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    Eric Pickhartz

    Eric Pickhartz is the Managing Editor of Wide Open Spaces, bringing a mix of outdoors enthusiasm and a journalism background to the site's content on a daily basis. His fishing experience began at a young age on Minnesota lakes, both frozen and thawed, and he has since used seasonal hunts and fishing trips as an excuse to become a better writer and editor. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, two sons, and Chocolate Lab.

    Ellen Fishbein

    Ellen is a Second-Amendment enthusiast and adventurer with love for hiking, open water, and fresh seafood. When not shooting or finding new ways to prepare freshwater fish, she's sharing her passions and stories with a small group of longtime friends.

    Kris Hughes

    Kris Hughes is the Director of Content Operations at Wide Open Media Group, the parent company of Wide Open Spaces, Wide Open Country and Wide Open Pets. Kris’ professional background is in sports writing and managing blogs, but growing up in the Texas Panhandle he spent plenty of time as a kid fishing with his grandfather and cousins on the creeks of his family’s ranch land, and comes from an extended family of ranchers, cattlemen, and oil men going back generations. Kris currently resides in Austin, Texas and like almost all Central Texans, loves to explore the Hill Country and all the natural beauty surrounding the capital city.

    David Schlake

    Hailing from Goochland, Virginia, David grew up on the James River with the Atlantic Coast only a couple hours away. While his proximity to prime waters resulted in a passion for both freshwater and saltwater fishing, he also enjoys upland and whitetail hunting. He graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism before making his way to Austin, Texas in 2016.

Senior Writers

    Eric Nestor

    An Ohio Native, Eric Nestor is a lifelong outdoorsman, avid hunter, and has a deep interest in everything wide open spaces. If you cannot find Eric in the woods, he is usually nose deep in historical outdoorsman writings, and the like. Eric also has a degree in Environmental Geology, which gives him a distinct angle in regards to the outdoors. Eric prefers the primitive way of being an outdoorsman and is constantly researching and perfecting his craft.

    Craig Raleigh

    Craig Raleigh grew up hunting and fishing in New York State and Ontario, Canada. He has fished from the Merritt Dam in Cherry County, Nebraska to the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. His lifelong interest in everything outdoors garnered in him a deep respect and love for all things in nature. With a conservationist heart instilled in him by his father and grandfather, he lives for the chance to get outside and discover. He is a writer and author of two self-published books and has a keen photographic eye. He can sit in a tree from dawn to dusk, walk upstream for big Steelhead, hike the Niagara Gorge, or bike the St. Lawrence Seaway trail and tell you every detail.

    Brad Smith

    Brad Smith has been an avid outdoorsman all of his life. As a child, he started out fishing on the banks of the Eel and Tippecanoe Rivers in Northern Indiana to chasing muskies and other game fish all over the Midwest. During the winter, he spends every possible moment in a tree stand. His passion for hunting and fishing has led him to a life of being a lure designer, tournament angler, and an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America providing content for several publications and various websites. He also owns Walton Rods, a fly and traditional fishing rod company.

    David Smith

    While David has successfully worn a number of professional hats, one thing that has been a constant in his life has been a lifelong immersion in the outdoors, thanks to a father and extended family of hunters, anglers and woodsmen. He resides in Wisconsin, a region peppered with forests, lakes and rivers and all of the good things they offer. Combining his writing and culinary skills with an enduring passion for hunting, fishing and foraging lead him to create Creative Sustenance, a wild edibles blogsite. He also has a popular Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors, where you can contact him.

    Travis Smola

    Travis Smola was born and raised in southwest Michigan. He has written stories covering just about everything for newspapers and magazines in Michigan, California, Nevada, Wyoming and Texas. After a brief stint in Wyoming, he moved back to Michigan to stay. He has been fishing for 25 years and hunting for 15. In 2005 he got into geocaching and is an extremely active member of the Michigan geocaching community. He is currently writing a book about his experiences in the GPS-oriented hobby.

