Ep. 57: Brad Brooks from ArgaliContent creator, innovator and business owner. Brad Brooks talks about how he started Argali and he how manages to innovate, grow and balance home life, work and his passion for the wilderness. Brad is a seriously talented entrepreneur and outdoorsman who humbly credits his success to his family, friends and a lot of hard work.
[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer as well as how you can join The Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in north America wide liability insurance to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.
[00:00:43] Today, I’m joined by a consummate adventurer, entrepreneur and outdoorsmen. The star of The Hunt, The Wild Series and owner of Argali, Brad Brooks. Brad, welcome to The Silvercore Podcast.
[00:00:56] Brad Brooks: Well, thanks for having me. It’s an honour.
[00:00:58] Travis Bader: Well, I’m really excited to be speaking with you. I’ve been following what you do. I’ve been consuming some of your, your media that you have out there, you’re doing a fantastic job with that. And I really want to thank you for making the time today. I know we were scheduled for another time, but you had a, uh, what is a 3D archery convention or is it a tournament?
[00:01:19] Brad Brooks: Uh, it’s just, uh, yeah, just, uh, uh, uh, 3D archery event. I’m not really sure what the proper nomenclature is, but this is, this is also, yeah, I, uh, we had a bit of a scheduling snafu and I, I leave earlier tomorrow, to head to that and I’ve just got, this is like just a busy time of year for us and for me. And so, um, uh, yeah, I’m, I’m just glad we could find time together to chat because if it didn’t happen today, it might be awhile before we can make something happen.
[00:01:45] Travis Bader: I agree. I mean, it’s busy schedules, anyways, thank you very much. Really appreciate that. So I’ve been watching the Hunt The Wild series. You’re doing a fantastic job with that. How long have you been doing that for?
[00:01:59] Brad Brooks: You know, uh, well, so we, uh, Argali was started, uh, probably about, you know, not that long ago, like five years ago. And we were a content company when we started. And, but in the, you know, our origin story is, is fairly boring in some ways. It was me and my business partner, uh, having a beer and complaining about hunting media. Um, not that there, there wasn’t an, isn’t a lot of great stuff out there, but there was a lot of stuff that we just personally couldn’t relate to.
[00:02:30] And, you know, growing up in, uh, Idaho. Anybody who’s familiar with Idaho, Idaho has, you know, you know, like we’re the second, uh, state in the lower 48 in terms of the amount of like unroaded country we have, so wilderness and roadless lands. So I grew up around big wild country. It was just, you know, kind of what we did, right?
[00:02:51] Like you would go out into the wilderness and go hunting or go hiking. Um, and for me, place, like specific places were always really integral and important to me, uh, for hunting. So there were places that I just look forward to going, you know, we every single fall and we weren’t, we hunted, uh, growing up, you know, my dad is from the midwest in the US here.
[00:03:13] And so he was a white tail hunter, very different style of hunting than like we do in the west here. But so we would go on 1 hunt a year, big game hunt a year and, uh, as kids and we would hunt waterfowl and upland birds. And like that was, um, for our hunting and, uh, that was kind of what we did. And I always look forward to our big game hunt because we will go back to a place that just had this, um, uh, had some sort of, um, I don’t dunno place in my heart. I just wanted to go back there as much as I could.
[00:03:43] Travis Bader: I can feel that. Yeah.
[00:03:44] Brad Brooks: Yeah. And I think most hunters have that place. It might be your farm, it might be a river, it might be a giant wilderness area, whatever it is. Like I would say that anybody who hunts or fishes, um, and it’s not just people that hunt and fish, hunt or fish. I think people in general have places that they’re drawn to, but hunters and hunters and anglers in particular have places they’re drawn to. And so we, we wanted to start a company that was looking at hunting, not through the lens of look at me and look how look at this big shit I’ve killed.
[00:04:19] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:04:20] Brad Brooks: Which as again, as a consumer of media, like, I don’t care about that. I care about, um, I wanted to see hunting media that was trying to tell a story about something interesting that might be a person or a place. And for us, because of that central role of place, and, uh, uh, in hunting for us, we wanted to tell stories that we’re putting people in place up front and were sort of, you know, like, uh, I’d say the other parts of that hunting content.
[00:04:49] So like the kill shots and the things that you traditionally associate with, I would say old school, hunting media, those sort of took a back seat in the story we were trying to tell. Um, so that’s how we got our start. And at some point we had made a couple of, a couple of films and, uh, in each of those films, if you watch them, you know, conservation and the value of wild country sort of is, is sort of woven throughout the story.
[00:05:18] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:05:19] Brad Brooks: Um, but, uh, you know, the idea for doing The Last Wild Place series, uh, uh, really came from me wanting to just like drive home with a giant hammer to people that, you know, wild country is important, it is a scarce resource and we are not making any more of it. It is, you know, I guarantee you Travis, like by the time you and I are, if we’re lucky enough to be, to live to an old age, there will not be more wild country than there is today. Uh, more than likely there will be less. That’s just the way human, human civilization and progress is moving.
[00:05:57] Um, and I’m not someone who like laments it or is angry about it. But I do think it’s important, a little bit, but, um, I don’t get bitter about it, but I would say that I think it’s important and that’s why we started this series to help hunters recognize like, hey, this, this is a scarce resource. What you got right now in front of you. And it doesn’t exist by accident, like this, you, we can choose to keep these places the way they are.
[00:06:26] And I think most people uh, are drawn to the allure of big wild country in some way, maybe not jumping right into it if you’ve never been in it before. But the idea of it, the idea of big wild country, the idea that it exists, like that is something that most people can connect with. I don’t care how you vote or how you identify politically.
[00:06:49] That’s important. It’s important to me, it’s important to wildlife and it’s important to all of us as hunters to our past and the loss of wild country to me is a travesty. Um, so anyways, I’ll start by saying like, uh, I think, you know, if, if we can no longer get lost in wild country as, as humans, that’s a, that’s a sad day. We should have places to go get lost in. And so our last Wild Places series was really meant for, you know, to, to highlight some of what we consider it to be the last big wild places left in the lower 48. And that was sort of how it all, um, how it all started.
[00:07:27] Travis Bader: So you’re just sitting around having some beers and he said, w was it that fleshed out at the very beginning of the objective?
[00:07:36] Brad Brooks: No, no, no. So, I mean the, the, the Last Wild Places came a couple of years later, but the, the, uh, the, the beers really just led to, uh, sorry, I kind of glossed over that. Um, the beers really just led to, you know, it was just two guys complaining about things is as you know, as we are wanting to do sometimes, and that, you know, we said, well, let’s why don’t we tell a story?
[00:07:55] Why don’t we make a film? And my business partner who actually has talent as a filmmaker, he is a filmmaker, he actually has talent. Um, you know, we, uh, you know, by the end of it, you know, and, you know, I don’t know how many, how many beers we had, but it was more, more probably than we should have. And it was like, all right, let’s do it.
[00:08:12] And if, and people who know me know that, like, if I say I’m going to do something, I don’t wake up the next day and say like, oh, I shouldn’t have done that. I wake up the next day saying I committed to do that, let’s do it.
[00:08:23] Travis Bader: Good for you.
[00:08:23] Brad Brooks: And so, just the way I’m wired, I guess. But so we, we, uh, you know, literally I woke up the next day I called Jason and I said, I meant what I said last night. And I said, are you in or not? And he’s like, I’m in. And that was it. So that was kind of how we, um, how we sort of got started. And then it was, there was no business plan. There was no business. It was just, we wanted to tell this one story and that was Chasing Ridgelines, a film we made about my brother and I, and.
[00:08:51] Travis Bader: That was a good film.
[00:08:52] Brad Brooks: Oh, thank you. I, I, it’s hard. It’s hard to look back sometimes on like content you’ve made and just like pick up, you pick it apart as a con content creator.
[00:09:00] Travis Bader: Oh yeah. Everyone’s their own worst critic aren’t they.
[00:09:03] Brad Brooks: Yeah. It’s a healthy thing in some ways, but. Yeah. But anyways, after that, there was no, there was no business. There was no plan. It was just, we want to tell that story. After we made that, um, there was interest from some of the companies we had worked with, um, to do another one. So we did another one and at some point along the way, it was like, ah, maybe there’s something here. Um, my, my, I know we didn’t, I didn’t start creating content because I wanted recognition or I wanted gear or any of that, like this wasn’t.
[00:09:32] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:09:32] Brad Brooks: You know, I had a job I didn’t need, I could pay for my own gear. Like I wasn’t, I wasn’t looking, I wasn’t trying to, I didn’t care if anybody, what they thought of my hunting abilities or anything like that um.
[00:09:45] Travis Bader: What was your job?
[00:09:46] Brad Brooks: Uh, I worked it, you know, uh, public and environmental policy.
[00:09:50] Travis Bader: Right. And don’t you have a background in, got a master’s in business, don’t you?
[00:09:55] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Uh, MBA and then background in, uh, um, environmental economics.
[00:10:01] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:10:02] Brad Brooks: Yeah, it’s really kind of boring. I see a lot of math and.
[00:10:06] Travis Bader: Well, you sure turn it into something that isn’t boring.
[00:10:09] Brad Brooks: Yeah, true.
