Ducks Unlimited Podcast

On this special bonus episode of the Ducks Unlimited Podcast, host Katie Burke checks in with Sam Soholt as he hikes 100 miles in the Prairie Pothole region to raise money to buy Federal Ducks Stamps. Sam is the co-owner of Public Land Tees and created this fundraiser, Stamp It Forward, 5 years ago. In an effort to, reach 100,000 dollars to buy 4,000 duck stamps he decided to hike 100 miles in 3 days. The DU Podcast catches up with Sam on Day 1 at mile 23 of his adventure. You can help support Sam and the Stamp It Forward team by donating at...

Creators & Guests

Katie Burke
Ducks Unlimited Podcast Collectibles Host

What is Ducks Unlimited Podcast?

Ducks Unlimited Podcast is a constant discussion of all things waterfowl; from in-depth hunting tips and tactics, to waterfowl biology, research, science, and habitat updates. The DU Podcast is the go-to resource for waterfowl hunters and conservationists. Ducks Unlimited is the world's leader in wetlands conservation.

00:00 Katie Burke Hi, everybody. Welcome back to the Ducks Unlimited podcast. Today, I am bringing you a quick bonus episode, which is pretty exciting. On the show, I have Sam Soholt, co-owner of Public Land Tees. He is out there right now doing the 100-mile duck ruck for Stamp It Forward. Hey, Sam, welcome to the show.

00:18 Sam Soholt Hey, thanks for having me on.

00:20 Katie Burke All right, so before you tell us a little more about what you're doing today, I have one question that I am personally interested in. How are your feet? Are they holding up?

00:30 Sam Soholt I'm very lucky. My feet are holding up. I've got one decent blister on the end of my right pinky toe, but I'll get that taped up and everything, so should be good to go. And then we'll see what tomorrow brings. Give another 10 in today.

00:45 Katie Burke Yeah, that's great. That's not too bad. You could be a lot worse off as a trail runner and done a couple ultras myself. It could be a lot worse.

00:53 Sam Soholt Yes, yes. I'm just thankful I'm not running this hundred miles. The walking on almost perfectly flat ground has lended itself to being at least tameable.

01:03 Katie Burke Okay. All right. So I want to know, give me a little more details of like exactly what your plan is. So it's a ruck, right? So are you carrying weight on your back?

01:13 Sam Soholt You know, I am, I am carrying not a lot of weight, just a little bit. When I was training for it, I was carrying 40, 50 pounds every day, trying to get my feet ready and in shape for the whole thing. I'm trying to limit the amount of weight I'm carrying just because it is such a long distance. Although I am going to keep adding decoys to the outside of the pack as more donations continue to roll in and we keep raising money for it.

01:36 Katie Burke Oh, that's interesting. I like that idea. Cool. So yeah, hopefully you'll have like a full rig back there. That'd be fine. Yeah. All right. So what's the weather been like? How's it been so far?

01:48 Sam Soholt Yeah, could not have gotten luckier on the weather. We've got all three days of the hike are going to be low to mid 70s for a high and then lows in the high 40s and low 50s at night. So getting to do a lot of the walking in pretty decent weather. This morning I think it was like 43 and kind of foggy and just like cool and wet. And so it was able to stay really cool for that first like a little over 10 miles of it.

02:15 Katie Burke Yeah, that's perfect. Yeah. 40, 50, that's the best. Yes. So what time did you start this morning?

02:20 Sam Soholt So I did the shotgun start at just before 7 a.m. I think it was like 6.45 and then, yep, started walking at 7 and I accidentally hit save on my activity instead of resume. And so I was at right at halfway when I did that. So I'm back. Yeah, I'm at like I've gone a little over 23 miles at this point, 23 and a half or so.

02:42 Katie Burke You didn't go too far before you figured it out that you put save and not resume, right?

02:46 Sam Soholt No, I noticed immediately. I stopped for a quick break and then went to resume and I must have toggled down and hit save. So I was like, ah, dang it.

