All Is Not As It Appears in the Professional Hunter World

All Is Not As It Appears in the Professional Hunter World Outdoor Life

All Is Not As It Appears in the “Professional” Hunter and Influencer World

As a kid, I flip through hunting magazines, devouring stories. Dreaming of becoming an outdoor writer myself, I imagine a carefree lifestyle of unlimited successful hunting, all funded by big-name magazines. I expect a hefty paycheck or a blank check for hunting trips.

Daydreaming about “making it” is easy. Passion satisfied, smooth sailing for the rest of my days. However, after 10 years as a writer in the outdoor industry, I learned that the real world doesn’t work that way.

Spending more time in the outdoor media circle, I realize many of my past perceptions about writers and TV show hosts were wrong. It’s a sad realization. With few exceptions, nobody gets rich from hunting trips alone. This is not how real life works. Some people in television and videos spend a lot of time hunting. However, they are paid to create content or market products, or sometimes both. The hosts of your favorite TV show? They likely have a full-time job or main business aside from their show, and most have to buy airtime on outdoor TV.

Editors of hunting publications get great hunting opportunities, but they spend most of their time writing stories. Social media influencers might get free gear or sponsorship dollars, but most don’t make a full-time living from it. Nothing is free, and what you see on social media is only a highlight reel. Everyone deals with real life.

All Is Not As It Appears in the Professional Hunter World Outdoor Life

What you see is an intentional and idealized self-image, not reality. From foolish attention-seekers to genuine stories, there’s a spectrum of personalities and content. It’s easy to envy authenticity, especially after a rough year. However, we need to remember that public figures are real people, dealing with life just like us. For those lower on the authenticity scale, what you see is not reality. We often forget to appreciate what we have right in front of us because we desire what we don’t.

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Now, to be clear, I was lucky to write for OL a decade ago, and I’m still lucky to do it. Blessed with opportunities I could only dream of, “making it” looks different from what I imagined.

This is especially true when I see what other folks are up to. Instead of enjoying their success, it’s easier to focus on what I’m not doing. With a nurse wife, three young children, outdoor writing, a construction-industry job, podcast production, and other seasonal hustles, free time is limited. Many others in outdoor media are hustling like me.

This is not to cast outdoor writers and content producers in a negative or depressing light, or seek sympathy for myself. Objectively, considering my opportunities, I have nothing to complain about. My point is that we shouldn’t fall for the unrealistic idea that reaching a destination means we no longer have to deal with real life. Things won’t turn out as expected, leading to disappointment. Most importantly, we miss out on the present experiences while chasing something seemingly better.

The truth is, every hunting opportunity I get is special and unique. It’s important to remind myself of that often. Ambitious dreams and goals are great, and we should pursue our aspirations. However, comparison steals joy. If you hunt because you love it, every time you step into the woods or onto the mountain, you have made it.