In the 21st century, much of that attention — particularly in sportfishing — has shifted from television to social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, where a world of great hunting and fishing content sits right at your fingertips, untethered by cords. The Parkers and Houstons of the world are now the Googan Squads and Millikens, and many of the YouTube stars are based right here in the Midwest.
I wrote a story not too long ago about a channel called 618 Fishing, which featured several entertaining “micro-fishing” videos, as well as some more traditional ones. His channel has grown from about 69,000 subscribers last May to more than 170,000. Growth in this industry takes off fast.
Another YouTuber who has quickly taken off, this time a channel focused mainly on hunting, is a Kansan named Josh Peck.
Peck, an Overland Park native who is in his final year at Emporia State, is taking the business model of many successful fishing YouTubers such as the Googans and making it work for hunting, using high-quality hunting videos that are well edited and mixing them in with more frequent vlog (video log)-style videos to keep viewers apprised of his day-to-day approach to hunting and to answer viewer questions.
Peck’s YouTube channel, Outdoor Limits, has risen quickly to more than 38,000 subscribers.
“I started in the spring of 2014 and I did it off and on,” Peck told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “I didn’t really start posting frequently until the fall of 2015.”
His top video, titled “Mallard Beat Down! | Public Land Kansas Duck Hunt 2016,” sat at 151,000 views as of Wednesday, with his more recent videos averaging between 4,000 and 10,000 views in a relatively short span of time, thanks in large part to the quick rise in popularity the channel has seen. Many of his videos are in the 20,000- to 40,000-view range.
“I was very surprised,” Peck said. “Things didn’t take off until the 2016 hunting season. I think I gained a following so fast because I improved my video quality and I had some amazing hunts.”
One of his latest videos, during which he scouts a sunflower field for doves ahead of the 2018 Kansas dove season — which kicked off Saturday — had more than 4,100 views after being up for just a day. That’s pretty impressive for a sport like dove hunting, which is easily overlooked in favor of mainstream pursuits such as big game, waterfowl and turkey.
“There are a few in the area,” Peck said. “I think there is enough to make for a good hunt.”
Peck, who does most of his hunting on public lands, says that prospective dove hunters will be able to find some great locations this year simply by checking with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
“Kansas has plenty of good places,” Peck said. “Many of the public wildlife areas have dove fields. A good place to find them is on the KDWPT website.”
Though he does videos on everything from dove hunting to turkeys to the occasional fishing video, Peck’s main focus is on waterfowling.
One of his more popular uploads, “Early Teal Season Tips,” displays the type of waterfowl knowledge he has accrued during this time in the outdoors. During the video, he recommended mixing mallard hen decoys in with your teal decoy setup to serve as sort of a “magnum teal,” since their early season plumage colors are very similar. He said the addition of the larger mallard hen decoys is similar to using magnum duck decoys in the late season to get birds to commit.
Another tip, which he picked up from talking with a game warden, was using a MOJO Voodoo spinning-wing dove decoy instead of the more expensive duck or teal versions to attract teal with movement. The MOJO dove retails for about $30-45, while the MOJO teal spinners run about $80 and the MOJO ducks range from $90 to $170 for the MOJO Elite Series King Mallard.
Peck said there are several things to keep in mind when hunting this teal season, which in Kansas begins Sept. 8 in the Low Plains Zone east of US-283 highway and Sept. 15 in the High Plains Zone to the west.
“Location is key,” Peck said. “You need to find an area that holds birds. Teal are just like any other duck. If you’re in the right spot and you’re hidden well, you will be successful.
“I’ve also found that more than half of the birds you shoot will most likely just buzz the decoys and not commit like a mallard would. Spinners (decoys) are great for pulling teal into shooting distance and having floaters will give the birds confidence to commit.”
Peck said there are some variables that are out of the hunter’s control, however.
“Whether they commit or not depends on if they have been shot at before and if they see something they don’t like,” Peck said.
Speaking of hunting tips, here’s a good one!
Harvey County, located near Hutchinson, will offer a new public hunting area thanks to the KDWPT’s iWIHA program, a spinoff of the Walk-In Hunting Access program the state offers, according to a news release the agency released earlier this week.
Harvey County East Park/Lake near Newton will be the latest addition to the iWIHA program, which manages hunter access through an online registration system called iSportsman. The move was brokered by KDWPT district wildlife biologist Charles Cope and Harvey County Parks director Kass Miller after volunteers with the local Delta Waterfowl chapter approached Cope and fellow biologist Craig Curtis about increasing local hunting opportunities. Cope worked with Miller on a proposal to open the area to limited deer and waterfowl hunting through the use of the iSportsman system, which would mark the first such use of the system on a public park where hunting had previously been forbidden.
The Harvey County Commission on Aug. 13 voted 2-1 to approve an amended version of the proposal and open two tracts on the north end of the park for hunting this fall. One tract, measuring 47 acres, will be for archery-only deer hunting, which opens Sept. 17 and runs through Dec. 31, though the area won’t be open for hunting until Oct. 12. An extended antlerless-only season runs from Jan. 1-Jan. 13, 2019, as well.
The second tract, measuring 13.5 acres, will open for waterfowl hunting Oct. 27 through Feb. 17, 2019. Up to five temporary four-person blinds will be constructed and maintained for public use by the Delta Waterfowl chapter.
For information on iSportsman, including how to create an account, visit http://www.kdwpt.isportsman.net.
Those wishing to follow Emporia State student Josh Peck’s hunting and fishing adventures may do so in a variety of ways through social media: