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 with Rob Miskosky

20 Years of Alberta Outdoorsmen

Back in April of 2009, I wrote the following:
“Thank you!

I know I speak for both myself and Paul Milberry when I say that... because we truly mean it. Without our writers, an incredible group who are the real leaders that give AO its direction; our advertisers, who are the spine of the magazine that gives it strength; and our readers, the dedicated outdoorsmen and women that care about what happens in their province, we would not have had the ability to move forward as we have. We thank each and every one of you for your commitment to better our outdoor pursuits. 

When the idea of AO was first born, I had a vision to be different, to discuss those things that most would rather ignore. My belief was that if we discussed all of the issues that affect us as hunters, anglers and trappers, we would be much better for it, perhaps teaching ourselves a little bit about ourselves as a group along the way. And while we may have occasionally stepped on some toes, I believe that AO has lived up to its expectations and that it is making a difference.

From our very first issue through to this issue you hold in your hands right now, we have touched on our reader’s emotions. I know this because even back then, with our very first issue and without a single subscriber, we still managed to receive several letters to the editor and to this day, our letters section is considered by many to be the first read. If you can convince somebody to write a letter, you have done your job, because it takes a lot to inspire a reader enough to put pen to paper. AO does this on a consistent basis. And that tells me that we are on the right path, a path that will lead to change in the way we represent ourselves to not only the general public, but to ourselves as well.

And that is all I ever asked for... the chance to help make a difference to the pursuits we hold so close to our hearts through the Alberta Outdoorsmen.

Our commitment to you is to continue the course for the next 10 years and beyond. I hope you join us for the ride.”

Everything I wrote back then is still true to this day. While some of our writers may have changed, for the most part, they remain the same. And AO is still tackling the issues that affect Alberta’s outdoorsmen and women and our outdoor pursuits. There is much to be discussed, as those issues never seem to go away; rather, they continue to grow.

I remember the challenges we faced when we took on game farming and chronic wasting disease. When we tackled Métis harvesting rights, paid-for hunting (Hunting for Habitat) and access to public lands, commercial fishing, Sunday hunting and the sale of public lands, the grizzly bear season, and the many environmental and anti-hunting groups that have agendas that don’t favour hunters, anglers or trappers.

There have been, and still are battles within the hunting and angling community itself, whether you were for or against archery seasons, crossbows, baiting bears or bait fishing, catch-and-release, strict regulations and closed seasons. 

Many of the battles weren’t pretty and fists were clenched on all sides. It brought out the ugly in many but it also showed us where we stood, and where those in disagreement with us stood. In some instances we were able to come to agreement, in others not so much.

Some of the battles were won but probably just as many were lost. And many if not most of those issues are still with us today and still need our attention.

Alberta Outdoorsmen brought those issues to the forefront, had us talking about them, something that hadn’t been done before within the pages of an outdoor magazine, and I believe that makes us healthier, makes us realize the importance of having a voice and making that voice heard.

And here we are today, 10 years later and Alberta Outdoorsmen is still going strong. With this issue, I can proudly say that it has been for 20 years now. Thank you for coming along on the ride. I hope you stick with us for another 20 to help try and make that difference. ■

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

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