To overcome conflict, find things to agree on. Nick Pinizzotto grew up coonhunting with hounds in Pennsylvania. Nick has kept hounds into his adult life and has a deep admiration for hounds and ethical houndsmen.
Nick also sits atop the most recognizable deer hunting organization in the Country. He is the President and CEO of the National Deer Association. The NDA represents thousands upon thousands of deer hunters.
On this episode of the Houndsman XP Podcast; Chris Powell and Nick Pinizzotto discuss the relationships and conflicts between deer hunters and houndsmen. They discuss the future of hunting and the importance of breaking down barriers and building a strong untied front for all hunters.
Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant, outdoor content!
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This is the Hounds Man XP podcast.
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The original podcast for the complete hounds.
The podcasts that represent our lifestyle of extreme performance. [00:02:00] I asked you. Yeah. Good boy. Good boy. Ranger Uniting Homan across the globe from east to west, north to south. You know, if you're gonna catch a cat or a lion, you know, you have to have teamwork. We take you to the wildest places on earth.
Yeah. So how many days, how many days a week can you spend on that day? As much as I can, to be honest with you. Anytime that I get, I'm, I'm out there. Join us for every heart pounding adventure on Hounds xp. I'll tell you, like I tell everyone else, I'm gonna hunt whether you're here or not, so you might as well be here.
Hey folks. Chris here with the Hounds Men XP podcast. I'm your host and I'm bringing you a show this week that is very important [00:03:00] as Hounds Men our future and the challenges of continuing to be able to do what we do is going to be largely based on a, being able to answer the question is hunting with Hounds Fair Chase.
A few months ago, I released a podcast with Tracy Jones from Greenville, Tennessee. Tracy writes for bear Hunting Magazine. He's also the grandson of Barry Tarleton third or fourth generation Bear Hunter for sure. His son Ben Jones is also carrying on the legacy of Houston Valley Plots, and we talked in depth about Fair Chase.
So I, I would encourage you to go back and find that. Podcast called Sacred Pursuit 'cause we really break it down. During that podcast, Tracy said, made a statement and he, it has had me thinking about it ever since, and he's the one that posed the, the [00:04:00] challenge that our challenge moving forward is going to be whether or not hunting with Hounds is fair chase and our abilities to articulate that.
And I'm not gonna make this pre-roll real long, but I've gotta lay it out and I've gotta tell you the importance of why I have this guest on our show. If we are to be able to convince the non-hunting public that hunting with Hounds is fair, chase, then we first need to convince the hunting public that what we do is valuable and what we do is ethical.
And what we do is the purest form of Fair Chase. Our guest this week is Nick Pendo. And Nick is the president and c e o of the National Deer Association. They were formally called quality Deer Management Association or Q D M A. They've gone through a rebranding and a name change, but it's by [00:05:00] far the most recognized national organization that represents deer hunters.
Nick and I are going to talk about some of the barriers and issues and conflicts between deer hunters and us as hounds men. It's very important that we understand the logistics behind this, understand different points of view, and I know that. Deer hunters can be challenging. They control a lot of property, they control a lot of narrative.
With fish and wildlife managers, they get a lot of the things that they want because they generate so many dollars in hunting revenue for not only the public, but also the government entities that, that make the fish and wildlife rules. And we're just gonna discuss it. And I think the most important things that we need to remember [00:06:00] here is if you want to reduce conflict, then find common ground to talk about.
Nick grew up coon hunting in Pennsylvania until just recently he had an English coonhound that he used for a, a really unique. Purpose, but he never lost his love for hounds is the thing that I'm trying to get across here. The guy that sits at the top of one of the most recognized organizations in the world for white-tailed deer management, has a common thread with all of us.
And that's a love for hounds. So it's very fitting that we start this conversation for the future of our lifestyle, and we're starting to build bridges with the Hounds Men XP podcast with some of these groups that want to help us. And sometimes we have to look at ourselves. If we want to help ourselves, we have to look at what we're doing and listen to what [00:07:00] other people see in us and and evaluate that.
So Nick and I are gonna break that down. When you listen to this podcast, listen with a critical ear, ask yourself questions like, Am I really doing everything that I can do to get along with the fellow hunters in my area? Ask yourself questions. Are there things that I can do to improve to try to get along for the future of hound hunting?
We can't look at deer hunters as the enemy. We've gotta find ways to make them our allies, and that's what this podcast is all about. It's not about a legendary hounds man. It's not about a training tip. It's about how we make friends with the most powerful hunting group in the country. It's about the future of our survival.
Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Huntsman [00:08:00] XP Podcast. Make sure that you're checking out everything that we've got going on firstname.lastname@example.org, on our social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, it's all out there, folks, everything we do is to ensure a solid future for us as Hounds Man, that's always been our goal.
That's always been our mission. It may not always be what you want to hear, but I do try to bring you things that we all need to hear. Let's pick up this conversation and start building some bridges. Folks. As Benjamin Franklin said, if we do not all hang together, surely we will all hang separately. I.
Through all my years of working with hound organizations and representing Hounds men and, and being in hound groups, and I, I just hear the comments that, oh, you can never work with deer hunters. [00:09:00] And those kind of comments make my skin crawl. And then from the deer hunting side, those, those folks who've said, you know, hounds men are the worst sportsmen in the world.
And I know that's not true. So Nick and I are just gonna have a conversation here and talk about what his organization is doing and how we can. Find some common ground in this thing, because before it's all over, then we're gonna have to find that common ground. And this conversation isn't gonna be a kumbaya, it's not gonna be where we're, you know, coming together on every issue and every topic.
But we are going to discuss some, some things that, that might hurt your feelings. It might hurt some deer hunter's feelings, but we're still gonna work to find the common ground. So Nick, I appreciate you taking time outta your schedule and showing up to, to help us out with this. Absolutely. My pleasure.
Happy to be here. Yeah. So [00:10:00] why don't you tell us, give us some background on the, the National Deer Association. I know you guys are running your own podcast over there. And just give us a slowdown on the, on the purpose, your mission. You know, some, some brief history on, on the National Deer Association.
Sure. Yeah. And we do, we have a couple podcasts. We have Deer, season 365 and Coffee and Deer. And as you and I have talked before, I wanna get you over on one of our shows as well. 'cause it'd be good for our audience to hear what you all are doing. So yeah, national Deer Association, I was kind of chuckling there as you were describing.
You know, some people think, why is there an organization for deer because they seem to be doing well and Yeah, yeah. Which, you know, in, in one sense is true because man, there certainly isn't a shortage of them, at least in most places. But deer actually do face a lot of conservation challenges. And so everything ranging from disease to population, overpopulation in some cases, which is actually a challenge for deer.
And so the National Deer Association [00:11:00] has been around for. We're actually, we're not all that far, 35 years, so we're getting close to that, you know, 35, 40 year mark. Now we're gonna be heading toward 40 years here, and we were formerly known as the Quality Deer Management Association, Q D M A and the mission.
Yeah. Q D M A. That's right. Yep. And so the about two years ago, I guess I shouldn't leave this part out more than two years ago, going on three years ago now, we had a merger of the National Deer Alliance and the Q D M A to create the National Deer Association. And so I don't wanna bore people with all the details of that, but that's, we're essentially what the Q D M A was.
And the mission though is for the most part, is held pretty steady. I mean, our mission is to work to protect deer, hunters and habitat, essentially. Okay. So we're, we're the guardians of those things. We are really the only national deer organization that is, You know, really focused on that mission of deer, hunters and habitat.
