17 Dream Jobs in the Outdoor Industry

17 Dream Jobs in the Outdoor Industry

Combining a career with your passions is a goal that is strived for, but not often achieved. Many hunting enthusiasts look at the industry with wide eyes and open mouths and see TV celebrities as the only way in the door. But have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes?


Who designs, develops, and sells the new gear you buy? Who photographs the hunter trekking across the mountain with a 6x6 on his back? Who protects your hunting rights against anti-hunting legislation?

There is a world behind the guns, gear, and ammo you enjoy year in and year out. A world filled with science, math, sales, marketing, and art. A world that calls upon different skills and backgrounds, degrees and ambitions.


In the first-ever Petersen's Hunting "PEOPLE" issue, we've called upon 17 individuals with successful careers in the hunting industry and asked them to break down the nitty-gritty of their jobs to help you grab your own slice of outdoor heaven. But remember, it's not all bag limits and backcountry adventures.


If you're dreaming of long, relaxing days afield, you're in for a shock. Dream jobs often come with hardwork and long hours and plenty of dues paying. But with dedication and a little luck, you truly can have your cake and eat it too.

jobs-in-the-outdoor-industry-hire

African Professional Hunter

Jamy Traut / Jamy Traut Hunting Safaris

Job Description

Provide guide services to sportsmen hunting plains and dangerous game in Africa.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Lifelong hunting experience and apprenticeship

Salary Range

$35,000 — $150,000

Hunting and Career History

I grew up in rural Africa on a farm where hunting was a part of everyday life. I studied as a biologist, and that eventually took me to Norway. During my studies there, I met several hunters who were interested in hunting Africa, and as it was my personal passion, I started to arrange trips between studies.This eventually led me to deciding that it may well support me financially. So, I got officially qualified as a PH, quit my job, and started to do hunting and photographic safaris throughout Namibia and neighboring countries.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

My day usually starts early and runs late into the evening. Looking at the year schedule, April until mid-October is the peak hunting season, with November to February used to recuperate, spend time with the family, and do our marketing.

Career Hunting Opportunities

Through meeting and hunting with such an array of outdoor-loving people, most PHs invariably will be invited by their clients to enjoy some great hunting opportunities abroad.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

150 — 200 — that includes guiding as well as personal hunting.

Recommended Degree or Background

A passion for wildlife and the outdoors is a must. I don't see how one can be a good PH if you don't love the game. A degree in wildlife biology can help, but it is not required.

Best Advice for This Job

Find an outfitter that is willing to take you in camp as a working hand/apprentice and spend enough time in different camps to fully understand what the job entails. This will help prepare you for the exams and field tests needed to pass to become a PH.

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Western Outfitter

Andy Savage / Heaven's Gate Outfitters

Job Description

Provide gear, food, shelter, and guide services to sportsmen hunting in unfamiliar territory.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Lifelong hunting experience

Salary Range

$35,000 — $150,00

Hunting and Career History

I've hunted from my earliest days as a kid, and I started outfitting in 2009 in Idaho.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

On August 1st we start packing in camp. We take 400 mule loads of hay, tents, and other supplies just to get four camps set up. September 5th archery season begins. In September we do 200 more mule loads of supplies. October 14th rifle season starts, and we take another 400 mule loads of supplies into the wilderness. Hunting ends November 4th, so we pack everything back out.

We get two days off before we go into late season mule deer hunts, which last until November 30th. The whole month of December and January are spent hunting mountain lions. We get February and March off before we start hunting bears from April 15th through June 7th. From June until July 31, we are breaking horses, building fences, fixing packsaddles, and hauling fishermen into the backcountry. An eight-hour workday is a half-day for me, and I don't know what a weekend is.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I get to spend in excess of 300 days outdoors hunting and fishing each year. I may be working, but it's still hunting — I'm just not the one who pulls the trigger. I get maybe 60 days of personal hunting and fishing. Most of my time is spent guiding.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

You have to have knowledge about hunting — and not just one species. Second, you have to have the drive and motivation to acquire a company and run it. Nobody tells me when to get up or how many days I work. There's no vacation, no sick time. I can't make a million dollars at it, but I can make a damn good living. Or I can make nothing.

Best Advice for This Job

You're doing this for a lifestyle, not the money. It's a matter of getting up every morning and saying, "This is great. I love the fact that I'm going hunting this morning." It's not a career path for someone who is money-driven. It's a state-of-mind career.

