Episode 116: Subsistence Living in Alaska with Zephyr Sincerny

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Alaska is considered by many to be the last frontier. One of the few remaining places where true pristine wilderness still exists. Without a doubt, this largest state in the United States is a fantastic place for outdoorsmen or anyone who wants to live close to nature and away from the crowds. This is because, although Alaska is huge, it has a tiny population located in just a few urban areas.

As you can imagine, hunting and fishing are in the blood of most Alaskans and ready access to the abundant and well managed natural resources makes it a perfect place for subsistence living. I’m using this term as defined in Alaska state law as the non-commercial, customary and traditional uses of fish and wildlife.

To discuss this topic I’m joined today by Zephyr Sincerny who is an outdoor guide, instructor and educator with long years of experience gained while working for Outward Bound USA and NatureBridge. He spends a lot of time growing food in his garden as well as hunting and fishing.

During our conversation, we discussed how Zephyr provides food for his family, year-round without the aid of a grocery store! We also got into discussing the effects of climate change, techniques of food preparation and the ethical and spiritual aspects of bowhunting. This is one special episode and I’m sure you’ll love every minute of it!

Wildwoods by Richard Nairn – A Book Review

The subject of Irish native woodlands has come up on the podcast more than once. For instance, I devoted an entire episode to this subject in 2018. Being born and raised in a country with much more tree cover than Ireland, broadleaf woodlands are one of the features of the natural landscape that I miss the most.

Early this year, after visiting a few local patches of remaining native woods I decided to read and learn more about Irish woodlands. I searched the Internet and came across a book by Richard Nairn titled “Wildwoods: The Magic of Ireland’s Native Woodlands”. I approached it with a little apprehension, as the word “magic” in the title made me think that it might be a little over-romanticised at the expense of hard scientific facts. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded.

The book is cleverly structured around the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. It’s based on the author’s experience of managing his own patch of native woodland. Nairn recounts the journey of learning about his woodland and his efforts to manage, restore and safeguard its future. He also takes the reader on his journeys to other woodlands where he met with experts to learn more about woodland history and ecology.

In the book, you will not only find solid information about tree species, plants and their ecology but also about insects, birds and other animals like badgers and squirrels. The author also doesn’t shy away from discussing social issues related to nature conservation and management such as badger cull. And as if that wasn’t enough, the book also contains an overview of Irish woodland history which is intriguingly intertwined with the history of the Irish state.

Overall, the book turned out to be a very engaging read. It’s packed with a lot of interesting and useful information. I’m definitely putting it on my list of recommended reads. And as always, I encourage you to buy it using the links below. That way you will not only get yourself a great book but also support my work.


Wildwoods is a fascinating account of his journey over a typical year. Along the way, he uncovers the ancient roles of trees in Irish life, he examines lost skills such as coppicing and he explores new uses of woodlands for forest schools, foraging and rewilding. Ultimately, Wildwoods inspires all of us to pay attention to what nature can teach us.

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Episode 115: Coexisting with Large Carnivores with John Linnell

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Large terrestrial carnivores, like wolves, bears and lynx, are the poster children for conservation and rewilding efforts. Also, they are usually right in the epicentre of the human-wildlife conflict which always sparks emotions. That makes it easy to use them to politicize conservation.

In many previous podcasts, our discussions about rewilding inevitably led us to talk about the issues surrounding large carnivores. But this episode is solely dedicated to our coexistence with these predators. And that’s because today’s guest is Dr John Linnell, who conducts interdisciplinary research on the interactions between humans and wildlife to mitigate conflict.

John works as a senior scientist at the Department of Terrestrial Ecology at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research and as a professor at the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management at the Inland Norway University of Applied Science.

Episode 114: The Implausible Rewilding with Steve Cracknell

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It’s no exaggeration to say that this was the most anticipated book of the year for me. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since, as regular listeners know, I’m keenly interested in rewilding and the conflict surrounding it. Therefore, it was my pleasure to chat with the author, Steve Cracknell, about the book, how it came to be and some particular situations portrayed in it.

