Son of a Blitch

Ep. 46 - Kent Boucher: An Exhilarating Expedition into Hunting and Conservation

December 27, 2023 George Blitch Season 1 Episode 46
Son of a Blitch
Ep. 46 - Kent Boucher: An Exhilarating Expedition into Hunting and Conservation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever dreamed of venturing into the rugged beauty of the great outdoors, rifle in hand, ready to embark on a thrilling hunting journey? In this episode, George Blitch sits down with  Kent Boucher, the host of the First Gen Hunter Podcast, and The Prairie Farm Podcast who started his hunting journey from scratch, navigating the wilderness, armed with his first hunting dog and weapon. Kent recollects his initial deer hunting expeditions, sharing all the excitement, challenges, and the allure of the sport that has made him a passionate first-generation hunter.

We also get an inside view of Kent's decision-making process which led to the creation of his successful podcast. Inspired by the 'Wired to Hunt' podcast (see episode 33 with host, Mark Kenyon), Kent saw a unique opportunity to launch a platform for engaging discussions on hunting and conservation. Furthermore, Kent gives us a peek into his current role at Hoksey Native Seeds, where his passion for conservation has found a fruitful ground.

This adventure doesn't stop here! We navigate deeper into the episode where Kent reflects on his role as a production manager, the tasks that come with it, and the joy of learning from an expert. The conversation sheds light on the need to understand the growth of prairies and promote land appreciation. Towards the end, we explore the legacy Kent hopes to leave behind—his vision for his work and his commitment to leave a healthier environment for future generations. So pull up a chair, turn up your speakers, and join us as we traverse through the captivating world of hunting, conservation, and much more!

To learn more about Kent Boucher, visit:
www.FirstGenHunter.com

Subscribe to Kent's podcast, "First Gen Hunter Podcast" and "The Priaire Farm Podcast" wherever you listen to podcasts!

To learn more about George Blitch, visit:
www.SonofaBlitch.com
www.MapMyRanch.com

To learn more about Sharing The Land, visit:
www.SharingTheLand.com

Speaker 1:

Hey everybody, welcome back to the Son of a Blitz podcast. I'm George Blitz. Today I got to sit down and chat with Kent Boucher, who is involved with a bunch of different really cool stuff. He's the host of the first Jinn Hunter podcast, which kind of traces his roots to getting into hunting, and I mean there's so much more. He has so many amazing guests that talk about the outdoor world and hunting some entertainment, some educational, but there's always an element of really great content there. He also hosts the Prairie Farm podcast, which is associated with Hoxie native seeds, which he works with as well. And, man, we just covered so much ground today. Kent is really a great person. He's also involved with Sharing the Land with Doug Durin, which I and my company met my rancher part of, so we talked a little bit about that as he's kind of the cooperating landowner there and also being a sponsor and a partner with that. So we just covered a lot of ground. It was a really fun podcast. I had a blast. I can't wait to get this out there and have all the feedback from you guys and what you've learned from Kent, because there's a lot there. So, without further ado, here is the podcast with Kent Boucher. Hey Kent, how are you doing today, man? I'm doing pretty good.

Speaker 2:

I have a little Bell's palsy going on right now. Half my face is numb. I just had I made it to 34 years before I ever had to have a filling put in, and it's so. I just had my first filling and I thought I got to be honest with you here. I put down the time. For some reason I only saw the two on the time for today's interview. So I put it down for two o'clock and I told them right before. You know they'd numbed me up and I'm and which, by the way, you know I asked is this really something I need? You know? Do I need to be numb? You know, you're just kind of like shaving off part of my. It's not like you're cutting into anything or something. My wife says I made the right choice to get the numbing, but it seems to be like lasting for everybody. Anyways, I asked them, I was like I got a podcast interview at like two. Am I going to sound like a drunk? Or you know, they're like oh no, it'll be worn off by then. Well then, I found out it's at noon, so I may have. I might be drooling out of this side of my face a little bit and slurring my words. I'm not a day drinker. I'm not a. I'm not. You know, I don't have some kind of problem here, it's just my face is numb. So thanks for having me on, man, yeah you're welcome, and it's quite the opposite.

Speaker 1:

I mean 34 years without a filling. That is not a problem. That is something to be proud of. So you know we'll celebrate that instead of looking at the you know, the drool on your face.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's kind of dark lit.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, no one will see, and all the audio people they won't know, that's fine.

Speaker 2:

That works, that works. Yeah, I'm trying to game my screen here a little bit more, my camera here, to get better lighting. I'm at the library. I live out in the sticks, which you know this from interviewing hunters all the time. We all have interesting internet connections. We're hot spot and from our phones were. For me, I got the Elon Musk Starlink internet which works pretty good, but it still tends to cut out when I do podcasts, and so I came to the library. I even got a library card. Last week I was on a Jake Hofer's podcast, the land podcast, and so I got a library card, got reservations made for the study room here and so, but the lighting is a little, a little interesting in here, so I might look like I'm in a cave with a half numb face, but other than that should be a great episode every month. So thanks for tuning in.

Speaker 1:

