d call that fortunate.” I fractured my back, I cracked my sternum, I had some other issues with it but my first concern was getting who my very good friend of mine who was a paraplegic out to hunt. How were we going to get him to hunt? Once I finally had clearance to drive, I could drive him to his stand because I had built ramps prior. All the blinds, all my stands, everything that I have set up for them have wheelchair-accessible ramps, wheelchair-accessible doors. Everything is accessible to him and the others that hunt with us. I could get him there with the help of my wife and giving him the wheelchair and get him in so he could still hunt. Even if I was unable to, there was a way to get him into the woods and we did it. That’s what you have to do is figure out how to make that work. If you truly want to make it work, you’re going to make it work.
Here’s a footnote to our audience, I don’t care what state you’re in. About every single state has handicapped permits that you could get for friends, family, relatives that you can shoot out of your truck. You just have to apply with the doctors but that makes it a lot simpler to do. Is it the best way? No, but unfortunately I’ve had some situations that I do have a permit. I’ve used that and shot a deer right from my truck. I had to call my buddies and they came with the ATV, picked him up and we got them back to camp and took care of him. What I’m saying is, and I want to echo what Art said, is if you want it bad enough, there is a way. The most important thing is to find people like Art and Michelle that will make it happen. As a caveat to everybody, never ever say, “Yes, we’ll do this. Yes, we’ll put it together. Yes, we can do this,” if you’re not going to do it. Don’t do it to that person because what Art said on his little story is so many people say, “Yes, we’ll do it,” and they get knee-deep in it.
It’s because it takes a lot of work. I’m not going to lie to anybody or sugarcoat it. Depending on the disability, there’s a lot of time and a lot of effort put into it, but it’s just like that with big deer. If you like big deer, it’s a lot of time and effort. To try to grow big deer, it’s a lot of finances to put food plots in, for taxes on your property, waterholes and everything else. It’s time, money and effort. It’s not as much money getting these people out there. If you want to do it, it’s there. I suggest to anybody that if we can help, we need the help, the numbers. I did a Facebook post looking at the numbers. The decline in hunter numbers and the decline in license sales are astronomical and unbelievable what is happening out there and how quick our numbers are dissipating.
If we don’t do something here soon and you get more people involved to help support organizations like NWTF or Whitetails Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, all these different things. By licenses, because the Preston Pittman fund comes from the license sales to go back into all these animals, the habitat, so does the money going to these organizations. If we’re not supporting them, if we’re not doing this, soon we’re not going to have anything to support. If we get selfish and say, “It’s all about me,” soon there is no me anymore. Hunting is individual but it’s a whole team aspect. It’s a team that helps my land management business.
We’re losing the opportunities. We’re losing hunters, we’re losing a lot of people. I think this is where I was, hunting is more of a team sport than what you think it is. You’re sitting in a tree by yourself unless you’ve got a camera person. It’s all about certain things we’re looking for as an individual hunter, but it’s also we as a team pay to the NWTF because it becomes a group and that group becomes the team. That team is what supports everything. It’s like when you hung out a piece of property, usually you have your dad, your wife, your kids, somebody. There’s only one person pulling the trigger on either release or your rifle, but if you all look at it together, you all plant food plots together, you all look at trail cameras together.
We all need to come together to make the sport grow, continue to grow and quit being me and try to help everybody, try to educate people and not let them get frustrated. Let them become better hunters. They’re not shooting our deer. We don’t own the deer. If it jumps the fence, it’s whoever’s deer. Unfortunately, a lot of people have come to that and said, “That’s my deer. I can’t believe you shot my deer.” It wasn’t your deer in the first place. If you’ve got everybody together, then they get excited for it because you’ve all worked so hard to have those deer on your property or where you hunt. It’s more of a team atmosphere and that’s what’s going to grow this and bring those numbers back to what we need to continue to be able to hunt in the future.
