When we halted for the evening meal we came near learning by practical experience how easy it is to start a prairie fire. We were camped by a dry creek on a broad bottom covered with a thick, short grass, as dry as so much tinder. We wished to burn a good circle clear for the campfire; lighting it, we stood around with branched to keep it under. While thus standing a puff of wind struck us; the fire roared like a wild beast as it darted up; and our hair and eyelashes were well singed before we had beaten it out.
-excerpt from “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman“
Conservation Writer, Field & Stream
How did you become passionate about the outdoors?
I have been fishing and hunting out in the woods since I was a young boy and have been hunting since I was nine. I’ve hunted and fished in some truly beautiful places. The more I’m out there, the more I’ve realized that these places are beautiful because they haven’t been torn up or developed. Since I had that realization I’ve always had a desire to give back to these places.
What led you to a career in conservation writing?
I began writing fiction in my 20s and then started journalism in my early 30s. When you write full time, it’s often hard to find the motivation. I learned that the only way I could keep my energy up was by writing about things that were inspiring to me. Nature and the outdoors have always been fascinating to me, so it’s been a truly natural fit for me.
What role do you see TRCP and particularly Field & Stream playing in the conservation arena?
Field & Stream is a publication for people who care about fish and wildlife, while the TRCP is an organization working to advocate for fish and wildlife. The fit has been a natural one as the TRCP and Field & Stream both bring awareness to similar issues.
In order for both the TRCP and Field & Stream to move forward, there needs to be an irrefutable positive link made between fishing, hunting and conservation. By working together, we can ensure that conservation becomes an integral part of the American mindset.
What do you think are the most important issues facing sportsmen today, and how do you hope your writing will bring awareness to these issues?
Getting more young people involved in conservation and the outdoors is an issue of great concern to me. It is important to draw young people into a deeper connection with nature. And it’s not just children; people in general need to be more connected to the outdoor world. These connections bring a greater awareness of the importance of clean water, habitat and conservation. Our natural world is incredible, and we need to nourish what is left.