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J. Wayne Fears

J. Wayne Fears, America's Master Woodsman

J. Wayne Fears grew up in the southern Appalachians roaming around on a mountain named Tater Knob. His dad was a trapper and an expert woodsman, his mom, a rural school teacher. From his dad, he learned to live in the wilds; and from his mom, he obtained a love of the written word. When other kids were playing team sports, J. Wayne was spending days, often alone, trapping, hunting and fishing. At the age of 15, he obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. While in high school he joined the Army National Guard. He could not believe the government would furnish him ammo to shoot. Following graduation, he served in the Army.

After graduating from Auburn University, J. Wayne went to work as a wildlife specialist with the University of Georgia to develop the wildlife resources in a rural test county in South Georgia. The resulting program was published as a feature article in the March 1966 issue of Outdoor Life magazine. This article gave J. Wayne and his work national attention and introduced him to the world of outdoor writing.

The following year, he took a similar job as Director of Outdoor Recreation & Wildlife with the Coastal Plains Planning and Development Commission working with nine counties. At the same time, he began writing for outdoor magazines, had a weekly radio program and a syndicated newspaper column.

By 1970, he was in graduate school at the University of Georgia working on his Master’s degree and working with Safari Systems, which gave him North and South American experience. While in school, he was writing for 11 outdoor magazines.

Since completing his graduate work, he has held a number of wildlife related positions and worked as an explorer. He spent a decade as the chief wildlife manager for Gulf States Paper Corporation. Here he was responsible for the wildlife management and law enforcement on 500,000 acres of forestland, the development of Westervelt Hunting Lodge, big game hunting operations in Colorado, Alaska and British Columbia. In 1982, he left Gulf States to build a company called Alabama Backcountry Lodges, Inc, which developed and operated three hunting lodges in Alabama. When the company sold, he became a full time freelance magazine writer and book author. He established a consulting company, Fears & Associates, to do wildlife habitat management and exploration work.

In 1994, Progressive Farmer magazine, the nations oldest and largest farm/ranch magazine asked J. Wayne to work for them as the Editor-in-chief of Rural Sportsman, a wildlife management magazine within Progressive Farmer. He retired from this position in 2005. Soon, he came out of retirement and became the editor-in-chief of Hunting Camp Journal.

Currently, he serves as shooting columnist for Turkey Call magazine, serves on the shooting council of North American Hunter magazine, writes The Food Plot Doctor column for Whitetails Unlimited magazine and is a contributor to Gunhunter magazine, The New Pioneer magazine and a number of other publications.

In 2009, developed J. Wayne Fears brand in association with Pro Tool Industries to publish four series of outdoor guidebooks, design knives and other outdoor equipment.

J. Wayne has had over 5000 magazine articles published and 26 books. He is often a guest on popular outdoor TV programs and is a frequent speaker at outdoor events. Currently he is working on three books.

EDUCATION

B.S. Degree from Auburn University
Master’s Degree from the University of Georgia

PROFESSIONAL AWARDS

Journalism

2007 – Grits Gresham Communicator of the Year Award – NSSF & POMA
2006 – Best Outdoor Entrepreneur Project – Magazine – SEOPA
2005 – Best Outdoor Book – Third Place – SEOPA
2004 – Best Outdoor Book – First Place – SEOPA
2004 – Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award – Communicator of the Year
2004 – NWTF Communicator of the Year Award
2002 – Best Outdoor Book – Third Place – SEOPA
1993 – Best Outdoor Entrepreneur Project – Public Relations – SEOPA
1993 – Technical Magazine Article – Second Place – OWAA
1989 – Best Outdoor Book – Second Place – SEOPA
1986 – Best Outdoor Book – Runner-Up – SEOPA
1986 – Anschutz-PSI Outstanding Writer Award
1985 – Best Outdoor Book – Runner-Up – SEOPA
1978 – Best Magazine Article – First Place – SEOPA
1976 – Deep Woodsman of the Year Award – Overall Writing – OWAA
1976 – Deep Woodsman of the Year Award – Newspaper – OWAA
1976 – Buck Knives Writing Award – Newspaper – OWAA

Other Professional Awards

2001 – Outstanding Conservationist–Soil & Water Conservation Districts Association
1982 – Distinguished Alumni Award – University of Georgia
1981 – Tom Rollins Award – SEOPA

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION ACTIVITY

Professional Outdoor Media Association
Past President 2006-07
Founding Board Member
Chairman: Intern/Mentoring Committee

Southeastern Outdoor Press Association
Chairman of Board – 1975-76
President 1973-74
Board member 1971- 73
Chairman of numerous committees

Outdoor Writers Association of America
Board Member 1979 – 1982, 2003 – 2005.
Chairman of numerous committees.

