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by Kate Nation
November 11, 2013, is a day Donna Shaver—a 17-year member of Steelworkers Local 3657—will never forget. It was Veterans Day, and she had permission to hunt property in Stanly County, North Carolina, during muzzleloader season.
Shaver hails from a family of hunters. Growing up, she spent weekends traveling with her parents to bow competitions throughout North Carolina, and by age 13, she achieved the state record. Her parents started her hunting, but she didn’t catch the bug until she began dating an avid hunter and decided it was something she really needed to get into.
Since then, she has hunted bear, deer, turkey and doves, often with her family. Whitetail is her favorite with turkey coming in for a close second. Though she enjoys hunting with a bow, she prefers muzzleloader season with its cooler temperatures and bucks running around in the frenzy of the rut.
Shaver and that avid hunter, who became her husband, integrated their son, Jeremy, into the family tradition nearly from birth.
“We bought his lifetime hunting license before he was one year old,” Shaver said. “He used to sit at the bottom of the tree with me. We’d take a sleeping bag and snacks, and he’d tell me to wake him up when I saw a deer coming.”
Now an adult, Jeremy was serving as a Marine security guard at the Israel Embassy as Shaver was heading to her tree stand that Veterans Day morning, joined by her 72-year-old father, James Potts, who asked to sit with her. Potts has had to wear a brace on his leg since he was run over by a logging skidder in 1995 and now has only 40% of feeling in his legs and less in his right foot and ankle.
“Walking up hill is a huge struggle for him, much less climbing into a box blind tree stand, but he was very determined,” Shaver said. “I remember getting behind him and helping push him up the hill in the dark to get to the stand before daybreak.”
Once in the stand, they were elbow to elbow, but it was Potts who spotted a flash of white horns in the pines. Shaver watched him through her binoculars as he came toward an opening and was impressed by the height of his horns, but she hesitated. She knew, from trail cam photos, there was a drop tine in the area, and she only had permission to take one buck.
When she asked her dad what he thought, he responded, “I don’t know what you’re waiting on. I would have already pulled the trigger.”
Her mind made up, she raised her 50 caliber Savage muzzleloader and fired on the buck at 126 yards. It “donkey-kicked” and ran into the trees. Unable to see through the smoke, Shaver asked her dad if he saw the buck, but he was shaking so badly he replied that he “couldn’t see a thing.”
As they laughed with excitement, Shaver pondered her shot and texted her husband and son to let them know she shot a nice buck, but it ran off. Her husband told her to wait an hour to pursue it, but after 40-minutes, she couldn’t take it any longer and climbed down from the stand.
No blood. Anxiety began to creep in as Shaver scoured the woods for any sign of a wound. Then, there it was, 70 yards away—a 10 point with 2 stickers, weighing 197 lbs. She shouted, and her father rushed over as fast as he could.
To Shaver’s surprise, Jeremy suddenly joined them in the woods thanks to FaceTime on her iPhone. He checked out the buck, laughed, bragged on his mom and shared the moment from across the world.
“What a Veterans Day! Celebrating with my Marine son stationed in Israel and my 72-year-old dad over the biggest buck I’ve ever taken,” Shaver said. “Then my husband, mom and friend drove up, and the fun began all over again. It was a very blessed lifetime experience that I’ll never forget!”
Scoring 155 7/8” with a 21 ½” inside spread, Shaver’s trophy earned her the title of Biggest Buck for Female Muzzleloader in the 2013 North Carolina Dixie Deer Classic.
by Kate Nation
Growing up hunting and fishing, serving in the Navy and working in the sheet metal trade, Darlene McCann, a member of SMART Local 19, is accustomed to being a minority as a woman, but that hasn’t stopped her—or even slowed her down.
“I’m lucky to have grown up with a dad who liked to teach me to hunt and fish, so I never had to experience a challenge because of gender,” McCann said. “When it came to working in a male-dominated field, I had to work a little harder to prove that I can be just as good as the guys, but it has been to my benefit as it has made me a better worker and sportswoman.”
McCann learned the sheet metal trade in the Navy and has worked in the trade for 25 years as a field foreman, drafting project leader, CAD committee chairman and other positions. She recently achieved her dream of starting her own business, DAM HVAC Services, and becoming a signatory contractor and owner/operator while maintaining her union membership.
When not providing hvac drafting and 3D CAD services to companies across the country, McCann loves spending time outdoors. Her father introduced her to hunting and fishing when she was 8-years-old, and he could gut and skin a deer by age 12. While she enjoys hunting and shooting, her passion is fishing. From filling a stringer of fish five feet long to landing sailfish in Costa Rica to fishing for salmon in Alaska as a guest on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV series, McCann has fish tales to span many a campfire. Asked about her greatest fishing accomplishment and she recalls a weekend trip to Pulaski, NY, where she and her husband caught and released more than 200 trout.
