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SEOPA News January-February 2013

Photo by Tom MacKenzie (courtesy of USFWS)

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Jr.

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Featured Photography Experimenting with game cameras offers an element of surprise that can be nearly as exciting as watching wildlife in person. The anticipation of wondering what smiled for your camera is just plain fun. More than a dozen SEOPA members and friends responded to the request for photos from their game camera libraries for publication in this newsletter. Each shot is credited accordingly. Due to space limitations, we were unable to publish all the photographs, but they’ve been posted on the website. They include impressive mature buck herds, day vs. night shots and lesser-seen critters. No password is needed to see them. Just go to then click on “Additional Content” and look for “Game Cam Photos-Name.” Our cover shot was captured by the game cam of QDMA Director of Communications Lindsay Thomas, Jr. “Trying to photograph deer with this creek in the background, I put a little bait on the rocks by the water,” said Thomas, “I got a lot of shots, but this was one of my favorites.” Many thanks to everyone who participated in this fun project: Ron Bice, Ron Brooks, Jill Easton, Whit Gibbons, Glynn Harris, Josh Honeycutt, Kevin Howard, Kevin Jernigan, Stephen Matt, Tim Mead, Ken Perrotte, David Ray, Lindsay Thomas, Jr., Jeff Williams and the folks from the Lee County CVB. Editor’s Note: It’s Just a Matter of Style – Again For the most part, this newsletter is published according to AP Style guidelines. One exception from the summer of 2000 through the spring of 2005 was the blanket use of postal codes for state abbreviations. Anticipating acceptance by AP in this regard, we simply thought we were getting ahead of the curve. Finally, in March 2005, we gave up the trend-setting attempt and returned to the use of AP state abbreviations. Seven years later postal codes became commonplace. Frequent proofreaders of SEOPA News brought it to my attention. So, here we go again, back to using them across the board starting with his issue. If we missed a few, please forgive us. Forgive us, too, for using a smaller font to reprint Jim Spencer’s award-winning “Legacy” on Pages 20-23. We wanted everyone to have access to this piece by publishing it in the printed version of SEOPA News.


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3 • President’s Message: Looking Back and Keeping Up by David Rainer 5 • Craft Improvement: Five Tips for Being a Better Communicator by Paul Morin 6 • Craft Improvement: Tips From an Editor by Bobby Whitehead 8 • Craft Improvement: Improve Internet Writing by Lawrence Taylor 10 • Conference Review: Conserving Rocky Fork Watershed by Gil Lackey 11 • Conference Review: Quail in Crisis by Gordon Hutchinson 12 • Conference Review: Conservation of Carnivores ... by Karen Lutto 14 • Learning and Fun on Tap at Lake Charles Conference by Rob Simbeck 16 • Budget Report 17 • Special Feature: Chipmunks Are Not Your Friend by Tes Jolly 18 • Award-winning Feature: Legacy by Jim Spencer 22 • Member and Industry News 24 • Special Feature: Top 25 Colleges for Bass Anglers by Curtis Niedermier 26 • New Members and Announcements 28 • Executive Director’s Message: Pride, Prejudice and Presentation t by Lisa M. Snuggs

SEOPA News Vol. 49, No. 1, January-February 2013 © 2013 Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, Inc. Lisa M. Snuggs, Editor PRESIDENT David Rainer 14624 South Blvd. Silverhill, AL 36576 (H/O) 251-945-6889 FIRST VICE PRESIDENT Rob Simbeck 926 Lynn Court Hermitage, TN 37076 (H/O) 615-758-7393 (EM) SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Jim Casada 1250 Yorkdale Drive Rock Hill, S.C. 29730 (H/O) 803-329-4354 (EM) SECRETARY Gil Lackey 3924 Cambridge Ave. Nashville, TN 37205 (C) 615-429-5181 (EM) CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Jill Easton P.O. Box 758 Calico Rock, AR 72519 (EM) DIRECTORS 2013 Kathy Barker (Fla.) Gordon Hutchinson (La.) Alan Clemons (Tenn.) Brandon Butler (Mo.) - Corporate DIRECTORS 2014 David Hawkins (Miss.) Dick Jones (N.C.) Tes Randle Jolly (Ala.) Paul Moore (Ky.) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Lisa M. Snuggs P.O. Box 115 Badin, NC 28009 (O) 704-984-4700 (EM) (WEB) ADVISORS Medical: Bill McKell, Jr., M.D. (Miss.) SEOPA News is published eight times yearly by the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, Inc. Articles and information submitted for issues of SEOPA News should be sent to SEOPA at P.O. Box 115, Badin, NC 28009, two months prior to the date of printing, on or before the first of the month. Publication months are: January/February, March/ April, May, June, July, August, September/ October and November/December. The Southeastern Outdoor Press Association is a professional, 501(c)6 nonprofit organization serving a membership spanning 14 southeastern states. This membership is composed of outdoor communicators working in radio, television, magazine, the Internet, outdoor art, wildlife and environmental communications, outdoor public relations, lecturing and a host of other segments, all concerned with conveying and preserving the outdoor experience.

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

President’s Message

Looking Back and Keeping Up That old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” apparently doesn’t apply to the outdoors media. The last seven or eight years have been tumultuous for our trade, and I don’t know how this shakedown is going to end. To see it from my vantage point, here’s a little bit about my background. I got started in the outdoor writing business after I’d covered a ton of “ball” games, everything from the now defunct Whynot Academy football outside Meridian, MS, to three Super Bowls. I would occasionally write an outdoors piece, but nothing on a regular basis until I ended up at the Jackson (MS) Daily News and teamed up with my longtime buddy Bobby Cleveland to produce the outdoors coverage for the Daily News and ClarionLedger. That wasn’t an outdoors-only gig, spending half my work time editing stories and writing headlines. On the side, I wrote quite a few magazine pieces to try to further my outdoor-writing career. One day, Bobby got word about an opening in Mobile, AL, where Stan Tiner had recently become editor and Howard Bronson was publisher. Our family had vacationed for many years on the Alabama Gulf Coast. I’d pick up the Mobile newspaper and think about all the possibilities it could offer an outdoor writer. Back then, however, the newspaper had the reputation as a fish wrapper, and I never expected any “dream” job would develop in Mobile. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when Tiner and Bronson turned the fish wrapper into a highly successful daily newspaper that earned nationwide respect and awards. When Bobby decided he wouldn’t pursue the position of outdoors editor, I jumped at the chance. A few weeks later, I had the “dream” job, covering freshwater and saltwater fishing, all the hunting the Deep South provides, and plenty of leeway to pursue stories when available. I had a great 13 years at the Press-Register, but I could tell back in 2005 that the newspaper business was starting to change. Stan Tiner had moved on, and another management change occurred in 2005. I found myself back editing stories and writing headlines in the office. SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Photo provided by David Rainer

SEOPA President David Rainer loves the early primitive weapons season in Alabama, when the bucks haven’t been spooked by all the activity associated with the regular gun season.

I explained to those in charge that it was impossible to be the “indoors” outdoors editor. I also expressed the view that the newspaper needed to hammer the local coverage and let the stuff people could grab off the Internet become secondary coverage. Despite promises that things would “get better,” there was no improvement in sight. After a year of frustration, the Good Lord delivered me from the newspaper business. Thankfully I didn’t have to give up my outdoor writing. I ended up at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the Information and Education Division as sort of a hybrid – public information manager by title, but just a regular outdoor writer in reality Some of my outdoor writer buddies said at the time that I had gone over to the “dark side,” but they decided three years later that it was indeed a smart move. continued... Page 3

President’s Message (continued...) Just about everybody in the outdoor media has had to make adjustments since the economy turned sour in 2008. The newspaper business crashed and burned so quickly that many of the folks it left behind are still in a daze. Where there once was an abundance of outdoors magazines, only a few have survived. Dozens of outdoors TV shows disappeared after advertising money dried up. So what do we, as SEOPA members, do? We adjust and pursue our trade wherever possible. That it why I’ve made it a priority to continue the work Jill Easton started on an extensive overhaul of the SEOPA website. Whether we like it or not, our readers are moving to new devices to consume outdoors media. Heck, my siblings and I bought an Android tablet for my 79-year-old mother – who, by the way, makes the best cat-head biscuits in the world – for Christmas. At the conference in Johnson City last fall, we amended our membership criteria to include those communicators who disseminate their outdoors information via the Internet. Since then, hard work by the Website Committee, under the direction of chairperson Kathy Barker, has resulted in significant progress on our goal to update the website ASAP. The committee developed a request for quotation (RFQ), which was distributed to web developers who had experience in the outdoors industry. With only 30 days to respond, the number of quotations was surprising, thankfully. “We had a wonderful response,” Kathy said. “We got offers from a wide Whit Gibbons set up his game cam on a small blackwater stream tributary to the South Edisto River in Orangeburg County, SC, on private property near Salley. One night in February of last year this barred owl landed on a stump with a talon-full of lesser siren, one of the aquatic salamanders that inhabit the marginal swampy areas of the stream. To see the same area in the daytime, click on “Game Cam-Gibbons” under “Additional Content at Page 4

group of people, including SEOPA members. We got bids from companies that have been working with the outdoors industry for a long time.” The range of estimates for a one-time revamping of the website ranged from $2,650 to $14,295. Obviously, with the weak economy, SEOPA must be careful with its expenditures, but I feel strongly this is not the time to be timid. We must reach out to the next generation of communicators in a method that is appealing and user friendly. I hope all SEOPA members agree that it’s time to embrace the next generation of outdoors communications. Now, back to the great outdoors, David Rainer David Rainer President

