“Folks often ask me how I got lucky enough to be an outdoor writer and TV host. They must think it’s the greatest job in the world. It isn’t. But it’s a close second.
Yes, I was lucky, lucky enough to be born the grandson of German/Russian immigrant farmers in the Pheasant Capital of the World, South Dakota. Some say cold, windy SD is a great place to be from, but for a hunter it’s a great place to be, period. Upland birds, waterfowl, small game, big game, furbearers, fish… The Sioux knew what they were doing when they migrated from the Minnesota woodlands to the Dakota prairies. So did Grandpa.
Some of my earliest hunting was conducted in Grandpa’s woodlot with homemade bows and arrows. More was done in my imagination. I dreamed of jungles and wild rivers running to the big shining mountains, chased raindrops to creeks where we netted tadpoles with gunny sacks. We built ‘forts’ and played Dan Boone and Davy Crockett. Perhaps you did, too.
Dad steered me toward baseball. Mom steered me toward piano. My instincts steered me toward the wilds. I skipped school dances to prepare for the next morning’s duck hunt; missed Homecoming celebrations to hunt pheasants; got kicked out of class for reading Sports Afield. Instead of a senior class ring, I bought a binocular. Mink, ‘coon and fox pelts covered half my college education. Farm hand, painter, roofer, waiter, bus driver — I worked enough real jobs to convince myself to try outdoor writing.
While studying English at the University of South Dakota, Springfield, I bought a 35mm SLR and began learning how to run it. Right after graduation I wrote five articles, sent them to five different magazines and had the misfortune of selling all of them. I say misfortune because this inspired me to keep struggling. The next five didn’t sell. I kept trying. This proved hard on my typewriter and harder on my finances.
To continue eating, I taught high school for two years, sold a few more freelance pieces and landed a job as Information Specialist with a state conservation agency (SD Game, Fish & Parks.) After three years there and more sideline freelancing, I wrangled offers to work as an assistant editor at Petersen’s Hunting in LA and as a photographer at KS Fish & Game. Since the LA job paid $10,000 more than the Kansas job, I took the latter, more proof that I had the right stuff to be a freelance writer. This career move saved me from a daily freeway commute and kept me in a lower tax bracket, a popular financial strategy among freelance writers.
Following two years at KS, I severed the umbilical cord for the final time. Fulltime freelancing, do or die. Nothing sharpens a work ethic like going hungry. Hunt, write, photograph, hustle, sell. Repeat. Over the years I’ve gotten photos and words published in well over 100 magazine titles as diverse as Rifle and Birder’s World. I even made it into Ladies Home Journal once. Most recently my work has been appearing in Sports Afield, Sporting Classics, Rifle, Successful Hunter, Gun Hunter, American Hunter, North American Hunter, Hunting Illustrated, Outdoor Life and a variety of local and regional publications.
In addition to magazines, my photographs have been published in numerous hunting, fishing and natural history books plus brochures, pamphlets and advertising campaigns. I’ve authored seven books, ghost written a couple more and edited two. In recent years I’ve had the pleasure to host or co-host a few hunting shows on TV including Winchester Legends, Leupold Big Game Profiles, Winchester’s World of Whitetails, Ruger’s Adventure’s, Outdoor’s Ten Best, Whitetail Challenge and Hunting 201.
As for hunting, I’ve remained a generalist, pursuing upland birds, waterfowl, small game and big game around the world. I love upland bird and waterfowl hunting, but particularly enjoy North American wilderness mountain hunting. I’ve been fortunate to have made ten sheep hunts and four mountain goat hunts plus many moose, elk, caribou, bear and mule deer hunts. Currently I’m carrying on a passionate affair with Africa, slipping into countries like Namibia and Mozambique to become entangled with kudu, eland, buffalo and oryx.
My abiding passion remains the natural world and my opportunities to interact with it. I’ve hung my career hat on that, persevered, persisted and here I am, honored and yes, lucky, to be able to share my experiences with my fellow outdoors men and women.” –Ron
- BS Education, University of South Dakota/Springfield 1975
- Freelance writer/photographer 1976 to present
- Information Officer, South Dakota Dept. Game, Fish & Parks, 1978-19881
- Photographer, Kansas Department of Fish & Game, 1981-1983
- Multiple Award Winner, Nikon Photographic competition, 1982 through 1993
- Multiple writing awards, Outdoor Writers Association of America, 1981-2003
- 1st Place, Winchester Great News for Hunting writing competition, 1991
- Leupold Jack Slack Outdoor Writer of the Year, 2006
- Zeiss Outdoor Writer of the Year, 2007
- Host of Winchester Legends TV on Versus, 2006-2008
- Co-Host Whitetail Revolution on Versus, 2007-present
- Guest host on Ruger Adventures, Leupold’s Big Game Adventures, Hunting 201 and Outdoor’s 10 Best
- Field Editor, AMERICAN HUNTER
- Contributing Editor, RIFLE
- Rifles Editor, SPORTING CLASSICS
- Contributing Editor, SUCCESSFUL HUNTER
- Travel Columnist, SPORTS AFIELD
- Contributing Photographer, SPORTS AFIELD
- Shooting Advisory Council, NORTH AMERICAN HUNTER
- Contributing Editor, HANDLOADER
- Columnist, HUNTING ILLUSTRATED
- Contributor, GUN HUNTER
Books by Ron Spomer
- The Rut
- Advanced Deer Hunting (co-written with Gary Clancy)
- The Hunter’s Book of the Whitetail
- Big Game Hunter’s Guide to Idaho
- Big Game Hunter’s Guide to Montana
- Predator Hunting