Steven Rinella says that if it weren’t for the fun and the food, he wouldn’t hunt, but it’s hard to imagine the outdoors celebrity doing anything else.
With a back-story of hunting squirrels and whitetail deer as a youth in Michigan, he burst onto the public scene in 2008 with his book, “American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.” Interlacing the story of his own buffalo hunt in Alaska with history and legend, the book won the prestigious Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. Since then, he has written several more books, including two wild game cookbooks.
By 2011, he had his own TV show on the Travel Channel, “The Wild Within,” which was succeeded by “MeatEater” on the Sportsman Channel (now also available on Netflix). Amid all that, he launched a MeatEater podcast, which quickly became the top-ranked outdoors podcast on iTunes.
Rinella and his MeatEater crew will sit down for a live podcast recording Thursday at the Ames Center in Burnsville (no tickets remain). In advance of the podcast, Rinella talked about his shows, tensions in the hunting world, and more via e-mail.
Q: Most hunting shows on TV are 22 minutes of whispering in a blind, climaxing with a shot and a dead animal. In your show, the climax is often the preparation of the meat after the hunt. How has the different rhythm of your show been accepted by the hunting community?
SR: People often assume that MeatEater is a sort of reaction against traditional hunting TV, but it’s really not. I never watched hunting TV growing up, so I wouldn’t have known what I was supposed to be responding to. The show has enjoyed some measure of success, in that we recently completed our 100th episode. We premiered six years’ worth of MeatEater episodes on Sportsman Channel, where we have a great relationship, and it was the first hunting show to be licensed by Netflix. It’s been really cool to see the show there. New and emerging hunters make up a big segment of our viewership. The food aspect of the show speaks to them in a big way.
Read the rest at the Star Tribune.