[00:10:10] Travis Bader: I find it, I find it interesting. The number of times that people will go to the pub and they’ll have a few beers or they got friends over and all the grand ideas that everybody has and the next day they just they’re gone. And I remember at an early age, I’d go out to the pub and I’d bring a little notebook with me, a little pencil and paper, or if I was really fancy, I’d bring a PalmPilot that a friend of mine, his dad gave me.
[00:10:36] Brad Brooks: You’re dating yourself now.
[00:10:37] Travis Bader: I know. Bring up my PalmPilot, but people would be talking about these different ideas. And all of a sudden somebody would say something like that sounds like a good idea. And I’d ask him, I’d say, are you going to do anything with that? Ah, yeah. I don’t know. I’ll probably, I don’t know. Do you mind if I do something right. Whatever, knock yourself out right into the thing. Great. No hard feelings. And the next day I’d start pursuing it. And there was so many different avenues that I pursued.
[00:11:03] Some of them took off and some didn’t, but at an early age, realizing that there is a great separator between the dreamers and the people who actually take that next step. Cause everybody’s got ideas and dreams, but not everybody has a courage to take that next step. Like you’ve done and it’s really paid off for you. It looks like anyways from an outsider looking in.
[00:11:23] Brad Brooks: It has. Yeah, for sure. And I, I, you just like touched on something that, uh, I have, I have come to appreciate and understand, which is that everybody’s got ideas and I used to be, so, uh, I’d say early on and I have had plenty of failures that there are other, I mean, Argali was not, uh, originally intended to be what it is today. It was intended to be a hunting clothing company in 2010 um.
[00:11:47] Travis Bader: Oh really?
[00:11:48] Brad Brooks: Yeah, I, I dreamt up the, uh, the brand and the name. Was in 2010 and it was before FirstLite existed, uh, Sitka existed, but Kuiu didn’t. Um, there really wasn’t a technical hunting clothing company that I was aware of other than Sitka and the idea for Argali, which it’s funny in hindsight cause it’s not, that doesn’t sound novel today.
[00:12:09] But it was to create a hunting gear company and really lean into the merino wool, uh, really hard as a, um, uh, product line. But I was, you know, I was 25, I didn’t have any money. Uh, I had ideas, I hustled, I hustled, you know, like crazy to try and make it happen. Almost made it happen, but it floundered. Um, but I learned a lot from it, but I think what you just said, like rings true. It’s like, I used to be very protective of my ideas because I thought, ah, people are going to steal them and there’s some truth to that right but.
[00:12:43] Travis Bader: There is.
[00:12:43] Brad Brooks: For the most part.
[00:12:45] Travis Bader: When you really start to succeed there there’s truth to that because you’ve already paved the way. But when the idea is, is there as an idea form, uh, it seems to be in a pretty safe space. Cause most people actually won’t follow up and do anything with it until you’ve actually dragged the ball the majority of the way across the field.
[00:13:03] Brad Brooks: Uh, that is 100% true. Like having the, uh, like it seems so simple and yet most people, they either are intimidated by it. It’s too much time. Uh, there’s a lot of reasons, like legitimate reasons, like other priorities, but I think the way that I’m wired and I think you’re, it sounds like you’re wired Travis is like, you know, or you know, seeing something through to its logical conclusion is, uh, something that I have learned sort of separates entrepreneurs from, from non entrepreneurs.
[00:13:37] And I don’t really call myself an entrepreneur, but like being able to like, see something through and know, like, this is a dead end, or this is actually, there’s some legs here. That’s sort of the difference between a lot of, a lot of folks. And I think folks that are, uh, start businesses, um, and are able to kind of like scrap it together and make it work.
[00:13:58] Um, and it’s not to say that it’s a bad thing to not necessarily like follow up on ideas, but I can’t. Yeah. Like you and me, it’s like, I can’t tell you how many good ideas I’ve heard from other people. I’m like, you should do something with that. That’s a.
[00:14:12] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:14:12] Brad Brooks: Good business. You can, you can make a lot of money with that. It might be, you know, a five to 10 year process to pull it out. But that’s a retirement idea, you could retire off that one. But anyway, I suppose people aren’t interested in doing it.
[00:14:25] Travis Bader: It’s like the Beatles, how come they had so many good hits. They had so many bad ones as well. And they just tried and tried and they saw which ones worked and some will take off and some won’t, but the, yeah, the, um.
[00:14:39] Brad Brooks: But not being afraid I think, you said something too. You can’t be afraid of falling flat on your face. And I mean, I’ve started, you know, websites that, uh, I worked on for a few months and I’m just like, I’m gonna abandon this. And I can remember, you know, taking crap from some of my buddies. They’re like, oh my god, you know, making fun of me for doing I’m like, I didn’t care. You know, you just have to like.
[00:15:03] Travis Bader: You can’t.
[00:15:03] Brad Brooks: No, no, no, no, no, but just like being okay with just like trying different things. And eventually, you know, if anybody out there who’s interested in starting a business, it’s like, your first thing may not work out. Your second thing may not work out. But if you’re willing to keep trying things and you’re not afraid of like the frustration that comes along with failure, um, and trust your instincts, I would guarantee eventually, like, you’re gonna, you’re gonna have a good idea that’s gonna, it’s gonna stick. Cause everybody can, anybody can have a good idea, you know, a lot of people do have good ideas.
[00:15:37] Travis Bader: Well, you know, I, one other thing that I find, and I don’t know if this is a shared thing amongst other entrepreneurs, but, uh, whatever that idea is, you can make it happen. Whether you turn around and look back afterwards and say, was it worth it? Maybe, maybe not there after some time I found that really smart ones are able to identify, wait, this is not the best direction to be going in.
[00:16:00] Let’s pivot and take a better direction, but no matter what your idea is, if you’re, whatever it is, selling little widgets, you can make it work. It might be a lot of work. It might be every hour of the day, but you can make it work. You might look back and say, man, there was much easier things I could’ve done. And I think that’s where a lot of people, uh, fail is because they don’t see, they don’t see it working or they don’t see that instant success out of it, or maybe they’re smart and they, they’re not as pig headed.
[00:16:32] And they say, you know, I think it would be a lot better for me to do this other thing. Just work for somebody else and I’ll make as much or more money. But I don’t know if they’d have the same satisfaction.
[00:16:43] Brad Brooks: Yeah. I don’t know either. I think, you know, one thing I’ve noticed in my like peer group of business people, um, they tend to be very stubborn group. Um, um, I am a stubborn person for sure. And, um, I just think, you know, not, not taking no for an answer or taking, you know, every challenges as just like, I’m not gonna, not accepting what’s given to you is just like a common thread, um, that.
[00:17:09] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:17:09] Brad Brooks: I see, uh, it’s, it’s both a blessing and a curse for those people that I know who are friends of mine who fit that bill so.
[00:17:18] Travis Bader: Well there’s always a solution. We might not see it yet. If we’ve tried everything. Keep trying because you haven’t found that solution yet.
[00:17:26] Brad Brooks: Yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean, just, I mean, just to bring that home, I mean, think about this, Argali, I thought of it in 2010, I failed at starting a clothing company, um, for a variety of reasons, which I won’t even get into, but there was a five-year lull where I tried other things, not, not Argali, but I was like poking around at different things and I, none of them really came to fruition, like none of them.
[00:17:53] Um, and it wasn’t that, uh, I wasn’t really trying seriously, like I had, I was just like doing things I was interested in, um, hunting and rock climbing are kind of the two things I’m interested in. So I was trying some things out in the climbing world. Um, and none of it, none of it real seriously, but there wasn’t, there was a five-year gap in there before I felt like there was something worth doing that actually had legs .Um, Yeah. And you know, again, every day I question whether or not this is actually gonna work out. So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a daily struggle.
[00:18:25] Travis Bader: It’s still an ongoing process. So are you a trad climber, sport climber?
[00:18:31] Brad Brooks: Everything. Yeah, I think my, my preferred style, I love Alpine Alpine rock climbing. Um, but uh, spent a lot of time, uh, sport climbing. I’ve traveled internationally, a sport climb, um, and do a lot of that here locally. And I think before I had kids, I did a lot more traveling, Alpine climbing all over the place and we have a lot of great Alpine climbing here too, but, um, a little bit of everything I do and in the winter I bolder a lot for, uh, just strengthen strength training, but yeah.
[00:19:03] Travis Bader: Keeps you fit for hunting season that’s for sure.
[00:19:05] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a nice balance to hunting too you know. I get, I get bored easily and I, I love hunting, but it’s nice to have a break. Um, balancing in life for me is really important. Not just with my own personal interests, but family, you know business is a break from hunting. Um, you know, the thing, the thing that nobody tells you about starting a business in the hunting industry is that like, you know, your customers, uh, want things during hunting season, which means that you have to think about their needs.
[00:19:36] Travis Bader: Yeah. That’s your season shot.
[00:19:38] Brad Brooks: Yeah exactly. Exactly.
[00:19:41] Travis Bader: Well, that balance that you’re talking about, that can be incredibly difficult. And I know some entrepreneurs, some driven people will have a very difficult time changing gears, whether it’s work, work, work, or family, family, family, and try. And how do you manage that balance?
