Look for my upcoming print magazine features shortly after the New Year. These include articles in the January/February issue of Turkey Call (NWTF), the March and April issues of Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine, the March issue of Outdoor Life (a feature, plus the Turkey Bonus section -- I wrote five pieces, and provided photo support/drawings), a reprint article called "Turkey Lingo" in Women in the Outdoors magazine (NWTF), and New England destinations picks in the January and March issues of Cabela's Outfitter Journal.
You'll find regular posts on Outdoor Life's "Strut Zone" blog and website, plus the Yamaha Outdoors Tips website pages. I just completed a waterfowl assignment for realtree.com as well (text/photos).
Look for my Sunday newspaper column "New England Afield" in the print edition of Foster's Sunday Citizen (I'm about to begin my 12th year of contributing writing and photographs to that sports section space), and online at www.fosters.com.
Stackpole Books will also release my "Turkey Calls and Calling" title in 2009.
A full-time writer who teaches a little too, my 2009 Granite State College schedule includes The Writing Process (Winter & Spring Terms), Short Fiction (Winter Term; 5-meeting intensive), Nature Writing (Spring Term), and The Media and Its Messages (Summer Term).
A chapter reprint of "Steelers Dial Up a Long One" from my recent NFL football history (Triumph Books) currently appears in The Coffin Corner (Vol. 30, No. 6), the newsletter of the Professional Football Researchers Association.
* I've feature articles about to appear in the following print magazines between now and the first quarter of 2009: Outdoor Life, Turkey Call, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, and Cabela's Outfitter's Journal . . .
* Look for my regular website posts on Outdoor Life's "Strut Zone" and Yamaha Outdoors.
* My "New England Afield" newspaper column appears weekly in the print edition of Foster's Sunday Citizen (Dover/Laconia, New Hampshire), with a southern Maine and southeastern/Lakes Region NH circulation. It's also posted online at www.fosters.com.
* As far as new books are concerned, Stackpole Books is publishing my "Turkey Calls & Calling" (Fall '09). It's my second title on wild turkeys with this publisher.
Thanks to everyone who came to my "Fall & Winter Turkey Hunter's Handbook" book signing today at the Kittery Trading Post. Apart from catching up with some outdoor industry friends, and even making some new ones, several former writing students, Foster's Sunday Citizen newspaper column readers, and others dropped by, including a longtime Black and Gold fan who had me sign his copies of my book "The 50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers Football History." It was great talking to all of you. --S.H.
I spent Labor Day evening through the afternoon of Sept. 4 at Star Island, miles off the New Hampshire coast, teaching a Granite State College creative writing course. No TV. No radio. Newspapers ignored. Great people, and likely one of the best classes I've ever had the pleasure of conducting. It made this modern day multi-market iMac G5 freelancer want to stay there another year or so, working in one of the loft rooms with a view, holed up with a borrowed Royal typewriter, with plenty of ribbons, paper, and the intentions of crafting a fat novel to blow everything else I've ever written and published in the past quarter century away. Star feels ancient, awesome.
Hardcore fans of the Black and Gold will understand why the Number 1 and 2 greatest Pittsburgh Steelers plays of all time involve a running back catching a pass that wasn’t intended for him, and a quarterback making a tackle on a fumble recovery and return to save a season. "The 50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers History" by Steve Hickoff relives the most unforgettable, extraordinary, gut-wrenching moments, compiled here for the first time.
It all began in 1933 when Arthur J. Rooney, a.k.a. “The Chief”—a tavern owner’s son from Pittsburgh’s North Side, amateur athlete, and most of all sports promoter—committed $2,500 to the upstart National Football League. Rooney’s Depression Era investment marks the beginning of this historical franchise born from steel mills, coalmines, and hard living. Pittsburgh’s first postseason appearance came in the 1947 NFL Eastern Division Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then the Steelers franchise has won five Super Bowls, starting with the Steel Curtain teams of the 1970s.