02:55 Katie Burke Well, that's all right. It's nothing worse though than hitting it and then going like three miles and you're like, oh no. So you start at like seven and what pace are you kind of keeping? What time do you think you'll finish your 33 for the day? What's how long of a day you have?

03:11 Sam Soholt I've been averaging about 3.4 miles an hour. I'm just trying to keep my heart rate below a certain level. So every three hours, I'm going about 10 miles. So I figure we're actually in the nice little town of Milner, North Dakota right now, and having a little bit of a late lunch break and refueling. And then after this, I'll get back to walking. So I should have another… If I'm walking by 3.30-ish again, I should be done between 6.30 and 7.00 tonight with the first third of it.

03:41 Katie Burke Okay, that's not bad. And you're eating when you stop? Are you eating as you go? What's your fueling process here?

03:47 Sam Soholt I've done a little bit of both. I'm trying to think of what time it was. I hiked the first almost 11 miles and then scarfed down a big sandwich and some Snickers and a bunch of Gatorade and electrolytes and just trying to keep enough sodium and stuff so I don't start cramping up. And then I've been carrying some stuff along the way, just little bites just to kind of keep… I'm burning stuff so fast that I'm just trying to keep enough in there where I don't completely crash. Especially going into day two and three.

04:18 Katie Burke How did you lay out your route? I'm guessing you planned this out beforehand. Is everything gone as you thought it was going to go in terms of your route across?

04:31 Sam Soholt Not quite. Okay. It's been pretty good. I pre-planned the route on OnX Maps. Okay. And I knew where I wanted to end. So there's a national wildlife refuge called Sand Lake in Northern South Dakota. And I knew I wanted to end there. And so I kind of like just built the route going backwards from there out a hundred miles, but it takes me past… Tonight we'll actually end up basically stopping at the Wild Rice National Wildlife Refuge by Cayuga, North Dakota. And then tomorrow, I'll end up walking by T. Walken National Wildlife Refuge. And then on Friday, I'll end up at Sand Lake. So I kind of planned it so we could go past a bunch of the stuff that duck stamps pay for, a bunch of waterfowl production areas, walk past the Cheyenne National Grasslands this morning. So just kind of highlighting and showing and being able to talk about all of the open spaces that are protected and open to the public.

05:25 Katie Burke Oh, that's great. So that's my next question. So I know you're a duck hunter, but you're also a bow hunter and a turkey hunter. So what made you choose the duck stamp? Like why the duck stamp particularly?

05:34 Sam Soholt Well, the coolest thing about the duck stamp, and we've been doing this Stamp It Forward project for, this is the fifth season now that we've done this. And this, obviously the 100 mile hike is a bit of a twist on it, but the coolest thing about the duck stamp is how far it goes beyond migratory birds as far as improving habitat and protecting species. So if you deer hunt, you should invest in duck stamps. If you duck hunt, you should invest in duck stamps. If you quail hunt, grouse hunt, pheasant hunt, elk hunt. Basically, if you do anything outdoor recreation, duck stamp dollars pay for habitat that lends itself to creating more wildlife. And the other cool thing about it is you don't have to be a member of anything. You don't have to have a hunting license. You don't have to be part of anything to go buy a duck stamp. And then you know that 98% of that purchase price has to be spent on more habitat conservation.

06:26 Katie Burke Yeah, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck with one at $25. You're right. That makes sense. All right. So why a hundred miles? Why a hundred?

06:35 Sam Soholt Why a hundred? So last year we put a goal out there for 2000 duck stamps. And so we raised 50 grand, we bought 2000 duck stamps, and we tend to swing for the fences. And so when I started thinking about this concept to try to earn people's donations, the 100 miler kept sticking in my head because it's something that I've wanted to do for a while now. I wanted to challenge myself to do a big hike like this and it all coincided. For me, in this life, it's all come back to conservation. I start with one idea, and then it morphs into, okay, how could we have this benefit everything? So it's a win-win for everyone. So the 100 miles is a way for us to attempt to raise $100,000, which would purchase 4,000 duck stamps. And obviously, 98,000 of those dollars have to be spent on wetland conservation.