That’s a big part of this episode going to be hunting. I wanted to segue into how Own The Season helps educate people on these things. Hunting on public land, private land, improving habitat and then probably the most important in my mind and I know in yours, youth and women into the sport. Let’s take it one step at a time. Let’s talk about the importance of educating people, how to hunt, how to find, where to put the tree stands up on public lands.If you truly want to make something work, you are going to make it work. Click To Tweet
There are a lot of different options out there. I go in and I help people as a land management specialist on a lot of private lands. That carries over a lot of the same stuff I do if I’m on public land, the same things I look for. When I first start, I’m going to take the program on onX. I’m going to take my onX and take my X marks the spot. I look at that and say, “Here’s my public land. I’m going to take that app. I’m going to look at here are the spots that I want to look at first. What am I looking for? I’m looking for transitions. I’m looking for funnels and I’m looking for fields.” When you look at that, you can overlap the satellite and a topo map so you can see both at the same time.
If you don’t understand topo maps, you need to start looking and learning because the closer the bars are together, the steeper it is. The farther apart they are, your grade is very small. You’ve got to look at where does it come together? Why is it steep? Does it go down into a big valley where there’s a creek or how are those animals getting from point A to point B? Where is that transition line looking on those maps? That’s where you truly want to start. It’s like on your own property if you bought a property. Public land is no different. Where are those transition lines? What am I looking for? Where are the elevation changes? Where’s the water? Is there any food close? Then you look at, “What time of the year am I going to hunt them? Am I going to hunt early season? Am I going to hunt during the rut? Is it the late season?”
Once you get into there, what type of food source is it? Are their acorns here? Are there egg fields here? What type of browse do they have? Is it early season browse or late-season browse? You want to hit those funnels and transition areas come rut. Before that, they’re looking for food and water. Find that mapping system, get your onX and I will take that and look for those transitions and then I can go right into that. I can actually mark my spot so I know right where to come back to. That’s how I’m going to start when I’m looking for an area that’s new to me to hunt.
Get on YouTube and get into topographical maps. Art’s the second person. Michael Fuchs from Fuchs Outdoors who writes for Sportsmen’s Nation talks directly on how he starts. He parallels exactly what Art is saying that if you haven’t looked at topo maps before you hunt an area, then you’ve handicapped yourself.
You need to learn how to look at them and read them. Google topographical maps and learn. There’s a lot of things on how to read those, how to know where your transitions are, where your steep banks are, where the slight slopes are, creek bottoms, ponds. You can learn all that stuff just by looking at one map and it’s going to cut your time over half of on foot scouting. You can truly go in there and say, “I know deer won’t be here because there’s no possible way that they can get here unless they were long gone.” It’s going to help you get started.
I would add, if you ever go on a hunt out west and hunt elk, you have to know. It’s imperative. You’ve got to know saddles, benches and springs. I would say those three things. The first is the saddles because that’s a transition place. I can guarantee you, I can look at a map and tell you that there are going to be either elk, deer, sheep, bear, it doesn’t matter. Everything uses a saddle in the mountains. North-facing benches are perfect places for elk bedding areas. You have to sort it out, but you have to know how to read topographic maps if you’re going to hunt out west. People are getting a lot smarter with whitetails and saying, “I’m hunting public land. I’m going to find a place away from the parking areas, away from everything that have specific things and note it.” What Michael said was he’s looking for ridgelines that end in a point. I can guarantee you that on a ridgeline ends at a point that you will find a deer bed if there’s deer in that area. He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s a student of Dan Infalt. Dan certainly has a doubt about finding bedding areas, but it’s that easy. It’s not hard, but you just have to put in the time. Art, what about hunting private land? How does Own The Season approach that?
Private land is a little bit different, especially in my land management business. If you own your own land, you can change a lot of things. You can change the way your deer travel, where your deer bed, where your deer are drinking if you don’t have water sources. You can create bedding areas by TSI work. You can change how they travel by doing certain hinge cuts and certain ways of blocking different things off. There are a lot of things when you have your own piece of property that you can do to make it that much better because you can control how to get from point A to point B without being detected. You can control hopefully which way that deer are going to move. Granted when you say it’s going to move this way, he moves the other way and makes you look like an idiot. You can’t do it 100% of the time.
