Episode 298 Trevor Hubbs Armed Forces Initiative Empowering Conservationists Transcript

This transcript is from episode 298 with guest Trevor Hubbs.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to a Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Trevor Hubs. Trevor served for six years in the Army before becoming an R O T C instructor, and he’s now the director of the Armed Forces Initiative through backcountry Hunters and anglers in, he’s here to today to talk about the Armed Forces Initiative, uh, program and how it helps veterans get outdoors.

So welcome to the show, Trevor. I’m

Trevor Hubbs: glad to have you here. Yeah, thank you so much for the invite. I really appreciate it. Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: absolutely. So for the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with you and your background, could you tell [00:01:00] us a little


Trevor Hubbs: about yourself? Yeah. Um, joined the Army after high school, uh, airborne Infantry, spent, uh, some time active duty and then, uh, transitioned over to the National Guard where I was an R T C instructor at Eastern Illinois University, which is a program I highly recommend for everybody.

It was a great way to transition outta the military. Um, got my masters and became a, uh, Business consultant primarily like the fif, the five 15 million range. Did that for about five years and, uh, started volunteering with an organization called Back Country Hunters and Anglers as part of their Armed Forces Initiative.

Um, got a pretty big grant in 2019 to where. They’re like, all right, well you need to start thinking about bringing on a full-time employee. You can’t all be volunteers. And, uh, it’s like seven of us that were really doing most of the work, and they decided, uh, by vote that I’m the guy, he’s gonna quit his job and be the full-time person.

So now here I am.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s interesting how that, that transition takes place. And I want to get more into that in a [00:02:00] little bit here, but, um, just transitioning from the military. Into any career, uh, sometimes for veterans is, is a difficult thing to do. And so when you have someone like yourself transitioning, getting into the rotc, uh, field, it, it’s still like you got one foot in and you got one foot out mm-hmm.

At the same time, like how, how did that transition work out for you?

Trevor Hubbs: Um, so kind of have that choice where you’re gonna, not really a choice. I mean, you have a recruiter, you have drill sergeant, you have rotc. When you kind of make the. You make E six in the army and you gotta go do one of ’em. And everybody wants to be a drill sergeant cause it’s so much fun.

Um, and then I got slotted to go do rotc, which it was also a lot of fun. It was just different. Um, but so I, my last two years in the Army, I got paid to go to school to teach, uh, a small r c unit, about 70 cadets, how to go be officers one day. And then, uh, got my degree in history cause that’s what my.

Consultant, uh, finance, like, uh, academic consultant said would be the [00:03:00] easiest based on like the credits they gave me for my Army time and stuff like that. So I have my undergrad in history and didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I got out, um, after that, so went and had and got a master’s degree in business, uh, management, which is like the.

The version of a MBA for like, people that aren’t smart, like take all, they take all the finance classes out and they add like psychology classes and stuff to make it a little easier, which helped me a lot. Um, supposed to be an 18 month program, took me two years cause I failed some classes anyway. But, um, yeah, then started doing business consulting primarily in the, uh, concert or not the construction kind of work.

So a lot of guys that, uh, like started their own business outta high school or, um, We’re kind of like accidentally successful and then now all of a sudden it’s five years and they’re doing 5 million worth of business and they have no idea how. Um, so they’d hire my company and my company would send me, and I’d go work for those, those, uh, clients for, you know, 60, 90, sometimes 120 days, and kind of [00:04:00] build them a marketing plan, build them an operations plan, whatever they really needed.

Um, but to get back to like the actual transition, like it was tough. I, uh, I am just learned that I am terrible at interviews. Like it was always good going to the board in the army, suck at real interviews. Still not good, Adam. Like it’s something I dramatically have to practice every time, so,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that, that’s the thing when, especially people who’ve been in the Army or any, any branch of the military for such a long time, um, they get outta high school.

Maybe that’s the first real job is getting into the military and they never really had to do an interview. Mm-hmm. And so, It takes a lot of practice, um, to, to get back into it. But, um, uh, we’re gonna take a short commercial break here. Uh, when we return, we’re gonna talk more about the arms, arm forces in initiative and everything that you guys are doing.

So stay tuned.


Trevor Hubbs: message is from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans. Note the [00:05:00] upcoming August 10th date to apply for PAC Act benefits. The law expands benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and toxics while serving. If you apply before that date. And VA grants, your application VA will likely backdate your benefits to the date of the bill signing August 10th, 2022.

This means VA will pay you the amount you would have received from August 10th, 2022 to the date we grant your application. If you’re not ready to submit a claim, by then you can submit an intent to file and still receive the same effective date. Learn more at va.gov/pact

Scott DeLuzio: i into initiative.

Uh, can you give us a little bit of the background, like what inspired the creation [00:06:00] of the Armed Forces Initiative, uh, within the backcountry hunters and anglers, uh, organization and, um, what, what spurred that to come to fruition?

Trevor Hubbs: Sure. Yeah. So Backcountry Hunters and anglers is a, uh, conservation organization similar to like a Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership or a Ducks Unlimited, like we focus on public land and waters access, so places to go hunt and fish.

Every year back country, hunters anglers does a survey for their membership, asking things like, what’s most important to you? What part of the country do you live in? Are you male or you’re female? Just trying to grab general demographics. Uh, in 2018 was the first time, uh, we asked, are you a veteran or a member of the military community?

So active duty, national guard reserves, all that stuff. Um, What’s interesting is 12, uh, 12 and a half percent of BHA members in 2018 met that kind of military community demographic key there. And that’s, that’s unique because most of the United States, like the general US population, depending on what survey you kinda look at, is between five and 7%, [00:07:00] uh, member of the military community.