07:27 Katie Burke Yeah, that's amazing. I'm actually really jealous that I didn't think of it. I've always wanted to do a hundred miler. It's just like one of those goals that I've had for a really long time. And man, if you're going to do a hundred miles, right, I mean, it just feels like you should do it for something, right? It's such a big undertaking. Yeah.

07:46 Sam Soholt Yeah. It just seemed like, why not? Might as well swing, try to hit a home run and raise a bunch of money for this. And I think the cool thing is at the end of the day, by doing this and investing the money in it, it ends up, for everybody listening to this, the duck hunts, you end up with more ducks in every single migration. I mean, the more habitat that we can protect, the more money we can invest in in grasslands and uplands and wetlands, the better your experience in sloughs and on rivers and flooded timber and all that stuff is going to be better.

08:22 Katie Burke Exactly. So you've been doing this since, when did you start, 2019? Is that when you started doing Stamp It Ford?

08:27 Sam Soholt Yep. 2019 was the first year. Okay. And that first year we did just over a thousand stamps. So it was like 25,000 and 250 bucks or something like that.

08:37 Katie Burke Okay, so this is your fifth year, you're doing 100 miles. I know it's hard to answer this now because you're in the thick of it, but would you do it again?

08:45 Sam Soholt I think I would. Yeah, I'm going to say yes. So far, so good. I'm in a good mental space at the moment, still having a really good time with it, so yeah.

08:56 Katie Burke I'll ask you again at mile 85. Yeah, yeah, please do. But you know what, the thing about these things is, is at 85 you may be like, I'm never doing this again. But as soon as you finish one hour later after that first cold beer, you're like, yes, I'll do it again.

09:13 Sam Soholt Such short memories we have. Yes, exactly.

09:16 Katie Burke So you started this morning and you'll be finishing right as the Duck Stamp competition will be ramping up. Did you plan it that way? Was that your intention?

09:26 Sam Soholt I'm going to say yes. To be completely transparent, no, did not plan it that way. But I know Rebecca Knight, who always has entries within the duck stamp, she's out of Missouri. And I had posted about this and she was like, oh, that's awesome. It's actually the duck stamp contest will be fully going on Friday. And so I was like, wow, talk about perfect timing for this whole thing to be able to touch on the art side of the whole thing. where the money goes and just kind of the whole contest and all of it. So it's pretty cool to be doing this at the exact same time.

10:02 Katie Burke Oh, yeah. As soon as everybody that's listening, y'all can follow along with Sam and then switch straight over to the live stream of the competition. So you'll just go all the way through.

10:12 Sam Soholt That's right.

10:13 Katie Burke My other question is, because if you're doing 100 miles, you can't do 100 miles alone. Every ultra runner, hiker knows that you have to, for the most part, you need some sort of crew. So who is supporting you? People and brands out there too.

10:29 Sam Soholt Yeah. So I have an awesome crew. My brother and I own Public Land Tees. So he flew out, flew into Fargo yesterday. I picked him up. And then, so we have both the Public Land bus and the Public Land van kind of out here as like the road vehicles. And then I've got a couple of really good buddies that are really awesome wildlife photographers and kind of cunning lifestyle photographers that are hanging out the whole three days. And then a guy from the Shields in Fargo, he's the social media guy. He's hanging out with us, creating a bunch of content, helping get in front of eyeballs at the Shields level. So right today, we've got five guys on the road and the rest of the week, it'll be four of us kind of shuttling all the rigs down as I hike. And then on Friday, I'm actually super excited. Both of my parents are going to drive out and meet us on the road. And then both my mom and dad are going to walk three to five mile stints with me to kind of help finish out on Friday. So yeah, I've got an unbelievable crew that's helping me through it. And Josh is cooking food and just making sure we're kind of all dialed in. And the other guys have actually walked a pile of it today with me. So that's been great to kind of keep spirits up and keep moving. And then As far as companies that are helping out, every year we have good donations from companies to stamp it forward. So this year is no exception. So we've got donations from Timney Triggers, who make the finest triggers in the world. They donated 2,000 right off the bat. Shields Outdoors is gonna be making a donation. Hay Day Decoys is making a donation. Vortex Optics, Savage Firearms, and then there's been a bunch of smaller companies in the industry that have donated 100, 250, 500 bucks to the cause to kind of ramp that dollar amount up.