Photo by Whit Gibbons SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Craft Improvement

Five Tips for Being a Better Communicator By Paul Morin Editor’s Note: This article was first published at It is reprinted with permission. If you want to be a better communicator, take a moment to consider these five tips, then give them a try. 1. Be Concise: Don’t use 100 words to say something you can say in 50 words. It’s easy to become enamored of your own voice, which may cause you to drone on and lessen your effectiveness as a communicator. I’ll leave it at that. 2. Have A Point: Don’t speak for the sake of speaking. Have a point, especially when you’re trying to be persuasive or explain something. It’s one thing if you’re having a coffee or a beer with a friend; the importance of having a point in such a scenario is diminished. In a business or teaching situation on the other hand, it’s very important to have a point in mind before you start talking. 3. Don’t Have Too Many Points: It’s tough for most people to remember long lists. It’s even tougher if the list is comprised of complex points. Many memory experts say stick to a list of seven or fewer points, if you want your audience to remember them. Based on my experience, I’d suggest having a maximum of three key points you’d like your audience to remember. Better yet, have just one and hit it from a bunch of different angles. Obviously, this is not one size fits all, but in most instances, you’ll want to stick to a small number key points, or you will confuse your audience.

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

4. Use Words And Metaphors That Will Resonate With Your Audience: If you’re speaking to a board of directors, a CEO group, or a bunch of marketing vice presidents, the words you’ll use will be completely different than those you’ll use when speaking to a group of politicians or museum curators. This is true if you are speaking to individual people from groups such as these as well. Each audience has its own buzzwords and hot buttons. It’s key to use examples, phrasing and metaphors that resonate with your audience. If not, you will not pass the Ethos, Pathos, Logos test and you will be far less likely to effectively get your point across. 5. Listen More Than You Talk: Listening to and understanding your audience are critical aspects of being an effective communicator. Unfortunately, often times it’s tempting to be formulating your next great thought while your audience is trying to communicate with you. Given the difficulties with effectively multitasking, the likelihood of your being able to formulate your thoughts and process those of your counterpart at the same time are very small. If you don’t empathize with your audience, they will sense that. It’s a sixth sense that most people have. Not only will they sense it, but it will make it far less likely that they listen to and understand your message. The law of reciprocity is alive and well in effective two-way communication. Give these tips a try and see if they help you to communicate more effectively. For more information visit and subscribe to its free e-newsletter. It contains practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders. Page 5

Craft Improvement

Tips From an Editor Improve your chances of getting published By Bobby Whitehead Would you stop doing that, please? For twenty years I have been editing two publications, and I have worked with countless outdoor writers to include full-time and freelance authors. I have found the best writers are the ones with a newspaper background. Here is why: Newspaper writers have learned never to have more than three or four sentences in a paragraph. Sometimes one sentence is enough. Readers frequently are overwhelmed by long copy blocks. Make it easier for them to scan through your article. Otherwise many will read the headline, look at the pictures, and turn the page. By breaking up your article with more paragraphs you will increase the odds of having your piece read more often, and once you employ this simple technique your sell rate will increase. Rarely do I find typos or grammar errors in copy submitted by newspaper writers. Because space is limited, they have learned to write tightly and stay focused, as well. Joel Vance, one of the finest writers and editors ever, stresses being subtle. Understatement increases the chances a reader will feel the full impact of the emotions you wish to evoke. Too often I see overuse of exclamation marks. Really, the rule is: never use them, but if you do it had better be warranted. Sometimes I see multiple exclamation points at the end of a sentence. That is a sure way for an editor to delete your query. And what about ellipsis? Three dots, (…) should be used only when showing words are missing. To show a break in a sentence — use the em dash. Usually you are better off making two sentences, or not using it at all, but there are times the em dash makes more sense. Page 6

To properly use the ellipses in a sentence, put a space after a word, then the three dots, then a space, and continue with the sentence. At the end of a sentence, use the ellipsis like this: The sentence, a space, then four periods. Like this: …. Too often now we see the ellipsis used as a super comma. I think that is a Photo provided by function of Internet chat habBobby Whitehead its. Please don’t do that. Bobby Whitehead And how about the hyphen? I asked Vance once, “When should one employ a hyphen?” He thought for a moment and said, “I guess whenever you need one.” Puzzled at first, I applied his thought to when it appeared a hyphen was needed. Example: Bow hunting heaven. (Awkward) Bow-hunting heaven. (Better) Now I never have a problem employing a hyphen when it is needed. Some writers use an apostrophe when talking about years (decades) i.e., 1980’s. Please don’t do that. It is 1980s. Phone numbers come to me in all kinds of ways: (618) 555-5555, or 1-800-555-5555, mostly. Correct is: 618-555-5555 or 800-555-5555. Here at Outdoor Guide Magazine we use postal abbreviations: St. Louis, MO. While AP Style calls for: St. Louis, Mo., the postal style is easier to read, and just looks better. The word “that” often is overused. Try this: Go back and read your copy before you send it. continued ...

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Craft Improvement

Photo by David Ray

This photo was snapped by one of David Ray’s five game cams positioned near his family’s 310-acre deer woods near Bloomington, IL. Ray is a friend of Brandon Butler. See more of his photos under “Additional Content” at Just click on “Game Cam Photos-David Ray.”

Tips ... (continued) Take out words that are unnecessary, then read it again. You will be surprised how much better your copy will read. In another installment I will cover more aspects of editing, and hopefully I will continue to learn along with you, as well. The English language is an evolving entity. Even in my 20 years of editing, I have seen much change. Talk to three different editors, and you’ll find each has specific preferences, and reasons why there are departures from AP Style. If you follow these few, simple tips however, you will sell more articles. And your editor will live a longer life, or at least make it to Happy Hour on time. Editor’s Note: Bobby Whitehead is a writer, editor, publisher and photographer from St. Louis, MO. He writes for the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune and serves as publisher/editor of Outdoor Guide Magazine. Whitehead joined SEOPA in 2004. He is past president of the Missouri Outdoor Communicators and the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. In addition to maintaining membership in those groups, he also belongs to OWAA, POMA and the Midwest Travel Writers Association. SEOPA News / January-February 2013

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Craft Improvement

Improve Internet Writing By Lawrence Taylor Paper markets are shrinking; you don’t need me to tell you that. As this door closes writers are looking for the one that’s opening. The obvious new door is Internet writing, but a lot of authors find this door not only shut, but locked from the inside. Those who made the transition often crawled through the doggie door. It’s no secret that on average, pay for internet features often doesn’t measure up, but smart (and hungry) writers find ways to keep writing, getting paid and feeding the family. Know the difference between an internet writer and a large pizza? A large pizza can feed a family of four. Yeah, I know, old and bad joke. To succeed in writing for websites, writers must learn to tailor stories to fit Internet style. Most websites aren’t interested in your 2,500 word feature on the deer your Uncle Joe shot back in the 1960s. In most cases websites don’t want obvious commercial-like promotion of their products. Internet writing is all about shorter stories, good photos, video, hyperlinks and a mysterious thing called SEO.

Length As a cynical writer growing long in the tooth, one of my favorite observations is that every person who can read thinks he can write, as evidenced by the millions of blogs that clog the Internet like too much TP in a public toilet. Taken for what they are – personal diaries – blogs are fine. With rare exceptions, there’s no money in blogging unless it’s featured on a major media or corporate website. Like most of today’s magazine writing, it’s all about tips and techniques. Provide useful information on a timely basis. Think regionally. The Internet further splinters readers into smaller and smaller groups. There’s more opportunity in feature-type writing than internet journalism, so we’ll focus on features. Covering events like the Bassmaster Classic is a totally different animal that depends on upload speed rather than style. Best advice is shorter, more-concise articles, eliminating all unnecessary words. Many sites want articles no more than 1,000 words, with good photo support, continued...

