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Friday, March 9, 2018

Final Call for Entries in Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards

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The 2018 Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest allows promising young writers to showcase their skills in prose or poetry and win cash prizes totaling $1,400.

The deadline for entries is March 15, 2018. All entries must have been written during the 2017 calendar year.

The contest features categories in poetry or prose and awards prizes in two divisions. At the time the article was written the author must have been a student in grades 6-8 to enter the junior division; or grades 9-12 to enter the senior division. The topic must be outdoor-oriented (hiking, camping, boating, fishing, hunting, nature, ecology, canoeing, etc.).

In addition to cash prizes, the winning entries from this year’s contest will be printed in a future issue of Outdoors Unlimited, OWAA’s magazine.

For complete contest rules and entry instructions, Preferred entry submission is via email to Entries can also be mailed to OWAA Headquarters, 615 Oak St., Ste. 201, Missoula, MT 59801.

The Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards were named after Norm Strung, who served as OWAA president from 1984-1985. Now deceased, Strung received OWAA’s Excellence in Craft award in 1989. He won the Ham Brown award in 1988 for his service to the organization. That same year, he organized and edited a book for OWAA titled “Selling the Outdoor Story.” He was also recognized as Outstanding Board member in 1975.
OWAA is The Voice of the Outdoors®. The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio- and television-show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For more information, contact Outdoor Writers Association of America, 615 Oak St., Ste. 201, Missoula, Mont. 59801406-728-7434,

Monday, January 29, 2018

Join MDC for Upcoming Wild Webcasts and Facebook Live

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Photo provided Missouri Department of Conservation 

Learn about feral hogs, backyard wildlife, Eagle Days -- and ask MDC director and agents questions.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Join the Missouri Department of Conservation   (MDC) for its upcoming 2018 Wild       Webcasts on feral hogs, backyard wildlife, and bald eagles -- along with special Facebook Live sessions with MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley and conservation agents.

Join the webcasts from a computer or smartphone by registering through the provided links. Registrants will then get email reminders and links to join the live webcasts. 

For the Facebook Live sessions, simply go to the MDC Facebook page ( at the time of the sessions to watch. Ask questions by posting them in the comments section.

Wild Webcast: Feral Hog Update -- March 21, noon to 1 p.m.

Join MDC Feral Hog Elimination Team Leader Mark McLain and State Feral Hog Coordinator for MDC Alan Leary for an update on what MDC and partners are doing to combat feral hogs in Missouri, along with background on what they are and why they are such a destructive problem for landowners, MDC, and others. Register at

Wild Webcast: Attracting Backyard Wildlife -- May 16, noon to 1 p.m.

Join MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick, Community Conservation Planner for the City of Columbia Danielle Fox, and MDC Habitat Management Coordinator Nate Muenks to learn about attracting birds and other wildlife to backyards large and small through bird feeding, native plantings for wildlife food and shelter, and other habitat help. Register at

Facebook Live: Ask the Director -- July 18, noon to 12:30 p.m.

Join MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley to ask her questions on a variety of MDC topics. Join the conversation at

Facebook Live: Ask the Agent -- Oct. 31, noon to 12:30 p.m.

Join MDC conservation agents to ask questions and get answers on hunting, fishing, trapping, and other MDC regulations. Join the conversation at

Wild Webcast: Bald Eagles & Eagle Days -- Dec. 5, noon to 1 p.m.

Join MDC Resource Scientist and Eagle Expert Janet Haslerig and MDC Eagle Days Veteran Dan Zarlenga to learn about bald eagles in Missouri and the perennially popular MDC Eagle Days events around the state. Register at

Watch previous MDC Wild Webcasts at learn about invasive species, mountain lions, birding, fishing, chronic wasting disease, black bears, pollinators, and feral hogs.

Starting Anew

8:38 AM 0 Comments

It seems that over the past few years I let a good many things go - moved on to other arenas; print, commercial work, writing for others instead of myself. All this really did was increase my overall dissatisfaction with things.
It became time to "fish or cut bait"  - so I'm starting all over again !

Time to write more what I want to write instead of what an editor wants.
Time to photograph what I enjoy instead of just what will sell. 