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Chairman & C.E.O.

Mark DeYoung / Vista Outdoors

Job Description

Responsible for the overall strategy and execution of Vista Outdoors as well as overall responsibility for delivering financial performance, creating shareholder value, and creating a top branded portfolio and leadership team.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's and master's degrees in Business or Finance

Salary Range

$1M — $5M+

Hunting and Career History

My father was an avid sportsmen, and I began hunting and shooting when I was 10, got my first shotgun at 12, and built my first bow and crossbow when I was 14.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

My schedule is always very busy and booked up 6 to 12 months in advance with stockholder, shareholder, and board meetings, plus trips to Wall Street. This is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year job.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I spent more days in the field before I had this job, but this career has provided some interesting opportunities, including Africa, New Zealand, Alaska, and lots of North America.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I would say 15 days of hunting for work and around five days of personal hunting. Last year I only hunted five days total.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

First, you have to get a good education. You have to be persistent, goal-oriented, and have an appetite for success. Make personal sacrifices and be willing to go where your career demands.

Recommended Degree or Background

I would recommend a degree in finance or business and a master's in the same subjects. You need six years of education to have all the fundamental skill sets.

Best Advice for This Job

Be realistic in your goal setting. Set stretch goals and be willing to make sacrifices to accomplish those goals. Recognize that it will take years to get to this position, it will be hard, and it will take sacrifices.

Worst Part of Your Job

I love my job, and I am passionate about what I do, but it is an intense schedule and requires a lot of travel and time away from family.

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Outdoor Writer

Craig Boddington / Outdoor Sportsman Group

Job Description

Produces outdoor adventure stories, tips, and tactics through feature writing.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in English or Journalism

Salary Range

$15,000 — $150,000

Hunting and Career History

My dad was a bird hunter, and my uncle was a big-game hunter who was close friends with Jack O'Connor. I found that hunting fascinated me. When I was 12 years old, my father and I got interested in rifles together, and we started going places to chase deer. I always wanted to write when I was a kid, but I didn't know what to write about.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

My job is very deadline based. If I am on a deadline for an article, then I'll get up, write, and check emails. Sometimes range time is needed, or photos need to be shot. If I am in a hunting camp, I'll write during midday breaks or at night.

Career Hunting Opportunities

This career has given me a tremendous amount of opportunities. I have hunted six continents, 57 countries and 30-some states, along with nine Canadian provinces, and eight Mexican states. I have also been fortunate enough to go on about 120 safaris in 18 African countries.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I would say 100 to 175 days. It's both for work and pleasure. I don't go anywhere unless I feel I can get a story.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Education. But it's not mandatory — when I joined Petersen Publishing Co., I was one of very few that had a degree. My degree is in English, but a journalism degree would have been better. You have to have the hide of a rhino, because it's a tough field to break into. I have a whole box of rejection letters.

Best Advice for This Job

You need to meet people — it's all about networking. It takes investment. You have to understand that no one is going to start at the top.

Worst Part of Your Job

Being away from my family because of my travel schedule.

outdoor-job-in-the-industry

Taxidermist

Daniel Meng / Dakota Taxidermy

Job Description

Prepares and mounts animal skins for lifelike taxidermy.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Internship with professional taxidermist

Salary Range

$45,000 — $100,000

Hunting and Career History

I was homeschooled, and my mom tried to get me into as many programs as possible, including the local nature center. I met a lot of employees there, and they allowed me to explore my interest in taxidermy by letting me work on mounts with them.

When I was eight years old, I mounted my first animal. I further learned by reading taxidermy catalogs and calling their help hotline. When I was 10 years old, I killed my first deer, and a local taxidermist allowed me to watch him mount it. From there it snowballed. At 14, I was commissioned by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to mount a cheetah. I kept working at my skills and slowly just grew. In 2009 I entered the World Taxidermy Championship and won the Best Novice category at age 15. Last year I won the overall World's Championship at age 21.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

It's a busy job. I average 16-hour days and work a lot of weekends.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I get knowledge about hunting locations by talking to clients about where they've hunted, and there are times when outfitters will trade out work for a hunt.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I try to go on a two-week safari each year, plus several North American hunts. I would say around six to eight weeks a year.

