I am old school and have preferred outdoor information in written form most of my life. That was before I started listening to the podcasts created by my old friends, Brandon Butler and Nathan "Shags" McLeod.
Now I look forward to their next production, then I read my new copy of Gray’s Sporting Journal on the back porch while smoking a good cigar.
Butler and McLeod teamed up to co-host the Driftwood Outdoors Podcast. There are 41 episodes now live on the Driftwood Outdoors website and all major podcasting platforms. The guys haven’t missed a Tuesday morning release since the show’s inception last August. They have covered numerous subjects and have many more ideas for future shows.
This COVID-19 pandemic made listening or reading outdoor literature even more precious. I had press trips canceled and found being home boring. So, I checked out the guys podcasts and have become a fan.
I was not surprised knowing their splendid outdoor backgrounds. They thrive in the outdoors and, more importantly, know the right questions to ask. Butler and Shags deliver engaging interviews with an impressive lineup of guests. The duo’s entertaining style hooks listeners and makes the podcast fun and easy to listen to.
Some of their recent shows included:
• The former Missouri State Parks Director Bill Bryan about building Echo Bluff and everything state parks.
• Everything fishing on Lake Taneycomo with one of the best in Chuck Gries, owner and operator of Anglers Outfitters Guide Service and Fly Shop.
• A visit with Larry Whitley, Branson’s Outdoor Ambassador and voice of Bass Pro Shops.
• An informative talk with Brett Dufur the former mayor of Rocheport, Missouri, a Missouri River kayaking guide and author of "The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook."
• An interesting conversation with Russell Graves about his new wildlife book plus his photography tours, workshops and safaris with Backcountry Journeys.
• Information from Missouri Department of Conservation elk biologist Aaron Hildreth about the historic elk hunting season in Missouri this fall.
• A talk with Derek Butler who completed the TransAmerica Trail, a bicycle route across the country from Oregon to Virginia.
• An interview with the owner and operator of Scenic Rivers Guide Service and Tours, Billy Smith.
• Visiting with the "Voodoo Master of Turkey Killing," Alex Rutledge, owner of American Roots Outdoors.
• Information from Missouri Department of Conservation turkey biologist Reina Tyl and former turkey biologist (and current Cervid Health Program supervisor) Jason Isabelle.
• An informative visit with the founder of Traditional Bowhunter magazine, T.J. Conrads.
• A visit with Clay Newcomb, owner and operator of Bear Hunting Magazine and The Bear Hunting Magazine Podcast.
• An interesting talk with author and founder of Bowhunting Magazine, M.R. James.
The steady growth of their audience proves there is a base of listeners seeking information about conservation and outdoor recreation in Midwest states. This type of show is important during these strange times, and our Midwestern states are enriched with outdoor topics.
"This region provides Shags and I endless opportunities to talk hunting, fishing and so much more with some of the most passionate and dedicated conservationists in the country," Butler said. "We hope to use this new platform to support our state and the natural resources we are both so passionate about."
These guys aren’t just talking about spending time in the outdoors, they actually live the life. Whether fishing the Current River, chasing deer and turkeys in the Ozarks or hunting ducks up north, or shooting pheasants in Kansas, Butler and Shags are all over the Midwest, covering every imaginable outdoor topic.
"Butler and I love telling stories, and no stories are better than hunting and fishing lore," McLeod said. "If you care about the outdoors, we hope you’ll give Driftwood Outdoors a listen, and if you like what you hear, please subscribe and share the podcast with your family and friends."
Butler is a syndicated outdoor newspaper columnist and freelance magazine writer. Many might recognize his column, Driftwood Outdoors, that has appeared in more than 50 newspapers. He currently is director of communications for Roeslein Alternative Energy, a renewable natural gas company dedicated to conservation. He, too, spent five years as the executive director for the Conservation Federation of Missouri. He created and taught conservation communications at the University of Missouri and he is actively involved in numerous conservation organizations.
McLeod has spent the past 15 years building a dedicated Mid-Missouri fan base that loves a good laugh and conservation news. He’s brought his love for the outdoors to the masses through his radio show on KCMQ, 96.7 FM in Columbia. Shags has become a spokesperson for conservation in the region and beyond.
The Driftwood Outdoors Podcast is available on the website (www.driftwoodoutdoors.com), and all major podcast platforms. New episodes are released every Tuesday morning. Subscribe and never miss an episode.
– Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoors writer and member of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, writes a weekly outdoors column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.