Time to get back in the saddle and admit I was not as ready to retire things as I once thought I was! 

This is going to be a journey as I essentially will be rebranding and reinventing everything it seems.

I hope that if you enjoyed this blog in the past, you will continue to enjoy it, if you are new to my work, please have a look at the older posts, and subscribe via the sign up form on right side of the page.

I hope you will enjoy following the blog and "Walkin' with the Wild Woman"! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Running Traps AKA The Name and Shame Game

10:32 AM 0 Comments

Yesterday I was out running my traps, listening to an outstanding  interview with Rita Dove on NPR, thinking about a very to the point post a friend had made on face book, and feeling pretty darned inspired. I was anxious to get home and start writing.

Oh Holy Crap, what did I just say?

I’d better change up that “running my traps” language immediately.

The phrase “running my traps” is semi local, colloquial, phrase that means out roaming – checking on friends, stopping at fishing holes, scouting birds, just wandering around – I wasn’t out actually checking a trap line.

Why you ask do I feel the need to be so adamant about that? Because this my friends, is how things so rapidly go to hell in handbasket these days.

I can just about guarantee you some person would read this, and immediately jump to the conclusion that I am illegally running a trap line in IL in May.

Then the internet naming and shaming begins, the memes, the creative cut and paste, the posts telling me that I am highly illegal and should be removed from the planet. Screams of “Call the authorities!” would echo through the cyber world.

The anti trapping folks would steal a photo or two and make an example of this shameful and lawless behavior. Surely, I gleefully murder kittens and other warm, fuzzy, cute, creatures as well.

And no one would bother to ask IF I was really running a trap line or WHY I was a running a trap line in May.

Because  the online judge,jury and executioners are running their own trap line so speak as they scroll their feeds each day. 

We have become a society that can’t think beyond 140 characters and a meme. We take every character typed, every photo posted, every sentence uttered as an opportunity to find fault and be offended. We have become a name and shame society via social media.  Quite frankly many days I feel like I am living in the era of the Inquisitions or the witch burnings.

To quote my witty friends inspiring facebook post "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride” would run rampant.

I’ve come to the conclusion that people no longer care about civil discourse, differing opinions or fact checking. Let’s just fall into the click bait headline trap – blindly share, and pass on the horror or offense of the day.

Because, well it makes folks feel so damn good about themselves. It proves what high moral standards they hold themselves to, it proves that they are -  SO. MUCH. BETTER.

It also proves critical thinking skills are clearly at an all time low, and the  self involved it’s ALL about me and how wonderful and perfect I am set  has this name and shame thing down to fine art.

And they feel so damn good about it.

The name and shamers feel great pride in being the one who exposed the theoretical bad behavior; they don’t want to know the facts, they don’t want to know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.

They just want the world to see how absolutely great, moral, ethical and offended that they are.

Because clearly, taking one sentence from an interview, one paragraph from a blog, or one photo shared and turning it to a "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride” comment fest on their social media accounts makes them the star for the day. 

I see social media posters gleefully delight in the fact that they have gone viral with their take down of often innocent people, or how they shut down a business, a religious group or political candidate they didn’t care for.

Oh yes – and here is where all the free speechers will jump in –  you watch. It’s their God given right, we live in country of free speech, I can say whatever the hell I want .  That’s true – to a point. That’s also why slander and libel laws exist. Please don’t make me drag out the whole shouting fire in crowded theater example.

But then again isn’t that exactly what the social media judges, juries, and executioners are actually doing? Isn’t the whole internet shamefest mentality just an online version of yelling fire in crowded theater?

Let’s stir up the crowd, get out the torches and pitchforks and see just how much mayhem we can actually achieve.

Consequently, I see more and more thinking people just walking away from social media. It is just is too tiring to wade through feeds full of utter crap. Thinking people who really have never been into that whole herd mentality  thing to begin with.

And that’s sad – because social media can be a great tool, a great way to exchange ideas and information.

And now here we are – the whole post I had planned has flown out the window and I have to start that whole project over again because I got side tracked thinking about a world that’s full of social media “stars” who’s greatest talent seems to be making posts full of "passive-aggressive, slightly vicious yammering and self-righteous pride”.