States and Countries Hunted

Five different countries and 12 states.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

YouTube is a great resource, and a basic kit can be a great starting point. Also, find a big shop that needs help and intern for them.

Best Advice for This Job

No matter how good you get or how long you've been doing it, you should never stop learning. I still learn something new every day, and I'm always striving to get better. You should want to raise the bar and set the standard.

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Booking Agent

Frank Cole / Worldwide Trophy Adventures and Hunting T.A.G.S. Consultant

Job Description

Personal consultation of the best outfitters, camps, concessions, guides, and/or T.A.G.S. portfolio to meet the individual hunting goals of clients.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in Business

Salary Range

$30,000 — $150,000

Hunting and Career History

My first international hunt was in May 1999 to Namibia — it was that trip that made me want to be a booking agent. Now with 16 African trips and six continents under my belt, my love of the outdoors is cemented into my core and helping others fulfill their hunting dreams has become my passion and profession.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

Worldwide hunting is year-round. I have clients hunting somewhere every month of the year. But before the hunt, it starts with personal consultation to find the best hunt to meet their goals. Upon booking, the logistics begin. Including helping with travel visas, foreign entry requirements, hunting and firearm permits, customs brokers, and gear lists.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I have hosted clients in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Canada, China, England, Italy, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In total, I have hunted six continents, 19 countries, and 23 states.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

My job is a bit unique, as I typically don't enjoy full-length "normal" hunts. I tend to run and gun from multiple camps/outfitters when I am in a region/country.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Hunt a lot and read everything on the subject. You also need great people and customer service skills.

Worst Part of Your Job

Hunter expectations coupled with uncontrollable weather patterns and animal behavior.

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Wildlife Biologist

Jeff Short / Wyoming Game & Fish Dept.

Job Description

Coordinates and analyzes wildlife population data with a focus on issues facing wildlife.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in Wildlife Management

Salary Range

$40,000 — $70,000

Hunting and Career History

I grew up in Montana with a dad who was an avid outdoorsman, and I fell in love with the outdoor lifestyle quickly. I knew that being a wildlife biologist was the career for me.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

This is definitely not an 8-to-5 job. There are a lot of different things you could be doing on a daily basis. Analyzing data in the office one day or in a helicopter analyzing deer the next. Or you could get a call that there's a mountain lion in a foot trap and you have to go release it.

Career Hunting Opportunities

You need to hunt to be able to relate to your customers and their experiences. If I have a hunter calling me asking questions about hunting in my area, I don't feel I can answer those questions appropriately if I haven't taken the time to do some of those activities as well.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

We are doing stuff in the mountains and hills at work on a regular basis and we take personal time to hunt during the season.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

It takes a lot of commitment to get the education and then work the seasonal jobs to get field experience. People get into this profession because they want to manage animals. But there is a huge aspect of this job that includes working with people. This is a public resource that the people of the state own, so I have to treat it as the sportsmen of Wyoming pay my bills. So I need to provide them with good customer service.

Best Advice for This Job

You really need to think what you want out of life financially and professionally. And if you really want to do this job and give back to the resource, you have to jump all in. Do any sort of job you can do to get experience.

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Videographer

Neil Cowley / Outdoor Sportsman Group

Job Description

Captures on-site hunting footage for commercial television use.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor of Arts (helpful, but not required)

Salary Range

$35,000 — $100,000

Hunting and Career History

I learned to trap when I was 12, and when I could legally carry a gun, I hunted. I earned a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management as well as an art degree. After college I was spending my summers as a wilderness guide. I was sleeping in a tent 100+ days a year. After that experience in the woods and the education in college, it was a natural transition into a career in outdoor videography.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

Zero predictability. When I have a hunting assignment, I can be sure I'll be up before dawn and working past dark. With the Sportsman Channel, we do a minimum of 150 days of production a year. I know that by airline miles last year I circled the globe at least 3.2 times.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I'm the one behind the camera, not the one holding the gun. But I have hunted doves in South Africa, Yukon moose, and exotic tropical species in the Mexican jungles.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I generally spend 150 days in the field. August through December, and several other times through the year, I am in the field filming hunts somewhere around the world. And 100 percent of those days are work related.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Understand how a camera works. Understand how people think. Blend the two.

