Larry Dahlberg is a Hall of Fame fisherman and our Lead Fishing instructor.Larry Dahlberg is a Hall of Fame fisherman who has spent his life sampling everything our sport has to offer. Nobody has traveled farther or mastered the art of catching more different kinds of fish in all types of waters. Many of his theories and ideas helped write the rule book we all go by. Larry is a guide, tackle inventor, writer, filmmaker, and television host.
And, we’re proud to say that Larry Dahlberg is the lead instructor in our Fishing School.
Most of all, Larry loves to observe fish, the waters they live in, and figure out what it takes to catch them on purpose.
“Whether we realize it or not,” he says, “we all have a deep longing for an organic connection with the natural world. It just might be the most important missing component in most people’s lives.
“Going to a place where semblance of a ‘natural world’ can be found, and getting to know how and when and where the things that live there are connected, can provide a spiritual and intellectual satisfaction that defines the experience, plus provides a link in the chain to understanding ourselves and our place in the world.
“It’s also the best way to get to really know the creatures– whether they be bugs, bears, butterflies, or bass.”
Ray Eye has been called “a great outdoor living legend” by Outdoor Life magazine. You’ll enjoy his teaching style, as he helps walk you through the basics of hunting.A lifelong hunter who grew up in the Ozark Mountains, Ray Eye has been called “a great outdoor living legend” by Outdoor Life magazine. He’s America’s most recognized wild turkey hunter, but Ray is also a master at hunting virtually any animal you can name.
Ray has hunted throughout America, across Canada and Mexico, and in extremely wild portions of Africa. You’ll enjoy his teaching style, as he helps walk you through the basics of hunting for deer, rabbits, squirrels, birds of all kinds, coyotes and other predators, elk, moose, bears… you name it.
He’s one of those rare people born with the ‘Daniel Boone gene’… you could drop him out of an airplane in the middle of the night in a remote place, and he’d be sitting over a fire cooking what he hunted down the next day. Then–if he felt like it–he’d walk out to civilization.
You could not find a better, more qualified, or more versatile hunting teacher than Ray Eye, and we’re excited to have him as lead instructor in our Hunting School.
“We need to get more people off the sidelines and into hunting,” he says. “We need more people to discover that hunting builds character and self-confidence for life’s journey, that it teaches responsibility and real-world safety and how to work with your hunting partners.
“And we need more people to understand that hunters are the greatest conservationists on the planet, that hunters are the true friends of wildlife.”
A gunsmith by trade and avid shooter, Kevin Muramatsu is an NRA certified instructor, teaches carry permit classes, and is lead instructor in our Shooting School.
He is fascinated by the inner workings of the ‘tools’ (guns), but also the art of being a good and consistent shooter. Kevin thinks that many people have not discovered the shooting sports because they don’t have enough information about guns and shooting, and don’t know where to turn to get off to the right start.
“There are basic, easily-taught concepts,” says Kevin, “such as safety, recoil management, and competitive opportunities. The first gun a youngster–or any beginner–shoots should not be a .44 Mag, or a .30-06. Gun safety is simple, but absolutely necessary, and the repetitive efforts in ensuring it bring confidence.”
Finally, he says, “shooting can be much more than poking holes in paper. Much more.”
Dave Genz is recognized as the primary driver of the modern ice fishing revolution and we are honored to have him contributing basic lessons on a variety of topics. Dave Genz is best known as an ice fishing pioneer, but he is an expert open-water fisherman as well. He is recognized as the primary driver of the modern ice fishing revolution and we are honored to have him contributing basic lessons on a variety of topics.
Dave was a member of the Silver-medal winning Team USA in the 1992 World Ice Fishing Championships. He was inducted into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the most widely traveled and experienced ice angler in the history of the sport. Genz has fished extensively all across the Ice Belt, giving him the perspective to help anglers everywhere enjoy more success.
When the ice melts, Dave practices the art of catching his own minnows, loves river fishing, and fishes a wide variety of lakes and ponds.
Chad Hines is our chief pointing dog trainer in the Hunting School.The outdoor world needs more young professionals like Chad Hines, owner of Willow Creek Kennels. His thriving business is home to an elite line of German shorthairs and other hunting breeds, and Chad is our chief pointing dog trainer in the Hunting School.
You will love his innovative training insights, as you tackle the challenge of shaping your own dog for its days in the field, and around your house.
Willie Strand is our junior shooting consultant.Willie Strand is an avid student of firearms who loves target shooting and hunting. He is a collector of firearms from various time periods, as well as our junior shooting consultant.
“I hope a lot of people my age, and younger, will get off to the right start with our shooting school,” he says. “And the same goes for adult beginners.”
Willie knows, first-hand, that the public’s perception of firearms and shooting can be far from on target. “We want everybody to know that it’s OK to own and enjoy guns, and have fun shooting them,” he says. “When more people get interested in shooting and learn to do it well, that’s a good thing for many reasons.”