I mean, there [00:12:00] are others that do a lot of fundraising and, and, and spread money out and give money to groups that are, you know, related to hunting, deer hunting, all, all types of hunting. But our focus is truly the science and the policy that impact deer, hunters and habitat. So we have a, I think we're a 23 person team now spread out across the country.
We have staff as far as California, but the majority are located along the Mississippi and east of the Mississippi. Several in Pennsylvania, several in Georgia and in the south as well. So yeah, I mean, we, we have I would encourage people to check us email@example.com and learn a little bit more there.
Sure. So do you guys represent deer hunters in general, or is it specifically whitetail? Do you dabble into any of the blacktail or the mule deer species? On a policy aspect we do. So things we're working on policy related to chronic wasting disease, for example. And there's a disease that impacts not only deer, but you know, [00:13:00] all deer species, but also elk and moose.
So we would be involved there. We don't get involved though in like mule deer habitat work. There's the Mule Deer Foundation that does that. Mm-hmm. And does that part of it well, so we are definitely more heavily skewed toward whitetail, but not we don't, we're not exclusive to whitetail. Sure.
Well, that's good news because I know that the mule deer are facing some challenges as a result of the population dynamics of whitetail you know, taking up, taking up habitat, occupying space, you know, even some, some you know just a lot of, just a lot of focus on, you know, the mule deer and, and the adversity that they're facing and, and the whitetail.
So, Whitetail is contributing to that. So, so when you talk about, I think it's an interesting thing and, and the overpopulation of Whitetailed deer. I think everybody everybody would agree that in certain parts of this [00:14:00] country that there are plenty of deer. And we, we laughed about that, you know, so we're like, why are people out here creating habitat for deer?
Why are they doing that? Why are they working on this stuff? But I wanna specifically talk about the overpopulation issue. And from my perspective you know, as a professional, that was one of the biggest challenges within the d n R here in Indiana was, was trying to manage this population in a way that was responsible, but also Helped resolve the issues.
Everything from, from agricultural damage to automobile collisions, to, you know, just private landowner, small home individuals who were, you know, having deer eat down $10,000 worth of landscaping. So, you know, what kind of, what kind of issues are you seeing on a broad scale about, about this [00:15:00] population issue in the, in the places that it applies?
I'm not talking about, you know someplace where there, where there's a population shortage or an issue, and I'm not sure even where that would be at this point. Yeah. Well, believe it or not, there are a few places, but for the most part, yeah. I mean, it's not, that is not the case. I, I think the first thing I'd do is take a step back and particularly as, as we advocate and teach people how to manage their land for deer, What we're not managing for is more of them in most cases.
Right. So for us, good management means a sustainable population that is not an overpopulation. So you know, harvest and especially antlerless harvest, harvest of those is a big part of good conservation planning because that's how you control the population. And we've you know, taught people over the years and continue to teach them that fewer deer means better deer and healthier deer.
And it also means less conflict with things like you said, automobiles, agriculture. Mm-hmm residential [00:16:00] issues, disease, all of those things. And so we certainly encourage the harvest of deer. We do recognize though, that everybody manages a little differently. There are certainly some folks out there and I got, I got a laugh whenever you were saying you can't work with deer hunters and, you know, sometimes I feel like that too.
And that's exactly what we do. You can't work with hounds either. Yeah, exactly. There's always somebody that has their own view of what they wanna do. And so you get into private property rights and so on, and maybe somebody thinks that seeing a hundred deer every time they go to the deer stand is, is a good, healthy thing.
But we do our best to teach people that that's not the case. And so you know, the other thing I wanted, I wanted to mention too is I think one thing a lot of people don't realize, and we're working really hard to, to make this more known, is that about 80% of everybody who buys a hunting license is doing it to hunt a deer.
And so when you consider all of the money that's generated for wildlife conservation, most of that money is being [00:17:00] generated because people wanna hunt deer. And so whether you wanna hunt a raccoon or a roughed grouse or what have you, you should care about deer hunters because they are paying a lot of the money that goes to state wildlife agencies for management.
And even if you're somebody that just, if you're an Indianapolis and you have a bird feeder and you like to see songbirds, well, some of that is also being paid for. The management of those are being paid for largely by deer hunters. So that's, that's another reason why Deere is so important. Love them or hate 'em.
They're pretty important to the, the financial engine that fuels conservation. But it, it wasn't always like that. I mean, in the, the early seventies, you know, you still had a lot of small game hunters. I remember when I was hired in 1990, the most participated hunting season. State of Indiana was squirrel season, believe it or not.
I mean, it was squirrel season uhhuh. It was uhhuh, it was a gateway to all kinds of hunting, and that was as [00:18:00] late it's not late now. I've got listeners that weren't born until the year 2000. But you know, it's it was, it's amazing to me to think that as, as recently ago, as the year 1990, that was still the number one, the number one participated in hunting season was squirrel season.
And, and yet, yes, here we are in 2023 and when I, when I retired in 2018, I would be fired up, you know, every year at August 15th. That's when squirrel season came in. You always went to work that day hoping that you would. It's like, yes, we're finally into the fall seasons and from I. August 15th on, man, we're gonna get into the hunting seasons.
It's all coming now. And you'd go out and you'd talk to several people on our fish and wildlife areas and, and small woodlots and different things that were out squirrel hunting and now it's like a ghost town, you know? Nobody's doing it. Yeah. I have a smile when you said squirrel hunting, because I still like to go out [00:19:00] and I know I'm, I'm a rare breed that does that.
But I certainly enjoy squirrel hunting and yeah, that's the first animal that I harvested once I had a hunting license was a squirrel. And I'm gonna guess that that's the case for a lot of people, so Me too. Yep. Yeah, me too. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, it's so. Those traditions certainly aren't what they used to be.
Although I think we are seeing some growth in upland birds and, and waterfowl, which, which is good in some other things. Mm-hmm. But and you know, these things also are kind of cyclical though. They're, they kind of go in trends and so yeah, I think a lot of those people that were hunting squirrels still hunted deer.
And I think that was more the point that I was making, but certainly, yeah, less people now hunt small game and other animals. We you were talking about hounds here. We didn't get into my background, but I grew up raising hounds. I thought about, I thought about that man, I, when I Yeah, you were introducing yourself.
I was thinking, man, I missed a good, a key point here that we need, the reason that we can find common ground with you, Nick, is Yeah. Let's talk about your background and [00:20:00] you're from Pennsylvania with your background with hounds, things like that. Yeah. I, I grew up in a, in a very rich hunting state in Pennsylvania.
I mean, there's still, you know, tons and tons of hunters here. We don't have a million like we once had, but we still have an awful lot. Case in point yesterday I'm trying to get my second antlerless license and I had to wait in line online for half the day before my turn came up to even go buy one.
So it's still pretty crazy here. But anyway, yeah, we used to raise redick hounds and do a lot of raccoon hunting. As a kid I remember. Getting sideways with my mom once in a while because we would go out and sometimes you'd get on a good chase, and I wouldn't come home until it was already daylight the next morning and I was supposed to be at school.
And so, yeah, we had some we had some great hunts over the years and had my own hound puppy as my brother did, and, and had a chance to raise the dog. And and then, you know, once it went on to college and so on, I got away from it a little bit and then my dad got away from it. But I, whenever my wife and I [00:21:00] got married and wanted to have a dog, I actually sought out and, and looked around in shelters until I found a red tick hound.
And because one of the things I learned about hounds is what tremendous loyal pets that they are. And so my hound arrow now, she's passed, she, she, we had to have her put down last April. She was 13 years old and just had mm-hmm. Just run outta gas. But that dog was cool because I, I didn't get her because I wanted to hunt.
