John Milton Norris
Lone Wolf Freelance
John is an Alabama native who now lives in the beautiful state of Colorado with his wife, Laura. While he jokingly refers to himself as the Colorado-Curmudgeon-At-Large, he's really an easy going and fun loving person.
After spending eleven and a half years in the Emergency Medical Services, John threw in the towel in February of 1999 and began pursuing his longtime interest in writing. He eventually achieved mild success in local and regional publications (albeit on a sporadic basis). In the summer of 2000 John found himself driving through north Alabama, through western Tennessee and up through southern Missouri before turning due west and heading across Kansas. After twenty-two hours of driving, he landed in Colorado where he and Laura currently live in the small community of Castle Rock, nestled halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. Today John is employed full time, working with the Department of Homeland Security as a communications contractor at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado.
"I've found Colorado to be vastly different than Alabama, not only in the terrain, wildlife and weather, but mostly in the mindset of the people who live here", John says. "Honestly, I didn't know what a single digit temperature was all about until I came to Colorado. The cold can be brutal!"
One of the most significant events that he remembers since moving to Colorado began on June 8th, 2002 and lasted until July 2nd. The infamous Hayman fire destroyed nearly 138,000 acres of forest in the Pike-San Isabel National forest, which is located about 30 miles southwest of Denver. This put the fire due west of Castle Rock and the Norris' newly purchased home. Smoke and ash were everyday occurrences for them as the fire burned in their general direction. 133 homes, 1 commercial building and 466 out-buildings were destroyed. By the time it was all over, an estimated $39.9 million dollars had been spent fighting the fire, and it was all because of a selfish act of arson.
"When I moved to Colorado, I began to take a serious interest in fly fishing and had visited the South Platte River, which is right in the middle of the burn area. After the fire, when the rain finally came, all of that ash and debris washed into the Platte. The devastation to the fish was awful. My dad drove out from Alabama for a visit and we'd planned on doing a bit of fishing in the Platte, but the water was running like used motor oil."
Despite the terrible tragedy of the Hayman fire, wildlife continues to abound. In other streams and rivers, anglers can be seen regularly. John recalls a visit to Rifle, Colorado, on the western slope in March of 2006, where he passed through Glenwood Springs, the supposed resting-place of Doc Holiday. "I wasn't really surprised to see women anglers. In fact, there was a certain part of me that felt good, seeing the women casting with a technique that would make mine look as though I'd been on a five day drunk and I was fighting off an invisible swarm of rabid hornets with nothing more than a rolled up newspaper!", John laughs.
John's interest in Womenanglers.us came about in an impromptu manner. He'd located a former classmate, Angie Everritt (WWW.AngieEverritt.com), who is a co-angler in the Women's Bassmaster Tour. Angie regaled him with the struggles a woman has competing in the Bassmaster tour -not with the men, but with sponsors. Being both a freelance writer and an open minded man, John set about finding a home for an article that would illustrate to the tackle, gear and boat manufacturers that women are not only a viable part of the Bassmaster's tour, but a growing community of people who are finding their place in the outdoor world. While the day to day enjoyment of fishing and hunting is the primary drive for the majority of women sportspersons, there is a clear and solid society that can compete toe-to-toe with the best of their male counterparts.
"It would not shame me in the least to be out-fished by a woman," John is quick to point out. He adds, "In fact, I would love nothing more than to see women stepping up and showing their skills to the sponsors. But the sponsors don't seem as interested in women anglers as they are in men. To the sponsors I say this- Atonement, gentlemen! Give these women what they rightfully deserve. We can't just say 'Awe, isn't she the prettiest thing!' as she holds up the biggest catch in the tournament. How insulting! Who cares if she's pretty? I want to know how she caught the darn fish!"
After hearing Angie's story of her difficulty in securing solid, substantial sponsorship, John began searching for his market. Before long he discovered Womenanglers.us and was so moved and impressed by the content of the articles and the dedication put forth by the Founder, Administrator and Editor, Wanda Garner, that he felt compelled to ask to participate.
John says, "I think 'Women Angler's and Hunters Too' is a huge movement forward for women. This is a lot more than just an issue of women's rights. It's a big shot in the arm for human rights around the globe. Maybe we should send some of our best women anglers to Afghanistan and Iraq to show the women there, who have been oppressed for ages, that there is joy in life. And sometimes it takes the form of fishing."
John welcomes hunting and fishing story ideas, especially ones centered in Colorado. Send him your hunting and fishing story ideas. He truly enjoys advocating women's rights and highlighting their successes.