Last week at the SHOT Show in Vegas (which was once largely a hunting show, but now has mostly tactical weapons), I ran into J. Wayne Fears. Some of you may have his book, Trout Fishing the Southern Appalachians (East Woods Press, 1979). Now in his mid-seventies, he has returned to Birmingham where he remains active in the shooting/survival skills market. His trout fishing book is pretty easy to find online. So far as I know, shortly after authoring this title he departed writing about trout for the glamorous world for bullet journalism, something I also did after getting my feet wet in outdoor writing.
Bob Robb, former editor of the short-lived, but great magazine, Petersenís Fishing was another old face I chatted with for about an hour. Like Fears, he pretty much stays in the archery and whitetail hunting realm these days. He has been at the helm of Whitetail Journal, a publication I birthed, for almost a decade. A dedicated fly fisherman, he spends most of the summer near Valdez pestering which ever salmon is its procreation mode at that time. We were amazed how old some of the gizzers are with who we entered the business.
When it comes to hunting and fishing, most writers no longer peddle their wares on both sides of the street as they did a couple of decades ago. While there has always been specialist in the business, all and all in my opinion todayís outdoor writers are much more stratified than in the past. Even well-rounded newspaper columnists such as Sam Venable of the Knoxville Sentinel or Henry Reynolds of the Memphis Commercial Appeal are quite rare.