Departure of a legend’–NW outdoor humorist Patrick McManus passes away


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“This is the departure of a legend. Pat will be as synonymous with Outdoor Life’s later years as Jack O’Connor was with its middle years,” wrote Andrew McKean, former editor of OL, on Facebook this morning. “As a writer, he was funny, irreverent, wickedly naughty, and his collection of characters will endure in our hunting camps and imaginations for generations. As a man he was kind, thoughtful, and unfailingly polite. One of my most memorable jobs upon joining OL was editing Pat’s words, and later working with him to deliver his annual holiday-season column after he ‘officially’ retired. RIP, PM”

I owe a debt of gratitude to McManus too. As a lad, I poured over A Fine and Pleasant Misery, They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They, Never Sniff a Gift Fish, and The Grasshopper Trap and used them as inspiration in trying my own hand at telling tales of my times afield.

Encouragement from family led me to write more and more, and pretty soon it got out of control, and well, here we are today.

McManus grew up in North Idaho surrounded by females, not unlike I did after my parents divorced and my sisters, mom, dog, cat and I moved in with my grandmother.

His youth provided the cast of characters that salted and spiced up his outdoor stories, people like mentor Rancid Crabtree and friend Retch Sweeney. My favorite story of all was the one about his first deer, which he somehow lashed to his bicycle — only the buck wasn’t actually dead yet. And I’ve seen my share of his kind of deer tracks, ones so fresh pine seedlings had sprouted in them.

Despite reportedly failing the first English class he enrolled in at Washington State University, McManus eventually graduated from my alma mater and went on to teach at Eastern Washington University as well as began writing for various magazines.

McManus may not have been the best hunter or angler out there, but according to theSpokane Spokesman-Review, over his lifetime his books — which included a fictional series — sold more than 5 million copies.

Along with a Distinguished Faculty Award from EWU, in 1986 he won the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s highest honor, the Excellence in Craft award.

“Pat McManus is not a ‘funny writer.’￾ He is a highly intelligent craftsman who milks and molds a situation for the desired effect,” wrote Spokane outdoor writer Alan Liere in a perspective for OWAA on his mentor. “Each sentence is carefully crafted to this end. Each word is judged for potential effect. McManus can make anything humorous.”

As I grew older and my reading tastes changed from McManus and Jim Kjelgaard to Hunter S. Thompson, so too did my writing, but I’ve always tried to incorporate humor where appropriate.

Liere’s piece on McManus for OWAA is wrapped around a lunch the two enjoyed, and Liere closes with this thought as they exit the restaurant:

“Did I buy?” [McManus] grinned as he climbed in his car. “In that case, you owe me.”

I closed the door and rapped a goodbye on the front fender. “Do I ever,”￾ I thought.




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My dad, and I, have lots of his books. A truly gifted humorist! Will be sorely missed!

Tight lines forever Pat...

P.S. If any of you have never read any of Pat's MUST get a book ASAP! You won't be disappointed.


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I just heard the news. I never had the good fortune to meet the man, but I felt I got to know him through his writings. I have all his book and from time to time will pull down one of his collection of short stories and re read them. My favorite story is Sequences from his book The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw. I have told that story to my kids and grand kids, because it humorous but also so dog gone true. His books even his works of fiction tend to light the load that the world tend to put on people. His friends, Rancid Crabtree, Retch Sweeney and the rest will live on. I will take care of his books and perhaps pass them on to one grandchild or another. He was one of the best RIP Patrick.

Troutdude he would have made a great president!
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My parents used to read his books to me as bed time stories when I was little. His stories never failed to put a smile on my face. He will definitely be missed. RIP Pat

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