Peace, Love, and Venison
Outdoor Channel’s Lee & Tiffany Lakosky speak on whitetail management,
grand hunts and the origins of their show, Crush with Lee & Tiffany
Interview by Casey Hilder | Photos Courtesy of Outdoor Channel
The dynamic duo of Lee and Tiffany Lakosky are revered throughout the hunting world for their onscreen chemistry and laid-back outlook on the outdoors. Now in their seventh season of Crush and celebrating the birth of their baby boy, Cameron, the Lakoskys look to pen a new chapter in their field guide.
Click Magazine: Tiffany, you’re a former flight attendant. Lee, you ran an archery shop and studied to become a chemical engineer. What brought you both to where you are now?
Lee Lakosky: Well, a total accident.
Tiffany Lakosky: (laughs)
LL: I worked in an archery shop through college and an oil refinery for five years. I used to bring a camera out and film stuff all the time. Not for a show or anything, just because I like to go back and look at that stuff. Through the archery shop, we went to Archery Trade Association show and met the guys from RealTree: David Black, Michael, Bill and all those guys. We were killing good whitetail already and Tiffany’s job as a flight attendant allowed us to fly all over the country for free. Denver, Western Nebraska, pretty much anywhere for fun. I also wrote for a few outdoor magazines – again, just for fun, money wasn’t really a big part of it. So, at this ATA show, David suggested that I start filming stuff for Monster Bucks. We produced a video hunt over the next year and it was one of our best years. It was awesome. Growing up in Minnesota, it was something I always wanted to do but seemed so out of reach. So, doing all these videos before the age of Facebook, Twitter and all that, we found out that a lot of people were watching. I think we were in our second or third year, we were contacted about a TV show to see if we had interest in hosting it. Heck yeah! As long as I made half the money I was as an engineer, I would be getting by doing what I loved. And here we are 13 years later. It was pure luck.
CM: We’ve heard a lot about your personal whitetail management program. Can you share some tips?
LL: Well, the biggest thing I’ve seen after doing it for a few years is food. Food is number one. You’ve got to keep an eye on those food plots to hold them in there. The second part is just being smart about how you hunt and keeping the pressure consistent throughout the year. For us, we consistently maintain it throughout the whole summer with cameras and feeders and other stuff in those places where deer get used to you being there. That way, when hunting season finally comes you get in there like it always was. It’s not like you’re just pounding the place after not being there for nine months. That way, deer see the same amount of human intrusion in July as they do in September. You don’t want to cue the deer off that something in the habitat has changed. That’s the key.
CM: How did you guys get the name for your current show, Crush?
LL: Well the first show for Outdoor Channel, Gettin’ Close was the tagline and it kind of has a double meaning. Me and Tiffany had just married, so we were kind of getting close with animals and each other. Crush, that was just one we kind of threw out there. It was kind of similar to the previous title, you know. You crush it at baseball, you crush it when hunting, we have a crush on each other. In all honesty, it was kind of tough since nowadays you have people claiming the names for every possible show, website and publication out there. It was one of the first names we threw out and we just kept coming back to it.
TL: It all depends on what your own personal goal is. For us, we try not to shoot anything under five years old.
CM: Speaking of pressure, do you guys ever feel pressured when there’s a camera crew alongside you on hunts?
LL: We never feel much pressure out there. Of course, you wanna get what you’re after because a lot of money goes into the hunts, but we never feel pressure just to shoot something because of the show. We’re not gonna shoot something unless it’s old or we’re absolutely happy with it. Out here in Utah, we’ve passed bull after bull just waiting for the right one. This includes bulls that would be considered huge in other areas. We also love waterfowl stuff, so that kind of offers another option if the big game hunts don’t go as well as we planned.
CM: Do you guys ever hunt down South?
LL: We head down there a lot for waterfowl, but most of our big-game stuff takes place in the MidWest and Canada.
TL: We haven’t in a while, but the second place we ever went duck hunting was down in Mississippi. I shot my first banded duck down in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
CM: An article in USA Today says you play off each other’s differences. Care to elaborate?
TL: We’re pretty lucky because they film exactly what we do. The cameras are rolling all the time, so they get a lot of our personalities in there. I would say that I’m kind of free-spirited, happy all the time, whereas Lee, being an engineer, thinks very mechanical — everything has to be perfect all the time. He pushes me to be a better person and be more concise. When we first started dating, every zipper on my backpack would be open when we went somewhere. Nowadays, that drives me insane. I definitely bring out the lighter side of him and he brings out the more serious side of me.
CM: You guys are privy to a ton of handcrafted venison recipes. What’s a favorite dish?
TL: Definitely the taco pie. Some of our breakfast casseroles are awesome. My grandma was a huge cook and my mom has kind of picked up on it, too.
CM: And your mother, she’s been on the show as well, right?
TL: Yes! She got her first turkey, first deer and first bear on the show. She also smoked a great whitetail with a crossbow in Iowa last year. She’s currently on the road with us and having a blast.
CM: Are there any favorite or memorable hunts you’d like to share?
LL: It’s kind of hard because they’re all that way, but I’d have to say it’s when Tiffany’s mom shot her first deer with a muzzleloader in Iowa. Everybody talks about that one. Her mom had never hunted before, so it was really interesting to see someone with no prior interest become a hunter before your eyes.
Crush airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 6:00 p.m. ET and Thursdays at 12:30 a.m. ET
on Outdoor Channel