Okay. So kind of accidentally, BHA was already attracting more than double the national average. So we started digging into, and we like. Being bha, I guess the royal we like, I wasn’t involved at that point, so they started digging into like why that is, and they came up with a whole bunch of different, uh, answers.

Right. But the biggest or the most important piece that they discovered is not only were we doubled the national average of, uh, veterans, right, as a membership, but the veterans we had were in. The majority of our kind of volunteer leadership roles, they were running, uh, habitat cleanups planning, sage brush, cleaning up, riverbeds, all these like volunteer led projects that are essential to make the nonprofit work.


Scott DeLuzio: so in interesting, it, it sort of just came to be because of the existing group of people who. Already were involved in the organization just through Yeah, I mean

Trevor Hubbs: they’re just natural collection really. Absolutely. They just, uh, were kind of key volunteers. [00:08:00] So we started asking around, and I was a regular BHA member.

Um, they asked me and then a couple other folks, uh, that had checked yes on the veteran question, uh, to come in and kind of run some, run some studies, run some programs. And that’s where the Armed Forces Initiative came from, which is basically designed to just get more members of the military community into conservation, into hunting, into fishing, um, Sure.

Then in 2019, we got a pretty big grant to where they’re like, all right, well let’s, let’s talk about hiring somebody and really expanding this program. Uh, cause we were taking about 50 people out a year just teaching ’em to hunt mule deer or fish for bass or whatever. Uh, nothing really fancy, just kind of.

Feeling our way through this. And then in 2020, after that grant, we did our first major event. We did about 300 people in 2020, taking ’em out into the back country, teaching ’em to hunt, teaching ’em to fish, teaching ’em, uh, just conservation kind of basics. And then last year, um, 2021, we ended up doing 1700 or say 2022.

We did 1700 people. And then this year we’re on track to do 2300. So, [00:09:00]

Scott DeLuzio: And, and in 2020 you said it was around 300 people. Is that what you’re Yes. You’re saying? Yeah. Yeah. So I, I gotta imagine that was a pretty crazy year as well, just given everything that was going on in the world at the time, during, during the pandemic and everything, people wanting to get outside, just not really having places to go, but.

Here we are. And, and that might’ve, you know, helped push

Trevor Hubbs: more people outside? Oh, absolutely. It’s, uh, it’s incredible the amount of growth we’ve had. Um, we’re at, we’ve gone from 12% of the regular BHA membership to now we’re close to 47%. Uh, it’s like 46.80 wow. Nine or something, something like that. Last time I ran the numbers, but, um, Yeah, it’s, it’s growing like wildfire and we are, uh, we’re, we have chapters in 46 states now.

Um, doing well over a hundred events a year. Again, like 2300 people this year is what we’re taking out. It’s crazy

Scott DeLuzio: that, that’s, that’s amazing. And those people, You know, if I, I know when, like I first went hunting [00:10:00] the, the very first time I went hunting, it wasn’t like I just, you know, picked up a gun and walked outside and went mm-hmm.

Hunting, you know, like I, I had someone with me who showed me, okay, this is, this is where, where you can hunt and, you know, all the, the things that go along with, obviously I took the Hunter’s Education course, but you know, like anything you learn in school, like there’s the classroom stuff and then there’s like, Real life.

Yeah. And like what you actually need to know. Um, you know, so I had somebody with me to, to kind of guide me and like, show me what to do and, and everything. And that was super helpful because without that, um, I, I feel kind of lost. Like I wouldn’t know exactly what I, I was supposed to do. And so, uh, you know, having an organization like this, um, because I gotta imagine there’s some people out there who.

Maybe don’t know other people who hunt and like they wanna get into it. How do they get into it with, without having that guidance, uh, to help them out? Right? So having an organization like this, I think would be super helpful, uh, in that

Trevor Hubbs: regard. Yeah, I mean, that’s what we’ve seen. [00:11:00] It’s uh, it’s pretty interesting just how many like.

So like there’s a term in conservation called R three, which is, uh, retention recruitment reactivation for like new hunters. We don’t really do the recruitment so much. I mean, most of our people have gone hunting before. We, about 10% of ’em have never hunted. But, um, we do a lot of the reactivation because what it looks like, particularly in like the infantry, uh, cab scout special operations is we’ve been at war for 20 years where it’s year of training, year of deployment, year of rest, right.

You just don’t have time to go hunt. Right. So if you just take private hubs, grew up southern, Southern Missouri, like love to hunt and fish bass, you know, catfish, whatever you’ve got, you go to basic training. You’re not hunting, fishing there cuz you’re getting yelled at the whole time. Then you go to Airborne School, then you go to Fort Benning.

So I’ve never, I’d never been to North Carolina. I know they have an elk Curt, I know there’s saltwater fishing now. There’s like trout and mountain streams, there’s bears, there’s pigs. All kinds of cool stuff. But first thing, like I didn’t hunt the whole time I was in. Because I [00:12:00] never got the courage to ask, Hey, platoon sergeant, who gets paid to yell at me every day, do you know where I can hunt and fish in North Carolina?

First of all, even if, uh, even if he, he wanted to answer, which he doesn’t have to, um, right. He got here six months before I did, so he doesn’t know either. Right? And then every three years you just move again and you move again and you’re always in a new state. And before long you have guys who’ve been in the army, whether it’s four years or 20 years, that haven’t hunted or fished the whole time, even though they like to do it beforehand.

And it’s, it’s interesting.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And each state and even some local municipalities have their own rules and regulations as, as far as where you can hunt, when you can hunt, uh, you know, the licensing requirements mm-hmm. And all these different types of things. And if you’re moving every few years to a different location, it’s like you gotta reeducate yourself on all of that every single time.

