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ATN ProStaff, Shane Kessler Taking on Feral Hogs

If you are just tuning in to this series with our friends at ATN Corp, then you are in for a treat. Today we are excited to publish an interview with ATN ProStaff Member, Shane Kessler who has over five years of experience with the company and over 40 years of experience in the hunting world. Shane is from Louisiana where feral pigs are a HUGE problem. Today, we sit down and chat about his experience and how ATN gear changed the game and helped him with feral pigs.

CLN: Can you give our audience a brief introduction to yourself? (Background, about you, and your experience in the outdoors industry).

Shane: My full-time job is being a firefighter/paramedic, I’ve been doing that for 22 years. With that, I get a lot of days off. I actually work two days on and four days off. So me being able to have so much free time allows me to get out and hunt a lot more than what the average person can. My experience with ATN started about five years ago and since then, I’ve grown to where I am a ProStaff Member for a range of different products. It’s cool because I’m pretty diverse in the outdoor industry as far as being an influencer or ProStaff member for each of these areas. I’ve been hunting since I was 10 years old and I’m 50 now so 40 plus years in the hunting world.

CLN: Can you dive a little deeper into how you came across ATN products and what got you involved with the company?

Shane: It was around 2016, the feral hog problem had gotten so bad in Louisiana that Louisiana started to fall in the footprints of other states and started allowing nighttime hunting. Feral hogs are naturally very nocturnal, so in order for you to be effective, you’ve got to go after them at night. With that news coming out, I ended up buying my first-night vision scope. I did a lot of research looking at different companies and what not but I ended up going with the ATN X-Sight, which is their original X-Sight scope. At the time I thought like, this is amazing, and we shot a lot of pigs with that X-Sight night vision device. Then the X-Sight 2 rolled around, which was an upgraded version of the original scope. The image quality was better, there were a lot more features about it that appealed to me. So I went that route, then I was able to bite the bullet and buy a Thor HD Thermal. Once I did that it completely changed the game for me.

When I first started, you know I had no intention of our relationship going this way. I just posted a lot of content. I was just excited to show people what we could do and what this device is capable of. I was like y’all, you’ve got to get one of these because you know everybody here in Louisiana has a pig problem so I was just promoting a lot online, and at the time, that was my goal. I didn’t know how you became an influencer or ProStaff Member, I had no idea, I was just so excited about this product.

CLN: In your opinion what is the difference between ATN products and other scope/tech companies?

It’s not just one thing for me, it’s multiple things. One of the biggest things that we love more than anything, is the battery life. We can use it all night and part of the next day or evening without having to worry about recharging our optic. Whereas in the past you were relying on double-A batteries that had to be ultimate lithiums and you only get about six hours of run time then you’d have to change batteries. Also, lithium batteries are not cheap. Other manufacturers out there still utilize CR 123 batteries or make you use an external battery pack. The ability to have the scope that has that much battery power in it without having to put extra weight on my gun from a battery pack or carry around extra batteries, to me, is awesome. Plus you can’t beat the affordability of it and the features that are built into the scope. A lot of these other manufacturers just don’t have that.

CLN: Since our audience spans nationally and internationally, most people might not know the problem that farmers have with hogs. Can you explain how feral hogs are a nuisance? How big do they get?

Shane: The feral hog population doubles about every 120 days and to effectively manage the population you need to remove about 70% of the population every year, just to maintain your current population level. So you have 100,000 Pigs, you’ve got to kill 70-75% just to keep 100,000 from growing. And where it stands right now, the feral hog population is still out of control and we cannot keep up with it. A lot of people, especially in other countries don’t understand it. What they don’t understand is feral hogs do close to $2 billion dollars a year in property loss, crop damage and water pollution. When you talk to a farmer, it cost him $600 an acre to replant corn, and six or eight pigs can come in there and decimate 10 to 20 acres a night. It doesn’t take much to the financial impact. The farmers are very grateful for us. In fact, we’re running about 100,000 acres of land now, hitting their fields multiple times a night eradicating nuisance hogs. These hogs can get well over 300 pounds and even touch over 400 pounds depending on the location. An average pig for us is about 225 to 250 pounds and they do a lot of damage.

CLN: I would imagine ATN technology has changed your hunting game, can you expand on this in your own words?

Shane: I’ve mentioned it before, but the battery life, the functions that we have at our disposal, and being able to enter ballistic data and shoot longer ranges at night. One of the biggest things you’re going to encounter shooting at night versus during the day is not knowing your true distance and ATN helps provide an accurate shooting range regardless of the time of day. Another massive game-changer is the high image quality, being able to differentiate different game animals because of the image quality that the scope provides.

CLN: For anyone on the fence about investing in their hunting gear, what would you tell them?

Shane: I would tell them to not be intimidated by it. Yes, there is a slight learning curve because a lot of people are so used to traditional scopes, but it doesn’t take much time on the range for you to get the features down and understand how the scope works. The simplicity of it is amazing. Anybody can use these scopes. My wife, when she comes out with me, it just takes a second to go over everything with her. It’s very simple. It’s not nearly as complicated as back in the day when you’re trying to program a VCR. Don’t be intimidated by the technology, just get out there, get some range time and you’re ready to go.

CLN: In general, I feel there is a general lack of education around hunting and conservation, what message do you want to send to those who might be new to hunting or might be seeing this kind of content for the first time?

Shane: Get on social media and do your own research. There are tons of people out there who take beginners and show them the ropes. I’ve done it countless times. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are tons of good hunting groups on Facebook and other social media platforms. Get in there, read, ask questions and it’ll make a huge difference.

CLN: Do you have any closing thoughts about you or ATN that you’d like our audience to know?

Shane: As far as ATN products, I can’t speak enough about them. We use them every day and then when I say every day we kill over 1000 feral hogs a year. And we’re out there four or five nights a week, every week, using ATN products in and out. They definitely take a beating, get in and out of the trucks, on tripods, getting dirty and dusty but they still perform every time without fail. So you know, if you’re interested in doing that kind of stuff, don’t be afraid, do your own research and make the decision for yourself but you won’t be disappointed with any of the ATN products.

We want to thank Shane for taking the time today to chat with us about his experience with ATN products, we hope that you’ll make the leap and check out some ATN gear for yourself. You can find more content from Shane by checking out his Facebook page. It’s been a hard year, it’s time to upgrade your hunting gear. Check out their full line of products by following the link below.

Hi everyone! I'm Krysta Paffrath, I am a proud Arizona native who has a passion for everything business and rodeo. I am beyond thrilled to be the Editor in Chief for Cowboy Lifestyle Network. With my background in digital marketing and rodeo, this was a natural fit for me to join the team. My adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit has guided me to work in many places like the WYO Quarter Horse Ranch in Thermopolis, Wyoming, a working cattle ranch in Seligman, Arizona, and many places in between. I am passionate about preserving the western way of life and working with different brands and rodeos to make that happen. If you're looking for a write-up, please shoot me an email at krysta@clngo.com. Learn more about me at krystapaffrath.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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