Mark Strand is founder and creator of the School of Outdoor SportsMark Strand is the founder and creator of the School of Outdoor Sports. He developed the School “because it didn’t exist, and we need it,” he says. “If we are going to ever reverse the trend of declining participation in fishing, hunting, and shooting, we need the elementary school for these activities. We need one place where beginners, regardless of age, can learn the basics quickly.
I believe beginners need to experience a level of success, right away, so they can see whether these sports are for them. I believe we need to encourage beginners to sample any aspect of these sports, then help them meet success in all of them, so they can freely decide for themselves what they like best.
“This is the only real road to creating a steady stream of actual, active participants.”
He grew up in a family headed by his father, Dick Strand, an avid ‘generalist’ who hunted and fished for whatever was in season. So Mark grew up fishing, hunting, and shooting for fun, changing the game as the seasons turned.
He has worked as a salesman in a hunting and fishing store, a manufacturer’s representative in the outdoor industry, and has been an outdoor writer, photographer and filmmaker since 1977. Mark wrote the book, Paint the Next Sunrise: A Future for Hunting and Fishing, which lays out his vision for the School, and what it will take to build a brighter future for the traditional outdoor sports.
Kevin Winkler is a fanatical outdoorsman and a key “answer man” for your follow-up questions.Kevin Winkler is a fanatical outdoorsman who lives for his love of all forms of fishing, shooting and hunting. He’s happiest when he’s outside, and doesn’t care one bit what the conditions are.
“When it’s pouring down rain,” he admits, “I’m the only one still out there fishing.”
Rain, snow, wind, calm, hot, cold, he actually enjoys whatever the conditions bring. That’s why his primary role, as one of our chief camera operators, is a perfect match for his personality. Kevin is a rising outdoor photographer and videographer, who lends his talents to capturing our lessons in both still and moving pictures.
His wish? That our lessons move you–to join him outdoors.
“I’d like to see us get back to the days when kids rode their bikes down to a local fishing spot,” says Kevin. “These days, it can be important for an adult to go along, but beyond that, now that we have the School, there’s nothing stopping anybody. If you don’t know the basics, we will teach you. And we can do more to help beginners get started in hunting and shooting, too.
“For me, working with the School is like a dream come true.”
When he is “stuck inside,” Kevin loves to help answer questions in online forums related to the outdoors. That’s why he is also a key “answer man” for your follow-up questions.
“We realize that different people learn in different ways,” he says. “What might be crystal clear to some beginners can be hard to understand for others. That’s why we have to be there, ready to answer your questions, so you don’t get hung up on something. We want you out there having fun!”
Mike Walsh is a professional chef with a flair for creating fish and game recipes.Mike Walsh lists three things that he likes to do best: hunt, fish, and cook. He grew up in northern Minnesota in a family that headed outdoors to do whatever was in season. In addition to being a passionate hunter and fisherman, Mike is a professional chef with a flair for creating fish and game recipes.
He is a part-time camera man, helping capture our lessons on video, and will head up our ‘Cookin’ it Up’ section, where you can learn the basics of cleaning and cooking what you catch and shoot.
Bob Johnson is one of our chief fundraisers, as well as a talented dog breeder and trainer.A lifelong passionate hunter and casual angler, Bob Johnson is one of our chief fundraisers. He is an experienced and talented dog breeder and trainer, and will be contributing advice to help you train retrieving dogs and get the most out of them on your hunting trips.
Bob is an innovator in both waterfowl and upland bird hunting techniques, and excited about the opportunity to share what he knows with others.
“I’ve gone through every stage you can go through as a hunter,” says Bob, “and now, for me, it’s all about getting new people to see how great a hunting trip can be. My favorite times now are taking my daughters along and seeing them out there making memories.”
Matt Johnson heads up our ‘follow-up answers to your questions’ department.A serious angler with a passion for helping others discover the joys of fishing, Matt Johnson heads up our ‘follow-up answers to your questions’ department. Although still relatively young, Matt is an experienced fishing guide who has worked for years at Thorne Brothers, one of America’s leading fishing shops. His youth is an asset when it comes to grasping modern technology. Matt has led development and promotion of numerous successful outdoor web sites, experience that he brings to our School.
Matt is one of our chief fundraisers, and is in charge of grant writing. He is also head of database management that helps us keep track of the beginners we are helping.
He wears all of these hats effectively, because, for him, this is a labor of love.
“Our School is going to have an immediate and lasting impact,” he says. “This is exactly the formula that our sports need to build a bright future.”
Larry Chrisman is our IT Director and web designer.Larry came to shooting and hunting at age 30, so he remembers well what it’s like to be starting out. He became a Minnesota DNR Firearms Safety Instructor in 2005, he says, “to help kids start out right with shooting and hunting sports.” Larry is also a certified NRA Firearms Instructor and recruiter.
“It’s easy for me to step up and help with the School of Outdoor Sports,” says Larry. “The vision for the School is exactly what I wanted when I first started. Not growing up with shooters or hunters, I did not get the kind of instruction made available through the School. I still have much to learn about all three disciplines offered, especially fishing. I have been watching the videos and learn something new with every lesson I complete.”