The Land Report

FALL 2015

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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Page 71 of 99

Hunter, trapper, naturalist, historian — Wyman came across like a throwback to a different era, a t rue-blue Teddy Roosevelt. In addition to his adventures on the Pitchfork, it turned out that he was a n artist — one whose primary tool was a camera. I began looking for his photography credits and quickly learned that it was almost impossible to page through a national outdoor magazine without gawking at one of his too-close-for-comfort rattlesnake shots. Several years later, articles by yours truly began to appear in regional and specialty magazines. In the early 1990s, when several of Wyman's photos made a quail-hunting story of mine in Texas Parks & Wildlife look a lot more impressive than it was, it was a milestone for me. Although we'd never met, I hoped that Wyman might recognize my name too. Around that time, I was researching my first novel, The Callings. I poached Wyman's email address off a note from one of our editors. I had read a Dallas Morning News story in which the reporter, the venerable Ray Sasser, mentioned Wyman's passion for Sharps buffalo guns. With more curiosity than hope, I sent Wyman an email asking for suggestions on books featuring the great bison hunters. A few hours later, I received a friendly reply with a list of out-of-print titles that I had no idea existed. More importantly, I would never have found them on my own. Whatever the flaws of my first histori- cal novel, it's not short on realistic details concerning the daily lives of the hide men, right down to their styles of skinning knives and methods of reclaiming bullets. I credit Wyman for that. Years later, I learned that Wyman's approval of my manuscript contributed to The Callings' acceptance and publication. Our brief back-and-forth was when I began to understand the depth of Wyman's respect for the history and ways of the Old West. He corrected an embarrassing error in the narrative. I mistakenly listed cyanide as a wolf poison. "Strychnine," he informed me. A decade later, I found myself at the 2002 Texas Book Festival in Austin. From across a crowded room, I saw Judith Keeling, my editor at Texas Tech University Press. "Get over here! I'm negotiating on your behalf," she yelled. There, amidst a few hundred people dressed for a black-tie dinner, stood Wyman in his knee-high Russell boots, some unusually presentable jeans, and a fringed leather jacket. By his side, as always, was the beautiful Sylinda. She was sure enough dolled up for the festivities. Texas Tech planned to publish a work about the legendary Four Sixes Ranch. There had never been the slightest doubt as to the photographer. But the writer? That was still up in the air. I walked up and shook hands with Wyman. Then we talked for a couple minutes. As I recall, some Austinites were bragging about the beauty and the general superiority of Austin in late October, and Wyman had had his fill. "Lord, it was beautiful up home today. I sure as hell hated to leave and come down here," he said. He made sure to say it loud enough for every provincial within 50 feet to hear. The three of us enjoyed a good laugh. Then Wyman turned to me. "You 'bout ready to do this thing?" he asked. Thus began an adventure that continues to this day. 70 The LandReport | FA L L 2 0 1 5 LANDREPORT.COM Meinzer's assignments almost always go above and beyond. UPPER LEFT: He routinely relies on his good friend Knut Mjolhus to pilot him to remote locations such as the Chinati Mountains high above the Texas-Chihuahua border. UPPER RIGHT: When Mjolhus is not available, Meinzer must fend for himself, hauling his gear up granite cliffs in Wyoming's Laramie Mountains. LOWER LEFT: For three decades, Meinzer has relied on this sturdy Honda 350cc 4x4 to tackle terrain such as Mexico's Del Carmen Mountains. LOWER RIGHT: Meinzer's wingman of choice? His wife, Sylinda.

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