In his book “The Implausible Rewilding of the Pyrenees” Steve takes the reader into the middle of the conflict surrounding the reintroduction of bears in the French Pyrenees. He travels across the Ariège in southwestern France and beyond to interview people on both sides of the conflict. The shepherds, who are suffering livestock losses, argue that bears are a threat to their way of life. The environmentalists point to the need to protect the environment.

That immensely interesting and complex story is painted against the backdrop of the beautiful mountain landscapes and culture-rich scenery of rural France. It turned out to be not only the most anticipated book but also the best I’ve read on the subject. And I haven’t even mentioned how beautiful it is, with stunning photos and high-quality paper.


The return of large predators might help to reinvigorate nature. But are wild animals like wolves and bears compatible with livestock farming? Will their arrival destroy mountain communities? Unable to decide on the issues, Steve Cracknell climbs up to the isolated summer pastures of the Pyrenees to talk with those most concerned: the shepherds. He also meets hunters and ecologists – and goes looking for bears…

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann – A Book Review

I’m not exactly sure who recommended this book to me but I think it was one of my followers on social media. As always in such cases, I bookmarked it for later. After a few months I finally, and I must admit reluctantly, decided to give it a try. And boy, did I not regret it! So I’m writing this short review to return the favour and recommend it to you.

Given the topic of my podcast I am often entangled in discussions and debates about the natural environment, the role humans play in it and the best way forward for us. Those discussions are often heated and, I must admit, it is sometimes hard for me to make sense of some of the points being made. I’m sure that some of you can relate to this situation so I’m glad to let you know that this book will help you to make sense of it all!

The author discusses two fundamentally different philosophical approaches to humanity’s relation to the natural environment. “Wizards” rely on technology and human ability to change and shape the environment beyond what’s possible for other living creatures. “Prophets” insist that humans are just living organisms subject to the same natural laws as all others on this planet. These two opposing concepts result in different opinions as to the correct course of action for humanity going forward.

The book deals with a number of hot button topics and discusses them from both perspectives. The list includes climate change, farming, population growth, GMO foods, geoengineering and more. It is rich in historical facts and discusses important events, such as scientific discoveries, wars and famines, and how they changed the approach or caused a course correction for both “wizards” and “prophets.”

Don’t make the mistake, like I almost did, of thinking that reading this book would be a waste of time because you already have your own opinions on these subjects. As always, the differences are more nuanced than you might think. And as I said at the beginning, knowing the origin of these differences will help you understand why some people are making the arguments they do.

It is a highly recommended read and you can easily get the book using the link below. And by doing so, you will support my work as I will get a small commission. Don’t worry it won’t affect the price!


In forty years, the population of the Earth will reach ten billion. Can our world support so many people? What kind of world will it be? In this unique, original and important book, Charles C. Mann illuminates the four great challenges we face – food, water, energy, climate change – through an exploration of the crucial work and wide-ranging influence of two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt.

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Episode 113: Coastal Processes with Melanie ​​Biausque and Edoardo Grottoli

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If you are a sea angler or just like to walk your dog on the beach, you might have noticed how the coastline changes from year to year. Some of us who have frequented the same spots for years might even have noticed changes that have occurred over a greater time span. Sometimes up to decades.

Whether it is a channel in the sand that deepens each year after the winter storms or a soft sandy beach that becomes increasingly stony, these changes are driven by coastal processes. Understanding these might be important for angling and recreation. But it’s even more important for understanding the economic impact on, or even the very survival of, coastal communities.

To discuss this interesting and important topic I have welcomed two scientists from project MarPAMM which we introduced in episode 104. We had a fun and thought-provoking conversation from which you will learn about their work and the importance of coastal processes.

Episode 112: Sizzlin Arrow with Paul Rhoades

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This episode is like a Christmas Special. Not only because of the publication date but also because we talk about a subject I have wanted to discuss for a long time. Bowhunting. And, it is always a great pleasure to talk with a fellow hunter and, in this case, also a fellow podcaster.

Our guest, Paul Rhoades, is the founder of Sizzlin Arrow Outdoors, a community website that is the gateway to eating clean, organic food. Their primary focus is on helping individuals gather and prepare their own meat, vegetables, and other natural food. Paul is also a passionate bowhunter, so I took the opportunity to ask him about all things bowhunting.

