I’m an upland and waterfowl hunter and angler. Like many people who enjoy hunting and fishing, I was introduced early in life to the sports by my father and a great-uncle. I started fishing with my Dad at five and spent hours on small farm ponds and fishing for slab crappie on Weiss Lake in Alabama, “The Crappie Capital of the World”.
Uncle Jim was my hunting mentor. We spent many hours in oak bottoms hunting squirrels, field edges for rabbits, and cut corn fields for dove. That’s probably where my passion for wingshooting developed. On one of those rabbit hunts we flushed a covey of quail. When the excitement wore off, I knew that was my passion – bird hunting.
Over the years my hunting experiences have literally spanned the globe. As a career Army officer fortune smiled on me with the chances to hunt ringneck pheasant in Korea and chamois and reh deer in Germany. That said, my heart has always been in wingshooting.
That passion has also included my close association with dogs. As a one-time quail hunter and now avid grouse hunter my kennel has had a dog in it for thirty-five years now. I’m a setter man and have run them for thirty of those years. My passion for bird hunting has carried me from the upper reaches of New Hampshire to northern Minnesota in pursuit of ruffed grouse. I’ve recently taken a liking to waterfowl hunting and have enjoyed a week of duck hunting in North Dakota and resident Canada goose hunting at home.
So what does a wingshooter do in the off season? Sporting clays of course. After nearly twenty years of sporting clays shooting I finally got certified as a Sporting Clays instructor. I love introducing new shooters to the sport! I’m also able to squeak in some time for trout fishing on our mountain streams.
Now how does this writing thing fit in? That question takes me back to college English Composition 101 and Mrs. Opal Lovett, my professor who was also a family friend for many years. The lady bled red ink over everything I wrote. She must have seen some unrecognized potential. That skill lay dormant for many years, even when recognized by professors in a Masters program. Supporting a family and two kids in college re-directed my priorities and pulled me from my writing passion.
Then one day I went to visit Mrs. Lovett late in her life. She was still writing! Not only that but she encouraged me to start. It proved to me you are never too old to start a new pursuit. I built up the confidence and wrote an article for Pointing Dog Journal about a hunting trip and it was published. Several more got published over the next few years. As it is with many people, life interrupted my plans. Other than a local outdoor column, my writing had been on hold until recently.
After eight years in the retail firearms business, I semi-retired and work part-time as a sporting clays instructor at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I want to keep my writing going by sharing my outdoor experiences and also my thoughts on one of the most critical issues facing hunters on public land: wildlife habitat management or better the lack thereof.
So here we are. Now I’m ready to connect my passion for the outdoors with my skill and joy of writing.