Hunting is conservation, and we all preach its merits.  Unfortunately, too oftentimes we’re mostly just preaching to our own choir members.  Introduced by her immigrant father to the great outdoors while a child, it wasn’t until pursuing a journalism degree that Gabriella Hoffman embraced guns and hunting–and found footing in hunting advocacy. The myriad ways anti-hunters undermine hunting value is mind-boggling, and we discuss ways you’d never imagine. For her, it’s about setting the record straight. Via public speaking engagements, her District of Conservation podcast and social media platforms, she reaches the 80-percent middle ground that too many of us do not. Or cannot. And that’s a very good thing.

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A Model Under Attack

Folks, this hunting and fishing stuff we’re doing is under attack in really insidious little ways, kind of like the air we breathe, they’re everywhere.

Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, last day at SCI. Folks, listen, wherever you’re from next year, drive to Nashville, come to the SCI convention, this thing has been off the rails and almost said a cuss word because it has been off the rails. It has been the most insane and exciting and fun, birds of a feather flock together, a whole room full of hunters, a whole freaking 10 acre floor with hunters, committed hunters. Hunters like you, hunters like me, hunters like today’s guest, Ms. Gabriella Hoffman from Washington DC. I’m proud to have you here, I’ve kept up with you a long time and I’m very excited to finally meet you in first and have a discussion with you, how are you?

Gabriella Hoffman: I’m doing well, Ramsey. It’s likewise wonderful to make your connection.

Ramsey Russell: And this is your first SCI convention.

Gabriella Hoffman: First convention, not my first rodeo in terms of the outdoor industry, I’ve gone to many industry related events, but first SCI convention, all I can say is it’s pretty interesting and almost overwhelming by how many booths are here and people are here.

Ramsey Russell: I tell people it’s amazing to me because when you think of something event like this, it’s easy to think of giraffes and lions and kind of a Marlin Perkins looking guy or Hemingway, because of the name Safari Club, but it’s really not. Safari, explained to me by Steve really kind of means journey and we’re all on a life journey. We all start as little boys and girls going out and hunting and fishing with our grand folk or our daddy and we step on up and evolve and some guys go way up to the top of the tallest mountain, shooting the biggest game animals and guys like me go to the lowest areas and chase ducks. But there’s people selling everything from garfish to bison to elephants to everything and it’s opened up my world. And you know what? It’s challenged a lot of my comfort level, some of the stuff we were talking about, but I love it. And more importantly, I love to support an organization that is fighting for me, for the listener, for you, to preserve hunting, which is under attack. I’ll start like this last 2 mornings, I cannot remember how far in the future Australia is from Mississippi and Nashville, but I’m going to say their morning time is about 02:00 AM our time, because I’ve gotten a text the last 2 mornings from my friends down in Australia saying, it is over. If we don’t get a lifeline from somebody like Safari Club International or Ducks Unlimited, Delta or somebody down here to help us fight this battle, it’s over. And these guys are high up in the conservation, the politics of hunting in Australia and they’re losing it. And I saw it when I went down there the first time, I said I’d give them 5 years, maybe 10 on the outside, but they’re going to lose it. And once Victoria Province falls and it’s fixing to, it’s going to tumble like Domino’s and it’s over. And then what happens from Australia? Oh, it can’t happen in America, hell, yeah, it can. It can begin to teeter and topple like Domino’s worldwide, it’s all about political leverage. But anyway, how are you this morning?

Gabriella Hoffman: I’m doing well. Trying to fight off a cold and sound a little nasally, but I’m doing well, pretty refreshed, excited and I love coming to Nashville, it’s a very fun place. You could see music, you could see different characters, good food, of course, the south knows how to treat people and entertain people and it’s a really lovely town, a great backdrop. I hadn’t heard what happened in Vegas in terms of the comparison, but from what everyone has told me, veterans of the conference have said they love just the situation here, they love how many more people are here, the closeness to their different respective states and just the ambiance. And we were talking before going on the air, you said that even the mayor has expressed like, what are the ways that we can retain this event here in the future?

Ramsey Russell: From what I understand, the city of Nashville does not want SCI to start jumping around to New Orleans and Indianapolis, they want them right here. And, man, look, I loved going out to Nevada, I loved engaging California, but it did become just a tad stale, it’s like if you go out and start plowing a field, eventually you got it all plowed. And I would just guess and I ain’t got any data, but surely if you did a per capita hunting license comparison between here and there, it’s a lifestyle out here. The south hunts, it’s almost like religion, we all grew up doing it. How did you get into hunting? And that’s a question I want to – Because I want to talk about your past, present, future. But are you a hunter?

Gabriella Hoffman: I’d like to consider myself a hunter, although I did start later in life. I always had kind of an interest in it in the back of my mind because it wasn’t such a remote concept to me, I’d always heard about wildlife and my family was very keen on us learning about our surroundings, growing up in Southern California, as I mentioned to you, I saw so many different types of wildlife or I would hear about mountain lions crawling from the canyon to the golf course below our house or going into different areas, school being closed in elementary because of bobcat sightings, we had to shelter in place because bobcats would come from down the hill, walk around and we were just aware of them and I’d heard of different wildlife. I’d seen coyotes, I’d seen lots of birds, you’d see, like, farm raised ducks in the local regional park and I was always just exposed to wildlife. And I grew up fishing, so fishing was kind of my gateway activity into the greater outdoors. So I picked up fishing when I was 8, got really serious about it when I was –

Ramsey Russell: Who took you fishing?

Gabriella Hoffman: My father. So my father is the one who roped me into all these activities, although he wasn’t a hunter himself. But growing up in the former Soviet Union, now present day Lithuania, he did have some exposure to hunting, he helped my uncle. He was always big into cooking and field dressing, so he helped my uncle, who was a very big, prominent guy in the coastal region of Lithuania in Neringa. He was a police chief and he got special privileges to go hunting in the national forest at the time and he harvested a moose and my dad was there to help field dress the moose. So he got to see some of the byproducts of hunting.

