I’ve been really slack in maintaining my blog here, in part because I really wasn’t sure where my career was taking me.
I still don’t really know, but the clock, as they say, is ticking.
Over at www.monkedmedia.com is where I am doing most of my professional business. Currently, I am writing for more publications than I can easily list from memory, and I seem to have specialized in livestock and meat issues, especially in international trade, emerging markets, producer advocacy, sustainability and consumer relations. I understand that to the vast majority of you, that probably sounds like the most boring job description on the planet. Be assured, it isn’t. I love my work, and I believe strongly in it.
My passion and hobbies have always been outdoors, and I recently took up hunting a couple of years ago too. For about 10 years, my most passionate passion is field herping, which for me means photographing venomous snakes around the world. So far, around the world has been Canada and the U.S., but I hope to change that next year in South Africa. I have been herping in Peru, but I did not see any venomous snakes there. (Though I saw a lot of other amazing things!)
A big part of the reason that I became interested in the cattle industry was the result of my rattlesnake hobby. In 2007, I moved to Maple Creek, Saskatchewan – mostly to be closer to the snakes that I was coming out from Winnipeg a couple of times a year to see. But when I was there, I realized how integral the ranching industry is to protecting what remains of Canada’s native prairie – which is precisely the habitat we need to conserve if we want cool animals like the rattlesnake to survive in Canada.
Now that I have worked from home for a number of years, and now that I finally live out of a town and in the country, I realize that these goals have been achieved. Obviously, I need some new ones, and to that end, I am going to start chronicling some of my adventures and experiences, be they recreational or professional. Last November, I visited China professionally, but I certainly took away much more from the trip on a personal level.
I just recently completed my first assignment for Western Sportsman Magazine, and my intent is to try and better merge my passion with my profession. My hope is that one day a significant portion of my assignments will entail adventure, travel, hunting, the outdoors or if I am really lucky, venomous snakes.
I’ve just returned from a herping adventure in Arizona and California, and my next one is slated for the second week of May. I will be camping next to a prairie rattlesnake hibernaculum (den) to try and observe mating rituals such as courtship and male combat. I will be very low-impact so as not to disturb the animals at the site, but close enough to get some photos with my long lens. At the same time, I am using these four days as a writing retreat to finish up an overdue book project for the Western Stock Growers’ Association.
The most awesome news is that I have my first sponsor! The idea to approach a manufacturer to help me obtain the solar charging equipment I would need to keep my MacBookPro running while I’m out there came from a friend from the Alberta Outdoorsmen Forum and it worked! I was able to receive a sponsorship discount from Voltaic for this awesome solar charging product. I’ll provide a preview of this adventure shortly before I leave, complete with the equipment I am bringing to create a mobile herping/writing office.
I’d love to write more, but I’m currently on deadline for Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine. (Technically, I’m past deadline, but so far my editor hasn’t noticed!)