Sunday, June 30, 2013

Making a GREAT impression on new co-workers - a column for Shotgun Life

If there ever was a situation ripe for disaster, it was this:

Holly joins hunting/conservation organization as the new editor of its magazine. Organization invites Holly to Staff Day before she even starts work. Staff Day will feature shooting on a challenging sporting clays course. Scores will be kept.

It went as badly as you'd imagine, but with a silver lining you'd never expect in a thousand years. Check out what happened in my latest column in Shotgun Life.

© Holly A. Heyser 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

And now for some really awesome news...

After seven years of hunting, seven years of nothing but growing passion for all things waterfowl, seven years of seizing whatever opportunities I could get to write about hunting in general and duck hunting in particular while having to reserve top priority for my day job, I have scored!

Starting June 25, I'll be the new editor of California Waterfowl, the magazine of the California Waterfowl Association. I'll also be helping out with its Facebook page and doing some media relations as well. This, my friends, is my new day job!

I couldn't be more excited for a number of reasons, first being that I've had a longstanding relationship with CWA as a volunteer, contributor and life member, and I have nothing but love and respect for the organization. Since the early 1980s, it's been restoring, improving and creating habitat for not just the waterfowl we hunt, but for all animals that need wetlands to thrive.

Cal Waterfowl also does a terrific job in shooter and hunter education, helping lots of folks earn their hunter education certificates and go on their first hunts - that's where I've focused most of my volunteer time. And it goes to bat for waterfowl and hunters in the California Legislature - super important in this state.

The second reason is that there just aren't a lot of full-time jobs for writers and photographers in the world of hunting, so when you get one, you'd best have the sense to count your blessings. I am incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity.

Finally, I'm going to be in a workplace that's steeped in hunting culture, which will be a nice change. It's not that I've encountered any anti-hunting hostility during my seven years of teaching at Sacramento State - quite the opposite, actually. The kids have been curious to hear about what I do, and some colleagues have as well.

It's just little things, like if I want to go dove hunting after work near the university, I have to drive 45 minutes in the wrong direction at rush hour to go home and pick up my gun, then head back where I came from to go hunting. I couldn't keep a gun in my car at school. Couldn't even check a gun at the campus police station. Zero tolerance, baby.

Now, what about all my other activities? I'm done with teaching for now - I might go back and teach a class once in a while, but not full-time. I'll still be doing independent food photography on the side, and I'll continue to write my monthly column for Shotgun Life as long as Publisher Irwin Greenstein is willing to keep me on there.

Will I blog again - revive NorCal Cazadora? I'm not sure, but definitely not in the near future - I need to focus on doing my new job well before I pile more things back on my plate. But I think it's safe to say you'll see a little bit of the flavor and personality I put into the blog appearing under my name in the magazine from now on, starting with the winter issue, which is the first one I'll get to work on.

Now, for The Ask: California Waterfowl is a magazine for members, not something you subscribe to or buy at Cabela's or Sportsman's Warehouse. If you'd like to check out my work there and you're not already a CWA member, you'll need to join, which costs $35 a year. The good thing is that your money doesn't just buy a magazine - it supports the ducks! If you're interested, just click here.

Thanks, readers, for sticking with me!

© Holly A. Heyser 2013