Raccoons with her anymore. I originally trained her to trail deer, blood trail deer. Right. But then I got into the waterfowl world a little bit and worked for Delta Waterfowl foundation. And instead of going out and getting a duck dog, I trained her to retrieve ducks. Oh, wow. And so, oh yeah, I have, I have lots of pictures of them and, and I always, I give people a good laugh when I show her sitting there on her little swamp stool and going out and retrieving ducks.
And so Towns are great swimmers. Yeah. And so they laughed at me and I said, the only thing this dog can't do is sit out in the [00:22:00] cold for very long. So she's kind of an early season waterfowl dog, but anyone that's listening to this that raises hounds know those, you know those dogs, they love you and they'll do anything for you and you can train 'em to do just about anything.
And so yeah, that was a very fond. Very fond memories from my life is, is raising hounds and being around hounds. So I certainly have a deep appreciation for, for that culture. For sure. Yeah, for sure. You, and, and I apologize for not bringing that up in the beginning, not only to you, but to our listeners as well.
I mean, that was a key, key element to to this discussion we're having today. So, as a, as a, I've gotta ask some questions about the, the hound and the, the waterfowl hunting, because we've been having some big debates about the trainability of hounds and, and how you know, how much of it's genetic and how much of, of it is training and things like that.
And, and what we're I I think even as [00:23:00] hounds men you know, traditionally we're not looking for a hound for our audience that's gonna retrieve ducks, but I. It's amazing that there's still that versatility that you can achieve that. So was she like, good at it? Was she, you know, describe, describe the way she, she hunted and, and retrieved ducks.
I mean, was it a forced retrieve tell, I gotta get more information on that. Sure. Yeah. Happy to. I, I think the very first, the, the most foundational thing to me was that Hounds can, the hounds can be very loyal and, and they will do anything for you. And they're willing to be trained if, you know, if you have that tight relationship with them.
And I think you know, I'm sure not everyone listening keeps their hounds in their home, but I did. And I think that that creates, of course, sort of a special bond there. You spend a lot of time together and you know, you become buddies. And so that was the first thing. And then I would say beyond that, I think the first thing I needed to teach her in terms of the training [00:24:00] was I needed to see how she would react to water because I didn't really have her, other than just around small streams and whatnot, I never had her jump into.
A lake or a, a slew and swim out, right? And so that was the first thing I trained her on. I took her out to some ponds where there were some docks and she loved to retrieve. So she, this dog would play ball all day long and run and catch a Frisbee and until she passed out. And so that was my lord, to get her to jump in the water.
She was reluctant at first, but then once she dove in the first time, then she would go a little bit further and a little bit further. And then I introduced her. I changed from tennis balls to bumpers, and then with the bumpers, then what I did was I attached you could buy duck wings and I would attach duck wings to the bumpers so that she would use to that feel of feathers in her mouth.
And then to the point where I introduced the sound of the shotgun blast and then throw the bumper, and then she would put those things together in her head that okay, you know, I hear the blast. I see the splash in the water. [00:25:00] And then when she was given the command, then she would just swim out there and, and bring the ducks back.
And so the only thing I didn't teach her that, that came up whenever we were first hunting was you know, what if a duck is still just sort of, you know, you know, flapping its wings or whatnot, right? And so that was, I could tell that was a little bit awkward for her the first time she brought a duck back that was still kind of flapping.
But yeah, she figured that out too. And I just, I realized really quickly what a great swimmer she was. I mean, she was an excellent swimmer and she loved to retrieve. And more than anything else, she just loved knowing that I was proud of her. And so she got lots of you know, love when she would bring a duck back.
So, yeah, I mean, she caught on really quickly and I, I don't know that I did anything. Really sort of outside the box. I just did some basic things that I thought would be, that's great trainer. That's an anomaly. It's an anomaly that, that she had that high, you know, ball drive and, you know, retrieve drive and things like that.
I can only imagine the comments at the boat ramp, you know, [00:26:00] early in the mornings loading your stuff in the boat, and somebody else who brought a coon dog to a duck hunt, you know? Yeah. Oh man, that's great. Well, was she steady a shot and everything? Oh, yeah, yeah. She was great. And to the point where then I would have her around me and maybe I was target shooting or shooting a handgun or something, and she'd, I, I forgot it, you know, how driven she was.
And I'd shoot and she'd start running around looking for the duck. So I had to you know, ex, you know, show her that. Not at all shooting necessarily means there's gonna be a duck there, so. Right. But, but I would, you know, to your point, and, and I mentioned about the cold, this is how spoiled this dog was.
If she'd retrieve a couple ducks and it was kind of cold, then I would take her up to the truck and leave her sit in the warm truck while I hunted a little bit longer. So, yeah, it was definitely interesting and fun. Yeah. Well, we've the other, the, the other key element here, and this is something I wa I was gonna get into anyway, was the, the commonality in our crowds.
'cause we do, we do several podcasts about deer recovery, [00:27:00] you know, with dogs. And we've done podcasts about training that we've had. Bavarian Hound guys on here. We've had Yag Terrier guys with Long Spur. I know you know, Robert Miller from Miller's Tracking up a Michigan, he's a, he's a big supporter and listener of Heath Heights podcast on Wednesday.
And, and so, you know, that's another reason why we. Want to have this conversation about bridging this gap between hounds men and deer hunters. You know, Dustin Machado down in Texas, he's, he's got a great relationship with, with deer hunters because there's a service that they provide and there's a need there from the deer hunting community.
N not to just write off all hounds men as bad actors, you know, because that's, I'm not afraid to call out the bad actors. I did it for 28 years of my professional career. So sometimes I get a little brash on the mic and challenge people. But so, so when you were doing the [00:28:00] Deer recovery with your hound, was it, was it more about just for personal and family use, or, or were you providing that service for other people as well?
There in Pennsylvania, No, it was just totally for personal use. Mm-hmm. And to give her something to do, frankly. And I was just curious about it myself. And you know, I never got to finish training her because it was right toward, you know, as sort of in the middle of her training we moved to North Dakota and that's when she became a duck dog.
So but no, I had no intention of doing it you know, commercially at all. Right, right. Well, that's a big, that's a big deal now, you know, you see a come November, I was sitting back watching last year just watching social media and follow some, some general hunting sites and, and different things. Some specific deer hunting sites, the Indiana Bow Hunters Association, and I was amazed by the amount of requests out there for, you know, recovery dogs.
So it's definitely something that, [00:29:00] that is gaining a lot of popularity and hunters are starting to see the value. Of having a well-trained dog that can help them assist. For sure. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, there, it's definitely growing and you know, it's, it used to be you couldn't find someone that had a dog that would track a deer and now people figured out they could make pretty good money at it and keep their dogs active too.
So yeah, it's, it's definitely growing. Yeah. And maybe when I come on your podcast, we can talk about some of the things that deer hunters need to do if they want that dog to be successful when they come, when they show up. We'll, we'll cover some of that on your podcast 'cause it'll be more applicable there.
But we've done done several podcasts on that topic and with you know, being a former law enforcement canine handler, the, the concepts are the same of seeing preservation and, and being just, just adding another layer to increase your success. So, absolutely. Yeah. So getting back to the, the, you know, the, I [00:30:00] think we just start off with we've talked about this in other meetings when you and I have discussed things.
