Free How To Be An Outdoor Communicator Seminar at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center on March 11, 2014

Charlie Elliott, friend, mentor, writer, conservationist  and turkey hunter.

Charlie Elliott, friend, mentor, writer, conservationist and turkey hunter.


The Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center was founded to honor the long-time writer, conservationist and Georgia game official Charlie Elliott. Constructed before he died in 2000, the center contains a replication of his writing office and many of his books, trophies and personal effects. Many of these items were used in his Outdoor Life articles and in the numerous books that he wrote or edited. This center is unusual in that it was built before the author died, and he had the opportunity  to record comments about his hunts and the part that these objects played in them. These recorded segments are activated by pushing buttons in front of the exhibits that highlight objects and initiate the recordings.

Charlie was also the mentor for many outdoor writers, including myself. I had the opportunity to interview him at his home and at the nursing home before he died. This seminar is designed to pass on some of this mentoring function to a new generation of would-be outdoor communicators and update it to modern times. Up to the time that he died, Charlie was still pounding out copy on a typewriter. When he started writing, writers were only responsible for the written text of a story.  Somewhat later, writers also had to supply their own photography. Nowadays, not only must outdoor communicators be able to furnish written materials but are they are often also expected to supply complete high-quality photo spreads, videos and sometimes even TV-quality recordings of their experiences.  To sell in today’s market not only does the new writer have to be able to consistently supply fresh story material and photos, but there are also varying requirements for supporting materials that must fit pre-determined editorial calendars.

An example of this new kind of content is a turkey hunting video about using turkey decoys that I filmed during a quota hunt at the Clybel WMA  which surrounds the Wildlife Center.  The WMA also offers deer and small-game hunting.

Opportunities that Charlie did not have that are available to present writers are low-cost blogs, videos and E-books which enable modern writers to test market areas, become their own brand, accumulate a following and partly, or largely,  work independently of commercial book and magazine publishers.  These are some of the possibilities that will be discussed in the seminar. I will be assisted by Bob Borgwat who will present additional materials on the editorial side of magazine publication. Borgwat  has been associated with several magazines for the past 25 years and is currently the acting editor for  hunting and fishing publications in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Mississippi.

The following is a press release about the event which may be distributed to any person, publication, school or university department that might be interested.

Sandersville, Ga. A free all-day seminar, “Becoming an outdoor communicator,” will be held at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center on March 11, 2013. Hosted by Georgia author Wm. Hovey Smith, the potential for selling traditional outdoor-related materials to newspapers, magazines, radio, video, and TV markets will be discussed in addition to emerging opportunities in social media including blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest,  E-book publication, personal appearances and stand-up comedy.

Smith sold his first magazine articles in the 1970s and has published 15 books, 9 E-books, 300 YouTube videos, made many TV appearances, produced the “Hovey’s Outdoor Adventures” podcast radio show, and thousands of newspaper, magazine and outdoor-blog articles. He is now the Corresponding Editor for the Gun Digest Annual covering blackpowder guns and regularly appeared on the “Welcome To Our North” TV program.

His hunting adventures have taken him all over North America and trips to Europe and Africa. His books include Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound, Crossbow Hunting, Practical Bowfishing and a new 8-book E-book series on muzzleloading guns.

The Seminar will begin at 10:00 AM at the Discovery Center at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. A wildlife cooking demonstration will be held at noon. Indoor events will resume at 1:00 PM with the formal presentations concluding at 4:00 PM. Informal discussions with Smith and other outdoor writers and videographers will follow at the campfire. The Center also has 27 motel-style rooms for overnight guests which may be reserved by calling (770) 784-3152.

To sign up for the seminar and receive an advance copy of the handout materials, send your request to