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#981490 - 08/27/06 "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Mule Deer Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 37029
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
Recently it was suggested by some readers that we post the backgrounds of the various gun writers (and others) here so that we could all know what each poster's qualifications were. I believe some of this was done, but on a rather informal basis. Why not do it again and have a permanent post up there alongside the articles at the head of this forum?

I am off to an appointment right now, but will log on later with a brief outline on Mule Deer.

Mule Deer

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#981491 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
XXBob Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 625
Loc: Eastern Sierra Calif
Anyone that has read your stuff for any length of time knows your background I would think.
-Doc-

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#981492 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
VAnimrod Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 61130
Loc: gone
Yeah, but having him pony up first is a good start.

Not to mention, it would be interesting to know the backgrounds of some of these fellas.

I'm interested.
_________________________



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#981493 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Outcast Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 02/02/06
Posts: 3214
Loc: Hongry Gulch, WV
It would e a good idea to post who the "gunwriters' are vs the numerous crackpots who post here.
_________________________
Too old to suffer fools

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#981494 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
VAnimrod Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 61130
Loc: gone
I'd probably be in the crackpot category...
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#981495 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
RickBin Offline


Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 06/10/00
Posts: 9212
Loc: Los Angeles, California
I am in favor of the idea, for those that want to do it.

I would certainly respect the wishes of any that didn't, although it sure would make a lot of sense in terms of the Board.

I appreciate the motion John. Consider it seconded.

Rick
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Rick Bin
24hourcampfire.com

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#981496 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 29348
I'd rather let my work speak for itself.
_________________________
"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.




















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#981497 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Lonny Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 01/13/06
Posts: 2474
Loc: Idaho
I'd be in favor of the idea.

I would find it interesting if they would tell where they were born how they got into shooting, hunting, etc... What the writers started out doing and how they ended up where they are now.

The article by Brian Pearce in the latest RIFLE magazine about why he wears a cowboy hat was great entertainment. It really let the reader know where he started and where he is now..

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#981498 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
MHWASH Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 590
Loc: Colfax,Washington
I dont buy too many magazines, so this would help me identify who all the writers are. Also if a certain writer has never left the East coast and gives an opinion on Western hunting that he has pickup from several guided hunts. I can take this opinion for what its worth.

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#981499 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Mule Deer Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 37029
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
Ken, I don't think you have any explaining to do!

Mostly I want the folks who ask questions here know who they are addressing, and who is answering. They might either want to direct a specific question to a specific writer--not to limit the answers, but to get that writer's attention. Or they might be interested in evaluating answers depending on who the identity of who responds.

MD

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#981500 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Royce Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 4726
Loc: zip code 59602
Mule Deer
I am going to make a liar out of myself and make a post here.
I think your idea is splendid. Here is why.
In your case, i have read enough of your stuff to know that among other things, you have a science degree. When I read some of your tests, I know that those techniques came from late afternoons spent in Roberts Hall. ( I have had some of those late afternoons, too)
Knowing Brian Pierce's background, I know that he IS NOT an Elmer Keith wanna be, but a real life ranch guy, and in the final analysis, what he is seeking guns, bullets, scopes and loads that work in the field. You probably aren't going to see an article by Brian on where to get ear rings that match your McSwirly stock.

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#981501 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Royce Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 4726
Loc: zip code 59602
Continued
The drawback to this posting of information is that some are good at stretching the truth. I remember reading a statement from a gunwriter ( one you know, Mule Deer) that he had hunted cototes "From (a state I won't name) to Texas". I was familiar enough with the guy at the time to know that he had basically hunted in Texas and the other state 2500 miles away he had named, but stated his experience in the above manner to puff himself up. The real writers on this forum would never do that. Undoubtly, some others will. Astute readers will likely see through most of the puffery, others will have to suffer their own gullibility.
One thing I think would be not only tacky, but counterproductive, is taunting people into posting how many animals of each species they had killed, with all pertinent details, including B&C score, and relative humidity. Some people will learn more from five years experience than others will from twenty.
Royce

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#981502 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 29348
El gato escaldado del agua fría huje (pls s'cuse my gringo accent!).

