The Sportsman Channel Showcase is an exclusive behind the scenes look for readers of AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, where we get to know the personalities behind some of the most watched Sportsman Channel programming. This week we talk to Randy Newberg, of On Your Own Adventure.
By Ryan Nolan
New Berlin, Wis. --(Ammoland.com)- How did you get started in the hunting and the TV industry?
I started hunting with my Dad, Grandfather, and Uncles when I was too young to carry my own gun. It continued from there, and at age twelve, took Hunter’s Safety classes I have hunted every year since then. I grew up in Northern Minnesota, a place where hunting is the fabric from which the culture is woven. Hunting is something you did for food, social value, and the tradition it represented to our families.
From there, hunting became part of my life. It is part of my identity.
I got into the TV industry by accident. My son and I had started filming each other for fun. I built a business plan of how a TV show could build the brand of self-guided hunting, thus On Your Own Adventures. I put that plan on the shelf and gave up on the idea until Marc Pierce of Warm Springs Productions convinced me it would be a good TV concept. Still skeptical, his company filmed two of my hunts before I was comfortable that it could be a viable TV idea. We filmed the rest of my hunts that season, and as they say, “The rest is history.”
What is the biggest mishap that has happened while filming an episode?
Besides sitting on a cactus in Colorado? Probably getting my truck stuck to the axles on the last day of a hunt in Nevada. It ruined the last day and my guest hunter was a great sport about it.
Or, shooting an elk with archery gear and not making a clean kill. Spent the entire night worrying. After exhausting attempts to trail him, we ran out of blood. I was dejected and had given up. The camera guy walked 100 yards downhill to relieve the call of nature, where he stumbled upon the bull; dead, and almost in sight of where we had lost the trail.
Can you tell us about the funniest moment of your hunting career?
Would be a tossup between two things. Sitting on the cactus in Colorado, dropping my pants in front of the cameras to remove the many spines from my sore butt. Cameras be damned, that hurt and I couldn’t keep the scene rolling, so I did what came naturally – remove those spines.
The other would be a recent Alaska trip where guest hunter jumped from the bow of a boat into the water, think it was only two feet deep. We were pursuing a bear and he didn’t want the boat to make noise while beaching on the rocks, so he jumped in to grab the boat as it go close to shore. Well, it wasn’t two feet deep, but rather seven feet deep. He went out of site and the boat drifted over the top of him. The water was 35F and I was afraid he would drown or at least get sever hypothermia. After much struggle, he made it to shore, wet and cold. Upon catching his breath, he started laughing hysterically while he emptied his waders.Resisting my demands that we take him to camp to warm up and dry off, he was adamant that we chase the bear, which I was sure had left with the noise and calamity of the last twenty minutes. To satisfy his request, I followed him around the point of rocks, only to be shocked by the bear still feeding 120 yards away. He shot the bear and I laughed to the point of exhaustion, thinking how hard we had hunted with no success, and now with the circus of the last half hour, we shoot a bear and get some of the greatest footage that will air on TV this year. It was extremely funny. We both laughed until we could hardly breath.
What is your most memorable hunt?
For sure would be the first deer hunt with my son. I was not even carrying a rifle. He shot a whitetail doe and a really nice mule deer buck on that hunt. When the deer fell, I was jumping, yelling, hooting, and making a fool of myself. My son turned and said, “Dad, it’s only a deer.” Little did he know that it was much more than a deer. It was the fulfillment of a dream I wished for every day of the twelve years since he was born – a dream of passing generations of hunting tradition within our family. Our family is first and foremost, hunters. And with him taking that deer, he was now part of that long line of hunters.
How do you like to spend your time when you are not hunting?
Since I am on the road so much, I like spending time away from hunting by doing whatever it is that my wife wants to do. And with her being an addicted walleye angler, much of that time focuses around walleye fishing. I am blessed to have a wife that supports a project to the degree my wife supports On Your Own Adventures. Without her support, there would be no OYOA. Most my other spare time is spent in conservation causes. I am a member of every hunting/conservation group you can think of. I dedicate my spare time and energy to those causes, specifically habitat causes and increased access for the average hunter.
