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