Exploring God’s Great Outdoors – Skilled Outdoorsman Shares His Smarts 

Z-Exploring God's Great Outdoors-Tom Claycomb III (1)

By Tom Claycomb III 

Since this is my first article with Christian Living Magazine, let’s do an introductory article. On a recent past Sunday, the pastor at my church told us in his sermon something to the effect that if we’re not making a difference in our neighborhoods, our schools, our work and our communities, then what were we doing? Something in that clicked and I said OK, I’m in. No specific game plan appeared in a vision. I was just ready. 

I don’t think that it was any coincidence that after church I hit the Parktacular event and happened to stop by the Christian Living Magazine booth and met Sandy, the publisher. I told her that I was an outdoor writer and would like to write some outdoor articles for her. She said, “It is strange that you should stop. Just two weeks ago, Gaye, the editor, and I were talking that we needed to get another outdoor writer; our old longtime outdoor writer had died.” Once again, when God is on the scene there are always a lot of coincidences going on. 

She said to send her and Gaye a proposal and “we’ll let you know”. Well, I took off the next day for the Professional Outdoor Media Assn. Convention in Oklahoma. Soon after, on a Wednesday evening, I received an email inviting me to write for them. Great! 

Obviously I love writing outdoor articles but something frustrating is always having something cut out of my articles if it is not of the political persuasion of some liberal publication. I think that we are supposed to season everything that we touch. I write outdoor articles, not religious columns, but still, I can season my articles with salt. 

I’ve been wanting to do some Christian writing. One time my church had me write a monthly column in our church bulletin and I’ve got a book I’ll publish sometime soon that I’d classify as a Christian book. But other than that, I don’t think that I’ve ever done any Christian writing so this will be fun. 

I love to hunt and fish so that will be the main subject matter of my articles. There will be some how-to articles. For instance, “How to Sharpen a Knife”, “How to Make Sausage”, etc. And maybe once per year I’ll do some product reviews. Outdoorsmen love their gear and gizmos. But more likely than doing full-blown product reviews, I’ll just periodically include a new product in an article that I just tested – if it tests out well. 

However, the bulk of my articles will be on my outdoor adventures. But I’ll also do timely articles; I’ll write about what is going on right now in Idaho. For instance, springtime is magical in Idaho. We have whistle pig hunting, mushroom hunting, turkey hunting, bear hunting and crappie fishing. I wear myself out in the spring. And I’ll cover the other seasons as well. 

If you’re new to Idaho, welcome! Most newcomers that I talk to want to jump in and enjoy the Idaho lifestyle; but since they weren’t raised that way, they don’t know where to start. Don’t expect anyone to tell you all of their favorite fishing/hunting spots that took them years to find. You’ll have to go exploring yourself to find some of your own honey holes. 

It will be tough but not impossible to learn. Read my regular outdoor article in Christian Living Magazine. Read local outdoor articles. I write outdoor columns in other local and area publications. Attend local outdoor seminars. 

You’ll meet new hunting/fishing buddies at work, church and in your neighborhood. That’s where I meet most of my hunting buddies. 

When I started getting serious about writing, everyone told me that I had to find a niche, be an expert at something. I like to do it all, so consequently, I’m not an expert at anything. Take for instance my buddy Keith Ricketts. He fly fishes 24/7. He ties his own flies. He’s taught fly fishing seminars. Me? Let’s look at spring. I did the above listed items: whistle pig hunting, mushroom hunting, bear hunting, turkey hunting and a LOT of crappie fishing. 

So I was lucky to be able to even pick up my fly rod by June to hit the South Fork of the Boise. So, I’ll never be as good a fly fisherman as Keith. But if you look at my fun-o-meter it is peaking out as high as anyone’s. 

We’ll see what transpires. What I may also do is put a small section at the bottom of my articles and list what is going on in the Idaho outdoors for the next two coming months. What worries me though is that there is always so much going on that I’ll miss your favorite activity. 

Well, lest we run out of space let’s get into a few September/October outdoor activities before Gaye shuts off the ink well! I love everything outdoors but what says Idaho like a backpacking trip into the backcountry? It’s the ultimate outdoor adventure. You’ve got solitude – you may not see anyone for a few days, and even then, they’ll probably only be passing through. It’s the ultimate adventure. You have to be on top of things or you can die. I’ve had bears in camp, even rubbing against my tent. Mudslides have wiped out the river I was on. Been run out by forest fires and about got snowed in…in June. 

But when you hit it right, it’s magical. The further back you get, the more and bigger fish you catch. I love backpacking. If you’ve never backpacked, I’d encourage you to try it. The first time you don’t have to go on the Bataan Death March. Just pack in one mile. That way you can test your gear and figure out what other items you should have packed. 

If I don’t draw any tags then bow hunting will take front and center in September. Wait until the second or third week of September when it cools off and they start bugling. It is the ultimate hunt! 

Want a low-key, high shooting fun/relaxing hunt? Go dove hunting. They appear to just be coasting in but as the old outdoor writer Cotton Ward stated, when they come dipsy doodling in, they can be very deceiving and embarrass you. And after the first shot when they turn on the after burners and leave you with an empty shotgun and nothing to show for it, you’re toast. 

Doves make great jalapeno poppers. Breast them out. Slice the breast in half and marinate for at least four hours. Cut a slice of onion and jalapeno and put with a ½ breast and wrap with bacon and pin it together with toothpicks and then smoke/grill. Great appetizers. 

Where’d the time go? I’m out of space but not out of ideas. See you next issue. 


For more information, contact Tom at [email protected]. 

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