An Idaho-style Ted talk John Trueblood remembers hunting and fishing with his famous grandpa

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  • Idaho Fish and Game This photo shows the famous Idaho outdoor writer and sportsman Ted Trueblood on a pronghorn hunting trip.

  • 1

    Famous outdoor writer and conservationist Ted Trueblood admires a steelhead he caught from the Salmon River in 1957. Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

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    Famous outdoor writer and conservationist Ted Trueblood admires a steelhead he caught from the Salmon River in 1957. Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

  • Idaho Fish and Game This photo shows the famous Idaho outdoor writer and sportsman Ted Trueblood on a pronghorn hunting trip.

  • 1

    Famous outdoor writer and conservationist Ted Trueblood admires a steelhead he caught from the Salmon River in 1957. Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

  • 2

    Famous outdoor writer and conservationist Ted Trueblood admires a steelhead he caught from the Salmon River in 1957. Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

As a kid, it’s tough to beat a hunting or fishing trip with grandpa.

The indelible outings bridge generations and pass on invaluable outdoor skills.

John Trueblood remembers catfish and bass fishing trips to Brownlee and Owyhee reservoirs, trout fishing trips near Morse Creek Summit between Lowman and Stanley and duck hunting on the Snake River in the Treasure Valley. But when your mentor is a famous writer and activist, Ted Trueblood, you are expected not only to learn how to bait a hook and wing shoot mallards, but also participate in conservation.

While a sixth-grader, John Trueblood got his first taste of wilderness politics.

“He did drag me along when they were doing (congressional field) hearings for the River of No Return Wilderness in Boise,” he said. “I spoke. It was scary, but I was kind of too dumb to know any better.

“It was interesting. I had to write my own speech and get it approved by my dad and granddad.”

Ted Trueblood was born in Homedale in 1913 and died in 1981. He started his writing career with the Boise Capital News and later would become a freelance writer and then the fishing editor of Field and Stream magazine. He was a contemporary of people like Jack O’Connor, the famous Outdoor Life writer who lived at Lewiston.

Trueblood’s work took him to New York City, where the magazine was headquartered, but he bristled at the concrete confines of the Big Apple.

“They tried to get him to stay in New York, but he couldn’t stand it,” said John Trueblood. “He moved back home and took a big pay cut.”

Ted Trueblood continued to work for Field and Stream as an associate editor for decades. He lived in Nampa and raised a family. His son, Jack Trueblood, was a spokesman for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game until his retirement in the early 2000s. John Trueblood, Jack’s son, joined the U.S. Navy out of high school. After years of service as a Naval corpsman, he and his family wanted to return to Idaho. The growth and congestion in Boise turned him off, so he looked north and found a place at Winchester near Lewiston and a job as a physician’s assistant at the St. Mary’s Clinic in Craigmont.

Trips with his grandfather were normal to him. But as he grew older, he became aware his grandfather was held in high regard by other outdoorsmen.

“If they heard your last name, they would ask, ‘Are you related to Ted?’ But he never made a big deal of it when I was a kid. If you went fishing it was just a you-and-grandpa-going-fishing kind of thing. He would make up stories, which were entertaining.”

He taught John to whittle whistles out of willow bark, how to shoot slingshots and shotguns and how to clean and cook ground squirrels.

His grandmother, Ellen Trueblood, was a renowned mycologist with a keen knowledge of mushrooms in the Owyhee desert and mountains.

“She would take us mushroom hunting with her and sometimes outdoor day trips.”

One of the reasons John wanted to return to Idaho was for its ample hunting and fishing opportunities and the chance to pass on the outdoor lifestyle to the next generation. He and his wife have five children.

“My daughter got her first deer this year,” he said.

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Barker may be contacted at ebarker@lmtribune.com or at 208-848-2273.

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