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About Wild Surroundings

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Philosophies and Landscapes - About Lars:

I was fortunate to have grown up with a very adventurous father. He had tremendous passion and knowledge for the outdoors, and I soaked it up like a sponge. I was addicted, and, like my father before me, I knew it was going to be more than a passion; it would become my living.


By the time I was in my early teens, I had snared Langusta lobsters, caught Atlantic salmon on a fly in Canada, speared grouper in the British Virgin Islands, successfully run labradors and beagles on ducks, upland birds and hare, and maintained a supply of venison and other wild meats in the freezer. In those younger, cocky and competitive days, it was all about being successful in bringing home the “targeted species.”


I knew everything a deer, duck, ruffed grouse, or turkey needed for protection from weather and predators. I knew their food sources based on the temperature and the time of year. Ducks approach a body of water or field based on wind direction. Ruffed grouse stay in the alders and eat berries when the weather is warm, but seek out the fattier beech nuts, hop-hornbeam, and thorn apple when temperatures drop.To be successful, I had to have an informed relationship with what I was hunting.


In the springtime, turkeys were my obsession. For anyone who loves calling game, turkey hunting is the epitome. I knew their entire vocabulary—calls for contention and alarm, dominance, or submission. I knew where they roosted; where they went in poor weather; where they found their seeds, their berries, and their grubs. I chased them endlessly through thorns and pastures. And, in this obsession, I would tromp through wild onion patches an acre wide. Or else I’d flatten a perfect morel that wasn't even on my radar. I didn’t care because I was too focused on one objective—one “targeted species.”


Fortunately, with age and experience, my perspective of the wilderness became much more inclusive. I realized that, simply by being in the outdoors, I was experiencing things that many had not, regardless of whether I’d had a “sucessful” hunt. There is nothing ordinary about spotting a rare saw-whet owl, perched at less than arm’s length, while hunting hare in a high-elevation balsam swamp. Nor is it uneventful, despite being on a whitetail hunt, to watch a bobcat search for prey while dodging snow patches, knowing that its camouflage would be ruined.


And the same was true of fishing. I no longer felt the need to catch every brook trout in my stretch of water; I could just as easily leave my fly rod on the bank and search for chanterelles along the stream.


I was lucky. I had somebody to teach me about habitats, plant and tree identification, soil temperatures for foraging, the reason mayflies hatch when they do, trout and oxygen levels, the breeding seasons and migrations for dozens of species—the list goes on. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to go out in nature and I apply what I know. But I also know that many others, those who express great interest in various forms of hunting, fly fishing, or foraging, might not have had the same introduction. It is my utmost wish to reveal the expansive opportunities of the great outdoors to these individuals.



What We’re Doing Here:

Wild Surroundings was founded as means to support, encourage, and educate individuals who are interested in an adventurous, wilderness-oriented lifestyle, and, in turn, to transform that interest into a lifelong passion for the great outdoors.


A significant portion of Wild Surroundings is focused on informational media: articles, blog posts, podcasts, and videos. Within these mediums you will find methodologies, philosophies, stories of interest and humor, plant and wildlife identification, foraging insights, self-sustaining recipes, and sustainable preservation tactics.


Wild Surroundings also hosts live seminars on the subjects of wildlife habitats, conservation methods, hunting dog training, and wilderness safety.


Wild Surroundings’ in-person learning is based at Peaceable Hill Farm in Shoreham, Vermont, an enchanting preserve in the heart of the Champlain Valley.


Please visit our Calendar Page to see upcoming seminars, events, flyfishing and wingshooting schools, and more.



Professional Acknowledgements:

Lars Jacob began his career as an outdoorsman in 1973, working for a family owned and operated wingshooting and fishing lodge in Tabusintac, New Brunswick. Lars went on to run Old Jake Products, a small game-call manufacturing company, and Jacob Underhammer, where he produced fine, handmade muzzleloader rifles and guns. In the 90’s, Lars worked for The Orvis Company of Manchester, Vermont as a shooting instructor, flyfishing instructor, and later as their gun department manager and chief gun-fitter. Lars also coached wingshooting and flyfishing for Upland Outfitters in Winhall, Vermont. In 2009, Lars founded Covey and Nye, a fine gun and outdoor lifestyle company in Manchester. Simultaneously, Lars directed shoots at the Dutch River Club, a private shooting preserve in Salem, New York.


Lars has been extolled in the following magazines and publications: Covey Rise, Sporting Classics, Upland Almanac, Strung, Shooting Sportsman, New England Game and Fish, Stratton, and Sports Afield. Lars has also published articles on shooting technique in USA Today Hunt and Fish, Skydancer, Sporting Classics Daily, and Shotgun Life.