I think at times you just have to break some eggs to make an omelet. You know, you just gotta, you gotta talk about the elephant in the room and just get that out of the way. And deer hunters and, and I'm not trying to be, you know, stereotypical or paint everybody with a broad brush, but I think we start where we look at the, the, the dynamics of the deer hunting community and then compare that to you know, the amount of membership that you have.
So how many deer hunters are you guys looking at? As you know, across the United States. Do you guys have any hard numbers on anything like that? Hey folks, this is a great opportunity to tell you about a product I'm using right now that I've just flat got addicted to, and that is OnX. I'm in northern [00:31:00] New Mexico right now as you're listening to this podcast, and we've been chasing bears.
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Yeah, you hear different things. You know, just the general rule of thumb, if you say 10 million, you're probably pretty close. It might be 12, but it's at least 10. You know, I've seen, [00:33:00] I've seen different numbers and it becomes challenging because you have some people that are in, and then they're out for a while and back in.
So those are typically the numbers that we use, but there's a lot of them. Mm-hmm. And then what kind of a percentage do you get for membership in, you know, from that 10 million? What's your, what's your estimate on that? Oh, it's horrible. And this is something we have done some research on. So deer hunters tend to be the worst joiners of groups like ours, so it's far less than 1%.
Would, would be a member of the, of the National Deer Association. It doesn't mean that they don't follow us or read what we put out there. We, we certainly influence mm-hmm. Way more than that. Half of a percent. But in terms of people that actually join, it's tiny and so much so to the point where we created a free membership where all you have to do is just provide your, your email and mailing address and you get a membership for free.
We have a basic membership because we realize you don't really, it's not a way to fund your organization with [00:34:00] membership. You, you, you fuel your organization with people who are interested and they participate in other ways. So it's small. It's not like waterfowl hunting, which is one of the highest, right.
You know, join, join rates. Mm-hmm. Does QM Q Well, I'm, I said Q D M A. I'm still stuck in that mindset. Sorry about that. No. Does the National Deer Deer Association, are you guys doing chapter banquets, have chapters of, for the organization, things like that around the country? We do we have branches, we call them branches.
They're scattered across the country. We've just made some investments as well in that area. Hiring a couple more people to help encourage the formation of those branches. You know, fundraising is part of what they do, but for me, I think it's, it's more important that they are engaged in the mission of the organization, providing local leadership and, and participating in the things that are fun.
Yeah, I think fundraising, they un people understand fundraising's important, but I don't think most people join because they want to [00:35:00] go fundraise. I think they join because they wanna take part in the mission. And so we're, we're really pushing people to do that with the understanding that the fundraising then naturally will follow.
Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a challenge. Membership is a challenge, even though, you know, hounds, men are, It can be very supportive, but we're even seeing a dynamic now where there's, there's less involvement in fraternal organizations and that that applies all across the board. I don't care if it's the V F W or the American Legion or, or what it is.
You know, Americans have become very poor joiners and supporters of their cause. They're not afraid to get on Facebook and be Facebook warriors and make their comments and, and things like that. And to me, that's like, you know, standing out in the wind and beating the, beating the wind with your fists, it does no good.
But as far as being joiners it's, it's something that we're seeing that's, that's really taken a hit [00:36:00] for sure. We ha It's interesting that you say that because we've, we've gone through all this when we re we just recently revamped all of our membership categories, and what we found is it's not that people don't care, they're not engaging in your mission.
Right. It's just, it's like when, you know, we we're probably similar age, and so there was a time when we joined something we enjoyed getting that little plastic card in the mail that said we were a member of wherever. And the, you know, these newer generations coming through don't value that as much. They value what we do and they wanna participate in it, but they don't care as much about the, the membership.
And so it's caused us to try to modernize and be more thoughtful about ways to engage those people without saying, Hey, you have to send us, you know, your 35 bucks for a membership. Right. Right. Well, I think that's one of the valuable things about discussing, you know, you and I having a discussion that is, is the fact that there's no doubt about it, the n d A and.
Has established themselves [00:37:00] as a credible voice in the hunting space. And also not only an influencer among deer hunters, but also an influencer as a credible voice with fish and wildlife managers. And so by, by ha starting discussions like this, we can learn from each other here and, and bolster our own interests, you know, by watching people that are successful.
Nobody watches, you know, sits back and watches a loser and, and figures out how they're gonna, how they're gonna plan their life and plan their strategy. You know, right. They, they, if you want to see great things, then, then you watch great people and you watch great organizations. When the Secret Service trains their agents a about how to spot counterfeits, they don't put counterfeit bills in front of 'em.
They study the real thing. They study real money. And, and learn every detail of the money. So you're never gonna get anywhere watching [00:38:00] people that aren't successful or watching the real thing. And, and one thing that nobody can argue with is the amount of influence that, that deer hunters and deer hunting organizations have on fish and wildlife managers.
What do you think the key is to that? What's the key to your success there? Well, I think the number one thing is, is that we are 100% driven by science. And so we don't allow ourselves to get involved with the know the emotion of an issue. We recognize that sometimes the science says we should do something that maybe deer hunters don't like or appreciate.
Okay. So we, but we never waver from that. And so I think that's certainly gained us a lot of respect. For, we're talking about, you know, hounds here, for example, some method of take ways of hunting animals that. That does not really matter to us as much as how we're, how we're managing populations.
Meaning there are a lot of ways to, to [00:39:00] take deer outta the population. And so we don't get involved with whether or not you do it with a bow or whether you do it with a gun, a cross bow, a muzzle loader whether you do it with hounds, that's not our, our issue. Our issue is the health of deer and, and habitat and herds.
Mm-hmm. And so we don't get into, we, we just don't get into those emotional issues. And I think that's certainly gained us a lot of credibility. And we do a ton of work with state wildlife agencies and even before I jumped on here, I was talking with, with someone, a federal partner that we work with. So I think that's where it starts.
So you keep everything science-based, leave the emotion out of it. I don't think you, most deer hunting organizations are very, I. From my experience, I've been very influential. And now we're getting into the part of the conversation that, that we might have to break a little legs and, and maybe lay some things out.
Because I think a lot of times from listening to my audience, people feel like that you know, deer hunters walk in the room and they kick the door in and [00:40:00] they get whatever they want. And, and they're not conscientious of, of what other supporting groups and supporting other supporting groups. The only thing they care about.
And going back to the Q D M A days, you know, everybody thought that that was an organization that we're just talking about, grown big bucks, big bucks, gotta have those big bucks, gotta have the wall hanger, blah, blah, blah. And, and so in the wake of that, there's been this impression that, that deer hunters don't care about anything else besides growing big horns.
Can you address that at all? I mean, I think the, the excuse me. I think the key thing you said there is impression. And so there's impression and then there's reality. Now, certainly in the early days of the, of the Quality Deer Management Association, that was the time. Like I said, we're going back 35 years ago now.
That was a time where people were starting the [00:41:00] whole, we, we used to actually have a, a slogan, let 'em go so they can grow. And so right there, there's no question that, that was the early roots. But even, even in those early roots, it was still driven by trying to limit populations, dough, harvest, harvest, more dough and the organiza.
It's funny, the organization at that time caught a lot of flack because people just couldn't understand why would you wanna shoot those? Because I wanna see 50 deer out there. Right? And so That was the part of the message that was kinda lost in the beginning was this idea that you need to reduce populations.
And so, at any rate you know, I think to, to the point that you're making though, is as, as things evolved over the years and people started buying their own property and that there, that's never been bigger than it is now. I mean, there are several companies out there that really, you know, exist to sell hunting property.