Ramsey Russell: Where did you all fish? How did you all fish? What did you all catch? I’ve never fished in Southern California.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah, we first started with a combination of saltwater and freshwater. So we lived very close to the Pacific Ocean within like 20, less than 20 minutes in Laguna Niguel, Laguna beach area. So you could go to Dana Point, very famous place for whale watching and chart a boat, not a commercial boat, but like a big boat that accommodates like 50 people. So we used to go on these offshore, not really offshore, but deep sea fishing trips, 2 for Tuesdays during the summertime, because my dad’s like, why don’t we go together? And we could save money, but also have a lot of fun. And then we would go to different places all across Southern California. One place we would go to would be in the Santa Ana River Lakes in a pond where I caught – by the time I was 12, I was mentioning, I got really serious about fishing because I caught an 8.9 lbs 28.5 inch long catfish by myself. Even in a pond, I mean, everyone’s like, oh, no, pond is cheating, but I had fished in both big settings like an ocean and then kind of more controlled settings, like a stocked pond and I just felt so relaxed doing it. And it was just a way for my dad and I to bond, I’m his firstborn, I have a younger sister who likes fishing, but she’s not really crazy about it. But since he only has girls, 2 of us, I was kind of deputized to be his fishing pal and we still go fishing today. And we always talked about going hunting kind of in the back of our mind and then when I moved to the East Coast, I got more of an introduction to shooting sports and to firearms.

Ramsey Russell: Did you move to the East coast or you all moved to the East Coast?

Gabriella Hoffman: I first moved and then I corralled my parents to move because my dad being in construction, it’s a very buoyant industry. Very much responds to what happens in economic shock, cyclical and now it’s not doing so well either in response to supply chain stuff. But the 2008 crash really did a number for my dad, he was very demoralized, didn’t like what was happening in California, politically and economically. And I got a job in 2012, summer of 2012, after graduating college, so I was able to convince my parents that the situation in Virginia, Northern Virginia, even though it’s on the backdrop of the federal government was much better economically and that is true. And so he was able to kind of do projects here and there, long story short, he re-established his business and then I was already starting to get into guns. I was soon contemplating getting my concealed gun –

Ramsey Russell: Your college age now? A little out of college?

Gabriella Hoffman: Shortly after college, yeah, a couple years. And then within a few years of settling in Virginia, I got my concealed carry permit before I purchased guns.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. I was like, I want to do this, maybe there’s going to be threats in the future, want to protect myself. Better to have it, not need it, than need it and not have it.

Ramsey Russell: How did you go from a little girl in California, your family appreciated nature, you fished with your dad, as a daddy myself, I always – for me, taking kids fishing wasn’t so much about catching fish, although I like to fry fish, it’s about spending time with them kids, it’s what a great place, TIME to spend time with kids. Do you felt like when you think back, was that kind of how your dad chose to spend time with you all?

Gabriella Hoffman: Absolutely.

A Discussion of Favorite Firearms

Were you an outlier as a political science journalist on the East Coast that packed a Smith and Wesson?

Ramsey Russell: And immerse you all kind of just in what nature existed in Southern California. What got you interested? I can understand you going out and buying a shotgun or 22 rifle, but as a lady from California, I want a handgun, I love that, I want a handgun, what’d you get?

Gabriella Hoffman: I got a Smith and Wesson M&P shield, a good concealable one. I don’t carry it often because now they changed the laws a few years afterwards. I mean, Virginia is still a fairly gun friendly place, but we had 2 years of just anti-gun politicians who just dismantled most of our laws or a good chunk of our laws and they got rid of our state pre-emption laws, meaning I can’t carry in certain public government spaces, not that I would go there and do anything wrong. But let’s say it was in response to a horrific mass shooting in Virginia Beach, so they wanted to dismantle that. So certain, I can’t even carry in public places, public parks, they have signs, I’m like, what criminal is going to read this sign and say, you know what, I’m going to follow this law and not carry in this public park in my town, where I live in.

Ramsey Russell: Most of the Deep South has concealed carry and then we have enhanced carry. Go take a little course and I can walk past the sign that says, you’re not welcome with a gun, I just can’t go into federal courthouses or airports, I can’t go past TSA in an airport with a firearm. But the Deep South is different than up in that neck of the woods. You went to college, what did you major in?

Gabriella Hoffman: Political science and I did journalism on the side.

Ramsey Russell: Political science. What did you see yourself doing when you went out to the East coast and got into political science, what did you envision yourself doing later in life?

Gabriella Hoffman: I actually wanted to do journalism from the outset. I had gotten accepted into Pepperdine University on a journalism scholarship, but I didn’t feel comfortable going to Los Angeles for some odd reason, it just didn’t feel right with me. And I only was guaranteed one year of a scholarship and I was really set on more so, my Alma Mater, University of California, San Diego, I just loved the ambiance better, it was close to the beach, I love La Jolla, one of my favorite places, lots of marine life, lots of whales and fish and seabirds, rather. So it just drew me in a bit more. And I knew that I could do journalism on the side, even not formally, but I had specifically sought out my university because I heard they had these different newspapers that I could write for and I shoot my shot trying to apply and I was able to write for a kind of alternative or conservative newspaper, did a lot of original reporting, got involved in that way and was able to work on radio in addition to doing college journalism. So I was able to help fill a void that I was probably lacking in my schooling and then do it on the side.

Ramsey Russell: Were you an outlier among your collegiate peers? Were you an outlier as a political science journalist on the East Coast that packed a Smith and Wesson? Were you an outlier to that? I mean, just the fact that, I’m just saying, just the fact that you’re kind of in that field and owned a gun or open to hunting or even mentioned word I mentioned kind of the conservative side. Were you an outlier to everybody you went to school with?

Gabriella Hoffman: Well, it came a little after school, but I liked fishing, I didn’t suppress my desire to go fishing in college. And I think I first picked up a gun, it was my second year of college, but I wasn’t brandishing guns until –

Ramsey Russell: Did you just go to the store and pick up a gun or did you have a friend introduce you to this process?

Gabriella Hoffman: I went shooting kind of off the grid in San Bernardino, California, like around Christmas time in December 2010.

