Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An Interview with Steven Rinella, Author of Meat Eater

Yesterday I posted my book review of Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter by Steven Rinella. Not only was I given the chance to review it before the general public, but I was also given the chance to interview Steven. I wanted to ask some different questions than you would normally hear in an interview. He was very candid and gave what I think are some great responses, but I will let you be the judge!


The SoCal Bowhunter: Steven, you and I have something in common. I was born and raised in rural farm-country of Western NY and then I moved out to Southern California only to be surrounded by buildings and masses of people. I know what my decision was, but why did you opt to move away from the wild and live in NYC?

Steven Rinella: The answer has to do with love and labor. My wife, Katie, works for a book publisher in New York. (That’s how we met, through publishing.) Also, I film a television show called MeatEater, on Sportsman Channel, and my production company is in New York. We’re out in the field hunting over half the time, and when we’re home we’re working on post-production. What cracks me up is that I hunt way more than my friends who live in places like Montana and Alaska. And if I didn’t live here and work in the businesses that I do, I wouldn’t be able to say that. 


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The SoCal Bowhunter: Do you ever take anything sentimental with you when you hunt? Better yet, is there something that travels with you on each and every hunt you go on?

Steven Rinella: Yeah, I have a few sentimental things that I always carry around. An orange plastic coffee mug that my brother Danny found while we were camping on the beach and fishing for bonefish in Mexico for a month. I was jealous of that mug and he gave it to me. And a little ditty bag that came with the first water purifier that I ever bought when I moved out West in 1997. And I’ve got a weird little plastic bottle that was in my dad’s stuff when he died. I keep that filled with spice rubs in my pack, so that I can sprinkle a little on the meat of the animals that I kill. I like to eat these meals right away in the field; it’s my way of showing the animal that it will be used responsibly and with respect. 


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The SoCal Bowhunter: In the book, you mainly hunt with a firearm. Do you still like the challenge of bowhunting?

Steven Rinella: Yes, I love bowhunting. The lack of bowhunting on MeatEater, the show, isn’t a reflection of how I feel about the discipline. It’s just that bow hunts don’t really work well for our shooting schedule. But I think we’re going to start filming more bow hunts in the future. Plus, there’s some good bowhunting action in my new book, Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter.


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The SoCal Bowhunter: When you film for MeatEater, how long is your average hunt schedule? Take the California Hog Hunt for example. How long we you hunting for?

Steven Rinella: We schedule anywhere from four days to a week or so for a hunt. The California hog hunt was on the short end of that. But as you’ll see in an upcoming episode, we managed to shoot an entire show in one day in New Zealand. That show involves a knife, two wild pigs, two scrappy little dogs, and an underground tunnel. 


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The SoCal Bowhunter: Describe for me the hunt you still haven't been on, but hope you get to. From the game you are after, the weather, down to the gear you want to have on you.

Steven Rinella: I’m waiting patiently for a good chance to hunt grizzlies in interior Alaska during the spring with my brother Danny. He’s an Alaska resident, so I can do that hunt without a guide. It’ll be in the Alaska Range or the Brooks Range. We’ll be on skis, covering a lot of ground and glassing a lot of valleys. I’ll be traveling light. It’ll be cold and sunny. I’ll spend my last night in the mountains huddled beneath a thick bear hide while eating roast grizzly backstrap and heart. Makes me hungry to think about it. I can’t wait!


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The SoCal Bowhunter: Steven, I humbly thank you for answering my questions and I hope we cross paths at some point in the near future. If you are ever in the Los Angeles area and need to hit the wilderness, give me a call. It was a pleasure reading your book and I will bet there will be many more out there who will savor every one of your stories and yearn for more.

Steven Rinella: Thanks for the opportunity. I appreciate your thoughtful questions. Best of luck to you and your readers.

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