An Old Timey Outdoor Writer

RICK BRAMwell Outdoor Writer

How Did I Get Here As An Outdoor Writer

Today is my 78th birthday and all is well, save for the weather. I’ve been writing this column for 52 years. It is surprising that I took up hunting and fishing. My dad and my grandpaws were not into the outdoors and they even thought fishing was a waste of valuable time.

How did I get here? It must have started with a visit to my Uncle Art Smith’s house when I was about six years old. He had a deer head on the wall and below it the tanned hide. I ask if I could touch it. Art was all too happy to tell his little nephew how he shot the big buck on a hunting trip to Maine. An outdoor writer begins to take shape.

Uncle Art And Outdoor Magazines

Uncle Art, for whatever reason, began dropping off outdoor magazines for me to read as early as the first grade. It was because of those publications that I learned to love reading. I liked the pictures of deer, rabbit, and pheasant hunts. Everything from wilderness areas, Alaska to midwest farms piqued my interest. These old magazines helped me become an outdoor writer.

The Stories Got Me Started As An Outdoor Writer

I loved the fishing stories and made their authors, my idols. One article was about a huge trout who lived in a stream that had a big deep hole under a bridge. Often, anglers could look down at the prized rainbow, but that old fish was just too smart to be caught.

Enter this little boy about my age. He wanted to become famous by catching this trophy fish. One dark rainy day, the boy rigged a big, fat, and lively earthworm on a small hook. The boy belly-crawled near the edge of the creek and tossed his bait under the bridge.

The warry fish had not seen the boy and took the natural-looking bait. The colorful fish tail-walked several times so as to throw the hook. Finally, the old warrior tired and the boy slipped his hand under the belly of the trout and brought it ashore. The boy had done it and it was now time to show the old whittlers at the general store.

As the boy admired his catch a feeling of regret came over him. It was as if this old fish was looking into the lad’s very soul. The boy knelt down and gently let the fish swim away.

This young lad waited for years to share his experience and indeed, it was the author who penned this story.

Whenever I was riding in a car and we drove over a small brook, I imagined a big trout lurking in the deep pool and how I might catch it.

My First Days Hunting And Fishing With Uncle Art

When I turned 13, Uncle Art began taking me hunting and fishing. Some of my most treasured memories were rabbit hunting with him along Blue River downstream from Carthage, Indiana.

My best hour of ice fishing was with Art. We caught 88 and often two at a time on our two-hook rig.

The man was a trapper. He unraveled a story by looking at tracks in the snow. One place he identified the tracks of a rabbit and a mink. The predator killed the prey. After eating a portion of the rabbit, the mink hung the carcass in the fork of a small tree to keep it from other varments.

Wax Worm Lids And Ice Fishing

Recently, I’ve ice fished with Bob May and Joe Hale. I got tired of the lids of those plastic containers, wax worms come in, coming off in my pocket or taking off with the wind.

I appealed for empty snuff boxes on FaceBook. Don Hunter, Buckshot Guns, 1231 Meridian St., Anderson came through. I asked him to start saving his empties so you can stop in and get a couple for free.

I’ve seen worse days for my birthday, but we have to go back to the 1970s.

About Rick Bramwell 31 Articles
Grew up in rural Indiana fishing farm ponds and hunting woodlands. Bramwell has been writing outdoors for 48 years. He harvested the record typical whitetail for his county and hunts rabbits with his beagle Tramp. He fished bass tournaments, including Red Man, until 1989. Bramwell has put together an ultra-ultra light system for catching panfish that mostly involves tight-lining a small jig. He attended college at Indiana State and Anderson University. Bramwell has two sons in their 50s, Brian and Gregory. A daughter Jourdan age 27. His greatest memory: fishing trout, salmon and halibut in Alaska. Bramwell's passion, apart from the outdoors, has been coaching high school age fastpitch softball.