The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 22, 2014

Don Steese outdoors column: Four-headed coverage

By Don Steese
For The Daily Item

— Ken Maurer and I were having a discussion the other day about the outdoor coverage offered by The Daily Item.

I think we both agreed that, compared to what’s happening at most newspapers across the country, we’re doing a bang-up job!

This is not a personal pat on the back, but a salute to the powers-that-be here at the Item.

While many, if not most, newspapers have done away with their outdoor columnists, here at the Item we have myself, Ken, John Zaktansky and Bob Garrett all doing columns on a fairly regular basis.

I don’t know of any other paper that regularly features the work of four outdoor writers, even here in Pennsylvania where the hunting, fishing and general outdoor culture is so strong.

Ken also commented on the fact that we all compliment each other pretty well, which I think is true.

Ken is a bonafide fishing expert and knows the Susquehanna River as well as anyone around and it shows in his weekly column.

Bob does a real good job keeping people up on the outdoor happenings in our area with an emphasis on hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and fitness-oriented outdoor activities.

John does a real nice job covering the youth activities, which I’m sure he cares deeply about.

I really don’t know much about anything but I can fake it with the best of them and I’m an old guy and people tend to like the nostagic stuff. I don’t take myself very seriously which people seem to appreciate and I write about dogs a lot and who doesn’t love dog stories?

All-in-all we here at The Daily Item have what I consider one of the best outdoor pages around, and I’ve been doing this outdoor writing gig for 30 years or so — so I think I’m attuned to what other folks are doing.

My blaze orange hat’s off to whomever is responsible for keeping the outdoor coverage as good as it is around here — and no, I’m not looking for a raise, although I am an old guy on a fixed income.

I’m writing this on the first day of spring and I can’t remember a year when I was more glad to see it arrive. It’s been one miserable winter, frozen pipes and all!

Speaking of spring, trout season opens in the southern part of the state next Saturday. We’ll give the working stiffs the weekend to try their luck and we’ll head out next Monday or Tuesday and try for some of the leftovers. Always a nice cure for cabin fever!

Here’s a question for you. If you were an outdoor writer and wrote a column that a lot of people enjoyed and then the next week wrote one that upset a lot of people, which one do you thing you’d get the most comments about?

The answer is obvious, but the other day I got a nice card in the mail from Dr. Don Kamsler’s widow thanking me for the column I wrote about her late husband.

Just like everyone else, we outdoor writers like to know that once in a while we do something that people actually enjoy, so it’s always nice to hear from someone like her.

Thank you for the nice note!

Email comments to jdsteese@yahoo.com