Ramsey Russell: Went out to a shooting range, started shooting, said, hey, this is cool.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. And at first it kind of rocked me a bit because I didn’t understand recoil, I didn’t understand how do I position myself correctly, but I still did okay. And then I was like, okay, maybe I’ll try this out further down the line and then I moved here and to the East Coast, rather and in Virginia, for some odd reason, people love going hunting and shooting sports. Before I did hunting, I did, obviously, shooting sports, as I mentioned. And the presence of the military, I think, also makes the DC metro area an unlikely place where you will find people who own a lot of guns. So I would say we’re insulated because we have the military bases, a lot of people in the political circles I was traveling in, they like guns, too. So it was kind of unavoidable to somehow express an interest in guns. And I wanted to also relate it to not only my personal journey, learning about it, like, also complementing it with writing and writing about the process, writing about the laws, writing about what I had to go through to get my permit. And I kind of did it the opposite way. Most people buy the gun and then do the permit class. I first wanted to learn what I was getting myself into, taking the permit course and then on my 25th birthday a few years ago, my dad decided to get himself and me twin Smith and Wesson’s for my 25th birthday, he’s like, this will be my birthday present to you. I was like, oh, that’s so sweet. Because we got the permits together and did some training and he hasn’t done as much as I have since that time, but I’ve really expanded. Like, I’ve really enjoyed shooting AR platforms, I’ve enjoyed shotguns, I’ve done muzzle loader, I’ve done all the platforms you can imagine, a little bit with air guns, too. But I have become very privy to AR15s, I know people kind of stigmatize them negatively, but I just recently constructed one for myself that’ll be big game compliant.

Ramsey Russell: You told me the other day about your first duck hunt, how did you get into duck hunting?

Gabriella Hoffman: I have a married couple friend in Virginia who are the biggest waterfowlers ever and they’re so creative too, they even have a restaurant that is duck themed, it’s called the Redhead Bay Cafe in Virginia. So if you ever find yourself in East Coast or –

Ramsey Russell: I will, I’m going to look them up.

Taking Down a Bluebill 

I was thankful for it because I didn’t want to treat it in vain, I just harvested it, took its life. 

Gabriella Hoffman: Coastal East Coast rather, in kind of that North Carolina courtic sound, Virginia Beach area, you have to go to their place, I don’t think there’s duck on the menu, but it’s very thematic and I think a lot of waterfowlers will appreciate it because the husband who is primarily a chef, he has a background, he competed on, I think, Guy’s Grocery Store Show. And so he’s a chef by trade and loves hunting and he’s cooked for different people at different lodges all across the East Coast. I think he’s done a little bit in Louisiana in a few places. So the husband and wife, they fell in love, obviously, because they love to hunt, they’re from the same area and they just expanded their love of hunting to cooking even, too and they cook wild game as well. But this restaurant concept has been flourishing a lot and they make, like, boozy margaritas and cocktail drinks and all these crazy, very good Southern comfort food, I’ve been there before and I loved it and I want to go back and visit them and see them. But they said to me when I first befriended them, I used to go down to Virginia Beach because my sister was then dating her now husband at the time and I was like, I want to meet this couple because I’ve been social media connected and they’re crazy waterfowlers in a good sense. And they’re like, we’ll take you waterfowl hunting sometime down the road and the opportunity came in January 2018, the Bomb Cyclone, if you remember, that pummeled the East coast in 2018 about 5 years ago. I had been aware of that potentially interfering with our plans, it actually did have an effect on our original plans. We were going to go to Princess WMA in Virginia Beach. I had all my licenses set up, but it was frozen, the launch pad that we had to go through, so it was impossible to travel there. But they had a friend who’s a waterfowl guide in North Carolina across the river and they’re like, we’ll get a free guided hunt, but you just have to buy the North Carolina license. Not a terrible expense, it was quite a bit just to do one day because it was like a week long or 3 day long, a 100 day tag. But I was, like, it’s okay, I already have my stamp for waterfowl and all that, and I’ll get the North Carolina thing and if we’re getting a free guided hunt, might as well, it’s a small, minor expense. And I did that and woke up really early, we had 2 retrievers with us and I got really excited, like, I normally don’t like to wake up that early, but for hunting and fishing, I’ll make exceptions. And I dressed in the appropriate attire, I didn’t anticipate us hunting for like, 12 hours, but it was a long time. So we got up early, I think we started –

Ramsey Russell: Hope you packed lunch.

Gabriella Hoffman: We had food, absolutely. And I was surprised I lasted that long because it was cold, it wasn’t below freezing temperature by any means, but it was chilly.

Ramsey Russell: Humid, yeah.

Gabriella Hoffman: But we woke up, got ready, got in the boat, met the guide, nice guy, he had some horrible tragedy befall him, I think he lost his son in a boating accident or something, I didn’t know that at the time, but such a nice gentleman. And he delivered for us, even though the conditions weren’t as ideal as they could have been. But all of us obviously checked off, got some duck, I got one duck, my ruddy duck that I showed you before.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me about this duck coming in. Do you remember him coming in decoying and shooting him?

Gabriella Hoffman: I shot him on the top surface, actually. He was there, settled. And for me, I think where I struggle in my hunting journey now and we could talk more about that, too. But shotgun shooting is a little challenging when I’m trying to respond to projectiles or things that are moving, moving targets are still very challenging for me, I have no problem shooting long distance.

Ramsey Russell: You’re challenging for most people listening, but go ahead. Myself included.

Gabriella Hoffman: I don’t think I’m the only one, but for me, it still is kind of a weak point for my hunting activities. But I think it was just a unique opportunity to shoot the ruddy on the top surface and I wanted to make sure I was not shooting at anything problematic or illegal, of course and I was very confident, I looked obviously, down the shotgun to make sure, aligning the sights and making sure I had a good shot. And I see that I do it and then the retriever goes to retrieve it and I see the duck and it was kind of cool. Beautiful bluebill, very nice.

Ramsey Russell: Was that the first animal you’d ever killed?

Gabriella Hoffman: No, not my first. I think that would have been my 5th, because I told you about that, I got 4 upland birds.

Ramsey Russell: When they handed you that ruddy duck and that’s a hefty little bird. Isn’t it so heavy to be so small.

Gabriella Hoffman: It was. I remember now, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Did you feel anything when you held that little bird and said, wow.

Gabriella Hoffman: I was thankful for it because I didn’t want to treat it in vain, I just harvested it, took its life. But I caressed it, I was like, oh, my gosh, I have this thing in my hand, it’s a life that I took.

Ramsey Russell: Did you all cook it?

Gabriella Hoffman: We did.

Ramsey Russell: Did your chef buddy showed you how to cook a duck?

Gabriella Hoffman: They showed me how to field dress. I did the whole, I call it defeathering, but I did all the field dressing after the hunt was completed, we got, I think, 12 ducks in total. And the wife of the husband wife duo, she harvested a swan, she had a swan tag, a tundra swan.

Ramsey Russell: On the same hunt?