    John McAdams

    John has hunted big game all over the United States as well as in Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. He served on active duty in the United States Army for over 7 years and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently serves in the Washington Army National Guard. John lives in the State of Washington with his wife where they enjoy taking advantage of all the outdoor opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest. His passion for the outdoors led him to create and Big Game Hunting Adventures in order to share his hunting experiences with others and to help them fulfill their hunting dreams.

    Justin Hoffman

    Justin Hoffman is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer, with a fishing specialty, based in Ottawa Ontario, Canada. He is a graduate of the North American School of Outdoor Writing and currently a field editor with Ontario OUT OF DOORS magazine. A well-established freelance writer since 1999, Justin has publishing credits in many North American magazines and web sites. His photographic stock work also appears regularly. An avid bass angler, he spends much of his time working the heavy cover and shallow water in his favourite eastern Ontario lakes. Wildlife and hunting photography are other passions that keep him returning to the forest and fields week after week - in search of that next image and outdoor adventure.

    Colton Bailey

    Colton was born and raised in small-town Midwest USA in the south central part of Illinois. At a young age, hunting and fishing quickly became some of his first loves. Starting with small game such as rabbits and squirrels with family, an obsession was created that now lures him into the outdoors every chance he gets to chase whitetail, waterfowl, and turkeys. With a degree in Business and a passion for hunting and fishing, he found himself working in the outdoor industry doing management/marketing and loving every minute of it. If you can’t find him, you can bet he's somewhere throwing out a line or sitting in a tree.


    Jake Hofer

    For Jake, hunting has always been a true passion for him. He's been fortunate to have a family that raised whitetail deer, which offered more opportunities to learn about the much-desired whitetail buck. The interest for hunting big bucks sparked when he was 8 years old harvesting his first 8-point buck with his dad. Since then, he's been trying to find ways to share success of other hunters increasing their odds of getting more opportunities to harvest the elusive mature whitetail buck. Jake found, a deer scent company that provides freshest deer attractant available.

    Mateja Lane

    Mateja is an Austin transplant originally from Lake Tahoe, CA. She loves everything there is to do outdoors, loves to write and fix others' writing. Putting her passions together led her to work with the editorial team at Wide Open Spaces.

    Shannon Ratliff

    Shannon Ratliff comes from Maryland, but made her way to Texas Hill Country by way of Colorado. Growing up fly fishing, she enjoys all water-related activities, including water skiing even though she falls almost every time. Her love of grammar and nature led her to Wide Open Spaces where she now gleefully edits sentences about her favorite hobbies.

    Nathan Unger

    Nathan Unger is an avid outdoorsman who grew up in the Deep South outside of Atlanta, Georgia, where his passion for hunting and fishing was instilled in him as a young boy. A graduate of the Grady College of Journalism, he especially enjoys blogging about the outdoors. Nathan, who is a college minister, and his wife, who is in graduate school, currently reside in Atlanta. Through his blog, Bulldawg Outdoors, and his hunting adventures on the East Coast, he hopes to encourage, educate and inspire others to continue their endeavors in the outdoors!

    Reid Vander Veen

    Reid Vander Veen grew up in small-town farm country in Iowa where he ran, swam, kicked, and sticked his way through every stream and forest he could find, spending nearly every waking minute outdoors. A self-taught hunter, picking it up as a teenager, Reid now enjoys pursuing game of all sorts, though his favorite is whitetail deer. Reid lives with his family in South Dakota and feels the closest thing to Heaven on earth is being 15 feet off the ground in a tree stand. He is currently on the Field Staff for RAKS Big Game Supplements and enjoys volunteering and being involved in his community.

    Jake VanDeLaare

    Jake VanDeLaare is a Michigan Native born and raised. Hunting and fishing has always been a part of his life. He has been taught at an early age about bass fishing and whitetail deer hunting from his Grandfather and Father. Jake has an interest in all things outdoors and technology oriented. He is always trying to find a way to make his outdoor seasons more successful using new technology and techniques or learning tried and true methods. He doubles as a computer programmer in Michigan when he isn’t on the lake or in a tree. Jake also loves to try new things constantly trying craft beers to pair with his wild game, learning how to fly fish, or spear fishing. When not working, fishing, or hunting Jake likes to learn about the outdoors to perfect his skills or workout. He currently has a Bachelor’s in Information Management and is working towards a second degree in Information Technology Management. He lives with his new wife in Southwest Michigan with their dog that likes to chase turkeys and ruin scouting trips.

