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From right to left: Rob Gilles, Keith Fortin (winner of the 2014 Create & Conserve contest), Julie Kreuter and Rick Kreuter.

I am proud to say that we have announced our winner of the third annual Bobcat Create & Conserve™ contest, John Oxley. Next week, my friends, Rick and Julie Kreuter, will be assisting me and a team of Bobcat employees in completing a list of conservation projects on John’s property in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Although most fans of the television show “Beyond the Hunt” know Rick Kreuter as a big game hunter, he is also a passionate conservationist. Recently, I asked him to tell us where his passion started and the importance of conservation efforts today to preserve hunting for future generations.

Rob Gilles: Tell us what motivates you as an outdoorsman.

Rick: If you’re passionate about the sport, there’s no way the importance of conservation can escape you. For true hunters, conservation — keeping the animal population strong and healthy, and preserving natural resources — is crucial to keeping the sport alive. The main objective is to make the land better for the next generation and for generations to come. I want to take care of it so people can enjoy the fruits of our labor long after I’m gone.

Rob Gilles: Tell us what shaped your attitudes about hunting and conservation.

Rick: It started when I was just a kid, hunting with my dad when I wasn’t even old enough to carry a gun. It wasn’t about trophy hunting, it was about putting meat in the freezer for my mom and dad and grandparents. We lived in the Black Hills in northeast Wyoming near Devils Tower National Monument. The outdoors was always a part of family events — hunting, fishing, hiking, cross-country skiing — it’s just what we did.

Right out of college in 1992, I became a licensed outfitter, guiding hunters while working full time as a physical therapist. Trying to make a living outdoors, I soon realized that if I didn’t take care of the resource, it wasn’t going to be there for our clients to experience hunting our way and in the places we hunt. I knew I had to be active in making the land better, the herds healthier and keeping the numbers right. So, we’ve worked with biologists at the Department of Natural Resources, studying disease and learned what the deer needed for good health.

Today, as a hunter, I want to create habitat that will help the wildlife flourish and give more hunting opportunities for the next generation.

Rob Gilles: Rick, tell us about your conservation projects.

Rick: My first conservation efforts in the early 1990s were in the Black Hills, building food plots and digging water holes. Later, Julie and I bought some farmland in Iowa that the owners had over-grazed, and it wasn’t producing any longer. We brought in our Bobcat® machines and removed the cedar trees and interior fences. We planted corn and soybeans for food, and some warm season grasses to provide more cover. Along the roads we replanted cedar trees — we call them “poaching screens” — so poachers can’t drive along and shoot animals from the road. We turned it into a turkey and deer-hunting mecca.

Since then we’ve moved to Nebraska, where we now live, and we’re doing the same things. We’re always looking for conservation projects and places to use our Bobcat machines. For me as a hunter, I’m always looking to give back.

Rick Kreuter Biography

1048351_10151714491661153_1101880766_oRick Kreuter grew up hunting and fishing in the Black Hills of northeast Wyoming. He won a college athletic scholarship and later earned a degree in Physical Therapy from Chadron State College (Nebraska). While working as a physical therapist, Rick pursued his passion for the outdoors and became licensed as a professional hunting guide in his home state. As the outfitting business grew, Rick stepped away from the physical therapy clinic — where he had met and later married his wife, Julie — and devoted full time to the outfitting business. Life in the outdoors was just what Rick was looking for, until he had an opportunity in 2007 to host and produce a nationally televised hunting show. “Beyond the Hunt” with Rick and Julie Kreuter has been on the Outdoor Channel for five years.

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