The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Rodger 3/31/56-2/23/13

A friend of mine passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Rodger was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish.  He was only 56 years old.

One of the few times I didn't get stuck in the middle
Rodger (left), Jim (middle) and me

I first met Rodger about two decades ago.  Another friend, Jim, introduced us and over the years we all spent thousands of hours chasing fish and fowl.  Being the new "kid" on the block I was often relegated to the middle of the blind or boat which was mostly fine by me.  I simply watched and learned and appreciated the opportunity to tag along.

Our trips broadened in scope and 10 years ago the three of us went to Saskatchewan to hunt ducks and geese.  We had a great time and there was plenty of laughter along the way and memories made that we still talked about for years afterwards.  We cooked goose meat 17 different ways and quickly grew tired of deploying and picking up 600-700 snow goose socks morning and evening for a week straight. 

Rodger (left) and his son, Matt, compare fowl

It was shortly after our return from this trip that Rodger's doctor would discover he had a brain tumor.  But Rodger continued enjoying the outdoors as often as possible, despite painful treatments and medication. 

Rodger's son, Matt (left), Jim (middle) and Rodger limited out and laughing
We talked often during his illness of a cast-and-blast vacation in Louisiana.  We wanted to hunt ducks in the morning and fish for speckled trout and redfish in the afternoon.  Jim made it happen three years ago and the three of us loaded up and made the 12-hour trek to Hackberry Rod and Gun Club.  Rodger looked forward to it as he'd never seen the ocean.  It would indeed be a memorable outdoor road trip.

The duck hunting was great and lunch was even better.  Authentic gumbo and banana pudding were the norm and a quick nap and we had plans to fish.  Unfortunately, Rodger wasn't feeling well enough to get out the first two afternoons so we relaxed in camp.  But things worked out on our last afternoon and we had a wonderful fishing trip.  We all caught limits of big redfish and some nice speckled trout, flounder and other assorted species.  The weather was beautiful and the fish Gods shined on us.  For three land-locked Kansas boys we were livin' large.       

One cool cat with two goofy hats!

Rodger is gone now but memories from trips like these and countless others are etched in stone in the back of my mind. 

Rodger was a devoted husband, father and friend.  We all figure God needed a duck hunting or fishing partner so He called Rodger home.  So here's hoping, Rodger, that the view of the outdoor world from your new seat finds all the greenheads cupped and committed and the walleye fat and hungry. 

So long, friend.

You will be missed.           

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