Yes. I mean, I, I own property in Pennsylvania and I get letters probably at least once a month from, from these companies that say, Hey, we wanna buy your land. So and [00:42:00] so what's happened is you've created this dynamic where people in many cases empty out their life savings or even use money they don't even have, and they, they find a way to acquire property and they become extremely protective of that property.
And then that limits you know, use by, by others and creates conflicts. And when there is a conflict, it becomes very I dunno if heated is the right word, but there, it just, it, it's just a high intense moment when that happens. And because people are, I've been some pr I've responded some pretty heated moments over the years, Nick, between, you know, com Yeah.
Conflicting user groups. Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, that that is a side effect that think of people understanding, well, if I want a certain quality of hunting, the best way to do that is I can control it myself by having my own place to do it. And that's okay. I mean, I think that's perfectly fine. But then, you know, the follow up to that is it does create more, more intensity and these you know, sort of elevated environments where you do have conflict.
[00:43:00] And so, yeah, I mean that's, that, that was never an intention of anybody. It's just sort of a natural evolution of what happened there. I will say as a, as an organization, we recognize that. Quite a while ago, and you won't even see, you won't see us use those terms that were used in the past. You know, the whole let 'em grow so they'll grow type of thing.
I mean, we are really a, a conservation organization broadly, and so that isn't our focus anymore. Now we certainly aren't, you know, we're not trying to pretend that we don't know that if you manage your deer herd better, you will have a chance to shoot older age class deer. That's certainly part of it.
Mm-hmm. But that's not what drives, you know, what it is that we do. So it's just, it's been an evolution for us as well as a, as a leader in your organization. You know, it seems like everybody that, that everybody that buys a hunting license within a few years becomes a, you know, a conservation expert.
They get a wildlife biology degree through. Facebook and, and things like that. So I [00:44:00] know that not everything that you do as an organization, you just get the masses falling in line and supporting everything you do. And, and you touched on something that was you know, pretty key. You know, I remember back in the late eighties, early nineties, it wasn't anything to sit in a tree stand and see 30 or 40 deer, you know, during our tree season come through.
And as we started changing our management plans and different things, you know, now if you sit there and you're seeing 10 in the, in a morning sit, that's a pretty good day, even for Southeast Indiana where it was a destination place to deer hunt. So, so as a leader of your organization, how do you handle some of the dissenting opinions?
You know, handle some of the, the. I guess we just start out with what challenges you face as an organization and how you overcome those [00:45:00] successfully to stay focused on your mission and continue to do the right thing for deers deer and deer hunters. I said deers. I sound like a hillbilly. It's, I think it goes back to what I said earlier and just being a science-based organization.
If you stick to what the science says and you rely on peer-reviewed science, I think you keep yourself out a lot of those troubles. We don't try to, we don't spend a lot of time trying to convince somebody that's got their mind made up that we don't have enough deer, for example. And so. I think just staying out of those arguments.
We, we have a lot of people that don't like us just because we say you should harvest those or because you know, we're not just strictly focused on shooting big deer and you know, those types of things. So there are, believe me, there are plenty of people that don't like us or don't like positions that we take.
I can tell you if, if there's a, let's say you, you weren't allowed to use Well, we'll pick a neighboring state, Illinois if you, if you, all of a [00:46:00] sudden they pass legislation says everybody's allowed to use a crossbow now. Mm-hmm. And so we would get asked to weigh in on that and we would just simply say, we don't weigh in on that because it has really little to do with the, with the management of the species there.
And so we have people mad at us because we don't weigh into, you know, to, to oppose crossbows. We actually would take the opposite stance and say it allows for more people to participate. And so we get a lot of people that get mad at us for those types of things. And there are some people that they try to deny that chronic wasting disease is a real thing and that it's a, it's a real issue to be concerned about.
And they get mad at us because we follow the science and say, no, it is important and here's what we need to do to, to, to try to slow it down. And so it's just, if you, if you always rely on the science and you don't allow yourself to be swayed by public opinion or political opinion, I think that keeps you, I.
On the, on the road and doesn't allow you to sort of get off track and then all of a sudden you're having to defend weak positions. And and so we are always, and have always been, and it's something I'm really proud [00:47:00] of. We have always been 100% science-based and that's, that's how it's gonna be, at least as long as I'm here anyway.
I Sure, yeah, I think that's a, a very, even in 2023, after so much of our scientific community has come under scrutiny and, and been weaponized and everything else, you know, nobody's weaponizing, you know, whether there's nobody weaponizes. Some wildlife manage, some of it has been weaponized. You know, you start taking the wolf and things like that.
And there's definitely agendas and, and the anti hunters try to weaponize different issues all the time, but mm-hmm. You know, it's, it's not gonna change the world. World powers aren't sitting around worried about how many do are shot in Ohio County, Indiana. That's right. So, yep. Yeah. And that's where people start attaching their emotions to, you know, it's hard for me to get my [00:48:00] kids involved in hunting.
If you take 'em out there and, and they sit for, for 12 hours straight and don't see a deer, or you don't tree a raccoon, or you don't find a bear track, you know that attention spans are important. I'm more invested. It's, you know, I can handle the ups and the downs, but, but trying to do introduction into stuff like that and not seeing some of that success, or at least.
At least getting to enjoy the experience of that then, then, you know, it's, it's tough. It's tough when you're, when you're trying to recruit new hunters. Yeah, it is. And you know, frankly, there are other. Other species that are a little easier when you're trying to get people excited about hunting than deer hunting.
For sure. I mean, deer hunting tends to be pretty solitary and, you know, you can go a good amount of time without seeing any deer. I mean, I, I think Turkey hunting is exciting because even if you don't see one, you're probably gonna hear one [00:49:00] in most cases. So that gets you excited. Waterfowl, hunting's, fast moving.
Even, even, you know, hound hunting. I mean, you're out there in the middle of the night chasing raccoons like I remember fondly as a kid, and there's always something going on, you know? Oh, yeah. And you, the dogs are out there working. And so, you know, if you go out, if you go out with a dog and, and whether you're hunting squirrels or bears or raccoons or, or lions, you know, it's, it's something that's interactive.
At least there's a dog in the picture. Kids, kids can stay pretty focused, and I always call 'em the gate, you know, like squirrel hunting with a dog or rabbit hunting with a, with a good beagle is a, is a gateway. Sport, that lifestyle, that, that opens the gates. Who knows where a kid's gonna go with their hunting career after that And Yeah.
And because, because they don't have to sit quiet. Dad's not poking them the ribs and saying, sh be quiet. There's a deer coming. You know? It's, it's a, it's a whole different, I've taken several kids, you know, coon hunting over the years. If they get [00:50:00] bored, they go down to the creek and they start skipping rocks and catching salamanders and they're not interfering with anything.
Yeah. And I think the technology too, of hound hunting is cool now. It's not what we had growing up. I mean, we didn't have g p s collars where you could watch where these dogs were. And I mean, you literally, you just had to be out there and you had to understand, you know, when a dog was tree and, and how far out they might be.
And when it was time to call 'em back and. And, you know, a lot of that has changed with just the technology, which, you know, that's even fascinating. So, like my son, he's only six, but he's really fascinated by technology and maybe not so much yet being in the outdoors. And when you combine those things, I bet he'd get a kick outta seeing the hounds go out and watch them work and know where they were.
And so it's just a different time now and yeah, I think it's all good. Yeah. All right. So let's get in, let's get into a controversial issue here, and I, I want to get your opinion on it. You know, there, there is a lot of conflict between deer hunters and hounds men at times. [00:51:00] And a lot of talk about emotional type stuff.