So, yeah. I, I can imagine that’s a, a. It’s pretty difficult thing to, uh, to do while you’re serving, is figuring it all out, all figuring out all of that stuff. Again, unless you have somebody who [00:13:00] is local to the area, who knows the area, knows what. Mm-hmm. And then, you know, in this case that that reintegration getting people back into it after however long they’ve been out of it.

Um, I know personally I haven’t hunted in years. Um, you know, not, not because, uh, a lack of interest or anything like that, it’s just the time issues. Sure. And, you know, Raising a family and, and all that kind of stuff. Not to, you know, say, oh, raising a family is such a hard thing and a terrible thing, or anything like, that’s not what I’m trying to say.

But it’s, you know, it’s a time commitment. Oh yeah. So you have to prioritize stuff. It’s have timed back and do where, when, how, you know, all this stuff. So, you know, having a. Uh, this resource available, I think is, is super valuable to be able to get back into it. Um, and, and probably build some com comradery along the way too.

Trevor Hubbs: Oh, absolutely. So like the, the goal of each of these events, uh, as we just call it, building conservationists within the military [00:14:00] community. So that means a bunch of different stuff, but really how these events go is it’s, it’s about the teaching. So you show up, we do introductions. Everybody talks about where they’re from, what they did in the army, what they do now, just yada, yada, yada.

You teach them like, uh, so we just got done with, uh, I think we did like 10 Turkey camps across the US cuz spring Turkey season just happened. Uh, so it’s, Hey, this is. Entry level Turkey hunting. This is the gear you need. This is where we’re gonna be in the country. This is the habitat you’re looking at.

We normally bring in a biologist or an ecologist to talk about, uh, in this case, Turkey mating season are like, where are you gonna find turkeys? What food do they eat? Why you should go here. Um, we give ’em access to OnX, uh, which is like a software program that shows you where public land to hunt is in your, in your area.

So when they go home, whether that’s to Montana, Idaho, North Carolina, whatever. You still have this app that’ll show you where all the public land is in your state, where you can go hunt, which is great. Um, Then we teach them all the gear they need. And then physically you do a mentor one-to-one is our kind of like goal, but we sometimes do one mentor for [00:15:00] two hunters, just depending on how many volunteers we can get.

And you physically take them out hunting with the goal of teaching, right? It’s, Hey, this is how you call a Turkey. This is why we’re setting up in this bush, because over there this is a lot of feed. And we saw the turkey’s roost in that tree. And this again, we want him to leave this event knowing.

Everything they need to know to go replicate this experience, uh, either the next weekend or the next season. And we want them to have a local community of people with the same, you know, life skills or life life experiences so far as them. Right. So if we can do those two things right? You have a, a bunch of friends, a bunch of buddies, all veterans, all know all have an interest in hunting and fishing, and you all now know at least enough to be dangerous hunting and fishing.

Then the last piece is really, do you know, can I teach them enough about conservation? Like where does your hunting license dollars goes? How is all this public land funded? Why do you have access to it? Things like that, to where. Not only do you enjoy hunting and fishing now, do you have a group you can go with, but you can also go to your local de uh, department natural [00:16:00] resources meeting and say, as a veteran, I think we should have more turkeys.

So I want you to vote this way on something, something like that. Right.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure. Yeah. And, and I think it’s important too, you, you pointed on something here or touched on something that, uh, I wanted to point out, um, is that the money that you spend for your, your hunting license and, and other things like that, um, do go towards conservation efforts.

And there’s, there’s people out there, maybe even people who are listening to this episode right now who maybe don’t understand that and think that, you know, hunting is this. Immoral thing. It’s this terrible thing because you’re, you’re going out and you’re killing animals and all that kinda stuff. But, but a lot of the, the funds and a lot of the, um, the resources that go into the.

Process of taking the animals actually does improve the environment that they live in. And overall, it, it is a, a, a positive thing for the, the animals who live in that environment,

Trevor Hubbs: right? Yeah, it’s absolutely correct. I mean, the North American model of wildlife conservation is [00:17:00] one of the most successful models in the world.

I mean, there’s a reason like that. We have still have species, like we came close to exterminating and we did exterminate a bunch of species. But we figured it out. Whereas Europe kind of never did, where, like Africa is still struggling to figure it out, but like in North America, if you would like to recreate outdoors, like there’s a system to where the money you pay to do that, your license fees, taxes on firearms, all pays to make sure that there’s still deer in the forest, that there’s still turkeys, ducks, all this stuff.

It’s a, it’s a pretty good system.

Scott DeLuzio: Exactly. So we’re gonna, uh, take another quick commercial break here. Uh, but when we get back, we’re going to talk a little bit more about some of the programs and activities that are offered by the Armed Forces Initiative and some of the, the benefits that come from the program. So stay tuned. Calling all passionate patriots.

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Trevor, I’d like to talk with you a little bit more about some of the, the programs or, or the activities, some of the things that you guys actually are doing, um, with the, the veterans, um, and [00:19:00] the military community. In terms of the, the conservation and, and the outdoors, uh, you know, getting people out there and, and how all of that works.

Trevor Hubbs: Yeah. Um, shoot.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah, sure. So, so what are, what are the, um, you know, the, basically the process of getting. Into the program. And what are some of the, the actual, um, you know, events that you, you hold and what do you actually do with the, the veterans once they’re, they’re involved? I know you’re, you’re talking a little bit about teaching a little bit earlier.