That is awesome. It's all the intro they need. That's perfect, man, that's right. Well, I figured let's go back and you're talking about the podcast that you you have, which is the first gen hunter podcast, obviously at the Prairie Farm podcast as well, but being a first gen hunter, I mean we all kind of know what that means. You're the first generation hunter. But I kind of want to, before we get into that and I think it would kind of let's thread that needle there too let's talk about how you kind of grew up and then how you got exposed to hunting in the outdoor world and then eventually kind of then launching a podcast talking about that and interviewing people through your process. And, mark, there's a lot of people that you learn from along the way, but let's maybe kind of just start at the very beginning and go from there and then kind of pick up on on, you know, your career and the outdoors and and go, you know, talk a little bit more about that and and hoxy seeds as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, that sounds, that sounds great. So yeah, first gen hunter, it is what it sounds like. You know, I'm a first generation hunter and and there's always, you know, some technicality or not technicality, but some like a little bit of. I mean, we're all here. He was Donnie Vincent. I once heard him say in a video you know, you are here, he's addressing anyone who's watching the film because your ancestors were very skilled hunters at one time, meaning they didn't starve to death long enough for the, the family tree to include you. And so we all have, you know, a true first gen hunter in our family line somewhere, but in the, in the. You know, numb is the keyword of the of the podcast, I think, in the numbing of our senses to, you know, how do we provide for our needs at once. That's taken place really especially, you know, if you go the further east, you go, eventually you hit like another continent, of course, but even in our country, you know, you can trace that development line right. You know, just look at the year your state was, was, you know, established, when it, when it got statehood, and and then even looking when the first colonies and and settlements and stuff started showing up. I think that that numbing of senses as society set itself up happened earlier along the way. But but even here, you know where you know, iowa, which is where I was born, became state in 1846, which is, you know, on the later side for our country, the. I was born far enough, you know, past that point that there wasn't a need to go and hunt and gather food anymore, and you know every town you know, or of any size, has a grocery store or gas station, and so you know my family got away from from hunting. You know, probably, I don't know maybe a hundred, a hundred plus years before I was born. You know, and and so I, in that I had it. My grandfather on my, on my mom's side, he hunted, grown up a little bit, lived on the farm that I live on now we could talk about that at some point. It's kind of an interesting story, but he had done some hunting, my grandmother, so that grandfather's wife, she grew up in Wisconsin, which Wisconsin is a we have a mutual friend up there, doug, and Wisconsin is is probably. I mean, if you had to say what, what states represent hunting, well, you'd have where you're at, texas, of course, but Wisconsin would make the top five as well. You know it's just like, and so I had family up there that hunted. But you know I live down here in Iowa and so I was. I wasn't really around it. And when I was man just after I was born probably my dad had a coworker slash friend they were pretty close to who took a kid out for a hunt and they had a hunting accident. The kid accidentally shot my dad's friend and killed him, and just a terrible tragedy. And you know, of course, all the trauma for that family and for this poor kid who you know it was just an accident. Now he's, you know, got to live with that for the rest of his life. All the grief, all the trauma, and then the trauma for my parents is losing their friend. That was like you know. Okay, yeah, I know grandpa did some hunting, maybe every once in a blue moon when I was growing up, but it wasn't necessary. You don't need to. You know you don't need to hunt for anything. So why would you run that risk of going out there and having some terrible hunting accident, all for, you know, the sake of some hobby that you're doing for for fun, and because of that, even though I had some of that hunting, I guess in a way which wouldn't have made me truly a first-gen hunter. I was insulated from it, I was kept from it and I never had an opportunity. But that being said, you know I knew grandpa had firearms. I knew my cousins up in Wisconsin and my uncles up in Wisconsin. They would talk about hunting and stuff like that. So it kept me interested right and kind of fascinated with it. And I mean, george, you're probably similar to me at age. You probably remember the days when, when you wanted to find information on like some little niche thing, you just couldn't go on the internet and find that stuff. You know you had to like come across a random right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You had to come across like a random magazine or or newspaper article. And every time I did that something about hunting, you know I would just drink it up but it remained because you didn't have that unlimited access to it. It remains some kind of a mystery to you as well, which I think just builds on the you know it just like turns that interest into almost this, like this undying thing in the back of your mind, even though you don't get to know much about it. And my dad grew up a city slicker, just across the Missouri River from Omaha, in the town of Council Bluffs, iowa, and it's, you know, it's probably around 60,000 people, so, you know, not huge but definitely an urban area. And he grew up, you know, in the heart of the city and so hunting nobody in his life hunted, you know what I mean. But he was a part of the Boy Scouts so he liked to go out backpacking and fishing and camping and stuff like that. So he would take me and my brothers I have two brothers, two younger brothers he would take us out to. I can never remember. I think it's Abceroka I always want to say that or Abcerokee, but I'm pretty sure it's Abceroka. Abceroka, bear Toothed Wilderness in Southwest Montana and we would go backpacking and fishing for trout. And I noticed I didn't say fly fishing there. I'm not one of those, you know, backcast snobs. I wish I was, I wish I could do that. I just don't have time for everything I want to do, you know, and you got to kind of like filter it. Now Maybe after my kids are all graduated and stuff, I'll have time to master the true fly rod thing. But yes, people, we use spinning rods and bubbles or what do they call them, the fly fishing floats, bobbers. Right, we'd use them, we'd use them. But we catch a lot of trout too and we do of course use, you know, little spinners and stuff like that. But we'd backpack way in there. You know this wilderness area and that's where I first started to like get this bigger sense of what nature is. You know, this isn't just a walk in the park, this isn't just, you know, even like a state park here in Iowa that's maybe a couple hundred acres, you know, of countryside, this is there's, there's pristine wilderness out there and that, of course, you know, flips it into hyperdrive there. You know this interest of getting into hunting. And then, as I got older, we started taking some canoeing trips up to the boundary waters in Northern Minnesota, you know, just south of the Canadian border there, and we would do, you know, some camp outs while we were, while we're doing these trips and stuff like that, and do some fishing and and just exploring and so forth. And so my dad, even though he wasn't a hunter, he was an outdoorsman and that kept that like, helped me develop skills and interests that translated over to when I was able to. Finally, you know, I was out of college and married and my wife got me a Remington 870 for a wedding present and, you know, you married. Well, that's right, that's right. And and then we bought a. We bought a bird dog. We were, we were still living in an apartment, we were in the process of buying our first house and we're like, you know, let's get a dog, we're moving to, moving into our house and my grandparents this you know. So. So I was, I was still, I had never gone hunting at this point. My, my grandparents had some rat terriers and so this is kind of an interesting story because it ties in Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was a big fan of the Rat Terrier. It's just a dog that has Teddy Roosevelt's personality right. All fight him Like if there was a dog to charge San Juan Hill, it was going to be a Rat Terrier. So we had this. We had picked out a puppy for my grandparents and see, there I am, I'm drooling out of my numb face. But we had picked out this dog from my grandparents and we were going to name it Teddy, because we knew Theodore Roosevelt like Rat Terriers, or we were going to name him Theo that's what we were going to name and we were all ready to go with this. We were all excited about it. And then the mother, because she had a really hard time. She was an older dog. When she had these puppies she like lashed out and killed all the puppies. It was terrible and we were dead set on getting a dog at this point. And we're like man, what do we do? We really wanted that puppy. Where are we going to find a dog? So we started looking in the classifieds online and in the newspaper and there's this guy from a couple hours away selling purebred Brittany. So some people know him as Brittany Spaniels. I think the AKC American Kennel Club dropped the Spaniel off officially, like in the 80s or something, so everyone just calls him Brittany's. Now we had some American Brittany puppies that were purebred, 400 bucks apiece. Can you believe that? I mean, try finding that. So we were like, wow, we like look up on the AKC, their temperament, what kind of lifestyle. Classic hunting dog, right? Classic bird dog. So, long story short, I ended up with a Brittany pup named Theo and a Remington 870. And it was time to finally start hunting, right? So I go to Grandpa's farm the farm I live on now and Grandpa walked with me the first time. He was already in his well into his 70s, so he didn't go the whole way, but it kind of showed me the ropes a little bit, took Theo along and we started to learn how to hunt together. And Theo was a lot better at it than I was for the first few years. But that was really what got the ball rolling, was ending up with a weapon, kind of being at that point in my life where I'm in control of my own destiny, so to speak. Right, and my wife gave me that 870 and picking up Theo, and I did then too. So I went hunting that first time and then the next time I went hunting I decided deer hunt with that 870. And I did that totally all by myself on Grandpa's farm. And man did I make some boneheaded mistakes. But it was interesting was, while we were doing that pheasant hunt with Grandpa, I laid eyes on my first like true Iowa giant buck and I didn't know what I was looking for growing up. But here I was out pheasant hunting and here's this giant, 170 double drop time he's got like 10 inch double drops and just an absolute slob. I have a grainy cell phone picture of him on my phone somewhere but that is like, okay, I'm going deer hunting now and from there I haven't looked back. So that's how. That's the story of becoming a first gen hunter.

Speaker 1:

So then you decided at some point in time to launch your podcast. I know you're, I mean I think you're nearing 200 episodes. I mean this has been around a lot. I know you have, you know, picking bones and the series and different things that you're doing within that, and you know I kind of want to talk more about that too. But when did you make that decision to then kind of launch this podcast? What was your reasoning behind it? What was it that you wanted to achieve? Was it just the documentary thing At first? There? Was it like did you have this, you know, idea that I'm going to help other people and kind of talk to me about that idea, because not everyone launches podcasts. You know, I mean it's not something, I mean it's more of a medium that people have used, but to do that and to be as successful as you have with that and with your other podcast, you know, I was just kind of curious where that background kind of came in and how you went full force with it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question and you know, in a previous career I was a biology teacher, a high school biology teacher, and so communicating was what I got paid to do. Right, you know, I was paid to talk, as you can probably tell, as I ran or ran and ramble through this podcast.

Speaker 1:

You're good at it, yeah.

Speaker 2:

But you know I knew how to communicate pretty well, you know, as a teacher and you know we talked about Mark Kenyon earlier and really Mark's podcast, wired and Hunt. I found that kind of by accident. I was trying to stay awake on my way to go for a December deer hunt and I was driving after work one night and I have a terrible problem of like becoming narcoleptic. While I'm terrible, you know, like sometimes you wake up and you're like hitting the rubble strips type of thing and I. But what would help me is if I had like good talk radio to listen to. You know music. You know there's only so much you can only listen to, like so much. You know Boston or you know Queen, you know classic, like heavy hitting songs, you know Led Zeppelin or you know there's only so much you can do to like keep yourself awake with music. I have found, and one thing that would keep me awake is good engaging conversation and content, because I love to learn. You know I like to read, I like to listen to things, I like to, you know, watch how-to's and things like that, and so I was like if I could only you know I'd just be hitting scan on AM radio, please let there be something you know, like some sports talk or something you know, and you know it always come up empty. And I was like you know what? There's these things called podcasts, and I know people like to listen to podcasts and you know, maybe they got one on a topic that I like, and so one of the things I love doing in fact I did this, I think, for a year or two before I started hunting is shed hunting. I was like maybe there's a podcast out there on shed hunting, so I just like type in shed hunting in the Apple podcast and back when they call it iTunes, of course. And boom, mark Kinden interviews Joe Shed from you know, the writer of you know the only book on shed hunting, and I'm like that sounds interesting and that kept me awake and alive all the way to my destination for that December hunt with my brother. We were meeting there and from that moment on I got hooked to Mark's podcast and I just drank it up. There's so much good information on there. Episode after episode just supercharged my rate of growth as a first gen hunter and so, yeah, you know I listened to that. That helped me get there, and I just remember having this thought it's like man, mark is so smart to start doing this. No one else is doing this yet, you know, and I looked back, you know, started doing some more research into how long you've been going and you've already been going for a few years. At this point, you know, I think a year or two is. I think, yeah, probably a year. See, that probably would have been 2015 or 2016 when I started listening. I think his first episodes, I think maybe came out in 2014,. If I remember, right?