12:15 Katie Burke All right, so that leads me into kind of my final question, which is, where are you currently at? Where's your current dollar amount?

12:22 Sam Soholt We are, here, let me, I'm just gonna look so I don't get it wrong.

12:26 Katie Burke Okay, I looked at two, I took a little bit ago.

12:29 Sam Soholt It's been changing so fast today. So we are currently at $13,560, and that's through online donations. And then there's additional funding that hasn't come in yet from some of those companies. So there's more than that, but just donations through the website so far were at $13,500.

12:51 Katie Burke Okay. And if our audience wants to donate online, can you let them know how to do that and what that would enter them for, like for the drawings and stuff like that?

13:00 Sam Soholt Yeah. Yeah. So if I obviously encourage you to go donate, 100% of the money we receive, we're donating and buying duck stamps. And then obviously If we can raise that 100K, we're donating to Ducks Unlimited as a way to increase the fundraising on it so we can basically raise an additional $20,000 to $30,000 on top of it. But yeah, if you enter, if you donate, you get entered automatically to win a bunch of cool prizes. So we have decoys, gun cases, clay pigeon throwers. We have a bunch of artwork from Ryan Kirby. We've got Onyx elite memberships. swag kits from Savage Firearms. We have Papa Blind Company is donating one leather tote each day, game strap. We have game straps and lanyards from Fowler Hide Supply. We've got some other really cool prizes that I haven't unveiled yet, but going to do one of those tonight. And so, yeah, I actually, I can't even list them all right off the top of my head. I should have had that in front of me, but we've got a pile of different gear and other prizes to give away for people that help raise the money.

14:03 Katie Burke And that's all on, is that where- Yeah, yeah.

14:07 Sam Soholt So if you want to donate, you can go directly to, and there's a banner at the top you can click, or you can go to forward slash duckruck.

14:17 Katie Burke Awesome. And then we are posting Sam's adventure on our Instagram and social media, but you can also follow him on his as well, right? Yes. And can you let us know what that is?

14:28 Sam Soholt So you can follow along. My personal one is at Sam Soholt, and then our business page is at Public Lantez. So I've been trying to bounce back and forth between both to make sure we're getting everybody covered and updated on the whole thing.

14:40 Katie Burke All right. Well, Sam, is there anything that we haven't mentioned that you'd like to mention to our audience before I let you get back to it?

14:46 Sam Soholt I don't think so. Just one more shameless plug to if you're a diehard duck hunter like me and my brother, if you want to help make a huge impact, all it takes is a little bit from everybody. So collectively, it's amazing how big of a difference you can make by everybody just chipping in a little.

15:03 Katie Burke Thank you so much. Hey, good luck out there. I hope that it keeps going great and keep your spirits up and the weather stays good and no more root surprises. So I hope it all goes well. And I'm very jealous. I wish I'd have thought of it. It's such a great idea.

15:21 Sam Soholt Well, thank you so much for having me on and appreciate you putting it in front of everybody that follows along with Ducks Unlimited. And obviously, on behalf of DU, thanks to everybody who's a member of Ducks Unlimited and helps protect all of the things that we love to do for future generations.

15:35 Katie Burke Well, thank you. And when you're done and you've got your rest, we'll have to have you back on to kind of go over everything and talk about what it was like.

15:43 Sam Soholt Yeah, that'd be great. I'd love to do a recap when this is all, when the dust settles on this long, long gravel road.

15:49 Katie Burke Yes. And when we have much more time, we can kind of do this kind of a slow version of this podcast. Well… Yeah.

15:55 Sam Soholt Perfect.

15:56 Katie Burke Perfect. Good luck out there. Thank you. Thank you, Sam, for coming on the show. Thanks to our producer, Chris Isaac, and thanks to you, our listeners, for supporting wetlands and waterfowl conservation.