Chris Richards’ passion is moose hunting. And he pursues Maine’s largest game animal every year.
No, he doesn’t have anyone pulling strings for him at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Even if he isn’t lucky enough to be chosen in the permit lottery, he also works as a guide with OMM Outfitters in Eagle Lake.
Richards draws on his considerable experience in the field as the host for the new Moose Hunt Podcast, the state’s first podcast dedicated to moose hunting.
On the podcast, Richards and the team of 31 Registered Maine Guides at OMM Outfitters — the state’s largest moose hunting operation — share their knowledge with moose hunters from Maine and beyond, a gift for those unable to hire a guide for their own hunt.
“We didn’t really find a ton of content focused predominantly on moose hunting. And it really is our passion,” Richards said of his initial discussions about the podcast with OMM Outfitters owner Nathan Theriault.
While the operation also offers hunting for bear and waterfowl, what really inspires the crew is moose hunting.
“The moose hunt, we’re talking about it year round,” Richards said.
Since it resonates so profoundly with the guides, they figured it would be fun to discuss moose hunting in detail for a wider audience.
The show debuted with two episodes posted on Aug. 7 and the third was released last Sunday.
“We’ve had well over 1,000 downloads, we’ve hit 240 cities and we’ve been listened to as far away as Finland,” Richards said.
Richards will take turns interviewing his peers at OMM during the podcast, which provides tactics and tips about moose hunting and tells entertaining stories about what they have encountered.
The target audience includes those who are new to moose hunting and even veteran hunters, as they can appreciate stories of memorable adventures and difficult lessons learned.
“So much of the goal of it is to bring relatability to the professional guide world to people who have never done it before,” Richards said. “We really think people can enjoy hearing about some of our mistakes, because we’ve definitely made many.”
Because moose hunting can be a huge undertaking, discussing the proper techniques and practices might help folks avoid major problems during the process.
“Maybe they’ve never done a moose hunt before and they decide they want to try a DIY, maybe even remote camp thing,” said Richards, who wants the podcast to be an educational resource.
“We would be really proud to know that sharing knowledge from this podcast helps someone be successful,” he said.
Episode 1 sets the stage for why the podcast was created and how it intends to engage its audience with discussions of all things moose. Richards introduces listeners to Theriault, who talks about his path to becoming a Registered Maine Guide and outfitter.
Theriault and Richards talk frankly about the importance of planning for the moose hunt and scouting in advance and they share tips about how to select the proper firearm to use.
Richards brings his point home with a self-deprecating anecdote in which he chose an unfamiliar gun to use during a moose hunt. After it malfunctioned, he was handed his favorite rifle and made a good shot.
Richards, who when he’s not in the woods is the vice president of enrollment management at the University of Maine, was the subject last fall of a deer hunting story in which he unwittingly dealt with symptoms of COVID-19 and still harvested a nice buck.
Podcast listeners will appreciate his humble, low-key approach.
“I do have the gift of gab and do love to share stories,” he said.
In Episode 2, Richards sits down with guide Ken Mayo, who teamed up with Theriault to get OMM Outfitters off the ground in 2002. They discuss ethical shot placement and the benefits of quartering a moose in the field while sprinkling in more hunting tales.
His hope, in addition to covering the myriad dynamics of moose hunting, is also to give listeners an appreciation for the tradition of hunting camps in northern Maine and how the people and the industry influence the region.
Richards said a new episode of the Moose Hunt Podcast will air every week for the first month, with two per month scheduled during the rest of the year. It can be found on Apple and Spotify and also is available on the OMM Outfitters YouTube channel.