Deer are like people. People will take the lazy way to walk from point A to point B if they can. The same with the deer. The same with any animal. However, if they need to go from point A to point B through a thicket and they’re getting pushed, because they’re a survivor, that’s what they’re looking for and what they want to do. On a piece of private land and we talk about that through the land management stuff is how to create those areas, how to create that habitat so you can better hunt it and not educate everything that’s on that piece of property.
How big of properties do you engage clients for your land management?
I’ve done them as small as thirteen acres all the way up to 400. The largest one I did was 465. I can do them bigger than that. It obviously takes a few more days to get it done. However, there are not a lot of landowners in the Midwest, but not a lot. I have more than 400 acres if they own in one contiguous piece.Understanding topo maps is essential to help you learn the nooks and crannies and condition of the hunting land. Click To Tweet
If somebody wants to touch base with you about anything we’re talking about, how’s the best way for them to get ahold of you, Art?
They can email me at Art@ArtHelinOutdoors.com. They can even go to the website which is Art Helin Outdoors. There’s a form on there that they can fill up and contact me.
Are you on social media?
Let’s talk about your passion and Michelle’s passion for youth and women hunters.
Women hunters, if you look at it, is the only group of hunters that has grown within the last several years. Women hunters have actually grown in 2009, 2011. They have grown by 85%. Their numbers are huge and they’re a big part of what we do. If you haven’t shared that time with your wife, girlfriend or whoever in the woods hunting, there’s something special about it. It’s fun watching them learn. There are some women hunters out there that I know personally. I’ve been in this industry for many years and I’ve met a ton of them doing seminars all over that are absolutely incredible.
They go out, they can set their own stands. They sight-in their rifles, they sight-in their bows, set their bows up, you name it. I’ve seen them out there on the track and putting in their own food plots. There are some women out there that can definitely hold their own and then some comparative to some of the guys that I know out there. It’s fun to watch that. It’s like the youth because for so many years the women weren’t out there and we didn’t see this. The youth, it’s so much fun. Especially the youth I know, nephew’s friends that are on here that I get to watch, grow up around this. There’s something special from watching them not know anything about a gun, a bow and about hunting in general to watching them learn gun safety, bow safety and get out and start hunting and watch their excitement, watch their joy grow.
There’s something about that getting up in the morning and watching the sun come up or watching it go down in the evening. To me, that compared to sitting there staring at a cell phone or playing an Xbox is truly what life is. It’s looking at God’s creation out there and going, “This is amazing.” It’s absolutely amazing to see things come to life and to watch that youth. It makes me go way back to my first day of hunting. That’s why I truly love watching the youth hunt is the excitement. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited, but I don’t get excited like that first-time hunter. Even their second time or third time out there and watching their excitement and watching them grow and learn and then watching them start to teach as they grow and watch them start to teach that next generation.Supporting females and the youth is key for the hunting industry to survive. Click To Tweet
That why I enjoy it, and my wife too, taking women and taking youth because they try to suck every ounce of knowledge out of you that they can. They have a million questions and they want to learn. That passion that they have, they want to pass on. I don’t mean this in a bad way at all, but it’s not like somebody who’s hunted for 30 years and they want to pass it on, but they don’t want to pass on because they’re getting burned out. They’re doing what they’re doing and they help, but they don’t have that passion like the youth or the female hunters because they’re so new to this. To watch them grab hold of somebody else a few years down the road is truly amazing and watch them pass on the knowledge. I think that’s another way that this industry and our passion for hunting is going to survive by supporting that youth and supporting the females within the hunting community. Don’t say, “She’s a girl. She can’t hunt.” There are some girls out there that I won’t want them shooting at me and my wife’s one of them.
To encapsulate what you said, it’s up to every single one of us, men and women to set an example and celebrate the hunt no matter what that new hunter gets. I don’t care if it’s a doe, it’s a spike buck. If that’s legal, whatever it is. One of my angst is social media is some of the guys go, “Why did you shoot that deer?” That’s wrong. I’ll just flat out say stop doing that because that is not helping the hunting industry because we’re all hunters. We all bought a license. Whoever buys a tag or a license, let them go and enjoy however they do it. Be it with a spear or be it with a .357 pistol, bow, crossbow, muzzleloaders, shotgun or rifle. I think I got it all.
I’m right there with you, Bruce. If it’s legal, I’m not going to fight it. Everybody’s fighting, “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” I don’t want to be negative or sounding negative and say, “Don’t do this.” Let’s try to be as positive as we can be. Especially as role models like myself you, anybody who has the platform in the hunting industry. We all need to be the best role models we can by getting the education out there to educate the youth, women, the hunting public in general and say, “Don’t knock them. We don’t know their story.” That person may have cancer, it’s maybe their first year. It may be the last year they ever shoot. It might be the biggest, who knows. Let’s try to be supportive of it. We need to quit being sexist. Myself with the TV show, I get email after email about things.
It’s even tough to say the stuff that people say that they want to do to my wife, to team members, to our female team members. I don’t want to hear that stuff. We’re supposed to all be hunters and be a group together. That’s my wife. You don’t talk like that about people’s wives. You don’t talk like that about team members, females in general, youth or anybody else. My mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about somebody, just don’t say it.” Let’s try to bring out the positives, “That’s a great deer. That’s a great fish or great bear.” If we don’t have to, just don’t say anything. If you don’t agree with what they did, then don’t agree with it. That’s what makes the world go around. Because if everybody agreed with everything, the world would probably standstill because nothing would ever get done. That’s what makes it go round, people have disagreements.
If you want to voice that opinion, it’s your opinion. I can’t stop you, but try to be a little nicer when it comes to certain things that you’re talking about. Look at it from your own point of view and say, “If I got cancer, if that’s the last deer, do I want them trashing me? If that was my wife, do I want to say that about that lady? Do I want to say that about that youth?” Do unto others as you want to be done to you. That’s the best way to say it. Why did the anti-hunters even need to do anything when ourselves, we’re tearing ourselves apart as a hunting community by degrading people and getting on people. Let’s put a positive spin on things, let’s be positive, lift each other up. Keep this great sport flourishing, moving forward and back in the right direction so we can enjoy it.
Somebody said to me, “Bruce, if hunting seems to be fun for me, I’m not going to do it.” What we’ve been talking about is all this angst or whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t encourage fun. Hunting, the outdoors and adventure should be fun. It’s hard work, but there’s no question about that. You’re going to work hard at it, but it should be something that builds positive memories on every single trip with every single crew and team member. If it isn’t fun, take a look at your attitude. What you’re thinking about, “Is hunting a job for me?” If that’s how you make your livelihood, I get it because every day at work isn’t the best day in the world. At the end, you have to enjoy it and it has to be fun because most of us aren’t in the outdoor industry. Most of the supporters there are 11 million, 50 million tag sales, license sales are diminishing but we’ve got to make it fun. Because if we make it fun and we’re showing people we’re having fun, then other people say, “You’re having fun.” What people want to do in our off time is have fun. Your thoughts, Art?
That’s what it’s all about. It all goes back to right where we started is education. It’s educating people why we hunt. It’s what we do. People are like, “Hunting is bad. You’re killing animals.” No, you’re putting money back into the economy. You’re putting money back into forestry work. There are so many things. The Preston Pittman fund, the different things that the money’s going to plus venison is unbelievably healthy for you. You’re also feeding your family with healthy food. There’s a ton of different things that this is why we hunt. It’s not just to go out and kill something. True hunters, I believe aren’t out there just because, “There’s an animal there. I’m going to shoot it and kill it.” I’m out there to hunt. I shoot what I need for meat. We eat what we shoot. If I have extra tags that year, I always try to find families that need that meat and we’ll cut that meat up and donate it to them so that they have that. We’re out there trying to do different things.
