Pay Me to Be Outdoors

April 2, 2009 by  

By PJ Maguire

Author sporting a beautiful late season duck from the Dakotas

Author sporting a beautiful late season duck from the Dakotas

Ever since I can remember it has been a dream of mine to have my own hunting and fishing show. The dream has always been to find a way for me to hunt and fish for a living. After many discussions with other outdoorsman I know I am not the only one that feels that way. I have even met a few in my life that have tried to make a living hunting and fishing.

I remember watching “Tony Dean’s Outdoors” as a kid and thinking Tony was the greatest outdoorsman ever. It was his job to hunt ducks and fish for walleyes. One of the guys that taught me how to fish for walleyes had the opportunity to fish on Tony’s show.

When I was young he loved to tell the story of how he out-fished Tony Dean. Sadly, Tony does not have a show anymore. I think that the majority of people who work in the hunting and fishing industry get their start through guiding. By taking others out hunting or fishing they were able to establish some kind of reputation for themselves.

Once I mentioned to one of my cousins that I was thinking about guiding. He politely asked me, “Have you ever seen a guide that lived in a house that you wanted to live in?’ Those words still haunt me and have probably single-handedly prevented me from ever guiding. The same cousin laughed at me when I told him I wanted to get a Bachelors Degree in English while in college. He told me to study something with numbers and reminded me that I did not need a degree to write.

Pike can be found just about everywhere in the MIdwest

Pike can be found just about everywhere in the MIdwest

I have read hunting and fishing magazines since I got my first subscription to Outdoor Life when I was nine. When I was younger I did not understand that anyone who had the ambition could attempt to get a piece of writing published. The worst was years later when I told my mother I was going to use my college fund to buy a boat and join the pro walleye tour. In my mind I was going to live tournament to tournament, depending on prize money to keep going.

To this day I still think I can fish with the best of them, and my mom still tells the story to anyone willing to listen. Most of my buddies joke that I would rule the pro pike fishing tour if one existed. I grew up on a lake full of those snakes and I have a knack for catching them. Whenever I fish Devil’s Lake I cannot keep them off my line. I have caught a pike on virtually everything you can fish with.

My mother has never taken my interest in being a professional hunter or fisher seriously, and I don’t blame her. When I took second place in the first duck calling contest, she asked if they sold a bumper sticker that said her son was a “champion caller.”

I told my buddy Chris Hustad about this and he had an idea for a better slogan. His bumper would say, “My son can out-blow your son.” I don’t think I ever laughed so hard in my life. I still carry my childhood dream of someday being a pro and doing what I enjoy the most. Someone once told me that to be successful you have to pick a career that you would do for free. I have never really wanted to do anything besides hunt and fish. As for doing it professionally, I am not planning on quitting my day job anytime soon.


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