In addition to being a guest on the USA’s TV show, McCann has participated in the USA’s SMART New Jersey Sporting Clays Shoot for several years. She joined the USA because it represents the people she works and enjoys the outdoors with.
“It introduces people to opportunities they may have never been able to experience,” she said. “Whether it’s a veteran being sponsored at a shoot, doing a conservation project with other union members or being selected to go on a dream fishing trip, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is about making things possible.”
McCann encourages fellow union members to join the USA to experience all the benefits it provides and says it can be a great chance for women in the trades to “bridge the gender gap” by better connecting with their co-workers who enjoy the outdoor sports.
“At the shoot, I was pleasantly surprised at the help and tips I received from fellow union brothers…it helped create a camaraderie that wasn’t there before,” she said.
When asked what advice she would offer women or young girls who want to get their start in hunting, fishing or the sheet metal trade, McCann responded, “Go for it, and don’t be afraid to try. The only person that can stop you from succeeding in an outdoor sport or job in the trades is yourself. Neither is for everyone, male or female, but you have to work hard and not expect a break as a female.”
This article first appeared in the New Mexico Wildlife Federation’s quarterly newspaper, the Outdoor Reporter.
Sportsman of the Quarter: Eight Questions for Ron Schubert
At work, Ron Schubert maintains critical communications equipment that keeps airplanes flying and the flying public safe. In his spare time, he is one of those guys who, when he sees something that needs to be done, does it.
A lifelong hunter and angler, Schubert bought his first off-highway vehicle in 2005 and asked a Santa Fe National Forest district office where he could ride. He found out later the information was incorrect.
Schubert saw the need not just for better signage and trail maintenance but for riders to get involved in the rapidly changing OHV world. He worked with the forest, spoke with other OHV users and soon found himself on the New Mexico Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Board, which helps plan state policy and spending decisions for the OHV Fund – which is paid for by OHV riders. Today he is chairman.
As hunters and anglers know well, the number of OHVs has exploded over the years. Gone are the days when riders could make their own trails and go wherever they please. Schubert is one of many who are trying to guide the growth of the burgeoning OHV community – including thousands of hunters and anglers – toward more responsible use of shared resources like national forest lands.
For that reason we are proud to name Ron Schubert as our Sportsman of the Quarter.
NMWF: Describe your background in hunting and fishing: when and where did you start, with who?
SCHUBERT: I started fishing with my family at a very young age in Illinois. These fishing adventures were family events with grandmas, uncles and cousins all in one spot. My family taught me to fish with fishing poles, jug fishing, putting out bank poles, gigging for frogs, freezing my back-side off ice fishing and running trot lines. Now, I’m expanding my fishing experience into fly fishing. Hunting was a little bit different. My father was very cautious about the use of fi rearms. I started going out by following him rabbit and squirrel hunting. The first hunting license came right after I attended Illinois’ hunter education program. My father passed on to me his respect for nature, respect for people’s property and shared his love of hunting. That is where I got the hunting bug and have passed on my love for the outdoors to my children.
NMWF: Name a highlight in all your time afield, a particularly special day.
SCHUBERT: There isn’t one specific time because every time out camping, hunting, fishing or ATV riding is special. There is always a good memory from every trip: The sunsets from White Sands National Monument with streaks of gold and blue; the first time camping with my children and the first time camping with my granddaughter; getting drenched in snow and freezing my tail off in the Gila on a deer hunt; watching my granddaughter catch her first trout – there are a lot.
NMWF: Describe your ideal outdoor experience – where would you go, when and with whom?
SCHUBERT: My father and I used to watch Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” every week when I was growing up. I guess that is where I dreamed of other places and experienced nature outside the Illinois cornfields. Today, I feel like I’m living the dream, having some really great adventures camping, hiking, ATV riding, fishing and hunting with my family and friends in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico.
NMWF: How did you get involved in OHV work?
SCHUBERT: I got my first ATV in 2005 for hunting and riding. I talked to one of the forest districts about where I could go to ride and they gave me some information that I felt was intentionally wrong and misleading. This was not just to me, but to the public. It didn’t take me long to find the right person to have the District Office withdraw that information. I never quite figured out why somebody would do that, but it drove me to get involved and I have been involved ever since. I have done trail work and installed trail signage on the Jemez Ranger District, picked up trash and installed a kiosk on the Mount Taylor Ranger District. These projects were never done just by myself but with others from the off-roading community who cared and love the outdoors. A few years ago, I heard about the Game and Fish Department’s OHV Advisory Board and wanted to be on it. I have the passion for it and wanted to be involved. I figured I could bring some experience to the table.