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. Was able to get that. And then we got our splattering of 12 ducks, a dozen ducks, give or take. Didn’t get the daily limit, but like I said, for the Bomb Cyclone that was incoming, that was still a pretty good day. I was like, this is a memorable hunt. It was interesting weather, we had a beautiful sunrise, we had these phenomenal dogs working, we had a silver lab and a regular golden lab, sweet dogs and it was kind of nice to have them and one was more inexperienced versus the other and they wanted to play and lick us and it was wonderful and they were great retrievers, of course. And so just that whole experience was just so eye opening to me, just everything, the situation around me, the environment and then being very alert, even though having to wake up early, it forces you to wake up, you have a nice warm cup of coffee to get ready and we were hiding in, it was a floating blind and we had to camouflage ourselves. And they informed me, my friends, that you have to be very careful not to show yourself because these ducks will see you.

Ramsey Russell: Don’t move.

Gabriella Hoffman: Don’t move and I was like, okay, I have to stand still, not make a motion, because I don’t want them to be spooked. So it was a learning experience, too. And they were very nudging about it in a tender way, they weren’t like mean or abrasive, they’re like, no, we want to help you, we want to show you how it is and it was very easy to pick up, too, like how to be quiet, how to stand still. And like I said, just a very memorable hunt, not because of just an extraordinary weather pattern, but I learned a lot from it, too.

Ramsey Russell: You’re an adult on set hunter.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: And you’re a journalist, you’re a political science major, which explains a lot of your district conservationist podcast topics, it explains a lot of your social media presence, it explains a lot of your professional lifestyle, what you do right now as a consultant. But of all the things you’re out there on the DC hub and all the many topics, whether it’s dairy or wine or liquor or laws or any – what compelled you into the hunting and gun space, why did you use your skill set? Because that’s a very modest exposure as a young person in hunting and fishing. A lot of the guys that will be walking up down the aisle that have been hunting and fishing with their daddy for a lot. But what is it you think that compelled you into this outdoor consumptive use and firearm space? Something spoke to you personally?

Gabriella Hoffman: Yes, you pose an interesting question, Ramsey. For me, as someone coming up in media and writing, I just felt like very few people with the exception of one of my friends, who’s probably the best firearms journalist out there today, Stephen Gutowski. So he myself, Katie Pavlich, who’s going to be speaking later today, she’s also very big on the gunbeat. There were a handful of us in conservative media or even mainstream media at that point almost a decade ago, we were the only ones focusing on these issues, most of the media was very against, very repulsed by firearms.

Ramsey Russell: Exactly. They still are.

Gabriella Hoffman: Some educational efforts have been happening and some of the media are starting to come around, they’re starting to report on things accurately, but you still have a contingent which just obliterates the truth, they’re not interested in reporting.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, go ahead.

Gabriella Hoffman: Oh, sorry about that. They’re not interested in reporting what goes into it about the industry, they malign the industry very easily. They say that they’re into bloodlust, their only bottom line is to have dead kids. And I’ve interacted with many people on the firearms side and also on the ammunition side, got to know them through NSSF shot show all across the years and I got to see that that portrayal was very inaccurate. One of my first big reporting opportunities was going to shot show in 2015, my first really big exposure to a conference of that scale in the industry. And I enjoyed it because I wasn’t afraid of guns, I wasn’t opposed to guns. I was just kind of ambivalent. I thought to myself, I could have an opportunity to learn more about this, I just didn’t have the opportunities at the time when I grew up in California until I moved out east. And as a commentary writer, journalist, multimedia specialist, I just felt like I was in a unique position being someone who wasn’t opposed to guns, but someone who didn’t have much exposure to them to help write and document. And being so close to DC, we would always see different horrible legislation be introduced, so I was always privy to comment on bad legislation, even good legislation and kind of become a subject matter expert on it and explain, like, I’m not doing the biding of the outdoor industry, everyone, I’m just telling you, this is the truth. Much like with hunting, that takes even more of a challenge sometimes, because people see – there are a lot of similarities, because you do have to largely go rifle hunting, there is the weapon in question that people are very skeptical of, I know AR hunting can be controversial in some hunting circles too, some people don’t like to do it. And so it’s just a lot of misunderstanding with it and I just felt much like with regular writing, I was always very curious to write about my family’s story from behind the Iron Curtain and I felt a lot of misinformation was out there about socialism and communism. And even with respect to the outdoors, my dad would always tell me that the Communists would lie about conservation in America, they said, free enterprise has destroyed all wildlife, all wildlands, everything in their midst. And he had heard that from his grandma or aunt or someone. And when my parents moved here 30 some odd years ago, it was completely overblown and completely exaggerated that a flourishing society like the United States could also have an abundance of wildlife, could have nature scapes, could have so much land preserved and have a model that’s the envy of the world. So my dad would always kind of inculcate me with these different things, drawing from kind of sociopolitical lessons that we would have. He would always tell me about family stories, about relatives surviving horrible imprisonment and kind of like with misunderstandings about socialism, I always would see that with firearms and by extension, hunting. Just misunderstood, people don’t know what these entail, they don’t know that these are highly regulated –

Early Lessons Shape Conservation Values

And they said, well, they just don’t understand what PR does, in addition to funding habitat restoration, wildlife conservation, hunters’ education, it also funds public shooting ranges all across the country.

Ramsey Russell: Okay. I’m going to be a devil’s advocate here, come digging so what, perception is reality. The media creates perception, some people call it propaganda, they misrepresent a lot of topics. Why does hunting and fishing and guns speak to Gabriella Hoffman?

Gabriella Hoffman: Those topics speak to me because I started fishing, I saw what fishing was like from the outset, I saw that people were largely respectful of the fish they would harvest. I would see poaching sometimes, too, as a young kid, I see it even today and that irks me to see that happen, that people take more than the creel limit and you report it and it goes unnoticed. You can’t do anything about it because you don’t want to interfere, law enforcement is overextended. And so it makes me mad that people don’t know about the guidelines out there, about not taking more than your lot, knowing the daily creel limits and knowing what type of style you can use, because some areas are special, like catch and release, fly fishing only or you can use all this type of repertoire and all these type of setups, so people just don’t know. And when it comes to firearms and by extension, hunting, I had to immerse myself in those activities even more to fully understand it and I think what a lot of journalists, what of my colleagues are lacking is a familiarity with the issue and an open mindedness. And I didn’t need any convincing, I was already halfway in, I just needed to educate myself more, I needed to learn the mechanics. I still have a lot to learn, even though I’m very embedded in this now. But there are many things I still don’t understand and I admit that and I’m okay with admitting that because you want to be honest. And I think honesty is the best policy as a reporter and saying you want to learn more. Because I have phenomenal people, sources that I speak to about bear conservation, grizzly management, who are far more knowledgeable than me and I want them to be showcased through my pieces and have their perspective showcased, because I don’t want it just to be about me and me opining and having these lofty ideas. I like speaking to other people who are far more knowledgeable than me, having them out there for more people to hear or to read so they can know what actually happens in firearms and in hunting, because it’s a multibillion dollar industry, both of these sectors. Like people, don’t understand how much goes into the economy and also to conservation from guns and ammunition, from the excise taxes. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to make that connection better and tell people from the outset that, okay, you enjoy wildlife, you enjoy wild spaces, did you know this connection? You’re not going to like it, but it’s a connection between guns and ammunition and Pittman Robertson.

