Do you think about hunting all day every day? Is your hunting rifle an extension of your right arm? Do you eat, sleep, and breathe the sport of hunting? If so, you might be wondering something along the lines of…can hunting be a job? How much do hunting jobs pay? What types of hunting jobs are available?
So, can hunting be a job? Yes. Hunting can be a job, although it is hard work and certainly not for everyone. Careers directly related to hunting include outfitting and guiding. At the same time, there are many peripheral jobs such as videography, gear and equipment sales, and even consulting to assist hunters with booking guided hunts.
People often ask, “can hunting be a career” and the short answer is yes. There are also many options to make money in the hunting industry rather than just hunting itself. In today’s digital world, the possibilities have expanded even more for how exactly you make hunting into a job. Following are several ways to make a career in the hunting industry.
Outfitting is probably the most direct way to make a living hunting. An outfitter essentially sells hunts to people that want to go on a guided hunt. Rules vary by state on how outfitting works.
The reason people hire an outfitter varies. Some states require an outfitter to hunt some species, while other times, people may want to hire someone who is an expert at hunting a particular species to take them out.
Outfitting is not for the faint of heart and can require a significant upfront investment. An outfitter needs an area to outfit and obtain the proper permits or agreements with landowners. They need to have modes of transportation to get hunters to where they hunt, whether it’s airplanes, horses, ATVs, or other means. Then they will need to be able to manage all the details of giving their clients a good experience.
Licensed hunting guides work for licensed outfitters. This is a job in which you actually take a hunter into the field and hopefully guide them on a successful hunt. Depending on the species you are hunting and where you are, this can be difficult, backbreaking work. However, some people love it and will guide almost year-round for different outfitters worldwide, depending on the season and their area of expertise.
Becoming a guide does not happen overnight. Often, guides start as packers, camp cooks, wranglers, or other personnel and gradually work their way up. They get experience, learn the rules, learn how to hunt game, and typically pass a test to get a license. The pay is usually okay, but depending on the hunt, the tips can be better.
A packer helps pack wild game out of the field after it has been hunted. They usually go along with the guide and help set up camp, pack client gear, and do any other chores.
Then, the heavy lifting comes in!
Once a hunter is successful, they will pack out cumbersome loads on their back. They won’t have far to go with any luck, but this depends on the type of game being hunted. Often, they’ll have a long ways to go.
As we said before, many guides start as packers. This allows them the opportunity to learn to hunt the particular game for the hunt they are on and learn the ropes from someone more experienced. They learn how to deal with clients, how to field dress, and how to deal with sometimes miserable conditions.
Gear and Equipment Sales
The hunting gear and equipment industry is enormous. Many prominent hunting brands require people to work for their companies. As with any business, they need people to run the administrative side of things, including finance, marketing, sales, legal, public relations, retail, and so much more.
Whether they do it for themselves, outfit, or guide, many successful hunters have built a brand for themselves and become influencers. They have active social media accounts, sponsorships, websites, and more. While this seems glamorous and appealing, it takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to make money doing this.
The most important qualification to even get started is to be a legitimate, knowledgeable hunter who knows what they are doing. A good personality and some business savvy are also beneficial, and success is not guaranteed.
In the digital age we are in, people want to watch videos. Videographers are knowledgeable in using high-quality cameras and equipment, shooting and producing captivating videos. To be a hunting videographer, you must also be in good physical shape to pack the heavy gear to some of the highest mountain tops in the name of getting incredible footage. Many miserable miles are hiked, and time is spent in abysmal weather conditions to get the ultimate shots you often see on your Instagram feed or YouTube.
Most hunting brands have an online influence. This means they need constant web content, including emails, websites, social media posts, and more. Someone knowledgeable in the industry, knows hunting terminology, and has spent time out in the field will be most successful at writing for the most legitimate brands.
Hunting consultants work with clients and outfitters to connect the two. It’s like a matchmaker for hunting, with the idea to facilitate the best experience for the hunter while helping the outfitter obtain clients. These people often connect with hunters at hunting expos, online, and through relationship building over time. They also build relationships with outfitters and typically receive a commission for successful bookings.