Speaker 1:

I'm not sure. Yeah, recounting his 2013 hunting season. Yep, Yep.

Speaker 2:

And then I found he'd been kind of doing the Wired and Hunt website and blog since like 2009 or something like that and I'm like man that is so smart that he saw that opportunity to do that. You know, it's like I wish I had done that and I always was, like you know, in the most, you know, with admiration, not like true jealousy or anything, but it's just like man, I wish I had done that. You know it's like dang it, mark. Why'd you steal that idea? I wish I had figured that out. But so I always thought, you know it's like, well, maybe I could do that. And his co-host, dan Johnson he's from here in Iowa and Dan talked, so Mark was already doing this full time at that point and he was always, like you know, encouraging Dan. Dan, when are you going to go full time with your show man? He was running Nine Finger Chronicles and what used to be known as Sportsman's Nation Now is known as Sportsman's Empire, and Dan's talking about how, yeah, I just can't. It's enough for me to do as a side gig and makes it makes a little bit more money on the side for for to cover a lot of my hunting expenses. Well, that was something I could relate to because I was starting to have a family and hunting is expensive, right? You ever see that meme where it's like this father and son, they're walking across this like duck pond. You know they're like got all these decoys hanging off of them or whatever. And you know the son's like dad, is there any way to become a millionaire through hunting? And his dad responds like yeah, son start out as a billionaire. And it's so true, it's so expensive, especially being a first gen hunter where you start from you know where one. You have nothing, you know, to get going with hunting gear wise. And I was like you know, this can really become a selfish endeavor. You know, I'm a I'm a school teacher. I'm not, I'm not a billionaire and, and you know, it's all this time by myself, that's just really focused on my of course. You know I shoot something, bring it home and and the family gets to eat that and get that part of it. You know that. So that's, you know that's, that's great, but it's a lot of time still. And you know, is there a way I can make this time useful to others and is there a way I can do something to kind of help offset the cost of hunting? And so I'd always had the podcast of the in the back of my head after, you know, listening to Mark show I had to hunt and hearing what Dan had to say and about making enough money to cover his hunts on the side. And I thought, you know, maybe, maybe I can start in that in the summers, because as a teacher, you know you have summers off and you know it's a lot of time to be working on something. I thought you know this was a stupid thought, but I thought or misguided, thought me I'd be able to like record all these episodes in the summer and then release them throughout the year. Yeah right, not going to happen. And so in 2020, you know, we had the big shutdown for schools and I was just slammed with work. That year I switched to a new district is actually the district I graduated from, and I was I took on a heavier course load. When I did it, I knew that I was probably going to be moving to where I live now, which was a couple, you know, two and a half hours away from where I was living at that time, and I wanted a chance to kind of teach at that school before I made this big move from the area. So I switched over there and I was just swamped with work. I was teaching AP biology for the first time, which is a college level course, and it's just tons and tons of work Plus the other stuff. I had the other classes I had. Well then COVID hits and you go from. I mean, you might think I'm exaggerating here, but I was working a hundred hour weeks and I'd worked. I was like close to 80 days in a row I'd been working, so that includes weekends. You know I was working. Any moment that I was awake I was basically working and I was depressed man, I was just like it was brutal. Well then COVID happens, and I don't want to minimize all the terrible stuff that came along with that for people. Obviously, my wife, she's a nurse. She was a ICU nurse at the time, so she saw the worst of that stuff, you know. So I don't want to minimize that from anyone. But I guess a positive to come out of a bad situation was, you know, a lot of families got to spend more time together, people got outside more and they got time to try some new things, and for me that was podcasting. And so I went ahead and launched first gen hunter at that time, and I should also mention I'd already been writing for an Iowa hunting and fishing magazine at that point. So I was already starting to generate some income off of producing hunting content, which was really cool to get that first article published and see that and then get the check and it's like what. And so I was already having some experience with that. I was listening to all these podcasts, these hunting podcasts. You and I are both big meat eater fans and I read Steve's book. I think the first one I read was just Meat Eater. Then I read American Buffalo and, you know, loved the show, loved the podcast, saw how all these guys were creating this really powerful, really interesting content and I thought, you know what, maybe I could try doing something like that. And so 2020, that's when I launched into it and since then, you know, it's kind of ebbed and flowed. A little bit picked up some sponsors which has been great Again helps pay for the hunts. You know that's gone to this awesome Northwest Montana bear hunt back in 22 and going out to Nebraska this winter and that stuff pays, you know, for a lot of those expenses doing the podcast and writing and so forth. And so you know it's kind of helped me reach some of those goals. You know I hope I keep growing and you know my. You know I quickly found that money wasn't enough of a motivator and that's good. That's good that I figured that out because, yes, it is a motivator, but it's a bottomless motivator. You'll just never, you'll never have enough money to like truly make you feel like you've reached your goal. You know what I mean, and so my focus has shifted through the years and, of course, this was always a big part of my focus was not just how can I, you know, financially set myself up better as a hunter and set my family up better, you know, primarily being the goal. How can I just be a positive voice within the hunting community? And I sensed that, yes, I have a unique story that people may be interested in hearing as being a first gen hunter, but I think I also have a relatable story, especially in 2020, when all these people were trying hunting out, they started to see the. They started to see the food chain failing them a little bit. You know, remember how scary it got there for for grocery store. You know people that survive off the grocery store and you might show up. There might not be anything there for you, and so I sense that my message could resonate with all these people who were considering getting into hunting, and that's that's even expanded since then to now everyone. You know, how can I just look at hunting more critical? You know this show has evolved as I do. You know I've gotten older since then. Right, I've had a, you know, hundreds of not thousands of more hunting hours under my belt since I started that show, so the show should be evolving to include more people as well, and and so I've worked hard to do that as well and just be a good influence in the hunting community and maybe some you know something that's fun to listen to and something that can keep you awake when you're driving to your destination late at night after work to go hunting, you know, and so full circle, you know that's, you're right, that's exactly right. So it's that's that's really the target now and and then going into the Prairie Farm podcast, so I got out of teaching after the 2021, 2022 school year. We've made that big move that I talked about what moved to the family farm and I just as bad as that one year was, with all those hours just from like a difficulty with a job, was the worst year 21, 22 school year, which is misery. I'd already been like you know, like I'd already seen enough of this other life through producing content, like seeing like there's other things out there Kent, and when we made the move, I just had to take whatever job opportunity like really opened up, and it was a middle school science job and I quickly found that I was meant to. If I'm gonna teach, I meant to teach high schoolers, not middle schoolers. And that was hard on me, man, it was really hard on me. And but what? But I'm thankful for that time, because what it taught me was it's okay to let teaching go. Now you try it. You know you've done it at these two different levels that you're allowed to teach at Cause I always wondered, you know, when I was teaching high school, I had to put it on a time in the lesson planning cause you're teaching a complex, you know complex stuff that you may not have really messed with since you were in college or even high school, you know. So there's a lot of studying that goes into those that lesson planning to make sure you have good stuff for the kids to be learning. And I thought, well, maybe if I went down to middle school, you know it'd just be like, you know, cake walk and content wise. Yeah, pretty much was that, but I found that that doesn't work for me. I can't just go through the motions on something you know I want to. I want it to be meaningful and and. But also, you know, students coming out of COVID, you know, for those first couple of semesters after COVID were just it was brutal getting them back into learning mode and getting them into, you know, being at school and being on a schedule that's set for you instead of one that you're choosing all the time. And so there was just so much of that that it was like, okay, I have time now I've done it for eight years Time to try something else. So I took a job at Hoxie Native Seeds. You know I wanted, I knew if I was leaving teaching. I knew that teaching is a job that makes a difference, right, you know there's a lot of altruistic benefit that comes from that. So I wanted to do something else that would, that would provide the you know, altruism through, maybe another way. And I knew I was very passionate about conservation. That goes hand in hand with being a biology teacher, where you're learning about ecosystems. You're teaching about ecosystems. And I actually grown up I wanted to farm, but it's very hard to do that without a huge operation, unfortunately, anymore. And grandpa only owned 240, which is great, you know, great for hunting, but, but but so I found this job where it kind of merged all those things a little bit of hunting, a little bit of conservation, a little bit of farming and and that was at Hoxie Native Seeds. And so once we got there I was like, hey, we should do a podcast, I do a podcast, we should do a podcast. So we started the Prairie Farm podcast there as well. So that was a really long answer, man.