You know, there's a, if you want to get emotional about stuff, then, then just, you know, look at social media and read comments about, you know, some of the conflicts between hounds men and deer hunters. That'll get you emotional pretty quick. What do you think the root cause is for that for. You know, deer hunters being at odds with hounds or hounds, men being at odds with deer hunters.
Yeah. I mean, you put any thought into that? Oh, sure. Yeah. I mean, and, and we, we get asked to weigh in on this topic, on the regular. Yeah, I don't know if it's one main thing. I think it's a few things. I think number one is a lack of awareness or understanding maybe of each other. I, I could go out my door here in Pennsylvania, we don't have hound hunting for for deer.
And if I found the first 10 hunters and I asked them, Hey, what do you, what do you think a hound hunting or hunting deer with hounds, [00:52:00] they, they wouldn't really, wouldn't know where to start because they wouldn't know much about it. It's just not part of the culture here. Mm-hmm. And so there's that part of it, just the understanding.
And I think the other part of it is something we talked about earlier, and that is when people make these investments in land, It's, it's less about, I think it's less about a concern of, of hunting deer with hounds than it is about protecting their property. And so, I don't know. You know, I, I don't have a lot of conversations with people on this issue, but I don't, I, I would say that very few people that I've talked to say that they just, that they hate the idea of deer hunt being hunted with hounds.
I think it's more so that they're, they're concerned that. This is one that we hear typically. So, Hey, I bought this a thousand acre property and I'm doing all these things and I'm sitting on my tree stand and I, you know, I see three or four hounds running through all the time. Mm-hmm. Well, you know, I, I own my own, my land is attached to about [00:53:00] 5,000 acres, estate land and, and coyote hunting with hounds is still a big deal there.
And I do occasionally will see a hound come through that's, that's hunting a coyote. But there's a difference between that. Occasionally a hound comes through that may have come off the state land versus somebody that is showing up there on the regular trying to hunt your property with hounds. Right.
And so I think it's, I think it's understanding what the differences are. I think it's being willing to have a little bit of a tolerance on both sides of the issue. And, and unfortunately I don't think it's something that Chris, you or I could solve. It's something that every individual's different than how they look at those things whether it be this issue or political issues or whatnot.
And you just hope that the majority. Can learn to understand each other a little bit and not, not immediately search for conflict, but search for reasonable resolution. I think it's okay to have a conversation. I say, Chris, yeah, I know you like to hunt with Hounds. And I'm seeing, but the problem is I'm seeing 'em on my place, you know, three or four [00:54:00] times a week.
That's a different conversation than, Hey Chris, one time last year, your hounds came through my place and I'm not happy about it. I mean Right, right. You know what I mean? And so I think that's, it just comes down to trying to hope that people can be reasonable on both sides of it. Yeah. And there's, there's back bad actors.
We've talked about that before. There's bad actors on wherever you go and whatever you do, you know, you can't go to a baseball game, you know, without finding bad actors there. That's why they have security, you know? That's right. So even your little league, your kid's little league game, you know, believe me, I coach baseball and I I see it.
Yeah, I see it at every level for sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. You know, overreactive parents for their, their kid that's you know, gonna be an N B A star, but his, their dad's five foot seven and their mom's four foot 10. You know, it's like, hey, you know, the chances of this kid being an N B A star just on physical is, is you know, slim to [00:55:00] none here.
So that's great. But yeah. You know, when you say, when you say, you know, talking about, I'm just gonna be real plain spoken here, you know, somebody getting their panties in a twist about, about, you know, seeing a hound on their place. I, I do know people that, that are like that, that are, that are deer hunters.
They get their, they, I mean, they just totally come unhinged because they see a hound on their place. One of the things that is out there right away that, that hounds men often will bow up about is the fact that, you know, our reaction is, my hounds aren't gonna interrupt your deer, honey. So I wanna give you an opportunity to address that mindset that my, my audience may have or use to justify the fact that their hounds were someplace that they didn't have permission to be.[00:56:00]
And I'm talking coon hunters, you know, you know, main, mainly raccoon hunters, you know, are the ones that seem to have the big issue. The, oh, I see deer. The whole hound hunting thing in the south. Is is kind of an isolated deal. It's it's regional, very regional, and it's cul got deep cultural stuff and, and we'll talk about that as well.
But, but let's, let's talk about, you know, a broader spectrum of, of coon hunters who are, you know, have hunted in an area their whole life and now they're seeing a base camp leasing sign come up and they're mm-hmm. They're seeing, you know, no-till planters and, and different things roll into their country that, that they got to hunt that property for years and now all of a sudden they've got, got a guy from Indianapolis with some jingle in his pocket that comes down and it's like, I saw your hand on my place a year ago.
Yeah. I mean, I don't know. [00:57:00] I mean, I think that's just a fact of life, right? That's the reality of things. If, if, if somebody owns something that we want, that we want, but we don't own it. There's, there's not anything any of us can do about that. And you just hope that you can find a relationship or just go right to that person soon as they show up and say, Hey, I just wanna understand what your goals are, and I'll tell you what we've done, and if, if nothing else, we at least we'll know exactly where each other stands.
And I think that's, that's all you can do in that case. I think a, a big part of it too is just intent. You know, for me, like I said, I occasionally will see hounds come through my place. The intent there is not that somebody is purposely coming to my place and trying to hunt my place with their hounds and I, they're in, in my area.
It's primarily what their hunting is. Coyotes. What has happened there is, is that they've entered the state land. Their dogs have maybe taken a track across my place or whatever. Maybe they tried to call the dog and it [00:58:00] didn't come back. You know, it's, it's intent, right? The intent is no big deal there.
And so I don't worry about it now, I think if, if the intent was that somebody purposely in routinely is running their hounds through, that's a different story. But I, I just don't, like you said, there are bad actors, but I think those type of people are really few and far between. I mean, nobody for the most part is seeking conflict or wants to cause problems.
And so I think, you know, I would just hope that people, if you're a deer hunter and you have, you know, a time or two seen a dog that was there that shouldn't be, Then, you know, that's hap I hope you can understand that that happens on occasion. But if it's, if also though, if you're a hound hunter and your dogs are continually going onto a property and it's causing conflict, then you have to be the one to act and step away from that.
And so it's just, it's a give and take. And you know, I've seen a, a situation, and this isn't even hound hunting. This is people that have just pets and their pets [00:59:00] continually were going on to my buddy's property. And my buddy was trapping and he went to the, to the neighbor's house and he said, listen, he said, I keep getting your dogs on my cameras.
I have cameras over a lot of my trap sites so I can see what's happening and I'm worried that they're gonna get caught. So I would just ask you to please, you know, be mindful of that. Well, literally within days, here's a picture of one of their dogs in his trap, right? And so he, he did his thing. He went to their house and asked them not to do it, and then to the point where their dog ends up in a trap over it.
So, You know, you just, you hope that, again, on both sides of the issue, that people can come to some sort of agreement and hey, if, if, if you're, you know, you're in an area where someone just is very intense and doesn't want you on their land, then you have to respect that, even as disappointing as it may be.
But I would, I would hope that, that, that that situation is more rare. Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think a lot of it is, I, I know several people that, and I, I'm even guilty of this myself. I have some places here that, [01:00:00] that I've just had a, a not guilty of it, I guess. I guess I just built a relationship with landowners where I don't have to call them.
I don't even have to ask them Every year. I see 'em at the feed store, I see 'em at the corner store. I see 'em, you know, I see 'em in my community and they know that I hound, hunt. If they see my truck park, they're not worried about it because I've got that relationship with 'em. I go to church with 'em, whatever.
