Randy Williams has spent enough time in the outdoors to make several comical blunders.
Although he is an accomplished hunter and fisherman, the New London resident is good-natured enough to laugh at his own mistakes. He shares some of the best bloopers in his newly published book, Predicaments: Mostly True Hunting & Fishing Stories.
“I tell a lot of stories all the time,” Williams said. “People have always told me, ‘You should put those in a book,’ so I finally did.”
Williams worked with one of his sons, Shawn, who is familiar with editing and publishing. The two spent over a year working on the book before sending it to print this February.
Although some of the tales seem hard to believe, Williams said they were completely unscripted and only modestly embellished.
“You just happen upon these stories,” he said. “I always told my sons, ‘If you don’t do anything, you aren’t going to make mistakes.’ When you’re out doing things, stuff happens.”
The stories started popping up soon after Williams began fishing and hunting as a young man.
“When I was a kid, my dad (Robert) always took me out fishing,” he said. “Whenever I’d catch a decent one, he’d say, ‘It’s a dandy, Randy!’ Dad also took me hunting and after I moved to Waupaca County, I did lots more fishing and hunting.”
Williams is also a licensed taxidermist with 30 years of experience. He began honing his skills as a youngster, with encouragement from his mother.
“Mom thought it would be interesting for me to try taxidermy as a kid, so I did,” Williams recalled. “It started out small and just took off. I guess I got a little bit of artistic talent from my parents.”
The outdoor passion he found as a child helped him reach the next generation during his years as a technology education teacher in New London.
“The kids made lures, turkey calls, deer stands and all kinds of other outdoor equipment in my classes,” said Williams, who also took several opportunities to share some of his wild stories with his students.
Williams also landed a job as a coproducer of “No Excuses,” an outdoors show that aired on The Outdoor Channel for four years.
“Most of the time, I was out fishing and asking dumb questions of the guide,” Williams said. “They’d take their cue and answer the questions however they wanted to.”
Behind the modest demeanor and book full of bumbling misadventures is a truly gifted outdoorsman. He has long been committed to conservation and outdoor recreation. He has an associate degree in conservation and is a certified scuba diver. He is or has been a member of the Clintonville Fishing Club, Menomonie Bassmasters, Waupaca Bass Club, Wolf River Bass Club, Spoonpluggers, Walleyes for Tomorrow and the Wolf River Sturgeon Trail. He also maintains ties with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited.
Williams has won more than 40 fishing tournaments was an outdoor columnist for the Waupaca County Post. Currently, he spends his time fishing and hunting and for the last several years, guiding. He was a featured guide in an issue of Bassmaster Magazine and still works on promotional videos for hunting and fishing outfitters. Presently, he holds the record for the most fish species caught in the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine’s multiple species category.
Williams is now retired from teaching and enjoys fishing and hunting full-time, often with his sons Shawn and Chad and anyone else unfortunate enough to get caught up in one of his predicaments.
“I sometimes do things that make me look like an idiot, but every outdoorsman has occasional mishaps,” he said. “You should get a smile and a laugh out of the stories in my book, along with an appreciation for the blunders everyone makes if you spend enough time out there.”
Williams said a quote by Dale Littleton sums up the essence of outdoor adventures.
“It isn’t that big fish that you caught or that big buck you’ve got hanging on the wall,” Littleton said. “It’s the memories and adventures that will be the biggest trophy of all.”
Williams’ book costs $10 and is available on his Web site, www.wilfish.com. Hard copies and digital downloads are available at amazon.com. Hard copies of the book can also be purchased locally at Johnny’s Little Shop of Bait, 1205 W. Wolf River Ave., New London.