Um, but, but are there specific programs that, that you have, uh,

Trevor Hubbs: involved there? Yeah, so we do a bunch of different stuff. Again, I kept the commander’s intent intentionally vague, where it’s build conservationists within the military community, so Right. So we have. Hundreds of kind of local volunteers at the state level.

We have installation based clubs. Fort Bragg is a club camp LA June has a club. Um, camp Pendleton has a club, just so wherever, like the goal is wherever you get stationed in your military career, like [00:20:00] you’ll, there’s someone there who can teach you how to hunt and fish. Um, But yeah, we do all sorts of events.

So like Colorado for example, you have Fort Carson there, but Colorado is kind of notorious for having strange or, uh, hunting regs that are difficult to understand. So their whole, their thing is I trust the local volunteers to tell me what the military community needs. And Colorado says my people need to know.

How to hunt or how to recreate in Colorado. They need to understand the rules. So every quarter they do just a zoom call open to anyone who wants to, to participate, where they’re gonna run through Colorado regulations. What an A tag is, what a B tag is when hunting seasons are. What opportunities are available for veterans at discounted tag rates or, uh, Whatever the, the price is.

Cause a lot of states have discounted stuff for veterans or disabled veterans, so we do that. But then, uh, in Alaska, like it’s different people in Alaska, like hunting and fishing is such an ingrained part of the culture that it’s hard to not understand how when you get stationed up there, the biggest thing they see is now you’re not hunting [00:21:00] a 200 pound white-tailed deer.

You’re hunting a 2000 pound, you know, moose or 1200 pound moose or whatever. Like the biggest thing is moose, caribou. It’s so readily available. But when you get one on the ground, what do you do with it? It’s just a lot more meat. So they have animals that are donated, like roadkill animals donated by um, the state police in Alaska.

And every quarter they do a big game breakdown class. Again, it’s open to anyone. They move the location from joint base, Eldor Richardson. They go to Kodiak, they go to Wayne Wright all over the state, and they break down a moose. They break down a caribou and they can send that meat home with people. To a to a 10.

So it’s one, you get to see how all this is broken down. Two, you get a little bit of taste of like, wow, maybe I do wanna go caribou hunting next year. Maybe I should get that $15, you know, tag that’s for veterans, like pretty interesting. It’s one of the biggest kind of, uh, tragedies in the army is people get stationed in Alaska for three years and they don’t hunt or fish and it’s like the pristine, the one of the best areas in the world for it.

Scott DeLuzio: Right. [00:22:00] Exactly. And one of the things I’ve always wondered about, I’ve never been to Alaska, never hunted up there obviously, but, um, I, I’ve seen the shows, I’ve seen the, the footage and videos and everything like that of people who, who have gone hunting up there and they take one of these enormous animals like you’re just talking about.

Mm-hmm. And. The first thought that went through my mind is, what the hell are you gonna do with this? Yeah. Because like, how do you move it? You know, how do you, you know, what, what, what do you do unless you have like an army of people who are gonna help you move it? Like what do you do with it? So yeah, having those kind of, uh, Those kind of classes in, in that type of training to just help walk you through that process, especially if you’re from a different part of the country.

Mm-hmm. You don’t have anything anywhere near as local area where you came from. Then I have imagine that those. Classes are, are just gonna be, uh, super informative and helpful in getting those people, you know, out into the outdoors and, and taking part in some of the, [00:23:00] the hunting efforts that are

Trevor Hubbs: going up there, right?

Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And it’s a step-by-step process, right? Like, first I need to get you comfortable with the concept of hunting in a state that you didn’t grow up in, where you don’t know where to go. Once I can get you comfortable, then I can take you hunting there. Right. Or one of our volunteers can take you.

Like, so we’re doing, uh, we have 10 people going on a caribou hunt, um, like and above the Arctic Circle later this year in August. So it’s. Teaching ’em where to hunt, teaching ’em how to get there, transportation to and from the field, what gear they need, and then actually walking them through the process of harvesting an animal, breaking it down, carrying it out on their backs.

And then we’ll do a little bit of cooking at each one. We, we try to, depends. So we have had events where you don’t get, like, we do a tuna fishing trip when you don’t catch tuna, so we’re gonna cook something. But anyway, we try to cook something of what we’re actually targeting every time. Just kind of give ’em that full kind of field to table, um, experience.

The, um, The next step then is, all right, so now you understand how to hunt. You understand a little bit of why to hunt and, uh, the conservation kind of [00:24:00] principles, the North American model, wildlife conservation. Now it’s how do you as a veteran use your voice to improve conservation are contribute to the conversation.

Uh, good example. That was last year. We took 18 people into the boundary waters in Minnesota, uh, where there was this, this copper sulfide mine, which any of these mines, basically what it is, is there’s a tiny bit of ore. In, um, in the area, but they gotta take these big chunks of rock and they dump them in big tanks of sulfuric acid each away the rock.

And then you have just the copper left. So really what it is, is use this large amount of extreme contaminant sulfuric acid adjacent to this kind of national watershed, the Boundary waters wilderness area, which is the most visited wilderness area in the United States. And, uh, when you write your congressman or your senator or whatever the kind of canned response you were getting, this is back in 2020.

Uh, the canned response is, unfortunately, I’m going to, even though you don’t want me to, I’m going to support the mining effort because it’s essential for national security, which is interesting cuz it [00:25:00] was a, in this case it was a Peruvian, or it is a South American mining company that already had a contract to sell all the goods to China.

So you’re gonna, I get it. National offense is a real easy, like, easy button for a politician to hit, but. With veterans. Maybe we look into things a little more. But, uh, so the, the key for that trip was saying like, Hey, look, yeah, you, I can show you a place where you can catch a hundred fish a day. A fish that have never seen a lure, have never seen a fly rod before, and you can just have this amazing time and it’s open to everyone.

