How To Remain A Happily Married Hunter


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Apr 25, 2016
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How to Remain a Happily Married Hunter

Even though hunters are the marrying type, they often spar with their spouses each autumn about their time away from home.

And yes, hunters are “the marrying type.” When the research firm Responsive Management Recentlyrecently studied Southeastern hunters—roughly the 15 states from Texas to Virginia—it found 73 percent were married. In contrast, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data show 50 percent of Southeastern adults were married. And although divorce and separation rates were roughly the same, researchers found hunters were less likely than non-hunters to be widowed (1 percent vs. 6 percent).

But if hunters are so big on marriage, why do their foyers often display “Gone Hunting” or “We Interrupt This Marriage to Bring You the Hunting Season” knickknacks? And why do they forever seek marital advice from each other, especially from well-traveled hunters?

Two such “marriage counselors” are TV and podcast hosts Steven Rinella, 42, of “MeatEater” TV and podcasts; and Randy Newberg, 51, of “Fresh Tracks,” “On Your Own Adventures, and “Hunt Talk Radio: Randy Newberg Unfiltered.”

Rinella—who also has written four award-winning books and scores of magazine articles—and his wife, Katie, married eight years ago. They have three children, ages 1, 3 and 5. He spends about 100 days away from home each year to produce 18 episodes. He also travels roughly nine more weeks for speaking engagements and other business commitments.

Newberg and his wife, Kim, married 27 years ago. He, too, hunts away from home 90 to 100 days each year for his shows. He also serves on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s board of directors, and regularly travels to state capitals and Washington, D.C., to testify on legislation affecting public access. Those commitments add about another month of annual travel.

When speaking with fans, Rinella and Newberg often are asked about marriage. “They raise their hand and ask how I get my wife to let me hunt so much,” says Newberg. “They must think I have something figured out, but I tell them the noose doesn’t loosen with time. I also know I married so far up life’s ladder that I couldn’t see the rungs from where I started. If I hadn’t met my wife, I’d be sitting in a bar where I grew up in Big Falls, Minn., and there’d be a stool with my name on it.”

Rinella is equally devoted and grateful. “I love hunting and fishing, and I love being married,” he says. “When I wake up, I tell myself that my main job today is to not get myself divorced. I’m dead serious. That’s my goal. I truly love, admire and respect my wife. I value her judgment. She’s our family’s leader. Her impulses are right. She’s less selfish than I am. So when I joke about being afraid of her, it’s more that I fear upsetting the strong, content home we’ve created for our kids.”

How, specifically, do Rinella and Newberg maintain happy marriages while being gone half the year? They offer these fun, smart, heartfelt tips:

“You must value peace more than justice,” says Newberg. “Don’t insist on proving you’re right. Winning an argument at all costs is financially and emotionally expensive, and you won’t get to hunt as much. Let them be right. They’re right half the time anyway.”

“It’s no good to seethe and think, ‘I’ll show her! Wait till she asks for something!'” says Rinella. “That’s when it escalates, and it’s like, ‘What are you going to do now, dude?’ No. It’s not worth it.”

“Set a strong precedent while dating,” Rinella says. “Lead the life you want to live 10 years into marriage. If you normally go hunting or fishing over Thanksgiving while you’re single, don’t quit going while you’re dating.”

Adds Newberg: “Make sure she knows who you are during the test drive. Do not surprise her after she’s bought the car.”

“Pick your battles, and respect her turf,” says Rinella. “On issues involving our kids, our finances, how we structure our house, and how we allocate our time for family, holidays and social life, that’s mainly her area. I have input, but I don’t fight about it.”

Newberg doubles down here: “The best deal I ever made was when we built our house in 2004. I told my wife she could take 15 percent of the house’s cost and add it to furnishings. Whatever the amount is, fine. In return, I don’t want to hear another thing about my hunting or fishing. Ever. She jumped on that like a rat on a Cheeto.”

“If you want to hunt a lot, don’t be handy around the house,” says Newberg. “If you own a chainsaw, a woodstove, a lawnmower and a weed-whacker, cross one week off your hunting schedule for each one of those devices. If you want to hunt a lot, sell your tools. How many guys do you know who built their own home who also hunt a lot? None. But before I leave on my first trip each fall, I make sure the snowblower is ready, with a full can of gas next to it, and the smoke alarms all have fresh batteries.”

“Be open with your schedule,” says Rinella. “Get a dry-erase wall calendar and put everything on it. If you might be gone eight or nine days, put down nine. It’s better to be apocalyptic. If it turns out you aren’t gone as long, that’s okay. But if you’re not coming home until Aug. 15 and you've told your wife it's Aug. 14, she'll hate you.”

“I used to tell my wife about the two tags I had for October,” says Newberg, “but I wouldn’t tell her about my back-to-back Iowa and Kansas deer hunts over Thanksgiving. That wasn’t a good idea. Now I put everything on that calendar.”

“Leave on a Monday, come back on a Friday,” says Rinella. “Do not leave on a Saturday morning and return on a Sunday night. That’s trouble. It looks like you’re ducking out. Leaving on a Monday after a weekend with lots of family time, that’s slick. And never come home late. I don’t care if you’ve been unsuccessful and tomorrow is clearly the best time to hunt.”

