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

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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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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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

This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.

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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.

#383: Mike Phillips — How to Save a Species


  • Connect with Steven Rinella:

Website | Facebook | Instagram: @MeatEater / @StevenRinella


  • 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. [05:42]
  • 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? [09:43]
  • 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. [16:47]
  • For those in the back, what does “extirpate” mean from a conservation perspective? [24:08]
  • 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? [29:09]
  • The problem with conservation efforts that become overly politicized. [38:26]
  • 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. [42:55]
  • 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? [56:03]
  • Acknowledging the devastating damage American hunters have historically wreaked on animal populations in the past — like the once-ubiquitous North American bison. [1:09:12]
  • 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? [1:14:10]
  • Was Steven always an able writer, or was it something he gradually developed when he considered it as his plan B? [1:18:04]
  • What would Steven’s approach look like if he were to teach a college-level writing class? [1:21:07]
  • What writers craft work of such incredible quality that they inspire a sensation of envy in Steven? [1:23:05]
  • 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? [1:24:25]
  • In what ways have Steven’s travels expanded his awareness? [1:27:51]
  • What would Steven recommend to someone seeking reconnection, engagement, and kinship with nature? [1:31:48]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:37:25]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 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.

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8 Replies to “Steven Rinella on Hunting (and Why You Should Care), Reconnecting with Nature, Favorite Trips, and More (#470)”

  1. Fun fact: due to covid travel restrictions, there has been a decreased number of US hunters hunting migratory game birds in Canada. Food for thought: what will this do to the funding available to support wildlife programs in Canada and what will be the effect of this on future waterfowl populations? Will overpopulation be the result and what will be the effects of that?? Just food for thought. 🙂

  2. To anyone that found some of the topics Mr Rinella brought up to be interesting, I cant recommend An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World enough. Its a fantastic book. A lot of parallells to Michael Pollan’s work (ie The Omnivores Dilemma). Its fascinating. A true gem.

  3. there has been a decreased number of US hunters hunting migratory game birds in Canada. Food for thought: what will this do to the funding available to support wildlife programs in Canada and what will be the effect of this on future waterfowl populations? Will overpopulatio

  4. I could have listened to the two of you talk for hours! It was like you barley scratched the surface. The timing was so odd, as I have just completed binging on all available episodes on Netflix. So happy to hear there’s a way to get all the previous seasons! If there was a way with words to transmit how important Meat Eater is to me in a way you could feel it, I’d do it. I’m not the kind of girl who would go to the places you go or endure the suffering required to have those experiences you have, so I would have never seen all that I have through such a respectful, smart and caring perspective that Steven has. I’m just blown away. The fishing trip to South America was by far my fav. So excited to dig into the rest of the episodes! Keep up the good work. It’s so important. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ~Arlina the CityGirl 🙂

  5. Loved hearing this conversation between two of my favorite podcasters. Steve’s recommendation about how we can all be more thoughtful about our connection with nature was well delivered and even enlightening. And I really enjoy how both of you are able to take sensitive subjects like hunting that may be off-putting to some, and see beyond your largest circles (audiences) and articulate the topics in a reasonable way.

  6. Tim, I am a psychiatric nurse in the midwest. If you would like any of my accounts of the current state of the mental health crisis care in my area, feel free to contact me. Thanks for your help investing in the next wave of treatment.