The Mexican has it right — and maybe I'm just another scalded cat who's fleeing cold water.

Several years ago, on another board for shooters, somebody asked me "Are you the Ken Howell?" I answered that that'd depend on which the Ken Howell he meant — that there were then more than 350 Ken Howells in the US that I knew of — that I wasn't the Ken Howell who used to pitch for Oakland — that I wasn't the Ken Howell who's a crackin'-good pistolsmith in Wisconsin — that I'm the Ken Howell who used to edit Handloader and Rifle and wrote the Custom Cartridges book.

Right away, some borborygmic fundament belched back that I was bragging.

So I shrink from posting any treatise on my background, even in outline or resumé form.
_________________________
"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.




















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#981503 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
kecatt Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2162
Loc: Panama, Nebraska
Yea, but you had a right wicked curve ball.......
_________________________
I don't eat anything that didn't have a mother.

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#981504 - 08/27/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 29348
... but not as good a tan!
_________________________
"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.




















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#981505 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
RipSnort Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 1840
Ken, that made me snort when I laughed.
RS

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#981506 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Royce Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/28/03
Posts: 4726
Loc: zip code 59602
A point I meant to make but didn't is that it should be self evident that no one should feel compelled to post their pedigree on here. To some, that I am sure it would feel like an invasion of privacy, and there are certainly other good reasons for not wanting to partake in "Axel Varney, This is Your Life".

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#981507 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
curdog4570 Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 16459
Loc: North texas usa
I'm thinking John's lead won't be too hard to follow for most of the real writers on here . I bet he has it pretty well thought out to encourage the other guys to share .

I agree that Ken's work speaks for itself and beyond that , he has revealed much of himself to us over the years . BUT --- we are getting so many members that some of them would appreciate a little " snapshot ".
_________________________
Never holler whoa or look back in a tight place

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#981508 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Turp Offline
Member

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 124
To All:

I guess I will have to plow the new ground. I don't know what everyone is looking for in the way of background information, so I'll get it started and we can adjust down the road, if necessary.

First of all, I have only been a full-time writer for about ten years, maybe not quite that long. However, I was a part-time freelance writer since my first article was published in Guns & Ammo Magazine in December 1972, or was it December 1973. Whichever, it was a hell of a long time ago. At my age, a good memory is the second thing to go.!

My primary career and source of income was as a professional soldier. I wore the uniform of the United States Army for twenty-six years and retired from active duty on the first of January, 1986. My war was in Vietnam, and I spent two tours there. I spent an additional eleven years after retirement working as a contractor, supporting the Army. Since then, I've been writing full-time.

I got my first rifle - a single shot Winchester 22, when I was six years old. My first scattergun came along four years later when I was 10. I don't remember when I got my first handgun, but it was considerably later, probably around age sixteen.

I've hunted all my life, starting with squirrel, rabbit and quail hunting in my native Kentucky. I went on my first out-of-state "big-game" hunt when I was twenty-one, a mule deer hunt in Colorado with my oldest hunting pal, Earl "Rob" Robbins. My last hunt to date was a trip to Namibia in June, and was also with none other than Earl "Rob" Robbins, now 80 years young.

I have written both hunting and gun stories all through my career, but the majority have been stories on rifles, a lot of them custom rifles. If I have an area that I have been sort of segregated into, it is the custom gun field. In addition to several hundred magazine articles. I have also written three books on the subject of custom guns, as well as major contributions to two other books on hunting. I presently have three or four books on various subject in substantially different stages of preparation. I know that several hundred articles doesn't sound like many when reading bios of several writers that state that they have written four or five thousand articles. Just do the math. If one can publish an article each week - one hell of a lot - that would be, Hmmmm, 52 per year. In ten years, 520 articles. How many years would it take to publish 5000?????