[00:19:58] Brad Brooks: Uh, I think poorly and it’s a constant struggle. Like if I’m being honest, like I, uh, I shouldn’t say poorly, like, I, I, I try really hard to find that balance, but, you know, it’s like, if there’s, if this is the balance point right here, you know, it’s like, I’m constantly kind of going back and forth and I’m always trying to find the middle, but it’s like this invisible middle that I never know if I’m, if I’m on the right spot.
[00:20:25] Um, uh, I’d say that the thing that I have with, you know, going with my wife is we just have a really honest, candid, transparent relationship. So she feels like, um, um, too far, uh, on the, on one side of that scale, she’s gonna tell me, um, she’ll be very direct about it. Like you’re working too much. You need to, we need to do something in the family. And it’s like, you’re right. I, we do.
[00:20:51] Travis Bader: That’s so important.
[00:20:53] Brad Brooks: It is. And I, without that, like, this are my whole situation. Wouldn’t work very well. Cause I. I don’t need somebody to, uh, tell me to go to work. I wake up early in the morning and I’m excited to do it. Just like a lot of people who love what they do and, you know, it’s, uh, 8:45 um, I’m going to work til probably midnight tonight. Not because that’s why every day, but because like there’s some things to do and I’m going for a work trip tomorrow.
[00:21:19] Um, but you know, this last weekend I spent the last couple of weekends, uh, camping and hanging out with the family and the kids and going up, you know, not doing, not doing anything, uh, uh, that I would be doing if I, if I had my like, choice of doing something active right. But just going out and hanging out with the family, taking the kids fishing, um, and, uh, anyways, just doing, you know, fun family stuff.
[00:21:44] So I try and and spend when I’m not, when I’m not traveling, when I’m hunting, being present with my family and then also scheduling things out with my wife. So, uh, you know, work, we went to Hawaii this year we’re going next year.
[00:21:59] Travis Bader: Beautiful. Which island?
[00:22:03] Brad Brooks: Uh, we went to Maui last year and we’re going to go to Maui again because we had so much fun.
[00:22:08] Travis Bader: Nice.
[00:22:09] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[00:22:09] Travis Bader: Yeah I’ve always spent, I did Maui once, but it was uh, Kauai, spent a fair bit of time on Kauai north shore Oahu.
[00:22:17] Brad Brooks: Oh okay.
[00:22:19] Travis Bader: Even though, Oahu can be a bit busier, get on the north shore and quite enjoy it over there.
[00:22:23] Brad Brooks: Nice. Were you hunting or just surfing or hanging out?
[00:22:27] Travis Bader: Surfing. Yeah actually, um, I remember, uh, a seat sale came up one time and a friend calls up. He says, there’s a fantastic seat sale. It was, I forget how much it was. I know the grand total was $500, $500 covered the flight there and back back, and this was a Kauai and we surfed Hanalei and well we surfed all over, but spent the most of the time and Hanalei uh, it covered the, uh, between the two of us.
[00:22:54] Uh, my half of the vehicle rental, my half of accommodations, which was the vehicle. We just slept inside a van. My, my surfboard rental and my food. It was just under $500. And, um, of course we didn’t have much money and that was really appealing. And, but I said, no, I, I can’t go. And, uh, because my daughter was just born, she’s a week old and my wife says there’s nothing you can do for her right now. Why don’t you go, you’re not going to get this opportunity again, go, which bless her, thank her very much. But uh, ended up spending a week in Kauai for just under 500 bucks surfing and I haven’t seen the seat sale like that come up again.
[00:23:34] Brad Brooks: That was pretty, that’s a pretty cheap Hawaiian vacation.
[00:23:37] Travis Bader: Yeah. Well, when you’re eating like ramen noodles and even sleeping in the back of the minivan, it sure helps cut costs as well.
[00:23:44] Brad Brooks: Yeah, yeah, no, I, I, you know, I think it’s, uh, like personally for me it sounds like you’re probably the same way Travis, is that the hunting climbing and, and other things are really like important for my, for me to be me and me to be present and be a good dad, a good partner. And, um, I, I envy people who don’t really need that, that can just be present all the time without doing things or having, you know, in some ways it’s like, man, it sounds really nice.
[00:24:14] Um, but it’s just, it, it is just not, it’s just not who I am and I’ve come to terms with that. And, uh, so if I, if I get restless really easily, uh, I never envisioned myself getting married or having kids is, uh, in my, in my twenties. And then I met my wife and she’s fantastic and changed, changed everything, and she’s.
[00:24:35] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:24:35] Brad Brooks: Phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but, um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s tough, man. It’s like finding that balance when doing the things that are really important to you pursuing your dreams as a person, as a human, but also being a human you’re, a dad and a good partner, or husband or, or, or wife, whatever the case may be. Um, and I don’t pretend to have it figured out and, uh, I’m always trying to do everything. And I think just being totally candid, it’s, it’s a challenge. And, you know, uh, don’t don’t necessarily do a a hundred percent, uh, you know, a great job all the time, but, uh, try and, you know, try and find that balance all the time.
[00:25:16] Travis Bader: As long as we’re trying, that’s all we can do. So you’ve got two, two kids now, right?
[00:25:21] Brad Brooks: I do. Yeah. Two girls.
[00:25:22] Travis Bader: Two girls. And I remember watching one of your series there, and you’re talking about wanting to, uh, take them out hunting and I think.
[00:25:30] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[00:25:30] Travis Bader: It was a couple of years back, are they have an age where they’ve been able to come on hunting with you yet.
[00:25:34] Brad Brooks: So my, my oldest daughter is about six years old and she’s been out Turkey hunting with me twice. Uh.
[00:25:41] Travis Bader: Nice.
[00:25:41] Brad Brooks: Yeah. So, um, which has been fun. It’s kind of a nice, like intro to hunting. If you like Turkey hunting can be fairly pedestrian. Cause you get it, you can sleep in and go out and you can get some, you can call birds in and they can, you know, see a bird gobbling their brains off. I don’t know. I don’t know if you guys do.
[00:25:57] Travis Bader: It keeps it fun.
[00:25:58] Brad Brooks: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Um, although this last year, my oldest daughter, we called in a Tom who was just gobbling his brains off about 20 yards out from the blind. We were my brother and I were taking his daughter out who’s who can’t hunt. And my daughter was just along for the ride and she just slept through the whole thing, just a Tom, like gobbling out, just strutting and gobbling right out front of us. And she’s just like, she’s cold asleep in. So I’m like, well, this is like, I wanted to come show you this. I was more excited than she was and we.
[00:26:29] Travis Bader: Oh totally.
[00:26:29] Brad Brooks: Get out there and she’s just like, eh, I’d rather, I should.
[00:26:34] Travis Bader: She’s just excited to be out there with you. I mean, they’ll whole hunting and everything else is, you know, when, uh, before having kids, I said, you know, made the commitment, gonna have kids. And essentially, uh, I’ve made the commitment that my life is now second place, essentially w all the things I want to do or now second place. And first priority is going to be kids and family. And I think in some ways that’s, uh, it’s got merit, but what you’re saying earlier about, essentially being able to identify what defines you and not losing that piece.
[00:27:08] Now, if you’re just living for the kids and the family, but you’re not getting out into the rock and you’re not getting out into the mountain and you’re not doing these things that keep you present, then you’re not giving your best to your family. And it’s sort of a disservice. So I, I really like how you frame that one. Um.
[00:27:25] Brad Brooks: It feels, uh, at times I think the, uh, my, for me, it feels as though you could call it being selfish in some ways too. And it’s really, I think it’s a healthy, for me anyway, it’s healthy to, to be like, always checking yourself. Like, are you, you know, are you doing what’s best for your kids? Um, or is this, is this something you really need to do? Or is this just you being selfish and making excuses so you can go do the things you want to do.
[00:27:55] Um, and I, S you know, again, it’s like, I don’t, I don’t know what the reality is in that situation. And I don’t, I don’t think there’s ever going to be it. There’s never an answer to that question. Um, but it’s, uh, for me answer asking the question of myself is important because it makes me wrestle with it. And sometimes I’m like, you know, you don’t need to go do that. Like, you know, what’s more important right now is like, you need to hang out. You know, your kids are having your daughter’s having a hard time tonight.
[00:28:22] You’re not, you’re not going to do the thing we’re going to, you’re planning to do, or you need to cancel that meeting because there’s something going on right. Like, so it, it helps keep it in check. And I just think questioning your motives and why you’re doing something, it’s just a healthy way to try and find that balance.
[00:28:39] Travis Bader: Well, something off something else that you brought up was a schedule. And he said, uh, scheduling things in appropriately, scheduling time with a family scheduling. That was one thing that, you know, people ask you, they say, oh, it must be nice. You’ve got your own business and you can, they’ll joke, you can take any day off you want. But the reality is, is you tend to work all the time. And even when you’re not working in the business, you’re thinking about the business or working on the business. And I found that scheduling your time and being very diligent with that is, it took me a while to figure that one out. But it’s such an important piece of the puzzle. Is that the same with you?
[00:29:21] Brad Brooks: Oh man. Yeah, my schedule, I live and die by my schedule. Um, yeah, I mean, if, like I said, I mean, when you work, when you work for somebody else, uh, you may love your job, but you could set that down and walk away and there are other people that will fill in the slack. I think when it’s your company, you, it’s your baby, uh, not working all the time or a lot to make it succeed is just not in the cards. It is your thing and it lives or dies by the things that you do.
