So how did I get from a fishing article to where I am today?
Another long story. After I started writing about hunting and fishing for Florida Game & Fish, I really wanted to expand that part of my writing. However, you have to get out there and do it to know enough about it to write about it.
For a long time, family pressures kept me from doing any traveling. A long time being 12 years. Finally, when my son Chris was 18 months old, I had an opportunity to go mule deer hunting in Colorado.
At the SHOT Show in 1991--the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show--one friend of mine, Kitty Beuchert, asked another friend of mine if he would do a hunting camp for us. That second friend was Galen Geer, an outdoor writer living in Canon City, Colorado. When she first asked, the silence was deafening. Finally Galen said, "I swore I would never have a woman in hunting camp. But since it's the two of you, I'll do it."
So in early October, Chris went down to visit my mother for a week. Kitty and her daughter and son-in-law and I showed up in Colorado Springs and Galen picked us and all our gear up. Galen was--and is--the Environmental Affairs Editor for Soldier of Fortune, and he already had all the SOF hunting camp gear packed.
We left Canon City, headed for the Rifle/Meeker area, about 3 PM the next day. By dusk we were headed up the Front Range. Elk and deer flowed down off the mountains and into the green fields like water. It's a good thing Galen was driving and not me, because I'd have been all over the road--all I could do was stare at all those animals until it got too dark to see. We pulled over by one green field and lost count at more than 200 deer and elk in that single field.
We rolled into camp about 4 AM, put up tents, and fell into bed. The next day we got the camp set up, did some scouting, and got ready to hunt. That was the day Galen broke the news to us that we were going to have guests--two German Army officers were in Colorado for some sort of combined maneuvers, and they wanted to go hunting American style. They were going to join us for camp.
They were hilarious. They were both stiff and Prussian, but with a ribald sense of humor underneath. It would have been fun without them, but they made it a total hoot. Over the 5 day season we all got our deer, and had a wonderful time doing it.
At the end of the week Galen declared that he had completely changed his mind about women in hunting camp. Kitty and I proposed that we plan a women-only camp for the following year, and he readily agreed--with the caveat that we come up with enough women to fill it (which we did).
In fact, we ran that camp for 5 years, using the SOF gear every year (thank you, Bob Brown), and had good women and good camps every year.
I came back from each of those camps with a wealth of material to write about, and they took me even deeper into the world of hunting and fishing.
Next......how Africa ties into it all.