Here is the friend that kept tearing up all my feeders and eating all my corn! He walked under me while I was in my climber on two different mornings. I quietly said, “boo!” He took off like a shot! I never hunt this area in the afternoon where I have to come out of the woods in the dark. He is one BIG black bear! - Ron Brooks Photo by Ron Brooks Page 8

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Craft Improvement Internet ... (continued) and if you can work a video camera and put together a very short (30-second) interview with your source providing an extra tip not included in the text, even better. SEO For many writers, SEO is simply the first three letters of SEOPA, or it might as well stand for “Steam Early Okra.” It is of utmost important in writing Internet features, though, and really stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” Search engines such as Google continually send out little spies that scan everything on a particular site, taking note of the frequency features are added and looking for common terms, among other things. These scans often only “look” at the first few paragraphs of a story. As a writer, when considering your topic, put yourself in the position of someone looking -- or “Googling” -- for information contained within your article. If you’re writing a feature on jigging for crappie in summer, and your source guides on Guntersville Lake in Alabama, then in the first few sentences of your story you need to include common phrases and encapsulate what the story is about. In this instance, “Crappie fishing with jigs is a great way to fill the livewell with big slabs at Alabama’s Guntersville Lake. During summer, crappie guide Billy Joe Bob says fish can be finicky, but he’s learned a few tips over the years that will help you be a better crappie angler.”

In this example, an angler can Google “crappie fishing,” “crappie fishing with jigs,” “crappie fishing at Guntersville,” “summer crappie fishing,” “crappie fishing tips” or “Guntersville crappie guide” and (all things being equal, which they’re not) Google will hit on your article. Don’t insult the intelligence of your readers by over-doing it, though. Tips Here are a few quick examples of mistakes I see that will make you a better website writer. Remember: short, concise and active, and take the time to hyperlink where appropriate. • Eliminate the word “will,” and speak in active voice, as in: “He’ll look for holes in patches of weeds…” Change to active voice: “He looks for holes in patches of weeds.” • Eliminate most “the’s,” as in: “Through the first half of the season, the trout will position in holes in the weeds…” Change to “Through the first half of the season, trout position in holes in weeds.” • Hyperlink product mentions, guides, associations – anything that can benefit by a hyperlink. It’s easy. A hyperlink highlights and underlines the word, say, Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub, and indicates that the reader can simply click on that word and get more information or be directed to a location where they can buy the product.

Lawrence Taylor is public/press relations director for PRADCO Outdoor Brands, Fishing Division. He spent five years as a newspaper editor, 10 years as an editor with BASSIN’ and Crappie World magazines and holds his Master’s Degree in Journalism from The University of Oklahoma. One aspect of his PR position is writing and editing feature articles for company websites, including and www. Taylor was named 2010 Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Arkansas Wildlife Federation. Lawrence is pictured here with one of his favorite fishing buddies, son Michael. Photo provided by Lawrence Taylor SEOPA News / January-February 2013

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Seminar Review

Conserving Rocky Fork Watershed By Gil Lackey David Ramsey got choked up with emotion during his seminar at the Johnson City SEOPA conference. After more than 15 years spearheading the drive to save almost 10,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the heart of the Appalachians from massive development, Ramsey learned that very morning that the fight was finally over. SEOPA members had the infinite pleasure of watching the emotions flow as he read the news hot off the presses. “U.S. Forest Service officials at the Cherokee National Forest say a four-year effort with The Conservation Fund to protect the Rocky Fork property is complete with the recent purchase of nearly 1,200 acres of the tract.” – U.S. Forest Service Ramsey served as the local liaison for a coalition of conservation groups and local residents who worked to acquire the privately owned tract located near the Tennessee-North Carolina line. Ultimately, the U.S. Forest Service and The Conservation Fund purchased the property from New Forestry LLC for $40 million. As part of the overall acquisition, The Conservation Fund will eventually transfer its share of the purchase – 7,387 acres – to the state of Tennessee.

Ramsey spoke of the frustration in watching two previous attempts to sell the property fall through. The U.S. Forest Service almost bought the tract in 1998 and 2001, but Ramsey never gave up his mission to preserve the property. For generations, the Rocky Fork tract has been privately owned but open to public hunting and fishing through a cooperative agreement with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. But some politicians wanted Rocky Fork developed in order to receive revenue from property taxes. With a valuable watershed extending through Rocky Fork, as well as a portion of the Appalachian Trail, a coalition of conservation groups and local residents led by Ramsey fought to protect the pristine woodland. Even though the protracted fight is finally over, Ramsey still relished discussing the cultural, scenic, recreational, ecological, economic, and water resources that make Rocky Fork worthy of protection. The property has special meaning to Ramsey because he and several generations of his family have roots in the outlying Rocky Fork community. In his SEOPA seminar and in his countless other Rocky Fork presentations, Ramsey displayed his talents as a professional photographer as well as his fervor for the cause to create a connection to Rocky Fork. That very zeal is what garnered him “Field & Stream 2011 Conservation Hero of the Year” and what ultimately led to the preservation of this valuable resource. continued ...

With all the good smells that drift into the Ozarks from the Easton-Spencer kitchen, it’s no surprise to see wild hogs come calling. This “little guy”, as Jill called him, spent quite a few nights in a nearby food plot. The clarity of the photograph is impressive. Photo by Jill Easton Page 10

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Seminar Review Rocky Fork ... (continued) Ramsey’s presentation was filled with his stunning photos of bears, salamanders, bats, trout, and especially the glorious habitat in which they live. As an avid outdoorsman, I just wanted to hike and hunt and fly fish and take it all in. And that’s exactly Ramsey’s vision for the place – no extensive development, no gated community, and

full access by the public. Unlike some other preserved regions, Rocky Fork will hopefully keep connecting people to nature and be a catalyst for development in the nearby community. Ramsey’s upcoming book will be entitled “Up on Rocky Fork” because as long as he can remember, that’s how folks referred to this special place.

Quail in Crisis By Gordon Hutchinson

According to a brochure put out by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, “…the Audubon Society’s list of Common Birds in Decline identifies the northern bobwhite as the number one declining species. Their data showed an 82 percent range-wide population reduction over the last 40 years. Some states have lost more than 90 percent of their quail. Some states have lost all of them. Kentucky has lost about two-thirds of the quail population since 1960.” The alarming rates of decline in what was one of the most popular game birds in the United States led to the formation of the Southeast Quail Study Group (SEQSG) in 1995 in the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. This group joined to marshal resources to attempt to study quail populations and habitat on a joint range-wide basis. The SEQSG produced the first Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative in 2002 — a 22-state recovery initiative that attracted the involvement of other states in the bobwhite quail range, and eventually led to a name change of the “National Bobwhite Technical Initiative.” The NBTI is the heart and soul of what is now called the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative — a movement by the states, for the states. An attempt to bring conservation and range management to the individual states in a unified strategy to restore wild quail. SEOPA News / January-February 2013

The NBCI provides an array of digital tools to the states and their biologists, and coordinates practices, studies, and efforts among the participating states. Everyone wants quail back, now there is a unified effort to work with the states, bringing the resources of the NBTC to the biologists in individual states and focusing these where they will do the most good. John Doty, Communications director of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), chaired the seminar at 2012 SEOPA conference, and reported on activities and successes by the organization. Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the NBCI has a website for people interested in the national restoration efforts for the bobwhite quail located at Doty and several biologists from the Southeast reported on the successes of establishing native grasses as primary grazing pastures for livestock operations. The loss of small farm operations in the last half-century is considered the number one cause of the decline in native bobwhite populations. Large-scale farming operations with open pastures and introduced pasture grasses are recognized as the main reason for such an alarming decrease in quail populations across the United States. The NBCI has unified efforts and keeps all member states aware of conservation efforts and gains across the membership. John Doty can be reached for further information at Page 11

Conference Review

Carnivore Conservation Explored at Fall Conference By Karen Lutto Living in the bush in Zimbabwe for the summer may seem a bit too primal for most, but for Colorado State Zoology undergrad Ashley Lutto, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Who needs an alarm clock when you have elephants trumpeting outside your door as the sun breaks across the plain? For Lutto, this was the five-star resort she had dreamed of for many years. She enthusiastically shared her experience with SEOPA conference attendees in Johnson City this fall. Focusing her career goals on the field of large carnivore conservation ecology, Lutto had the opportunity to intern at the Save Valley Conservancy, a unique wildlife area in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe, last summer. Lutto was part the Leopard Research Project and studied under Dusty Joubert, the primary

researcher and ecological manager for the Sango concession case-study area in the Save Valley. Her hour-long seminar at the SEOPA Conference on Sept. 27 gave the audience a taste of her fascinating and often hair-raising experiences of living among and working with big cats in the wild. Through an engrossing slideshow of images of these animals and graphics explaining the preliminary results of the study, Lutto wowed her audience with the various methods of big cat conservation, with her focus on the Sango concession. As this audience was interested in both conservation and hunting, she spoke in detail about the impacts and sustainability of trophy leopard hunting in the Save Valley Conservancy. continued ...

