Dwight Schuh passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 surrounded by his family.
Dwight Schuh was born on May 21, 1945 in Corvallis, OR and grew up in Klamath Falls, OR, the youngest of three brothers. All three brothers were avid 4-H’ers. They had wildly divergent careers but shared a common theme — language. Russell studied it as a linguist, Toby ‘published or perished’ as an entomologist, and Dwight invited the world to share his pursuit of outdoor passions using clear, concise words.
Dwight graduated from Klamath Union High School in 1963. He and his brother Toby would go duck hunting as kids–Toby recalls Dwight was always the better shot. He wasn’t mechanically inclined or good at building things, but his athletic prowess was demonstrable; it seems he never got cold, never reached his limit of suffering, and was infinitely durable. Hunting partners have endless anecdotes about Dwight’s endurance and limitless ability to conquer another stalk, seek another summit, or walk another mile. He made more than one hunting/training partner feel like a slacker.
To avoid being drafted, Dwight enlisted in the US Army as a heavy equipment specialist in August of 1966 and served until June of 1969. He spent a year in Vietnam where he was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange; his cancer was directly connected to that exposure.
After Vietnam, Dwight returned to the University of Idaho (Moscow, ID) where he earned a degree in English in 1971. This was paired with a minor in Philosophy, a point which seems a bit of a mystery to his family. During that time, he met the love of his life Laura Newman while working at the Oregon State Experiment Station in 1970. One day while the secretary was out, Laura filled in at the front office. In a fateful move, Dwight visited the front office to call the optometrist, thus beginning a 49-year partnership of the deepest level. They went hiking on their first date and boating and dove hunting on subsequent dates. At one point Dwight wondered if they should do something conventional like go to a movie, but non-conventional worked–Dwight and Laura married in June of 1971 and deer hunted for a month at Hart Mountain as honeymooners.
In the early ‘70s, Dwight got a job as the outdoor columnist for the Klamath Herald and News by informing the editor that the current columnist was lousy. From then on his career was defined by persistence and unwavering commitment to personal and professional development. Outdoor Life published his first big-time article, “Confessions of a Bullhead Buff,” in March 1974. He sold his first article to Bowhunter Magazine in 1975.
To further spark this marginally successful freelance career, he returned to the University of Oregon (Eugene, OR) for a BA in Journalism, finishing in 1978. His career began to pick up when he became the Western Editor on staff at Outdoor Life magazine in 1979.
His first daughter Emily was born in Klamath Falls, OR in October 1978. It was a source of pride to him that he only missed her birthday once in all the years she lived at home given it was in the thick of hunting season. His second daughter Margie was born in May of 1980. She was always the more sensible one.
To increase his marketability as a freelancer, Dwight delved into everything there was to know about freelance writing. He studied photography extensively, set up his own black-and-white darkroom, and amassed thousands of 35mm slides. To become a better public speaker, he took a class and practiced, even though he didn’t love public speaking. He even took a class on how to read and later regaled his family with the benefits of efficient reading. The consummate writer, he journaled prolifically about all of his hunts and athletic training, first in spiral bound notebooks, later on the computer. These notes were the basis of all of his writing.
For 25 years he made his living as a full-time freelance writer/photographer, publishing hundreds of articles, columns, and photographs in all the major outdoor and archery publications.
To be more centrally located to the mountains he loved and wanted to hunt, he moved his family from Klamath Falls, OR to Nampa, ID in 1986 and bought several pack llamas. His family has countless of fond memories of llama packing as a pleasant side effect of this utilitarian purchase.
In 1996 Dwight Schuh became only the second editor of Bowhunter Magazine, a position he held through his retirement in 2010. He appeared in many TV shows and videos, the most iconic being with longtime friend Larry D. Jones in Elk Fever. In addition to editing hundreds of articles every year, Dwight also wrote hundreds of articles and columns for Bowhunter. He was well known for completely re-writing submitted articles and giving constructive feedback to aspiring writers.
