Photo Credit: Camron Stover / Hunting Gear Deals
Hunting for a living is everyone’s dream. Getting paid to pursue your passion seems the ideal way to earn a living for most of us, but very few people around the world can say they make a living by just hunting. Finding jobs in the hunting industry isn’t as hard as you might think but you have to know where to start. I’ll warn you though, it might not be as glorious as one would think. Many jobs in the outdoor industry actually prevent you from spending as much time hunting as you might think, as peak buying/working season often correlates with the best times of the year to hunt.
Here’s a list of ways that you can make money in the outdoor industry.
Start a YouTube Channel
Host a Podcast
Freelance Outdoor Writing
Sell Hunting Gear
Become a Hunting Guide
Start a Career in Law Enforcement as a Conservation Officer
One of the quickest ways to earn a living in the outdoor industry is to learn photography and/or videography. Now, this isn’t for everyone as it takes a keen eye and a steady hand to succeed in this part of the industry. However, there are plenty of examples out there to choose from. Each year, your favorite hunting personalities are looking for interns, such as The Hunting Public and The Untamed.
With little to no experience, you can learn the basics needed to start your journey of working for yourself in the outdoor industry someday. I know several people that have succeeded in this field, such as Britton Wasmer (FST Outdoors), Jake Belinda (The Void), Connor Akers (Elevation Media), and Matt Forsyth (KUIU).
Start a YouTube Channel
If only I would’ve realized how profitable a YouTube channel could be, I would’ve started a decade ago. There’s still time to get involved in the YouTube market but the trick is to be consistent with your content and don’t stop. It takes a lot of subscribers before you’ll make a comfortable living off of YouTube advertisement dollars alone, but if you create unique, high-quality content, you’ll be one step in the right direction.
We’ve all seen the success of The Hunting Public and how they’ve revolutionalized the hunting industry, but there are plenty of other hunters out there making unique content for a living. Check out Kendell Grey and Kirk Price for instance. Both of those guys have YouTube figured out and know how to get consistent views online.
Learn how much Chris Bee earned on a YouTube video that garnered 1,00,000 views.
Host a Podcast
Not starting a hunting-related podcast 15 years ago is one of my biggest regrets. I’ve spent countless hours listening to people like Mark Kenyon and Dan Johnson talk about hunting for more than a decade and I kick myself for not starting a podcast of my own. How does a podcast make money? Simple, the more downloads you get, the more advertising dollar you can earn. Find a niche, invest in a quality microphone, and tell the audience your story. Podcasting might be the easiest way to make a splash in the outdoor industry right now.
Outdoor writing is still alive and well. Heck, if you’re interested in writing, I might have a job for you myself. There are several ways to make money by writing, whether it be Big Buck Profiles like my buddy Josh Bias is doing for North American Whitetail or in-depth hunting strategy-related articles that Steve Flores is known for. If you don’t know where to start, you could always start your own blog and start practicing.
If you’re interested in gear reviews, I could always use some extra writers, so send me an email.
Sell Hunting Gear
With the internet, anything is possible. If you’re looking for instant results, get your business license and start selling hunting gear. I tried it once and it helped lay the foundation for where I’m at today with HuntingGearDeals.com. Opening up a brick-and-mortar store will provide you with the most opportunities, but having the capital to invest can be difficult. Every archery pro shop across the country has some diehard hunters in there and you could be the next. Don’t take this option lightly because you’re going to want to create a business plan and invest a lot of time and money upfront if you want to succeed.
Become a Hunting Guide
Now this option sounds fun. If you’re interested in making a living hunting, then get your hunting guide license. Many of the tv personalities that we grew up with actually started as a hunting guides. Hunting guides don’t have an easy job as they’re dedicated to putting clients on animals all season long and it leaves little time for you to hunt yourself. However, the experience and knowledge that you gain as a licensed guide will pay dividends for a lifetime. Hunting guides might be seasonal, but the work never stops.
Professional Trapper (Wildlife Control Officer)
The first person I think of when I think of a professional trapper is Tom Miranda. I grew up watching Tom Miranda on ESPN and he utilized the skills he gained from trapping throughout his career. Fur prices seem to be lower year after year but that means there’s less competition in your neck of the woods most likely. You can trap and sell furs for money, as well as remove nuisance animals in urban environments for profit (where legal of course). There’s money to be made but it’s a full-time job as the more notoriety you gain, the more likely you are be sought after for predator control projects that could lead to a consistant income.
Become a Conservation Officer
The hardest job in the hunting industry is probably the job of a Conservation Officer or Natural Resource Police Officer as some states refer to them. Protecting wildlife and wild places is no easy task and it’s a full-time job with very little recognition. However, their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, especially when the hunting community needs them the most. Busting poachers are just a small portion of their work-load and if this interests you, be sure to contact your local DNR to learn how to apply. It seems like West Virginia always has an opening or two.
Do you have an artistic side? If so, maybe you should consider taxidermy. The best taxidermists that I know are good artists. They can paint or draw well and they have the unique ability to bring life out of something that’s dead. There are several taxidermy schools across the country that will teach you everything you need to know but it might be a good idea to volunteer at your local taxidermy studio before spending money on tuition. I worked for a taxidermist in college and really enjoyed helping out on whitetails. However, once it came to deboning turkey wings, I knew I wasn’t the right person for the job. There’s good money to be made in this industry as long as you’re good enough to earn the business of repeat clients.
Game Processing / Butcher Shop
Probably the busiest and most hectic job in the outdoor industry is in the game processing field. If there was any job on this list that I wouldn’t want, it would be this one. However, I know plenty of local butcher shops that are doing nearly 1,000 deer per season and charging upwards of $100 to $250 each depending on cuts and specialty meats. There’s money to be made but it’ll come at a cost as this will certainly cut into your hunting time. However, as long as there are hunters, you’ll have an income stream. Personally, I’d much rather pay $100 to have a deer processed than spend the two days doing it myself. Plus, who has the time to make venison sausage when the whitetail rut is on?
How to Make Money in the Hunting Industry – Conclusion
In conclusion, there are plenty of ways to make money in the hunting industry. The first step is putting your mind to it and the next is putting in the work to achieve your goal. Whether you’re picking up a pen and paper to write hunting stories for MeatEater, or learning how to edit videos for your YouTube channel, give it your all. No one reaches their full potential without giving it their best effort. If I were to give you some advice, it would be simple. Study the craft that you are pursuing and don’t stop learning. There are several opportunities available to you if you aspire to work in the outdoor industry, you just have to get off the couch and start chasing those dreams!
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Hi, I’m Camron the owner of Hunting Gear Deals. I’m an avid bowhunter with a knack for finding good deals on hunting gear and love to help you save money on hunting gear. I’m also the owner of the popular Bucks, Bulls, & Bears email newsletter that’s built to educate and entertain hunters. If you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing out! Last but not least, I’m proud to say that I work for Whitetail Properties as a Land Specialist in Ohio. If you’re in the market for hunting property, shoot me an email and I’d love to help you find your dream property.