It's, it's more of a relationship building type thing. And, and for, for me personally, just speaking from my own perspective, building that relationship with someone who is an absentee landowner in an area that is a destination place for for people who want to hunt white-tailed deer is a challenge.
It's a challenge. It's not, I'm not saying it can't be had, but it is a challenge. So let's talk about some solutions to being able to build that [01:01:00] relationship. And so, and I, I'll just getting right down the brass tacks of it, there's certain places where I'll see a a new lease sign come up or a new landowner pops up with On X, there's no excuse for people not to.
Know where property lines are and, and who the landowners are. I was using g i s systems 30 years ago to track landowners and get permission, but, but I still get that gut feeling down in my gut, you know, butts up next to a traditional piece of property that I still have permission on. Now I'm like, okay, who are these guys?
I know they're gonna have cell phone cameras out there. And, and my first fear is I don't want to get a hound shot because of an ignorant deer hunter that, that thinks that it's okay to, to whack my dog. So let's talk about some solutions and how we build effective relationships with guys that, that are buying [01:02:00] up or leasing big tracks of land to deer hunt on.
I mean, I think it's just communication. I mean, that solves a lot of issues. I mean, you, it's, you know, you, you, you go out on the town, right? And you, and you see someone that you might, you know, that, that you're attracted to, and you might wanna ask them on a date, right? So you got two choices. You can either go up and, and talk to them, or you can sit there and say, well, there's no way that that person would, would accept a date with me.
And then you just give up. Right? Which, which, that happens a lot. Like, I think Yeah, it does. How many times? That's a good example. Many, you know, ask, ask the girl out because you thought she'd tell you no. Right, right. And so I think it's very similar with, with this situation. You just, you just have the conversation like, Hey, I'm just coming over here.
This is who I am. Wanna introduce myself. I occasionally hunt with my hounds on the neighboring property. I wanted to make you aware of that. Just wanted to get your feelings on it. And then you have a conversation. You'll know immediately what you're dealing with. You either a reasonable person, you may agree to disagree, but at least you know what you're dealing with.
And then you can you know, shape your actions accordingly. [01:03:00] You know, imagine if I pulled in, it's, it's midday. I see guys around the truck or around the camper or wherever, and I pull in and I just introduce myself and, and start, start building that relationship. And, and now all of a sudden they're putting a face with this hound that they may see on their camera.
It's a lot ar it's a lot of, after you've built that relationship and people know that you're harmless, you know, you don't, I don't want my hounds somewhere that, that they're gonna be in danger or they're gonna cause me drama or any of that stuff. But it is getting harder. I mean, it gets harder every year, but I'm not coon hunting in the middle of the day on opening day of firearm season, you know?
And those are great days. Great. That whole week before firearm season comes here in Indiana. Guys will come in and, and they'll make sure their stands are set. They'll maybe bow hunt in the morning, the afternoon. They're just kind of hanging out and join Deer Camp [01:04:00] and, and you can pull in there and, and, you know, share a beer with them or, or whatever, you know, in the evenings around the campfire.
At that point, it's a lot harder to, you know, wish ill on somebody when you've broken bread with them. I think it's huge. Oh it is. And I think another thing too, I was thinking of this when you were talking there, is I would invite people to go along, say, Hey, I'm gonna go out and, you know, we're gonna go out this evening and, and do some raccoon hunting or whatever, and invite 'em so that they can see what it's all about.
Because it's pretty fascinating stuff. I mean, it's, I haven't, I haven't gone or I haven't owned Hounds to hunt. You know, raccoons are coyotes for a long time, but a, a friend of mine still is very active and just a few years ago you know, I said, Hey, I'd really like to go again. I just, I just had a great time.
'cause I wasn't used to the, to the, to the g p s situation as it is now. Right. That was a cool, whole new aspect for me. And we went out and we shot a couple coons and we [01:05:00] actually were on my place, which is a, you know, largely a deer hunting place and mm-hmm. So we went out there and that was really cool.
And I, I, frankly, I wish I did more of it because it's just, I'll let him handle taking care of all the dogs and, you know, paying to feed them and then I'd just go out and enjoy it once in a while. So I think that that could help too, is people, it would give people a better understanding of what it's all about.
Yeah, for sure. And I, I think it's, I loved your analogy about asking the girl out for a date. 'cause I know so many people, even even deer hunters, you know, I used to have some guys that came in here and hunted and, and I. It's like, man, I saw a really good place down the road that, that looks like a great place to deer hunt.
I wonder if they'd let me hunt. And my reaction was always the same. It's like, you'll never know unless you walk up there to that door and you ask them. And the same go, same way, goes for us as hounds men. We can find that common ground. And the thing about deer hunters, deer hunters get really possessive of their property usually from about, [01:06:00] you know, the 1st of August to the end of, of December.
You know, and I don't understand all of it. I don't agree with all of it, but I do respect that that's a respect that that's a property. I can get access to that property the rest of the year if I'm just not an, if I'm just not an asshole. Right. You know, that goes a long way. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you pull in there, it's like, yeah, I just thought I'd let you know that I hound hunt this area and, and you might see my dogs on your cameras and, you know, have this attitude that that's just the way it's gonna be.
That's not good relationship building. And you might want to, you know, read a couple books like how to Win Friends and Influence People. 'cause, 'cause you suck at making friends. Right, right. Yeah, yeah. There will, there will always be those extreme examples. And you just hope that there are few and far between.
And as you said, there are bad actors on both sides. And some people, there are some people that are just looking for a fight or looking for trouble too, [01:07:00] so. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Well, what kind of plans does I mean, there's so much stuff we could talk about, you know, with my, with my former occupation, I've got a lot of experience with the, you know, deer management stuff like that.
We'll, we'll s. People can get all that information from your podcast. You guys cover all that stuff on those podcasts all the time. So you know, what do you guys got in the works coming up? Yeah, so we're. There's, there's never, we used to talk about, well, when it slows down right. Nothing, nothing ever slows down anymore, right?
So, right. You know, I think we're, we're continually putting out educational information on everything from how to cut a tree down to you know, what, what all different species benefit because you're managing for Deere, right. And so if people are unfamiliar with us and are interested in that stuff, I would encourage them to, not just our website, because even websites are kind of outdated [01:08:00] anymore.
But we do a ton of stuff on our Facebook page. All of our, our, our Instagram, we even have a TikTok account, and we're spending a lot of time just educating people about the value of deer broadly. Why Deere is so important to all the things that we do. And so every, all of our accounts are just Deere Association.
So any, any, you just go to Google type in Deere Association, you'll find all of that stuff. Mm-hmm. We're doing a lot of large scale forestry type projects now with the US Forest Service, so I look for that to expand. We're getting more and more involved with, on the ground, large scale projects, so that's, that's something we're doing.
We also have a really cool pro program called Field to Fork, where we're taking out people who have always wanted to try deer hunting, but never had the opportunity to do it. And we take them for the first time, teach them how to do it. That program continues to grow in popularity and has been very successful for us.
You know, it might even be something that you, you may want to consider with, with your [01:09:00] organization is a program where you introduce people to hound hunting and just, you may take people that have never, they have no interest in maybe shooting anything, but just wanna see what the culture's all about.
Mm-hmm. And that gets back to the education. And so we're, we're doing a lot of that work as well. So pretty much anything dear, dear Science policy, we're involved in it and heavily active. Right, right. Yeah. We, we get, we encourage, we partner with an organization called freedom Hunters.
