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 with Rob Miskosky

This, that and the other thing.

The Alberta Outdoorsmen message board was first born sometime around 2001 or maybe even later, I can’t quite remember any more—it’s part of that getting older deal.

Back then there were a couple of other message boards operating and doing a pretty good job of offering Alberta’s outdoorsmen and women a place for discussion and perhaps the ability to learn from each other. At the time I thought we would be remiss in not having our own message board, after all; we were, and still are, the only outdoor magazine that focuses solely on Alberta.

And so the Alberta Outdoorsmen message board was born. 

The Outdoorsmen Forum is proving to be a popular place.
Back then, in our first year, we managed to get some attention and through advertising the message board in this magazine as well as through advertisements in the hunting and fishing regulations, I think we were somewhere around 1200 registered members. Don Meredith and I monitored “the ‘board” on our own, making sure that users stayed civil in their discussions. But we were starting to discover that the two of us alone probably wasn’t sufficient, especially when we both liked to get away to go hunting or fishing. We realized we needed help. And so, through discussion, we chose three regular board users that appeared to be levelheaded and fair during board discussions, and asked them to become moderators. Their job would be to assist us in keeping the board up to expectations where member’s actions were concerned. All three eagerly accepted the position. Thus Delvin Hamer (lilsundance), Brian Martin (brady) and Brett Kennedy (Morbius101) joined our little team.     

Over time our membership increased and soon we had in the neighbourhood of 3000 registered users. A need to change the board’s platform suddenly became apparent—the one we were using was becoming cumbersome and expensive due to the pay-as-you-play program it was. And so a new platform and server were purchased and after a week of testing, a sleek, new and improved message board was launched that included a personal message system for private in-house communication between members. The new board, the Outdoorsmen Forum, was instantly a roaring success.

At the time Sports Scene was creating a new marketing campaign focused on the outdoors and we touted our board as “soon to have more than 4000 members.” We weren't quite there yet but we knew it would happen sooner rather than later and we didn't want to outdate our materials a month on the street. Looking back, we should have used 10,000 as the number because 4000 was surpassed far sooner than we had imagined, dating our materials anyway.

And because of this popularity another moderator was recently added to help stay on top of the board’s increasing membership. Enter Alberta Outdoorsmen Pro-Staffer, Gord Trenholm (aka Big Bull), who now patrols the forum as well.

At the time of this writing the Outdoorsmen Forum has 7,331 registered members and thousands more who aren't registered but pop in now and then to read the threads, perhaps to gather information, because information is there to be found, regardless of your outdoor pursuit. And there are many members who are very knowledgeable in several aspects of hunting, fishing or trapping and willing to share that knowledge with any who ask. From reloading to shooting, to ice- and fly-fishing to bowhunting and trapping, there is always somebody who has an answer to your questions. It is a knowledgeable place. 

And you’ll notice it is also a place that inspires our columnists, myself included. The discussions of fellow outdoorsmen and women help us stay connected with the pulse of our small, but passionate community. And because of your passion, you help keep us on our toes.

For those of you who have been with us from the beginning, I tip my hat. And thank you for making the Outdoorsmen Forum the place it is today.

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The end of February marks the final exchange of this year's version of the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations between Sportscene Publications and our Fish and Wildlife Division. Many hours, in fact days and weeks have been spent accumulating the information required to produce Alberta's fishing regulations. The job is indeed no small task—approximately 115,000 pounds of newsprint and 18,000 pounds of glossy paper, 3000 boxes and two semi-trailers are needed before the final product can be delivered to IBM where the regulations are then distributed across the province to various private licence vendors.

Ken Ambrock

When we first started publishing the regulations back in the late 1990’s the man in charge of our Fish and Wildlife Division was Ken Ambrock. I remember writing a column a few years later titled "The Fall of Fish and Wildlife?" It was a column that bemoaned the fact that our Fish and Wildlife Division was being gutted, practically turned into a shell of its former self by the Klein government. The only good that could be found back then was the fact that Ken Ambrock would become the Assistant Deputy Minister of Fish and Wildlife, so not all was lost.

Ken is one of those guys that everybody likes, regardless of who you are. He has a flare that few can match and his wit and wonderful personality, I’m sure, have made many gloomy days at Fish and Wildlife much more manageable than they would have been had he not been there. Unfortunately for Alberta’s Outdoorsmen and Women, Ken is soon retiring, and he will be missed.

I'd like to wish Ken good luck in his future adventures, knowing that there is bound to be a fishing rod in them somewhere.

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The AFGA Convention will be over by the time you read this magazine. It will be interesting to see how SRD Minister Ted Morton is received after his Recreation Access Management Plan (RAMP) presentation is presented. Last year AFGA members voted it down unanimously. I highly doubt there will be much change this year. Stay tuned.

●   ●   ●

Dakota with his first "real" buck.

I was asked the other day how my son Dakota made out this past hunting season. The questioner was curious after reading the story of his misfortune a year prior at 12-years-old. I’m happy to report that over and above the two supplemental tags he filled in October, he also managed to take a pretty good buck that any 13-year-old would be proud to have as his or her first “real” buck.

See you all next month! ■

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

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