Unexpected drama unites the NFL fans of Steelers Nation, and it’s captured in this book. You’re there with offensive Super Bowl standouts Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. You’re toe-to-toe with defensive Hall-of-Famers Jack Ham, Mel Blount, and Jack Lambert. Relive plays such as the Immaculate Reception, Willie Parker’s 75-yard Super Bowl XL run from scrimmage, and a kickoff fumble recovery on the rain-soaked Three Rivers Stadium turf in the 1978 AFC Championship when the Pittsburgh Steelers scored 17 points in 48 seconds.
Want more? Try Pittsburgh kicker Gary Anderson drilling a 50-yard field goal in overtime. Quarterback Mark Malone’s record-setting catch of 90 yards from Terry Bradshaw. John Henry Johnson running for a 45-yard touchdown to lead the Steelers to a 23-7 upset of their rivals, the Browns. Linebacker Andy Russell’s fumble recovery and 93-yard jog for a touchdown to clinch the 1975 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Kordell Stewart connecting on a shovel pass to Jerome Bettis who ran 17 untouched yards for the touchdown and overtime victory. Even Ernie Stautner’s hard-nosed tackle on Giants third-string quarterback and future Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry during a 63-7 Steelers win.
This book, the first of its kind, includes the logic-defying comebacks and tough losses, the dramatic interceptions, fumbles, game-winning field goals, touchdowns, and even one safety, the first in Super Bowl history. There’s plenty for fans to savor in "The 50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers History."
Published by Triumph Books (www.triumphbooks.com), an imprint of Random House, Steve Hickoff's new book is also available from www.amazon.com, and many other online booksellers and retailers.
Over the past 12 days, I've written and submitted nine pieces of writing for publication. I've just several more articles due next week, so today will involve puttering: a conference call with Triumph Books regarding publicity efforts for my Steelers title, and tidying up this office.
Last Wednesday, Scott Linden of Field & Stream Radio interviewed me for an upcoming broadcast. The subject? Getting hunting access. I'd recently posted a piece on that subject on the Outdoor Life "Strut Zone" blog (see the link to the right of this space). It's still there if you missed it . . .
Not a day goes by of late when a reader doesn't send a question regarding the writing life, hunting and calling wild turkeys, or simply to share their outdoor photos and experiences.
Thanks to all of you for keeping in touch. You can do so by first clicking on the profile link at the bottom of this blog . . . my email link will then appear in the upper left corner of the next page.
Here's the cover of my forthcoming book "The 50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers Football History" (Triumph Books). It's available by pre-order now. Just click on the link to the right of this site for details.
There are so many publications out there these days--both print and online--that one-time publication for anyone who writes, and I mean anyone, is inevitable . . .
But what do you need to do to make a living at it?
(1) Do good work, and FAST. To succeed, you have to promote the "draft early, revise often" approach. And by revise often, I mean to say that it's done with a short window of time . . . every day.
(2) Do a lot of work, all the time. There is simply no day off for the full-time writer. I've just sent copyedited review notes for one book to a publisher while I await the second round of proofs from yet another. Two of my contracted titles are in production right now--one due September 2008; one, September 2009. It's a labor of love and it's what I do, but outsiders simply have no idea how many other magazine, newspaper, and online pieces I write a week, month, and year. How many? A Sunday newspaper column per week, every week (going on 11 years for my "current" market). Two to three article posts for one website a week, plus two a month for another--both gigs are contracted; I enjoy writing for both anchor clients. Then there are the national print magazine features here, and another one there (maybe a regional), around three-dozen annually. There's other stuff too . . . I say yes to almost everything (another secret: find a way to make it work, whether the writing job is for $50 or $1,500).
(3) Do other things related to your central activity. My college classes (adjunct work all of it, and last I checked the university system referred to me as a "temporary instructional staffer," though I've taught for them since '91), and seminars (outdoor shows, library events, etc.). Both help to pay the bills too. As does selling my photos with articles . . .