Best Advice for This Job

People that try to turn their hobby into a career in film rarely turn out to love either. Luckily, I love the outdoors and people. Remember, if you know everything there is to know about a kudu, but miss the human side, you're still short a TV show.

Worst Part of Your Job

Ever spend 18 hours on a plane? Not fun.

outdoor-industry-dream-jobs

Product Manager

Brad Criner / Winchester Ammunition

Job Description

Responsible for new product development, production scheduling, sales and marketing, and considered the voice of the customer.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in Engineering or Marketing

Salary Range

$50,000 — $150,000

Hunting and Career History

My dad was an avid sportsman and actually worked at the Winchester plant. I hunted my whole life with Winchester products. I started out as an industrial programmer, and I

received an opportunity to get an 8-to-5 job and worked my way up to national sales manager. From there, I heard Winchester was looking for a Product Manager, and the rest is history.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

This is not an 8-to-5, five-day-a-week job. I work all week at the plant with sales and productions and I support the sales department. I also represent Winchester with the media, and I travel to most of the consumer shows. The rest of my time is spent developing new products.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I don't get to hunt a lot, but I do get to go on two to three industry hunts per year. But before I started working for Winchester, I never got to hunt across the country. Personally, I make the time to hunt because I have two sons, and I want to introduce them to the sport.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

50 days a year.

States & Countries Hunted

18 states, Canada, and Australia.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

There are many different avenues to it. You can take the path of business and sales or take the path of engineering and development. Most importantly, you have to be passionate about products and being an innovator.

Worst Part of Your Job

I have to take care of the customer's wants and needs, but also have to think about if the manufacturer can produce it. It has to be reasonably priced, but you also have to be able to pay your employees. So a lot of time you can come up with the perfect design, but it may be unattainable. Basically, success is creating a balance between affordable and profitable.

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Non-Profit Exec. Director

Doug Jeanneret / Kids & Clays Foundation

Job Description

Oversee the fulfillment of the non-profit's mission, facilitate programs, fundraising, and administrative oversight.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in Communications or Personal Relations

Salary Range

$55,000 — $95,000

Hunting and Career History

My father was an avid hunter, and he passed that on to me. That upbringing formed who I was. From my earliest days, I wanted to do something with wildlife and the hunting industry.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

In the non-profit world, you work all hours of the day, seven days a week. I'm dealing with people from coast to coast, so I work early in the morning and take calls late at night.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I've made a tremendous amount of friends along my career, and with that friendship comes opportunities to hunt and fish around the country.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

The Kids & Clays Foundation is young and growing, so I didn't spend many days in the field last year. But that's OK because our mission is worth it.

How Many Hunts Are Work Related?

We are the bridge between the Ronald McDonald House and the outdoor industry. My hunts are limited, but I do get to go to a lot of shooting functions because we fulfill our mission through sporting clays events.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

I started at the bottom. You can't be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up. If you believe in the mission, work hard, and never stray from that, people can certainly move to a high level within an organization.

Best Advice for This Job

Work hard, stay true to the mission, go at it with gusto, and put 100 percent behind your organization. It can be unbelievably fulfilling, and you can get a great career in the non-profit world.

jobs-in-the-outdoor-industry-dream-about

Commercial Photographer

Lee Kjos / Kjos Outdoors

Job Description

On-location and studio photographer with a specific end use.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor of Fine Arts (helpful, but not required)

Salary Range

$10,000 — $1 million

Hunting and Career History

I grew up in a major hunting and fishing family. My father was a guide and lodge owner in northern Minnesota, and he took me with him whenever he went hunting or fishing. By the time I was 13, I had hunted and fished in four provinces and 13 states. It wasn't just a way of life — it was life. I never remember a time when I was not taking pictures on those trips. I remember documenting fishing and hunting trips with a little Kodak Instamatic camera. I've always wanted to capture what I see.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

It is very fluid, and you have to be able to react and move quickly. It's not like being a fashion photographer where you have lots of help and your shoots are planned well in advance. The work that we do is hectic, and if you can't roll with things being less than ideal, then you'll never be able to cut it. You have to be able to function at a high level, day in and day out. This is all on-location work. That means your job is weather dependent and things come up and you have to be able to figure out how to work around it. During the fall you'll find yourself jamming for months straight — only coming home for a day or two before going right back out.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I've had almost endless hunting opportunities, but I can't take advantage of any of them because of work. I go all over the world, but it doesn't mean I get to actually hunt.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

I spend 300 out of 365 days a year outside either hunting with a camera or occasionally a gun in my rare downtime. There is no separation between my working and hunting life.

