Turning Of A Page

Daryl Kirby | February 1, 2019

I’ve written a few of these over the years. It’s always an honor, but I’m not real fond of writing this column, not this month. 

GON magazine has been publishing for 32 years now, and we can count on one hand the number of times Steve Burch didn’t fill this space in the magazine with his editorial. From personal reflections of a lifetime of hunting and fishing in Georgia to indictments of issues and people who Steve felt weren’t serving the best interests of sportsmen, this is where friends, and others, turned to see what Burch was up to this month.   

Steve’s been hinting around in his editorials for a while now that this was coming. Lots of talk about a fishing boat in the Keys.

Last month when he formally announced here that he was kind of retiring, he wrote about his next 3,000 days. A key takeaway for me was that it included something about jumping out of an airplane with a GoPro camera.

I think we are all in for a treat with Steve’s retirement! 

The word retirement should be in quotation marks. I can hear him talking right now in an office down the hall. There were no speeches, no going-away gifts, not even a cake. There was no emptying out the desk and Steve walking out the front door with a cardboard box. He’s down the hall right now.

Rather than retirement, think of this as another chapter in a transition, one that’s been gradual but ongoing for many years. Steve’s going to be writing and doing some video stuff online. That stuff will be showing here on but I’m sure some of his work will still appear in the pages of GON magazine. 

So Steve won’t be writing the editorial each month, and that’s a change. It’s a turning of the page that makes me a little sad and nostalgic for the more than 30 years we shared building GON from a good idea for a publication to a community that’s way bigger and way more important than the printed magazine that shows up in the mailbox each month.

One of my favorite examples of that sense of GON community is a letter we received from a deer hunter who broke down on I-20 at 4:30 in the morning on his way to the deer camp. Before he could even begin the process of figuring out what to do, a truck pulled in behind him to help. 

“Saw your GON sticker,” the man said, a fellow hunter also on his way to the woods.

More than sad or nostalgic, this turning of the page makes me happy for Steve and his wife Emma. I want to see GoPro videos and read Steve’s online blog about his adventures outdoors in Georgia, and on that boat in Key West.

What won’t ever change are the priorities for GON and the sportsmen who make up this community. First, we keep doing what GON does. We give sportsmen a voice, we publish articles with good and timely information that hopefully makes your hunting and fishing better, we write news you won’t read about anywhere else, and we dig into important issues when needed.  

Mostly, I believe what GON does best is give this community a voice. I can’t count the number of outdoor writers who began their careers with a simple call or email to our office that evolved into editor Brad Gill helping them turn an idea for an article into a byline in GON.

For the folks in our office and the team of writers across Georgia who fill these pages each month, we will keep working hard to make sure there will always be a GON. The dedication and efforts of these people is impossible to describe. Other folks in the outdoor magazine business have tried to emulate the stuff these guys and gals do, and they figure out pretty quick they don’t want to work that hard.

Here’s to keeping on, a community that’s special, and GoPro videos. 

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