    Dustin Prievo

    Dustin is a dedicated outdoorsman with a self-competitive edge. Whether he is turkey hunting in the spring or chasing the whitetails in the fall, his drive and eagerness to succeed is addictive. Currently he is working on his own designs to bring two products to the market with the mentality of affordable products that hunters need, not just want. He and his wife Kaitlyn just shared the birth of their first son, Wells, in September 2017. His career, and schedule, as a firefighter in Baltimore City, has allowed him to grow in the hunting industry and dedicate his vacation to hunting over 400 hours each season. Loyalty, honor and respect are values in which he grew up on and strives to pass along within the hunting community.

    Ashley McElmurry

    Ashley McElmurry is a Houston native who has found herself in the heart of Austin, Texas. With a degree in Communication and English from Texas A&M University, there was no other perfect choice other than to pursue the creative career path of writing. You can find her writing funny anecdotes on her blog or writing about music and culture for MUD Magazine. When she isn't doing that, she is most likely spending too much time forcing her cats to snuggle, finding ways to eat Ramen for every meal and attending any venue that offers up live music and a good time.

    Troy Rodakowski

    Troy Rodakowski is an award winning outdoor writer and wildlife photographer from Junction City, Oregon.  He has been blessed to hunt and fish throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada.  Born and raised in the Willamette Valley, he has had the pleasure of hunting all of the big game species in the area as well as wetting his line in many of the waters throughout the land. Troy has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, outdoor radio and television programs. He is currently writing for Northwest Sportsman magazine, American Shooting Journal, Oregon Hunter, Washington-Oregon Game and Fish / California Game and Fish magazine, Bear Hunting magazine and several others. His travels have taken him around the world in which he has visited over 30 different countries where he has also enjoyed many outdoor adventures.  He also enjoys a full time job managing a vegetable seed company located in Junction City. Additionally, Troy serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association. With a strong belief in Christianity and family he gives all the glory of the outdoors to God and hopes to pass on his families many great traditions as well as the hunting heritage of our forefathers onto today’s younger generations.

    Wide Open Spaces Recipes

    Wide Open Spaces is constantly striving to share the best wild game and fish recipes available to our loyal readers. If you have a recipe you'd like to share, send it to for consideration!

    Anette Wachter

    Anette Wachter, aka 30CalGal, is from Seattle, WA, is married and has one four legged furry child named Kozmo. A member of The US National Rifle Team, she shoots a 308 bolt action rifle with iron sights to 1000 yards. Anette holds 3 national civilian records at 300 yards, an international championship and 3 team US national championships. The discipline of high power rifle does not have a women’s category so Anette’s trophies are won overall. 2012 was her first year shooting 3 Gun and recently Tactical Rifle. Anette is busy training with the US Team to prepare for the US Nationals and the Canadian Nationals in August of 2014, and will be trying out for one of the sweet 16 spots for the World Championship Team. The Worlds will be held in the US in 2015 at Camp Perry in Ohio. Follow Anette’s stories and product reviews at and her FB Page AnetteWachter – 30calgal.

    Pace Brothers

    Into the Wilderness is the product of the Pace Brothers, Byron and Darryl, who draw on their vastly different experiences to quench their thirst for adventure and the outdoors. In the first series Byron and Darryl will be traveling around the UK, wondering the remote corners, living off the land as they go. From free diving for shellfish, to trapping and hunting they will film each adventure without support. Their mantra is simple: Be at one with the wilderness around you - become the wilderness.


    With 7 world records (including the Spotted Bass World Record) and more than 70 bass over 10 lbs to their credit, Matt and Tim share new videos through their YouTube channel TacticalBassin to help you become the best bass fisherman you can be! From ponds, to streams, to the best lakes in the country, we'll show you the techniques to catch the biggest bass of your life! Swimbaits, jigs, and topwater are our specialty but there is nothing we won't try to catch a monster bass!