Ramsey Russell: And do you know, I’ve actually seen. I told you this morning, Australia. The last two mornings I’ve woken up and heard about Australia, it’s over, it’s practically over, the fat lady singing. And do you know, I have seen where a lot of anti-hunting organizations are starting to key in on the Pittman Robertson Act and firearm sales and how these game management agencies are related to firearm industries indirectly through funding, because it gives hunting a benefit cost that their emotional narrative can’t overcome. So let’s remove any financials, now hunting has no benefit. Have you seen that?

Gabriella Hoffman: There are efforts. We haven’t really seen it federally quite yet, well, actually, I take that back. There was kind of an effort. Well, even conservatives and I’m a proud conservative republican, always have been, always will be. And I was really astounded by the Return Act, I don’t know if you’ve talked about that.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, talk about it. Anybody hadn’t heard it, that’s when parts of the Republicans tried to repeal the Pittman Robertson Act.

Gabriella Hoffman: Which was very problematic. And we have seen on both sides of the aisle efforts to do that, but this was the first time I’d seen it. And people on the left or the preservationist environmentals who don’t like hunting took a cue from that legislation and said, yeah, we don’t agree with these people, but let’s go off of what they created, but in the opposite way and advocate for this, because bloodshed is leading to – how can we have bloodshed activities leading to conservation, it doesn’t make any sense. So the Return Act sponsored by Republicans does give rise to opportunists in the anti-hunting side to take cues, have messaging bills and then maybe propose efforts here and there. But the Return Act would basically say, we want to divest from having Pittman Robertson be the connector from excise taxes collected on guns and ammunition to wildlife because it’s an infringement on the Second Amendment. And when I heard that talking point, it didn’t sit well with me and I wanted to do my research, I consulted people in the firearms industry who support the Pittman Robertson, I said, what is the contention here? Because you guys support this and I agree with the position, but I want to understand their side. Why do they oppose it? And they said, well, they just don’t understand what PR does, in addition to funding habitat restoration, wildlife conservation, hunters’ education, it also funds public shooting ranges all across the country. So people who can’t afford to go to private ranges because they can be very costly, there’s steep barriers to entry in terms of cost and membership, but public ranges are largely inexpensive or pretty reasonable in terms of costs, sometimes free, depending upon where you are in the country, I think it’s a day use fee is maybe $20 on average. So pretty inexpensive, all things considered, compared to, let’s say, a traditional range that’s more private and more expensive. And so when I understood that it would also strip potentially public target shooting ranges, I was like, this is completely appalling and it has to be debunked. And actually, the lead sponsors press secretary reached out to me through email, very frantic and she’s like, you need to talk to my boss to correct your misinformation. And I didn’t respond because I’m like, if you would have been a little more charitable, wanted to have a reasonable debate, maybe I would have talked to him. But I knew where he was coming from and he didn’t understand, he wanted to replace the $800 million that would be lost because it was $1.5 billion in the last year, I don’t think the new numbers have been put out for 2022 yet. But 2021, it was 1.5 billion generated, the most ever in the Pittman Robertson’s 80 plus years of existence since being enacted into law. Best year ever because of people going to the field, going on the water during COVID and his proposal would replace it with royalties on offshore oil and gas exploration. And I thought to myself, given the dynamics, I know your podcast doesn’t talk about natural resources in terms of oil and gas, but knowing the dynamics of that, I was like, you don’t have an administration which wants that royalty system to be enhanced. And I was like, we’re going to lose $800 million, you’re not going to replace it with this fund that you want to use because they’re already exhausting it and they’re not putting any money into that they want to discourage or they want to put offshore wind rather into that fund for that. And so I said it didn’t make sense monetarily, it didn’t make sense rhetorically and then also, it’s very popular when you poll test it among the American public and they understand what PR does, they’re like, we appreciate the connection, we think that’s a good way to have those monies go. And you’re not seeing an added tax. When you purchase a gun, you’re not seeing Pittman Robertson tax on your line item, no receipt, not whatsoever, you’re not paying an additional tax.

Ramsey Russell: It’s one of the only taxes I’m aware of in the world that a lot of us will gladly pay.

Gabriella Hoffman: We see it actually go into.

