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Interview: Craig Boddington Takes on Big Game Hunting in New Sportsman Channel Series

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Craig Boddington is an extraordinary man across-the-board. He’s deeply involved in the outdoors, and also deeply involved in service to his country. He spent 31 years as a Marine Corps infantry officer and was activated six times as Marine Corps Reservist. Originally from Kansas, Boddington has seen the world through a variety of lenses and rifle scopes as well.

In 1979, after graduating from Kansas University and leaving active duty, he began his career in publishing. From 1981 to 1993, he was the editor for Petersen’s Hunting, then left to continue writing for Hunting, Guns & Ammo and other publications. He has authored 23 books on hunting, shooting and firearms and appeared in a string of television shows. His newest show, The Boddington Experience, airing on Sportsman Channel, Boddington takes the viewer around the world and through his backyard in search of game and the true hunting experience.

Craig in New Zealand, 2011

Outdoor Hub: What is The Boddington Experience all about?

Craig Boddington: My intent is to share some of the great experiences I’ve had, and take the viewers with me to some of my favorite destinations and join me as we explore some new country. It’s a big world. Nobody will see it all, and I’m certainly not attempting to, but I love it all, from the highest mountains to the thick forest, and my hope is that I can share some of the passion and perhaps a little bit of the knowledge I’ve accumulated along the way.

OH: What have you learned as a Marine that you transferred to hunting?

CB: I was lucky, I had a really tough Scoutmaster (I was an Eagle Scout), and then came the Marines. Many great lessons from both, but I think the three primary lessons were: discipline, work ethic, and how to get along with a wide variety of people. I enjoy what I do, and I work hard at it. You could perhaps say that I’m driven, but nothing in the world I live in now could be as difficult (and certainly isn’t as important) as what I did in the Marines. This background helps keep me centered.

OH: What are some of the greatest hunts you’ve ever experienced?

CB: Wow! I’m sort of a junkie for this stuff, so the greatest hunts are probably the last one or the next one. But some special thrills have included hunting markhor in Pakistan, something I never expected to be able to do. And then there was the Himalayas in Nepal; the first African safari, truly a life-changing event; and an awesome safari in Zambia where everything came together… and another in Tanzania, where luck kept running my way. But I wouldn’t overlook the first whitetail I took on my Kansas farm, or sharing my two daughters’ first hunts. I’ve had a wonderful hunting career, and I’m glad it’s not over!

OH: What about your most difficult hunt?

CB: In ’99 I hunted Marco Polo sheep in Tajikistan. That’s always a tough hunt, but it was very cold as well as very high. I got frostbite on both feet, and I had a serious bout with altitude sickness. I should have gone down, but I refused evacuation and took a nice ram. I went back in 2003 to see if I could do better, not necessarily size of sheep, but personally better. It was late November, again very cold, and near the end of the hunt we glassed a beautiful ram bedding on a high ridge, maybe 16,000 feet. Those hills are very open. In snow camouflage we started to crawl down a long valley at about eight a.m. We got in the lee of the ridge and stood up for the first time at three pm. We climbed the ridge, and at the top the ram was still 700 yards away. My Russian guides motioned that when the sun went over the ridge the ram would get up and come down to us. So we waited, freezing, and just before sundown the ram got up and strolled down the ridge, as if on command. I got the shot at 350 yards.

OH: Where have you hunted?

CB: I’ve done over a hundred African hunts in 16 countries; 31 European hunts in 17 countries; 14 Asian hunts in 11 countries; 9 South Pacific; 5 South America; no idea how many North American hunts, but I think I’ve hunted 48 different states and provinces of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

OH: Do you have any advice for beginning or seasoned hunters?

CB: Always remember that it’s supposed to be fun. When I was a very young writer (like 22) an editor told me that if I really liked to hunt making a business of it could ruin it for me. I’ve always kept that in mind. Whether writing or doing TV, it is a business, but I still love it, and if that ever changes, I’m done.

Catch The Boddington Experience on the Sportsman Channel Fridays at 12:30 pm, Saturdays at 9 pm and Sundays at noon (all times EST).

Images courtesy of Craig Boddington

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