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Friday, June 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Friday, June 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

A quick chat with Mark Norquist of Modern Carnivore

Mark Norquist, 52, is the founder and editor of Modern Carnivore, a blog and guide to adult-on-set outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and foraging and their connection with real, wild foods.

New followers of the outdoors.

That’s what Minnesota-based Mark Norquist was after when he started Modern Carnivore more than 10 years ago. And not just the ever-popular social-media kind of followers. Rather, something much deeper. Something much more profound.

“There is always an opportunity to get a bigger audience,” said Norquist, 52, founder and editor of Modern Carnivore, a blog and guide to adult-on-set outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and foraging and their connection with real, wild foods. “You can look at our several-thousand followers on social media and say it looks big, but it’s much smaller than many other groups or public figures. The metric we’re most focused on is depth of engagement. I’ll take 1,000 fully engaged people over 100,000 ‘followers’ any day.”

Outdoor News recently caught up with Norquist to talk the outdoors, wild foods and, ultimately, “awakening the hunter that lives inside you.”

Outdoor News: You have 20-plus years of experience in marketing/media and a lifelong love of the outdoors. But what prompted you to start Modern Carnivore?

Norquist: I had been working with large companies for many years, helping them better market products like automobiles or credit cards. It got old, and I wanted to focus my skills on something more meaningful. On the personal side, I was a lifelong hunter and angler and had a real passion for the outdoors.

A steady decline in hunting participation had been occurring for many years, and it concerned me. If the trend continued, it could have a negative impact on conservation. I also wondered whether the broader societal support of hunting would be in jeopardy. With consumer preferences trending toward organic food ingredients and “eating clean,” I saw an opportunity. I created Modern Carnivore to introduce a new generation to hunting, but through a slightly different lens, one of amazing food harvested in the wild.

ON: You founded Modern Carnivore 12 years ago. Back then, when it all was just starting, what did you want Modern Carnivore to be?

Norquist: I’m continually amazed at how many barriers exist for a person who didn’t grow up hunting or fishing, and who now wants to get started as an adult. The mission was – and is – to knock down those barriers and welcome people into the outdoor community.

The original goal was to tell stories, share recipes, and provide the support for anyone curious about harvesting wild food. It started as a blog and educational workshops. We then added a couple of podcasts and video training courses to the platform. We continue to add services as new technologies and opportunities come about.

I should mention the recent release of our newest project. It’s a free online video class to introduce anyone to upland bird hunting. The project was created in partnership with Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and several other partners. It’s one of the biggest undertakings I’ve ever been involved with and I’m proud of how it turned out.

(People can register and get free access to the video course at www.howtohuntuplandbirds.org.)

ON: Did you envision it getting to where it is today? And is it where you want it to be?

Norquist: Modern Carnivore has taken many twists and turns over the last decade-plus of work. I had a simple vision of bringing more people into the outdoors. We’ve achieved many goals by introducing people across the country to a hook-and-bullet lifestyle.

But there is so much more to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever be satisfied with the state of things. I like striving toward the next goal or opportunity and forever improving.

ON: Is there an ideal Modern Carnivore “candidate” – a type of person who might get the most out of it? Your target audience?

Norquist: Our ideal person is an adult who loves eating great food and is curious about doing more in the outdoors. The person usually has little to no experience with hunting, fishing, or foraging. Curiosity and a spirit of adventure are very important, because we take each person down a new path and address topics they’ve never tackled before – like how to kill an animal.

We look at each issue honestly and respect each person’s background and things that might make them uncomfortable. Sometimes the journey is a bit slower because a person needs time to process how they’ll engage with these ageless practices that are a brand-new part of their modern lifestyle.

ON: What aspects and traits from your outdoors endeavors most lend themselves to Modern Carnivore?

Norquist: I love to see the universal response of someone who settles into their wild surroundings and finally “gets” the outdoor experience. It can happen while scouting a trail, casting a line, or butchering an animal. It’s different for each person. The common experience of slowing down, listening, and looking at things that aren’t part of our daily routine can open people up to entirely new experiences that cannot be replicated through other means.

I love all aspects of an outdoor lifestyle, in all seasons and conditions. I’m very much a generalist and don’t obsess over one species or method.

That said, my son has taken a real interest in duck hunting over the last couple of years, so I see myself putting in extra hours in the duck blind over the coming years. While duck hunting often occurs in tough conditions – cold and wet – many new hunters like my son are drawn to the camaraderie that’s part of the experience.

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