Steven Rinella on Hunting (And Why You Should Care), Reconnecting with Nature, Favorite Trips, and More (#470)

Illustration via 99designs

Ask yourself, when you turn on your faucet and water comes out, where did that water come from? Did it fall as snow, rain? Where was it collected? Is it from an aquifer? What feeds the aquifer? Then ask yourself, when it goes down the drain, what is its path to where it hits the ocean?

— Steven Rinella

Steven Rinella (@MeatEater, @StevenRinella) is the host of the Netflix Originals series MeatEater and The MeatEater Podcast. He’s also the author of seven books dealing with wildlife, conservation, hunting, fishing, and wild foods, including the forthcoming The MeatEater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival, coming out on December 1st, 2020.

Please enjoy!

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear an episode about wolf restoration efforts? Listen to my conversation with Turner Endangered Species Fund Executive Director Mike Phillips in which we discuss the pros and cons of predator reintroduction, radioactive wolves, the extinction crisis, what conservationists most often get wrong, and much more.


  • Connect with Steven Rinella:

Website | Facebook | Instagram: @MeatEater / @StevenRinella


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • The Anti-Hunter’s First Hunt: How Steven and I first met, and what he and his encyclopedic knowledge did to help me overcome a lifetime of negative association with hunting and hunters.
  • Though he admittedly would have fit my negative stereotype of hunters when he was growing up in the Midwest, how did Steven make the transition into a more conscientious hunter-conservationist?
  • Why Steven finds the decline in hunting and fishing license sales in the United States worrisome — and why even nature lovers who aren’t comfortable with the idea of hunting and fishing should share his concerns.
  • For those in the back, what does “extirpate” mean from a conservation perspective?
  • What is the role of hunters in ensuring prey species remain plentiful, and how do hunters tend to feel about the reintroduction of predator species (like wolves and bears) to environments from which they’ve been extirpated?
  • The problem with conservation efforts that become overly politicized.
  • That time Steven and I were visited by a hungry grizzly bear while caribou hunting in Alaska, and a rundown of some of the other grisly, less cinematic fates faced by people in the wilderness.
  • Son of the Morning Star by Evan S. Connell, Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez, and Boone by Daniel Morgan: why do these titles top Steven’s list of book recommendations?
  • Acknowledging the devastating damage American hunters have historically wreaked on animal populations in the past — like the once-ubiquitous North American bison.
  • When Steven’s plan A — to become a professional trapper — didn’t quite work out as a career, he had to go with plan B: writer. What was his first piece that sold, and why is he still mad about another piece’s title even 20 years later?
  • Was Steven always an able writer, or was it something he gradually developed when he considered it as his plan B?
  • What would Steven’s approach look like if he were to teach a college-level writing class?
  • What writers craft work of such incredible quality that they inspire a sensation of envy in Steven?
  • With more than 100 episodes of MeatEater under his belt and the travel adventures that made them possible, are there any that stand out as favorites to Steven?
  • In what ways have Steven’s travels expanded his awareness?
  • What would Steven recommend to someone seeking reconnection, engagement, and kinship with nature?
  • Parting thoughts.


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.