Meet the YouTubers Who Are Rebranding Hunting
How the Hushin crew is challenging hunting stereotypes, growing a vital wildlife management tool, and giving back to the community
Twenty years ago, hunting shows on television followed a strict formula. A camera crew followed the hunters as they tracked the animal, while a narrator created a voice-over to add drama. The hunters always came home with an animal, and the hunts always appeared to unfold smoothly.
This approach rubbed Casey LaVere the wrong way. A lifelong hunter, he knew hunts were much more complex. Sometimes you missed. Sometimes you saw nothing. And beyond that, he knew that hunting was about way more than simply harvesting an animal—and that’s why he loved the sport.
Livin' The LandThis isn’t a collection of far-fetched stories—for these Can-Am owners, it’s their life. Check out what drives the next generation of those who live off the land.
So LaVere decided to launch a YouTube channel—Hushin (“hunting” combined with “fishing”)—to take viewers behind the scenes, create a more honest approach, and, hopefully, challenge some long-standing misconceptions about the activities that defined his life. “I wanted to bring people along, allow them to see everything, and have them right there with us,” LaVere says.
That approach worked and by 2018, with the help of business partners Brian McElrea and Eric Chesser, the channel was thriving. Hushin was producing great content, partnering with likeminded brands like Can-Am, and reaching a new audience with its honest approach. But not all viewers got it. “A lot of people just thought hunting was you drive through the woods and kill all the animals you see and then you go home,” LaVere says. There was a disconnect between what outsiders perceived as a dated blood sport and the holistic, healthy lifestyle LaVere and so many others were living.
Bridging that divide turned out to be crucial to the channel’s reason for being and critical to its success. From the outset, Hushin was built around three foundational pillars: inspiring new people to hunt and fish, bringing attention to conservation and access, and giving back by being good stewards in the community. The first pillar was an obvious one. “Standing in a stream fly-fishing or being on top of a remote ridge listening to an elk bugle is the best cure for any illness,” McElrea says. “We want to help more people have these experiences and help them do something they’ve never done before.”
Conservation was important because without a focus on healthy public land and healthy animals, hunting goes away. Hunters have long been at the forefront of conservation, but McElrea says that the involved enclave is aging, and Hushin wants to inspire a new generation to lead the charge. They’re doing that through content, but also with boots on the ground. Hushin recently collaborated with the Bureau of Land Management and hunting brand First Lite to apply for a grant that would fund the planting of 15,000 sage saplings in Idaho. Sage is an important winter food source for elk and mule deer, and when the grant comes through, Hushin will be out planting the new vegetation.
To give back and support their community—Hushin’s third pillar—the team holds a raffle each year and then uses the money to support a cause they believe in. One year, they donated $10,000 to a boys’ home that helped it build a wood shop and buy archery and fishing supplies. The next year, they gave $22,000 to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Last year, they raised $15,000, which allowed them to bring a disabled longtime fan out on his first elk hunt. After the hunt was over, they also bought him an off-road wheelchair so he could continue to get outside.
“We want to give back because we’ve been given so much,” Chesser says. “We never want to take what we’ve built for granted.”
To further amplify its mission across all three pillars, Hushin works with authentic brand partners. “We went through and hand-picked companies by asking, ‘do we love their product and do we truly connect with the people behind the product?’ If we could check off both those boxes, then it was always a good fit,” McElrea says. Which is why collaborating with Can-Am, whose vehicles enable and enhance the hunting lifestyle, made so much sense. Recently, Can-Am featured Hushin in the third episode of its Livin’ the Land series (watch the full video above), which highlights real people who are living off the land and inspiring others to do the same.
When asked where they see themselves in the next five or ten years, LaVere, Chesser, and McElrea all point back to their pillars. They want to continue to grow their community, they want to continue to be involved in conservation, and they’re excited to find new people and causes to support. And, of course, they want to continue hunting and creating exciting content.
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