(4) Develop a wide range of markets: local, regional, national, and international. I've written regularly (or sporadically) for several hundred different regional and national outdoor, sporting, and even literary publications over the past quarter century (seriously). This includes poems, fiction, nonfiction, posts on the Boston Celtics, online how-to pieces, destination sidebars, 2,000 to even 6,000-word magazine features on wild turkeys, newspaper columns, outdoor book contributions, editing jobs, narratives for two films, lyrical essays, four commercial titles on fly-fishing, wild turkeys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, plus two skinny university press-run literary efforts, and I even a co-authored song, you name it.
(5) Love. Your. Craft. There's simply no other way around this one. If you love to write (I do), the rest of it--including regular publication--will follow. Laugh if you want, but I can't tell you how many people I've met who say they want to be writers, but for whom act of writing gets in the way. Go figure. It's absolutely the best lifestyle for me, but likely not for everyone.
P.S. These two books have not let me rest over the past six months, but you know what's funny: I miss the steady effort required to put one (not to mention two) together. Got it?
MADISON, WI - The new Wilderness Series of camouflage bicycles offer outdoor enthusiasts a new way of getting to their favorite hunting grounds. The bicycles are dipped and coated in Break-Up® camouflage from Mossy Oak®. The camouflage on the bikes allows a hunter to take a bicycle hunting without the shiny frame or chrome that could compromise the hunt. The frame is dipped in camouflage the same way guns and bows are, and the rims and spokes are powder-coated matte black.
The bikes are welded aluminum and include Shimano shifters and drivetrains. The Wilderness Series offers three models of bikes: the 26" Mountain Hunter, 26" Game Tracker and the youth model 20" Trail Tamer. The Mountain Hunter has 24 speeds, front and rear suspension, a front disc brake and trigger shifters. The Game Tracker offers 21 speeds, grip shifters, front suspension and linear pull brakes. The Trail Tamer comes with seven speeds, grip shifters, front suspension, and linear pull brakes.
The Wilderness Series bikes also offer many optional accessories to help transport your gear. The Rod Locker™ allow fishermen the ability to carry up to four rods and reels. The Locker attaches to the seat post and allows for easy mounting and dismounting on and off the bike. The Bow Locker™ fits on the seat post and allows for easy transport of any bow due to its ability to adjust to most bow designs. The Gun Locker™attaches to the seat post and has adjustable straps to fit most hard gun cases.
For more information on the Wilderness Series bikes, please visit www.pacific-outdoors.com or call 1-800-242-6110.
Cyberspaces: You'll find some of my recent writing at a variety of online locations right now, including Outdoor Life (their Strut Zone blog), Realtree, Hoyt, Yamaha, and Foster's Daily Democrat.
Articles:This week I'm working on feature articles for the September/October issue of Turkey Call (an NWTF publication), and the Fall '08 Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine. I write the New England hunting/fishing destinations roundup for Cabela's Outfitters Journal as well . . .
Books: My NFL title "50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers Football History" (Triumph Books) is slated to be released in August '08, while my "Turkey Calls & Calling" (Stackpole Books) will be out a year later in August '09 or thereabouts according to the publisher's schedule.
Column: My "New England Afield" column appears in Foster's Sunday Citizen (Dover/Laconia, NH) each week.
My first turkey call was a slate. Corncob-handled striker. Ash peg. White string for the sandpaper. I flat-out LOVE slate pot-and-peg calls. That doesn't mean an old dog can't learn new tricks.
My collection of turkey calls collected over the years could fill a museum--one friend has actually said that: "Your office is like a museum." That it is: a turkey call is just a reach away. I once even worked a group of birds from this desk that were regrouping after fly-down just out my window. Had the brood hen yelping away to my commentary.
But I digress . . .
The new trick (or two): Over the years, I've used many calls, from Quaker Boy to Hunter's Specialties to Woods Wise
to . . . well, just name it. this year Knight & Hale issued new pot-and-peg offerings--the Slate Hammer, Glass Hammer, Silver Hammer, and Yella Hammer, which predated the other three I believe.