Speaker 1:

No that's great, I mean. I think it sets up everything because it really kind of gives your background on how you kind of got involved. And then obviously I want to dive in a little bit more to Hoxie Native Seeds and like what your role is there, you know, and in my family property, you know, my wife and I when we first got our place, we basically had cleared out a bunch of land and got a bunch of the native seeds and forbs that were from that area and kind of reinvested into that.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Good for you, man, that's great.

Speaker 1:

Thanks man. Yeah, we did. I think like 23 acres we have a little over 300. So it was a. That's awesome. We're trying to get a little bit more, but gentlemen we're working with he was towards the end of his retirement and I think he just finally said this is I'm done, I'm supposed to get 50 acres, I got like 26 or whatever it was. But in the event that like that was, I started researching about seed companies and, like just the whole other world, I didn't know about, as far as like, how they're harvesting their seeds, what they're doing, you know the differences of what you need to plant, why and when, the benefits of the soil, the benefits of the habitat, and so I found that fascinating. So you know and we'll dive into our connection here with Doug a little bit later on there too but that was something that I had never talked to anybody who really, you know, worked, except for a few people that I called when we were looking to buy seeds. So I have definitely a lot of questions and I'd love for you to kind of talk about what it is running a seed company and kind of you know how, what your role is with them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, those are great questions and, man, my hats off to you and your wife for making that decision to, to you know, roll with some native seed on your property and reestablish those things and encourage that. I mean, you couldn't have a healthier ecosystem than to have the things that actually belong there. Well, everyone, you might notice I sound a little more clear now. My face is no longer no, no, actually it's a. I just realized I had this nice sure mic here, the one that I use for my podcast, and I didn't have it selected as the microphone to be being used while George is recording me right now. So so I switched to that mic. That's why it sounds a little different now, but but anyways, in my face is less numb, so I probably sound a little a little better that way too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's good. As we're progressing, we're improving along the way.

Speaker 2:

That's what you do, especially when you're planting native seeds.

Speaker 1:

You're improving the habitat. We're improving the podcast. You sound deep and rich. That was a great transition there.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, man.

Speaker 1:

That's probably the only good one I'll have today. So we'll just stick with that one. Here it is. It's been thrown down. The pivot has been made.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that, hey, we'll take it. We'll take it Indeed, but but yeah, so. So choosing to go with, you know, native seedings on your, on your property is is one that's beyond just well. you know our mutual friend again, doug Durand you know has his famous phrase it's not ours, it's just our turn. And when you are growing native plants on your property, when you're giving up acres that, yeah, you could turn in for a temporary cash payout, you're actually gaining something that is worth, something that money can't actually buy really, which is longterm sustainability of that land for the people coming after you, whether that's even in your family or somebody else's family, you know. You go to the other great conservation phrase. You know generosity is planting a tree that you'll never get to enjoy the shade of. You know that's I butchered that somehow, but but you get the idea right. You're setting. You're setting up the next person or even, in the case of an ecosystem, the other organisms that are going to be using that ground. You're setting them up better than what you had it, and that's a sacrifice that you guys made and one that you know. I tip my hat to you for doing that.

Speaker 1:

Here's thank you. Well and this is something you're dealing with on a day to day for people who are doing this, you know, with Hoxie native seeds, and I was curious about your role when you've kind of now been in this for a couple of years. What is it that? I mean, you're seeing this around and people are using this and I'm sure that you're talking to land users, you know, as they're doing this for the first time they're the first gen land improvement folks and kind of talk to me about that role and, like you know what it is, how this operation works. For I mean, a lot of people probably don't know how seed companies really truly work and how you're going to this place and buying these seeds and you know they might know from then on and how to plant what it's doing, but getting them into people's hands, I don't know that process. I know a lot of people don't. I'd love to talk about that a little bit as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, those are some great questions. So my official title is production manager. So I am, you know, I'm still. I've been there for a year and a half now but I'm still learning every single day, right, every. You know there's a lot of things I've you know. Yep, it's my second, third, 50th time around doing it, you know, and hopefully I'm getting better in that way. But I have a great privilege in that I'm learning under a true expert, like somebody who is as good as it gets in the prairie world. You know, like there's there one of the things I've noticed now, going from the more of the blue or the white collar way of living you know, job, that kind of thing being a teacher, you know, desk job type thing to now truly a blue collar job is that there's both sides of any kind of industry that need each other. Right, you need the college professor who is, you know, educating people about. You know, the biology going on behind this plant, the way an ecosystem works together, but that head knowledge only gets you an understanding of what's happening to actually be able to make use and to, you know, test out these hypotheses or even theories on how this is the best way to, you know, help a prairie ecosystem. You gotta have that blue collar experience there of that person who's been there, done that and to see how it actually plays out in the real world. And so a lot of my college experience was that first part of like just understanding ecosystems. You know understanding, you know plant health and and you know the need for diversity on the landscape, all that stuff. But now I'm getting to work with somebody who's been doing this for 40 years in my boss, carol Hawksburg, and you know there's not a person out there that understands how to grow prairie better than Carol does. And so as production manager, you know getting to sit under him and learn how to plant prairie, how to care for prairie, how to harvest prairie, how to clean the seed that we harvest, how to then get the seed ready to be planted again for the customers or for us, even if we're, you know, expanding a field or something. That's priceless, priceless experience, you know. So I'm very privileged in that way. But yeah, as far as my responsibilities go is to learn and do all of those things, and so most of my time is spent outside or in the shop. I'd say, from just a straight hour standpoint, most of my year is probably spent cleaning seed because, starting really now, we're getting into cleaning. So I run the seed through these different seed cleaners that we have to get it ready for sale and then of course that has to be seed tested by third parties to make sure you know the seed has good germ, it's not loaded with weed seeds and you know the weight what's a live seed weight in that mix and all that stuff. So that's a huge part of my job. And then I also spend a lot of time in field maintenance. So weed control and you know even soil quality control, do some of that work. You know operating equipment. I do a lot of that and working on equipment, which was probably the scariest thing for me going into this, like you know, I'm fairly handy. My dad is very handy as far as like working on the house and stuff like that, and so you know I'm familiar with tools and things like that. I hate doing housework though. I hate working on the house. I'm glad I can do it. But as I always tell my wife, I'd rather be shed hunting or I'd rather be hunting, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I've been working on the housework but so learning to work on all this farm equipment from my boss, carol, he's had to really teach me a lot of things, but I found that I've actually really enjoyed doing that. So I do that quite a bit. And then you know the podcast, which is really just kind of like the cherry on top for all that. You know, I still get to have that little education side and another part that's kind of an expanding role and you talked about this with first time prairie people is. I get to do quite a few property visits and, you know, write up habitat plans for people, which goes hand in hand with the first shed hunter stuff, because I interview the you know habitat specialists all the time. And well, not all the time, but pretty often and so I've learned a ton from them. To use my science and ecology background and now, having that practical experience from working with this stuff, you know that's those are like the moments where I feel like everything kind of culminates together to like this is what you've been prepared for. You know this and you know it's honestly crazy, george, like I told my mom this the other day. I was talking to her on the phone and I said you know, most days I'm doing the things that I would be doing if I was just spending some free time. And now I'm getting, you know, I'm doing it for a job and so it's a really awesome role there. We're a small company, though, you know. We have myself, we have another part-time office person, then we have a full-time office person, and then, of course, carol, who's full-time as well, and he kind of just makes sure everything stays running for everybody and we're making the right decisions and coaching us up on how to do stuff better, and he does a lot of the operating as well, which he's earned that right. You know, get in that, get in the tractor cab instead of being on the seed cleaner or something like that. That's kind of how we break it down and, of course, run the podcast and everything else. But yeah, I think you know, if we're going to have more people viewing the land like you and your wife did, we got to show them how to grow prairie, first of all, you know, so that they that takes away some of that fear and the apprehension, but then just right hand in hand with that is educating why you need it. So first of all, you got to be able to see that it can be done. But then you got to see, okay, now you know that it can be done. It should be done because of X, y and Z, and so that's really what a big part of my job is as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah well, man, it sounds like you've found the balance of all these different things, and it's fun that they kind of overlap and that you're being a teacher to new people still. Right, yeah, exactly, and so I kind of have that role and it may be a different, you know, environment, but it's still there and you're still facilitating that and, kind of, you know, giving back and it's so important. Man, I really wanted to. You know, you mentioned earlier about Doug and I kind of I want to talk about the role too and how you guys are working with them and with sharing the land and how, because you guys are our partners and then you're working with them and, you know, with my company, matt, my Ranch, and we had sent out a map of, you know, hoxie Newsy and how that you know they're beautiful. Oh, cheers, man.

