Steven Rinella

Q: What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning when you go hunting?


A: A cocktail of excitement and apprehension goes through my head before a hunt. Deep down I’m elated to be heading into the woods or mountains. After all, that’s what I’ve based my life around. But on the surface, I’m dealing with all kinds of anxieties that circle around the inherent uncertainties of hunting: weather, competition, the movement of animals, etc. I try to run through my plan as many ways as possible in order to make sure I’m thinking of everything that needs to be thought about. But even then, you know you can’t actually consider everything.


Q: Where is your favorite place to hunt?


A: My favorite hunting grounds are Montana and Alaska. I have a brother in each state, and these places were our proving grounds when we were starting out as mountain hunters. Growing up in Michigan as a trapper and whitetail hunter, I learned to deal with cold and hard work. But it was Alaska and Montana that really taught me about the wider world of big game hunting. Between those two states, my brothers and I have been together for successful non-guided hunts for whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope, American buffalo, black bear, moose, caribou, elk, Dall sheep, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat. And we’ve done all of that on public land. If you like to hunt, you really can’t beat those two places.


Q: If you could do anything better, what would it be?


A: If you could do one thing better, I’d choose to be a better archer. Particularly, I’d become more icy and calm when it’s time to take a shot. Keeping your head is a constant challenge when hunting, and it’s particularly hard when you’re at full draw on a big critter.


Q: Who are your heroes?


A: My biggest hunting hero is Daniel Boone. The first time he went through the Cumberland Gap to hunt the Kentucky wilderness, he stayed out for two years. He was gone so long that he had to make his own gunpowder using bat guano. In all, he logged many years in the wilderness being entirely alone and under constant threat. That’s a bad mofo.


Q: If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?


A: If there’s one complaint that I have about my lifestyle, it’s being away from my wife and kids for extended periods of time. But I can justify it, at least somewhat, by being able to take my kids on some fantastic trips when I’m not traveling for work. Already, my 5-year-old has fished in four different states as well as two foreign countries. I sure as hell hadn’t done that by his age. It’s a blast to be able to share the outdoors with him. A lot of guys encourage their sons to play organized sports. I encourage my sons and my daughter to hunt and fish. From my perspective, that’s the best way to bring them up.


Q: What sound or noise do you love?


A: The gobble of a turkey, especially when it’s standing about 5 yards away.


Q: What would be your day job if you weren’t doing what you are currently doing?


A: I’ve kicked around the idea of being a chef or a lawyer, but ultimately I think it’s destructive to have a plan B. You have to focus on Plan A and screw everything else. A good motto would be “give me A, or give me death.”


Q: If you could bring anybody in the world with you to do what you love (dead or alive), who would it be?


A: Boone