Longtime outdoor writer Gary Clancy (1948-2016) passed away this summer after a 12-year battle with cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).
Gary and I worked together on many writing projects through the years, but our time discussing book manuscripts or magazine articles aren’t what come to mind when I think of my longtime friend. Instead, I remember sharing hunting camps with him, listening to his many stories, and simply enjoying the company of a gentleman who was kind, humble, genuine and full of love for his wife (Nancy, married 44 years) and three daughters.
Forever ago – it seems now – I killed my first wild turkey on a hunt with Gary to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. We were there to shoot photographs – and gobblers – for a wild turkey book in The Hunting & Fishing Library series.
Gary was hardcore hunter and conservationist whose heartfelt, homespun tales connected with a legion of loyal readers. He spent several decades as a full-time freelance writer, and I was proud to be his editor, but even prouder to call him a friend.
I’m telling you about Gary Clancy because efforts are underway through Pheasants Forever and other fine outdoor companies and organizations (below) to create a new public hunting area named in his honor, the Gary Clancy Wildlife Management Area.
The Gary Clancy WMA will be funded, in part, by contributions from the Pheasants Forever Build A Wildlife Area program. Through a unique 3:1 funding mechanism utilizing state, federal, and other grants, the Build A Wildlife Area program puts 100 percent of the funds donated directly toward land acquisitions. Since 2003, the Build A Wildlife Area program has helped create or expand Wildlife Management Areas and federal Waterfowl Production Areas in Minnesota, opening more than 5,500 acres of habitat to public hunting, birding, hiking, and trapping.
“Pheasants Forever and its partners have set a goal to raise $100,000 in the memory of Gary Clancy, and we certainly encourage Minnesota hunters, anglers, and the outdoor community to contribute to the cause,” said Eran Sandquist, Pheasants Forever’s state coordinator in Minnesota. “Having left such a significant impact on the nation’s hunting and fishing community, the Gary Clancy Wildlife Management Area is just a small testament to one of Minnesota’s largest outdoor advocates.”
You can show your love of the outdoors by donating to many worthy causes. But this year, I’m giving a bit (which will be tripled by matching funds) to help purchase a WMA that honors and remembers a true hunting legend, Gary Clancy. And I find comfort knowing that the land will be home to flushing roosters, gobbling turkeys and wary whitetails for generations of new hunters to pursue, just as Clancy would have wanted.
For more about Clancy’s colorful life, check out the video below.