Bill Gorman is great-grandson of legendary outdoorsman and pioneering outdoor retailer Leon Leonwood Bean. As host of Outdoor Channel’s L.L.Bean Guide to the Outdoors, Bill has traveled the globe and logged countless miles in search of trophies, adventures and lasting memories with family and friends. Whether he’s in pursuit of red stag in Austria, Dall sheep in Alaska, cape buffalo in Zimbabwe or white-tails in Kansas, he enjoys the journey of each adventure as much as the destination.
We sat down with Bill to talk about some of his favorite experiences over a lifetime of hunting.
When did you first start hunting?
My first hunting experience was in 1976 with my good friend and mentor George Denoncour, hunting for white-tail deer in Stratham, New Hampshire. I didn’t get a deer on that hunt, but I was hooked. George and I hunted together for the next four years.
Today I am able say that I have hunted all over the world. I have practiced the old traditions and learned new ones throughout my journey. As hunters, the best thing we can do is pass down to our children a deep respect for the outdoors and the game we pursue.
Hunting and fishing is a way of life and part of my DNA. It is a proud heritage that I am happy to support, promote and share with my family, friends, colleagues and viewers.
What was your most challenging hunt?
This is easy. I was invited to hunt Africa in 1998. Africa soon became my obsession. It’s an amazing and breathtaking destination that is by all accounts a hunter’s paradise.
In 2013, my lifelong goal to take a Cape buffalo with a bow was finally realized. The number of hunters who have tried this are limited, as it is extremely dangerous. I am proud to say that I practiced every day to be certain that I was properly prepared for the moment.
While it was a challenging and difficult hunt in the brutal brush of Mozambique, I relied on all of my skills and understanding of the environment to locate and harvest this magnificent animal with a bow. It was a rewarding experience and I was delighted to have it all on film to share with my viewers.
What was the most exotic location you ever traveled for your show?
It has to be New Zealand. While I was there to hunt the elusive Chamois I found myself in awe of the breathtaking landscapes. The environment is so diverse and rich with spectacular beaches, mountain, fiords and picturesque hillsides. It really overwhelms the senses and gives you a deep appreciation for the beauty and grandeur found in New Zealand.
Why is environmental stewardship so important to hunters?
As a conservationist, I believe that by adhering to practical management models for both the environment and wildlife that we can build a strong and sustainable future for all of those who share my passion for the outdoors. My goal on the show is to present to my viewers an environmental/conservation message and show of respect and reverence for the game. It is important to me to convey what’s happening with the species, what’s happening with their habitat, and to demonstrate how we are harvesting in an ethical and sustainable manner.
Of all your gear, what’s the one thing you absolutely couldn’t do without?
My absolute favorites are the L.L.Bean Gore-Tex Soft-Shell pants and jacket. Both the pant and jacket are loaded with features designed specifically for hunters. The exterior fabric is exceptionally quiet and won’t spook game, while the Gore-Tex laminate and taped seams guarantee that I will stay dry and warm regardless of the type of inclement weather that I encounter in the field.