Got a Quarter and a Map? Try This!

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  • From the time I learned to read as a young boy, I devoured every article, magazine and book pertaining to fishing or hunting that I could get my hands on and my mind around.  I suspect our mail carrier had to eventually go out on disability after lugging all of the Field & Streams, Outdoor Lifes and Sports Afields to our home in Golden Hill.  When we visited my aunt and uncle’s house I would sneak into the garage where he kept some back issues of Argosy and True magazine, publications that could be a little racier and more revealing in the same way that National Geographic could occasionally surprise you.

    The one writer whose name sticks out was a man who chose to go with the penname Ted Trueblood, rather than his given name – Cecil Whittaker.  He was a man who had a huge impact on the fishing and hunting communities as a result of the fact he was a writer and editor for Field & Stream from 1941 – 82.  Not only that, but his writing was respected and appreciated by the fact that if you visit his home state of Idaho, you will find the Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Ted Trueblood Wildlife Management Area.- both in recognition of his leadership as a conservationist.

    One of my favorite stories was on in which he challenged readers to place a map of the United States on a table, place a quarter on the map and move it around until it covered the area they would live in if they had their choice when it comes to fishing and hunting opportunities.  Not surprisingly, he placed his quarter over the Idaho panhandle region where he lived and proclaimed it the best spot in the country for him, extolling the virtues of the hunting for elk, deer and waterfowl and the fishing for salmon, trout, steelhead and smallmouth bass.  He then asked readers to describe their happy place.

    I followed suit and began moving my quarter around on the map to places I’d only read about: the Florida Keys, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the deer and trout of Montana and so on.  In the end, there was only one area that I knew something about, and that was San Diego.

    Careful placement of the quarter covered the sportfishing of the Paciific Ocean, including the piers, jetties and bays where we often fished, the trout streams and bass lakes of the county, the backcountry that held deer, ducks and quail and the western edge of Imperial Valley where I was taken on dove hunts with my cousin.

    Don’t get me wrong on this, there are other areas of this country where I have enjoyed some great fishing and hunting, and others I’d still like to visit, but when it comes down to it, I live right where I want to be when it comes to fishing and hunting opportunity and the incredible diversity this area offers on a year round basis.

    So here is your Ted Trueblood Challenge, courtesy of me.  Spread that map on the table, place a quarter on the map and move it around to find the area where you would like to live year round.  There are no wrong answers to this challenge and you can feel free to make your choice on any criteria you choose whether it is quality, quantity, one activity or diversity of opportunity.

    The only catch, is that I’m asking you to describe the area and tell us why you chose it.

    My thanks to Cecil Whittaker who thought up this challenge many years ago and for any of you who would like to take a crack at it – but you’ve gotta use the quarter and a map exercise to truly play by the rules he outlined.

    About Author

    Jim Brown

    Jim Brown ran the San Diego City Lakes Program from 1974-2003, where he oversaw the operation of the fishing programs of the county's biggest and best fisheries. Over his 70 years as a native San Diegan, including 65 of them as an avid fisherman, Brown describes himself as someone who has fished most bodies of water in and around the county that hold fish, and all of those that don't.

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