Photo by Ashley Lutto Page 12

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Contest Announcement

2013 SEOPA Communications Contest It’s not too early to start organizing your 2013 contest entries. There are no major changes for the 2013 contest, but official rules and an entry form will be printed in the March-April issue of SEOPA News and posted on the website. Entries must be postmarked by June 3.

Conservation (continued...) In her seminar, Lutto explained how habitat loss effects carnivores more than other animals, and she discussed the various methods of conservation that are being employed in Southeastern Africa. She spoke about different capturing methods used on the free-roaming leopards including darting, soft-trap foot snares and live bait-cage trapping. Once released, collared leopards provided the researchers with even more information as radio telemetry was used to determine and compare territory sizes. The research Lutto participated in and is still following up on will aid in determining the sustainable hunting populations on Sango (and ultimately Save Valley Conservancy as a whole) and will provide valuable research for future leopard studies. Lutto plans to return to Africa in 2013 to continue studying carnivores. Karen Lutto owns Hunter Outdoor Communications PR agency. Some of her clients include Field Logic, Hi Mountain Seasonings, Hunter Safety System, Burris, Rage, and Rack One. Lutto has attended every SEOPA conference since 2000. To see more of Ashley’s photographs, visit and look under “Additional Content.” SEOPA News / January-February 2013

2013 SEOPA Communications Contests

2013 Excellence in Craft Competition (10 categories) 1st Place - $250 and a plaque 2nd Place - $150 and a certificate 3rd Place - $100 and a certificate

2013 Web Site Horizons Award (enter by e-mail only: see “Realtree WSH Criteria” and “Realtree WSH Entry Form” under “Documents” in the Members’ Section of 1st Place - $500 and a plaque 2nd Place - $250 and a certificate 3rd Place - $125 and a certificate

2013 Conference Site Story 1st Place - $250 and a plaque 2nd Place - $150 and a certificate 3rd Place - $100 and a certificate

2013 Sharon Rushton Award 1st Place - $300 and a plaque

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Conference Preview

Learning and Fun on Tap in Lake Charles By Rob Simbeck It’s my good fortune, as SEOPA’s first vice-president, to be part of putting together the 2013 Lake Charles conference. Everything about the city, the venue, and the people we get to work with in planning the conference is first-rate. If you’ve been to conferences there, you’re already excited about it. If you’re not, you should be. We’re beginning to book speakers, session leaders and presenters. We’ll be drawing on a few of our own members as well as presenters from the region and from around the country to bring us the best ideas and practical tips we offer. There are some basics it just makes sense to cover. There’ll be a photography session or two, discussions of video and how best to use it online, and a session on better interviewing. And since this is well known as one of the best culinary regions in the country, you can bet there will be cooking demonstrations and tips. We’re also planning a session on one of the genres that offers great possibilities for authors with solid promotional skills in good times and bad – the cookbook. In fact, I plan to make an extra trip or two to Lake Charles just to make sure the area’s restaurants are still turning out world-class food. (No need for thanks; I live to serve). Then there are the sessions about the business and the way it has been changed forever by technology. Newspapers and magazines are in trouble. The Internet is a wide open marketplace with one fatal flaw – there’s very little money in it. Cable TV has exploded, but its very success has created problems of oversaturation. Radio ad revenues have struggled for a few years. Within that media maelstrom lie the seeds for several useful sessions, and we’re putting those together now. If you’ve got ideas or suggestions on people or subjects, please let me or Lisa know. You can reach me at I’m keeping two things in mind as I join in the effort to bring you the best possible conference – inforPage 14

mation and fun. As working communicators, we need tools, insights and encouragement as we look to make money doing what we love. As members of an organization known for its family feel, we want to come together in celebration of our work and our friendships. There are few places better equipped to allow for that combination of learning and enjoyment than Lake Charles, LA. We will do everything possible to make the time and money it takes to come to a conference seem like an investment it would be foolish not to make. There will be much more information coming in subsequent newsletters, but this isn’t one-way communication. Let us know what you’re thinking and what you’re wanting. And get ready to join us in Lake Charles this coming October.

Prize Increase for 2015 Conference Site Story Contest A picture is worth 1,000 words, but your words could be worth $1,000 dollars! The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau has increased the pot to see who can produce the best story on the 2013 SEOPA Conference host city, Lake Charles, LA. Contestants must have attended the 2013 SEOPA Conference to be considered eligible for the contest. Submissions must promote Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana or the state of Louisiana. Complete contest information and submission instructions will be announced in July. 1st prize: $1,000 and plaque 2nd prize: $500 and certificate 3rd prize: $250 and certificate

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Conference Preview

Cajun Culture in Store for SEOPA Fall Conference

October 9-12, 2013 Lake Charles, LA Photo courtesy of the Lake Charles/ Southwest Louisiana CVB

Adventure Awaits


The Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is gearing up to make this year’s SEOPA conference a memorable one steeped in Cajun culture! Nestled on the Calcasieu River, only 30 miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Charles overlooks a brackish lake teeming with speckled trout, redfish and other species. A subtropical climate leads to great year-round fishing. Outdoor adventures surround Southwest Louisiana offering journalists the chance to hunt, fish, bird, golf, kayak and explore Louisiana’s Outback, the 180-mile Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Events in Southwest Louisiana are not complete without a healthy serving of Cajun cuisine, Louisiana seafood and Southern hospitality. In addition to the area’s natural and cultural treasures, casino gaming complexes offer non-stop entertainment options and resort amenities. Statewide press trips and photo opportunities will be made available to SEOPA journalists. The CVB is also planning several spouse tours and adventures that include cooking and outdoor adventures along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road to see alligators and shelling along the Gulf of Mexico beaches.

The 2013 conference will be held at the Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel located in Westlake, La. Conference attendees will enjoy live music in the Caribbean Cove and newly renovated hotel suites. Accommodations may be reserved by calling 888-475-3847 for a rate of $109 + tax per day using the group code: SEOPA13. RV Parking at the Isle of Capri is $15 + tax per day. Reservations must be made by September 21, 2013.

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Getting There Conveniently located on Interstate 10, Lake Charles is 151 miles east of Houston and 207 miles west of New Orleans. The Lake Charles Regional Airport is located 15 minutes from downtown Lake Charles and offers service by United and American Eagle Airlines. From casino gaming to wild game found in the great outdoors, Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana has it all. Stay tuned to seopa for updates as they become available. Page 15


SEOPA 2012 Fiscal Year Budget and Actuals (11-1-2011 thru 10-31-2012)

SEOPA 2013 Fiscal Approved Budget SEOPA 2012 FYYear Budget vs. Actual (11-1-2012 thru 10-31-2013) and 2013 FY Approved Budget Income Conference Auction/Raffle Conference Registration Corporate Membership Donations EIC Individual Membership Interest Income Media Auction Sales Total Income

FY 2012 Approved Budget

FY 2012 Year-End


14,000.00 21,000.00 24,000.00 100.00 8,200.00 14,000.00 1,080.00 5,487.50 0.00 87,867.50

23,835.00 18,084.00 25,095.00 240.00 8,100.00 13,460.00 122.72 0.00 0.00 88,936.72

9,835.00 (2,916.00) 1,095.00 140.00 (100.00) (540.00) (957.28) (5,487.50) 0.00 1,069.22

Expenses Accounting Fees Attorney's fees Bank Fees/Charge Card Service BOD Travel Conference Expense Continuing Education EIC Equipment Equipment Repairs FICA/Unemployment Insurance Internet Service Medical Insurance Member Outreach Office Supplies Personnel Services Plaques and Engraving Postage Printing Salary, ED State Registration Fees Telephone Travel, ED Web Site Workman's Comp Total Expenses

2,200.00 0.00 1,800.00 0.00 4,000.00 200.00 6,625.00 2,500.00 0.00 3,500.00 2,100.00 1,000.00 3,200.00 300.00 1,200.00 2,000.00 1,500.00 4,000.00 5,500.00 43,580.88 55.00 1,600.00 800.00 1,800.00 375.00 89,835.88

2,180.00 0.00 1,297.99 0.00 4,327.40 0.00 6,327.95 2,230.73 0.00 3,399.76 1,950.00 441.42 3,579.00 137.80 1,309.16 1,869.19 830.95 4,008.13 5,165.36 45,580.88 60.00 1,438.97 613.75 1,800.00 367.00 88,915.44

