This week on the Mossberg Blog, we wanted to take you behind the scenes to meet one of our team’s most prolific writers and videographers, Jason Cruise. Many of you know him as the host of Mossberg’s Rugged American Hunter. While our team here at Mossberg likes to tease Jason about his ruggedness, none of us question his passion for the outdoors or his commitment to sharing what he knows. We all know when it comes to Arming Yourself with great information about Turkey, Deer, or Duck hunting, Jason won’t steer you wrong.
We sat down with Jason to see what shaped his journey as a communicator in the outdoors…
Mossberg: Jason, how did you get started?
Jason: A ton of people ask me that, and it’s something I always like to ask myself when I meet other people in the industry because there’s always a neat story of how it happened.
For me it started as a writer. I began writing short stories for regional hunting magazines that had a faith element to the article – like a hunting story with some sort of faith-based twist. And that little angle made a pretty decent impact, so much so that the publishers were getting calls and letters and then they wanted more. It was a small start, and it kept building on itself.
I suppose my first “big break” came not after my first book, but actually with a Bible that I created for a publisher, the same one that published my first book, in Nashville. It was called The Sportsman’s Bible. It’s still in circulation today. I wrote the back stories, devotionals, hunting tips, etc, and basically guided the publisher on what a hunter would want in a Bible as an Executive Editor on the project. That’s when I started to get a little more attention and began traveling for speaking engagements, and received more writing requests, and things of that nature.
Mossberg: So how did that initial work lead you to producing video content?
Jason: Eventually if you’re going to have to have any staying power in the hunting industry you’re going to have to get into video. I didn’t have a huge production budget; and still don’t but I’ve never been afraid to work and work hard. I’m not joking when I say that I knew as a teenager that I wasn’t the most talented kid in the classroom, but I knew that I could just out work most people if I tried hard enough. So, I learned to edit, how to shoot a camera and how to produce my own work. And that made all the difference in the world.
My experience as a writer and storyteller provided me with a great foundation for producing and editing. I already knew how to tell a story, but now with video, I was able to do so much more. Video allows me to not only entertain the audience while I share my experiences from the hunt, but also, it provides the perfect medium for teaching skills that can help Mossberg’s viewers become better hunters. If I make you laugh out loud, and help you kill that big old tom next spring, I’ve succeeded.
Mossberg: What is the one thing you wish hunters would avoid?
Jason: I wish they would put away the tape measure. Let me explain. It’s so easy today to fall into the trap of measuring yourself as a hunter against other hunters. You’ll measure your kills against there kills, their successes against your successes. You’ll turn your passion for hunting into an industry. That is so toxic. Don’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, a great buck is a great buck and no one should be ashamed of harvesting a trophy. But don’t let a tape measure be the only measure of your hunt.
I’d say to every hunter out there, hunt for the time and the memories. Stack those memories up, too. Keep a journal, collect your memories and record your stories. Hunt. Take pictures. Laugh. Keep a loose grip. And see God’s hand in all of it. If you can do that, hunting will never become an industry to you. It will maintain its purity. And you’ll be better for it.