Thursday, July 25, 2024
The Washington Outdoors Report

Hobbling off into the sunset


All good things must come to an end, to include this weekly column.  I’ll admit the last few days have been rough.  I was exhibiting at the very well-attended Washington Sportsmen’s Show in Puyallup last week, accompanied by my springer spaniel, Sam.  Things went very well, and the four-month-old puppy became very socialized in a hurry, loving every person who wanted to come up and pet him at my booth.

On the last night of the show, I walked out of my motel room to fetch some dog treats from my parked pick-up truck.  Being the clumsy oaf I am, I managed to trip on the curb and fall hard on my knee.  I was immediately greeted by a wave of pain and the inability to stand on my own two feet.  The hotel clerk, seeing what happened, attempted to help me up but was unable to do so.

Fifteen minutes later, two burly firemen hoisted me up and informed me I had likely torn a tendon in my leg (leaving me unable to stand on two feet).  They gave me the choice of taking an ambulance to the hospital that night or making my own way there in the morning.  I chose the latter and Sam and I got a fretful night of sleep in the hotel room.

The next morning, I was helped into my pick-up truck by my friend’s Bob Loomis (with Mack’s Lure) and Richy Harrod (with Harrod Outdoors).  Sam and I managed to drive to a hospital in Puyallup where an emergency room doctor informed me, I had ruptured my tendon below my kneecap and I would need surgery.  That surgery is scheduled this week and both kind thoughts and prayers would be appreciated for a quick recovery which (best case scenario) has me in a knee brace extending from my right ankle to thigh for six weeks.

The news didn’t get much better as the week progressed.  One of our newspapers that has carried our column since we started in 2019 informed me that due to economic issues, they could no longer afford to pay me for my articles.  Unfortunately, this became the final nail in the coffin for my weekly syndicated column.

When I first started this column, covering the outdoors in Washington State, five publishers representing eight different newspapers were carrying my articles on a weekly or part-time basis.  The idea of writing a syndicated column was that non-competing papers in Eastern and Central Washington could share the outdoors with their readers for a very affordable price, as opposed to paying an individual columnist of their own $50 to $100 a week.  Each publisher paid somewhere between $7.50 to $20 a week based on their circulation, netting me around $55 a week from newspapers along with additional money earned for one or more of the columns appearing in Northwest Fishing’s Reel Life magazine.

Unfortunately, even the low price we were offering became too much for several newspapers and with this week’s news we are down to two newspaper publishers paying $22.50 a week for this weekly column.  Considering it takes me around four hours a week to write the column, proofread it and provide photo support, it just doesn’t add up any more from an economic point of view where I’m working for less than $6 an hour.  

On the bright side, I’ll continue to write for the Reel Life magazine and hope to begin writing again on a regular basis for Northwest Sportsman Magazine or one of their partner publications.  In fact, I have an article in this month’s edition that is a tribute to a wonderful man, Mike Meseberg, the co-owner of MarDon Resort who passed away in December.  

I suspect I’ll also get to take those four hours every week and have a little extra fun fishing, wildlife watching and once I get this knee brace off, hiking again.  So as bittersweet as it is to say goodbye, I am grateful I’ve been able to share the outdoors with you for nearly five years and look forward to seeing you on the trail, in the field or on the water in the future.

John Kruse – and


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