By Brandon Butler
E. Donnall (Don) Thomas Jr. isn't your average outdoor writer. If you're a reader of "Closing Time," Thomas's back-page column in Ducks Unlimited
magazine, you're already aware of his immense talent for storytelling. But perhaps what separates him most from other writers is the straightforward and honest way he writes about hunting and himself.
The first time I met Don, I knew I liked him before a word was ever spoken between us. It was sometime in 2004. I was a pharmaceutical salesman calling on Don's medical practice in Lewistown, Montana
, where he and his wife, Lori, still call home. As comfortable in a business suit as a cat is in water, I was in the wrong profession. So when Don came out of his office wearing grease-stained jeans and a shirt Goodwill might reject, I knew I had found one of my own.
While Don has written for almost every major outdoor magazine and published more than 20 books over the past two decades, he has scrupulously avoided becoming an "outdoor personality." He personally describes his breadth of work as "a collection of what's known in the trade as lyrical hunting stories." He's never enjoyed how-to writing much, but admits, "There probably is some useful, instructive information buried away in some of the things I write."
Don may not write about how to set a decoy rig
for diving ducks or the ideal load for dropping a high-flying Canada goose
, but his words do tell us how to enjoy, savor and embrace this passion for hunting
we all share. He graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer the following questions.