“Call home every day,” says Newberg. “That’s important to my wife, even though we usually talk only three or four minutes. A lot of times I hike or drive somewhere after dark to get reception. That means a lot to her.”

“We don’t do that,” says Rinella, “but I like making the call that says I’ll be home early.”

“Don’t expect a homecoming parade when you return,” says Rinella. “If you sneaked out before the kids got up Monday morning, don’t expect a Daddy’s-home, cancel-your-plans, special-dinner reception. No matter how late I get home, I don’t talk about my rough trip and my need to sleep in to recover. My nose is to the grindstone. I’m up with the kids, doing breakfast, and letting her sleep in.”

“I have a charge account with the florist,” adds Newberg. “I call him as I’m leaving town and tell him to make sure my flowers are there at 1 o’clock Monday afternoon.”

“If you want taxidermy around your house, stand firm right away or forget it,” says Newberg. “I folded that tent early in our marriage and she never forgot. She said it might be art in my family, but in hers it’s just dead animals. My mounts stay in the ‘Randy Room.’”

So, what’s the best way to remain a happily married hunter? Maybe it’s considering whether your hunting trips are exposing weaknesses and sore points in your home life.
interesting,seems like good info.with me and my wife shes my hunting partner,best friend,does outshoot me 9 out of ten times and some of the trophies are hers so every thing is in our home,african room,north american space,etc.been together since 1990.i think its working.
interesting,seems like good info.with me and my wife shes my hunting partner,best friend,does outshoot me 9 out of ten times and some of the trophies are hers so every thing is in our home,african room,north american space,etc.been together since 1990.i think its working.

You guys are a pair for sure Edward
My wife's title is Minister of Finance. no hunting trip is booked without going through her, and I mean all details including airfare, etc and how long I will be gone. Surprises are not in her wheelhouse. BUT when she okays it, its all on. Married 35 years last week, most of them pretty good, just not saying which.
My wife's title is Minister of Finance. no hunting trip is booked without going through her, and I mean all details including airfare, etc and how long I will be gone. Surprises are not in her wheelhouse. BUT when she okays it, its all on. Married 35 years last week, most of them pretty good, just not saying which.
hope you got a comfortable couch,or she doesnt read this site.
For our 50th wedding anniversary my wife suggested "the guys go on a Hog Hunt while the girls do San Antonio." I thought that was a very good idea and agreed with her immediately. Two years later my oldest son and I went to a SCI exhibition in Kansas City. That evening over supper my son and I talked to our wives about the possibility of a safari in South Africa. When my wife said, "why don't you go on a safari?" Who am I to argue with that logic.? We leave in less than 60 days. I guess I must be one of the lucky ones, married guys that is!! She knows that I don't drink or chase women but that a guy needs to have some vices. lol
When I initially read the headline of this thread, I thought it was going to be a humorous mock up of Marriage/Hunting. After reading the post and the comments, I’d like to say as a woman that it brightens my heart to see the words you have written about love, communicating with your partners, supporting each other passions, experiencing and sharing some memorable moments together. Lasting Marriage/relationships are rare in today’s society.
Spoil her regularly and show her that you care..
Some good tips here :)
My wife is my hunting partner, so every hunting trip I go on, she comes too. I'm a pretty lucky guy to have a wife that doesn't just allow me to travel around the world to hunt exotic creatures, but comes along and hunts too!
one of my good hunting buddy,s told his wife to get a boy friend as he was going on hunting trips, he now lives in a trailer in a trailer park and his ex wife lives with her boy friend in his ex house. he now thinks that telling her that was a very bad idea.

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Well, I call my wife the Cruise Director, married 38 years, don't travel anywhere without her. She doesn't hunt but booked my first African Safari plus a week touring Kruger. We have been 3 times since and had the fourth delayed until 2022. We also suffered through Covid together. She totally understands that when fall hits I won't be around much.
Take your wife to Africa. If she is a hunter or not she will love it and start to understand the addiction. My wife never fired a shot, made almost every stalk we made, and can't wait to go back. Planning a 25th Anniversary trip for 2022 back to Africa.
My wife of 38 years is my best friend and my hunting partner. I’ve been on 9 safaris and she was with me on all but the first one. At first she didn’t shoot. Now she takes more game than I do!
My wife is my best friend, and we do a lot of things together, but we also give our space when needed. She has been wonderful since the day we met. Neither one of us put up a fake persona when we dated, it was like, this is who I am like or not. She is also my biggest fan, and doesn't mind me hanging dead animal heads all over the house. She went with me on my first safari, and she is going on the second one. She told me that we had too much empty wall space and I needed to hunt more African animals to fill in those gaps. She is the one who said, we need to go back to Africa soon. She also told me she wants to see a Billy Goat hanging on the wall one day. I hope I can do that one. One caveat, no birds in the living area, all the birds are in my reloading room (she calls it junk room LOL).

I believe she is a keeper. :love: :love:
The links below are two podcasts that Randy Newberg did on marriage. The first one is Randy and some of his friends talking about marriage and hunting.

The second podcast is his friends’ wives talking about marriage and hunting.

These two podcasts were required to be listened too by both my sons and their wives.

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beautiful reel. do you have some room in the price? James
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