As long as you’re an American citizen, just go there. It’s your public property, you can just go do it. Um, And then again, how do you write to your congressman, write to your elected representatives and say, as a veteran, I do not think you should mind here because this is important for national security, uh, but maybe not how you think it’s important for Veterans Outdoor recovery, which is a whole nother piece of, uh, of what we do is kind of that, like mental health therapy or adjunct therapy is the official term, but, uh, And then they ended up, uh, putting a, a ban on that mining operation in part because of the work B h A does and AFI does because if you could show that [00:26:00] these key places are essential to the military community, it’s kinda suicide for any politician to go against the military right now.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I mean, that, that is true. And I, I think that’s a one good thing that we have going for us is, uh, in the, the military and veteran communities, is that there is so much support mm-hmm. For the, the military veterans, uh, these days throughout just general public as, as opposed to maybe, uh, you know, during the Vietnam era Sure.

Where it wasn’t the case and. Now, like you said, if a politician is gonna, you know, go against that and, um, you know, do, do something that is going against the military or the veterans. That, that’s just career suicide right there. Like they’re, they’re done. They’re not getting reelected. Exactly. Cause um, I don’t, and I don’t like to get into too much, into politics, but it, you know, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the left or the right of, of any issue.

Generally people are pretty pro-military these days. Mm-hmm. Um, uh, at least for [00:27:00] the individuals, maybe not for the actions that are ab Absolutely. Conflicts and all that. Yeah. You know, so, so you’re absolutely right with all of that.

Trevor Hubbs: The, um, yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting. Um, So, and one of the other things that kind of pushed this as far as like the the veterans adjunct therapy piece is, uh, during the last, uh, couple months of Trump’s president, president Trump’s presidency, he passed the, uh, I always butcher this one, um, accelerating Veterans Outdoor Recovery Act, or Recovering Outdoors Act.

I, I’m not sure which order those words go in, but essentially it mandates the use of federal public land across the United States for use as veterans adjunct therapy. So what we’ve seen is, and everybody knows like the 22 soldiers committing suicide a day, which you, you could tear that stat apart if you really want to.

There’s a lot of books about how it’s kind of a false narrative. Um, Which maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Again, I didn’t take the math classes in college cause I think they’re hard. But, um, but if you read the, like, the most recent suicide numbers from the va, which, uh, the study I was looking at at Blink, I think it was, uh, [00:28:00] 2020 was the last numbers I’ve looked at, like a male veteran age, 18 to 35 is 63% more likely to commit suicide than a civilian counterpart.

Like whether it’s 22 a day or 18 or 24, like that statistic, the 63% is an incredibly scary thing, right? Like, So if we can help reduce those numbers of self-harm or suicide or just like depression, all these like kind of side effects of P T S D, traumatic brain injury survivor’s guilt, whatever you wanna call it, by being outside, like it’s a win for the military community.

It’s a win for conservation cuz you’re engaging them right? In, uh, in a, another way to serve the United States. Cuz if you look at it specifically like public lands and waters, like you don’t have that in Europe. You kind of have it in Canada, but it’s called like, uh, crown Lands. And if it’s named after a foreign monarch, is it really public?

But, uh, but, but the US states, I say say like the United States is, is unique in that aspect. Like nobody joined the Army or the military or the Marines, whatever, because of the US’ public land. But by defending this, like it [00:29:00] is one of the things that makes America unique in the world is that no matter where you are, if you’re willing to work harder, walk farther, carry more weight on your back, you can go kill an amazing whitetail deer, have a, a fantastic elk or moose hunt, like just there for everyone.

Scott DeLuzio: It is. And like you said, that is part of what makes up America. Um, we, we have. Unique opportunities here that people, uh, don’t have other places throughout the world. Um, whether, you know, even just talking about the, the public lands, um, certain lands throughout the rest of the world, they, they don’t have these opportunities to hunt or fish.

Mm-hmm. Or just enjoy the outdoors the way we can here. Um, in places like you were saying earlier, who have been. In some cases largely untouched by, by, uh, other people like, you know, fish, have never seen some of these, the lures that are going into the law. Yeah. Like that, that may not exist in certain places throughout the world.

So, you know, we are very fortunate and, you know, we [00:30:00] all signed up to serve and, uh, protect and defend this, this land. Um, And so now that we are out, we, or even while we’re still in, we should be able to enjoy and reap the, the benefits of what this country has to offer. So, um, with that, I wanna take a quick break, uh, again, but I, when we get back, I wanna get more into, uh, some of the mental health efforts and, and the things that, uh, the benefits that come from getting outdoors and, and participating in some of this.

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Monster Resume Writing Service is dedicated to helping you succeed. Visit the link in this episode, show notes to learn more about how they can help you take the next step in your civilian career. Just a little while ago we were talking about, um, the mental health benefits of the aspect of getting them outside and, and all that kinda stuff.

So, uh, Trevor, I wanna talk a little bit more about that. Um, can, can you tell us a little bit more about, um, the ways that. The engaging in conservation efforts and outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing, those types of things, how does that contribute to the wellbeing or the mental health of these, these people

Trevor Hubbs: getting outside?

Sure. I love telling this story cuz it’s, uh, it’s not one that people think about a lot. All right. And even going to the, to the va, [00:32:00] who’s supposed to be the kind of the authority on, you know, veterans mental health and just veterans health in general, they kind of, it’s, it’s new for them as well, but it is not actually a new concept.