(20.00) 0.00 (502.01) 0.00 327.40 (200.00) (297.05) (269.27) 0.00 (100.24) (150.00) (558.58) 379.00 (162.20) 109.16 (130.81) (669.05) 8.13 (334.64) 2,000.00 5.00 (161.03) (186.25) 0.00 (8.00) (920.44)




Approved 2013 FY Budget $14,000.00 $21,000.00 $24,000.00 $100.00 $8,200.00 * $14,000.00 $0.00 † $81,300.00 $2,200.00 $1,200.00 $0.00 $10,000.00 $7,500.00 # $0.00 $0.00 $3,500.00 $2,150.00 $600.00 $3,580.00 $300.00 $1,200.00 $2,000.00 $4,000.00 $5,000.00 $48,580.88 X $57.00 $1,500.00 $2,000.00 $1,800.00 $0.00 $97,167.88 ($15,867.88)

* Includes EIC, Sharon Rushton Award, Conf. Site Story, Realtree Website Award † Accruing, but won't be realized until CDs mature # Includes plaques and engraving X reflects a $3,000 raise and $2,000 bonus, but the bonus was paid from the 2012 FY since it could be done without going over budget. Deleted items for 2013 Page 16

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Special Report

Chipmunks Are Not Your Friend Prevent costly damage and dangerous driving conditions caused by rodents By Tes Jolly Editor’s Note: This story first crossed my desk in the form of an e-mail from Tes on Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. The only edits are a couple of clarifications to dates. My annual trip to the Smokies to photograph whitetails has been a whopper of an adventure in both good and bad luck. A ten-day trip turned into 15 days. The photographing was good despite nearly tropical temps. But luck changed the last day when my truck lost all power while in the mountains. Thankfully it was on a one-way road when it stopped suddenly and I had no steering or brakes. Photog friends Ralph Hensley and Paul Brown stopped to help. A couple of other good Samaritans with automotive repair experience stopped too; one a fellow Alabamian and the other a South Carolina preacher. No luck reviving the truck, but we prayed and then the park ranger called AAA for a tow out of Cades Cove after dark. God truly had a angel, (mom, no doubt), onboard with me. It could have been so much worse if it had happened on the road down to Townsend a few minutes later. That was last Wednesday (Dec. 12). The tow out of the mountains followed, then four days

of waiting, frustration, hoping and praying for the repair shop to announce it was fixed. Turns out an evil chipmunk living on our farm in Alabama set up winter quarters in the computer console under the hood. It took two days to find its nest of house insulation, leaves and water oak acorns amid dozens of gnawed wires. The tedious task of tracing the multitude of wires began. The repair shop found more wiring damaged elsewhere in the motor. A GM dealership is still working on it in Knoxville. Voltage is still being sent through the ground wiring. I had to rent a vehicle to get home for Ron’s shoulder surgery this morning (Dec. 18). Not sure when the return trip to Knoxville will happen. My son Randy and wife will fly in to Atlanta Thursday for Christmas. Still no word on my truck except that repairs are in the four figure range. Yikes! I relieved Home Depot of electronic rodent repellent devices and poison this morning. Our Labs patrol constantly, digging up chipmunk tunnels and often catching them but obviously they need assistance. Otherwise, life is good and we are blessed by the good Lord with good friends and family. I am asking for prayers for Ron and offering a friendly reminder to SEOPA members who work in a home office like me and may not “leave the farm” for long periods. Better keep an eye on what’s going on under the hood of your idle vehicle when fall rolls around. Chipmunks, squirrels, mice and rats won’t ask before moving in!

Photo courtesy of Lee County CVB SEOPA News / January-February 2013

The fine folks from the Lee County CVB in Fort Myers, FL, sent an array of shots captured by their game cams in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel. This road is a popular critter crossing. To see other animals that use it, and to see an interesting story about a bear, please visit “Game Cam-Sanibel” under “Additional Content” at Page 17

Award Winner

The Legacy By Jim Spencer Picture them: The father. Young, strong, hot and sweaty after a warm September day’s work on the railroad, smiling self-consciously as he pedals homeward on the brand-new English racing bike. The mother. Pretty, smiling, sweating delicately herself from her labors over the stove, her bulging apron hinting at another form of labor soon to commence; co-conspirator in this parental plot and trying with only fractional success to keep the boy away from the windows until Daddy gets home. The boy. Seven and a bit, as full of life as a chipmunk, just home from school, pacing impatiently from room to room and sneaking glances through the curtains between pseudoscoldings from his mother. Where was Daddy, anyway? He should have been home twenty minutes ago. Had he forgotten his promise? Then the knock on the door. The boy is in his room, fidgeting. Mama was making him nervous, she was acting so strange. “Get the door for me, will you, Honey?” his mother calls from the kitchen. Her voice is carefully casual. The boy runs to the door, flings it open. The mother peers around the kitchen door frame, feeling as deliciously naughty as a child hiding and waiting for Santa. The father is standing proudly in the yard, his long legs straddling the gleaming bicycle. He grins at the boy; the boy stares goggle-eyed at the spectacle of his father aboard a bike.

The mother watches quietly from the kitchen, unaware she is holding her breath. No one says anything. Finally: “Well, son, what do you think?” “Gosh, Dad, where’d you get that?” “Bought it.” “For me?” “Yep.” “Neat. Put it around back and let’s go!” the boy yells. “Sssh. Not so loud. Where?” “Dove hunting, like you promised.” *



It is October, and now the boy is ten. He’s still not old enough for a gun of his own, says his Dad, but he is even more addicted to hunting. He wheedles his father at every opportunity to take him out “just for a little while, Dad.” Smiling, the father is usually happy to oblige – for doves, squirrels, rabbits, it doesn’t really matter. Just going hunting, that’s what the boy thinks is important. So does the Dad. On this particular afternoon it’s squirrels. They are seated against a big tree trunk in the middle of a hickory grove. It is unseasonably warm, and the squirrels are inactive in the heat. Very little is happening in the woodlot. Cicadas screech in the treetops. Flies buzz monotonously. The boy nods sleepily. The limb bounces just once, but it is enough. Awake and alert now, the boy studies the tree intently. Could it have been a bird? No, there he is! Big, fat, as red as an Irish setter, the squirrel dances out on the limb, snatches a hickory nut, tightropes back to a comfortable fork and settles in to eat. The sound of determined gnawing drifts to the boy’s ears. “Dad!” The stage whisper is ground-shaking. “I see one!” “Sssh. Not so loud. Where?” continued ...

Photo by Glynn Harris Page 18

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Award Winner The boy points, the father shoots. The squirrel falls dead, a victim of teamwork. Excitedly, the boy makes the retrieve. He carries the squirrel back to his father in both hands, cradling it like a sleeping pet. He plops down beside the tree, noisily, proudly. The father hands him the spent shotgun shell. The boy strokes the squirrel and sniffs thoughtfully at the pungent, pleasing aroma of freshly-burned gunpowder clinging to the red paper hull. Then he stuffs the shell in his pocket and touches his father on the knee. “I’ll find ‘em, Dad,” he says, man to man. “You shoot ‘em.” *



The shiny new black boots are stiff and uncomfortable, and even in the warm restaurant they are clammy and dampfeeling. But they are the boy’s second badge of manhood, and he wears them with pride. The boy has become a gangling 12-year-old, and he has had his own gun for two years (his first badge of manhood.) He has murdered a dozen squirrels and two or three unlucky rabbits. (At 12, one does not simply hunt. One murders.) But now the boy is ready for nobler quarry, and so he has asked his father to take him duck hunting in the flooded timber. Against his better judgement, the father has agreed. The little café is crowded with fellow hip-booters who fill the room with laughter, cigarette smoke and tall tales. Beside himself with excitement, the boy is not hungry. “What’s that, Dad?” he yells, to make himself heard. “Sssh. Not so loud. Where?” The boy points at a contraption on a neighboring table. It’s made of leather, with several loops hanging from a wide, hand-tooled strap. “That’s a duck strap. It’s for carrying your birds out of the woods. Eat your breakfast, you’ll need it to keep warm. This is tougher than squirrel hunting.” The boy does as he is told and cleans his plate. Later, at the edge of the backwater, the father, the boy and the father’s friend look dubiously at the wreck of a boat they must use to cross the deep bayou just ahead. “I don’t know, Bob,” the father says. “I don’t like the looks of it.” The boat is ancient cypress. It has seen better days. A foot-long section of board is missing from the center of the bow section, and in order to keep the hole above water the men and the boy are obliged to huddle together in the stern. This sinks the stern dangerously low in the water. “I don’t think we ought to try it.” “Aw, please, Dad,” the boy says. “We can make it across there okay, it’s not far, is it?” They take a trial run in the shallows. Although the boat rides ominously low, it is so heavy the old craft is surprisingly stable. They decide to take the chance. It’s not far, after all. They are across the worst of it when it happens. The boy, huddled between the men and doing his best not to move, is the first to notice the water coming over the transom. SEOPA News / January-February 2013