Mm-hmm. And taking America's veterans back out there and, and we help, help hounds men across the country that, that want to get involved in that. One of the things that I wanted to touch on that, that we haven't talked about yet is, you know, that there's no doubt about it that hunting with hounds is one of those things that's under fire.
And it's a favorite target for the. The anti-hunting crowd, and too many times I see deer hunters who are more than happy to [01:10:00] feed us to the wolves. And even even talk about the fact that hunting with hounds is not fair. Chase as a hounds man yourself, you know, how, how do you address that issue when, when you hear people from your own community trying to, you know, make statements that, that hunting with hounds is not fair, chase?
Yeah, I mean, I, I think it gets back to some of the stuff we talked about before, and that is that we're a science-based organization and so we don't, we're not an organization that concerns itself. I, let me say that, make sure I say this the right way. We care about, Fair chase. Okay. But we don't try to define what that is necessarily.
Okay. There's there, we, we certainly wouldn't characterize hunting with hounds as not being a fair chase hunt. Okay? Mm-hmm. For, for your purposes as an organization, no. Right? Yeah. We don't have any policy. We have no policies that oppose hound hunting. Our policy is simply this, that we support whatever the state wildlife [01:11:00] agency determines is the legal method or way of pursuing deer.
And as long as those things aren't hampering deer populations or herding habitat and hunters in some way, then that's what we support. And so in these states that have. Deer hunting with hounds. We don't oppose that. You know, we just, again, we're focused on the science of the issue. Now we do, we certainly support property rights, but I think anybody would support property rights.
And unless, you know, to your point, you're always concerned about that. And so I think that would be in line with, with anybody that's reasonably thinking about the situation. But no, we don't take positions against hunting with hounds or any of those types of things. In terms of the anti-hunting crowd.
I mean, there are organizations that deal with that directly. We try not to involve ourselves with, with that too much, although we certainly support policy and legislation to allow things like for example, we had one recently in I think it was New York, where they had legislation to, to ban the coyote [01:12:00] contests, right?
And so, again, scientifically we know. A contest, frankly, is a way to get people out and participate in predator management. Mm-hmm. And it's not gonna harm coyote populations, and it really is more of an attack on hunting generally. Well, we certainly will sign on to letters and support opposition to legislation like that, things that are driven by a motion and not the science of the issue.
Sure. Yeah. So the, the, the biggest thing that I can't understand, and maybe you can help me with this, if I was a, if I was a cattle farmer and I have a tree fall on my fence and my cows get out and they're standing in your food plot, I don't know a deer hunter that's not gonna say, Hey, come over here and get your cows.
I need, you know, please. I, and the, they probably don't even need to get permission to do it. It's like, get those cows outta here. But it seems like that, that when it's a hound and it's a hunter, then, then people get a lot more emotionally [01:13:00] charged about it because they feel like that they're, they're you know, they're being infringed upon.
So, you know, why is, why is there such emotion behind, is it just a, a they feel like it's a lack of respect for their, their property at that point. Why did, why did deer hunters get so wound up about that? Because things happen when you, when you turn a hound loose, I don't care if you've got a good recall on 'em or not, you lose signal, and let me lay this out a little bit.
You lay, you lose signal with your G p s collar. You lose track of where your dog is and the next time you get signal, holy crap, he is right in the middle of, you know, Joe's Joe, the bow hunter's big hunting lease. Mm-hmm. It wasn't intentional. Yeah. I mean, I can't, I can't answer that for everybody because again, everybody's personality's a little bit different.
I have, ironically, you bring up cows. I've had, I, I'm aware of more than one occasion where people's cows got loose and went in and ate, ate up somebody's food [01:14:00] plots. Sure. So that actually does happen, which is, yep. It's kind of crazy. I, I actually remember a case in Illinois where there was a rogue donkey running around that kept showing up in a food plot that we, that we were getting on a trail camera, which is kind of neat.
But anyway yeah, I don't know. I think it's, it just gets back to this very sort of protective, this is mine. I paid my money for it. I, I'm breaking my back out here. Mm-hmm. Doing X, Y, and Z. And so because of that, it creates this very reactionary whether it's someone hunting hounds or frankly, if it's just a neighbor that gets lost and wanders onto the property.
I think, I think it's a, that trespassing. In general, and they just automatically assume somebody's there with bad intentions. Sure. So I'm not sure you know, how to, how to solve that one, but I think that's where a lot of it comes from. Yeah. This is a, this is a magnified example, but if you own, if you own an acre lot and all of a sudden, you know, you see some [01:15:00] guy out aging around, rummaging around in your, your bushes, looking behind your bushes and different, you're gonna come outta the house and you're gonna ask questions, you know, you're gonna confront that person and come to find out that they, you know, they're, were visiting a neighbor two blocks away and their dog's gone and they saw their dog, or they're, you know, run up behind the bushes.
There's still an expectation that you're probably gonna get asked some questions at that point. You know, why are you looking behind the shrubs? Mm-hmm. Are you looking? You know, so it's just, it's an, like I said, it's a magnified example, but it's. So in those cases where the cows got out, was there some financial ramifications?
Are you seeing, seeing deer managers now that are, they're seeking restitution for damage for deer plots in situations like that? Yeah, I don't, I I don't, I have not seen that specifically. No. I just know that the, I was just curious. The guy, yeah. The people that told the story in both cases were they were [01:16:00] frustrated, but not like, to the point of, it's just one of those things that happened.
Right? It's like, yeah, ah, I couldn't believe it, you know, come in and ate out my entire food plot and, you know, I don't know if the, you know, if the, if the farmer in that case pitched in and, and it or what, but it was just when you, when you had mentioned that issue, I thought, well, that's funny because that has actually happened.
So, yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Well, Nick, again I think, you know, we're running a little bit long. I know you're a busy guy for sure. And, and I. I don't put time limits on the podcast, I gotta talk to you for hours about, about issues. But I think the main thing is, you know, you can sit around and cry about spilled milk or things that have happened in the past, but the only way that we continue, all of us continue to enjoy hunting to the fullest and have the best experiences we can.
These groups like yours and, and the Hounds man groups out there, the trappers, fishermen, I don't care what it is in this 21st century environment, we have to find common [01:17:00] ground and find places that we come together and, and not always looking for, for ways to divide us. So I really appreciate you taking time to to come on the podcast and tell us about what the, what you guys are really all about.
Remove some of the cloak and dagger, smoke and mirrors, you know, predisposed idea, paradigm paralysis, whatever you want to call it, that. That you can't work with deer hunters. 'cause I know that's not true. I've, I've seen it happen with our state organization. Got good friends that are in the Bow Hunters Association.
They've been there for hounds men in the past. So I appreciate your time to come on, come the, come on the podcast and, and introduce us to the NA, national Deer Association. No, I appreciate the opportunity. It was my pleasure. And yeah, I look forward to having you likewise on our podcast as well.
Yeah, for sure. Well, thanks for listening. Everybody. Can't tell you how much your listener support [01:18:00] means to us. You know, just downloading and listening to this podcast is huge for us. I never thought we would be able to be able to have so many great supporters out there when we started this thing, so I just wanna take the opportunity to say thanks and make sure you're checking out homan xp.com.
Got a lot of good information there for you, places for you to listen to, podcast merchandise. It all goes to help support this podcast and build relationships with organizations that are well established that can help us secure a future for hound hunting. So, and all hunting. So guys like Nick coming on the podcast wouldn't be possible without your support and we really appreciate that.
So Nick, I look forward to to making an appearance on your podcast. And till next time, thanks for listening to Hounds Medic P This is fair Chase.