We all know someone who doesn’t understand why we hunt. It can be a challenge to convince them of the purpose and purity of our sport. Robbie Kröger, founder of the not-for-profit organization Blood Origins, has made this his mission: delivering persuasive, authentic stories of hunting and conservation in an eye-catching format to powerfully convey the importance of hunting to the uninformed or those who are against it altogether. The Ultimate Predator was fortunate to be able to connect with Robbie for an informative interview.
TUP: According to your bio, you grew up in South Africa, surrounded by familial stories of hunting and the outdoors, but you actually didn’t begin your hunting journey until later in life. What were the most formidable challenges to getting started hunting without that early foundation of experience and what did you do to overcome them?
RK: Yup, I grew up in South Africa, but never really got to hunt. I learned to hunt in Mississippi from some good redneck friends (as you might expect). As a late-onset hunter, I had to transition through the phases of hunting very quickly. Luckily, I had friends who hunted and had places for me to go, otherwise I definitely see those two things as formidable obstacles to getting into hunting (i.e. not knowing what you’re doing/finding advice and guidance, and then finding places to hunt where your chances are pretty good you’ll get something).
TUP: On the Blood Origins website, you mention the dearth of public lands in South Africa and the fact there is no public hunting season there (which, admittedly, I didn’t realize). How has that influenced your perspective on hunting rights and opportunities in the U.S.?
RK: It means everything to me. If you don’t have the perspective from not having something, you don’t truly cherish what you do have. That’s why I fight so hard; that’s why I take things so seriously. A lot of people reach out to me and tell me, “Robbie, you are too serious.” Typically my response is that I came from a place where the freedoms of gun ownership, access to public lands, and hunting were eroded, and now raising my two boys in the U.S. I am going to do my damnedest to not let that be taken away from them.
TUP: Blood Origins, as its name implies, focuses on how the heritage of hunting, and the innate draw to it we all share, influences us and bonds us with other hunters. What makes this such a unique phenomenon when compared with other pastimes and sports?
RK: That’s an incredibly good question. The best way I can answer that is it’s something primal or instinctual in all of us. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or a hunter, there is something about being a participant in nature that is inside all of us. If we stripped it all away and placed someone in the wild, then told them to survive, it wouldn’t be very long until they started hunting. In modern society, hunting provides an opportunity to develop invaluable characteristics that are largely lost in society today—patience, discipline, self-control, and most importantly, understanding the cycle of life.
TUP: Blood Origins seeks to enlighten non-hunters about the value of hunting as it relates to conservation, introducing people to nature in a meaningful and lasting way, and giving them an appreciation of the wholesome sustenance (physical and spiritual) hunting can provide. How can we, collectively as hunters and outdoorsmen, help with that mission?
RK: This is simple. Whenever you engage in the digital space, always ask yourself, “What would a non-hunter think of my post?” That will force you to modify your post or provide more detail. You don’t have to shy away from posting pictures of dead animals, but provide context. Show yourself eating the meat, show the heartache, show the effort. I think today we are hyper-focused on the “brag-board”—sharing trophy pictures to the hunting community—but we need to remember that we never know who is watching, nor do we know the influence a single person could have on the preservation of our hunting heritage.
TUP: OK, a departure from the challenging questions: What is your all-time favorite game to pursue and why?
RK: Honestly, I don’t know yet. As I mentioned, I’m a late-onset hunter, so right now all game is right up there. However, if pushed, I really like the big, nasty, dangerous game. The game that has every opportunity to kill me as I do to kill it. I know that sounds morbid, but in that case it’s me against Mother Nature, on even ground, essentially. I have been on two buffalo hunts (one in Argentina and another in Australia), and both were so adrenaline pumping it’s hard to compare to anything else.
TUP: Robbie, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We look forward to seeing more of your work and appreciate what you’re doing for the hunting and outdoor community.
RK: Absolutely honored and humbled by your request to learn more about Blood Origins. We are a small voice with big ambitions.
You can learn more about Blood Origins’ mission at their website, become a monthly supporter, or make a charitable contribution, as they’re a 501(c)(3) organization.