Guess I need to go “run my traps” again this morning and find that inspiration all over again. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hunters, Landowners Encouraged to Report Suspected Cases of EHD

8:47 PM 0 Comments
IDNR has received 47 EHD reports from 17 Counties so far in 2015

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has received reports of 47 suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in wild white-tailed deer so far in 2015.  EHD appears to be more prevalent in west-central Illinois counties including Adams, McDonough and surrounding counties. In all, reports have come from 17 counties (see map attached). EHD was also confirmed in captive deer herds in Adams and Schuyler counties with heavy losses reported.

Scattered EHD cases were reported across the southern third of Illinois as well as two counties (Stephenson and Winnebago) in northern Illinois.  EHD was also confirmed in multiple cattle herds in Jo Daviess County.

The worst year for EHD was 2012 when 2,043 cases were reported from 76 counties. In 2013, IDNR received reports of 403 cases from 51 counties.  EHD was virtually absent in 2014.

IDNR continues to ask landowners, hunters, and concerned citizens to be on the look-out for dead or dying deer, and to report suspected EHD cases to their local IDNR field office, or to the Wildlife Disease and Invasive Species Program (WDIS).  IDNR is especially interested in sick or recently dead animals as staff may attempt to collect tissue samples in order to confirm the presence of the EHD virus.

Contact information for local IDNR biologists is available at the following web site .  Contact the WDIS Program at (815) 369-2414 or by email at  Please provide your name and contact information as well as the county, number of dead/sick deer, sex (if known), age (fawn or adult) and specific location of the deer (distance/direction from the nearest town or intersection of two roads). 
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is a viral disease of white-tailed deer that can cause localized die-offs when conditions are favorable for transmission.  Infected animals develop a high fever and dead animals often are found near water sources. Hunters may encounter deer killed by EHD when they go into the woods during the upcoming deer hunting seasons. EHD outbreaks typically end when freezing weather kills the insects that spread the virus.  While often fatal to deer, EHD is not hazardous to humans or pets.  EHD has been shown to affect livestock, so producers are encouraged to be vigilant.

The virus is transmitted between deer by a midge that hatches from muddy areas along lakes/ponds and streams/rivers.  Although EHD is observed somewhere in Illinois every year, cases are more numerous during hot and dry summer weather conditions, presumably because receding water levels create these muddy areas, providing breeding sites for the midges.  Limited water resources also congregate deer at remaining watering sites, creating conditions favorable for disease transmission.  

A map showing the distribution of EHD-suspected deer reports as of September 15 for 2015 is available at this link: 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

KenLake State Resort Park Opens New Archery Range

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I've recently had the very good fortune to spend some time at KenLake State Resort Park, in Aurora Kentucky. My first visit was during the Bowfishing Association of America's World Championship - although my schedule only allowed for an overnight stay, I was so taken with the many activities and photo opportunities   Ken Lake State Resort Park, It didn't take long for me to decide I had to plan a return visit. I knew I would be returning the great Kentucky Lakes area in September, but that wasn't soon enough to suit me.

During my initial visit, KenLake gave me a sneak peek and a preview of their soon to be opening 3D archery range. Although on that first visit it wasn't quite completed I could tell that it was going to be an outstanding range that would appeal to a wide range of archery enthusiasts.

On my return visit, the park was in a flurry of Grand Opening preparations and park staff again generously allowed us to preview the range and spend some time trying our hands at the interesting and challenging layout. My partner and fellow outdoor photographer Amy Pease and I knew that this would be a great side trip for our many outdoor media colleagues who will be descending on the Kentucky Lakes area for the 2014 Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Annual Conference in September.Not only is this range a must visit for outdoor media  when visiting the Kentucky Lakes area, it provides a great opportunity for any archery enthusiast visiting  the Kentucky Lakes Area.egardless of what takes you Kentucky Lakes area, be sure to pack your bow and give this challenging and interesting course a try! You won't be disappointed!

Kentucky Lakes area work that originally appeared in the AGLOW Horizons Magazine August 2014