MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man who made a name for himself by writing about hunting and fishing in Minnesota, passed away over the summer. Gary Clancy was well known among readers of Outdoor News and other publications.
He lived in Olmsted County and had a very colorful life. He had plenty of stories to tell — not just about hunting and fishing, but also about serving in the Army.
His career as a writer was rooted in his love for the outdoors and his expertise in hunting and fishing. Rob Dreslein was Clancy’s editor at Outdoor News for many years.
“Gary was a blue collar guy, and he was not pretentious in his writing,” Dreslein said. “I think when folks read something of Gary’s they thought, ‘I’m going to get a down-to-earth, folksy piece about living the outdoor life in Minnesota.'”
Outdoor News, the Sportman’s Weekly, is where you could find Gary Clancy’s stories. They were filled with advice and often humor.
“He had a column specifically devoted to deer hunting. We called it ‘Strictly Whitetails,’ and he wrote a book about it called ‘Strictly Whitetails,'” Dreslein said. “As you can see from the titles, he did a lot of deer hunting and that sold. People love to deer hunt in this country.”
Clancy was the author of several books, and a regular speaker at sports shows and the annual Game Fair. He sometimes wrote about how his outdoor skills helped him survive the Vietnam War.
“The doctors believe one cause of Gary’s cancer was his exposure to Agent Orange during Vietnam,” Dreslein said. “I think it’s important [that] people understand that. Gary fought cancer for many years.”
Cancer eventually took Gary’s life, but it didn’t stop him from doing the things he loved with his wife, his children and his
“You showed me a picture of Gary holding a shotgun with one arm. I think that shows you the perseverance,” Dreslein said. “Cancer had affected the nerve in one arm for a while he couldn’t use two arms and he was still hunting with a shotgun — probably a small 20 gauge — with one arm.”
As much as he loved writing he was also eager to hear other people’s stories, like the ones they shared in AA meetings. Gary had been sober for the last 37 years.
“At his funeral, I talked to numerous people who said Gary had been their sponsor and that he’d really helped them get through their sobriety,” Dreslein said.
Others credit him with helping them master their outdoor hobbies.
Gary Clancy was 68 years old. To honor his memory, a group is raising money to buy some land and create a public hunting area in southern Minnesota that will be named the Gary Clancy Wildlife Management Area.
The group Pheasants Forever, as well as Outdoor News, the Minnesota DNR and Game Fair are leading the effort. Click here to learn more.
You can also read a post from Dreslein in Outdoor News right after Gary passed away at the publication’s website.