Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy BlogDay to me!

I love anniversaries, and today is a double for me: It's the third anniversary of the day I started my blog, and the fourth anniversary of the first time I ever fired a shotgun.

My hunting and shooting has come a long way since then. When I went out on Sunday for my second duck hunt of the season, I did something I've never done before: I killed every duck I shot at. Five of 'em.

Not all stone-dead, mind you. I had to chase three of those birds, including two wily swimmers (spoonie hens, of course). But hell, that's the only exercise I get these days, so I can't complain.

And my blog? Well, in many ways, it has evolved too. Read more...
When I started it, having just been out of the newspaper business for a year, I thought it was going to be like a newspaper blog, filled with little bits of news about women hunting.

I quickly realized, though, that people were more interested in hunting stories and commentary (a nice word for bitching) about the news. Then I went to the SHOT Show and added the growing world of women's hunting clothing to my writing repertoire. And as the chains of newspaper-required neutrality finally fell away, I dug into the politics of hunting.

But if you go back and read my first post, you'll find my character has remained pretty much the same - I'm still obsessed with shooting well, and I still have this unreasonable urge to "catch up" in terms of experience to all those hunters lucky enough to have started hunting as kids.

If anything has changed, it is that I am far more blessed than I was then. I'm blessed with readers who have become friends, some just by Internet, some in "real" life. When I think about the people I hunt with, I realize that most of them have come into my life in some way because of this blog.

I've also been blessed to be part of a blog world that has some spirited and mostly civil debates about controversies within hunting. In particular, Phillip at the Hog Blog has really challenged many of my assumptions.

And indirectly, he taught me to take advantage of the one thing I have over people who've been hunting their whole lives: I come to this field without the indoctrination that parents typically provide when they introduce their children to something, so I can evaluate every rule and norm and decide whether it's important and why.

That may sound like I'm morally rudderless, but far from it. What it means is I have the ability to separate mere tradition from really important bedrock ethics. Shooting for the cleanest kill possible? Bedrock ethics. Shooting birds only when they fly because it's more "sporting"? Who cares. I'm here to put food on the table.

Taking care of this blog is a big job. It takes a lot of time and effort, and the fact that I'm still blogging three years and 361 posts later feels like a big accomplishment.

But I keep doing it because it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. My interaction with readers and fellow bloggers has provided me more pleasure than 19 years of newspaper writing and editing. The blog post is only the beginning; the discussion in the comments section is the part I look forward to the most.

So I dedicate this special day to all of you. You are what make this thing work. Thank you.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010


The Hunter's Wife said...

Congrats Holly. You are one of my favorite outdoor bloggers and I can honestly say, through your blog and comments, I've learned about the outdoors here.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Jody, I'm sorry that I have sullied your brain!

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary, Holly. You keep posting and I'll keep reading and sporadicly commenting (bitching).


NorCal Cazadora said...

Excellent! It's half the fun :-)

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you Holly!

Here's to many more years of posts, friends, ducks, and constructive bitchin'! Cheers!

David Demola said...

Congrats on the 5-for-5! And that photo of you at the top is SO badass!

Oh, and do you still need that shotgun trigger broken in? If my interview goes well, I'll be able to afford the license and all that pretty soon :)

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Good to see you've kept it going (the hardest thing in blogging) I look forward to your tenth anniversary post.

Your fan

Hubert Hubert said...

Congratulations from over the pond, Holly! I wish you many happy returns of this blogday celebration!

Matt Mullenix said...

Cheers to you Holly!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Kari: Well, mostly constructive bitchin', anyway.

David: You don't need a license to shoot, but money to chip in for ammunition wouldn't hurt. Text me tomorrow and I'll tell you if I see any openings coming up...

SBW: Oh my, ten years of bitching? Oh hell, I definitely have it in me!

HH and MM: Thanks!

hodgeman said...


I've been enjoying your work for some time now.

Murphyfish said...

Well done Holly, although I do not comment to often I find yours one of the most interesting and informative blogs around, long may you continue.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Happy Anniversary! Besides just writing stuff people want to read, you've managed, in those three years, to create a forum for thoughtful, civil discussion of some of the issues most important to hunting.

That's a real accomplishment.

Tovar said...

As folks have already said, congrats. And many thanks: for your fine work and for the forum you provide.

Barb Baird said...

Congrats NorCal! Here's another thing we have in common! I started Women's Outdoor News two years ago on Nov. 4 ... we share BlogDays.

Your blog has always been a go-to blog for me. Appreciate your honesty and the fact that you don't play for pay with reviews.

Keep up the momentum.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you! Keep up the great work. I really enjoy reading your point of view on hunting. I am excited to meet you at the shows also!

NorCal Cazadora said...

Thanks, everyone!

Tamar, the (mostly) civil discussion is really my favorite part - I've learned so much from people. This is why I don't weigh in so much anymore on hunting forums or F&S blogs - too much hunter-to-hunter incivility.

Barb, I forgot about that! Next year the 4th is on a Friday. Maybe we should have a party together - and then go hunting the next morning!

Josh said...

I, for one, am especially glad you blogged. I'm blessed to know you, and I never would have met you, had you not started this wonderful endeavor.

Thanks for all your hard work. And, thanks for being a friend (cue 'Golden Girls' theme).

Dorian said...

Thank you for being such an inspiration! After years of the idea percolating around the back of my brain, it was your post about the CWA woman's weekend that finally kicked my butt into gear and got me started hunting this year :) Keep doin' what you're doin' - Even when we don't comment much, we're still reading and you're still making a positive impact for female hunters (and hunting in general, I think).

Shewee woman said...

Congrats Holly, you are not my one of my favorite outdoor bloggers, you ARE my favorite! There are those days when I am stuck in the office and bam I get your blog and I feel like I just crawled out of the duck blind, and I am smiling from ear to ear Reading your blogs has been so informative, I learned about dove banding and even learned a great way to get more guns into my safe. I've turned my friends onto your blog and we all agree, you tell it like it is. So on this anniversary, I wish you the best. I'm hoping some day we can hunt together, but until then, congratulations!

SimplyOutdoors said...

Congrats on three years, Holly.

I truly look forward to every one of your posts, and the discussion that follows, of course.

It's a pleasure to read, and I wish you many more years of blogging bliss.