Meateater podcast draws impressive crowd of hunters to Twin Cities area

More than 1,100 people turned out to watch the Meateater podcast Thursday evening, July 26, at the Ames Center in Burnsville. (Photos by Rob Drieslein)

A sold-out crowd attended a live version of outdoors television host and author Steve Rinella’s Meateater podcast at the Ames Center in Burnsville on Thursday evening.

Rinella hosts MeatEater, a weekly half-hour series that airs on Netflix, and the podcast version is the iTunes No. 1-ranked podcast in the “outdoor” category. He’s also authored a number of outdoors books, including 2008’s “American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.”

The Ames Center holds 1,100 people, and rabid hunters and huntresses occupied every seat to hear a nearly two-hour meandering panel discussion on mostly hunting – with a splash of fishing – topics. An usher told me she’d chatted with a pair of attendees who’d driven up from Missouri to attend the event.

The five panelists included Meateater podcast producer Janis Putelis, Wisconsin-based outdoors writer and Outdoor News contributor Patrick Durkin, Mark Boardman from Vortex Optics, Idaho-based Ryan Callaghan (a frequent Meateater guest), and Rinella.

Panelists at the Meateater live podcast Thursday evening in Burnsville included (l-r) Meateater podcast producer Janis Putelis, Wisconsin-based outdoors writer and Outdoor News contributor Patrick Durkin, Mark Boardman from Vortex Optics, Idaho-based Ryan Callaghan, and host Steven Rinella.

Meateater livestreamed the event on Facebook, and it has 30,000 views as of this morning. Standard admission last night was $30, plus the event sold $100 VIP-experience tickets with a preferred seat and “an exclusive Q&A session with Rinella with time afterward for a casual hangout.” Congrats to Mr. Rinella, who clearly has developed a sweet spot in the field of outdoors communications.

Topics of discussion weren’t overly complex or controversial, but rather focused on some of the practical nuances of hunting. Rinella’s field experience comes across as very genuine here, and I suspect that’s what resonates with his audience and has made him so successful.

The panel spent 15 or 20 minutes discussing chronic wasting disease, but just as long debating whether shooting in tandem with a partner in a 1-2-3 field situation means shooting “on three” or an understood four. Other topics ranged from naming children (Does naming a kid “Hunter” ensure he’ll hunt?), to proper techniques for freezing or otherwise storing game and fish, to hunting urban rabbits and squirrels.

The live audience, many sporting “Public Land Owner” T-shirts, stayed completely engaged for two solid hours and rewarded the humorous banter with frequent applause.

In my opinion, Pat Durkin is one of the nation’s finest outdoors writers, and he exhibited his skills last night, particularly on topics like CWD, fish consumptions advisories, and raising kids into future outdoors users. The crowd impressed Durkin and he encouraged attendees to become a positive face of hunting in recruiting new participants.

Producer Janis Putelis told me via email this morning that Thursday’s event was Meateater’s fifth live podcast event. The first was in Bozeman, Mont., last year, and in 2018 the show has a “tour” of four, stopping in Denver; Columbus, Ohio; Tempe, Ariz.; and now the Twin Cities.

“This was definitely one of our best shows, largely due to a tightly run venue,” Putelis said. “We have plans to do more in February 2019 but the cities and dates have yet to be determined.”

For more thoughts about the event, Twin Cities-based freelance outdoors scribe Tony Jones wrote this interview with Rinella last week previewing the live podcast.

Modern Carnivore event

Ashley Peters (r) participates in the Modern Carnivore Experience in 2017. A 2018 half-day version of the outdoors retreat is scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Speaking of recruiting new hunters, my friend Mark Norquist at Modern Carnivore has a great event coming up on Aug. 18. The Modern Carnivore Experience is a half-day retreat in partnership with Three Rivers Park District at the Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement in Maple Plain, and it aims to introduce prospective outdoors people to these sports. Have some interest in getting involved but maybe mildly intimidated by the equipment, terminology, and concepts like safety and ethics? This is the event for you.

Participants can expect to join others with an interest in connecting to wild foods harvested through hunting, fishing and foraging. A Minnetonka-based company that introduces people to hunting, fishing and foraging, Modern Carnivore has hosted the field day before to great reviews.

Attendees can expect engaging discussions with experienced hunters who will share their tips for getting started in hunting, plus stories and mentoring from other new adult hunters. Trained instructors will oversee archery and other field activities, plus there will be some wild game cooking tips and food.

The retreat runs 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18.  The event costs $49 and all participants will go home with a Modern Carnivore T-shirt and a copy of the book “Beyond Fair Chase (The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting),” by Jim Posewitz. Learn more at

(Follow the author on Twitter at @ODN_Editor. For more blogs by Rob Drieslein, click here.)

Categories: Blog Content, Bloggers on Hunting, Rob Drieslein

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