We’re trying to keep an animal population under control and back to the land management stuff. When I go out to farms and I started looking at it, you can automatically tell when there are too many deer on there. There’s no browse left. The undergrowth is gone. It’s horrible what’s happening to the forest. We need to bring that forest and get that population under control. That is what we’re doing as hunters. We’re not out there murdering and killing things for throat kill. There are actual reasons we’re doing what we’re doing, putting money back in the things, to keep the forest regulated, food sources, all kinds of different things. There’s truly a lot of good with it and that’s what we need to do is educate people on why we’re doing it.Women hunters is the only group of hunters that has grown within the last fifteen years. Click To Tweet
Let’s segue to your team. I know you’ve built a diversified team on Own The Season TV. Let’s talk about your team members, tell us who they are, where they’re from and what they’re doing.
We’ve got a pretty diversified team. They’re all from here, Southwest Wisconsin area. We have Jesse Lenz who helps me do some of the editing for the show. We have a husband and wife, Wes and Kayla White. We also have a boyfriend-girlfriend, which would be Tyler Goebel and Kayla Cleary. A couple of friends, Tyler Goninen and Brandon Halvorson. We’re also bringing in Tyler’s stepbrother and there are myself and Michelle. It’s a very diverse group from a lot of different ages. We’ve got another friend of mine who helps us when we need it, Brad Barenbrook. He is more of the gun nut. When we have gun issues, we got the guy who knows more about guns than I think most gun manufacturers do. He’s a freak when it comes to guns. He’s our go-to guy for that.
We have the other group that likes turkey hunting. Another group likes it all, deer and turkey. Wes White, him and Rob Drone. Rob Drone is another one from our team. Those two do a lot of whitetails in Kansas and back here in Wisconsin. It’s diverse in what they do. They love to ice fish. They love to fish for smallmouth bass on the river. Bird hunting, Jesse Lenz owns a couple of dogs. He loves to pheasant hunt in the fall. It is that diversity and I like that diversity because hunting is not just whitetails. Hunting is not just turkey hunting. Those are two of the biggest sports and the biggest numbers of hunters out there. There’s so much more. There are pheasants. There are doves. You’ve got elk, sheep, moose and mountain lions. Talk about the biggest posts that went crazy on me was my mountain lion. If you’ve never eaten mountain lion and I know some of you out there are probably going to read this, mountain lion backstraps are absolutely incredible. Once you get past the mental thought of, “I’m eating a cat.” The backstraps are actually very good in the mountain lion.
You put that to good use, but it’s the diversity of the team, the group and the ages. Tyler’s little stepbrother is still pretty young and I don’t need him getting a lot of pressure from anybody. That’s the youngest all the way up to myself and Brad. I’m 49 and Brad’s 50. It’s because of what they bring to the table as far as not only hunts but personalities, thought processes and they all enjoy the youth. All of them are mentors for me. All of them take out youth hunters, they all get involved in special needs hunts. It’s near and dear and true to my heart what we love to do. It seemed like they all had that good fit for the show and to make the show successful.
How do people find Own The Season?
It’s on MOTV, which is MyOutdoorTV. It’s a subscription web-based channel. You can go Google MOTV and either get a subscription. There are some things coming down the pipe that hopefully if you have the Outdoor Channel and Sportsmans Channel, you’ll be seeing more things coming down the pipe about MOTV. If you don’t, you can go do that. We do have a YouTube channel that has some partial hunts, some of our older hunts, different things that are going to be forwarded onto our YouTube channel, which is again Art Helin Outdoors. You can find some of that on there or on MOTV. A lot of updates are through our Facebook or Instagram pages.
Let’s run it up with where are Art and Michelle now? Give people a forecast of your upcoming hunting season.
My wife’s real job, which I don’t know how she does it, she is an RN and works at the local hospital here. We’re putting in a lot of the time doing that stuff, a lot of editing, a lot of different things. As far as what’s upcoming, the season’s right around the corner. It’s a lot of food plot stuff. I got done mowing fields, fertilizing fields, getting things done at the cabin. I put a 360 hunting blind up for another spot for handicap hunters and built another ramp for that here. We’re going to head up north and we’re going to do some fishing in Northern Wisconsin and try to get a few fish caught on film. We got done doing a charter on Lake Michigan and did some salmon fishing and filmed all that. We’re going to go back and do some more filming with the same.