A Hunter’s Relationship with Conservation

We hunt, we fish and it’s really us that are putting our time and money into wildlife conservation, creating a massive interest, a massive principle so that we can reap some of the interest.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right. Now, see, here’s where I’m getting at this, all this money that Pittman Robertson, an involuntary tax though it may be, does go into conservation, it is the underpinnings of the North American model. Besides all the time and money we put out of our own pockets into our habitats and into our love and the conservation organizations, it works good. My biggest fear is 6%, 7% of Americans are really contributing to that. We hunt, we fish and it’s really us that are putting our time and money into wildlife conservation, creating a massive interest, a massive principle so that we can reap some of the interest. What concerns me most and excites me about someone like yourself, which is why you’re here, 90 some odd percent of America doesn’t have a relationship, whether it’s fishing or firearms or ducks or deer, has no relationship to the landscape via the animals they’re chasing. Therefore, all these wetlands we’re losing, all this habitat we’re losing all of this drainage, all of this pavement, everything that’s going on around us, they’re completely benign to it, they’re completely oblivious to it. Oh, the wildlife just existing because I’m here in the city drinking coffee and they can’t go hunt and do this stuff, I want to get them on hook. Because wetlands, hey, I’m selfish, I want ducks, I want more wetlands, but wetlands don’t just benefit ducks and duck hunters, it benefits all of humanity, if that makes sense. And I told you earlier, one thing that excites me about someone like yourself is, as I keep up with you in social media because I always feel like I’m trying to preach my gospel, but I feel like I live in an echo chamber and I’m the preacher talking to the choir. When I meet somebody like yourself and I see the circles you’re running in and the information that you’re a conduit for getting out, you’re speaking to that 80% and 90% and I’m completely unable to. And that’s why we don’t talk about oil and gas and stuff like this on here, but we should because it’s very critical to what we’re all trying to do.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. And I know some in the conservation space are not comfortable talking about that. I try to kind of wedge different interests together because I know people who are in the energy industry who love to hunt and fish and they could be on the traditional side, they could be on the alternative side. But a lot of people like to recreate outdoors, who are involved in these intensive industries, so to speak, in natural resources management and I like to find that confluence because I don’t think they’re always out to destroy everything and I think you don’t have stakeholders, you can’t have everything, you can’t have wetlands, you can’t have all these precious public land spaces or even private land spaces without people. And I think a lot of individuals are unfairly maligned, whether they may work in oil and gas or maybe they have a guiding business or perhaps they do ranching and farming and I’ve showcased these type of individuals through a video series I do called Conservation Nation, where I highlight conservation in action, as we like to call our tagline and just showcase and humanize these people through storytelling prowess and showcase that they are human, they really care about their surroundings, they don’t want to see access lost. I have friends in Florida, phenomenal waterfowlers, you have to talk to them, I have to connect you to them, Ramsey, I think you would love talking to my friends Travis and Mike and they have told me, although Florida is just, everyone loves Florida, they love talking about Florida, they actually are missing out on some hunting opportunities, they don’t have a right to Hunt and Fish Amendment, they don’t have a bear season, they have a few things that are missing from the equation, they have a great fishing apparatus, fishing is world class down there, but they’re missing a little bit, even though they have like minded people in government who would be open to hunting, there hasn’t been an appetite to really jumpstart conservation from the hunting side even more over there. Obviously, wild boar, Osceola turkeys. But my friends in Florida are trying to speak more to people about this and they try to reach the 80% to 90% of folks too, who don’t go hunting. And I started to do a speech called Conservationist Conservative, it’s not to make it a political speech, but I’m trying to tell a conservative audience who would largely be receptive to this. And if I delivered it to a more liberal or middle of the road audience, I could easily transfer it, too. But I want to start with people, like you said in the echo chamber, who may not be exposed to this and say, you are missing out on this whole model. And I draw it back to the greater environmental discussion because we often hear conservation being billed as like, don’t touch anything, all human impact is bad, we have no positive impact on the landscape, we’re doomed to ruin everything, there’s a crisis here, humans are contributing to this crisis all over the place. And to me, that’s not conservation what they’re describing, I would say the status quo and I like to call it preservationist environmentalism, which is what a lot of these anti-hunters are. They like to preserve the status quo, they like to gatekeep on conservation –

Ramsey Russell: But the universe is dynamic, you can’t just put something on a shelf, the world is not going to be stagnant. I mean, there’s 8 billion people on Earth and growing, so we’re going to induce change, we need places to farm, we need places to live. You can’t just stop the world from spinning and it just stayed just like it is or like it was. And there’s no going back to the 1800s, we’re here.

Gabriella Hoffman: We can’t rewild the whole United States with the conversation of grizzly bears, which definitely deviates from ducks. But I feel maybe in the case of Australia, I’ve read a little bit on the case study that is so traumatic or rather, that is so tragic, that’s a more appropriate term to use that something as simple and not controversial as waterfowl hunting is almost slipping from their fingertips.

Ramsey Russell: If it were based in science, by gosh, we’re counting, we’re estimating harvest, we’re doing a lot, but it’s not, it’s based entirely in emotion. Now, which brings me up some, it’s not just emotion, because I believe that political relevance is money, that’s all it boils down to. Politicians don’t care. Like the death tax, you save and you pay taxes and you do your whole life and if you’re not set up right when you die, boom, the government gets half of everything you’ve already paid tax on, it’s the most unfair thing on God’s Earth. But no politician will talk about it because it affects such a small part of humanity. Nobody wants to stake their career on fighting for 1%. And where was I going with that idea, because I get riled up. But money is political relevance. And we were talking about something not too long ago, endangered species.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Endangered species is a prime example of money being political. Talk about that.

Gabriella Hoffman: It is.

Ramsey Russell: We got this massive endangered species campaign, we’ve got all these groups, we got agencies involved and since the Endangered Species Act in the mid-70s, elaborate on that. You made a point the other day on one of your posts.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. It was actually just recently or soon to be 50 years since the law was enacted and the law was necessary. I don’t dispute the origins of the law, I think it has an intent, it should be working, but it’s not working. And most of the time, the law has largely done a job, a good job rather, of preventing extinction for the most part of available species today from going extinct. But there is a problem where very few listed species ever become delisted and that’s a problem. And you scratch your head and you think, why is that happening? Like, what is stopping from species from becoming delisted when it comes to these kind of more cuddly species like the grizzly bear and the gray wolf, that’s very contentious, I personally would never hunt wolves or grizzlies myself, but I understand the management. But with some apex predators like that, which have proven to become delisted, they’ve met the threshold of recovery, they’ve exceeded their carrying capacity as kind of individual populations. And I was going back to about historical ranges, people want to not delist the grizzly bear. The environmentalists who like to keep the ESA to their standards or to their liking to make money off of it and we’ll talk more about that, why it’s so profitable for them, they don’t ever want the bear to be delisted because they want it to go back to its historical range. When you said unrealistic expectations, you’ll never be able to delist –

Ramsey Russell: Good luck with that. There will never be grizzlies walking downtown, St. Louis.

Gabriella Hoffman: And surprisingly, we are seeing a plan to delist the grizzly bear again, we’ll see if it gets challenged. I saw another thing from the center for Biological Diversity challenging wolf hunting somewhere in Wyoming. So there are notable actors, but three stick out to me the most. Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club too, a fourth one. Those four are always litigated –

Ramsey Russell: Humane society.

Gabriella Hoffman: Humane society, too. But you’ll see those names, you’ll see those big conglomerates, they have lots of money, they have millions, sometimes billions of dollars, they have foundation money that is supporting them as well.

Ramsey Russell: We’ve got all this interest and all this money, why aren’t the species becoming delisted?

Gabriella Hoffman: Because it’s profitable for them to keep them listed in perpetuity.

Ramsey Russell: Follow the money.

