Words and photos: Shaun Lynch
(Originally published in the Australian Deer Association Magazine, Dec 2021)
At one stage, I had a genuine fear that we were a generation or two away from Australians not knowing how to camp, let alone hunt. We’re technically more connected than ever before but never been more disconnected from our wilderness areas or where real food comes from.
I’m an “adult onset hunter” myself and to this day still only have half a clue as to what I’m doing out in the bush. But acquiring skills that enable you to strike out onto your own in the wilderness, survive for days with limited supplies, find and stalk deer, make an ethical shot and eventually get that meat on the table — that’s a pretty wholesome experience. It’s something entirely human and part of our own nature. It builds confidence, resilience and self-reliance.
It gives you perspective and allows the mental breathing room needed to recalibrate in our unrelentingly fast-paced world of constant stimulation.
One of the other benefits of hunting, at least in my experience so far, is being able to meet some of the most incredibly interesting, supportive and positive people (and it’s likely these traits are a direct consequence of spending more time outdoors!).
So generous has the hunting community been to me, and so profound the impact that hunting has had on my life, that I felt compelled to launch a company that could serve the outdoors community and be used as a means to give back to the causes that hunters care about.
We launched Dog & Gun Coffee In late 2019 - on the eve of my wife and I hitting the road for a big lap around Australia to hunt, fish and explore this great country of ours. We didn’t expect such significant support right out of the gates but things got a bit wild and the demand forced us to postpone our trip and focus on the business.
So how, exactly, does coffee relate to hunting?
The idea for launching a hunting-focused coffee brand came from a 2-year stint living in New Zealand where I started to spend a lot of time in the outdoors, often backpacking off-grid for days at a time. I’d done several trips with people who wanted a really good cup of coffee at camp and were willing to bring a coffee plunger, a hand grinder and a bag of whole beans with them.
As many of the readers would know, every bit of weight matters when you’re hiking deep into the backcountry. You’ve got to carry everything you need to be completely self sufficient. That’s your shelter, food, safety equipment, water, clothing, photography and hunting kit.
Those initial jaunts through the mountains were bloody tough for me, so the addition of coffee making equipment seemed crazy. I knew there had to be a better way to have a quality brew in the bush… so I found it and launched the brand around the hunting and adventure lifestyle that I’d come to love.
The flagship products from Dog & Gun Coffee are our “Pre-Loaded Drip Filters” — a single-serve, pour-over pouch that comes “pre-loaded” with specialty-grade coffee. To brew a coffee, all you need to do is extend the built-in hanging arms to attach the filter to your mug, rip the top off the filter and then pour hot water over the ground beans to extract the good stuff.
We roast our coffee fresh each week in Brisbane and grind and pack to order, so you end up with the tastiest go-go juice possible. From hand-sealing a few packs of coffee a day in a tin shed — that we were living in, by the way — to now being an international brand that employs several people and has the capacity to donate to hunting and conservation organisations every month. To say I’m grateful to be where we are would be a monumental understatement.
Dog & Gun is about more than the coffee though.
The coffee is great — we truly pride ourselves on a quality product — but now we’re building a brand that means something more to our customers.
It’s about inspiring people to (re)connect with the wilderness, to seek adventure and to source their own meat. It’s about building a strong community that is willing to share knowledge and encourage those sitting on the sidelines to get involved in hunting or the outdoors in general. We want the next generation to be capable in the outdoors, to be okay with being outside of their comfort zone, to have real world skills and to be directly connected to their food.
To our current and future customers — I’m genuinely humbled by your support and can’t thank you enough. To our upcoming generation of hunters and outdoorsmen — feel free to reach out anytime to have a chat or catch up for a coffee. I’m always happy to point people in the right direction and share what little knowledge I’ve gained over the years.
Find us on the socials @dogandguncoffee