HomeOutdoorsFormer Minnesota Vikings Center Now Leads Hunting Excursions: Hunting is ‘In Our DNA As Humans’

Former Minnesota Vikings Center Now Leads Hunting Excursions: Hunting is ‘In Our DNA As Humans’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

John Sullivan wasn’t sure what he’d do after he left football. As he was mulling his options, he took a bear hunting trip to the Alaskan tundra. He didn’t find any bear but he did find his next career.

Sullivan was a standout offensive lineman at Notre Dame and with the Vikings. But after a series of injuries in 2015, he found himself at a crossroads, he told VikingsTerritory.com. As he rehabbed his back from several surgeries, his wife gave birth to their son. Their morning routine was to watch the hunting series Steve’s Outdoor Adventures on DVR. He reached out to Steve West, owner of Steve’s Outdoor Adventure, and they planned a hunt. But the NFL came calling again, and he wasn’t able to make it.

After a season in Washington and two more with the LA Rams, Sullivan was finally able to make one of the hunts for grizzly bears in Alaska.

“On that hunt, I was basically snowed into a tent with my guide for 10 days straight, didn’t see any bears, and when I came off the Alaskan tundra I was hooked,” he told the website. “I immediately rebooked for 2019 and when I went again the following year Steve and his camera crew joined me.”

The next year, Sullivan and West treated their 10-day excursion into the wilderness like a job interview. Steve was looking for a partner in the business and Sullivan was looking for the next stage in his life. “Everything fell into place,” Sullivan said.

John Sullivan Loves Hunting, Working with Hunters

John Sullivan didn’t grow up in a hunting family. It was something he fell in love with as an adult, which meant he had to teach himself a lot of things. And as he’s learned, he’s gained new perspectives.

“I know it can be difficult for some people to reconcile the act of hunting and killing an animal with the love that hunters have for those same animals but there is something in our DNA as humans that drives us to hunt,” he said.

Sullivan said they work with hunters of all experience levels. Being able to help them improve their skills or bag a big animal is the best part of his job.

“I’d say the thing I love the most is either being in the field with clients and seeing them harvest an animal or land a huge fish and the excitement that comes with that experience or getting a text message when you consult with a hunter and they finally get cell service back after being in the field and they send a picture of an ancient Ram, or mature bull elk, or massive bear that they just harvested.”