At any rate, I ran them all--in this office; in the field. On my recent trip to the South Dakota Badlands, the Glass Hammer proved out to work to the demise of at least two gobblers (one I shot; one a buddy dropped). I'm impressed by the crisp sharp yelps you can get from the surface. The strikers rival some of the best I've used (coffee cups full of strikers fill this space). At any rate, all I can say is to get one. Get 'em all if you can afford it.
The slate is great for soft talk, and just yesterday I fooled a talkative live New Hampshire hen into crossing a cattle fence to my side while thinking she'd be pulling in a strutting gobbler with her. The last wish didn't happen, and she walked. The fall turkey hunter in me called her right back, before letting her drift away. It's all good.
The Silver Hammer is super loud and high-pitched and for those situations when you need to reach out and touch turkeys. Like the Glass Hammer, it will work for up-close stuff too.
The Yella Hammer awaits duty this October. Truth is, any of them might make the cut and go afield with me then. Oh yeah, I've still 10 days left in the New Hampshire season. Better get back to work . . .
It's funny the difference two turkey seasons can make: Last spring, a designated 2007 Maine "B Season" hunter, I returned to an area where I'd found gobblers while scouting between a successful run to west Texas for turkeys (April 9 tom), and before hunting the New Hampshire opener unsuccessfully. A Wyoming trip followed that (took a high-meadow strutter on May 8, then watched my buddy Jonathan Harling drop a 24# Merriam's, easily the prettiest and biggest of that subspecies I've ever seen). After that, Maine. The birds were still there. Here's the short of it: I hunted them (a fine longbeard and bull jake) on May 15, May 17, and May 18 during the second week of the B option. I passed on the jake, and nearly pulled the trigger on the longbeard numerous times the first two days. The third outing, a rainy one, I heard nothing, bumped a different jake, and actually watched a pair of Canada geese breed in the field in front of me--a first. The 2007 B season closed, and I could hunt the last (fifth) week of the season w/ the others still carryin' a tag. In the meantime, I chased Granite State gobblers--they survived that season as far as I was concerned. Maine's last week arrived: I hunted the 28th, the 29th, and June 1. Though it closed the next day (I had a writing class to teach), I called in those two that late June 1 morning, and with the longbeard hammering and popping into strut at 30 yards, heard but not seen in thick green foliage, I had to walk away when the curtain closed at noon.
Enter, the 2008 Maine spring turkey season: April 28. An "A Season" hunter, I got out late due to family duties (7:15 a.m.), located birds not long after that, called three in, and had the strutter by the feet at 7:58. Forty-three minutes. It's been a season of calling jakes to the gun (and passing on them--Texas and South Dakota were like that this year), of taking a fine Badlands longbeard with my buddy Gary Sefton, and watching him drop one not long after that--his second of two on that Western trip. Yesterday in New Hampshire (closes May 31) I got a hen fired up, and called her across a fence, but she wasn't shadowed by a strutting gobbler as I had hoped.
Winchester Ammunition is now offering a way for hunters to keep track of product developments. I've been a longtime fan of their turkey loads, and have taken spring turkeys all around the country using those gobbler-stoppin' black-hulled shells.
After shooting hours close Saturday, exactly four weeks remain of spring turkey hunting around the country (May 31st is the latest anything is open anywhere as May gobblers go). Location depending, in some places it's winding down . . . in another (New Hampshire), regular season starts tomorrow.
I've tags for South Dakota where they got some serious snow today (2, prairie hunt), Vermont (2), and New York (2), after Texas and Maine hunts in April. Yep, New Hampshire opens tomorrow, but I'll have to wait until mid-month or so to give the Granite State a touch.
Parked the truck at 7:15 a.m. yesterday morning. Made the slow walk across the greened-up pasture. Eased into the woods and heard nearby gobbling at 7:28. Took way too long choosing a setup spot. Found one. Sat down. Yelped on a slate. The birds hammered back, closer now. I put the call down, got my shotgun up, waited. Waited a little more. Saw two gobblers appear, looking, coming in, then another, lagging behind. The first two drifted right. Both gobbled hard. One popped into strut, the turkey I wanted. 7:58.
