Stu Bristol currently lives in Lyman, Maine, and has been a Freelance Outdoor Writer, since 1968.
His columns and features have been published in dozens of outdoor, lifestyle and travel publications, nationwide. He has appeared on numerous outdoor hunting and fishing television and radio shows including ESPN Outdoor’s “Fly Fish America,” NESN “Camo Country,” Talk America Radio and NBC Sports affiliates. Currently, Stu travels the U.S. and Canada as a photographer/videographer with Bird dogs Afield televsion and webcasts.
Stu Bristol offers readers, viewers and listeners a unique perspective on outdoor recreation. Born in southern Vermont, the youngest of a family of 17 (11 boys, 6 girls) he learned to hunt and fish at an early age.
His affinity for outdoor communication began at an early age. As a teenager, mowing lawns to supplement his family’s income, Stu met legendary “Flying Fisherman” Vernon “Gaddabout” Gaddis and Mutual Of Omaha’s Lowell Thomas, who inspired him to become an outdoor writer. Stu would ride his bike across town to the home of a Brattleboro Bank President who oftentimes had famous houseguests. On the back of his bike was a hand-me-down copy of Outdoor Life, a fiberglass Shakespeare “Wonder Rod” and a soup can filled with worms and crawlers. At the time, Stu had no idea who these men were, other than they took time to make fishing conversation and share fishing tips with a teenager, despite their apparent celebrity status.
As a high school Senior, he lead one of the largest sportsman’s clubs in Vermont and became a widely recognized sportsman’s advocate, testifying often at legislative hearings and public speaking. One of his major legislative accomplishments was to help legalize an innovative piece of archery tackle, the Compound Bow.
In 1963 he became one of the first members of Trout Unlimited, nationwide, after meeting TU founders while fishing the nearby Battenkill River. He fished weekly with legendary Orvis rod-builder George Gordon, innovator of the Battenkill series, who instilled in Stu the personal ethic he has since preached often, to his readers, that a true sportsman will hunt and fish for sport, but only kills for food.
Stu became a Vermont State Game Warden in 1968, serving in the Chelsea, Vermont District and later, Fair Haven District. During his employment Stu helped then Fish & Game Commissioner, Edward F. Kehoe organize the Green Mountain Conservation Camp at Lake Bomoseen, and worked closely with wildlife biologist Bill Drake, releasing the initial flock of 31 wild turkeys, trapped in the Adirondack Region of New York. Descendents of that initial stocking were subsequently re-located to other parts of Vermont and throughout other New England states, in perhaps one of the most successful wildlife restoration projects in American history.
After leaving the Warden service, Stu served as the sportsman’s liaison to the Technical and Advisory Committee for the Restoration of Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River, and became one of the pioneers of New England wild turkey hunting.
He became a member of the newly-formed National Wild Turkey Federation in 1974 and elevated to a Life member in 1984. Since then, he has written two books on wild turkey restoration and hunting and dozens of newspaper and magazine articles on the topic. “Stu Bristol’s Guide to Vermont Wild turkey Hunting” and “Hunting Wild Turkeys in New England” are currently recognized as classic collectibles and are zealously sought after on e-Bay and other collectors’ forums. His clinics and wild turkey hunting schools continue today and hunters come from all over the Northeast to learn the sport.
He joined the New England Outdoor Writers Association in 1972 and has served over30 years as a member of the Board of Directors, served two years a President and is currently honored as a Life Member and Director Emeritus. He also became a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America in 1989.
Stu became a Registered maine Guide in 1989 and has since upgraded his qualifications to the level of “Master” Maine guide in the hunting, fishing and tidewater guide categories.
Stu’s passion for educating youths is demonstrated by his many years as a NRA Hunter Safety Instructor and the formation of two youth fishing schools. His Saltwater Fishing Camp for boys and girls age 10-18 was conducted in Portland Harbor for 12 years, in cooperation with Southern Maine Technical College, and ranked as the most popular summer camp in the school’s line-up. He helped close friend, Capt. Carol Mick of Durham, NH, establish a similar offshore fishing school, taking youths offshore for shark, tuna and groundfish as well as hands-on lobstering and Marine Science in cooperation with Cornell University at the Isles of Shoals Marine Laboratory.
In addition to his writing and clinics, Stu works closely with manufacturers of outdoor products as a Field Tester and reviewer. An expert in land and marine navigation, Stu works as an outdoor consultant and liaison to the Outdoor Media and law enforcement search and rescue teams for Maptech, Inc. one of the world’s leading navigation software companies, teaching advanced use of compass, Global Positioning Satellite Receivers (GPS) and CD-ROM navigation software.