We’re going to be getting into the first part of September. Michelle drew a Wisconsin bear tag, which takes about six years-plus. She was a lucky recipient of that. She starts on the 11th of September. We’re going up to our good friends with Art Hyde at NBC Guide Service. He is another one who when we don’t draw tags, Michelle and I take our special needs and handicapped bear hunters to Art. He was gracious enough to help us out with that, run baits and do things for us when we’re not there, him and his guy. She’s going to be hunting up there with him. We come back and we start with whitetails here in Wisconsin. I go to Banff and Jasper Canada for some photo work.
We’ll be right back here in Wisconsin for whitetails again, head to Kansas. Her and I will be whitetail hunting in Kansas. If I get time, I’ll be heading to Illinois to hunt for whitetails. We’ll get back here to Wisconsin for gun season. We will take off and head to Wyoming. Michelle has a late-season mountain lion take in December, whether or not my back will handle that. If my back is not in the condition to do that, I will be the wingman and radio guy in the vehicle. One way or another we’re going to get her out there and get her on the lion I’m hoping in December. There are a lot of things coming up. The team members are going to be traveling. A few of them have tags in Kansas. A few of them will be heading out to South Dakota for antelope. One of them will be heading into Yukon. He’s got a moose, grizzly bear and sheep tag. There are a lot of things going on for Own The Season and it looks like we’re going into year number two. Season one is just about done. It should be over the end of October. We’ll jump right into season two and hopefully 26 more weeks of shows.
People out there always ask me what it takes to get into the outdoor industry and I give them my two cents. Art just gave you many years because it didn’t happen overnight. Let’s close the show with some tips that the readers are saying, “I want that to be me.” What are three tips you’d give the readers?
It takes a long time. It’s hard. I got into it by shooting a bow. I did a lot of IBO tournaments, a lot of the IBO worlds. Myself and a friend who actually runs an archery shop in Dodgeville. He’s one of the best technical technicians that I know that when it comes to bows. He went that route. I actually went the route of still shooting. Along that line, I’ve got in with the rep company because there are a lot of different staff positions out there. To work your way up through, you start out at that shop or shooter staff to the next staff level would be with the rep group. Then you get into manufacturer’s stuff and then there’s more and hopefully work your way up to that national level where I happen to be at and get in at that national level and then the TV show level.
I guess one of the biggest things to work your way up is always under-promise and over-deliver. That’s one big thing. Another thing and I worked with those gentlemen forever and most people know him is Ralph Cianciarulo. The one thing that Ralph had always told me. I was blessed to be on his show for a few years. My wife and I were there when that show started and continued with them until business took us separate ways. We still continue to talk, we’re very good friends. He always told me, this is tip number two, always let your actions speak louder than words because the companies will pay attention to those actions. If you’re telling them constantly what you’re doing and how good you are, you have to be able to prove that.
Most people can’t come up with those numbers. I’m not saying that everybody, but a lot of times it’s hard to replicate those numbers. They are watching those numbers. They already have your numbers. If you don’t think they’re watching. I got news for you. I had one company use a photo of mine. They also have a product which competes with a different company that I’m with. They use the photo of mine and tag me, Art Helin Outdoors instead of Wild Reflections Photo, which is my photography business on the other end. The company that I’m with, within 24 hours, I had an email and a phone call asking why I was pushing a competing product. I’m like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
They had seen this post before I had, so they’re watching you. They know what you’re doing. Do what you do and don’t talk about it. Let your actions do what they’ve got to do. Let them speak for you because they know what you’re doing already. The third one, just be a good person. Be a good role model and stay clean out there. Don’t do anything stupid. It’s not worth it. Many people want to grow up so fast in this industry that they try to do things that they shouldn’t be doing. They get pinched for shooting something illegally or they just barely crossed the line, “It wasn’t that bad.” It is that bad. People are constantly watching you. When you are out there in front of the public like that, everybody wants to hang you.