That afternoon I shipped my forthcoming turkey book to Stackpole . . .
Last night I taught a college writing class with the image of those gobblers crossing my mind . . .
My New England Roundup on turkey hunting and angling destinations in the June 2008 issue of Cabela's Outfitter Journal.
My regular posts on Outdoor Life's Strut Zone blog.
My Yamaha Outdoors tips on their website.
A new bowhunting turkeys piece on Hoyt.com.
A "Destinations Merriam's" article just posted on Realtree.com.
My outdoor newspaper column "New England Afield" on the back side of the sports pages every Sunday in Foster's Sunday Citizen (and at www.fosters.com).
As book projects go, my "50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers Football History" is forthcoming from Triumph Books in September 2008, and my "Turkey Calls and Calling" title (Stackpole Books) is appearing in 2009.
Just in from Texas at 2 a.m. this morning. Delayed flights in San Antonio and Detroit . . .
Heat, then warmth, then beautiful at the wire. Wind. Showers. Rain. Tornado warnings Wednesday night. Hens calling the shots, stealing a strutting and gobbling longbeard off my muzzle at 60 yards or so, a different hen, midweek, coming into the oak mott with us, and the strutter reading her soon-to-be tentative cue and moving away--twice, then once again--spookier each time. Fine country lunches and suppers. Three longbeards tagged. Six hunters--three industry guys, three writers. Great camp. Waves of jakes coming to the calls, heads afire with taxidermy red, white and blue . . .
Yesterday morning (49 degrees and sunny after the front moved through) before our drive to the San Antonio airport, I called in four strutting and gobbling shortbeards in the false dawn (a wad of silhouetted birds), and later eight hens, several at a time coming from various directions, clucking, yelping, cutting. Forty-five minutes later a longbeard eased out of the woods at the other end of the pasture, popped into stut, and the jakes stacked up, all still puffed out, fans nearly full but still jakey. They faced him lined up in a row.
The hens stayed with the juvenile wannabes. The adult tom hung at a distance, a football field away, full fan strutting, a gorgeous thing in the morning sun, but not budging. By mid-morning I was back at camp packing . . .
Check out my turkey hunting article in the April issue of Outdoor Life on newsstands everywhere . . . for weekly posts on the subject, scroll down to the bottom of this page, and click the link for OL's Strut Zone.
Outdoor Life: My good buddy Gerry Bethge, OL editor, and I now provide content for the Strut Zone site. Scroll to the bottom of this page for the link. It's all turkeys, all the time.
Triumph Books: My title "The 50 Greatest Plays in Pittsburgh Steelers Football History" is forthcoming in Sept. '08. Check out the Amazon link to the right for pre-order information.
Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine: My feature "Catch 'Em Henless" appears in the current issue of the publication. Editor Jim Schlender does his usual super job pulling it all together there.
NH Wildlife Journal: I've written for this regional publication for years. My piece on fishing with kids appears in the March/April issue--and yes, that's my daughter Cora with her big bass caught on a little rod.
Cabela's Outfitter Journal: You'll find my New England destinations roundup in the April "Spring Fishing Primer" issue on newsstands everywhere. Credit Chuck Smock for this detailed section of the publication.
Realtree.com: I've got three spring turkey features forthcoming on this excellent website. There's something for every hunter there: video clips, links, photos, archived stories, blogs, you name it. Good stuff. Behind-the-scenes man Jake Fagan attends to this super site.
Yamaha's website: Scroll down to the right of this blog, and you'll find links to my articles--and buddy Bob Humphrey's work--on the outdoors site created by p.r. guys Steve Nessl and Van Holmes.
Foster's Sunday Citizen: I've been providing Sunday content (columns and photos) for this northern New England newspaper with a NH and Maine circulation since 1997. Click on the right column link for some archived sports section/outdoors material.
