It would seem that winter has arrived to stay with bitter northwest winds whose howling sounds and dropping temps make a crackling wood stove a pleasant sound and sight indeed.  Snap naps next to me as thoughts become words and Belle, the pup leans over the back of the couch in her never ending search for rabbits, squirrels or really anything that moves but today it’s only the snow moving like ghosts down a haunted hall and eerily quiet.  During the most recent Fan Outdoors Ice Show Broadcast a man patiently waited for us to go to a commercial break before approaching to show me his new ice K-Drill like I had let him try last winter.  After a thank you he smiled walking toward the door.  Another man stopped too saying how much he appreciated the fact that we included conversations aimed at novice hunters and anglers wanting to learn more about outdoor sports but not able to find help he could use.  Our brief conversation ended with a “thanks” and a handshake as we came out of break.  Again a few days ago while attending a personal appearance event, which I’m usually uncomfortable with a man holding the hand of a small child walked toward me asking it I was Billy?  With a smile & nod the reply was “yup!”  Next he said “this is my son and we listen to you every week.”  With a shy gesture the boy reached to shake my hand.  Dad went on to explain how his son was interested in learning to hunt and together they thought it was probably time to get a dog.  The dad wanted to know more about Snap, Belle and the Brittany breed.  He said that he felt like he had known me, Erik and Chad for a long time and what shotgun did I say they began with?  Our discussion was lengthy and enjoyable lasting quite a while.  He too mentioned how much he enjoyed the attention we gave to kids, new hunters and dogs.  With a “thanks” and “we’ll be listening” they headed toward the trays of wings!  The evening continued to include thank you’s, stories about trips, dogs, pictures and laughs.  It was really enjoyable! 


On my drive home with time to reflect a bit thoughts were of all the efforts made to bring new people into outdoor sports but too often I think those of us already engrossed in and loving to hunt and fish get wrapped up in the more and bigger conversations only understood by already having an abundance of skills and experiences.  We do include this type of program content on Fan Outdoors radio but will never forget from where we came-the beginning!  I promise that as long as my name is attached to the show the “beginnings” will continue to be a topic of conversation!  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that as soon as we think we’re pretty good on the water or in the field Mother Nature will set us straight letting us know that she is indeed in charge and that there will always be something to learn, to experience, to improve and most importantly to enjoy! 


All the best and enjoy the winter season! 




P.S. pic of me “in the beginning! 


Billy Hildebrand_ Youth