McKean Minute: This Easter, Plant Potatoes

I love planting potatoes, but only partly because of the promise of creamy, tummy-filling carbohydrates later in the year.

To me, planting spuds is a metaphor for life, and death, but in reverse. You first prepare a grave. In my case this spring, it’s a new spot, between the ashes and rusted roofing nails of an old homestead barn that burned down a decade ago. You dig deep enough to give tubers room to descend and fruit. Then you bury parts of a body, in my case the swelling eyes of seed potatoes that were given to me by a neighbor. They’re heirloom Duke of York varieties, pink as a May strawberry and only slightly larger than a spark plug.

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McKean Minute: The Perfect Shot

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to return to the theme of last week’s McKean Minute, this ground-breaking podcast in which I collaborated with Dylan Ray to bring hunter education to the audio masses.

The idea for the podcast, which is called Hunting 101 and can be found here ( is devoted to the foundational principles of various aspects of hunting. Dylan has podcasts devoted to hunting in general but will have episodes on turkey hunting, deer hunting, small-game hunting, and more as the year ticks by.

My collaboration was even more foundational – Dylan and I riffed, for six whole episodes, on the ideas behind our hunter education courses, required by every state in order to certify a hunter as ready to buy a license and take a gun or bow into the field.

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McKean Minute: Hunter Education 101

Spring is Hunter Education season in most states and communities across the country. It’s the time that volunteer instructors set up impromptu classes in church basements, school libraries, and municipal buildings and help certify a new generation of licensed hunters.

Nationwide, something like 600,000 new hunters are minted every year, but tens of thousands more don’t take mandatory Hunter Ed classes because they’re too busy, or they’re intimidated by the topic, or they simply don’t understand what hunter education (or even hunting) is all about.

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