That's just some of my work you'll find out there right now.
I'll be talking on the subject of hunting Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine spring gobblers Friday, February 8 (5:30 p.m.), and Saturday, February 9 (2:00 p.m.) at the Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition in Worcester, Massachusetts. See you then.
My buddy Pete Clare down at Turkey Trot Acres (607.659.7849) let me know today that American Gun Dog (Outdoor Channel) show times for the much anticipated turkey-dogging episode have changed to 11 p.m. Thursday 1/31, 10 a.m. Friday 2/1, and 10 a.m. Monday, 2/4.
Check out my article on extreme roost setups in the March issue of Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine on newsstands right now.
I've several features forthcoming this spring in Outdoor Life, Cabela's Outfitter Journal, Wheelin' Sportsmen, and N.H. Wildlife Journal, among others--including pieces for online industry sites as well, among them Realtree, Yamaha, and Hoyt.
My longtime friend Pete Clare down at Candor, NY's Turkey Trot Acres (607.659.7849)--easily the best fall turkey-hunting lodge in the country, and the food and friendly atmosphere is also unrivaled--just got in touch. Tune in to the Outdoor Channel and the "American Gun Dog" program on the following dates for filmed turkey-dogging action:
Thursday, January 24 at 11:00 p.m.
Friday, January 25 at 10:00 a.m.
Monday, January 28 at 1 p.m.
Can't watch? Hit that record button on your controller, man. In short, trained dogs find and flush flocks in this fall hunting tradition. This allows the hunter(s) to set up at the concealed break site, and attempt to call the gregarious autumn birds back.
You a wild turkey hunter? You sitting at home waiting on the spring seasons? Winchester® Ammunition has a new television show called “Winchester Turkey Revolution” that might be of interest. It airs on VERSUS, a network I'm told is available to more than 74 million households, even this one in southern Maine where outside it looks like Lambeau Field did on Saturday. (For the record, this Steelers fan is on the Packers bandwagon right now . . .)
I digress. “Winchester Turkey Revolution” features expert advice, hunting strategies and experiences. While it debuted on VERSUS back on January 3, it's not too late to catch the next installment. Air times are Thursdays at 2 p.m. (EST), and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
You NHL hockey fans surely know where the VERSUS channel is, ay. To find out about future “Winchester Turkey Revolution” episodes, visit www.winchester.com or www.versus.com.
As part of their Fish 2008 lecture series, I'll offer a talk on the "Seacoast's Top 10 Striped Bass Hotspots" tomorrow night at the Nashua Public Library, Nashua, NH (603.589.4600). The NPL Theater is the place. See you there at 7 p.m.
As of 2008, New Hampshire will require purchase of a new turkey license that covers both spring and fall hunts (archery and firearms options there).
Previously, a spring and fall turkey tag cost hunters $6--typically bowhunters used the latter option on the big birds during the annual Sept. 15-Dec. 15 season. Now, state residents will pay $16, and nonresidents $31. It's not quite a forced buy, but the license will allow you to hunt spring birds, and fall flocks in either archery-only or gun zones during specific autumn seasons. A big-game or archery license is also required. That's still cheap when compared to costs in other states around the country.
Recent estimates indicate 36,000 birds roam the Granite State.
Here's a quick look and sneak preview of Knight & Hale's new line of pot and peg calls. There are four new offerings all told: the Yella Hammer (for softer tree yelps, clucks and purrs), the Silver Hammer (aluminum for high-pitched calling on windy days), the Slate Hammer (pictured here, and made of Pennsylvania slate), and finally the Glass Hammer (for kee-kees, raspy hen yelps, and rowdy cutts). Knight & Hale Super Strikers are waterproof, and apart from that, I must confess, damn good to look at. Pot and peg love at first sight? Maybe so . . . Contact: www.knightandhale.com, or grab 'em wherever Knight & Hale turkey calls are sold.