Toronto Blue Jay Randal Grichuk loves his bird hunting!
It is safe to say that 2020 has been a very weird year for everyone. Sadly, one of the first consistent things we lost to the Covid-19 pandemic was sports, and most of us did not realize how much we missed them until they were gone. Thankfully, a Major League Baseball season is finally underway in late July, albeit a rather strange one. It will surely be a season that baseball, and sports fans everywhere, will not soon forget.
We were recently able to catch up with some prominent MLB players who share our same love of the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. What we found were some down-to-earth pro athletes who unwind much in the same way as us, getting outside with a rod or rifle whenever possible.
Today we are talking to Toronto Blue Jay outfielder Randal Grichuk. The right hander started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals before he was traded to Toronto in 2018. Last year he led the team in both home runs and RBIs. When he isn't on the field, he loves to unwind in the outdoors. Originally from Texas, Grichuk told us how his love of hunting for dove and quail began while hunting with his dad and how he juggles his love of hunting with a job that takes place during the prime part of the bird hunting seasons.
This guy's excitement about the subject of bird hunting was totally palpable!
Q&A with Randal Grichuk of the Toronto Blue Jays
WOS: With the coronavirus outbreak, did you get outside hunting more this spring? Or was your focus still on spring training?
Grichuk: "Dove season wasn't open, and I was in Arizona working out and focusing on baseball."
WOS: Favorite game species and why?
Grichuk: "Dove and quail because that is what my dad hunted and what I grew up with."
WOS: Tell us where your love for hunting started. Has it changed over the years? Has it been affected by your career?
Grichuk: "Ever since I can remember, my dad took me hunting. There are pictures of me at a super young age in a backpack on his back when he would go hunting. Growing up, hunting became my dad and I's thing to do together and that is what I love about it. Because he didn't find deer hunting fun, and thought duck hunting was too cold, he hunted mainly dove and quail, and that tradition was passed down to me. However, this is the only downside of baseball because it cuts right into my favorite hunting season. The hunting season starts in September and for MLB, we are still playing in September. Before I made it to the big leagues, I was able to hunt more in September due to the Minor League schedule."
WOS: Do you hunt with any of your baseball friends?
Grichuk: "We've talked about it but we have not gotten together because the best time to go is when we are still playing ball. Maybe this year!"
WOS: What are your top hunting tips for people new to the sport?
Grichuk: "Make sure you have shells in the gun - there have been plenty of times that I thought I had enough shells and didn't, and was out of luck. It is not super easy when you start, so stay with it and you'll get better as you practice. Finally, be smart with your gun!"
WOS: Tell us about your favorite hunting memory.
Grichuk: "The main memory that sticks out is our annual hunting trip or as we call it, "The Guys Trip." Every hunting season, my dad and our friends/family would go away for the weekend and hunt together. It was such great bonding time with my dad, and I will always cherish those memories with him. One specific memory of my dad and I hunting is when I was about 10 years old and we were hunting in west Texas and my dad had killed a dove. The dove was flying towards him by the time he killed it and my dad ended up catching it in his hands. As a 10-year-old, I thought it was so cool that my dad could do that."
WOS: What is your favorite hunting season and why?
Grichuk: "Dove season is definitely my favorite. Hunting dove is exciting! Usually wherever we go, we know we are going to see birds. What I like about it is that we are constantly shooting - there isn't too much waiting around."
WOS: Bow, rifle or shotgun hunting?
Grichuk: "Dove hunting actually uses a shotgun!"
WOS: Public land or private hunting? Why?
Grichuk: "A little bit of both! There are some leases that we go on and pay a fee to go on or some places it is free. A lot of the places are private land that is owned by people we know, and we are able to go."
WOS: What are your favorite outdoor brands?
Grichuk: "Realtree Camo (shirts, pants, hats), Stoeger (shotgun), Remington (shotgun shells)."
WOS: Are you planning a career in the outdoor industry post-baseball? If so, what do you hope to do?
Grichuk: "I don't plan on having a career, but I do plan on hunting all the time! If we do move back to Texas, I would definitely look into having my own land and ranch. If we stay in Arizona, I will travel back to Texas a ton."