Dwight has written nine books including Bugling for Elk, Hunting Open-Country Mule Deer, and Bowhunter’s Encyclopedia. His first book was Modern Outdoor Survival, completed in 1978 and dedicated to newborn Emily. In 1991, he dedicated Fundamentals of Bowhunting to his daughter Margie. Dwight was inducted into the Bowhunter’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
Although Dwight’s wild retirement dreams were somewhat impeded by cancer, he only got more stubborn and determined as he got older. He ran several marathons, including the LA Marathon with his brother Russell in 2007 and the Boston Marathon in 2008. He also loved trail running, a natural extension of his backcountry bowhunting endeavors. He completed about 6 ultra-marathons (50k or 50 miles), the first at the age of 62.
Dwight completed his first of 6 Ironman triathlons in 2011 at the age of 66. His greatest cancer regret was that he wouldn’t get to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona as a 75-year-old.
Dwight was famous for microwaving his ice cream, eating only from plastic plates, and writing humorous Christmas letters. Dwight was a notorious cheapskate who liberally employed duct tape, rubber bands, and bailing twine in all manner of fix-it situations. He could do a spot-on Julia Child impression and rarely left the house without forgetting his wallet, keys, checkbook, or dark glasses. He relished eating sardines on crackers and afternoon naps on mountainsides.
An everlasting learner, he took on mastering Spanish in his mid-50s and read Louis L’Amour novels in Spanish every night before bed. He would tackle very difficult piano pieces measure by measure to learn them. At age 70, he became a certified Ironman triathlon coach through Ironman U.
Dwight was the king of grit. Adventure would happen; suffering was optional. He expected those around him to “just do” whatever the thing was with no excuses, no ‘grousing.’ He was notorious for conceiving of well-intentioned llama packing trips for his family that turned into an endless series of ‘just one more hill,’ ‘just one more mile,’ ‘just a little further, it’s got to be just ahead,’ ‘the trail’s gotta be here somewhere.’ He loved that sort of thing. His family loves it in retrospect.
He has mentored and molded countless of aspiring writers and hunters. He was an advisor, coach, and cheerleader of the underdog. He would talk to anyone, anywhere about hunting, racing, or training plans.
If he was a friend, it was for life. His commitment to his friends, family, and Faith was unwavering. Once he made up his mind about something, it didn’t change. It was no different with his commitment to causes. He attended Christian Faith Center in Nampa, ID for 33 years, serving on the church board for 19 of those.
Dwight was a pioneer and bowhunting icon whose writing and example set the standard for today’s hardcore, backcountry bowhunting. He is a legend who dwelled in humility; he was approachable, down to earth, and genuine. Dwight didn’t need record book trophies, grand slams, online publishing, or social media to promote himself–he stamped his mark on the world with his consistency, commitment, passion, and grit. His legacy lives on through his books, articles, columns, and TV shows. Dwight always went the extra mile. He never gave up.
The family sincerely thanks the Veterans Administration (VA) family, especially Nancy and Sandy in oncology and his biggest fan, Dr. Paul Montgomery. Dwight took great delight in making the most of the efforts of the oncology team and not wasting his life away by being unhealthy on top of having cancer. Deepest thanks also to the truly special hospice staff who supported both Dwight and his family during his last week.
He is survived by his brother Randall, wife Laura, sister in law Maxine, sister in law Brenda Massie, daughters Emily and Margie, sons in law John and Morten, grandchildren Dieter, Margie, and Josephine, and nieces Gretchen, Elizabeth, and Ella.
He is preceded in death by his brother Russell Schuh (Nov. 2016), and his parents Joe and Josephine Schuh.
The public is invited to attend Dwight’s Celebration of Life on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Christian Faith Center, 31 S. Midland Ave., Nampa, ID 83651 at 3:00 PM. A private family interment will follow on Monday at the Veterans Cemetery (Boise, ID). Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel where an online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
Please consider making a contribution in Dwight’s memory to either the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America (PCBA) or the Pope and Young Club Conservation Fund.