It seems like just a few springs ago that I was walking into the woods during a frigid Alabama dawn, ready to begin my first “out-of-the-office assignment” for my new job.
The temperature was 28 degrees, and the wind was wicked. I’d wolfed down a hasty breakfast at Bent Creek Lodge, crammed a slate call into my jacket pocket and pulled my boots on with great anticipation. When the truck rolled up, I threw my gun inside, hopped into the cab and was whisked away to a new adventure.
I didn’t kill a turkey that morning, even though I was accompanied by two renowned hunters. In fact, I don’t think we heard one closer than a half-mile away. In the meantime, I basically proved that I didn’t know much about turkey hunting. Still, it marked the start of my greatest professional journey: as editor of Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine.
A lot has changed since then. I lost my mullet hairstyle and gained a few more wrinkles. I met loads of great folks and learned about turkey hunting from the world’s best hunters and callers. And when I left the job, it was the most difficult decision I’d ever made. I had the privilege to serve six-plus years as editor of T&TH, and that experience continued to enrich me when I worked at subsequent positions.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m back.
When Jim Schlender accepted the job of publisher/editorial director of F+W Media’s Firearms/Knives Group, the folks in charge asked me if I’d be interested in returning as editor of T&TH. I didn’t need to think about it long. It’s not often you can combine your personal passion with a career, and the chance to work with the greatest group of folks I know — turkey hunters — was too appealing to pass up.
Of course, I never really left T&TH, contributing to it regularly and serving as a columnist and contributing editor for the past four-plus years. And I was able to watch as Jim did tremendous work with my favorite magazine, packing it with great content and filling it with stunning imagery. Thank you, Jim. I hope my work lives up to the high standard you have set.
Being close to the magazine also let me follow the work of my favorite contributors, some of whom I knew and others who were new to T&TH. Jim Casada, Scott Bestul, Jim Spencer, Lovett Williams and the rest of the regular T&TH contributors continue to provide great information in interesting, entertaining formats. I’m thrilled to work again with the best turkey writers in the business. I’m also thankful to say that list also includes Schlender, who will continue his role as our “Gobbler Shots” columnist. I cannot think of a better man for the job.
Mostly, I’m excited to be working with you, the T&TH readers. I met quite a few of you through the years, but I don’t know many of you. I hope to change that in the coming months, whether we correspond in print, trade messages on the magazine Web site or perhaps chat in person.
In the meantime, what can you expect from T&TH? Business as usual. We’re here to provide practical, comprehensive information on wild turkeys and how to hunt them. I can’t think of a better way to spend my days.
Yeah, a lot has changed since that chilly March morning. But now that I think of it, much has remained the same.