BrushBuck Co-Founder Adam Lackner’s interview with local radio station, 96.9 The Mountain
Listen to one of Brushbuck’s co-founders, Adam Lackner, in a radio interview with local station 96.9 KMTN ‘The Mountain’ where he discusses how Brushbuck got started, how guides are trained, the company’s Africa tours and involvement in non-profits, as well as some of the benefits of choosing Brushbuck as your guided tour operator. A full transcript is below in case you can’t play the audio.
FISH: You may have seen these green, safari style trucks driving around town, or perhaps driving around Yellowstone National Park, or Grand Teton National Park. Well, it’s a company called Brushbuck Wildlife Tours, and if you’re looking for a one of a kind wildlife experience either here in Grand Teton National Park, or up North in Yellowstone, where you can witness scenery and amazing wildlife and have expert guides and get some history, then you need to check in with Brushbuck Wildlife Tours. And Adam, one of the owners, joins me this morning. Good Morning Adam, how you doing?
ADAM: Good mornin Fish, thanks for having me.
FISH: Well thank you for coming in, let’s talk a little bit about Brushbuck Wildlife Tours, tell me how this whole thing started.
ADAM: The whole thing started in 2006, we [Adam and the 2 other owners] got out of the military, and then we just went ahead and, we apprenticed at, we went to a guide school in Montana, Royal Tine Guide & Packer School, and you learn backcountry horsemanship, you learn how to track, you learn archery, you learn several different things about being backcountry outdoorsmen. And so we took that, with the thought that we were going to be backcountry outfitters for guided hunting. And then we transitioned into wildlife tours.
FISH: And I want to touch back, before I go into that, and I’ll come back to it, but, you mentioned you’re all, you got out of the military. So you’re one of the co-owners, it’s your sister and your brother in law, and you’re all military veterans, so, thank you for your service, let me just say that. But I would imagine some of the things, like as an outfitter, you mentioned the tracking, that’s probably helping out in finding wildlife for your clients currently, visual wildlife.
ADAM: Yeah, visual wildlife, that’s a big deal. The military side, is nice because you know, when you train, when we train, we use a Marine Corps sniper observation class.
ADAM: And that says, we call it glassing, it’s called the ‘glass class’, and we have a lot of fun with it, we train guides how to find animals with their equipment, which is very important because your equipment makes you a much better guide if you know how to utilize it. And that’s spotting scopes, tripods, and binoculars. And so, so our guides glass up animals sometimes over a mile or even two miles away on our wolf trips, and then they’re able to find it, put it in the spotting scope, the tracking side is very important because you can go out and do interpretive guiding, and talk about tracks, talk about different plants, and so the interpretive side of guiding is another very important piece about guiding.
FISH: Now you’re not giving away any of the military secrets of training are you?
ADAM: [laughing] No, no.
FISH: That’s good. So, can you guarantee wildlife? I mean, there’s so much wildlife in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park, for the most part, you’re gonna see some wildlife.
ADAM: We can guarantee wildlife. I mean, We leave at early times, we notice a lot of other tour companies would leave later, and that leaving early in the morning, staying out later at night has been a critical point for us. And if customers aren’t willing to do that, we won’t take them. We have to leave at these times to go, and that guarantees you’re gonna see lots of species, and so we push for elk, moose, bears, eagles, of course the birding in the wintertime, wolves. And even in the summertime, if the wolves are on their dens, we can consistently get people on animals that they would not see without a guide.
FISH: See any lions, or monkeys, or anything like that?
ADAM: In Africa, we definitely do!
FISH: And I want to get to that because I know that you are deeply tied to Africa as well, as a company.
ADAM: Yes, yes, and it’s been a real privilege to work in Africa, as we work with these tours we’re creating jobs, we’ve donated over $60k to non-profits, including like the Northrise Initiative that is a university that’s helping to end poverty through entrepreneurship and education. And so what they do is, the underlying issue with poaching, which is poverty. You have somebody that can go out and make a year’s wages by killing a rhino, that’s a big problem and so, we’re trying to deal with the underlying issue of poverty, to help stop poaching.
FISH: I also know that you have a couple of different options, I mean, you and I were talking before we went on the air, trying to figure out a day that we could go on a trip, and you know, scheduling is tough, kids, etc., you have a couple of different options, 4-8 hour options. A variety of options, both in Teton and Yellowstone as well.
ADAM: Yeah, so we have the 4 hour option, is the open-air safari, which most people notice driving around. Those open air safaris are 4 hour morning [and/or] 4 hour evening, and people really enjoy those trips. And so, Yellowstone are full day trips, and so, those include lunch, they include a continental breakfast, and of course snacks and refreshments. And there’s optics for everybody, so every guest that goes has binoculars, a nice set of binoculars and so, so it’s a great trip out there.
FISH: Well, it’s not just about the wildlife, you get the beautiful scenery, you get the history of Yellowstone and Grand Teton Park, you get the thermal features, you get, and again, you and I were talking before we went on the air, what, you know, you could drive through the park and see the same thermal features, or whatever, but the guide is really what makes a difference, and I know that’s a huge part of your team.
ADAM: Yeah, so the geology side, the birding, the plants, the human history side, I mean, we have a guide named Kevin, he’s a Shoshone native, and so he can talk a lot about those kinds of things, and when we train as a team, he actually helped us a lot this year, talking about native american history, and things like that. We talk about Washakie, we talk about all kinds of different things. Of course the Yellowstone volcano, the Teton fault lock, and of course glaciation is a big part of Jackson Hole as well. And we go over all those things on these guided trips.
FISH: So you might actually learn a little something on your vacation.
ADAM: We hope so, you know, early in the morning, we notice people, before coffee, they’re not quite as receptive, after coffee, everything starts to chime in.
FISH: [laughs] That’s kind of how it goes here at the radio station.
ADAM: Exactly, exactly.
FISH: Wow, Adam, I could talk all day about this stuff, I can’t wait to get in one of these open air safari vehicles, and do a tour with you guys, Brushbuck wildlife tours, you can check them out online at Brushbucktours.com, you can stop by and see them at 490 S Hwy 89, the very, the old old old maverick station right next to the radio station, you can dial them up on the telephone, (307) 699-2999. Take a trip into Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park with the experienced, veteran guides of BBWT, Adam, as always, thank you very much for hanging out with us
ADAM: Thank you very much, Fish, I appreciate it.
FISH: And again, thank you for your service to this country.
Special thanks to 96.9 KMTN ‘The Mountain’ for providing the recording of the interview. You can listen to KMTN’s stream live at http://969themountain.com/, or visit their Facebook page for updates here.