I founded Hunt Bums almost eight months ago, really not that long ago in the scheme of things. There I was, a bright-eyed, fresh-faced (ok maybe not that fresh) mid 30’s something year old with a passion for hunting and a desire to share my voice with and make an impact on the hunting community. It’s not lost on me that most hunting blogs have an incredibly short lifespan and usually shutter their websites six months to a year post-launch. Yet, knowing the challenges ahead and recognizing the obstacles Hunt Bums has already overcome leaves me with a sense of pride and perseverance. These collections of experiences over the past eight months have been part of why Hunt Bums has been such an extradentary learning experience for me.
As I reflect back on the past eight months (effectively an entire hunting season and then some at this point) there are a few key takeaways that I hope will help other like-minded sportsmen and/or enthusiasts turned entrepreneurs, leaders, or hunting and conservation advocates.
1. Focus on the pursuit.
2. Bring value to the community.
3. Collaborate often and collaborate hard.
Focus on the Pursuit
More than followers, engagements, likes, or sponsorships, focus on the pursuit. Hunting is what drove the passion to create and share Hunt Bums, therefore hunting SHOULD be at the core of “why” Hunt Bums exists. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of searching for validation from outside influences, trust me I’ve been there, but with a hunting blog you owe it to your audience, but most importantly you owe it to yourself, to take a step away from the computer and get out there and do what it is that you love to do. Hunt.
Focusing on the pursuit can take on a variety of meanings, you need to find what fits best for yours. Is the pursuit that you’re in pursuit of (see what I did there) something that would resonate with others? If so, you’re already on the way to embracing key takeaway number two, bringing value to the community. If not, how can you bring to light what your pursuit is and why it matters? By focusing on what interests you first (the pursuit) followed by building and creating content that effectively showcases your passion for said pursuit is the end all be all holy grail state. Basically, don’t do this for the money, do it because you love it, and you live it.
Bring Value to the Community
I’ve made so many mistakes – big and small – during my time in the hunting community that I could probably create a blog dedicated entirely to what not to do when it comes to blogging and business. While I didn’t make all of those mistakes over the course of the past eight months, Hunt Bums isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to the outdoor or hunting industry. I’ve been privileged enough to have built, consulted on, or managed numerous brands (hunting-related, outdoor, or otherwise) over the course of my career and one key thing always rings true: Bringing value to the community is what matters most.
I don’t care if you have the most awesome graphic designs or if your Instagram page has 2,500,000 followers, what matters most is how you or your brand brings value to the community that you’re engaging with. If your sole purpose is to push your wares or widgets via a fly-by-night operation (well all know “those guys”) you’re in the wrong game. Hunters and sportsmen, out of all types of people, are especially keen at seeing through the bullshit. To me, Hunt Bums brings value to the hunting and outdoor community in the following ways:
We are passionate defenders of our hunting heritage.
We openly share knowledge and insight.
We build lasting relationships.
We empower potential.
We connect others.
At its foundation, Hunt Bums’ mission is to create and foster connections with like-minded hunters and outdoorsmen. My main goal with Hunt Bums was to really breakdown and lower the barriers to entry for those just getting into hunting as well as providing resources for those who have hunted their entire lives. With Hunt Bums, there really is something for everybody and we foster the belief that a hunting community isn’t just the sum of its parts, it’s those parts working together in conjunction to preserve our hunting heritage while simultaneously introducing this lifestyle to those who otherwise wouldn’t have the slightest clue where to start. It’s taking someone who has the passion, but not necessarily the skill and outfitting them with the tools and guidance they need in order to be successful. That’s how Hunt Bums brings value to the community.
Collaborate Often and Collaborate Hard
Collaboration is key to survival in this industry. Like it or not, we need each other to grow. Some find it easier than others to embrace this idea, while those who go it alone often find it to be an uphill battle. Personally, I’ve always had an eye and a knack for collaboration opportunities, so much so that I’ve turned it into a career. That being the case it’s only logical that it carries over with Hunt Bums. While Hunt Bums collaborations are just getting off the ground, there are some pretty awesome things in the works that I’m excited to see come to life.
The Hunt Bums story is a reminder that when you keep working hard and work toward building meaningful relationships with readers, influencers, and friends, new opportunities can and will emerge. Passion and vision are what drive many of us in this industry. It only makes sense that you should look at collaborating with others in this space in order to further not only your reach but theirs as well. Be open to opportunities that might otherwise be uncomfortable for you. You’re not going to know how to bring a lot of these ideas to fruition but that you’re willing to even entertain them is leaps and bounds ahead of what most people would even be willing to consider.
The last eight months building and seeing Hunt Bums grow has been an extraordinary experience and learning opportunity for me. I’ve learned to embrace the mistakes and missteps and take them in stride because they’ve taught me what works and what doesn’t. I have so much more clarity on the niche Hunt Bums is looking to fill as well as the direction I’d like to see the industry go. As Hunt Bums continues to find new opportunities and grow, I’m excited about the next big challenge: garnering more attention and bringing in more like-minded people that share our values and our passions.
When not hunting, Casey spends his days overseeing brand management and partnership opportunities with one of the largest eye care and eyewear companies in the world. By night, he puts his passion and knack for creative direction to use building out and managing Hunt Bums and its respected properties.
A native Californian, Casey is a diehard Pacific Flyway waterfowl hunter who also enjoys pursuing dove, deer, turkey, and just about anything else with four legs or feathers.
Casey lives in Elk Grove, CA with his girlfriend, two stepsons, and a lazy dog with a crooked mouth named Zephyr.