Speaker 2:

Get your map from Matt my Ranch people. George is not pay me to say this. It's the real deal and it's so useful and so practical I'm actually very excited for. So maybe I'll just work this in kind of what you're saying there, but I think you were still saying something, so I just wanted to give that little plug for Matt my Ranch there.

Speaker 1:

Thank you very much. No, I mean that's how I started out, like my buddy, colin, and I we made a map to use on a ranch to be able to like have that as a tool. And then someone else was like saw it and they're like you should map my ranch. Another guy said you should map my ranch and Colin and I looked at each other and like maybe we should be doing this on our little side thing you know I mean, and it's grown from there and you know partnerships with Doug and Onyx and just some amazing groups and people along the way. But you know you're utilizing it as a tool for what y'all are doing, which was the whole purpose was to be able to try to facilitate that for the people and doing the exact same thing we thought was useful for us. So you know, let's kind of jump into all that if we can, as far as with you know, working with sharing the land and with Doug, how you guys met them. Let's run through that if you would mind.

Speaker 2:

Yeah for sure. So you know, as I mentioned earlier in the interview, being a big fan of meat eater, you know you start to see all these guys popping up there and and you know there's two ways you can look at that. Right, you can look at it as wow, that's a really cool person. I would really like to just talk to that person because they're really cool. Or you can look at it as wow, that's a really, you know, interesting person, really famous person. I need some of their clout, you know, and that's not good, right, you know that's like that's you're using people at that point and you're, you're, I don't know. It's like, yeah, you're using people, you know you're just probably leave it there. It's short-sighted, I don't know, but from watching all these you know this meat eater content through the years listen to Mark's podcast, of course, and and they bring in all these new personalities along the way and you get to see them. Do you remember the film that meat eater did? Oh, man, probably five, six, seven years ago now Stars in the Sky. Oh, yeah, yeah, my documentary yeah, just just tremendous film. And my absolute favorite part of that was Doug's part where he was explaining his connectivity to his family farm. You know the Dern, the Dern family farm, and, and you know, it was almost inspired like an emotional response in me when I just saw how much he cared about that, because I felt the same way about my family farm. You know this is a place, you know, we bounced around quite a bit as a kid, moving around as my dad would take new jobs and stuff, and the one constant place was the family farm. You know, my, my grandfather was born in the bedroom that he was sleeping in, you know, and he's still alive. They had to move out of the house because they were. You know he's in his 80s now in a big old two story farmhouse is too much for, you know, an 85 year old to keep up on, and so they asked us if we wanted to buy the house from him. But up until he he left. So I think they moved out when he was 84. He was sleeping in the room that he was born in. So I felt like my, my experience, my passion for my family's farm, mixed in with hunting and enjoying the outdoors, having a conservation mindset like Doug has. You know it's like man I would love to connect with, with that guy, get to know him and and just really really get to sit down and talk with him. And you know, be cool if we became friends through the process even. You know that'd be, that'd be great. And so when we were doing our podcast, we started out with the Prairie Farm podcast and I had I'd actually messaged Doug a little bit about some of his CWD understanding, right, because Doug is a lay person, he's not like a you know, and animal pathology specialist or anything like that. He's just a guy, a concerned landowner, concerned hunter, concerned conservationist, who wants to know more about this. And I asked him about some stuff because I have some family that lives near where, where Doug lives in, and I was concerned about bringing CWD back to Iowa and so I, you know we talked a little bit about that. But then, you know, we started the podcast, the Prairie Farm podcast, and I was like you know what my co-worker's name is, nicholas is like we should, we should interview this guy named Doug Duren up in Wisconsin. He he is, has a very strong conservation ethic, cares a whole lot about his family farm. That's what we're. We want people to get that vision when they tune into our content. We want them to value the land that they have control over, whether that's their little yard in town or maybe you know 5,000 acre operation here in Iowa or something. And so we got in contact with Doug, met him at Pheasant Fest up in Minneapolis, met him in person and had a great time talking and we set up, we arranged this time for Nicholas and myself to go visit Doug at the Duren family farm, which is just like you know, I'm like pinching myself the whole time that we're, we're like pulling up there. I'm like I can't believe I'm really getting to go hang out with Doug on the fame, you know, duren family farm and and it's just so cool and to see his. So we spent the day with Doug. We drove around the town there where he lives I won't say it, you can hear Doug say it, but I won't. George knows where he is, but but he took us around his hometown and he had a story about everywhere that we went past and that was powerful, you know, to have that deep sense of place, and it was very relatable for me to. I don't think everybody's brain works the same and I don't think it should like. We're all our own own person. But but that was something I could relate to Recently. I think it was when was it? It was this last, so this was back in this past spring and it might have. We were. I was riding around with my dad on our family farm and this was where my mom grew up, so not where my dad grew up. He cares about it, of course, because you know he's been in the family for, you know, almost 40 years and and. But I'm like telling them all these stories about the farm there, I'm like Holy cow, this is exactly what Doug does and you know. So it's like like building that connection there. And my coworker, nicholas, who does not hunt he's hunted before he said he likes to say what I don't like about hunting is you can't talk while you're hunting. You know he's like I want to talk, I don't want to just sit there and be quiet. But you know, seeing him drawn into Doug's message and just seeing how powerful that is to be connecting now with somebody who doesn't even hunt, who just sees the passion of how Doug sees, and then, of course, naturally you know we're looking for. You know, hoxie, we're looking for good partnerships out there. You know people, just like you do with Matt, my ranch. You know who can we, who can we partner up with. That we believe in their message. You know, of course part of it is it's a marketing side, too right. Who's going to help, who's going to you know that's. You want to partner with somebody who's going to help your business, too right. Of course you believe in their mission. But you know there's a reason why sharing the land shares the logos and the you know information of their partners. You know they're trying to help them out too. Because they help us, we help them out.