“Mr. Bob, we’re taking on water,” he says. As if waiting for the cue, the boat suddenly sinks, making an audible sucking sound as it goes down. “Get the guns!” Bob yells, making a grab for his Browning. “Get the guns, hell!” the father shouts back. He snatches the boy around the waist and stands up in the sinking boat, unreasonably but desperately rising to his toes as the water rushes up around him. The old hulk settles to the bottom three feet down, and the father has never felt more relieved than when the icy water halts its upward journey on his body. He can handle being wet and cold. Swimming his son to safety while wearing hip boots and heavy hunting clothes he cannot. The men step cautiously out of the boat and it floats sluggishly back to the surface. They wade to shallower water, dragging the boat along, and empty their boots of as much water as they can. It doesn’t help much. They try to hunt, but it is bitterly cold. The ducks aren’t flying today and they’re cold and miserable, especially the boy. They make ready to leave, but with considerable apprehension. Because the only way out is back across the deep bayou in that deathtrap of a boat. All three remove their boots, in case they have to swim for it. The father watches everything as they cross: the bayou, the boy, the gunwales and transom of the wreck of a boat. He reassesses their position second by second, making sure he knows where the nearest tree is at every moment. His left hand has a death grip on the beltline of the boy’s soggy blue jeans. In the middle of the bayou, 50 feet from the nearest snag, the boy looks up into his father’s grim face. “Daddy, I’m scared.” “Me too, son,” the father answers with a tight-lipped smile. “Me, too.” But they make it safely this time, and they ride the boat into knee-deep water before getting out. By the time they’ve walked the half-mile to the car, they’re beginning to warm up a little. “Dad?” The boy is huddled over the car’s heater as they drive back to town. “Hmmmm?” “I don’t think I want to go duck hunting again ‘til I’m older.” *



At 15 the boy knew it all. Or thought he did. He had mastered ducks and squirrels, and youthful reflexes compensated wonderfully for lack of experience on more difficult targets such as doves and quail. But the boy had yet to kill his first deer, and his juvenile patience was becoming strained. This was his third season of deer hunting, and so far he’d seen no antlers. continued ...

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Award Winner The morning was misty-dewy. The woods were quiet and still, and yet they weren’t quiet at all. A squirrel ran up and down a cypress trunk over there beside the lake, happy as a squirrel to be alive on a morning like this. His toenails made scritchy little sounds against the bark. Over here a nuthatch showed off, hanging acrobatically from the trunk of an oak and pecking industriously at something in a crevice. There was another squirrel in that thicket out front; the boy could hear it scuffling through the leaves. He was too surprised to be excited when the sixpoint buck raised its head out of the cane and looked directly at him. He shot as if he were shooting a quail, gun to his shoulder and bang! that quick. The buck went over backwards in a little accidental opening in the cane, and the boy watched him for a little while. The boy told himself he was doing it to make sure the buck was going to stay put, but really it was because he was waiting for his heart to drop back down out of his throat. When his pulse began to approach normal, he walked over and sat beside his buck to wait for his father. His knees were only a little wobbly. Later, when the father came by to get the boy, it was hard to tell which one was more pleased. “I heard him walking right over there!” the boy said, forgetting the ‘woods voice’ his father had taught him to use. “Ssssh. Not so loud. Where?” In camp, they found two does and a truly monstrous 10-pointer already hanging from the meat pole. The boy oohed and aahed over the big one, but the father had eyes only for the six-pointer. The boy didn’t learn until years later that his father had been the hunter who had killed the big buck. *



The campfire crackled merrily, gobbling up the wood piled on it by the boy, now a young man. It wasn’t cold enough for a fire, but that thought never entered the boy’s head. In a hunting camp, when it got dark, you built a fire. “Don’t heap so much wood on there, son,” the father said. “It’s getting hot over here.” The boy grinned. “Move farther back.” Another limb as thick as a man’s leg thudded into the flames, sending up a geyser of sparks. The father grinned back at the boy and took the advice he’d been given. “How do you like your job?” he asked, settling into his new position six feet farther from the flames. “It’s great, Dad,” the boy said, poking the fire with a stick, staring happily into the flames. “There’s not a lot of money in forestry, but I sure do like it.” They didn’t say anything more for a few minutes, each lost in the private thoughts that surface unbidden and flutter about like moths when men of a certain temperament stare into a campfire. The father looked at the boy across the fire from time to time. Twice he started to speak. Both times he checked himself. Page 20

Photo by Ron Bice

I set up a Magnum Scrape Dripper and then a camera to capture photos of bucks that might come to check it out. It’s a scent dispenser. At any rate, I was surprised to see what I actually got a photo of – a red-tailed hawk that mistook the Dripper for an easy meal as it swayed in the wind. - Ron Bice Wildlife Research Center

“What is it, Dad?” The question caught the father by surprise. He hesitated. “What is it?” the boy said again, louder this time. “Sssh. Not so loud. It’s hard for me to tell you.” The boy waited silently, watching his father’s face in the flickering light. He poked absently at the fire with the stick. “I went to the doctor last week. I haven’t been feeling good. He took a few X-rays and did some tests.” The boy stopped poking at the fire. “I’ve got cancer, son. I’m dying.” The boy was quiet for a long time. The fire burned down a little, and he rose stiffly and threw on another log. Then he walked around behind his father and put his arms around him. For some reason – he had no idea why – he hadn’t hugged his father in a long time. “What do I say, Daddy?” the boy asked softly, when he felt he could trust his voice. The father patted his arm. “You just said it, Son.”




The truck crunched to a stop on the pea-gravel. The father stepped out, carefully testing the soggy grass to make sure it wasn’t too muddy underneath. continued ... SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Award Winner “Look, Daddy, a bullet! Can I keep it?” Not that one, Son,” the father said gently. He took the ancient hull from the boy, looked at it for a moment, sniffed it. “It belongs to Grandpa. He gave it to me a long time ago, and when he died I gave it back to him. I’ll give you one someday.” “Good! Can we go hunting tomorrow? Then you can give me one.” “I don’t see why not. Now say ‘bye to Grandpa and let’s go back to Grandma’s. Your mother ought to be there by now.” “Can Grandpa hear me?” “I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” “Okay. ‘Bye, Grandpa, I had a nice time.” The boy scampered back toward the truck, dodging tombstones like a rabbit. The father watched him go. Then he looked at the tombstone, and he didn’t feel foolish at all when he spoke to it. “He’s a pretty good boy, Dad. I think you’d like him. I’ll keep you posted on how he’s coming along, but I think he’s going to do just fine. After all, you showed me how to raise him.” Photo by Kevin Howard He put the weathered shotgun hull back into its This is one of those you-should-have-been-here-yesterday shots. niche, patted the cold surface of the stone, and Kevin Howard of Howard Communications discovered via game turned toward the truck. The boy was already in the passenger seat cam that his blind is indeed set up in a good spot. when the father arrived. “Old slowpoke, what took you so long?” the boy yelled at the top of The boy stuck his tousled head out of the passenger-side his lungs, then dissolved into giggles at his own vast wit. window. “It’s cold out here, Daddy,” he said in a chirpy voice. The father closed the truck door and started the engine. “I “I know it is, Son. Come on.” got something in my eyes, Son.” He wiped at them with the They walked across the cemetery together, the boy’s back of his hand. small hand folded inside his father’s big one as they weaved He sat there a minute, looking out the window in the direccarefully between the rows of bleak-looking tombstones. tion of the tombstone with the duck and the squirrel on it. No, Yes, there it was. The stone was modest, dignified. It you couldn’t quite see it from here. But it was there. It would looked like a hundred other markers in the cemetery until you always be there. came closer and really looked at it. That’s when you noticed “Let’s go to Grandma’s, Daddy!” the boy yelled. “I want to the little niche in the center of the stone and the small, neat get ready to go hunting tomorrow.” engravings of a mallard on one side and a squirrel on the other. “Sssh. Not so loud.” The father stopped in front of the stone and knelt to look at it. The father wiped his eyes again to make sure whatever had “Who’s buried here, Daddy?” the boy chirped. “Hey, gotten into them was gone. He grinned at the boy, and the boy look at the squirrel!” grinned back. Then the father put the truck in gear and they “Sssh. Not so loud. Where?” rolled down the drive and out the gate and away. “See right there? There’s a duck, too! Who’s buried here?” This story earned Jim Spencer his second Sharon Rushton “This is your grandpa, son. He used to take me huntAward. Overall, he has won nearly 100 outdoor writing ing a lot.” awards. He has five books and thousands of magazine and The boy was running his small fingers over the outline newspaper articles to his credit. Spencer joined SEOPA in of the squirrel when something back in the niche caught his 1996. He and his wife Jill Easton live in Calico Rock, AR, with eye. He reached in and brought out a frayed paper shotgun their cantankerous Hot Shot, a fiest mix who rules the roost. hull, bleached nearly white by time and the elements. A faint pink cast was all that remained to indicate the shell had once been red.

