Chad Waligura, Owner/Editor
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be…” – Anne Frank
That quote has been on the front page of my Follow Me Outdoors site ever since I first read it. Seemed to me like it exposed a simple truth of what my life as a disabled hunter has always been about, and also what I’d like Able Outdoors magazine to be built around.
Growing up in a small town on the Texas gulf coast, I fell in love with the outdoors when I was nearly 12 years old when my dad took me duck hunting the first time. From that day on, I knew it would be a part of my life forever.
When I was paralyzed at 17 during the summer of 1986 after diving into a pool, it was the one thing I knew I could never give up. Three months later, I was back in the woods with my dad learning how to hunt again. Eighteen years after that, Buckmasters’ American Deer Foundation voted me Challenged Hunter of the Year. And in 2010, Safari Club International chose me for their Pathfinder Award!
It wasn’t long after my accident that I began writing for my website anytime I had a successful hunt or stumbled across an interesting story. That was the beginning of my outdoor writing career. Since then, I’ve been published in mainstream magazines like Rack Magazine, King’s Hunting Illustrated, Eastman’s Hunting Journal, Horizontal Bowhunter Magazine, UFFDA magazine, Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine, the African Hunter Gazette and Universal Hunter.
Dawn Ziegler, Editor
Growing up on a small farm outside of Waunakee, Wisconsin, the outdoors has always been a big part of my life. That never became more apparent to me until after my car accident when I was 16, leaving me with a C5/6 spinal cord injury. Although I knew my life was not over, I also knew it would not be the same.
One of the most frustrating things was not knowing what to do with myself. It killed me not being able to help out on the farm with chores and field work. I was use to being on my feet and active most of the time, so this was an adjustment! At the same time, I wasn’t one to sit around and watch life pass by…but ‘what to do’ became my burden.
After high school, I pursued my degree in education. I love working with children, so this was the correct path for me to take, but I kept feeling restless inside. After taking some accessible sailing lessons, I realized what my life was missing.
Never before had I thought about sailing, but for the first time I felt like I was truly living from the inside. It wasn’t so much the sailing itself, but the experience of being out in the elements and stretching my limits that made me feel alive. After a year and a half, I became coordinator of that accessible sailing program. What an amazing feeling it was getting others out there to experience the thrill of sailing like I did…some for the first time and others doing something again that they thought was lost forever.