Speaker 1:

We all grow together.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, we all grow together and so it just seemed like a perfect fit. So of course we came on then as a as a sponsor and I got to be honest with you, I didn't really fully under. I was aware of sharing the land, but until I really sat down with Doug and really learned like his vision with it which anyone can do now Savage Arms made a couple films and they kind of talked through the first ones about Aldo Leopold, and then the second one kind of goes back to Doug and talks a little bit more about his, how he views his land. And you know, it's not ours, it's just our turn. I believe sharing the land makes it in there too a little bit. You can really start to get the idea of what it is here and what Doug is trying to really accomplish. Or sharing land is to get people to be connected to the land that they are accessing. And I don't want to do too much of a pitch here for sharing the land because I don't want to leave something out here. Doug would explain it way better than me. But but really what he's, what he's saying is when we look for a place to hunt we've all heard the noise going on about. You know it's so crowded on public land and so you know I'd love to hunt but I can't anymore, which, by the way, having a conservation mindset opens up more acres for hunting. It really does, because you know where a lot of people's ground, especially here in the Midwest, is gone. That they used to hunt, it's gone into row crops. Yep, you can look at that reality too. It's not just that. Oh, we've got so many people leasing ground. Yeah, that might be part of it, but a lot of it is. We've lost so much habitat. Think of all the housing developments that have gone up since you were a kid. Think of all the fence rows that have been pulled out and all the hedgerows that have gone down and on and on and on right wetlands drained. One of the biggest reasons is because people don't value land the right way. They only see it in the short term. You know how. You know it is mine and it is my turn. You know, instead of it's not ours, it's just our turn, it is mine and it is my turn, how can I profit the most off this land? That's the biggest reason why we have degraded hunting opportunities. But I'll get off my soapbox here a little bit. Sorry, I got a little worked up In my face. Isn't as numb right now, so I'm getting a little fired up. So, doug, through sharing the land by allowing people to take a vested interest in the land that they would like, the private land that they would like to access, they are working that land in a way that benefits conservation. There are unlimited ways that that can, what that can look like it could be. You're going out there, like I know he's had a lot of people come onto his farm that are access seekers to sharing the land through doing some tree trimming and they've done some burning, some prairie burning. They've done. They've done. He talks about how he's had people shovel manure in his cow barn. You know, maybe, like if you come out to hoaxing native seeds, we might have you, if you're a good mechanic, work on some equipment for us, you know, because that helps us plant more prairies. And so there's the point is, there's a million ways that this work can look like. And so, really, when I started to see and then also seeing that this isn't just a hey, you know, an advertisement, almost like the block management or or here in Iowa we call it IHAP land where it's like public or private land opened up to public access it's not that's how kind of how I thought it was at first like, hey, share the land. Yeah, find a way to let others get on your land. That makes sense. But it's a vetted process. One who participates, applies through sharing the land. They fill out an access seeker application. They list all the things that they're qualified to do, all the their previous experiences, their conservation ethic, and then the landowner gets to review those applications, make phone calls and say, yeah, you know what? I do feel comfortable with this person coming out and maybe hunting one day or one season or one week, however long, you know it. It, if someone just came out and you know, maybe, let's say, helped you. You know, plant trees for three hours on a Saturday, well, that's probably not worth an entire season of of, you know, having the place to themselves for all of our tree season, for whitetails or something like that, you know, but it's probably worth a morning hunt for pheasants, you know. And so it's a controlled like. Hey, I know when you're there, I know what you're up to, I know when you're coming, I know, you know, like, and I have a way to contact you if something's not right. You know, it's a very safe, like, protected way for landowners to say yes to access seekers in a way that makes sense for their farm. And once I started to see that, it was like, wow, this is something that a lot of people could do, and Nicholas and I were like man, we could probably do this. At Hoxie we have, you know, 500 plus acres of production fields and, and now some of those are rental properties. So that takes in a new consideration. You know, I've just got to be make sure that the land owners on board with you doing share the land on their land.

Speaker 1:

Sure sure.

Speaker 2:

And you are renting it. But but? So we went ahead and enrolled our owned acres that are good great pheasant hunting habitat. It turns out working for a place that grows prairie grass. You know that opens up some great hunting opportunities if you like to hunt pheasants.

Speaker 1:

I can imagine.

Speaker 2:

So all Theo has been able to enjoy, enjoy his new hunting opportunities, and so we we enrolled as a, as a cooperating land owner within sharing the land, to allow people to participate in work days, earn some time pheasant hunting, and we'd like to expand that. You know, as we get more familiar with it and and and see how it goes through. For this first year, you know with with the hunting side of it, we've already had some guys come out and do some work for us and Doug came down for that. There's a series coming out. I don't know how much I'm allowed to divulge about this, but but there will be a series that comes out. I think it'll be on on X's YouTube channel. They sponsored it for Doug and he comes and does a work day with us with. I think we had six access seekers that showed up that day to dig up some big blue stem, which is a good native species, but it was growing in the wrong production field and if you don't but big blue stem is an apex grass species, it'll take over, it'll dominate. It's actually my favorite native grass species. For that reason it's just kind of the boss. You know, I think it's cool, oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

They didn't go anywhere, but we got some of that growing at our place too. That's great. I know all about it, yep.

Speaker 2:

Yep, we had a bunch of different foot deep root systems on it, but we had them come out. That's hard, hard physical work, you know digging that stuff up, flipping it, chopping it, but it has to be done. So we had a bunch of guys come out and then we did a bunch of hand harvesting with them too. That's part of what we do and and so we're looking to expand on that in the future, having more work days and more projects that we can get to help. So that really paints the picture. For the other benefit, not only is it just a system that allows people to gain access and gain value for that land, because I can tell you right now those six guys, they care a whole lot about how Hoxie's doing and how that Indian grass field is looking after. They put their blood, sweat and tears and getting that big blue stem out of there, right.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, they're investing. They're investing Right exactly.

Speaker 2:

Perfect word, invested, and so so with that, you know, hopefully we can expand on that and have more guys come in for more projects. But also from Hoxie's side we got a really challenging job that we couldn't do with. Just I forgot to mention we also have like seasonal help that comes in during the summers, you know, when student, college students or more high school students that are available for work to help us with weed control in our fields and stuff, because we we literally manage a lot of our weeds with hose and shovels Turns out there's not roundup ready little blue stem. You know that you can just blanket spray again, but so we we have. We can't get all this work done with our workforce, just wouldn't be possible, but with sharing the land it is, and so we benefit from that by having this partnership and we build trust with all these guys and we've we've had relationships with them. You know I've talked to pretty much all those guys that came out since that work day and now, come November when it's pheasant season, they're all going to come back out and we're going to get to hunt some birds together and see how Doug shot shot is with a scattergun on the and see if Theo can point some birds for a few people, and you know just what a fun day it will be. All because of this vision that that Doug caught onto and he'll tell you this too. He kind of stole the idea from Aldo, because Aldo was doing this with the Riley game, cooperating, cooperative um, back in the I think it was the 1920s or 30s or something like that but but uh had gone away and hadn't been done for almost a hundred years and Doug kind of breathed life back into it and made it a much bigger uh thing that, um, they have all kinds of states participating now and I don't know, you probably feel this way too. Um, george, with Matt, my ranch, being such a critical part of, as a sponsor and partner with, with sharing a land, like I just feel so honored to be a part of it in the early days and, and um, as we see sharing the land grow um long past our time, I really think, um, man, what a you know when you're talking about an honor to be a part of something that's pretty big, that's pretty special, where you're impacting hunting, yes, you're making that better for people, right, you're creating opportunities, because there's a lot of education that goes into this too, with helping new hunters. That's a big part of what Doug's wanting to do with sharing the land. So you're helping new hunters, you're freeing up access and you are extending a conservation ethic and education to so many more people by allowing them to grab a piece of dirt that they can connect to, even if they never are a landowner in their entire life. They have that place where they have put sweat equity into that ground and they can. They can understand the value of that. So then when they go driving by with their carload of people that know nothing about that ground, they can say hey, you see that field over there. Yeah, I dug big bluestem. You know what big bluestem is. It's got a 13 foot root system. Some of those plants have probably been in there for years and we dug and we sweated all through our clothes. It was a 92 degree day, you know like, and there's value to that. And guess what that little kid who's sitting in the back of the car thinks when he hears his dad saying that Wow, that's cool. I want to do something like that. I want to. I want to impact these ecosystems around me for the better.

Speaker 1:

Those are all great points, great vision that you have of all of it, and I couldn't agree more. It is an absolute honor to be a part of this project.

Speaker 2:

When that opportunity arose.

