How the other half thinks

I wrote an article for the November-December issue titled, “Inside the Mind of a Nonhunter.” It has the tagline: If you don’t care what they think of us, you should.

Hunters and nonhunters alike should check out the article I wrote in the November-December 2011 issue. By the way, the annoyed-looking hunter in the picture is my husband.

It may seem like I’m tooting my own horn, but it actually reveals some really useful information for hunters and nonhunters alike.

You see, I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. And my immediate family still doesn’t hunt. But they’re cool with me doing it, however, their support comes with caveats.

My sister won’t eat meat at my house unless she sees the grocery store package it came in. Albeit, she’s a pretty picky eater, but I’m happy to make two extra beef patties when the rest of us are having venison burgers to keep the peace.

When I talk to my mom before leaving on a hunting trip, she says: “Well, be safe. And I hope you kill something … if that’s what you want to do.” I just smile and understand those are strange words to her: “I hope you kill something.”

My dad doesn’t hunt but loves to relay my stories from the field to his friends. He hunts vicariously through me, which I find quite sweet. He’s an animal lover that has brought a hamster back from near death. I’m serious. He really did.

All of this to say that I have a vested interest in how to communicate with nonhunters. My family still has to love me even if they don’t hunt, but what about seatmates on an airplane or fellow patients in the doctor’s office?

I jumped feet first into some incredible research by Responsive Management that revealed how nonhunters view those of us who kill game. I have since formed an intellectual crush on Responsive Management Executive Director Mark Duda, who provided some real insight into what contributes to nonhunters’ opinions and what we should do and say to make sure we can all stay friends.

I hope you’ll read it and share it with your friends who hunt, and even with those who don’t. Communication is key to any successful relationship, so let’s start talking.

The sweetest deer meat

I’m an occasional deer hunter. As in I’ll hunt deer on the occasion that someone scouts a spot, hangs a stand for me and volunteers to babysit my kid. I enjoy it but rarely make the time to do anything but pull the trigger.

My husband, CJ, on the other hand, is an avid deer hunter. And his most recent passion is traditional archery. It consumes his brain in the fall. If he’s not hunting some other state in the name of work, (CJ’s a PR guy for some notable companies in the industry.) he’s at one of his leases.

And before he gets on to me for making him sound like a deadbeat dad during deer season, he’s really good about sharing parenting and household responsibilities — before and after shooting light sets in.

Take this year, for instance, something clicked in him to start processing and cooking his quarry himself. Two does down already this season, and our kitchen-turned-butcher shop has seen more deer parts than the local taxidermist.

The best part of his recent camo culinary exploits is that he WANTS to cook dinner. We’ve had venison Sloppy Joes, deer roast, grilled backstrap and other carnivorous cuisine.

All I have to do is answer a few text messages about the crockpot during the day and tuck a napkin in my shirt collar when I get home from work.

So I say, hunt away, husband of mine! I’ll take care of the kid and the laundry.

And if any of you have venison recipes for CJ to try, send them to me. I’ll be sure to pass them along.

Raising a good magazine

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I’ve always thought completing an issue of Turkey Country is somewhat like childbirth — a comparison my male coworkers find kind of gross. But it’s true. You create it from a series of concepts that develop into blocks of words and pictures. Those are arranged into pages that are pleasing to the eye, which are glued together at the printer.

That’s oversimplifying the entire process — for publishing a magazine and having a baby — but you get the gist: A heckuva lot goes into making that roughly 144-page book that the postal carrier flops into your mailbox.

By the time I get my own copy of the magazine, I’m super proud of the result, but I’m hard pressed to pick it up and read it. I mean I’ve read it, like, five times already. Plus, I’m terrified I’ll find a mistake.

I had to train my mother to not point out typos to me after the fact. She thought she was helping, but at some point you just have to cut your losses. And those losses are much easier to handle if you don’t know about them.

I really love what I do. I get to use the creative and the technical parts of my brain each day. And I hope that shows in the end product — and that you find enjoyment in reading it, maybe even learn something.

I’d love to hear what you think about what you read and see in Turkey Country. And even though each issue is like a baby to me, you can tell me if you think it’s ugly. (But I wouldn’t recommend you saying that to a mother about her flesh and blood.)

In all seriousness, I want to hear your tips for helping me raise Turkey Country right. What do you want to see more or less of? What made you smile? What made you think?

Let me know.

The start of something good

Welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

It’s difficult to find a creative way to begin your very first blog post. I mean, where do you start? If I’m guessing correctly, you’re either a family member, one of my Facebook friends or you landed on this page by accident. No matter. I’m glad you’re here.

And I hope you’ll come back … and bring a friend with you. It’s gonna be fun!

This blog offers an insider’s view of the NWTF and general goings-on in the outdoors industry. I’m a 12-plus-year veteran of both and have seen my share of turkey biz and beyond. I guess I have a unique perspective on it all, according to the coworkers who roped me into this.

As the editor of Turkey Country magazine, quite a bit of stuff comes across my desk and into my email inbox every day, more than I can possibly fit into a bi-monthly publication. Match that with all the great places, neat-o folks that come with the job, and it should provide quite a bit of fodder for a blog.

I, for one, think it’s great to have another outlet to share the things that inspire me, concern you or will just crack us both up.

But this isn’t simply an overflow trench for content, I honestly love sharing my experiences. And I want to hear about yours too.

Note, however, that the comments part of the blog has been turned off. That’s by design. I can’t blame the Web folks for not wanting to monitor another open forum, keeping those ne’re-do-wells selling objectional products or soliciting American spouses at bay.

But that shouldn’t stop you from sending me a note. I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line.

I hope you’ll continue on this journey with me. It’ll be like a virtual road trip, and you’re riding shotgun. And the best part is you don’t have to listen to me sing…