While I don’t typically feature many guest posts on The Big Game Hunting Blog, I’m making an exception today. I’d like to introduce you all to Ryan Lisson, founder of Zero to Hunt. Ryan and I met a couple years ago when we were both writing for Wide Open Spaces and, since our blogs have similar goals, we’ve decided to start collaborating. Below is an introductory post from Ryan to give you an idea of who he is and what he does. Expect to see a more great articles from him in the coming months. Enjoy!
Why do you hunt and how did you get started?
I grew up in rural northern Minnesota. As a young kid, my dad would take me out on grouse hunting trips behind the house. When I was old enough, I attended deer camp where my dad, mom, and all of our relatives gathered to hunt whitetails. It was always the second biggest family gathering besides Christmas, and that tradition is what hooked me.
Eventually, the true value of wild game food also really set in for me. I love cooking new wild game recipes and preparing meals for friends and family. That’s one of the most important outcomes of hunting for me right now. I can spend time outdoors and hang out with family and friends throughout the year. But it’s only during hunting season that I can fill the freezer with this much organic wild meat.
Why did you start Zero to Hunt?
During and after college, I moved around a bit and lived in much larger cities like Chicago. I kept meeting people who were fascinated by the way I grew up and wanted to learn how to hunt their own food too. But they had no idea how to get started or were intimidated by it all. I started Zero to Hunt to provide the education, advice, and online mentoring that my extended group of mentors provided to me.
But there’s another reason I started the website. Hunting participation rates are in decline across most of the country as older generations stop hunting and more people move to urban areas. Without hunting licenses and taxes on hunting equipment, the funding for wildlife management and habitat programs also decreases. That means the animals and wild places that I love might not exist in the same way for my children, and that’s unacceptable to me. The R3 (Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation) movement has been trying to turn the tide, but it’s a slow process. I hope that my site can be a part of that solution.
How does Zero to Hunt help readers?
Even after taking a hunter education course, there are tons of skills you need to learn to be an effective hunter. You can always learn more and there’s always more to write about. But I’ve really tried to cover all the major pain points that new hunters experience or get hung up on when they’re first starting out.
I have a simple rule for my content – it has to help the reader in some way or it doesn’t get published. I genuinely want readers to glean something useful from everything on my site. In addition, I have been a freelance writer in the outdoors scene for several years, so I have met some very talented people and done a LOT of research on different topics. Because of this, I feel like I can provide a lot of helpful guidance to new hunters.
Can you provide a few examples for us?
I have a few basic ways of providing value across several different resource areas:
- Educational articles – basic how-to tips and hunting tactics, species-specific information, etc.
- Advice – guidance on necessary hunting gear, equipment recommendations, tools to use, etc.
- Digital mentoring – I am a digital mentor for the Powderhook app, so readers can ask me questions wherever they are and reach me directly.
What does the future look like for your website?
The ultimate goal for Zero to Hunt is to provide all the resources and tools that new hunters need to help them overcome the initial barriers they face. From including videos and courses in the future, I think it will evolve into a great community of hunters and new hunters working together.