During our chat, we not only discuss in great detail bowhunting equipment and techniques but we also deal with a fiercely debated question, “Is bowhunting less or more humane than hunting with a rifle?”

Tommy’s Outdoors T-shirts

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Tommy’s Outdoors T-shirt – size: M

A high-quality cotton, forest-green T-shirt with printed Tommy’s Outdoors logo. Size M

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The Implausible Rewilding of the Pyrenees by Steve Cracknell – A Book Review

I have followed Steve Cracknell’s work for some time and so, as soon as I learned that he was going to publish a new book, I began to wait for the release date. Without exaggeration, I can say that for me it was the most anticipated book of the year. And when I finally got it in my hands, it not only lived up to but exceeded my expectations!

(I obviously couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk with Steve on my podcast. You can listen to our conversation here.)

The first thing you notice when you hold the book is that it’s heavy! From the high-quality chalk paper, beautifully reproduced photos and careful typesetting to the deliberate font typeface selection, the quality is absolutely top-notch. No detail was left unattended. It is easily the best put-together book I’ve had in my hands for over a decade! As a result, its photos in online bookstores don’t do it justice. Yes, it’s more expensive than your average book, but it’s worth every penny. And now, let’s talk about the content.

As the title suggests, the book is about rewilding. In the late 90s, a rewilding program in the Pyrenees started with the release of a brown bear named Pyros. Over the coming years, more bears were introduced from Slovakia. Predictably, this sparked an ongoing conflict. On the one side, are the anti-bear organizations that consist mainly of shepherds who are sustaining losses to their flocks. On the other side are the environmentalists and the government who are pushing for further rewilding.

One could mistakenly think that this conflict is black and white and without nuance. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are farmers and shepherds who are willing to accept their losses and members of non-farming communities who are not particularly fond of sharing the landscape with large carnivores. And so, Steve’s book takes us into the middle of the conflict through the author’s first-hand experiences, engaging interviews and historical outlines. All that against the background of the beautiful mountain landscapes and culture-rich scenery of rural France.

However, most importantly the book remains balanced and unbiased. And although the author admits that being completely objective is nearly impossible, he goes to great lengths to give all sides a fair opportunity to express their views. So in the end, the book leaves the reader with beautiful pictures in his head and substantial amounts of food for thought.

When I finished the book I felt a sense of loss because I wanted to keep on reading. That’s how I can tell a great book. Whether you are stoked about the rewilding movement or you’re one of its fierce opponents, I would recommend it without any hesitation. Go and buy it now!


The return of large predators might help to reinvigorate nature. But are wild animals like wolves and bears compatible with livestock farming? Will their arrival destroy mountain communities? Unable to decide on the issues, Steve Cracknell climbs up to the isolated summer pastures of the Pyrenees to talk with those most concerned: the shepherds. He also meets hunters and ecologists – and goes looking for bears…

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Episode 111: Shepherds of Wildlife with Tom Opre

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Recently I’ve noticed, and sometimes participated, in discussions about the fact that wildlife conservation can never be successful if the needs of local, indigenous peoples are not taken care of first. It becomes especially apparent when Western environmental NGOs move into Africa with poorly designed conservation programs. On my podcast we’ve also pointed out that hunting can provide an excellent alternative conservation approach that equally benefits both locals and wildlife.

Today, I am absolutely delighted to bring you my conversation with Tom (TA) Opre, a film director, cinematographer, television producer, conservationist and the founder of “Shepherds of Wildlife Society.” We discuss his latest critically acclaimed (20 major film festival awards) feature film “Killing the Shepherd.” In it, Tom presents the incredible story of the Soli people living in Shikabeta in Zambia. The film paints a breathtaking and deeply moving story of the fight against poverty and how rebuilding the wildlife population plays a key role.

In our conversation, you will not only hear some backstories about the film but also how making it triggered a chain of positive events that further supports the cause. I highly recommend listening to this podcast. And of course go buy a ticket and watch the film!