American Hunter - December 2020 - 25

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Hot Spot
Cold Spot

When hunters come to his Nebraska grain farm, Marvin
Breighel looks forward to making new friends and showing
off his world-class cartridge collection.

increasingly seeking additional revenue from a category that
didn't even have a name in the 1980s-agritourism. According
to the USDA, agritourism earnings more than tripled between
2002 and 2017, and now account for around $1 billion annually
even though wineries were excluded from its 2017 survey. The
good news is that a growing number are hosting hunters.
So, no, it's not hunting your family's farm, and yes, quite
likely you will have to pay. But in today's market, some of our
cronies are finding good fits for the way they want to hunt and
their budgets.

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Farmers Are Conservationists Too

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Photos: Author

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■	 Ryan Newkirk is the seventh generation in his family to till
the fertile ground near Paso Robles, Calif. What was started with
cattle and grain in the 1880s eventually transformed into a vineyard as it became evident that the area's "Mediterranean climate"
is better for growing grapes than fattening cows. Celebrating its
100th anniversary at its current location, Steinbeck Family Vineyard (steinbeckwines.com) is now a partnership involving Ryan's
grandparents, Howie and Bev Steinbeck, and mom, Cindy Steinbeck. In addition to annual production of 600 acres of grapes and
running a busy tasting room, the Steinbeck clan added guided deer
hunting to the operation in 2013. If this family story sounds familiar, it's because Field Editor Bryce Towsley told it in our November
2019 issue, and so we won't rehash a lot of that here.
While we might call Ryan by a fancy term like viticulturist or
oenologist, he'll tell you he's a farmer who stresses over his soil
and vines every day of the year. And he self-identifies as a hunter,
though after guiding me to a mature coastal blacktail, he said that
mentoring guests-including some who've hunted worldwide-is
americanhunter.org  ❘ 

H2020_12_FirstLight.indd 25

more satisfying that pulling the trigger himself. What's also been
gratifying is sharing the experience with winery patrons who are
often non-hunters. Without fail, they'll cross the small parking
area between the tasting room and his skinning tree when they
see Ryan dressing a deer. "It's kind of messy, you know, but their
response is always positive when they get that this is food, that this
is another natural product from our vineyard. It's great outreach
to show them what we're all about."
■	 Marvin Breighel grows wheat, corn, beans and feeder calves
on his farm in south-central Nebraska. If you visit at the right
time, you'll see the "amber waves of grain" famously envisioned in
"America The Beautiful." Or perhaps a few weeks later, you'll watch
scores of whitetails trooping into his harvested fields, including
some great bucks.
For many years, Marv has welcomed hunters through leases
with prominent shooting-industry clients Knight Rifles and Hornady. Along the way he's hosted media figures like Jim Shockey,
Jim Zumbo, Mark Kayser and others. Marv is never shy about telling them how to hunt his place, and based on my time there, he's
usually right. Though he certainly counts on his leasing proceeds,
the crusty old farmer shrugs off the fact that it barely puts a dent
in the abundance of deer and turkeys on his place. Despite the
crop damage they bring, he appreciates their presence and keeps
a close watch. The big draw bringing in hunters, he's told me, is
having company and making new friendships.
■	 Ron is a west Texas cattle rancher whose high-desert spread
is way bigger than farms found elsewhere, but still remains very
much a family business. His homestead is kept in immaculate condition, and when I met the man, he'd been grading ranch roads,
which were also in great shape. For additional income, Ron works
with outfitter Jim Breck Bean (highwestoutfitter.com) to bring
in visiting hunters seeking trophy game, and for the record, this
is not a high-fence area. Along with the local mule deer, pronghorns and javelina regulated by statewide seasons and licenses, the
region is also home to introduced species like elk, desert bighorn
and aoudad. For them, Ron and his neighbors are allotted tags
based on state-conducted population surveys, which can then be
sold as the landowners see fit. Ron talked enthusiastically about
having wildlife on his land, but acknowledged it's important to
keep their numbers balanced with the carrying capacity in this
arid landscape.
Interestingly, a USDA map of agritourism hot spots and cold
spots from 2012 survey data shows how significant the additional
revenue is thereabouts, as the Trans-Pecos region was the nation's

25  ❘  december 2020

10/15/20 3:49 PM

TAH Proof   ❑ Rough  ❑ Revised  ❑ #_____  ❑ Final  ❑ Radielovic  ❑ McKibbin  ❑ Draper  ❑ Mehall  ❑ Olmsted  ❑ Bier  ❑ Herman

Photo: Author

The USDA attributes the nation's biggest agritourism hotspot in
West Texas to the region's brisk business in outfitted hunting.

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Image: USDA

Agritourism Hot Spots and Cold Spots

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http://www.highwestoutfitter.com http://www.steinbeckwines.com http://www.americanhunter.org

American Hunter - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - December 2020

Contents
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover1
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover2
American Hunter - December 2020 - 1
American Hunter - December 2020 - Contents
American Hunter - December 2020 - 3
American Hunter - December 2020 - 4
American Hunter - December 2020 - 5
American Hunter - December 2020 - 6
American Hunter - December 2020 - 7
American Hunter - December 2020 - 8
American Hunter - December 2020 - 9
American Hunter - December 2020 - 10
American Hunter - December 2020 - 11
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American Hunter - December 2020 - 27
American Hunter - December 2020 - 28
American Hunter - December 2020 - 29
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American Hunter - December 2020 - State_1
American Hunter - December 2020 - State_2
American Hunter - December 2020 - 79
American Hunter - December 2020 - 80
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover3
American Hunter - December 2020 - Cover4
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