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Page 21

Members News Casada Celebrates Turkey Hunting Greats Firmly committed to the idea that turkey hunting’s past serves as a looking glass into the sport’s future, Jim Casada has been an avid (some might say addicted) student of its lure and lore since that magic morning, decades ago, when he stood mesmerized in a moment of bittersweetness while admiring his first gobbler. America’s greatest game bird immediately laid a firm hold on a corner of his sporting soul. Since that glad occasion, his has been an unending quest for information on turkey hunting’s rich and varied past. In this 317-page hardbound book, Casada brings his training as an historian, his decades of studying the grand masters of the sport, his avid collecting of the literature and other mementoes of the sport, and his personal hunting experiences to bear in a detailed examination of the careers of 27 icons from turkey hunting’s past. Collectively they epitomize the essence of what old timers sometimes refer to as true “turkey men.” Coverage includes well-known individuals – Tom Turpin, Henry Edwards Davis, Neil Cost, Dave Harbour, Earl Mickel, M. L. Lynch, Ben Rodgers Lee, and Dick Kirby – along with names which might not be quite as familiar to today’s hunters such as Parker Whedon, Doug Camp, Larry Hearn, Leon Johenning, C. L. Jordan, and Simon Everitt. Others profiled include E. A. McIlhenny, Frank Hanenkrat, Henry Bridges, Roger Latham, Gene Nunnery, Tom Gaskins, Charlie Elliott, Dwain Bland, Wayne Bailey, Jack Dudley, Frank Piper, and Kenny Morgan. Through these richly detailed and lovingly crafted profiles, accompanied by ample photographic support and extensive source notes, the reader can take a delightful trip down darkening avenues into a past which is at once fascinating and enlightening. Page 22

Each vignette focuses on the person’s contributions to the world of turkey hunting in capacities such as call making, authors of articles and books, avid hunters, seminar speakers, television personalities, biologists, conservationists, and more. Two common threads typify every man profiled—their consuming love of the wild turkey and the fact that they were fascinating characters. Pre-publication reviews of the book have been glowing. Tom Kelly, the sport’s unofficial poet laureate, says “this is a major work which takes the sport of turkey hunting from its very beginnings and discusses the sport’s practitioners with wit and charm and feeling. Anyone who does not have this one in his library has a major hole in his education.” Jim Spencer, one of the most widely published contemporary writers on the sport, comments: “Jim Casada has chronicled the stories of 27 of turkey hunting’s icons. Open this book to any chapter. If you’re not entertained, if you don’t pick up something you didn’t know, I’ll eat the guts of your next turkey. But Casada has taken this project a step further. In the thorough fashion I’ve come to expect from him over the third of a century we’ve been friends, competitors, hunting buddies, and occasional hot-tempered antagonists, Casada has provided those of us who are interested in learning much more about the greats a way to do so. As he readily admits in his dedication, this book doesn’t cover all of turkey hunting’s icons. But it’s a damn fine start, and I’m predicting that some day in the future, when Casada and yours truly and many others of us have gone on to the place where turkeys always gobble, some other writer will put together another book of the greats. And Jim Casada will be in it.” The book, which features a striking dust jacket, gold stamping on the front cover and spine, Smythe sewing, and top-quality paper, sells for $39.95 + $5 shipping and handling. Insurance, if desired, is $2 extra. Signed, inscribed copies can be ordered through using PayPal, or by personal check or money order by contacting the author directly (1250 Yorkdale Drive, Rock Hill, SC 29730). SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Announcements OWAA Offers Scholarships For College Students Outdoor Writers Association of America is now accepting applications for its Bodie McDowell scholarship program. Scholarships are for the 2012-13 academic year. Established in 1966, more than $100,000 in scholarships has been awarded since 2002. Approximately $22,000 in scholarships will be awarded in 2013. Each scholarship includes a one-year student membership with OWAA. The Bodie McDowell scholarship program is open to undergraduate and graduate-level college students pursuing a degree in an outdoor communications field. Undergraduate applicants must be entering their junior or senior years of study; graduate student applicants must have at least one remaining year of study. Benefits of OWAA Student membership include a one-year subscription to OWAA’s magazine, Outdoors Unlimited, access to member discounts and job listings, plus the chance to earn conference registration scholarships and more. Applications for the 2013 award are available online. For applications, deadlines and additional information about the Bodie McDowell scholarship and other awards available through OWAA, visit For questions/comments or to request information for a student you know, call OWAA at 406-728-7434 or email info@ Application deadline is March 1. Information about the OJEFA Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award for Conference Scholarship and the new Tim Tucker Memorial College Scholarship will be announced in the MarchApril issue of SEOPA News.

It appears that deer are the most photographed game cam animals, but this one resembles a giraffe as it stretches its neck upward in search of the perfect apple. SEOPA News / January-February 2013

We Want Your Memories There’s still time to send a 7-inch square piece of cloth from an old flannel shirt, a wornout pair of jeans or another item for a lightweight SEOPA quilt being made for the 2014 Auction. Please send the cloth with a sentence or two about its significance. Perhaps it comes from the pillowcase you’ve used at deer camp for 20 years or from your favorite, but no longer useful, fishing shirt. If you’re not ready to part with something so sentimental, you’re welcome to create something unique on a plain piece of cotton cloth. Please join us in making this a memento to be treasured. (P.O. Box 115, Badin, NC 28001)

Photo by Josh Honeycutt Page 23

Special Feature

Top 25 Colleges for Bass Anglers Where students don’t fall asleep in class; they get up early to hit the lake By Curtis Niedermier Editor’s Note: This report first appeared in the January-February 2011 Bass Edition of FLW Outdoors. It is reprinted here with permission. For details about the top 25 colleges listed below, please visit BoatUS and Bassmaster also conduct collegiate bass fishing tournament circuits. January is one month of the year when even die-hard anglers won’t look at you like a mad man if you’d rather sit in a cozy recliner and watch college football than head to the lake. It’s understandable, considering the weather and this being college football bowl season. As coincidence has it, most bass fishing football fans have something to talk about in January. The top college football teams each season are traditionally from top bass fishing regions of the country, and a day spent arguing the Bowl Championship Series computer rankings gets the heart pumping as much as hunting up the hottest bite. So, in honor of college football and all forms of collegiate rankings, and in the spirit of friendly college rivalries, it is time for some college debate aimed specifically at anglers. We surveyed all 2009 National Guard FLW College Fishing anglers in the country on their clubs, their schools, their fishing lifestyles and more, then scored the results based on the factors we thought most important for a college angler: proximity to bass fisheries, tournament opportunities, club activities, etc. We also interviewed club officers and tournament winners. We then tossed all the information together, combined our “editors’ rankings” – completely ignoring the Bowl Championship Series computer scores – and ended up with the results that follow: the top 25 colleges for anglers. Page 24

Some of these colleges host clubs that are longestablished, with active members and crowded meetings. Others are new, but their passion for the sport and proximity to great fishing water are sure to draw talented anglers in the future. If you are about to venture into the college world, pay close attention, take notes even. It’s good practice. If you already graduated and your alma mater isn’t where you expected it on the list, kick out that footrest, read on and then let us know how you feel. This is college sports, after all. It wouldn’t be any fun without debate. 1. North Carolina State University (now at #2) 2. Auburn University (now at #1) 3. University of North Carolina-Charlotte 4. Virginia Tech 5. University of Wisconsin-Madison 6. Georgia College and State University 7. University of Wisonsin-Steven Point 8. Murray State University 9. Clemson University 10. Georgia Southern University 11. University of North Alabama 12. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 13. Southern Illinois University 14. University of Tennessee-Knoxville 15. Purdue University 16. Tarleton State University 17. Indiana University 18. Kansas State University 19. Texas A&M University 20. University of Louisville 21. Texas State University 22. University of Florida 23. University of Iowa 24. Arizona State University 25. Kennesaw State University

