Josh Larsen has had more life experiences in his 32 years than most people have in a lifetime and he isn’t finished reaching for more. Larsen joined the Marines after graduating from Falconer High School in 2008, because his father, Lloyd Larsen of Kennedy, had served, as did two of his uncles. He did three deployments in his eight years of service and has been in 36 countries. He started as an ammunition technician, eventually going into explosives and was the designated marksman for his unit.
“They sent me to sniper school for six weeks to become a designated marksman, not a sniper. I will never claim to be a sniper,” he said with a serious tone. “This is where I fell in love with long distance shooting, over 800 yards.”
After he returned home, he could not find a job.
“I was in charge of 75 Marines, but no one wanted to hire me,” he says. “I was told I didn’t have any experience.”
He found his niche after learning the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW Local 106) was taking apprentices and was able to do a five-year apprenticeship with the electrical union. He is currently working for Ahlstrom-Schaeffer Electric.
Since his time served in the military, he has built rifles for himself and others and has redone several including a Mosin Nagant, a Russian sniper rifle. With the help of his neighbor, he rebuilt his 7mm SAUM, which is his main hunting rifle. He has harvested 12 deer and has dropped a doe at 535 yards using the firearm. He hunts worldwide, including Africa, with plans of going to New Zealand. In the US he hunts in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and New Jersey. His Colorado hunts take place near where uranium was mined to use in the building of nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project. Cars from the 1930s remain at the site.
“My goal is to hunt or fish in every state before I die,” says the passionate outdoorsman. “Every time I go out hunting, I learn something new.”
After sharing his experiences and knowledge on Facebook, he started his professional hunting Primitive Patriot Outdoors (PPO) business.
“We started as a hobby and then we ran our first successful big buck contest to build our name,” says the Frewsburg man. “In June 2021 we hosted the first WNY Walleye Classic, which is growing into one of western New York’s biggest premiere walleye tournaments. It has boosted my company’s name and is the prize event that we host.”
Since then, his You Tube series has been made into a TV show called “Lead and Lures.” It can be seen on Roku TV Channel 716.
An annual Christmas giveaway was started two years ago where he gifts coolers to two families. They contain various meats and fish, such as elk, venison, ram, walleye, perch and salmon, as well as a variety of canned goods. Mike Norton of Norton’s Custom Cuts in Kennedy, a 50 percent veteran-owned family-run business, donates the processing fee.
In 2022, the veteran started Hero’s Hunt, an outreach program which he owns and runs, where veterans and first responders are given an opportunity to experience a guided hunt. The hunts help veterans get back into the woods and are held in Fillmore, NY, Pennsylvania and in Africa every other year.
“Last year I took a disabled Marine who got a deer. There were tears on both sides.”
The non-profit holds fundraisers in order to cover the participants’ travel, lodging, camo and fees. Larsen claims he knows nothing about business and has learned by trial and error and says he “hangs with winners.”
“I was raised nothing is given to you. You have to earn it.”
PPO is registered as an LLC. He and fellow members of PPO attend The Great America Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA every February, which is the largest outdoor show in the world and is where he meets new sponsors and partners and where he sees new equipment. He prefers working with veteran-owned companies.
The motto he lives by is “There is only a Plan A. There is no Plan B.”
“If you have a Plan B, that means you are willing to accept failure of your first plan,” he emphatically states. “If I fail, I’m going to keep going until I succeed.”
The avid outdoorsman is a self-taught photographer, media designer and editor, who would like to do motivational speaking one day. He is Pro Staff and cameraman for the TV show CRCS Outdoors, which is a nationally televised show on the Pursuit Channel. He is a member of Kennedy Fire Department, a life member of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and has worked with Save the Rhinos.
He sang in chorus when he was in high school and received a scholarship for Male Singer. In 2016, he tried out for The Voice and made it to the final round before the TV show.
“I’ve spent my life just trying to give back to the community,” he explains. “I get more excitement out of seeing a disabled veteran or a child harvest an animal than (when) I do myself.”
Larsen cooks onsite when he is on hunting trips and offers a venison and walleye recipe below.
Donors or veterans interested in learning more about Primitive Patriot Outdoors can find them on Facebook at www.primitivepatriotoutdoors.com or by sending an email to email@example.com. Announcements are made when PPO is looking for veterans. Applications are on the website. Online fundraisers are held through Facebook.
Venison Teriyaki Marinade
1/2 C soy sauce
4 egg whites
1 1/2 to 2-lbs venison, sliced in bite-size medallions
2 to 4 C canola or vegetable oil, amount depends on shape of pan or wok
1 1/4 C cornstarch
1 gallon zip-close bag
1T sesame oil
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp lemongrass
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 T hoisin sauce
2 T teriyaki sauce
2 to 3 T Gochujang, depending on preferred spice level
1 T toasted sesame seeds
1 small yellow onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 C jasmine rice
Combine soy sauce and egg whites in a bowl and mix vigorously. Add venison chunks and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. In the meantime, prepare rice according to package directions. Cut onion and peppers in bite-size pieces and stir fry.
In a large wok, heat oil to 350 F. Put cornstarch in zip-close bag. Remove meat from marinade and allow to drip for a couple seconds before adding to cornstarch. Shake bag well to thoroughly coat meat. When oil is up to temperature, shake off excess cornstarch from meat and place meat medallions carefully into the oil, a few at a time. They will spit and crackle a bit. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until they start to turn golden brown. It does not take long. Using a slotted metal spoon remove medallions and place on a plate with 2 or 3 layers of paper towels.
You will see some blood leak from the cooked meat. This is normal.After safely discarding oil from wok, add sesame oil to the wok and heat on medium high. Add ginger, lemongrass and garlic, stirring continuously. Next, add vegetables and sautÈ for about 5 minutes. Add hoisin sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds and gochujang sauce, depending on preferred spice level. Turn temperature to high, add meat medallions and toss until evenly coated for 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove wok from heat and serve a large spoonful over jasmine rice.
(Hunt Chef’s Reel Dam Deal would be great in this recipe.)
3/4 C flour
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs (I use bread crumbs, but panko would work well too. For added flavor, try using crumbled Doritos Cool Ranch Chips.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
6 Walleye fillets (This recipe would also work with trout, bass or other thin fillets.)
4 T oil
Lightly beat eggs in a dish. In another dish combine flour, bread crumbs and seasoning. Dip fish in egg and then in flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to a pan and heat pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add 3-4 fillets. Cook 3 minutes per side over medium heat until each side is nicely browned. Keep an eye on your fillets as they are cooking. You don’t want them to burn. Remove fish from pan and place on a baking sheet lined with a baking rack. Place cooked fish in a 250∂ oven while cooking remaining fish. Wipe out pan and add additional oil. Repeat process with remaining fish. (Could season with Hunt Chef’s Reel Dam Deal.)
Once my fillets are nicely browned, I remove them from the pan and place them on a baking sheet lined with a rack. Then I pop them into a 250 degree oven while I continue cooking the rest of the fillets. This helps keep the fish warm and crisp. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Add just enough fillets so there is a bit of space between each fillet.