Crazy like a fox
Published: March 1, 2009
Taking the lunch hour to go for a pheasant hunt seems crazy to some, Bob Buchta said.
But for the architectural designer at Oliver Construction Co., Oconomowoc, the activity actually helped his career.
“People look at me like I’m crazy,” said Buchta, whose license plate reads “HNT IS ON.” “But it is a great break from the workday. It gives you time to think.”
Buchta used that time to make connections between the natural and built environments, something he said gained much popularity in the last 10 to 12 years.
“I go out there, and I think about different projects,” he said. “I look at nature, how it’s put together. I look at the trees, how they provide shelter for animals. It’s always a learning experience, and it gives you a refreshed view.”
Buchta also said his lunch-hour hunts help foster relationships with clients.
He said Jerry Erdmann, owner of Frontier Development Inc., Oconomowoc, is one person who understands the love for hunting. Erdmann joined Buchta on one of his biggest adventures to date: a spring 2006 Russian boar hunt in Marquette, Mich.
“At one point, I was standing alone in the dark for two hours on high alert, just waiting for one of these big boars to come rushing at me,” Buchta said. “Your heart’s just pounding, you’re wondering what is going to happen. It was exhilarating.”
Each man nabbed a 300-pound boar, and they said they want to go back for more some day.
“We always mingle a little bit of work into the equation when we go out for a hunt,” Erdmann said, “because our companies do a lot of projects together.
“When you’re sitting in a more relaxed environment, it allows for more creative ideas. There’s no distractions, no phone ringing, no Internet.”
Buchta said he has noticed the similarities between built and natural environments since he was a child. He said one of his first architectural projects was to design a pen for raising deer and other animals. Buchta also comes from a long line of hunters. His grandfather and father hunt and brought him up with an appreciation for nature.
Buchta said those experiences helped him when more clients became interested in making their indoor settings feel more like natural settings.
“It’s something that’s been passed along from previous generations,” he said. “That’s definitely part of what keeps me going back out there — creating new memories to share.”