Speaker 1:

It was just. It was a no brainer. Colin and I were. He's the other half of the man by ranch. We're just all in on it Every year. That Doug wants us to be a part of it. We will. We make the maps of the land owners or the collective agencies that do that. It's something that we're so glad to be a part of. I think it's almost like as I evolve. In my hunter days growing up it was just like, oh cool, I just want to go out there and learn new things. Now I'm on that next kind of generational mode of wanting to be able to make sure I'm leaving something behind and that all the things that I got from my uncle and his friends and my family, the things they taught me, that I'm passing that on and that I'm being that next generation, I'm helping to bring up the next generation. We have a friend of ours I would call him Johnny Boots. He's coming out in a couple of weeks through our ranch to take his first deer, that's awesome man. Six months ago he had never shot a rifle. Wow, he's a great shot. That's powerful. It is man. My buddy, matthew Mitchell, and I we're talking about it. During one of the interviews we kind of mentioned how it is, the sharing the land ethos of what we're doing. He's coming out there, he's got sweat equity, he learns how the ranch works, he's put in a lot of time and energy and now he has this connection. That is something that's almost it's hard to measure as an outsider. I don't know what it is for him. It's hard to measure for him maybe two, but it's like he's going to now take that home. He's got two boys. He wants to bring them up in the outdoor lifestyle. He didn't have this growing up, but he wants to be able to give them this opportunity because he loves it. We've touched on a lot of that today too in our conversation. But that being able to be a part of each incrementally on the landowner side and then on being able to provide a tool that is a good use in the toolbox and then just being able to get close to a lot of the people who are so heavily involved that you and I have been able to interview there's some overlap. We've got there too, just being, I think, in the lifeblood of this and being able to continue to be good conservationists and like-minded people who are sharing this information and showing that, hey, we're involved and it's not just fun. Take, take, take. What can we give back? If you're doing it, I'm doing it, we're seeing Doug do it and all these other people meat eater there's people who are all around that are doing this. I think it's a real blessing to be able to be a part of these movements and to be a part of passing this on to future generations and inspiring those. I applaud you for all the things you're doing and continuing to do in that realm too.

Speaker 2:

It's been fun to hear you talk about it all. Yeah, really appreciate that. I think you summed that up beautifully. A thought that popped in my head, the way you were saying that was when I was growing up wanting to hunt and wasn't necessarily that I wanted to. I was looking at hunters and being like, wow, that's a person who's got it figured out. I want to be like that person. It was more of no, I just want to hunt. But imagine if and a lot of the people that you just mentioned are contributing to this and I think have already changed the dial to be more in favor of this mindset but imagine if we got to a point where people who didn't hunt were able to look at hunters collectively and say that is an admirable person that I want to be like, almost like a fireman or a military officer or a doctor or a surgeon or something, or an astronaut. You look at that person and you're like that's a person who's thoughtful about what they're doing. That's a person who knows what their limitations are and tries to expand what they're able to do. That's a person who cares about the land that they're accessing and they're not just taking. They're giving back far more than they're taking. I want to be a hunter because I want to be like a hunter, not just because I want to hunt. Imagine if that change took place following our generation right now, so that when it no longer is our turn and we're handing it off, hunting would be in such a better place if that was our focus. I do also want to say, going back to the map, my ranch side of this. I wanted to work this into what I was talking about. I knew I was forgetting something. I'm so excited to get there to those maps and be able to be like normally now because I coordinate some pheasants every year, instead of being like, okay, when you see that this edge that works northwest, do you see? Now I'm going to be able to go on that map and I'm going to be like because I just can't wait to get out the dry erase markers because we've got the laminated one I'm going to be like making a little X and like, okay, we're going to push this way and I think the birds are going to move this way. So I'm super excited for the map, my ranch part of part B, for this experience and that's going to be on film too. So I'm sure there will be a nice up and close look at the map my ranch map that we're going to have for our pheasant hunt day when Doug comes back in November and all of our access seekers come back.

Speaker 1:

It's such a I can't tell you how many hours we spend around maps. I mean, I have multiple things on the wall. We had a little island in the kitchen and like one day I was loading up I think I was getting gas and diesel for the tractors and I saw this guy who had a glass company and he had a bunch of panes of glass. I was like, hey, we actually had this island. I thought it'd be cool to have a map underneath it and have glass on top of it, oh yeah. We could be able to just have it there. And he's like I've got some extra sheets of glass and I was like, well, I measured it and this is what I need. He had one that was like one inch shy and both sides was like this is going to be perfect.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's cool, so I did it off of my buddies like what are you doing?

Speaker 1:

He went inside to get something to drink or something. He's like you're buying sheets of glass. It's like it's an idea I've had for a long time. But I pulled it back and I was like you'll see, and so now we just sit around looking at that and you can use, you know, dry erase markers on that as well. Oh, yeah, that's sweet, but we spend so much time talking about where the next hunt's going to be, or, hey, we're going to be clearing this area. Hey, we want to go ahead and plant our Indian grass. Which grass, you know? partridge pea, all the different, you know that's all the flower, all the different things we're going to be doing and clearing, and we got another 10 acres we're going to be doing this next year. We've just cleared it, but in the spring we'll replant, but that's something that we just spend so much time around it, man, and it's again. It was very self-serving when we first did this, as, like my buddy and I, just like, hey, let's create this map for our family, and then realizing how much of a tool that was. And you know, it's like that's not my day job, it's a side job, but I love it and I like being a part of it and being able to meet people like you, doug, it's all. It's all encompassing man. So it's, it's been a lot of joy. I love it when people are able to use that and because I feel I'm like, yes, we do that ourselves.

Speaker 2:

Like.

Speaker 1:

I know, and it's one of my biggest joys it brings around. You know the campfire, right, you're sitting around there chatting after a hunt or whatever you're doing, and it's like you bring it together. You're sharing stories. The map is the same thing and the macrocosmic level of whatever property you're on. You're sharing those stories and then sitting around that and being like, okay, this is where I was when I saw this thing and you know.

Speaker 2:

so, yeah, this is what we jumped that big group. Yeah, whatever, it's fun to be able to share. Exactly.

Speaker 1:

It's fun Well.

Speaker 2:

I'm excited to see that that's such a good point. I've never I don't think I've ever viewed it quite that way before. But you're spot on. You know we do, especially as hunters. Man, we were always pulling up, you know. All right, check, don't tell anybody. I showed this to you. But you see this little spot over here, yeah, there is a monster hanging out. You know this one time. You know you're exactly right, man. It starts so many, so many conversations and stories, and they're icebreakers too, with new people, which is the big part of sharing the land.

Speaker 1:

It is man, it is. Well, look, we're going to have to come again at another time and have you on and talk more in depth about this stuff. I've just had a thrilling conversation with you and before we kind of sign off, I have, you know, one question before we get to your socials where people can follow you, and that's the idea of legacy, and I know that we've, you know, not to rewind all the things we just kind of talked about, necessarily, but I think we can pick and pull some of those things too, is it? You know, I've been talking to people about what it is that they want to be known for, what it is that they want to leave behind, and I feel like, while I might be able to guess at some of the things here too and maybe we even discussed some of them if you can kind of just recap in some of these ideas of like the work you're doing now, the work you want to do, how you want to be remembered and as far as these things and you know, these imprints that you've left, you know, in a professional level and then you know also in a personal, and if you could just kind of expand on that a little bit, I'd really enjoy that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a really awesome question. I like that. This caused me to think deeply, and I do want to say too, this has been a ton of fun. The time has flown while we've been here, and I appreciate you letting me ramble for as much as I do. I have the gift of gab it is a gift.

Speaker 1:

You're good at it, man. Yeah, I wouldn't get a stop. I might tell you there's some droid I'd let you know. Yeah, that's right, you know I can kind of feel it now.

Speaker 2:

I can feel it pulling a little bit. My face numbness is coming, going away. So you're seething, that's good, now it's just searing paint. Now I'm just kidding, it's all good.

Speaker 1:

Push through it, you're pushing through it, that's right.

