At two different times over the past few weeks, I was able to catch up with a couple of really cool Montanans who do some incredible work with wildlife conservation and documentary film production.

Tom and Olivia Opre live in Kalispell.

Olivia Opre began "her career as a hunting guide, followed by serving as the personal assistant to Mary and Dick Cabela. During her time at Cabela's, she won the 2003 Mrs. Nebraska, America competition utilizing a platform promoting the importance of hunters as conservationists, humanitarians, and stewards of renewable wildlife resources." She has also hosted several outdoor TV programs, consults for wildlife museums in China, and was named to the International Wildlife Conservation Council (I.W.C.C.) reporting directly to the US Secretary of the Interior.

Meanwhile, check out Tom Opre's bio:

Since 1990, Opre has produced and/or directed national television commercial projects for Fortune 500 companies, feature films, and episodic television including wildlife projects for Discovery Channel and PBS. In 2015, he wrapped a seven year prime-time run on NBC Sports producing the highest rated, award-winning television show in the outdoor field sports genre

Tom has a new documentary out called "Killing the Shepherd" that is gaining international recognition and film festival awards. We talked with Tom about his documentary:

Tom Opre: I ran across a project in Zambia that was about a local rural community that was led by a woman chief, which is rare for that area. And she literally chose to break the bonds of absolute poverty that her people were experiencing by waging a war against illegal wildlife poaching. And we documented over the course of about three and a half years, over 120 days in country, this overall situation and it was just this incredible story where literally, these folks worked with the safari hunting industry to try to team up and partner, and they were able to find a family that came into an area to help them out -in an area that they over two decades had not had any, I would say, any real anti- poaching efforts.

Later, we chatted with Olivia about wildlife conservation, how hunting helps preserve wildlife, and the need to delist the grizzly bear from the Endangered Species List:

Olivia Opre: We all want to preserve, protect, and enhance populations. And by allowing hunting of species similar to grizzly bears or elephants or some other kinds of controversial species, we can enhance their populations greatly. Look at Alaska. Their grizzly bear populations are exploding, you can legally hunt there.

Check out the audio of our chats with both Olivia and Tom Opre. We compiled both conversations into one podcast below:


 


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