What were the worst conditions you ever hunted under? How did it affect the outcome of the trip?
North Dakota, December archery mule deer hunt. A week of -0F temps and winds 30mph. Spot and stalk hunting is hard, but add those elements and it becomes almost impossible. It made the trip physically uncomfortable. But, it caused the deer to feed longer in the morning and start feeding earlier in the afternoon. The strong winds allowed me to sneak within 30 yards of a feeding buck and put and arrow in him. Mostly I think he committed suicide, not wanting to spend another winter on these frozen public grounds of western North Dakota.
What are you most proud of, or what is your biggest accomplishment?
In my personal life – Being happily married for the last 22 years and raising a son who any father would be most proud of. In my hunting life – The conservation work I have seen accomplished by the many hunting organizations I am a member of and the volunteer work I have done for such cause.
If you could hunt any place in the world and any species where and what would it be?
Pronghorn on the plains of St. Augustin New Mexico or the Red Desert of Wyoming. No animal expresses the uniqueness of the west as does the pronghorn. They are unique to North America and have no close relatives in the animal kingdom. Their blazing speed is an inherited relic from the days of eluding the now-extinct predators, mostly fast cats, that once inhabited the western plains. Their vision is amazing and makes archery hunting them a special challenge. They make the best table fare of all animals I hunt. They are relatively abundant and tags are easy to draw in many states. The Plains of St. Augustin is still intact, with hardly much impact from man. It is a wildlife mecca, benefiting from the lush vegetation that grows during the late-summer monsoon season and the large auquifer under the soil. The Red Desert is the unfortunate recipient of man’s demand for energy. It is undergoing rapid change to the detriment of pronghorn. I, like all humans, am a contributor to the habitat impacts energy extraction places on this fragile landscape. What was once a wild, windy, and vast home to the largest pronghorn herds in the world has been transformed into an industrial work zone. Each year, I notice the changes to the landscape, and it reminds me of the writings of Aldo Leopold when he talked about the burden of an ecological conscience and how those who hunt quickly realize that the existence of man places a “world of wounds” upon the landscape. I wish it was different and was something I could do about it. But, our need for energy sacrafices the easiest and most profitable lodes first. In this case, the Red Desert.
As a hunter, I am not advocating we stop energy development, but lobby for the cause of energy extraction in a manner that is cooperative with wildlife and their habitat, not destructive to such. The Red Desert re-charges my passion for conservation and advocacy on behalf of the animals we hunt.
What is something most people do not know about you? (Something people are surprised to find out about you.)
Could be many things. That in my real life I am a CPA. That I have a strange liver condition that messes up many of my days. Most people don’t see that on the TV show, as I don’t film when I am dealing with those issues. Or it might be that I listen to old-style country music and my CD player is loaded with Lyle Lovett, Patty Loveless, and Dwight Yoakam. It might also be my addiction to Dairy Queen. Never passed up a DQ yet, and at age 46, I don’t intend to start such a foolish habit this late in life.
What one tip can you give your fans for a successful hunt?
Have fun. Hunting is supposed to be fun. Everything else is secondary to having fun. From a tactical standpoint it would be this – Make a plan and execute the plan. Hunting is like a lot of things in life. You can depend on occasional luck, or you can do your research and make a plan. A plan, given adequate time and ample effort, will almost always result in success. A one-liner would be this “One day of scouting is worth two extra days of hunting.”
What is your favorite meal including wild game? Any good recipes?
My wife’s antelope lasagna, without any question. I will eat it 365 days a year, if she would cook it that often. She cooks big batches and freezes it in vacuum sealed bags. We then take those frozen bags with us on filming episodes and it is the biggest treat for me and the camera guys. I can get the recipe from her, if requested.
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