[00:29:59] So, um, and if you’re somebody who wants to see your things succeed, uh, or your paycheck is dependent upon it, um, it’s really hard to just turn it off. I have a hard time turning it off, uh, for that reason. And so like, yes, being scheduled is incredibly important. Um, I schedule my time sometime in 15 minute increments.
[00:30:21] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:30:21] Brad Brooks: To, yeah. It’s like, if I want to get yeah, six, seven things done in a two hour period, I’ll block out 15 minute increments. Like I would to go to bed tonight for things I want to do tomorrow before 7:00 AM, I’m going to schedule each one of them out and make sure I get all of them done. Um, and it’s a way that it helps bring peace to my life because I’m like, okay, I can, I can not think about that now because I’m going to deal with it tomorrow. Um, and it also brings structure and allows me to do other things that aren’t work.
[00:30:55] Travis Bader: You know, a, a fellow that I was speaking with recently on a podcast and afterwards he, uh, he says, you know, he’s, uh, he’s in his, uh, mid twenties, younger, early to mid twenties. And he says, I’m a project manager right now, but I’m young enough, I’d really like to run my own business. And this guy is an avid outdoors man, and he’s very passionate about hunting. And, um, I don’t find what I don’t find his desire, uh, unusual.
[00:31:26] I find a lot of other people, they say the same thing. It looks really neat, I’d really like to, uh, to start my own thing. I asked him what he wanted to do. He’s like, I don’t know yet, but I just, I have the desire right now. I don’t know what it is, w what I want to do yet. What advice would you give to somebody like that? Because I have a feeling he would want to do something in the outdoor world or in the hunting world cause that’s where he’s got such a big passion for it.
[00:31:51] Brad Brooks: Hmm. I would say, uh, yeah, try things. Like, just try stuff out, dip a toe in the water, um, uh, and go with what you know, too. Um, I think it’s, it’s hard to start a business uh, if you don’t, if it’s something that’s outside of your, your knowledge base or area of expertise, everybody has some area of expertise. Uh, they have something that they know a lot about. It might be card games, I’m just making stuff up here.
[00:32:21] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:32:21] Brad Brooks: You know, but like everybody has something or can have something that they, they have sort of a unique set, uh, knowledge set around that they can, they can figure out how to like craft a business around, um, may not be a good business, but they can crash the business around. Right. Like, um, and you know, something that you know about and feel as though you can, uh, contribute some knowledge to the world around that is unique.
[00:32:50] Uh, I think that’s your best chance for success. If you try and like create a, if I were to go out, let’s just use myself and I was going to go out and create like a, uh. Travis, like, uh, something maybe that you do is like, I’m going to create a tactical defence training course, something I don’t know anything about.
[00:33:07] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:33:08] Brad Brooks: Uh, I wouldn’t, I don’t think I’d have a very successful business because I would try to be like learning and then like teaching the things I’m learning to other people, whereas like, you know, hunting and hunting gear, I, you know, for better, for worse. I know a lot about that um, and I think a lot about it. So, um, that is, you know, it’s sort of like our, my unique value proposition as a business right.
[00:33:29] And so if, if, uh, yeah, so anyways, I would just say, think about those things where you have a unique set of skills or unique knowledge, and it’s something that you’re interested in and that you can figure out how, you know, what, what about that knowledge or that experience that you can, um, leverage into a business. And it might be a service, service-based business, or it could be a more of a product based business.
[00:33:56] Travis Bader: Well, you’re in sort of a unique category. So my wife’s a chef and she would work long hours in the kitchen. She’d come home and she’d be excited about cooking something or excited about, uh, uh, dry aging our own uh Westphalia ham or whatever it might be.
[00:34:14] And most people who work, it’s like the mechanic that’s got the crummy car because they never want to touch her own vehicle just enough to get there and back from work. Cause they’re working on it all day, you’re in a position where you’ve taken your passion, you’ve taken something that you love and you kind of made it your work.
[00:34:30] Do you find that it’s, do you find that difficult? Like does it take some of the joy out of your work when you’re, okay now I’m I know I’m out there, but I’m field testing one of my pieces of equipment or? Does that get difficult?
[00:34:45] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Um, I mean, I, I, my general operating assumption is that the minute this business or my work stop, ceases to be fun, I’m going to walk away from it. And I think about that frequently, and I say no to things that I don’t think are fun or keeping this interesting for me. And I try very hard to, and I work very hard to create a business that is interesting to me and doesn’t make me hate hunting and hunting gear.
[00:35:19] Um, cause it’s, it’s, it’s a, uh, making your passion your job is not always the best thing. Um, it’s not the best, that’s the right thing to do necessarily either. Um, uh, it’s, it’s kinda like, there’s a reason I don’t, I never, I’ve never become a guide. Never official like been a big hunting guide and it’s because I know it would ruin hunting for me. Uh, and it lot of respect.
[00:35:41] Travis Bader: Yes I could see that.
[00:35:42] Brad Brooks: To other guides like, I just, I think I would have some great clients that I enjoyed hanging out with, but I would have, there would be some people that I’m like, man, this is not fun. I don’t want to do this anymore. And that would make me, you know, and so for me, one of the ways I keep it fun is I carve out a lot of time to go hunting. So hunting, I have may I make a commitment every year to, to hunt as much as I possibly can.
[00:36:09] I don’t know how long I’m going to be alive on this planet so, um, I didn’t start this business to not continue to hunt or to keep doing fun adventures. And so I take large chunks of time and I go hunting. Um, and when I’m out hunting, it’s, it is definitely, uh, it’s a lot of work because usually we’re filming content, right.
[00:36:31] So we might be going on a hunt, but there’s cameras around. I might be self filming or we have, uh, one or two people running cameras and that’s, um, it’s not, uh, it definitely changes the hunt when that, when that’s, what’s going, when you have cameras around.
[00:36:47] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:36:50] Brad Brooks: There are times where I have been very frustrated by the cameras. And I’ve just said, like, I’m over this. Like, I don’t, I don’t want to do this and like, this is not fun. I just want to go hunt, like the way I used to, uh, by myself or with my family, my friends, not to worry about this, but, you know, that’s, uh, um, it’s, it’s almost like a spoiled kid crying that he has too much money or something, you know, like.
[00:37:11] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:37:12] Brad Brooks: I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s like you have created.
[00:37:15] Travis Bader: I get it though.
[00:37:16] Brad Brooks: Yeah, I mean, I get it, but at the same time, I’m like, you know, like you’ve created a business where you get to go on all these like fun trips and like, you know, if anybody else looked from the outside they’re like, cry me a river um.
[00:37:28] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:37:29] Brad Brooks: You know, that’s, it’s, you’ve created this world, like now live in it. Um, so it’s, uh, to me it’s a small pence to pay and I, I usually, uh, the way I try and balance that as I’ll do, you know, one or two, uh, hunts a year with no cameras around just, just me and either by myself or with buddies and just like, it’s just me hunting for me. Um, and that keeps me centred. I’d say I haven’t, um, I actually really love making products and I love testing gear and I haven’t gotten tired of that yet.
[00:38:04] I might get tired of it someday. I reserve the right to hate it at some point, I haven’t reached that point yet, I still love it. I think about it. It’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed, typically it is the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, I . Think about fabrics.
[00:38:19] Travis Bader: Really?
[00:38:19] Brad Brooks: It is it’s and I love it. I, I am, uh, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it is good for, I mean, if there’s a reason I’m doing what I’m doing, right. It’s like.
[00:38:28] Travis Bader: Totally.
[00:38:29] Brad Brooks: And I think the, when, when you’re making a product, there is no detail that is insignificant, not one down to the size of the thread. Uh, the, you know, the, the elasticity of the thread, there is nothing that I consider to be insignificant on a product, nothing.
[00:38:47] And that drives people around me, probably crazy. Um, but it is, but you know what, like that’s, you know, I feel like that’s what sets our products apart is like, I don’t, I’m not satisfied with that. And if I don’t like it, we won’t make it. Um, and.
[00:39:04] Travis Bader: Absolutely.
[00:39:05] Brad Brooks: I have, I have spent, I have been in a room with one of our engineers and we’re looking at 3D printouts our knives. And I mean, there was, there was a knife design or Serac knife. I can’t tell you how many additions of our Serac we went through where we were, we were printing out 3D prints, just trying to get the shape. Right. First of all, and I had the way our design, I’m not an engineer. So like, you know, I, I rely on people that have a lot more skill and talent than I do to actually bring these products to life.
[00:39:33] But I drew it. I draw them out like to a T of what I want exactly. And I’m like, okay, this is what I, this is the shape, the size dimensions, everything like, this is what I want, you know, it was just, you get into a CAD file and get some 3D print outs. And it was off like, probably about a millimetre. And I was looking at it and I’m like, this is, this is wrong.
[00:39:50] This is like, can you see how, like this little part of it, it’s like, got about a half a millimetre more and he’s like, I can’t see that. And I’m like, it’s there. And you know, like, that’s the kind of like, neurosci, neuroses that goes into like product design and development, but I, I love that stuff. And so it’s what, it’s what keeps me going. Um, and I really do enjoy that process.
[00:40:11] Travis Bader: Well, you can really tell that you’ve thought these things through, because even you, you look at the products that you’re designing, even like the game bags and you you’re going through all, you can use a drawstring string for this. You can actually use it as a pillow. We set it up like this so you can use that as a stuff, sack.
[00:40:26] And it’s, every little bit of it has, if you need emergency shoelaces, here you go right. You’ve thought that through. And you’ve got another one that, uh, I gotta get my name on the pre-order list here somehow, but you’ve got a belt you’ve designed.
[00:40:42] Brad Brooks: I’ll get you, I’ll get you on the pre-order. Yeah. The Kodiak belt.
[00:40:45] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:40:46] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[00:40:47] Travis Bader: Tell me about that.
[00:40:47] Brad Brooks: It’s funny.
[00:40:48] Travis Bader: It’s pretty cool.
[00:40:48] Brad Brooks: Yeah. I’ll, I’ll tell you about it, man. And I, I should tell you, like, I’m not in the, like the survival wilderness skills community, but the number of people from that community who reached out to me and be like, Hey, can I get one of those things? Um, I’m like, I don’t have any to give you right now, but, um, uh, so our Kodiak belt, it is a field belt and a knife sharpener in one. Um, so it is a, um, I wanted it to be like, you know, a, the ideal belt that I would want to wary wear, uh, for hunting and for just everyday use.
[00:41:19] And so just thinking about, um, how it fits underneath the backpack, um, the, the weight of it, the shape of the buckle, everything like, you know, I want it to just be that ideal buckle that just happened to be made out of materials that could shape, sharpen or hone any knife, broad head or anything, any fishing hook, anything else you want to keep sharp.
[00:41:37] Um, the, uh, speaking of product design and being anal retentive, this product took me like two years of like concerted effort and just trial and error. And at one point, uh, walking away for six, uh, oh close to six months, again, it was just never going to work um.
[00:41:58] Travis Bader: Really?
[00:41:58] Brad Brooks: Oh my gosh. Yeah, man. Cause I couldn’t figure it out. So if you haven’t seen the product, you have to go check it on our website. It is a, I mean, I’m biased, but it is, it’s a cool product, it is a cool ass product.
[00:42:09] Travis Bader: It’s pretty cool. I agree with you.
[00:42:11] Yeah, it’s it has
[00:42:12] Brad Brooks: three differs different materials built into the belt. So, um, think about just materials that are integrated into the belt that can, that can fully shape sharpen your knife. Um, there is a six inch vegetable tan leather strap that is sewn into the webbing of the belt on the side. There is a tungsten carbide bar that is, that is seated in the top of the, of, uh, the buckle itself as a thin sheet of aluminum.
[00:42:36] And on the top of that, on one of the, uh, uh, top sides, we have a thin, a thin piece of, uh, tungsten carbide. And then on the back, what I say, what I call the coup de gras of the belt, on the back of the buckle is a flush piece of, uh, 800 grit, diamond grit. So you can.
[00:42:54] Travis Bader: So cool.
[00:42:55] Brad Brooks: Yeah. That, that diamond grit piece of it that took forever to figure out how to make that the tungsten carbide. I mean, tungsten carbide is not a common knife sharpening material. Um, I just happened to have a good friend of mine, who I went to high school with, who is a PhD material scientist, and I’d stop by his office. And I’d say, you know, he doesn’t know anything about knife sharpening. He’s like in like, you know, material science, he’s mostly doing like high tech, you know, computer processing, you know, microchips.
[00:43:25] And, but he knows a little bit about everything and I stopped by his office. His name is Brian, and I’d be like, Brian, here’s what I’m trying to make. I don’t really know, you know, like here’s the common materials for knife sharpening. And he’s like, hey, you ever thought about tungsten carbide? And I was like, no, I haven’t, I don’t really know a whole lot about tungsten carbide.
[00:43:45] And then I started. Yeah. So Brian had no. And so I started testing it and I was like, this stuff actually works, you know, to sharpen a knife. Um, but it’s also really expensive. It’s tungsten carbide is used to like drill bits to like drill in, you know, rare minerals and like it’s used on the bottom of trekking poles as well.
[00:44:03] Um, but the first, the, so the first belt we made, um, complete belt, the, the price, like our price for it was about $300 a belt. Like that was how much it was gonna cost for us to make individual units, let alone sell it at a.
[00:44:19] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:44:20] Brad Brooks: At a profit. And I was like, there is no way where, no one’s going to pay, you know, whatever, 400, 500 bucks for a, uh, a belt buckle. It doesn’t matter what it does. Unless it has like.
[00:44:29] Travis Bader: Got a limited market.
[00:44:29] Brad Brooks: Yeah, it has a blow torch that like comes out of it or something can like start a fire or like, um, so anyways.
[00:44:35] Travis Bader: Do your taxes for ya.
[00:44:37] Brad Brooks: Yeah, exactly. So just figuring out how to like, get the manufacturing uh, right. And getting, getting a process down with our manufacturer that, that actually made it at a price that people would be built, willing to pay. It took a long time and then just getting the materials right. And the design, right. Um, yeah, it just took a long time.
[00:44:59] And then, and then the thing, the other thing that, uh, you’ll see people see if they look at it the way the webbing capture system works, it creates a really flush, uh, flush system against your stomach, uh, which I really wanted because anybody who’s ever packed out, had a heavy pack on knows that when you cinch down your hip belt, if you have like a traditional webbing belt, it creates a little bulge right around your stomach and your hip belt, which is either you have to either push that bulge above or below your hip belt, or it digs into your stomach and so it’s really uncomfortable.
[00:45:29] Um, the way our weapon capture system works, it creates a really flat surface that mirrors the shape of your belt buckle on your backpack. And so it creates a flat plate essentially which is a really comfortable way, um, to, uh, to wear a belt buckle. So anyways, I L this belt has been it, you know, it’s only on presale right now.
[00:45:48] We started a pre-sale a few months back. It doesn’t actually, it won’t actually be for sale, um, probably until at least late October. Um, and you know, so far it’s, it’s been a very, very popular item for us. Um, uh, but I will, I will get you on the presale list there.
[00:46:06] Travis Bader: Please. So you brought up a bunch of things and I should be taking notes. Cause my my ADHD mind will jump all over the place. But you’re talking about, um, we’ve talked about filming. I really want to touch on that. So if we don’t, remind me, um, as well, heavy packs now you’ve got a climbing background. Are you, are you familiar with Mark Twight?
[00:46:27] Brad Brooks: Oh, uh, to Kiss or Kill is one of my all time. I read that thing about once a year.
[00:46:31] Travis Bader: Okay. So in listening to you talk and watching you, I’m like, you know, I I’m sure there’s some Mark Twight philosophy that’s kind of rubbed off here a little bit because I definitely see that you go fast, you go hard, but you’ll, uh, and lightweight. Um, is that, would that be a correct assessment?
[00:46:53] Brad Brooks: I, I think, you know, I actually, the first article I ever wrote for our field notes was, uh, it was based on Mark Twight’s philosophy of light and fast. Um, so that’s funny. I’m, it’s funny to hear you talk about Mark Twight. Sounds like you’re a fan as well. Um, I don’t actually know.
[00:47:07] Travis Bader: I am yes.
[00:47:08] Brad Brooks: Personally, but, um, I think he, his, his way of approaching the mountains is how I approach my life uh.
[00:47:17] Travis Bader: I agree. Yes.
[00:47:19] Brad Brooks: Is that, does that make sense that you try? So if you’re not familiar with Mark Twight, his book to Kiss or Kill, everybody should read that book. It’s about, it’s a series of essays that are about his climbing adventures. Um, they’re phenomenal stories in general, but there’s a lot to be learned about. Uh, there’s a lot to be learned in period, period from Mark Twight’s book.
[00:47:42] And I think one of the things that, that Mark really pioneered, you know, it used to be that, you know, mountaineers went, uh, when, when they would want to climb a big mountain, it was like a siege tactics, like lots of guys, lots of gear you’d shuttle gear. You just essentially stage gear up the mountain food, water, tent, supplies. And it was just like a siege tactics. Like it took forever, but eventually you get to the top stack enough people, enough hours, enough ropes.
[00:48:08] Eventually you’re gonna get the top of the mountain and here comes Mark Twight. And I think some other contemporaries taking nothing like no gear, no shelter, going, you know, solo climbing, a lot of the time. Uh, but just really this idea that once you shed yourself of all your weight. You can go so much faster and cover so much more ground and do so much more. And it was revolutionary at the time. It totally was a revolutionary tactic. Um, I, I apply that same mentality to my hunting.
[00:48:39] Um, the less you take, the more the, you know, the more you can do, um, things slow you down, everything slows you down. Weight slows you down. There’s a balance to be had there, but that philosophy of like the more you carry more weight, you have, the more, it just slows you down. And, uh, there’s definitely a, a lot of, I get a lot of pushback for that from guys. You’re like, ah, that’s, you’re, you’re, you know, blowing this out of proportion.
[00:49:05] You know, there’s, you know, and I may take it to a little bit of an extreme, but, you know, my experience has shown me that every ounce, it really does add up and it affects your mental attitude. It affects your physical abilities, it effect, it can affect everything. So I carry that through also to our business life, my personal life. It’s the yeah. Less is more sort of mentality.