So if you go back, You know, a thousand years, you could look at, um, like Scottish Warriors, Vikings, uh, American Indians, all these cultures, uh, hin, Hindu warriors, that all had these, uh, what’s called rituals more or less to kinda re to come back into the tribe or back into the community after combat. Uh, like the, uh, I wanna say it’s the, the Cherokee Nation had a mandatory 14 day wilderness period for Braves coming back from combat before they could rejoin the village, because there’s.

Again, can’t explain it. They don’t, I don’t have a science degree, but, um, they don’t know why. But something about being outdoors about that kind of just, just calming, just therapeutic nature of it helps people recover. And I, we could fast forward, one of the major reasons that, uh, president Teddy Roosevelt created the National Park System is to give, uh, the [00:33:00] United States a place for, um, Soldiers he served with in the Spanish American War.

A place to go outside and recreate that would always be wild. That would always be nature, right? Like and which is. I, I like Ted Roosevelt a lot cause he’s a wildly interesting person, but he’s also, uh, the only person to win a Medal of honor for, you know, for Valor, for Courage and Battle and a Nobel Peace Prize, which are, you know, diametrically opposed kind of awards.

So just kinda right, so like, so he, he understood it personally. Why, you know, areas like Yosemite, Yellowstone, any of these wilderness areas. The hila just. Work for somebody who’s been through, and it doesn’t have to be, you know, PTSD or traumatic brain injuries or anything like that. It could be somebody going through a divorce or somebody, uh, if you, if you’ve lost a parent or lost a child, any kind of, uh, issue.

It does seem to get better when you’re outside. Um, right. And everybody read something by Hemingway in high school. Probably Old man in the Sea. But if you look at Ernest Hemingway, I mean, you look at his life he was in. World War I is an ambulance [00:34:00] driver. He was in the Spanish American War as a kind of a.

An agent, I guess an international agent kind of doing, uh, anticon or anti-fascist stuff. He was in World War II as a reporter. He was in a couple of eastern European wars As a reporter, like dude has seen some warfare. I, I mean, if you look at any of his books, like there’s always a fly fishing part.

There’s always a, uh, or a quail hunting part or getting back to nature. And you could tell like that’s what kind of helped him work through, uh, his battle, which w with what I, I’m assuming would be called PTSD if somebody had that term at the time. But, um, Sure. But, so we have these examples all over of how people use the outdoors to, um, to treat these symptoms.

Uh, we just haven’t thought of it from a, we as a country haven’t thought of it as a, from an organized stance so far, and we’re, we’re getting into it. There’s, um, a commission happening with members of Department of Defense, members of the va, members of Congress, members of the center, members of the Department of Interior.

Uh, they meet quarterly right now trying to figure out what’s the best way to [00:35:00] utilize America’s. Vast public land, public resources for. Veterans Outdoor adjunct therapies is the official term that they call it. And there’s some compelling evidence that it worked. We just worked with a group, um, rivers to Recovery, uh, which is another great, uh, kind of veterans group, uh, teaching, primarily fly fishing, but regular fishing as well, where they do like, we’re gonna collect blood, we’re gonna collect spit, we’re gonna put hair before an event, and then we’re gonna collect all those samples after an event.

And then we’re gonna study like endorphins and dopamine. And again, I don’t have a science degree, but, um, Just kinda showing these dramatic spikes in what makes you feel good after being outdoors, being outside and participating, um, in, in that kind of natural cycle. The, uh, the, in the most interesting thing to me though is, is kind of what we’ve seen as a unit.

Like again, we started like seven volunteers and now those are my board of directors and I’m the only like, full-time employee. But the biggest piece of why. [00:36:00] Right. Cuz you, you can do the time outdoors doing outdoor goat yoga. You can do time outdoors, doing mountain biking, doing canoeing, all that stuff.

And that’s great. Right? The difference is like, so you can get time outdoors, you can get a community of veterans doing anything you want, right? Like there’s a hundred answers there. The thing that hunting and fishing has sets it apart is the conservation piece is the mission. As you can leave these events, you can be a hunter or fishing, uh, enthusiast.

And now there’s a mission, right? That’s making more public lands, right? That’s making more elk, more turkeys, more white-tailed deer. It’s managing this species now. It’s not only something that you’re super passionate about because you’ve seen the effects of it on, on just your personal me mental health or your personal physical health, but.

You can also now have that mission of how do I take others hunting? Like we have a, it’s 30% of our people that go to our event, that’s part of our growth as they’ve gone home and they’re like, how do I start one of these in my community? Right? So that’s how we get state [00:37:00] volunteers all over the country is cuz they go to one of our events and they wanna replicate it.

They wanna show their friends, they wanna show people they served with, Hey, this is how I got better. Can, can, you can, you could do this too. You can come help and do this. Um, But anyway, it’s the, the mission is the key piece. That mission of conservation is another way to serve your country. Right? Like if you spent, go ahead.

Sorry, I’m rambling.

Scott DeLuzio: No, no, you’re good. You’re good. But I, to the, the point that you were making there, I had just recently read about a study and I didn’t get into the details. I’m not a scientist either, so, you know, a lot of the details may not make a whole ton of sense to me. But they had, um, a, a unit of Special forces soldiers.

Deployed and I forget exactly where they were. Um, but they would give them intel. Telling them that there was an imminent threat to their base and they needed to work to harden up the, the perimeter of the base. Mm-hmm. You know, deploy, uh, you know, mines, uh, it was in Vietnam, I [00:38:00] think. Sure. Um, or maybe Cambodia, somewhere around there during that time period.

