The Nature of Hunting



Hunters are among some of the most contentious wildlife conservationists around, according to Kenneth Taylor. As well as teaching English at North for many years, Taylor is heavily involved in the hunting and fishing community. Taylor believes hunters are some of the biggest advocates against pollution, poaching, and illegal wildlife activity. 

“You want to make a hunter mad? Leave trash while you’re out hunting. We don’t allow it. It’s so interesting to me that those who talk the most about protecting wildlife do the least. And those who are actually out hunting and enjoying and being a part of nature do the most,” Taylor said.

Taylor started hunting before he could even remember. From a young age, he started going out with his dad and all of his friends to go hunting. 

“I don’t ever remember not hunting and fishing. That’s how we spend our time outdoors,” Taylor said. 

Even though he hunted his whole childhood after college Taylor didn’t get the opportunity to get out into wildlife as much due to a busy workload. Once his kids became old enough, he started taking them hunting as well. Taylor loved sharing his interest in hunting with his youngest Joey. He has always been surrounded by wildlife and the outdoors his entire life. When he started teaching he still wanted to find time for hunting. 

“Some opportunities came around for me to start doing a little bit of freelance writing, and that freelance writing about hunting and fishing, [then led to] doing a monthly column for Water and Woods magazine,” Taylor said.

Taylor has never let it interfere with his teaching and it was a separate job for him. After starting the monthly column, the publisher of The Water Woods Magazine started to help him get his own radio show started. In 2011, Taylor started his radio show in the local KC area.

“It started with just one station here in Kansas City that aired. Then over the years, we grew it and finally had a national group pick us up, then Sirius XM picked us up, so we ended up being about 60 actual radio stations around the country,” Taylor said. 

Taylor has noticed throughout working in both the outdoor community and educational community that he felt that they are two completely conflicting fields. Eventually, over a year after starting the radio show, Taylor added the podcast portion to the show in 2012.

“We had been on air for several years before we started the podcasting side of it. And that was when everything was sort of transitioning over to people stopping listening to the radio and starting only listening to their phones. So we sort of made that transition over at that time period.”

Since working in two completely conflicting fields, Taylor felt that he has a unique angle on the bias that’s different from most people. While continuing with his radio show, he felt like he needed to start getting more involved on social media to grow connections and have more of an online presence. 

 “One of the things that was really interesting is most of the folks in the outdoor community that I was working with, are very conservative. Most of the people in education are very liberal. So I got to see both sides,” Taylor said. 

Taylor talked about the information, and misinformation, that is spread through social media and how difficult it can be to know what information online is true or not. 

“I hate social media, I hate everything about it. All my education friends would look at the same piece of information so differently than my friends on the opposing side would,” Taylor said. “The two different opposing viewpoints and the information they were getting were all biased. So as an English teacher that’s been really interesting to teach.”

From the creation of numerous national parks to movements dedicated to species recovery to providing funding for scientific research, many hunters made contributions to help out, financially and physically. 

“One of the things I think that people don’t understand is that nature must be in balance as there is always a hunter and a prey aspect because anytime you see something get overpopulated it’s actually very bad for that population,” Taylor said. 

Taylor talked about the overabundance of deer in Shawnee Mission Park, and how it impacted the species in the area. 

“As you view those deer compared to all the other deer that you see, they’re always frail, small, and undernourished. And usually, that also then leads to a lot of the diseases like hemorrhagic disease (EHD) that happens when deer lack water,” said Taylor.

 He explained that they all move into one area in severe drought in search of water. Which then leads to EHD spreading extremely fast. 

“So most disease that we see actually comes from overpopulation, not from underpopulation,” said Taylor

Throughout his career, Taylor had opportunities to travel for his radio show and would have special guests join him in a discussion.  

“Most of the traveling I did was around fishing, not hunting. And the reason is, I’m a teacher. So I had summers available since I can’t just take a month of November off even though I’d really love to,” said Taylor.

After the pandemic started in early 2020, the radio show lost three of its main sponsors between March and June of 2020 due to covid. Taylor explained that his favorite part of being able to host the show was that it gave him the opportunity to become friends with many people in the industry that he had admired since childhood.

“The show helped me improve as a communicator and also taught me many aspects of running and owning my own business,” said Taylor. “Not only did I have to learn to be a show host, but I also had to learn to be an entrepreneur.”