NMWF: What’s your highest OHV priority today?
SCHUBERT: To stay involved as much as I can. There are things that are on my radar to get completed, like labeling the OHV routes and dispersed camping areas on the Jemez Forest District, and to stay involved as an OHV Trail Ambassador. I also want to maximize the grant funding out of the OHV Trail Safety Fund for trail improvements and law enforcement and I want to keep the listening sessions going for the rest of my time on – and hopefully after my time has ended – the OHV Advisory Board.
NMWF: What can the average New Mexico OHV-using hunter/angler do to help ensure our outdoor traditions continue?
SCHUBERT: We access the forests for many reasons, but everyone becomes an OHV user when they drive on a forest road with a motorized vehicle, whether it’s a car, truck, ATV or a side-by-side. OHV users impact the forest, and the greatest thing anyone can do is to find out from the land managing agency where they are allowed to travel and the rules around it. The information is there. It just takes some patience to find out the information. It’s pretty simple: Respect others in the forest, treat the land with decency and make it better than you found it. There are plenty who take but very few who give back. I would encourage everyone to be a part of the process to make things better and find a place to give.
NMWF: What more could state and federal agencies do to protect those traditions?
SCHUBERT: New Mexico gives a person great opportunity to explore nature without asking permission. I would like to ask the state and federal wildlife and land management agencies not to eliminate but to increase people’s access to enjoy those public lands – especially public lands that are surrounded by private land. This can be done with respect to nature’s challenges, private landowners and concerns for the environment.
NMWF: What’s your favorite wild game recipe?
SCHUBERT: Chicken fried deer and mushroom gravy. I like all sorts of game meat – stew, chili, hamburgers. But when you shave a thin slice off a venison leg or roast and then chicken-fry it – it’s to die for.
Chicken Fried Deer
Deer leg or roast
1-2 cups of flour
Oil of choice
Shave the deer meat no more one-quarter-inch thick and not very big in size. Make an egg wash, then season the flour with the spices. Dip the deer meet in the egg wash, then the flour. Let the meat sit 5 minutes or so to allow the flour to adhere. Make sure the oil is hot, then start chicken frying the deer! Always cook deer thoroughly!
½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/4 yellow onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
12 ounces or so mushrooms, diced
One quart vegetable stock
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. creole seasoning
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbs. black pepper
Melt the butter on a medium heat, add spices and stir. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and green pepper. Cook until done. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring to make sure flour coats everything. Let it sit in the warm pan to draw out the flavors for 10 minutes or so. Add the vegetable stock and let it simmer at low to medium heat for ½ hour. Adjust the flavor and thickness to how you like it.
September 17, 2014 in Meet a Member
By Laura Tingo
Nothing (except perhaps Mother Nature) can stop USA member Michael Cramer from organizing an annual appreciation event for the members of UA Plumbers Local 68. In fact, for the past 18 years, the Houston, Texas Local has proudly hosted its annual Saltwater Fishing Tournament each summer – minus the summer of 2009 when Hurricane Ike made landfall east of Galveston, halting event plans.
The friendly competition, prizes, food and fun that brings together the Local’s brothers, sisters and their families is due to the behind-the-scenes, leadership efforts of Cramer, the Local’s Financial Secretary-Treasurer, who first joined Plumbers Local 68 as an apprentice in 1971. He went on to become a journeyman plumber, instructor and the Local’s elected position he has held since 1995.
“I started the tournament as another benefit to our members and their families,” Cramer said.
This year’s two-day fishing event and celebration held on the weekend of June 6-7, entertained record numbers of participants with 50 kids under the age of 13, 30 teens and 170 adults vying for prizes in the tournament and coming out to simply enjoy the day.
Cramer boasts the success of the event as a true team effort with strong support of the dedicated group he calls the Local’s “tournament team” and community businesses. To accommodate the Saturday afternoon BBQ meal and refreshments, preparations started early Friday morning.
Said Cramer, “Most of them have helped from the beginning and enjoy doing this hopefully as much as everyone who participates.”
The fishing begins at 5 p.m. Friday and wraps up with a 3 p.m. weigh-in on Saturday. Following the tallying of fish, trophies are awarded to the winners, but they aren’t the only ones who take home recognition tokens. Prizes are awarded to each person in attendance by pulling names from a bucket. “Everyone takes home a prize,” said Cramer.