There’s a lot of jealousy if you want to call it. Stay clean, be yourself and take it as it comes. Move forward with it and don’t try to push it so hard because if you come into this industry super-fast, you’re going to go out super-fast. There are a lot of people that are in this industry that has been here forever, that started slow and they’re still here. You look at Ralph and Vicki, Lee and Tiffany, Jay Gregory, Keith Beam, you look at all these people and they’re still here in one way or another. They’ve been here forever and ever. Take your time and go with the flow. The best three things as far as advice that I can give you. Hopefully, it helps you succeed, living your dream and having this dream become a reality because it can become a reality, but it takes a lot of time. It doesn’t happen overnight.
I’m thinking about my journey and the journey of Whitetail Rendezvous and Deer Hunting Institute. It’s a process, just know that. It will be a few solid years we’d been rolling in this thing. I thought it would be a lot further along, but then I hear what you just said and I go, “It’s not so bad.” The people I met and the places I been. The interviews, I wouldn’t have met these people. I wouldn’t know you well without this opportunity in this media. Art, you and Michelle, you’re good friends. I wish you the best and I can’t wait until we talk.
Unfortunately, it will be over before we know it.
I looked at my calendar. I go, “I’m already in December and I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.” With that, Art, thank you so much for being such a gracious guest on the show.
Thank you, Bruce. I appreciate everything that you do and the support that you give to the hunting community. The way you’re helping to grow it, support it and help educate people to continue this great tradition. Thank you.
- Art Helin Outdoors
- Southwest Wisconsin Longbeards – Facebook
- Whitetails Unlimited
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Preston Pittman
- Michael Fuchs on Sportsmen’s Nation
- Facebook – Art Helin Outdoors
- @ArtHelinOutdoors on Instagram
- Own The Season TV
- Art Helin Outdoors on YouTube
- NBC Guide Service
- Wild Reflections Photo
- Deer Hunting Institute
About Art Helin
I began hunting over 30 years ago under the instruction of my father and grandmother. What started as small game and deer hunting in my home state grew to an obsession to hunt nearly every big game species across North America. Thus far, my adventures have allowed me to successfully harvest many animals including six different big game species and four turkey species. Although I enjoys any type of hunting, I am crazy about whitetails and turkeys!
My hunting success and passion for teaching others has led to my pro/field staffer positions for Realtree, New Archery Products, Knight & Hale, Moultrie and Vortex. I promote these and other companies and the great outdoors by working trade shows, attending retail store grand openings and providing in-store training to their employees, conducting seminars, and writing stories for outdoor media. My wife, Michelle, and I have filmed for the Archer’s Choice and The Choice TV shows and Archer’s Choice Media and Double Bull Archery video series. I have also been featured in many articles in magazines such as Wisconsin Sportman, Petersons Bowhunting and North American Hunter.
When speaking with people, I draw upon my own past experience, successes and failures, as well as the over 150 days per year in the field hunting, guiding and scouting. To assist me in scouting, I take advantage of the tools and technology available including aerial and topographical maps and trail cameras. I have planted food plots for years, which started out small and often failing, and now just keep growing and getting better year after year! I practice woodland management on our 40-acre property and have recently completed timber stand improvement and pond projects, and I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with others.
I am busy promoting archery and hunting in the Dodgeville area when I’m not afield. I am president of the local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter, which hosts a highly successful, award-winning Learn to Turkey Hunt event. Since it began in 2003, the event has grown from 9 to thirty new turkey hunters each year, primarily women and youth. Participants have also included children with chronic or terminal diseases from the United Special Sportsmen’s Foundation. I also teach classes as a National Bowhunter Education Foundation instructor.
I live in rural southwestern Wisconsin with Michelle, and our daughters, Alana and Elizabeth. While I love hunting, what I have really come to enjoy, even more, is hunting with family and friends. My proudest moment came when Alana shot her first longbeard turkey. When I’m not in the woods or working as a real estate appraiser, I enjoy fishing, watching football and UFC, and driving my motorcycle and ’67 Mustang.