[00:49:29] Travis Bader: Well, totally well, and, well, Mark me the very, uh, astute observation. He says, you know, people are getting injured or dying in the mountains because of the length of time they’re out there. And the amount of exposure you’re getting more tired, you’re getting mentally fatigued, your body isn’t working the way it would in this. He said, let’s, let’s try taking this differently. Let’s go fast, let’s go light, let’s go hard.
[00:49:49] And it’s funny, a friend of mine he’s, um, uh, ex British army. He’s been on this podcast talking about his, uh, the selection process for SAS and his, his time doing that. And he says, you know, reading, Mark Twight’s book, um, anything he’s got a couple of, he says the training program that he puts forth in, uh, in this book is very, very similar to the training program that they use for elite special forces in the British military. And, uh, the mentality of being able to accomplish a mission, um, in a very effective way.
[00:50:25] Mind you, Mark would put the caveat out there with the go fast, go light, you also have to be able to exercise proper judgment and turn around. That mountain will always be there, turn around if conditions aren’t looking favourable, come back again and try fast and hard the next day. Um, as opposed to just slogging through, because that’s where people find themselves in trouble.
[00:50:48] Brad Brooks: Yeah, no, and I, I think those are words, words to live by, you know, it’s like it that, yeah, I, I do. I think there is a certain amount of, of, uh, mental and physical tenacity that Mark and other, uh, people that I’ve known that are like him, that I have applied to, you know my life in many different ways.
[00:51:13] There’s a lot from climbing that I’ve learned about myself and that I apply to business life and to hunting as well. Um, you know how to deal with fear is a big one, not letting fear control you, getting out of your comfort zone and, and, you know, knowing when you’re actually in danger versus when you, your mind is convincing me that you’re in danger and you’re just scared, you might be scared, but you’re safe.
[00:51:38] Travis Bader: Right.
[00:51:39] Brad Brooks: That’s what, and I don’t, I don’t know if that’s been true for you in your climbing, but like, I.
[00:51:44] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:51:45] Brad Brooks: I, you know, I can distinctly before kids. I can, I could, I did a lot of things that, you know, people close around me don’t really know about, and I don’t really care to tell them about. My wife doesn’t ask me a lot of questions about things that I used to do, I got lucky.
[00:52:02] Travis Bader: Sure.
[00:52:02] Brad Brooks: Um, I’ve, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had some situations that probably could have gone, like a lot worse could have gotten worse than they did because nothing ever happened. Um, after kids, uh, I told myself like, I’m not going to dial it back. Um, I’ve definitely dialed it back and I think it’s the right call. Um, but there’s, there are I still like getting out and, uh, not scaring myself, but I like getting out and just dealing with that, you know, fear of, of, uh, of being in the mountains and going fast and trying hard things.
[00:52:37] Travis Bader: You have to do that. You gotta do that.
[00:52:40] Brad Brooks: I do anyway. Um, uh, yeah, and like, as an example, there’s still another buddy of mine. Who’s a, just an absolute crusher climber. Um, he and I are trying to do this thing and there’s this route, there’s this piece of rock in the Sawtooth mountains of Idaho called the Elephants Perch, it’s just this granite dome, 1200 foot granite dome, and some of the best rock in lower 48. Like it is absolutely perfect granite, impeccable granite.
[00:53:04] And, uh, we have set out this goal of doing like, uh, three of the harder routes there in a day, which has never been done before, but it’s all for me, that’s like a way I can push myself and do new things that is very physically and mentally difficult. That’s never been done, but I also have done those routes before.
[00:53:21] And so I feel very like safe and confident that even though there are some like hard rock climbing on those, like it’s not a life or death situation for me. And so it’s a way for me to like, push my, my limits, but in a way that is, uh, a little bit more controlled and like in a dad friendly kind of way.
[00:53:37] Travis Bader: Yeah. Yeah. Well, nothing brings one’s own mortality to the forefront than having children. I found anyways, it really, all of a sudden the light went on. Pre-children, I wouldn’t say I didn’t care if I lived or died, obviously I’d prefer to be alive than to be dead, but I never truly feel, I never truly felt alive or as alive as when I almost died.
[00:54:04] And I would find myself, putting myself into situations which scared me, or which were, um, actually, potentially quite dangerous for the feeling that you get afterwards of yes, I’ve accomplished something. I’ve pushed myself through. I’ve gone further and, and you know, I’m not dead and I’m actually capable of a heck of a lot more.
[00:54:27] Brad Brooks: Yeah, no, it’s true. Um, I still love that. Uh, yeah, you just, it’s, it’s a personal growth, you know, um, learning about yourself. What is the, what’s the, um, what’s the famous quote about, you know, the problem with riding the edge is, um, thought about like once you find it you’re, it’s too late or something uh.
[00:54:47] Travis Bader: Yeah, oh totally. It’s like ouali.
[00:54:49] Brad Brooks: Yes, yes, exactly. Um, yeah. Anyways, but yeah, Mark, I’m just going back to Mark, like somebody who, uh, you know, certainly is, is, uh, tougher and shit, as an individually. Um, you know, his whole life, I don’t know if you, where like the Jim Jones and.
[00:55:05] Travis Bader: Yes.
[00:55:05] Brad Brooks: How we trained all the guys for that movie. Was it?
[00:55:08] Travis Bader: 300.
[00:55:10] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[00:55:10] Travis Bader: Superman and named it after the Jonestown massacre, which is a little tongue in cheek thing, but, uh.
[00:55:16] Brad Brooks: Yeah, I mean, he was definitely like a punk rock guy, right um.
[00:55:19] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[00:55:20] Brad Brooks: Uh, but, uh, yeah, anyways, there’s, there’s, uh, yeah, a lot, a lot to be learned from Mark. And I feel like, you know, a lot of, you know, hunting without getting too broey I feel like hunting back-country hunting has got a little broey in some ways, and I, I don’t really necessarily like that about it, but.
[00:55:40] Travis Bader: I agree.
[00:55:41] Brad Brooks: There is a physical element that I really enjoy about, uh, about pushing my limits just in hunting, you know. So if we’re going to do a late season hunt in, you know, for us, you know, late season, it might be mid November and it’s down, you know, zero degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees. Um, and you’re off, you know, doing a 15, 15 mile, you know, in the mountain trek. Um, and it’s difficult and, you know, that’s, there is some satisfaction that comes with like accomplishing something like that.
[00:56:10] And I enjoy that part of it and not, not in a, not in a sense that I really care what other people think about it. It’s a personal thing. It’s a very, very personal. And, uh, and I think that, you know, so there is, there is, um, something like some comparable element to climbing as there is to hunting.
[00:56:30] Travis Bader: Yeah, I agree. And, you know, you mentioned something when we were talking earlier about introverts and extroverts, and you said that, uh, you know, a lot of content creators, uh, you’ve been finding the ones that you’ve been dealing with or in your opinion are probably more introverted than extroverted. I think we can all be both, I think. But can you talk to that?
[00:56:50] Brad Brooks: Yeah, i, uh, I would say that I’m an introvert in that, you know, if I’m defining that is I don’t, I think that extroverts tend to get energized by being around groups of people, introverts tend to, uh, uh, have their energy systems like taken away.
[00:57:09] Travis Bader: I like that analogy.
[00:57:11] Brad Brooks: And for me, while I enjoy being in social, social settings, it is draining for me, it is, it is highly draining. And I can only do so much of at any one given time. Um, and most of the other content creators that I know are the same way, um, which honestly kind of surprised me that you would think that people that, uh, are in front of cameras all the time would be extroverts and life of the party type personalities like gregarious.
[00:57:39] And, and certainly some of them are. Um, but, uh, I think people would be surprised what people are, how, how many introverts are in the content space. Um, you know, and I’m speaking to that, to the hunting world in particular, just people that I know, um, that I’ve been around. And I, I don’t know why that is. I really don’t, but I find it really fascinating.
[00:58:01] There’s something, there’s something that’s very like intimate when I’m out just self filming. Um, it feels like I’m just talking to a friend when I had the camera with me. Like, it doesn’t feel like I’m talking to thousands of, you know, strangers on YouTube. Um, and, uh, so it doesn’t feel as though I’m being social when I’m doing that. But, um, yeah. Anyways, interesting. I don’t know what it is, but there are definitely a lot of introverts out there grading content.
[00:58:29] Travis Bader: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. I, I would classify myself in the introvert category based on that description of being around people draining your energy, because it definitely doesn’t fill me up and it’s work, it’s effort and I crave the mountains or I crave the outdoors. And when I’m out there, that’s when I’m at my best.
[00:58:48] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[00:58:50] Travis Bader: So, you know, there’s, a lot of people will look at some of the media that’s out there. They’ll look at the content that you’re putting out and they’ll want to do something similar, even if it’s just for their family and friends, or maybe they want to film something at a larger scale.
[00:59:08] If you were to, uh, take out and self film your own, just to self film yourself, what would be essential equipment? What would you want to bring without going too heavy and sticking with the whole Mark Twight philosophy?