Speaker 2:

Now I once said to my wife you know, my favorite drink is Arnold Palmer. I just love Arnold Palmer. I told her my goal is to become so important and to drink so much Arnold Palmer that they call it Kent Boucher eventually. But I'm just kidding. That's not what I want for my legacy. I just did that to get a big eye roll for my wife. But, no, my legacy is what I really want for my legacy. One of the things that I think all of us content creators run the risk of is narcissism, and you know narcissists that word comes from the Greek God narcissist, who is always obsessed with his personal beauty, right, and I mean you can go right down the line. You know, when we do podcasts, we're sharing our point of view. When we do Instagram posts or Facebook posts or whatever social media you're on or you know, you get invited on to other podcasts, like I'm doing right now, you can start to think. The temptation is you can start to think like man, everyone needs to tune into me. Everyone needs to view things like I view them. I have the answers, and that's a dangerous and a painful reality that I think all of us need to look at. One of the things like you know you ever like when you look at like the news apps on your phone or like if you have an iPhone, you know if you like swipe over on your home screen and it like pulls up all the headlines, and sometimes I'll see articles that are like how to know if you're a narcissist or five. You know how to identify a narcissist in your life, and I always feel so compelled to read those things because I'm worried. How do I match up? Am I a narcissist, you know, and chances are. If you're married, your spouse will tell you. But in reality, we probably all are to some extent, and so one of my. So what do I want my legacy to be is not just I don't want I want people to when I'm, you know, dead and they're like what was Kent? Well, he wasn't a narcissist, you know. That's not my legacy. My legacy that I would like to be would be somebody who kind of does the opposite of that, somebody who cared about others, somebody who looked for ways to benefit more than just his circumstance, and that encompasses all kinds of things. That encompasses financials, that encompasses social standing, that encompasses even how your own family is doing, but somebody who, like, understood the bigger picture. You know, and I think there's different levels to that I'm a religious person. I think there's an eternal value there that needs to be looked at. It's how we view others, spiritual wellbeing. I think there's an earth, like a world-sized aspect to that. Like how did, did you leave the world a better place? In some way? I think there's even, like our niche communities that we're a part of. You know it could be for you and me it's going to be the hunting community, right, and the conservation community. And how did Kent impact those aspects, all of that stuff for others. And so I guess you know, when I'm gone I hope there's a lot of people that look back and say, man, that guy, he really, you know he wasn't perfect, everybody knows that, but he sure helped me in this way. Or he, you know, he was a neighbor to so-and-so, and that person said that man, we didn't always see eye-to-eye on everything, but I knew one thing for sure Kent wanted what was best for X, y and Z. And I hope those things are related to how I've helped other people. And right now I feel like, you know, I had eight years of doing that as a teacher, so that was kind of easy, you know, just not easy, like it was easy to do, but easy to draw the connection of like I'm teaching people stuff, I'm helping them with their social, emotional learning, their education and so forth. But now, being in this role, I hope people look at Iowa, which is the most terraformed landscape on the planet. We've lost what Iowa was almost completely. You know there's a phrase in the book Food I haven't read the book, but a friend of mine told me this phrase from that book that Iowa is just as much modified from its original, its original landscape, as is Manhattan Island, new York. And so I hope people look back and say, wow, kent helped get the ball rolling to get Iowa closer to what it should be a healthier landscape, so that people can enjoy better hunting, people can enjoy better fishing, people can enjoy just having a place to escape to that isn't degraded with with asphalt and concrete and till, dirt and you know, just signs of something that used to be healthy but is no longer. And I think if I keep others as that focus and wanting to serve those communities and those aspects of where I live and when I live, then I think the legacy will kind of take care of itself to whatever level that it can be known.

Speaker 1:

Great answer, kent. That is great man. I mean you've helped to plant the seeds of knowledge with the kids. You're planting the true seeds and hoaxing native seeds and it sounds like you're planning all this information that's going to continue to grow and something's gonna be left behind through your podcast. I mean having that something as tangible people can always listen back to and like you're sharing other people's ideas of like what they've done and their experiences. You're kind of continuing to echo out that rippling of knowledge and you're always going to people are always gonna be able to look back on that and you're always doing these things right now that are going to pay dividends down the road for other people's awareness, education and entertainment. you know as well, and so I applaud you for all the things. I really love your shows, the podcasts.

Speaker 2:

You're sharing.

Speaker 1:

You're more than welcome, man, and let's dive into where people can kind of. They have not yet had the chance to dive into these. Where can people find, subscribe to your podcast and follow you online so that they can continue to learn about your journey as you're going through it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, once again, thank you so much, george, for having me on your show, love it. This was just a fantastic way to spend you know, a couple hours and just chilling with a guy who I like talking with you know. So appreciate that and looking forward to having you on my show, which is the first-gen hunter podcast, as George mentioned, and it's been going since 2020. So, yeah, I think we're up in the 170s now for episodes and we've had some tremendous guests on there. Of course, george is going to be on there eventually and I've had some of the same guests that George has talked to and you might look at that and be like, yeah, but I'm not a first-gen hunter. Well, there's far more than just stuff for new hunters. You know, we have interest stories, like we interviewed this guy who was like had his face basically removed by a grizzly bear and he fought his way by himself back to safety, you know 10 miles or so into the back country, something like that. I can't remember the exact distance, but but he self-rescued himself. So we got stories like that. We have, you know, elk content, mule deer content, white-tail content, bear content I think there's some antelope in there, there's a musk ox story in there, some moose hunting, you know it's all over the board small game, land management, buying land, all that stuff. We just try to cover every aspect of hunting in some way. You know, we're probably a mile wide and an inch deep sometimes, but some things, you know, we get really deep into it. Almost everything divulges into a shed hunting conversation because I'm obsessed, but we had all that. And then, of course, the other podcast we run is the Prairie Farm podcast and that's a much more of everything's a conservation undertone, which there's a lot of that on the first-hand hunter podcast, of course. But on the Prairie Farm podcast we talk to, you know, guess, a lot of hunters, a lot of people from the hunting community, like Doug and Ryan Callahan and Sam So-Holt you know it would be maybe some of the names people would recognize and then, of course, a lot of other guys that you've never heard of before but are, you know, great hunters or tied to the hunting industry in some way. And but we also have, like homesteaders, and we have, you know, butterfly people and gardening people and a lot of land management, a lot of you know wildlife specialists. You know we interview the guy, carter Niemeyer, who was the boots-on-the-ground agent for Wildlife Services or AFIS you know part of the USDA AFIS program who helped trap and relocate wolves from Canada into Yellowstone in the mid-'90s. He was the boots-on-the-ground, he was the guy who was cutting the ropes, you know, and cutting them loose on Yellowstone. So you got guys like that you know, all over the place and it's about all with that conservation back story. We got you know some stuff on the history of Prairie. We put a docuseries together. So if you like, you know that more of that highly edited, you know theme music, all that stuff going on. We got some series like that. Just a lot of fun doing that show. But yeah, those are the two podcasts and if you want to follow along, you can follow Hoxie at Hoxie Native Seeds on Instagram and the Prairie Farm, I think is just at the Prairie Farm and then you can follow me at firstgenhunter and I'd love to interact with you guys. I've ever had any questions about you know planting some prairie, how to do it, how to prep the ground, how to take care of it, all that stuff. I'd be happy to help you anyway that I can, or any hunting questions or anything like that or whatever else, maybe cheers and jeers. Remember when the Field and Stream used to have the cheers and jeers section in there? Maybe you got some things that you want to complain to me about, and whatever. I'd love to interact with you. That's the best part of doing all this stuff is talking to the people that actually listen to us, right, yeah, yeah, so reach out Love to hear from you. And, george, just thank you again, man, you're a gentleman and a scholar.

Speaker 1:

Well, it takes one of the no one man. I'm looking forward to us sitting around a map or a campfire enjoying a nice cold camp voucher one day formerly known as Arnold Palmer and that's going to be formally known as yes, yes, but yeah, man, I look forward to getting together and chatting in person and having you know join your podcast, having you back on and continuing to stay in touch. Man, this has been a blast and, yeah, everyone, go check out Kent Voucher, Look at all the pages that you know, want to have them all listed below and follow them all. We've got some great stuff going on, man. Thanks again for joining us. Hey, for sure. Thanks, George. All right, take care.

Speaker 2:

See you.

Interview With First Gen Hunter
From Trout Fishing to Hunting
Deciding to Start a Podcast
Conservation and Native Seed Company Operations
Production Manager Learning and Responsibilities
Connecting With Like-Minded Conservationists
Connecting and Sharing With Doug
Passing on Hunting Ethos
Excitement for Map and Ranch Experience
Legacy, Narcissism, and Impact

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