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.