NAGC News: Turkeys, Trips, and Good Times

How would you rate your 2022? So-so, satisfactory, spectacular, staggeringly stupendous? One would hope for better than 2021 or 2020, but to be fair, that bar was pretty low.

I’m happy to report my 2022 has been sensational (and then some), and I have lots to share.

Turkey Time

This year’s turkey season stands out as probably the single best hunting or fishing season. It started out with my daughter’s first turkey hunt, which only lasted a day. She bagged her first turkey that afternoon, the culmination of an outstanding 3-day kickoff to Spring. The story of that hunt appeared here on Never A Goose Chase, and received an award at the AGLOW conference in September.

A few weeks later I took my first gobbler in several years on family land, which was the first from that place. He was a handsome bird with a 9-inch beard and inspired One Spring Day, an inspired account of the events of that morning.

I attended my first Outdoor Writers Association of America conference later in May, held in Casper, Wyoming. Since the Black Hills are very much on the way, I couldn’t help but carve out a few extra days to hunt turkeys there (if I kept a “bucket list,” that would have been on it). It was a memorable time in spectacular country, and the only thing missing was a bird to stuff in the cooler.

OWAA Conference

The conference itself was incredible, far exceeding my expectations. I met lots of good people, scraped up some story ideas, and learned a ton. The awards ceremony was held the last night, and I took home a few awards:

First place for blog entry Moments to Remember, in the Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education category.

Third place for blog entry Less Screen Time, More Green Time, in the Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education category.

Third place for newspaper piece Safety First, published in the Mankato Free Press, in the Hunting/Shooting Sports category.

AGLOW Conference

The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers conference was held in September in Branson, and I convinced my wife to go along. I’d wanted her to come to an AGLOW conference at some point, to see what it’s all about. I also wanted desperately for her to enjoy herself, and the “AGLOW family” did not disappoint. Not only did she have a great time, she’s already talking about next year.

Branson proved an incredible fishing destination, and the perfect setting for our group. Even before the conference started, I went sucker gigging and trout fishing. I would not hesitate to go back a different time of year to do more fishing (hopefully cooler- it was near 100 degrees most of the time!).

Awards bestowed on me this year included:

First place for newspaper piece Safety First, published in the Mankato Free Press, in the Open category.

Third place for blog entry Three Magical Days, part II: First Turkey Hunt, in the Hunting category.

New Outlets

As a result of my affiliations with OWAA and AGLOW, I’ve had opportunities to get work into some new-to-me outlets late this year. One prominent example is a piece I wrote about hunting sharp-tailed grouse that appears in the current issue of Upland Almanac called And Sharptails, Too.

Roadtrippers, an online camping/travel magazine, bought a story idea about one of my favorite road trip stops: Wall Drug. The idea was percolating in my noggin a while; I’m glad I had the foresight to snap a few key photos there on my return trip from Casper.

I’m in the process of developing content for Baitstick, a website geared toward beginning anglers and those who would venture to a new fishing destination.

Everest, an online retailer, has engaged a group of writers through King Eider Communications to produce content for Everest News. Those pieces are currently rolling out.

Happy New Year

The end of this year is closing in fast. Looking back, 2022 has been good to me, and that’s just as a writer. As an outdoorsman and family man, there have been many more moments that inspire gratitude. Included are a winter trip to Fairbanks, family road trip to the Smokies and Nashville, great foraging outings, seeing my daughter handle northerns on a tip-up all on her own, and watching how much my son loves feeding songbirds from his hand at the cabin.

Whatever 2023 brings, I’m ready for it. I hope you are too, and that it brings nothing but the best.

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