Gabriella Hoffman: And they don’t really care about the well being of these animals you present –

Ramsey Russell: Hell, no, it’s all about the money.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. If you present them, let’s try to give them the benefit of the doubt and we say, we want to show you what happens when these species are not delisted, we show them proof that there’s more human bear conflicts or human wolf conflicts, whatever, human species conflicts in the greater context of it, the grizzly bears I’ve heard from my own reporting going to Wyoming and Montana, the grizzly bears that are unmanaged tend to creep into more populated areas and will attack people in the most extreme cases, they’ll even attack bears on the lower spectrum that are competitors with them, they’ll kill black bears, they’ll kill elk, they’ll kill servant species, livestock. And when there are too many in an area, it becomes competition among even individuals within the species, too, it’s a big problem, if you don’t have management, it doesn’t mean you’re managing and killing every single individual in the grizzly bear segment, let’s say in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, you’re not going to kill, the contention over that was with a hunt that they wanted to do, they put an injunction and then it’s gone through the courts again, it’s been stalled, they were only going to have maybe two females at most or 22 bears if you’re lucky to get them. Grizzly bears are extremely difficult to hunt, it would have been a limited, highly regulated, expensive hunt and the judge just put a stop on it because of these groups. He said, well, they’re reasoning on – they’re using politics to decide grizzly bear management, which was what he was ruling on. He was leaning on plaintiffs who were telling him political arguments to stop bear management, not science. And numerous biologists in that region of the United States have said no, these bears are fully healthy, they’re not endangered, this segment needs to be delisted, if it doesn’t, it’s going to lead to more chaos on the landscape. Same with wolves, same with other species, I don’t think they’re ever going to try to do it to waterfowl for now, you never know. I think they could, like you said, use cues from Australia, what’s to stop them from saying stop going duck hunting? I think there was even consideration –

Ramsey Russell: That’s what I’m going to ask you because that’s what I’m trying to loop together is these group, Defenders of Wildlife, their CEO and President was Director of U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service in the Bill Clinton administration and she actually, because I was there briefly, she actually defunded a lot of stuff that was important to me. Waterfowl, fall flight indexes, she put a lot more funding into endangered species, she left the federal government when Bush came in, she go to the most litigants, anti-hunting association and it’s all about the money, not about the critters.

Gabriella Hoffman: Exactly.

Impediments to Waterfowl Conservation Efforts

They are finding ways to marginalize hunters and fishermen out of a place to hunt, out of an affordability to hunt.

Ramsey Russell: So I also ask myself, when I see these anti-hunters or these friends groups, these anti-gun groups and stuff, they may project emotionalism or some of these kids that are emotional about these topics, but it’s all about money and there’s no denying that there’s federal agencies motivated by money too, whether it’s the Center for Disease Control or whatever else, it’s all about the money sometimes, not about the conservation and that’s what I’m getting at. How can you see, like, the endangered species, the money and the bias towards the money and the litigation and all, can you give any examples of any organizations as it affects hunting or wildlife or waterfowl conservation? Can you see some of that stuff, too?

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah. Well, a more recent example, I don’t think it really applies to waterfowlers, but maybe some waterfowlers are dynamic and they branch out into other types of hunting, but a recent thing propelled by the Center for Biological Diversity will limit lead tackle and bullets on national wildlife refuges for future openings. So if you like to hunt most typical species, you’re not obviously hunting waterfowl with lead shot anymore, but if you’re going –

Ramsey Russell: You can’t shoot any lead shot on Fish & Wildlife land, I know, it’s got to be steel shot for everything and Park Service and a lot of federal property now.

Gabriella Hoffman: But on the national wildlife refuges, where it was still allowable and I think it still is in places that are already open, but this administration, the Biden administration said for any new opening, you can’t use any lead tackle or bullets because they made a connection to bald eagles ingesting it, saying that it’s a pervasive threat, we can’t have it. And again, stemming from the Center for Biological Diversity and these other serial litigants who have conflated lead fragments with pure lead, I’ve tried to look into studies to make the distinction, because they conflate that they’re assuming and they come about this with emotionalism, as you said, because most of them don’t go hunting, most of them don’t go fishing. So they’re inventing scenarios, saying that the bald eagle will ultimately always eat lead bullets and tackle. And I’m like, I don’t think they always do and people are very mindful of leaving no trace and picking up.

Ramsey Russell: And again, they are able to talk better than me to that 80% that doesn’t hunt or fish and is disconnected from it all and don’t know the reality.

Gabriella Hoffman: Right. So most people who hunt and fish, for the most part, will not leave a trace of anything. I don’t like it when people leave leftover shells.

Ramsey Russell: I hate it.

Gabriella Hoffman: It’s awful, that’s horrible. It leaves a very negative impact. Yeah, littering is bad, always has been, always will be. And most people are very mindful and cognizant of not to leave a trace, that’s a popular refrain that we often hear, leave no trace, when you go to public lands and especially, like fathers teaching their kids how to hunt in these very sensitive public land areas, they tell their kids, like, I want you to leave this place better, we’re not going to litter, we’re not going to do this because this is a sacred ground, this is where we’re going to learn how to hunt or learn how to fish. And they just don’t understand – in terms of an economic cost, most people who fish and hunt, if they’re just starting, let’s say, people of different demographics, racially, socially, et cetera, we have a lot of new people who are coming into these activities, which is amazing, we should welcome that. But what’s going to stop them from hunting and fishing is learning that the activities become marginally more expensive. If you have to pay 4 or 5 times more for tackle, 4 or 5 times more for ammunition, why would you go – and then obviously you’re going to see those costs also increase in other areas too, it’s more expensive for guns, probably going to be more for rods with lack of materials, minerals that may be needed to construct different things, components, et cetera, as the materials become more expensive in general, even if they’re not relying on rare earth minerals, of course, it’s ultimately seen as a way to price out people from the activities and they have found a mechanism to do that.

Ramsey Russell: That is a strategy.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yes. Instead of outright banning it, I mean, they’re using a ban, but they want to indirectly hit the industry because they know it’ll be fewer Pittman Robertson dollars going into the pot and then they could hit two birds with one stone, no pun intended, price people out of the activities, force companies to close. These litigants forget that these are people’s livelihoods, too, who are supported by tackle companies, bullet, rod and reel firearms, it’s a whole network. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, billions of dollars pump back to the economy, so they want to hit it where it hurts economically, access wise. So I’ve argued on my podcast in a different writing, it’s an attack on public lands, if you make it more expensive for people to access these very public areas, that should be open to the public. And they claim that they’re for public lands and yet they’re finding ways to limit opportunities to recreate.