States and Countries Hunted

I've hunted/traveled/photographed around the world, and it's an unbelievable life. This career has brought me to places I couldn't have even imagined let alone gotten to without it. In a single season I may travel from Alaska on a sea duck hunt to Florida for a saltwater fishing photoshoot then on to Africa for a big-game or bird hunt.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

You have to have a good eye and creativity and combine that with really hard work. You have to be dedicated to doing your own thing. Don't look at what others do and try to copy their style. Photograph things as you see them.

Recommended Degree or Background

I didn't go to college, but an art degree wouldn't hurt for understanding the basics, also with the advent of post-production work, a strong understanding and working ability with tools like Photoshop is becoming more and more advantageous. Whether someone goes to college or not, a strong background generally includes interning, formal or informal, with succcessful photographers to learn the business and the skills.

Best Advice for This Job

Do your own thing. Don't plagiarize. Get your inspiration from within and the moments in front of you.

Worst Part of Your Job

Being gone so much from my family and my wife. Hands down.

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Lobbyist

Chip Burkhalter / SCI Director of Government Affairs

Job Description

Lobbies Congress for the passage of pro-hunting and sportsmen legislation, as well as protects the right to hunt, fish, and trap from anti-hunting groups.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's degree

Salary Range

$55,000 — $110,000

Hunting and Career History

My dad instilled the love of the outdoors in me. We spent a lot of time outside fishing, camping, and hiking. As I got older, I had my first hunting experience, and I was fascinated by all of it. I went on to work for the U.S. Federal government and was stationed in Africa where I was able to hunt wildebeest and antelope, and that's where I got my real love for big-game hunting.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

I am extremely busy. An event halfway around the world can shape what my day will look like. All day I am taking phone calls with partner organizations and consultants, reading

political news, and talking with people on Capitol Hill. There are days my phone rings at 11 o'clock at night. Not only that, but I maintain a heavy travel schedule that keeps me away from home for many days at a time.

Career Hunting Opportunities

This career has given me a lot of opportunities. The key word is opportunities. The catch is I don't have time to take advantage of them.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

This job keeps me on my toes and busy 24/7, so at best I get around 10 days afield a year. But on a typical year, I usually only get around a week.

Most Memorable Work Hunting Trip

My most memorable hunt would have to be when I shot my first wildebeest while living in Africa because that was really a turning point in my life and career. It was my first taste of big-game hunting, and that is where my love for all things outdoors developed. It was what made me really interested in pursuing a career in the hunting industry.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Like anything, if you find something you have a passion about or believe in, pursue it and don't be dissuaded. Find a way to go for it and take advantage of all opportunities. To me, it's get out there, meet as many people as you can, be well versed on many subjects, and when you see an opportunity, go for it. If people want to get into lobbying, then go to Capitol Hill and get a few years of legislation under your belt.

Recommended Degree or Background

I have a political science degree and a minor in history. But for this job, I think you can have a degree in almost anything. To me, the biggest thing I think you need to have is an ability to want to be a "people person." You have to be able to talk to people and be persuasive in your arguments. You need to be knowledgeable and be able to maintain your arguments and know the pros and cons. You have to maintain your integrity. People have to know they can trust you.

Best Advice for This Job

Reach out to organizations where you know people. Get involved in the process. If you want to work for SCI, become an SCI member and attend our events. Find a way to start talking to people in that community. Like many things in life, it's all about relationships.

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Magazine Ad Sales

Jim McConville / Outdoor Sportsman Group

Job Description

Works with manufacturers to sell advertising space on different platforms, including print, TV, and special interest publications.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's degree (helpful, but not required)

Salary Range

$25,000 — $175,000

Hunting and Career History

My father and grandfather were avid hunters. My dad would take me out hunting, and I was hooked at a young age.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

My job is unique because with the aid of a smartphone I basically work 24/7. Living in the Eastern time zone, this isn't an 8-to-5 job. The people I work with are all over the country, so I can't turn my phone off at 5 p.m.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I've had the opportunity to go to South Africa as well as on snow goose and prairie dog hunts through my job.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

During the season, I can sometimes shoot a few geese before work and sit for whitetails after work. All in? I probably get to hunt 30 days a year.

How Many of Those Days/Trips Are Work Related?

I really only do a few work-related hunts; the rest are personal trips.

States and Countries Hunted

Germany, South Africa, Canada, and 21 states.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

If you have a passion for the outdoors, you're going to run into enough enthusiasts, a window will open. If you're passionate about what you do, success and job opportunities will find you.

Worst Part of Your Job

My job affects the way that I get to go out and hunt. I don't get to go out as much as when I was younger. Being able to see it, touch it, feel it, but not get to enjoy it, is frustrating.

jobs-in-the-outdoor-industry-get-hired

Marketing Manager

Rachel VandeVoort / Kimber Firearms

Job Description

Responsible for all aspects of trade relations strategy and execution, including public perception, media/trade relationships, internal and external corporate content development, and brand management.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Bachelor's in Marketing or Business

Salary Range

$70,000 — $125,000

Hunting and Career History

My father was a hunting and fishing guide when I was young. That sculpted me. I was accompanying my father or grandfather big-game hunting, even before I was old enough to pull the trigger. I am where I am today because I was not willing to leave Montana. I took the best-paying job I could find, and it turns out that sales and marketing were a natural fit for my personality and interests.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

While the majority of my time is spent at a desk, no day is the same. Between trade shows, industry partner meetings, shooting events, and hunts, I am traveling, on average, one to two weeks per month.

Career Hunting Opportunities

This job has given me multiple opportunities to hunt outside my home state. Part of my job is to help produce content with our media partners, which means I organize and attend hunts in other states and countries.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

Not enough. In reality, a total of maybe five to seven weeks, and half of those trips are work related.

States and Countries Hunted

Montana, Texas, Arizona, British Columbia, and New Zealand.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

I did not plan to do what I am currently doing — I have spent my life doing my absolute best at the job I am asked to do. When you do that, people take notice and things happen.

Best Advice for This Job

Start somewhere, anywhere — get your foot in the door. Work hard, twice as hard as anyone you know, and still consider it not enough.

outdoor-industry-get-hired

Gun Builder

Doug Turnbull / Turnbull Restoration & Manufacturing Co.

Job Description

Repairs, fixes, and makes minor alterations to firearms, as well as firearm customization and firearm restoration.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Gunsmithing School and Associate's Degree

Salary Range

$30,000 — $50,000

Hunting and Career History

My parents owned the largest specialty gunshop in the state of New York, and I enjoyed working hands-on there. I took over the business in the early '80s. I worked with dealers and collectors to focus on how things were supposed to look when finished and what original guns looked like so our guns could be almost exact to the originals. We have changed the perception of restoration in the industry. If collectors put our name on their restored firearms, it increases their value by 30 to 40 percent.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

We are backlogged in our vault most of the time. In the beginning of the year, we may have 300 — 400 guns to work on, and in the summer that slows to 250 — 300. Full restorations take us 11 or more months. If we are just doing finish work on prepolished parts, then that takes about 3 — 4 weeks. So needless to say, we are pretty busy.

Career Hunting Opportunities

This job has given me some industry hunts, including an elk hunt in Colorado, three trips to Alaska, and once to South Africa and Tanzania for Cape buffalo. I've also been able to hunt a few U.S. states with the .475 Turnbull cartridge I developed. This job has allowed me to get out and use restored guns and our own lever-action guns.

Days Spent Afield Each Year

In the last 10 years I have done more hunting than I had in the previous 10 years. I think it's because I'm involved in the industry because of conservation work and because of rifle and cartridge development. I saw around 30 days this year that I got to get out and actually hunt.

States and Countries Hunted

Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania and around 10 different states.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Find something that you really enjoy. Whether that's a particular model of shotgun, or lever-action rifle, or handgun, find a model or type of firearm that you're really involved with and get to know it. Find some portion of that area that you can focus on and become the expert. By doing this you will be known as the expert on these models or type of work. The work will follow, and you will become efficient at what you do and everything will fall into place.

Recommended Degree or Background

I would recommend attending a gunsmith school. Also, depending on where you are going with it, having an associate's degree is really needed and looked at positively by a lot of employers. For me, being a gunsmith you need to be more of a hands-on type person, able to look at a problem, understand how it needs to look or work, and do the work needed to get the job accomplished.

