When Jon Lewis asked me to write up a blog about my experience with the Just Hunt Club’s internship my only thought was that I’m not going to be able to justly describe it all in one short article, but I’m going to try my best! My hope is that this encourages people to apply for the position, shines light on the entirety of the Just Hunt Club operation, and shows people what can happen with goal oriented consistency. Disclaimer, I promise I feel as lucky as you’re going to think I am.
How It Happened
It is important to preface that none of this happened to me without Aaron Warbritton from The Hunting Public (THP). I interviewed for THP’s internship in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Between the second and third year Aaron and I had racked up a lot of phone calls and we started to develop a rapport and professional understanding of each other. He even helped me with my final project in an HR Management class during my last semester of grad school. As you can guess, I came close to getting the position that third year, but no cigar.
Since getting my bachelors in 2018 my only professional goal has remained the same. Whatever I ended up doing I wanted to have passion for it and genuinely care about it. It has always bothered me how many people spend so much of their time and energy doing something for work that they hate. I made the decision to never stop trying to reach that goal and to control what I can without worrying about what I can’t. I didn’t end up needing to, but I was more than willing to play the patient game to see this goal through.
The important thing to note from that third year of THP’s internship, is how close I was to not applying just because of the outcomes of the first two years. That decision I made in 2018 is what pushed me to start learning and practicing outdoor videography on my own (even if it was a slow start), and it's what convinced me to apply that third year. Which turned out to be the best thing I could have done.
In August of 2021 I was fresh off of receiving my Masters of Science in Recreation with a Management concentration. I was still at my grad school job, working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at the Reynolds Game Farm when I randomly got a text from Jon Lewis. In a nutshell he said that he had a last minute opening for the Just Hunt Club internship and got my information as a reference from Aaron Warbritton who said that I interviewed very well with him. I called Jon that day and the next week I was at Eric Hansen’s camp meeting all the Just Hunt Club characters for their summer get together. I remember asking Jon what he thinks towards the end of the evening, trying to make it official. He said something along the lines of, “If you're sure you want to” and we shook hands.
Without applying consistency to the 2018 goal I set for myself, I wouldn’t have applied to THP’s internship that third year and I wouldn’t have reached my goal, regardless of how much luck played a factor.
What It Was Like
I would like to say that the internship was exactly what one would expect it to be, but it was so much more than that.
There is just as much learning involved as any college program I’ve ever been a part of. The difference is, it’s the exact information and skills that I wanted to learn in a comfortable and relatable environment. Learning is a different experience when you genuinely care about every aspect of the process.
In the beginning there is a lot of learning the ins and outs of camera gear, practicing what you learn, asking questions, and getting to know Jon, Nikki, Cody, and the dogs. Then September goose starts.
Once the season begins, time really starts going by fast. As every hunter knows, successful hunting is dependent on a lot of factors. Between those factors, waterfowl, whitetail, and communicating with our hunting network the schedule during the fall is sporadic. Sometimes changing multiple times a day and includes plenty of long drives. Luckily for me, that's how I’ve always liked my schedules and my drives. That “grind”, as we call it, is what keeps me on my toes and at my best. Being completely submerged into the Just Hunt Club’s in season process is what solidified a lot of skills and knowledge for me. I remember telling Jon over the phone before season that I learn and perform at my best when I am thrown into the fire. This fall re-confirmed that for me.
You will struggle in this position if you aren’t okay with the ever changing schedule, and “the grind”. Which I believe is the most mis-understood part about this position and industry that I feel wouldn’t complete this article without being talked about.
“The grind” is what everyone looking into the industry with a removed perspective does not see. It's everything outside of the 20 minute episodes. It’s leaving the house, sleep deprived, not long after midnight and driving three or more hours to the spot week in and week out. It’s driving 24 hours straight one way. It’s walking two miles up a mountain, picking the perfect tree, and setting up in the dark. It’s walking as many miles as necessary everyday. It's adding the camera to every part of the already challenging process. Most importantly, it's staying optimistic through it all no matter what. Everyone wants to say that they would do anything to have a job like this internship. The truth is most people wouldn’t do anything, and even more people can’t handle “the grind” because of their lack of understanding of it and the cloth of life that they’re cut from.
The trade off for smashing through “the grind” is you learn everything you want and more, you forge friendships stronger than you ever thought possible, you gain real life experiences that don’t do the videos you’ve seen your entire life justice, you get the generosity and hospitality of Jon, Nikki, and their home, you create a network that you can reach out to for anything, and you have more fun than what feels legal to have at a job.
I am aware that the way this internship came about for me is going to be different than 99% of any other internship process. That doesn’t mean the process didn’t show me the importance of goal oriented consistency. A wise man I know used to say to me, “put yourself in the sphere in which you wish to obtain, and make an honest response”. Yeah I got lucky, but I set a professional goal for myself in 2018 and for three years, consistently did everything I could to put myself in that sphere in a direct effort to achieve my goal, grad school and work included. There's something to be said for that.
Going along with goal oriented consistency, this internship showed me first hand, something my Dad has told me for years. Putting good out into the world gets good back, one way or another. I largely credit Jon’s New Hampshire buck to this. We got lucky that day in the mountains, but I’m convinced that it is partially the byproduct of Jon putting good into the world, through him being himself and working hard for years. I feel strongly that the same can be said about my circumstance. Consistent optimism throughout life pays off in a lot of different ways.
Those takeaways are also applied directly to the work I did. You get out of work what you put into it. I tried my hardest at everything I did, but I put in more hours filming than editing because the filming process naturally takes longer. However, because of that I could feel my videography skills improving faster than my editing skills, which still improved tremendously. That is okay as long as I acknowledge it and keep working on it.
Another important takeaway is that questions are your best friend. That's where you expand what is learned beyond what you originally thought you would. That's where conversations deepin and relationships grow.
Lastly, this internship helped shape my view of the world. It is important to get good grades and do what you think is right to set your future self up for success. Spending time with everyone involved in Just Hunt Club showed me that your future doesn’t have to conform to traditional society. For the most part you get to choose your life’s priorities. Choosing in a way that will make your future self proud is invaluable. At the end of the day it comes down to committing to a priority, decision, or goal and doing whatever's necessary to see that through.
Just Hunt Club is full of genuinely good hearted people who share a common goal. We are going to continue to put good into the world and be rewarded accordingly. I’m thankful to have a part in the process and anxious to see what the future holds.
*We are currently looking for two interns for the upcoming season. If you want to apply you can download the application from the contact tab on the site!