[00:59:24] Brad Brooks: Um, yeah. That’s that is, that’s a good question. Um, I mean, I’ll tell you what I bring. Usually I have at least like a high-end like camcorder that I use, um, as my primary camera and then I’ll have, uh, at least two, usually two other cameras, like a point of view camera, and then a little, we have this little, uh, uh, camera that I use for like motion shots. And that works out pretty well for me. Um, I’d say that, you know, you can, we get a lot of questions about camera equipment and you can, you can go really fancy.
[00:59:55] I mean, when we go out with a film crew, we have a lot fancier equipment that we use, camera equipment. But you don’t, you don’t need fancy equipment to tell a good story. You can just use, I mean, you could even use a GoPro. The, uh, the thing that most people, I think overemphasize is equipment and they undervalue story and.
[01:00:14] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:00:15] Brad Brooks: Yeah. And the reason people, if you were to ask, like why, you know, just somebody out there, like, why do you like this person? Like, why do you like Steven Rinella? Why do you like MeatEater? It’s because they like Steve, right? They like Steve and yeah, the, the, the cinematography and the music and the editing is like, it’s, it’s good right.
[01:00:35] I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s the personalities of the people you’re watching that you’re drawn to. Um, so, yeah, focus on the story, focus on making it personable, making it interesting and making it unique. Um, and, uh, I’d say, you know, don’t try and copy somebody else necessarily, try and figure out like what your voice is.
[01:00:58] And that takes a lot of trial and error. I actually, before we even started filming years, years prior, I had taken a little tiny camera out and tried to sell film. And I just remember it felt so awkward and it was just garbage, man. I just remember going back and looking at my video clips, thinking this is awful. Like you’re never going to, you’re never going to do this. Like, there’s one thing I can guarantee you’ll never do, it’s make hunting content.
[01:01:22] Travis Bader: And you got a whole ton of them out now, don’t you?
[01:01:25] Brad Brooks: Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, it’s, it’s definitely, I was wrong about that. So.
[01:01:29] Travis Bader: Yeah. And they’re fantastic. Are you doing any of the editing yourself or do you have other people helping with that?
[01:01:34] Brad Brooks: So, uh, we do it all in house. My, my business partner, Jason does all that. So the guy that I had the beer with, um, he’s, he actually self filmed and is in some content now. He’s always been behind the camera, but we’ve been pushing him to get out in front of the camera. He’s a great guy. Um, and so he does all of our, uh, all of our editing.
[01:01:53] We, we do it, we used to do a lot of it together. Um, but now we’ve kind of, because we’ve gotten busier and bigger, we’ve kind of just distributed the, the roles and responsibilities a lot. So he does pretty much everything on the editing side now. And I will join him in the editing bay, um, occasionally, but it’s pretty much all him.
[01:02:11] Travis Bader: Wow, I mean, it’s really, I mean, you’re talking about the stop motion. Are you watching like the, uh, the star is going over ahead or motion graphics tracing over top of the ridgeline. Like there’s a lot of work that’s gone into these videos that, uh, that you guys are making.
[01:02:24] Brad Brooks: Yeah, absolutely. And then when we do motion graphics, I’ve, you know, a friend of mine named Conrad, he’s a really talented motion graphics guy. So we, we, we definitely pull in for our bigger film pieces. We try and make them, uh, visually appealing and have a cinematic element to them as well. Um, and some of that too, is to make them appealing to people that aren’t into hunting. Yeah.
[01:02:49] Travis Bader: I think that’s, I think that’s a huge point right there.
[01:02:52] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[01:02:52] Travis Bader: I think, I think you’re really, you’re, you’re broadening the horizon of what hunting is to people who otherwise are used to the old grip and grin type type shows. And you might be introducing a whole new generation of people who wouldn’t otherwise want, want to be interested in hunting. I think that’s a really smart thing that you guys are doing.
[01:03:13] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Thank you. We, we try and some, certainly some of the more, some of the, the most like valued feedback that I’ve received is from people that do not hunt, but they have watched like our, our film about the Frank Church Wilderness, the Last Wild Places series about the Frank. And they’re like, man, that was a cool adventure. I don’t even hunt, but that sounds like something I might be interested in doing or thanks for sharing that, that trip. Um, so yeah.
[01:03:42] Travis Bader: That’s really cool. And then audio, we talked with the video. Audio is obviously very important.
[01:03:47] Brad Brooks: Yes.
[01:03:48] Travis Bader: Are you bringing separate microphones or are you just using the on-camera bikes or?
[01:03:53] Brad Brooks: I use an onboard mic, uh, so, so when I’m self filming, I have an onboard mic, um, that sits on my camera and, uh, sometimes we will use separate, um, w w if we have, like, for bringing in other people, yes, we’ll bring in, um, separate mic’s as well. And mic up occasionally for interviews, but it’s a pain to bring in, you know, always be wearing a mic and it’s just not realistic. So shotgun mic’s are pretty standard for us. Yeah.
[01:04:19] Travis Bader: Like a little road pro plus or something or something similar.
[01:04:22] Brad Brooks: Exactly. Yep. Um, it depends on the camera, we have a few different cameras. So depending on which, which one, we have kind of different, different mic’s that can go on those cameras. So we will bring in, you know, mic’s to capture audio. There are there have been, you know, capturing good audio is, is also something I didn’t appreciate.
[01:04:41] And I don’t think a lot of like new content creators really appreciate that audio can really is, is a backbone of a content piece. And so spending the time to get that audio is really important.
[01:04:55] Travis Bader: That was something that stood out to me, watching your stuff, that, that, that audio work is something you guys obviously spent a lot of attention to.
[01:05:03] Brad Brooks: A ton, a ton. Yeah. And we’ve, we have gotten back home sometimes and been like man, the audio from, you know, this day and this day, and this day is garbage. Like it was, the wind was the wind noise was too much. And that’s a bummer because when you spend all that time and your audio is garbage because it leaves some holes in your, in your story or your editing, you have to get creative. But, um, yeah, and that’s, again, that’s not something I understood.
[01:05:32] And we got into this, you know, my, my business partner, I’m fortunate to have him because he, um, he understands sort of the technical storytelling side of the film world. I think we’re a good balance in terms of knowing what, uh, what the story we want to tell and working together to sort of weave that together. Um, but his, his, I would say technical and cinematic, uh, experience and knowledge is far, far above mine.
[01:06:01] Travis Bader: Well, I don’t think you guys are necessarily monetizing the, um, this show, are you? Like.
[01:06:08] Brad Brooks: We, it’s funny you mentioned, asked that. We, we do some and not on others. I mean, here’s another, you want to real talk. Monetization on YouTube, anybody who thinks you’re going to go out and just make a bunch of money on ads on YouTube, like not going to happen. Unless, unless, and until you hit that like 200, 300 million subscriber mark, then you can start making some money on.
[01:06:31] Travis Bader: Totally.
[01:06:31] Brad Brooks: On YouTube. Uh, and you’re getting like millions of views and you’re creating lots of videos, you know, making a dozen, two dozen, even 3 dozen videos and expecting those are going to make you a lot of money. Like this is not going to happen. The YouTube ad revenue system is not set up as an ecosystem for that to be a significant amount of money.
[01:06:51] Travis Bader: Totally.
[01:06:53] Brad Brooks: So.
[01:06:53] Travis Bader: W what I think is really clever at though, is it like it’ll highlight your kit and that’ll highlight your stuff, and it’ll be showing it being used in a real environment and in a real way. And from a marketing perspective, although it’s not directly monetized, I think that’s a very, very smart approach that you’ve taken. Not only educating people and entertaining people, but it’s also serves as a marketing piece as well.
[01:07:19] Brad Brooks: Well, I mean, to me, like brands are very interesting thing. Like what is a brand? What is a brand that, you know, you’re wearing an Under Armour shirt right now right.
[01:07:30] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:07:30] Brad Brooks: Um, and I’m not saying that you’re in love with Under Armour, but Under Armour has a really interesting brand story. And we are, we are all, all of us are, are, none of us are impervious to being drawn to brands because there’s something about them that, that we identify with or that we like in some way, we may not be able to articulate it. Well, you may not even understand it, but brands speak to us and good brands who tell a story about what, who they are and their values and what they represent. Those are the ones that I like personally, right. If we.
[01:08:05] Travis Bader: Totally.
[01:08:05] Brad Brooks: Just, if we didn’t have an interesting uh, brand. And I think we, we try very hard to have a unique voice and have a unique brand. We’re just a company that made some game bags and some knives and had nothing else interesting to say, or didn’t have anything else, there was no backbone behind that. I don’t feel we would have made inroads the way we, we have so far.
[01:08:30] Um, and I don’t do that as, um, duplicitous or trying to trick anybody, but our content is a way for us to share who we are and help people understand and relate to us as a brand, right? So it’s a way for us to connect with people. And that’s one of the wonderful things about YouTube. It has, it is the great leveller, right? You don’t have to buy ad space or buy a TV show to like tell people who you are.
[01:08:55] The internet exists, YouTube exists. It is yours to use, to communicate to your, your audience. However you see fit. Um, And so for us, yes, content is we enjoy doing it and there’s oftentimes, uh, there are multiple reasons why we might do it, but paramount amongst those is trying to communicate who we are and what we value and what’s important to us.
[01:09:24] Travis Bader: That’s fantastic. It’s the people will purchase not necessarily what the product is, but why the product is. And I think Simon Sinek did a neat little talk on that. They kind of, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that TED Talk he did.