Best Advice for This Job

Do the best you can and do it right the first time. It doesn't matter what it is — do it right the first time because doing it the second time will cost you money. Find something that you like and love, something that will keep

your interest.

Worst Part of Your Job

Trying to convey to the client what they think that they want and dealing with government agencies. The paperwork can be a pain, but a very necessary part of the overall job and business. Dealing with customers can be a lot easier.

outdoor-industry

Retail Hunting Store Owner

Kelly Presley / Presley's Outdoors

Job Description

Owns and operates family owned business which includes overseeing sales and marketing, accounting, and employees.

Recommended Degree or Experience

Experience and hard work ethic

Salary Range

$50,000 — $500,000

Hunting and Career History

I grew up hunting and fishing every weekend with my dad. My grandfather started the business in 1946 as just a place that sold worms, and my dad took it over in 1979. I watched my dad grow the business and broaden it to both fishing and hunting. I worked as just an employee through my childhood and worked my way up to running the business in 2002. I bought it in 2013.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

Some people say I have the luxury to take off and hunt and fish whenever I want. But really, it's not when I want, it's when I can. Some weeks I work 30 to 40 hours, and some I work 50 to 60. I work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and take calls late into the night.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I get invited on hunts from manufacturers a lot, and I have gotten to travel a bit, but I have to say no to about 95 percent of the invites because I run my own business. I have to pay the bills!

Days Spent Afield Each Year

Industry hunts, you're talking to the wrong guy. But, personally, I would say 50 days. But don't misconceive that — I'll hunt in the morning and then work all night.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Be really, really lucky. This is all that I have ever known, and I was lucky to have the opportunity. But this wasn't handed to me on a plate — I worked really hard to get where I am.

Best Advice for This Job

Take care of your employees. My strongest assets are my employees. I try to take care of them the best I can. Think about your customers and their needs. They need experts in the field and hiring minimum wage employees isn't going to do that for them.

Worst Part About Your Job

Employees. The hardest thing to manage in my job is them. I think all business owners would say that.

jim-shockey-job-in-the-industry

TV Host & Producer

Jim Shockey / Jim Shockey's Hunting Adventures and Jim Shockey's Uncharted

Job Description

On-camera personality specializing in hunting adventures across the world.

Recommended Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Pay Range

$0-$5,000 per episode

Hunting and Career History

I have hunted since I was young. As I got older I was actually an antiques dealer who hunted. One day I was reading a hunting article and didn't like the article. I felt they were missing the point of hunting and the romance and adventure of the hunt. I thought well maybe I should try writing an article? I did and sold it for $42. I wrote nearly a 1,000 more articles over the next 20 years. That's how I got started in this industry. At the same time television was just starting to come on stream. I knew the people who were starting the TV programs and at the same time I got in to guiding and outfitting and that's how I got on my first TV show.

Daily and Yearly Schedule

My 2016 schedule started with a hunt in Mexico, then we went straight to the ATA show, then the Dallas convention, then back to Mexico. From there I went to the SHOT show, then the Grand Slam Ovis show, and then the SCI convention. I was home for a few day before going to Siberia, then Poland, then Pakistan. Then I'll go to the Academy for Country music, and then directly to Argentina for three weeks.

Then I head to Alaska, then to Russia, then to British Columbia. Then to Saskatchewan, then back to Alaska. I'll be home for one day before going to Peru. July will be spent at home then we'll head to Russia, the Yukon, then Texas, then back to the Yukon, then Kazakhstan, Greenland, Turkey, and finally back to Russia. By then it will be Christmas. I am extremely busy.

Career Hunting Opportunities

I've been very fortunate, this career has allowed me to hunt a tremendous amount.

How Many Hunts Are Work Related?

I'm a hunter, so every hunt I ever do is a personal hunt. But every hunt I do is on camera and documented for my TV show.

Most Memorable Hunt

Any hunt with my children. Those are the hunts that mean the most to me. A world's record animal could walk by me and I could care less. If the choice were to go after that world record or go on a hunt with my family, I would choose my family.

How Can Someone Get This Job?

Start working right now and work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 30 years. The rewards always go to the people who work the hardest.

Recommended Degree or Background

It never hurts to have a post-secondary education. If for no other reason, college can teach you how to put a plan together and stick with it for four years.

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