Anyways, they, they needed to harden up the base and put more, uh, you know, uh, minds or, or whatever it is that they needed to do. They needed to go around the base and, and work on that and. They did some tests like before and after this whole event, and they’re, um, some of the, the hormones or whatever, like the, um, that, that causes a spike in, in, um, you know, Uh, fear and anxiety and all that kinda stuff and, and the calmness.

They found that they were actually more calm after going through this whole experience of working to harden up the base. Cause like you were saying, there’s this mission that they had and, um, the, the work that they were doing had a calming effect. I’m doing something proactive to accomplish this mission and, and to.

Defend our base or to [00:39:00] protect something, whatever that something is. And in this case, I feel like that something is the conservation efforts. It’s, it’s the outdoors, it’s the environment that these animals live in. Um, it, it’s all of that. And people are out there and they’re doing something, uh, proactive to help out.

In that regard. And so it may maybe, and again, I’m not a scientist, it may be very similar to what those soldiers experienced, um, when they had that imminent threat coming in. Yeah. And, and turned out like the, the threat wasn’t, wasn’t real, uh, whether it was made up or not for the purpose of the study, I don’t know.

But, um, but it turns out that, you know, there was no attack on their base or anything, but they were able to measure before and after, uh, some of the hormones and everything else that was going on in their bodies. And they found that they were actually. More calm, more relaxed after doing all that work, knowing that there was this threat coming.

Yeah. Uh, their way. Yeah. They, they still were more relaxed.

Trevor Hubbs: Interesting. Yeah. No, I, I haven’t read that, that study, [00:40:00] but, um, it reminds me of a study very similar where they were just looking at, um, Again, like the stress levels, uh, anxiety spikes and they found, uh, scientists or the VA or whoever was doing it, was finding that, uh, like, oh man.

What is it like the transportation, the truck drivers for the army, like had higher levels of anxiety, higher levels of ptsd, because their primary threat for X amount of years in Afghanistan and Iraq was IEDs. Is that random? Kind of like, you don’t know when it’s coming, but there just could be one. And that was, they had a higher level of anxiety than actual like, um, Like units, like infantry units or special forces units that were forced on going out and finding the Taliban and finding Al-Qaeda, um, because they were doing something progressive.

They had a mission. They were, they were actively, in their minds at least combating this threat and lowering their chances. Like even though like truck driver, nothing could blow up on this road, you could be perfectly fine. Whereas a guy actively hunting the Taliban, like his job is to go get into a, a firefight, but the guy doing the, the hunting piece, right.

The. Was actually calmer than the guy who didn’t know what was gonna happen. [00:41:00] So, no, it’s, it’s a great point. It’s makes a lot of sense.

Scott DeLuzio: And, and this, this is gonna probably sound stupid in the, the grand scheme of things, so I’m gonna roll the dice and say it anyways. Um, so if you ever watch a show, family Guy there, there was this episode, um, and this was years ago.

There’s this episode where, uh, Stuy, the, the little baby and Brian, the dog, they were, they were like going back and forth and, and Brian was, was saying that he was going to hit Stuy or beat him up or something like that. But he wasn’t gonna tell him when, where it was gonna happen at some point, but I’m not gonna tell you when.

Yeah. And the, throughout the whole episode sue’s just like, just do it man. Get it over with. I just, I just want it now. Just do it. And uh, and at the very end of the episode, like the very last thing that happened is he, he like pushed him in front of a or something and, and like that was, that was, you know, how the, the episode ended.

Right. But, but it was driving him nuts. Yeah. He, he was just like, if something’s gonna happen, I know it’s gonna happen. Just. Make it happen now and get it [00:42:00] over with. Pull the bandaid off, whatever analogy you want to use. Like, let’s just do it. Cause this is, this is too much. I, I can’t, um, I can’t deal with that.

And that, that makes total sense with the, you know, the truck drivers who are driving along not knowing whether or not something’s gonna happen. It’s, it’s kinda like, it’s a little bit different from the scenario I just described because like you said, they could be driving along the road and nothing could happen or something really terrible.

Yeah. But they have no idea, you know, and they, they have to be prepared for it either way. Mm-hmm.

Trevor Hubbs: So it’s uh, right. It’s interesting. We have seen some positive effects, um, We do, we do surveys and we’re, we’re working on getting more funding to really get some more science involved and do some of these like, uh, like physiology samples.

Like we’ve had, we’ve worked with some psychiatrists, some psychologists to get out to these events and like do questionnaires and things like that. But, um, just, I’m looking at a whiteboard in my office here. And, and the bottom left corner, I’ve got 19 tally marks. And that’s just 19 people since taking the job that have told me like, Hey, um, I was in a dark place and [00:43:00] I didn’t, I didn’t know where I was going, but it wasn’t somewhere good and this event helped me.

Right. Like, like I don’t wanna be too dramatic, but like I didn’t commit suicide because of bha, because the Armed Force initiative taught me how to do this. Now I have something to go to go do I have a mission? I have somewhere where I can go help other people because another, it’s one of those things like if you put out an event like, Hey, if you’re a veteran that needs help, come here.

You’ll get 10 people to show up. But if you describe an event, right, of, Hey, I have some veterans that need help, will you come help them? I’ll get a hundred people to show up because veterans will show up to help the other veterans. Exactly. But they will not show up to help themselves. So like a lot of it’s like kind of marketing Right.

And describing that, but, uh, yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: right. It, yeah. And there, there was a, a guy I served with, I, I talked to him a couple years ago about something like this. Similar, getting outdoors and doing things like that. He’s involved in, you know, whitewater rafting and all, all sorts of outdoor things. And to him, the outdoors.

He described it and I’m, I like butcher the [00:44:00] way he said it, but to him, the outdoors is his church. It’s his therapist, it’s his, um, you know, it’s his place to just go and clear his head and, Let the worries of the world just kind of be left behind him and he can go out and just enjoy nature and, and be outside.