Georgia Outdoor Writers Association
President 1970 – 71
Chairman of Board 1971-72

The Wildlife Society
Certified Wildlife Biologist

The Explorers Club
Led five scientific expeditions – voted into EC 1982

Georgia Parks & Recreation Society
Board of Directors

Georgia Recreation Commission
Advisory Board, Licensed Recreation Administrator

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame
Board of Advisory Governors

BOOKS PUBLISHED

The Complete Book of Dutch Oven Cooking – Stoeger Publishing Corp.
The Pocket Survival Guide – Stoeger Publishing Corp.
Hunt Club Management Guide – Stoeger Publishing Corp.
Hunting Whitetails East & West – Co-Author- Stoeger Publishing Corp.
Build Your Dream Cabin in the Woods – Globe Pequot Press
The Complete Book of Outdoor Survival – Krause Publications
The Field & Stream Wilderness Cooking Handbook – Globe Pequot Press
The Canoer’s Bible – Co-Author – Doubleday
Hunting Big Bears – North American Hunting Club
Hunting Whitetails Successfully – North American Hunting Club
Muzzleloading Hunters Handbook – CVA Publications
Cooking the Wild Harvest – ICS/Stackpole Books
The Wild Turkey Book – Amwell Press
Successful Turkey Hunting – Target Communications
The Complete Book to Canoe Camping – Winchester Press
Sportsman’s Guide to Swamp Camping – David McKay Publishers
Trout Fishing the Southern Appalachians – East Woods Press
Turkey Guide – Scotch Publications
Scrape Hunting from A to Z – Derrydale Press
Backcountry Cooking – East Woods Press

Planting for Wildlife – Progressive Farmer Publications

How to Lost Proof Your Child – Pro Tool Publications

How to manage Native Plants for Deer – Pro Tool Publications

How to Hunt Clear-Cuts Successfully – Pro Tool Publications

How to Make Jerky & Pemmican – Pro Tool Publications

Deer Hunter’s & Land manager’s Pocket reference – Pro Tool Publications

MEDIA EXPERIENCE

Some Magazines in Which Work Has Been Published:

Whitetails Unlimited
North American Hunter
Great Days Outdoors
Turkey Country
Backpacker
Ourdoor Life
Shooting Times
Bowhunting World
Petersen’s Hunting
Field & Stream
The Trapper
North American Hunter
Guns & Ammo
Canoe
Sports Afield
Farm Journal
SHOT Business
Progressive Farmer
Southern Outdoors
Turkey Hunter
American Hunter
Seventeen
Turkey Call
American Rifleman
Buckmasters
North American Hunter
Woodall’s Camping
Game & Fish
Fur-Fish-Game
Muzzle Blasts
Predator & Prey
Hunting Camp Journal
Aqua/Field
Cabela’s Outfitter Journal

Newspaper

Quitman Free Press (GA) – Outdoor Editor
Valdosta Times (GA) – Outdoor Editor
Syndicated weekly outdoor column to 20 Georgia newspapers
Greenville News (SC) – Outdoor contributor
Tuscaloosa Graphic (AL) – Outdoor Editor
Anniston Star (AL) – Outdoor Editor

Radio

WSFB, Quitman, GA, “Georgia Outdoors” 30-min. twice weekly

Television

WMAZ_TV, Macon, GA- guest host – Southern Outdoors, twice weekly, 30-min.
15 weekly segments on Benelli American Safaris for two years, aired nationally regarding survival and wildlife management.
Guest host on numerous national TV outdoor shows – T/C Game Trails, NWTF Get in the Game, NWTF Turkey Call, Benelli’s American Safari, Southern Sportsman.

Commercial Video/DVD

“How to Hunt Wild Turkey” – Warburton Productions & Chevy Trucks
“The Secrets of Successful Food Plots” – Mossy Oak Productions
“The Complete Hunter” – Smith/Taylor Productions
“Backcountry Lodges” – Denny Productions

MAGAZINE EDITOR

Editor – North American Hunter, Southeastern – North American Publishing Group

Editor – Rural Sportsman – Progressive Farmer Publications

Editor – Hunting Camp Journal – JNE Publications

Editor – Hunt Club Digest – Grand View Media Publications

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Kevin Blake Weldon