Anyway, I have hunted on four continents and several countries on each continent that I've hunted. I've been on safari in Africa three times, in three different countries - Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Namibia. I leave on my next hunt next Thursday (Aug 31) when I head for northern Quebec to see if I can find Rudolph and Dasher.

I am happily married, the father of three sons and the step-father of two sons, and have six grandkids with another due in November. I live in the high desert country around Sierra Vista, Arizona and will be here until I'm carted off in a box. Even then, I'll be planted in the area.

My idol in the outdoor writing business was Jack O'Connor and my mentor was a contemporary of Jack's, John T. Amber. I knew or at least met many of the old timer's in our business, including Elmer Keith, Charlie Askins, Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, and many others. Most of them were really great guys, but most also had a wart or three as well. I've known John and Steve for quite a few years, and I've also known fantastic gunmaker and writer/photographer, Steven Dodd Hughes, for a bunch of years. Dan Johnson I met on a prairie dog shoot a few years back. The other writers that contribute here I either don't know, or, can't recognize from their handle. The gun and hunting writing fraternity is really quite small, and most of us know each other, if only in passing at SHOT.

I usually check the campfire every day that I'm home. I don't always wade into the issues, particularly those with unnecessary personal attacks, but I'm almost always there. I'm open to any question and at any time. Feel free to ask if there's anything in my background that you want to know. If I don't want to answer, I wont!

I just turned 68 years old a few days ago, and I suffer all the malady's that those in my age group usually suffer. I am cantankerous, obstinate, crabby, and "sot" in my ways. I am opinionated, slow to change, and reluctant to cow-tow to editors that are younger than most of my shorts. One of my favorite General Officers that I worked for once told me, "I've never found a valid reason for calling a spade anything other than a spade!" I agreed with him then, and I still agree with him now. Therefore, the older I get, the less you are apt to see my byline in print. That's fine with me.

My experience, which I have always found to be the best teacher, has led me to believe that Jack O'Connor had it right in his writings. Most often, my experience, although pale in comparison to his, has more closely tracked what he wrote than any other writer. Jack was, particularly in his later years, cantankerous, obstinate, crabby, and "sot" in his ways. A few that knew him say that he was also mean! I doubt that, but cannot confirm that he wasn't as I never met him. I do know many fellows that did know Jack, and several that knew him very well. None have ever told me that he ws mean! Even if he was, and I'm not conceding that as a fact, his advice was valid when he wrote it, and it is, in my experience, every bit as valid today, 28 years after his death.

That's where I've been, what I've done, and where I'm coming from. Anything else, fire away.

Tom

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#981509 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Ken Howell Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 29348
Solomon was never wiser than he was when he wrote (in Proverbs 27:2) "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." And a worthy additional advice is "don't publicize facts about yourself that others see as self-praise or bragging." The link between Proverbs 27:2 and Matthew 7:6 may be slight and ephemeral, but it's there.
_________________________
"Good enough" isn't.

Always take your responsibilities seriously but never yourself.




















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#981510 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
kdub Offline
Member

Registered: 09/09/05
Posts: 73
As a new/old member that doesn't post much, but lurks a lot, it would be of great interest to be able to identify which scribe was posting. I've figured out who Mule Deer and of course, Ken Howell are. The others I have suspicions, but not clarity. Please help us folks out and step from behind the curtains!

Thanks.

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#981511 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
Mule Deer Online   content
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 07/24/01
Posts: 37029
Loc: Banana Belt, Montana
Mule Deer is really named John Barsness. I only came up with the Internet name because I lurked here for six months or so before finally deciding to post something.