And so yeah, I totally get that. Like that makes a ton of sense that, that people would, uh, feel that way about getting outside and, and, and doing that. And so, you know, those 19 tally marks, I’m sure there’s even more of those, the, you know, probably people who just haven’t

Trevor Hubbs: told you Yeah. Or they told one of our volunteers and Yeah.

And I, I haven’t had the story yet and it’s, it’s interesting, but again, it’s uh, it’s why we do what we do and. It makes, it makes it all worthwhile in the end.

Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. Um, with that we’re gonna take another quick commercial break. When we get back, we’re going to, uh, tell people a little bit more about where they can get involved with, uh, the Armed Forces Initiative and, and the programs that they offer.

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Trevor, before we wrap up this episode, uh, could you tell people where they can go to find out more about the Armed Forces Initiative, um, and the, um, uh, backcountry hunters and anglers and, and the programs that you guys offer and the, the types of stuff that you guys do? Yeah,

Trevor Hubbs: so, and I’m terrible at social media, but we have some volunteers that are great at it.

Um, the best way is probably just to go to BHA underscore AFI on Instagram. Or look up Armed Force Initiative on Facebook that’ll show you all of our recent projects, kind of pictures, whatever we’re doing. If you have some extra time, you could go to uh, backcountry hunters.org, which is BHAs main website.

Uh, you can see all the great habitat work that BHA is doing. Um, if you go to programs, armed Force initiatives, right there, you can see specific stuff. For us, we have a YouTube channel. We just dropped a big video called Expanding Boundaries, uh, which is about our, uh, Boundary Waters trip in 2022. [00:47:00] Um, we’ve got another one that’ll probably drop this, uh, November, which is gonna be about the Alaska Caribou hunt.

Uh, that’s happening in August. But, uh, yeah, you can also just email Armed Forces [email protected]. If you want more info, you wanna talk to me. Um, And if you can’t remember any of those websites or Instagram or anything, you could Google bha. Uh, the first thing is gonna be Boston Housing Author.

So don’t click that one. Uh, the second thing is like a beta hydraulic acid. Don’t click that one either. But the third thing is back your hundreds and anglers, click the third one. That’s, uh, that’ll get you there.

Scott DeLuzio: And to make it even easier, I will put the links to everything that you mentioned, uh, your website and the social media and everything like that.

I’ll put that all in the show notes for the listeners. So definitely take at notes, um, whether it involved with. Some of the programs, uh, that they offer. I’m sure like any other organization, you guys are probably looking for volunteers and [00:48:00] Yep. Always, uh, donations and that type of thing as well. So I’m, I’m sure that’s probably information like that is on the, the website as well.

Trevor Hubbs: Yeah, absolutely. Always looking for people to give us money and, uh, always looking for people to, to volunteer or even if you just wanna go learn how to hunt and fish, like get on, uh, the waiting list. Some things have longer waiting lists than others, but, uh, yeah, there’s not, there’s no part of the country other than Hawaii right now where you’re not 90 minutes or less from a.

B h a trip, so

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, that’s awesome. So that’s super accessible for just about anybody to get involved with. Unfortunately, Hawaii might

Trevor Hubbs: be a little bit longer than, that’s it, it’s a tough one. The, uh, and you can show up at jeans and a t-shirt, like, we will tell me that you’re showing up at jeans and a t-shirt, but, uh, well, we, we, we could provide gear, we could provide all that stuff for you.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I was gonna ask about that. Like, is that something that you need to have your own, you know, firearms or, or fishing poles?

Trevor Hubbs: No, we, we make, that’s all provided. Yeah. We, we make all the gear happen. I mean, if you’d like to show up with your own stuff, like you’re very welcome to cause that’s what you’ll be hunting or fishing [00:49:00] with and comfortability is important.

Sure. But, uh, if you don’t have it, you need a fly rod. You need some regular fishing stuff. Uh, you need firearms. We can make that happen. Um, Again, like you gotta tell me, don’t just show up in jeans and say, well, ah, I heard it on a podcast. Like tell me before you get there that you need stuff and we’ll make sure you have it.

But um, yeah. The only two things that we are not allowed, and that’s our insurance company’s thing, is we can’t provide travel to an event. Cuz if you get in a car crash or something like, then I think we’re liable. And so we can’t provide travel and we cannot buy your hunting or fishing license. So those are the only two things we can, okay.

Everything else we take care of.

Scott DeLuzio: I think that’s easy enough. Uh, you know, veterans have been moving stuff in themselves for, uh, for quite some time. They should be able to figure out how to get to a place and, uh, how to make a simple purchase like a hunting or efficient.

Trevor Hubbs: And, and we do do classes before an event on how to, how to purchase it.

Like, I’ll bring, put, put you all on Zoom and walk you through the exact process. Like, not a problem. We just can’t physically be the ones that buy it.

Scott DeLuzio: And I know a [00:50:00] lot of places are super easy. They have online places where you, you just go to this place, you buy it and print off the, there’s the license or the certificate, whatever it is that they, they provide you.

And it just, it’s just easy. Super simple. Right. So, um, well Trevor, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. Uh, I really do appreciate the work that you’re doing, that the Armed Forces Initiative and, and everything that you guys are, are taking part in. Um, cause I, I really do believe that, um, despite the fact that you only have 19 tick marks up on your, your whiteboard there, I’m, I’m sure there’s many more people who have similar stories and maybe just haven’t, uh, taken the time to share it with you.

So thank you again.

Trevor Hubbs: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need.

You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, [00:51:00] Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcast.

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