He makes it a true family affair, giving youth in attendance not only the chance to fish for free, but the gift of a new fishing rod and reel. “This was a simple decision after seeing the smiles on the children’s faces that won the first couple of years,” Cramer said.
An avid outdoor sportsman, Cramer moved to Houston from Ohio in 1970 with his wife of 34 years, Joann. Their daughter Alexandra, now 23, is a graduate of Texas Christian University and is currently enrolled in a Neuropsychology post-graduate program.
Cramer enjoys hunting wild feral hogs year-round and bowhunting in deer season. He added that he enjoys hunting as much as he enjoys photography. “I shoot much more photos and video than I do with my handmade longbow and cedar shaft arrows, long guns or pistols.”
An active member of his community, he serves on several committees and boards including his role as Chairman of the Board of Union Fidelity Federal Credit Union and as Chairman of Houston’s Building & Standards Commission. As a long-time USA member, Cramer has coordinated several USA Work Boots on the Ground conservation projects in the Houston-Area, including the construction of a Youth Ground Blind and refurbishment of a fishing pier at Sheldon Lake State Park. He strongly values those contributions.
“The USA is very close to me as I appreciate our organization’s efforts in giving back something for the privilege of enjoying America’s great outdoors.”
May 8, 2014 in Meet a Member
At work, Andrew Talamo’s role as President of United Construction Trades & Industrial Employees Local 621 keeps him busy handling hefty day-to-day operations like arbitrations, organizing and contract negotiations. “It’s always a fun-filled day,” said Andrew, of Franklin Square, New York.
At play, Andrew’s time involves getting outdoors with family and friends doing everything from hunting and shooting, to hiking and snowmobiling. Last year, Andrew won first runner-up in USA’s Carhartt & Camo Giveaway Contest. His prize?…a complete set of Carhartt’s new Made-in-America Realtree gear. “I was very surprised,” said Andrew of the win. “I will definitely wear the gear when I go hunting this year.”
Andrew shares his enjoyment of the outdoors with his two sons, Andrew, Jr., 13, and Nicholas, 10. “We live outside,” he said.
This dad doubles as a community volunteer, with his sons’ Boy Scout troup 485. As Assistant Scoutmaster, Andrew serves as a merit badge counselor mentoring kids, getting them involved in learning a variety of specialty skills surrounding American labor, rifle and shotgun shooting. He also enjoys getting the scouts interested in cooking, which, between that, hosting family BBQs, and spending many hours in many kitchens has led to the start of his family-run business called, “Field to the Fork.”
“I consider myself a home chef,” he said. “For several years running I have hosted game BBQs that turned into a feast (with) family, friends, good food and the best of times.”
The idea for the company came from Andrew’s eldest son Andrew, Jr., who suggested his Dad start a website and share his recipes. Today, the family business, run by Andrew, his brother Louis and his two sons, offers up sauces and recipes designed primarily for game, but can be used in a wide variety of ways, Andrew said.
“People will be able to tell my love of cooking and my creativity when it comes to the game recipes,” he said, adding that it’s not just for stews and burgers.
To learn more about Field to the Fork, Andrew invites you to contact him via e-mail, here: Fieldtothefork@gmail.com, and follow the company on Twitter, at: Twitter.com/FieldToTheFork.
By Laura Tingo
A typical day on the job for Mark Johnson is actually anything but. As Business Manager of the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades, he is responsible for advocating on behalf of 55 local unions representing 13 international unions in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
“I wear many hats,” said Mark, who worked as a superintendent for a contractor in Columbus, Ohio, before he became a union representative. “I’m almost everything to everybody.”
Mark has been a union member his entire life and was introduced to the union community at a young age. Mark’s grandfather was a coal miner in West Virginia; his great uncle was one of the original organizers who formed the United Mineworkers of America. “Union definitely means a lot for my family.”
An ‘average’ day for Mark may involve working to raise funds for a community children’s hospital or attending a Union Sportsmen’s Alliance conservation dinner to generate financial support and volunteers to support hands-on conservation projects.
“The USA is a great organization,” he said. “Not only does the USA represent me on sportsman issues but also on workplace issues.”
Mark said his union background and enjoyment of the outdoors over the years made membership in the USA a natural fit. “The construction trades are made up of a lot of sportsmen,” he said. “We have more sportsmen than we have golfers.”
In his first year of membership in the USA, Mark won a pistol in USA’s Partner Local Sweepstakes and a shotgun in its Gun-A-Week calendar giveaway – thanks to his strategy of buying up gun tickets every chance he gets.
“What they don’t sell by the end of the night, I usually buy what’s left,” he said. “It’s money well-spent.”