Like Tom Turpin, I started hunting as soon as possible in my native Montana. I also decided to be a writer very early in life, but didn't figure out I could combine the two until about age 20, when I sold an article on flyfishing in the winter to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. During my 20's and early 30's I held some other jobs from time to time, including several years on a summer wheat-harvest crew, two full years for an archeaological and historical research firm, and a few seasons as a hunting guide. I also went to the University of Montana, majoring in biology. (This took a while. The school was on the quarter system, and I took fall quarter off to hunt, and only went half-time in spring in order to fish.)

I spent the first 20 years of my writing career mostly publishing articles and books about fishing, hunting and Western history, but started writing a lot more about sporting firearms at about age 40. I'm now 53 and write about firearms, handloading, optics, etc. about 2/3 of the time, and hunting about 1/3 of the time. Unfortunately, I just don't have time to write about fishing anymore, but still do it when I can.

This lucky choice of a career has allowed me to shoot and hunt a lot. For about 20 years now I've been hunting several states and one or two foreign countries each year. While I write more about big game than anything, I love upland bird hunting just as much, so still write about that and shotguns some as well.

I've written for every major hunting and shooting magazine in the business, several as a staffer, and also edited GRAY'S SPORTRING JOURNAL for a while--the magazine where I published my first hunting article, back in 1977. These days I write exclusively for Wolfe Publishing's RIFLE, HANDLOADER and SUCCESSFUL HUNTER magazines.

"Mule Deer"

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#981512 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
SDH Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 168
Loc: Livingston, MT
Thanks Tom, for the kind words! I am mainly a lurker here but will take this opportunity to introduce my ?gunwriter? bonifieds. It has only been a part-time vocation for me with my mainstay of custom gunmaking. My byline is Steven Dodd Hughes, but most call me Steve.
My first magazine article was published in Muzzle Blasts in 1986 along with my first cover photo of a flintlock fowler I built. Since that time SDH articles about, and photographs of custom guns and gunmaking have appeared in many American firearms periodicals, and several abroad. Did many stories for GUNS and American Rifleman in the late 1980?s early 90?s along with features and the Custom Corner column in Rifle Magazine at that time.
Have been a staff writer for Shooting Sportsman Magazine penning the Fine Gunmaking column since 1993. In the past few years my cover photography appeared in the (now defunct) Accurate Rifle Magazine along with feature articles. Have scores of magazine articles and a couple of dozen book and magazine cover photos. (You will see my photo credits in TT?s fine Modern Custom Guns.) The latest cover photo was Sports Afield June/July 2006 along with a couple of features. Will start a column on custom hunting rifles for SA shortly.
My first book, Fine Gunmaking: Double Shotguns was published by Krause Publications in 1998. The second book, Custom Rifles in Black & White was self- published in 1999. Am currently working on another book titled of Double Guns and Gunsmithing scheduled for publication in 2007.
In June 2002, at Senator Max Baucus? request, I testified before the Senate Finance Committee in Washington, D.C. on a proposed excise tax exemption (now law) for custom gunmakers.
My custom guns have been shown at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Houston Museum of Fine Art. I normally display at one commercial show (ACGG) per year. I have been a member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild for 20 years, edited its magazine Gunmaker for two years and have served two terms on its Board of Directors.
I dropped out of High School at age sixteen.
I think Ken was editor at Rifle when I made my first submissions. Worked with JB when he edited Game Country (anyone remember that great magazine?) and have worked in association with Tom Turpin for a couple of decades.
BTW, if you get the chance read JB?s, Montana Time, my favorite of his books. It?s about fly fishing, and I don?t even fish.
Got to get back to the sidelock shotgun I?m checkering.
Best to all, Steve

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#981513 - 08/28/06 Re: "Gun Writer" Backgrounds
SDH Offline
Member

Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 168
Loc: Livingston, MT
(Damn, changed all my quotations to question marks!)
As for my gunmaking in process, a pic is worth....


...and lest you think this a safe queen, I've promiced it to the client for the duck season opener. It will be at a duck club in a blind, God willin'.
_________________________
SDH
www.finegunmaking.com

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