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Special Feature

Collegiate Bass Fishing Circuit Tournament Dates And Locations: 2013 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing January 26 - Lake Okeechobee, Scott Driver Park March 9 - Lake Seminole, Three Rivers SP April 6 - 2013 NWMSU Bearcat Open - Mozingo Lake, Maryville, MO 2013 Carthartt Bassmaster College Series January 4-5 - Southern Conference Regional - Harris Chain of Lakes, Tavares, FL March 8-9 - Central Regional Conference - Amistad Reservoir, Del Rio, TX April 6-7 - Western Conference Regional - Clear Lake, Clear Lake, CA April 12-13 - Eastern Conference Regional - Santee Cooper, Manning, SC May 29-30 - Midwestern Conference Regional - Mississippi River, Madison, IA June 14-15 - Wild Card - Pickwick Lake, Florence, AL 2013 National Guard FLW College Fishing Central Conference March 16 - Lake of the Ozarks: Grand Glaize Recreation Area PB2 - Osage Beach, MO May 4 - Pickwick Lake: McFarland Park - Florence, AL June 15 - Kentucky Lake: Kenlake State Resort Park - Hardin, KY Central Conference Invitational: July 27-28 - Detroit River: Elizabeth Park Marina -Trenton, MI Northern Conference April 27 - Smith Mountain Lake: Parkway Marina - Huddleston,VA June 22 - Potomac River: Smallwood State Park - Marbury, MD July 20 - Lake Champlain: Dock Street Landing - Plattsburgh, NY Northern Conference Invitational: Sept. 14-15 - Chesapeake Bay: Anchor Marina - North East, MD Southeastern Conference January 12 - Lake Okeechobee: C. Scott Driver Park - Okeechobee, FL March 2 - Lake Guntersville: Lake Guntersville State Park - Guntersville, AL April 6 - Lake Seminole: Bainbridge Earle May Boat Basin - Bainbridge, GA Southeastern Conference Invitational: May 11-12 - Wheeler Lake: Joe Wheeler State Park - Rogersville, AL Southern Conference January 26 - Lake Amistad: East Diablo Ramp - Del Rio, TX February 16 - Toledo Bend Reservoir: Paradise Point Park - Hemphill, TX September 22 - Lake Hamilton: Hulsey Hatchery Access - Hot Springs, AR Southern Conference Invitational: October 5-6 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir: Umphrey Family Pavilion - Sam Rayburn, TX Western Conference January 19 - Lake Oroville: Spillway launch at north end of Oroville Dam - Oroville, CA February 23 - Roosevelt Lake: Cholla Recreation Site - Roosevelt, AZ May 18 California Delta: Russo’s Marina - Bethel Island, CA Western Conference Invitational: Oct 12-13 - Clear Lake: Konocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina - Lakeport, CA National Championship April 19-21 - Beaver Lake: Prairie Creek Park - Host: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR Weigh-ins: Walmart #1, 2110 W. Walnut St., Rogers, AR 72756 SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Page 25

New Corporate Members

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS! Please retain these listings for future reference or access them in the website database. Please send contact information for potential new members to

Hatsan USA, Inc. P.O. Box 576 Bentonville, AR 72712 (O) 479-273-5629 (EM) (WEB) Contact(s): Blaine Manifold, CEO/President • High-performance airguns and accessories. Referred by Lisa Snuggs Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission 1460 NW Evanjeline Thruway Lafayette, LA 70501 (O) 337-232-3737 (TF) 800-346-1958 (EM) kstrenge@ (WEB) Contact(s): Kelly Strenge • Lafayette, in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country, is where you’ll find authentic Cajun food, music and culture. Lafayette is just minutes from the Atchafalaya Basin and the Lake Martin Cypress Island Preserve. Contact us for media assistance. Referred by Deborah Burst Nantahala Outdoor Center 13077 Hwy. 19 West Bryson City, NC 28713 (O) 828-488-7188 (TF) 800-232-7238 (EM) (WEB) Page 26

Contact(s): Charles Conner, Marketing Director • NOC guides whitewater rafting trips on eight southeastern rivers. NOC also operates a major outdoor activity resort near Bryson City, NC, with multiple zipline tours, instructional paddling programs, mountain biking, wilderness medicine courses and wilderness survival school. NOC also boasts on-site lodging and dining. Referred by Lisa Snuggs Outdoors Unlimited 4315 Cross Ridge Court Valrico, FL 33594 (O) 813-230-2346 (EM) (EM) (WEB) Contact(s): Larry Thornhill • Outdoors Unlimited offers more than 35 years of industry experience consisting of everything imaginable form: manufacturing,

sales, TV productions, tournament director, magazine editor-in-chief. We also publish the world’s largest 100-percent digital Internet publication, OutdoorsUnlimited. com. We have won awards for our television shows and electronic publication. We are past presidents of FOWA and SEOPA who also are avid hunters and fishermen. Some of the ways we can help manage your company are through assistance with: new product development and exposure; prostaff management utilizing major tournament organizations like BASS and FLW and working with the media; minimizing advertising costs through our experience and group purchasing power; gaining editorial exposure; utilizing product trade; making advertising recommendations; planning and executing media trips; maximizing your exposure via social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter;

Let Us Hear From You Please get involved by submitting Craft Improvement articles or ideas, Letters to the Editor or Member News for inclusion in SEOPA News. Craft Improvement items may be sent to Dick Jones at Please send all other items to

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

New Corporate Members providing creative advertising solutions and trade show support. Let our outdoors industry expertise work for you. Referred by Larry Thornhill Versacarry 11582 Jackrabbit Lane Bryan, TX 77808 (O) 979-279-9678 (EM) (EM) (WEB) Contact(s): Travis Noteboom, Director of Marketing; Centermass Marketing: 971-235-3219 • Versacarry produces a revolu-

tionary in-the-waistband carry system for concealed carry of handguns. Referred by Linda Powell Walther Arms, Inc. 7700 Chad Colley Blvd. Fort Smith, AR 72916 (O) 479-242-8500 (EM) mark.thomas@ (WEB) • Walther Arms has been a leader in the firearms industry for more than 125 years. Walther has been renowned throughout the world for its innovation since Carl

Walther and his son Fritz created the first semiautomatic pistol in the year 1896. Today, the innovative spirit of its founders lives on as Walther celebrates 125 years as one for the world’s leading premium manufacturers of sporting, defense, and law enforcement firearms. Famous for being the choice gun of James Bond, Walther is known for the PPK, PPQ and the PPS, and is the gun of choice for law enforcement agencies around the world. For more information visit Referred by Lisa Snuggs

This is a game camera buck known as “The Handlebars Buck” from 2010. I was able to actually sell quite a few of these photos signed and framed. Three months after the photo was taken I harvested the buck in the photo.

- Stephen Matt G3 Boats

Photo by Stephen Matt SEOPA News / January-February 2013

Page 27

Executive Director’s Message by Lisa M. Snuggs

Pride, Prejudice and Presentation Sappy movies are as plentiful during the holidays as leftovers and headcolds. Watching them might seem like an easy way to avoid chores, but if you catch them on channels with commercials you can multi-task. Those breaks occur often enough, and last long enough, to make loading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor and folding laundry a breeze. I think Jane Austen would appreciate such a sensible approach to blending housework and entertainment. Yes, I let myself get sucked into watching “Pride and Prejudice” the Saturday after Christmas. Having seen it before, I was on alert to listen more intently to certain parts that had previously escaped me. Thick English accents are cause enough for having to pay close attention, but when coupled with speed they are at times impossible to follow. This made me feel guilty about not being a more avid reader. Had I read the famous novel I might have a better grasp of the lingo in the movie. Later that night, or early the next morning actually, I had an experience that led me to think about the chasm between seventeenth century English literature and modern American television. That being too far a stretch to fathom in one fell swoop, I lay there comparing how a few different writers might express the same story. Jane Austen might have written:

“I dare say it was the decidedly fervent chill in the pre-dawn air that left him no choice but to seek refuge in the bosom of his mistress.” Mark Twain’s take might have been: “When given the choice between a cold faceless dawn or the warmth of the woman he adored, he really had no decision to make at all.” Fast-forward to the 80s and novelist John Grisham might have seen it this way: “Indeed, the darkest hour came just before the dawn. It also was the coldest. What else could he do but snuggle next to her and lay his head between her breasts?” One more jump forward and we have Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame. He might have written it like this: “He was cold. She was warm. Cozying up was the only way to go. Simple. End of story.” This little exercise lit my literary lightbulb. Actually imagining the many different ways writers can interpret the same thing renewed my desire to be a better reader. I had already borrowed my dad’s copy of The Old Man and the Boy to help rekindle my reading passion, and now, with the help of my dog, I’m fully enthused. Just think, had he not “cozied up” and laid his head in the middle of my chest on that cold dark morning, I’d be only half as motivated as I am. Thanks, Buster. You’re a good friend.

Founded in 1964

Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, Inc.

Page 28

P.O. Box 115 • Badin, NC 28009 (O) 704-984-4700 • (FAX) 704-984-4701 • (TF) 800-849-7367 (EM) • (WEB)

SEOPA News / January-February 2013

SEOPA Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013  

Members newsletter for the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association.

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