By Chris Avena
We had the opportunity to speak to Larry Weishuhn about his career in the outdoor industry that spans decades. Larry is one of the most respected wildlife biologists, outdoor writers and television personalities in the outdoor industry today. Larry is a wealth of information when it comes to the outdoors and conservation and he is very accommodating when it comes to sharing his experiences.
Chris: We are here with Larry Weishuhn, the Host of DSC, Training the Hunters Moon that you can watch on the Pursuit Channel. Larry, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Larry: Hey, we’re here at the NRA show over at the Ruger booth and life is good.
Chris: Agreed! Larry, prior to your career in the outdoor industry, you were a wildlife biologist.
“Hunters are the true Conservationists”
Larry: Yes, I did. I started doing wildlife disease research along with animal nutrition work with the Department of Veterinary Pathology while I was an undergraduate at Texas A&M, under the auspices and the contract of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. I work for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in various capacities. But the last five years I was with, what they called, the technical assistance biologists which set up management programs for ranchers and hunting groups in the southern part of Texas. I had left that position when they told me they had a great job for me in the office in Austin in the headquarter building sitting at a desk. That is when I said, “You know what, I really do not want to do that.” That is when I started to get into writing already and a bunch of other things. But yes, that background was the wildlife biologist.
Chris: So you set up thousands of acres for management programs.
Larry: We actually ended up probably somewhere in the neighborhood of, not only in Texas but eventually ended up setting up management programs on about somewhere between 13 and 15 million acres over the years. So quite a bit of country.
Chris: So that not only helps the conservation of the animal it helps the whole environment.
Larry: We did a lot of habitat work and one of the things that we learned is we try to improve the habitat for whatever the game species was or the game bird was the non-game animals benefited so much more than the targeted species. The work that we did would vary and increase the variation of the vegetation that was there. So you ended up having more butterflies. We had more little ground animals. We had better animals population all the way across the board. But that’s one of the beauties of trying to manage for our game species. When you do that, everything benefits, habitat benefits. When that happens, every critter that’s out there, every species that there’s sometimes game birds that haven’t been in that area for 100 years or so will flourish.
Chris: So it’s a trickle-down effect?
Larry: It is very much a trickle-down effect that has an unbelievable effect upon at the total populations of wildlife.
Chris: So how do you transition from Wildlife Biologist to outdoor TV and writing?
Larry: I have always loved to write. I started writing many years ago. I sold my first national magazine article in 1970 and it was a transition from there. Over the years, I did a lot of talks regarding management and such. I served as kind of the Whitetail Authority for guys like Bill Jordan. We did a lot of things with Bill. So any time anybody came to Texas that wanted to learn about whitetail deer that was in the outdoor field, I was kind of pushed out in front of people. So I didn’t mind opening my mouth and talking about the benefits of doing that.
Chris: And it’s always good to talk about what we love to do.
Larry: Absolutely! Hunter’s are the true conservationists. Without hunting, we would have so many fewer species and that’s including plants as well because one of the things that we’ve learned over the years is that wild populations can recover very quickly if there’s sufficient amount of food. But what happens is when the habitats destroyed, it can take lifetimes for it to repair itself. So hunting plays a very important role in all that.
Chris: You have written roughly 2500 to 3000 articles on that topic as well as many of the hunts that you have been on.
Larry: I have been very fortunate. I came along at the right time. Particularly in terms of whitetail deer because years ago I was around when the interest in whitetail deer that we saw develop over the years was in its infancy. I wrote a lot of articles. I served on the staff a lot of different publications like Deer and Deer Hunting. I did a lot of works with them. I served on staff with Peterson’s Hunting and a whole lot of other publications. Also with Shooting Times which gave me the opportunity to write about a lot of the Sporting Classics which allowed me to tell stories. So, it was a covering of a lot of different things over the years and did a lot of freelancing like for the NRA publications.
Chris: Yeah. So for a new young outdoor writer starting out in the industry, what kind of advice would you give them?
Larry: I think the best thing that you can do is get a good background in business to begin with. Most of the time those of us that live the outdoors forget about the fact that, hey this is also got to be a business. But generally what I suggest to people is that come to me and ask about that kind of thing is get a good education. Take some journalism courses. Take some photography courses. These days the cameras that we have are so much different from when I started. We had a 35-millimeter camera with film that you had to have processed and developed. You had to take 300 pictures and you would end up with two of them that you could use. But now it’s digital, it’s made everything a whole lot easier. But get as many experiences at what you possibly can as well too. And then, you know, maybe even keep a little journal so you can remember those things particularly people’s names.
Chris: Now, the industry has changed tremendously over the years.
“The best advice that you can give a young hunter is – Go Hunt!”
Larry: It is a total change from where I started from many, many years ago and it continues to change. It is a very dynamic industry.
Chris: For somebody new, starting out of the industry, a new hunter, what advise what you give a new hunter?
Larry: A new hunter, one of the things that I would strongly suggest is get with people that know something about hunting, that know about the archery equipment they’re going to use or the guns that they’re going to use. Learn as much as you can about the current laws and the situations where they are. But then, I think the biggest thing is after you’ve covered some of the basis with some of these others and you spent some time around people “Go hunt”. Learn what you can from others and then learn the rest by yourself. Get out there and experience. Believe me when somebody says what’s the best advice you can give a hunter, it’s go hunt. Go hunt, get out there and spend time in the woods and the trees or wherever you’re going to do. I mean, get out there and learn.
Chris: I appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
Larry: Chris, thank you.
All Pictures for this interview have been provided by Larry Weishuhn. Don’t forget to visit Larry’s Website and Facebook Page to keep up with his adventures.