Mark’s generous support at USA’s Ohio State Conservation Dinner in Columbus resulted in another win – a turkey call. The next day, he headed down to Charleston, West Virginia to support another USA dinner, making it two in the same weekend.
“You can tell the interest level is there,” said Mark, noting the popularity and enjoyment among attendees throughout the weekend events. “You are definitely going to need a larger venue the next time.”
Wess Ringgold’s appreciation of the outdoors and the value of union brotherhood started early in life, and he is proud to share it all with his son Josh, a union firefighter.
“I respect and commend any person who gets up every day and goes to work to support themselves and their families regardless if it be union or not…I just feel lucky to be a union member,” said Wess, a retired member of UA Local 602.
He grew up in a family that spent a lot of time in the outdoors camping, traveling, shooting, hunting and fishing. “I tried to pass it on to my kids, and I’m just glad that Josh enjoys it as much as I do,” he said.
When Wess was invited to be a guest on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV show, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards, and given the opportunity to not only experience the thrill of an Iowa pheasant hunt but also bring his son along, he could hardly believe it.
“I’ve been applying for a guest spot on this TV show since USA asked for applications,” said Wess, an active USA member.
The episode takes viewers on an exciting trip to Iowa’s historical and charming Hole N’ the Wall Lodge on a pheasant hunt, at the height of the season. As viewers join Wess and Josh on their three-day adventure, they will enjoy scenic views of amazing landscapes, the sight of the first snow on the ground at dawn and the thrill of birds flying and the dogs in action, retrieving the day’s harvest.
This episode is a collection of firsts for the father-son hunting duo. It’s their first time hunting pheasants together, Josh’s first time on an airplane, and it’s the first time either of them has experienced being on-camera in the middle of a TV show production.
“There were cameras on our guns, our chests and a photographer was with us at all times,” Wess said, adding that he was struck by the realization of what it takes to film a television program. “This was the hunt of a lifetime that I will always remember, and I know Josh will too.”
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.
Meet USA Member Joe Harris – A retired union machinist who keeps conservation and volunteerism close to heart
Joe Harris of Chesterfield County, Virginia, said family and hunting are what he lives for. A member of IAM Local 10 for going on 40 years, Joe has been an avid deer hunter for most of his life. These days, this USA member says he spends more time hunting goose and turkey. “I simply enjoy talking to the critters.”
Conservation and volunteerism are at the heart of the USA’s daily mission, and it is a constant focus in Joe’s life too. He is a dedicated member of Waterfowl U.S.A., and each spring, he volunteers with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on youth turkey hunts and the organization’s ‘Wheelin’ Sportsmen’ events, helping people living with disabilities enjoy activities in the outdoors like fishing and hunting. “I’ve been blessed with the good life,” Joe said. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and what I have with young and old alike.”
Joe fondly recalls when he learned the value of union membership and signed on for the first time. He was asked to join while working as a machinist for a major tobacco company. “At the time, I did not know exactly what it meant,” said Joe, “but over the years, I realized how important it was to be a union shop and an involved union member. We are like a support group living a day-to-day type of life…you get to know each other.”
The bonds of union brotherhood touched Joe and his family immensely years ago, when a house fire devastated their home. During that tough time, Joe’s union brothers and sisters were there to help comfort the family and raise donations to help them rebuild their lives in the face of the unforeseen tragedy. “They took care of me, got me back on my feet,” said Joe. “It’s another example of people helping people.”
A walk around the offices of IBEW Local 196 in Batavia, Illinois tells you a lot about Eric Patrick, the union man who runs the ship. He greets you with a warm welcome and leads you on a tour of the local that he has been a part of since 1988, introducing you to his staff along the way. His delivery, including an unrehearsed explanation of their roles, makes it apparent that he sincerely values each.
“He’s very driven,” said Andrew Taft, one of Eric’s employees. “He actually looks at the union members almost like his own family. He shows a lot of concern when people need help, and he’s really out there to make sure that they’re okay.”
Eric’s wife, Joanna, said he doesn’t ask for much and calls him, “the most humble, modest person she’s ever met. He doesn’t do things for recognition,” she said. “He does things for the betterment of others.”
The positive impact Eric displays on his local extends into the community as well with his recent volunteer participation in a USA Work Boots on the Ground conservation project to benefit the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, Illinois. His crew of union volunteers removed dead tree limbs that hovered over a youth campground on its 750-acre farm. There, Illinois kids learn how to become future stewards of our natural resources through the study of clean air and water, wetland habitat, wildlife management and more. “It’s important to give back to the community,” Eric said.