[01:09:39] Brad Brooks: No.
[01:09:39] Travis Bader: A talk, oh, it’s an interesting one um.
[01:09:42] Brad Brooks: Have to check it out.
[01:09:43] Travis Bader: Yeah. Actually it, because it basically has spoke in a much more eloquent way than I’m sure I will, but it speaks to why people are drawn to different things. And you essentially just put that whole idea into a nutshell there. People will, people will get behind a brand because they believe in what it is.
[01:10:01] People buy Apple computers, not because it’s got a great monitor and a great processor or whatever it is. There’s going to be other computers that have better have better screens and better, more memory, but they’re buying into an ecosystem and they’re buying into a culture, they’re buying into, um, whatever Apple’s motto is. Think differently here.
[01:10:20] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[01:10:21] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[01:10:22] Brad Brooks: Their motto, their motto isn’t we make great computers or we make a cool phone. Right. It’s like yeah, think differently or whatever it is, like.
[01:10:29] Travis Bader: Yeah, think differently.
[01:10:31] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[01:10:34] Travis Bader: Yeah. No, I.
[01:10:35] Brad Brooks: I, and I think about that.
[01:10:36] Travis Bader: Hit the nail on the head there.
[01:10:37] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Yeah. And I, again I, I feel like it’s the, you know, Patagonia, a brand like love it or hate it. That is a, that is a brand that is recognizable and has a very loyal, hardcore set of customers right. And because they have, they have stayed true to who they are and what they believe. Um, and it’s more than just a clothing company writing.
[01:11:02] Nobody thinks that Patagonia is just a clothing company. I don’t, anyway, I don’t want us to just be a gear company, right. Like I want us to be much more than that and idea. I want people to our customers there, there are a lot of our customers who are probably just buying a product because they liked the product and that’s fine.
[01:11:19] Travis Bader: Sure.
[01:11:20] Brad Brooks: But when I think about like, what do I want our customers to think of when they’re opening up a set of game bags? I don’t want them to think about like, this is a throwaway product. I want them to think about, like this represents adventure. This represents food, meat, like all the things that I care about. It is, uh, it is a, um, an idea it’s a metaphor. It’s not just a set of game bags. And I want them to, you know, sort of understand like all the reasons that we created a product that traditionally it was a throwaway product.
[01:11:54] It’s, it’s, you know, it is purpose built for people that are trying to, um, go out and find their own adventure, whatever that looks like. And so, sounds very simple. I, you know, I’m not saying we have it figured out, but that is what we, how I think about branding and, and marketing and just like the way we, why, why do we do, why do we create content? Um, uh, and how do we tell our story as a company?
[01:12:23] Travis Bader: Well, you’re doing a fantastic job with it. If we were to switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit about gear, you’re going out on a mountain hunt. You’re going light, you’re going fast. Um, I’m sure there’s times you’ve gotten up there and you’ve regretted not bringing certain things cause you’d be a heck of a lot more comfortable, but what would be some, uh, you want on a multi-day hunt? What are, what are some necessities that you just can’t live without?
[01:12:52] Brad Brooks: Uh, good question. Um, you know, I’m, I’m one of those people that has spreadsheets for each hunt I go on. So like archery mule deer, archery elk, um, uh, I, I, so yeah, so I’m packing pretty, pretty light. Um, you know, the basics of like good backpack, good boots are, I’d say like pretty, those were like the, in my like hierarchy of gear needs, like boots are right at the top.
[01:13:20] Um, I don’t always take a tent, um, but usually take a sleeping bag and a pad to sleep on because sleep, getting decent amount of sleep is really important for my like performance and my ability to think clearly. Um, and then beyond that, you know, I, I usually take a stove for food. Not always, sometimes I’ll just eat cold, cold meals or take meals that don’t require hot water.
[01:13:44] Um, I rarely leave without coffee because I’m addicted to caffeine. Um, so for all the lightweight, lightweight talk that I do, um, I usually don’t leave home without some, some, uh, some little coffee packets um.
[01:13:59] Travis Bader: Yeah.
[01:14:00] Brad Brooks: So yeah, boots bag, uh, just normal stuff, man. Normal backpacking gear, nothing, nothing fancy. I don’t take a leatherman, I don’t take a multi-tool. Um, I try not to take anything that doesn’t have, uh, at least a couple of uses. It’s not always doable, but I just try and make due with as little as I can and still be like comfortable. So I don’t like going hungry. That’s the other thing is like, I don’t like starving out there and I, um, I’m not, I’m not a particularly, um, 6’2″, 180, uh, fairly like thin dude, but like I eat like I’m a lot bigger than that.
[01:14:38] So, uh, I I’d probably take sometimes a little more food that I need to, but, uh, depending on the length of the hunt, I’m okay carrying an extra half a pound of food if that means I’m not sitting up there wishing I had more. Um, and then I, you know, I rarely, uh, most mountain hunts. I pretty much always take a tripod usually cause I’m filming.
[01:14:59] But also because I, I always, uh, especially for like deer hunting, uh, but pretty much every, every kind of hunting, I prefer to glass with my binoculars on my tripod, as much as I can. And I just, you just catch so much more game that way. Deer, elk, you know, whatever sheep, goats, like bedded down that you might not see otherwise.
[01:15:19] So, um, I carry a few items that I consider sort of important hunting items like that, um, that you could probably, some people might say you could do without, but I think it’s pretty important.
[01:15:30] Travis Bader: You bringing a spotting scope as well, or just using the bino’s for all your work?
[01:15:33] Brad Brooks: Spotting scope if I’m hunting mule deer, for sure. Um, I don’t, you know, elk, elk are, are kind of big and easy to see and I can, uh, I’m not, I’m not much of a trophy hunter when it comes to elk. I like shooting big elk um, but I am for deer, I tend to trophy hunt. And so I like to know what I’m looking at before I dive in after it. So spotting scope for deer, um, and depends on the trip.
[01:16:01] So sometimes I’ll take a spotting scope sometimes I’ll just take a bigger set of binocular. So last year we did like a backpack hunt that was, you know, I don’t know, 11 miles in 5,000 vertical feet to get through our high camp. So I was really thinking pretty hard about my gear choices. Um, took a hot tent.
[01:16:19] So I had a collapsible titanium stove, but I didn’t take a canister fuel stove. I just took a, uh, titanium cup to heat up my water on. Um, so, so made some sacrifices there. I also didn’t take a spotting scope, wish I would have. Um, but ended up taking a.
[01:16:36] Travis Bader: What were you hunting on that one?
[01:16:38] Brad Brooks: Mule deer.
[01:16:39] Travis Bader: Mule deer on that one. Okay.
[01:16:40] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Uh, rutting mule deer in that one and, uh, you know, there’s, uh, I ended up shooting, uh, like getting a nice buck, but there were a couple of deer, like off of the distance I was like really nice frame bucks. Um, but it was, they were far enough away where it’s like, I’m not going to go after that, unless if it’s like a giant two point and I just couldn’t tell through my bino’s kind of what I was dealing with. Um.
[01:17:02] Travis Bader: Right.
[01:17:02] Brad Brooks: So yeah, anyways, sometimes I take a spotter and some, if that particular trip I just decided I’m like, it’s not, I, I can deal with a 12x bino’s on a tripod and leave the spotter at home. And I wish it had a spotter, but I didn’t regret it when we were hiking in cause that was, it was hellacious.
[01:17:21] Travis Bader: Right, totally.
[01:17:23] Brad Brooks: Yeah.
[01:17:25] Travis Bader: I love it. Is there anything else that we should be talking about? Is there anything that we’ve kind of left out here?
[01:17:31] Brad Brooks: Um, I don’t, I don’t think so. Nothing about me. I mean, at some point I’d love to learn more about you and uh, some point I need to yeah, pick your brain about hunting and Canada. Cause it’s on my list and I’ve never done it, but we can do that another time.
[01:17:49] Travis Bader: Yeah. I, I think, uh, I think maybe we should have another podcast and we can talk about hunting.
[01:17:54] Brad Brooks: Sounds great. Yeah.
[01:17:55] Travis Bader: As soon as we open up these borders here and we can have some free travel back and forth and uh, have you up here and we’ll do some hunting.
[01:18:01] Brad Brooks: Yeah. I heard you guys might be opening up your borders. Did I see that correctly?
[01:18:05] Travis Bader: Yeah. What’d they say? Fully vaccinated individuals can come on in, something like that.
[01:18:10] Brad Brooks: Yeah. Yeah. Well, anyways. Yeah. It’s on a Canada’s, I love, I’m a huge fan of Canada and I would love to get up there and do some hunting at some point, especially you guys have giant mule deer and as a deer junkie, I’ve got my eyeball on that.
[01:18:27] Travis Bader: Well, thank you very much. There’s actually a number of other things that I’d love to chat about, but I’ve taken a lot of your time and you’ve got your family there and I don’t want to take up too much more. Maybe we’ll look at doing a part two on another, another day, but thank you very much for being on this Silvercore Podcast, Brad, I really
[01:18:46] Brad Brooks: I’ve really enjoyed the conversation, Travis and, uh, honoured to be on it and I appreciate you having me on.
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