Facing health challenges, Ed Noonan retires from writing Outdoor Journal

Ed Noonan smiles as he holds a recently caught fish while out on a lake

Ed Noonan

OUTDOOR JOURNAL – Because of ongoing health issues, long-time Daily Gazette outdoor columnist Ed Noonan faces a variety of challenges on a daily and weekly basis.

That has kept him off the water to participate in one of the sports he loves, fishing, since October. Now the challenges have progressed to a point where he can also no longer pursue one of his other loves, writing his Outdoor Journal column.

His wife of 58 years, Rose, said Ed suffers from early Alzheimer’s dementia, so Ed Noonan has retired from writing the column, in which he had recounted his exploits in the field, but also served as a conduit for Gazette readers to share their stories since Aug. 8, 1988.

Because the column was year-round and Noonan at first wrote twice a week before Outdoor Journal became once-a-week, it’s a safe estimate that the number of columns he produced for the Gazette was well over 2,000.

The hunting and fishing topics ranged from stories about his local experiences, but also trips he made to Florida (he once accidentally hooked an alligator in a pond), Wyoming, Canada and Mexico.

His personal accounts were always complemented by the shared experience of his readers, who were encouraged to send Noonan information and recollections of their own accomplishments in the woods and on the lakes and streams around the Capital Region.

He also made a point to highlight the achievements of kids as a means of boosting their participation as outdoorsmen.

“He loved helping people know about things,” Rose Noonan said by phone from their home in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday morning. “He would get emails, ‘Where’s the best fishing place?’ ‘What kind of lures do you use?’ Same thing with deer season.

“Also, when he was out someplace, like if he was up at Dick’s Sporting Goods, someone would say, ‘Are you Ed Noonan that writes for the paper?’ ‘Yes.’ Then there would be a conversation.”

The broader conversation with Gazette readers began in 1988, when long-time Gazette publisher Jack Hume, then the managing editor, asked Ed Noonan to contribute to the sports pages by supplying a column.

An avid outdoorsman himself, Hume made a habit of giving Noonan’s column a first read every week.

“He was nice to work with and really tried his best to keep up on the current stuff,” Hume said. “He was fun to work with. He was interested in all that stuff, so my job was to keep up, pretty close.”

Noonan’s column was informed by his vast knowledge of the outdoors in general and of the Capital Region’s fishing and hunting landscape in particular.

He is a licensed New York State hunting and fishing guide with lengthy resumes both as an outdoorsman and as an outdoors writer.

As such, he was inducted to the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame in 2010; recently won the New York State Outdoor Writers Association Pass It On Award, which recognizes work that introduces people to outdoor activities who may not otherwise have been exposed to it; and has been an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Outdoor Writers Association of America and the New York Outdoor Writers Association, for which he has served as Northern vice president.

Turkey hunting was always prominently discussed in Noonan’s column, reflecting his wide range of achievements in that discipline.

The National Wild Turkey Federation recognizes a variety of “Slams,” which refers to having harvested each species or subspecies of wild turkey in six combinations, in part based on geographical location.

Noonan has six Grand Slams, one Royal Slam and one World Slam to his credit, and was the first hunter from New York State to record a Mexican Slam and the third to complete the Canadian Slam.

Besides the Gazette, Noonan’s writing has been published in six weekly newspapers, Bassmaster magazine, Shotgun News, New York Outdoor Times, Bark Eater Magazine, On the Trail magazine, on the Cabela’s website and in other regional and national publications.

Noonan also partnered with Mike Ryan to organize a Make-A-Wish fishing tournament at Six Mile Waterworks Park in Albany for about 20 years, and always used his column to notify and update Gazette readers about the wide range of upcoming outdoors events in the area.

Rose Noonan said the aftereffects of Ed’s bout with COVID-19 in February of 2021, which put Outdoor Journal on hiatus for several months, likely accelerated the onset of Ed’s current dementia.

Beyond telling his own stories, Noonan made it a point to keep Outdoor Journal just as much a means of promoting a sense of community and always reflected his love of guiding his readers into new ways of looking at things.

Rose Noonan said that spirit came through in Ed’s work out in the field, like when horsemen from out of town for the annual Saratoga Race Course would hire him to take them fishing.

“Mostly he took out some of the jockeys and the trainers, or family members who were coming up to stay in Saratoga,” she said. “His favorite place to take them was the Hudson River in Schuylerville. Why he would do that was because most people have never seen the lock system, so he would take them through the lock and let them see how the boat elevates and everything to get through.”

Contact Mike MacAdam at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County, Sports, Sports

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