When someone thinks of President Jimmy Carter, the title of outdoor writer probably does not quickly come to mind, but he has always enjoyed hunting and fishing, and he has done a lot of outdoor writing.
Raised in rural Georgia, near Plains, Carter served two terms as a Georgia state senator and one term as Georgia governor and was elected president in 1976.
A prolific author, Carter has written 29 books that cover a variety of topics, including some that explore his love of the outdoors. His outdoor books “Sharing Good Times” and “Outdoor Journal” discuss his love of hunting and fishing and what a positive impact it has had on his life.
Outdoor topics are also sprinkled throughout many of his books. For example, in “An Hour Before Daylight,” his best-selling book on growing up on a south Georgia farm, he says, “Throughout my young life, I was obsessed with hunting and fishing, and I was not alone. It was what my father, most of the men in town, families on the farm, and all of us boys wanted most when we were not working. We read, thought, talked, recalled past experiences and made future plans, all about hunting and fishing. I had a fishing pole in my hands as early as I can remember, and I would go hunting and fishing with daddy long before I could have anything to shoot other than a bb gun.”
He has also written about fishing on the Satilla River, in the Okefenokee Swamp and in the north Georgia mountains. As a young lad, he hunted for raccoons, possums, quail and turkeys. In his books, we learn about these adventures and share his excitement of being in the great outdoors.
As a very young man, he tells a story about wading in a local stream and catching a lot of big bream that he was keeping on a stringer. The stringer was tied to a belt loop and dangling from his pants into the water. Suddenly he realized that the knot had become loose and the fish had disappeared.
Naturally, he was upset and fearfully told his dad that all the fish they had worked so hard to catch were now all gone. His father said, don’t fret about it son, there are plenty more fish to catch and not to worry. His father’s loving attitude only made the father/son bond become stronger. Thus James Earl Carter Sr. gave his young son Jimmy, an important life lesson, never forgotten.
From a young age, President Carter has shown a deep commitment to Christianity. He teaches Sunday school and is a deacon at the Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains. Many thousands of citizens have attended his free and open Sunday school lessons at the church, and he has shown amazing patience and humility in posing for countless photos with the church’s guests.
On Feb. 10, President Carter was inducted into the Georgia Outdoor Writer’s Hunting and Fishing Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta. The Hunting and Fishing Hall of Fame is housed in the Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center.