Ramsey Russell: Death by 1000 cuts. They are finding ways to marginalize hunters and fishermen out of a place to hunt, out of an affordability to hunt.

Gabriella Hoffman: Exactly.

Ramsey Russell: It’s diabolical.

Gabriella Hoffman: That’s why I’m not worried immediately. But I am worried if they’re successful in incrementally banning different forms of hunting or public lands access for hunting and fishing, I worry, like, what happened in Australia could potentially happen here, way down the road, I hope it never happens. But we have seen it, they’re trying to do it with black bear hunting, that’s the first case in areas where the black bears are not in an unhealthy situation, they’re plentiful in numbers and they’re just using emotional appeals that are not rooted in any department basis or findings from the wildlife biologists who’ve said, no, the bears are healthy, they’re not few in numbers. New Jersey also had this, too. New Jersey’s governor was very big on banning bear hunting, but he had to reconsider his position because people were getting attacked by black bears in close to the cities and it was just too many, it was highly pressured population, many individuals and if there wasn’t a management season, it would have created more imbalance in New Jersey between wildlife and humans. And so even someone as anti-hunting as him had to reconsider his position, but bears are kind of like Australia’s ducks are.

Ramsey Russell: Bears are just one of them species that, like mountain lions, that’ll tear you apiece and eat your children and your dogs, but they’re that kind of animal cracker something that appeals to people. And I believe that ducks in Australia, in other parts of the world where there’s not – duck hunters are always a minority in the larger hunting community and this beautiful little duck, this beautiful little harmless duck is out there swimming and chirping and barking, he’d eat you, if you were grass size of a grasshopper, he’d eat you. But nonetheless, it appeals to people and it’s just a beautiful little token that once we get it now, we can start leveraging everything else. I want to change real quick to a topic, because we were talking about definitive wildlife and these anti-hunting organizations and I was disappointed. The Wildlife Society, which is the Professional Society for Wildlife Managers, it incensed me as a wildlife biologist that they invited and had and gave a platform to all these anti-hunting groups. And we’ve already had podcasts before about a lot of the kids going into the wildlife management field are not hook and bullet origins, they’re more Animal Planet origins, they love nature and now, instead of talking to guys like me, they’re talking to guys like Mrs. Rappaport Clark and Defender of Wildlife and letting them influence their future decisions, who we just learned are working at a multitude of levels to shut down this hunting and fishing. You, on the other hand, are going and speaking to school children and groups and stuff like that, too and that’s what excites me so much, is to have someone as smart and informed and articulate and appealing as yourself champion this thing to that 80%.

Gabriella Hoffman: We have to do it. And I don’t want to be just the only person who does this, I want others to do this as well and use my example as a way to talk to people in their community and talk to people in their areas. I’ve gotten different requests, I’m going to be speaking, I can announce it Tulane University on March 15th, I’m going to be going to Texas A&M on March 21st.

Ramsey Russell: And who are you speaking to at those universities?

Gabriella Hoffman: Like conservative students, largely, but they may have some people who are not.

Ramsey Russell: And that may or may not hunt.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yeah, definitely a lot don’t hunt. And then I also have a University of Wisconsin River Falls in a very agriculture hunting community close to Twin Cities. And I’ve spoken to many, I think my first solo public speaking engagement as a freelancer was at West Virginia University, I’ve gone to Ohio State, I’ve spoken to Florida State University 2, 3 times already, I have gone to so many to name. One of my favorite speeches in recent memory was Michigan Technical University, it’s in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I had my biggest crowd today, I had like 110 people in attendance because they’re not used to having speakers come from other parts of the country and they’re trying to increase their speakers program and the gentleman who invited me, he has a similar background, he’s from Poland. And he reminded me a lot of my dad loves to trout fiSh and it was very cool, like talking to a relative and he was like, I want you to come speak and you’re kind of like a relative, it was just so beautiful how all that kind of materialized and I got lots of questions from the community at large who were in attendance. And I love going to those little places off the beaten path, I don’t always like to go and always feel like I have to go know bigger universities. I would love to one day speak at Harvard or someplace like that.

Ramsey Russell: You will. I expect to see you on Fox News, I’ll be honest with you or somebody like that. I really hope to see you and I hope I’ve already sent text while we’re talking to some of the SCI folks I want to introduce you to, you need to be up on some of these seminars and you need to be preaching this gospel.

Gabriella Hoffman: I appreciate that, thank you.

Ramsey Russell: And thank you for taking time out of I know what is a short and very busy schedule for you here and I feel like we just scratched the surface.

Gabriella Hoffman: We could do more.

Ramsey Russell: We could do a lot more. We’re running a tight schedule. Real quickly, you do have a podcast, District of Conservation.

Gabriella Hoffman: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: Your Instagram account is?

Gabriella Hoffman: Gabriella_Hoffman has a blue tick, very easy to find me.

Ramsey Russell: You are. And that’s a very hard thing to get, is that –

Gabriella Hoffman: I got it as a journalist. Now you can actually. Meta is unveiling the verified program so you could easily –

Ramsey Russell: I tried and I got denied.

Gabriella Hoffman: No, the new system. The new system, you’ll be able to.

Ramsey Russell: Good.

Gabriella Hoffman: You’ll have to pay, but it’s a blue tick.

Ramsey Russell: I’ll be glad to. Look after what we’ve dealt with, we did a giveaway and after being absolutely lambasted by Indonesian scammers, I need to be. It was frustrating.

Gabriella Hoffman: It goes a long way that helps secure your name and your brand, of course. So by all means, you’ll be able to join the blue tick club too, very soon.

Ramsey Russell: Folks, this hunting and fishing stuff we’re doing is under attack in really insidious little ways, kind of like the air we breathe, they’re everywhere. It’s not just a lawsuit, they are death by a 1000 cuts, just picking and picking on our access, on the way our neighbors can hunt on what we can afford to hunt, on what we can do, they’re trying to undermine the financial incentives that benefit cost model that we all are so proud of putting into the hunting and fishing space, they’re trying to take that away so they can leverage us out of hunting and fishing. And we got folks like Gabriella Hoffman out here that are just trying to set the record straight, that are really champing conservation at a level that, quite frankly, I’m obviously unaware of and able to speak to that 80% that we have got to get on board with us if we’re going to continue our way of life. Thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, go check out Gabriella Hoffman on Instagram, check out her podcast, District of Conservation, we’ll see you next time.


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Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks