WON Landing Page OCT 2022

My Job … My Outdoors: Karen Lee brings outdoor stories to our homes

Karen Lee-03smallA quiet dynamo. Those words describe editor Karen Lee at the National Wild Turkey Federation. Fresh from college, this gal took on the task of launching a specialty publication for the organization and then another and now, oversees the production of its flagship magazine. And in the meantime, she embodies the outdoors woman, loving what she discovers about our traditions along the way.

Also, you might be surprised to read that Karen has a little side business going on, and it complements the fact that we girls usually smell a whole lot better than our counterparts. Or, at least we think about smelling better — especially after we come in from trying to stay scent-free for days at a time.

My Job

I’m the editor of the NWTF’s Turkey Country magazine.

Like any woman, I feel as if I have several jobs. My “day job” is magazine editor. I started at the NWTF a little over 10 years ago (soon out of college), when I launched Women in the Outdoors magazine. Two years later, I launched Wheelin’ Sportsmen magazine for the Federation’s program for outdoors enthusiasts with disabilities. And, most recently, I helped facilitate the consolidation of all the NWTF’s publications for its adult members (Turkey Call, Women in the Outdoors, Wheelin’ Sportsmen, Get in the Game) into the new Turkey Country magazine. Turkey Country is more of a lifestyle magazine for Federation members, with space allocated for conservation and wildlife management; issues that affect hunters and shooters; the NWTF’s outreach efforts; wildlife habitat enhancement; and, of course, hunting (primarily turkey hunting). It’s a bunch of stuff to bring under one title, but it shows how multidimensional and involved the NWTF and its volunteers are.

Around 5 p.m. or so, I launch into “mommy mode.” My husband and I have a boy who turns one this month. He keeps us busy, especially now, since he’s started walking.

The Plantation Pecan candle comes in two sizes. Image from 'ofthesouth.net.'

The Plantation Pecan candle comes in two sizes. Image from 'ofthesouth.net.'

And when I am able to, I set aside some time for my side business, Of the South. I hand make candles and soaps and sell them at local stores, craft shows and through an e-commerce website. The fragrances reflect the scents of the South, where I was born, raised and still live. It’s fun to have an outlet that is so different than what I do daily. Though, recently, I was able to mesh my day job with my side-job: I made the Grand Slam Candle Set for the NWTF. It’s a box of four candles that represent the four sub-species of wild turkey: Eastern (flowering dogwood), Merriam’s (mountain spruce), Rio Grande (sage) and Osceola (citrus). They’ll be auctioned off at a handful of the NWTF’s Hunting Heritage Banquets next year.

My Outdoors

Karen Lee in the turkey hunting field. Photo courtesy of The NWTF.

Karen Lee in the turkey hunting field. Photo courtesy of The NWTF.

I’m a perpetual student of the outdoors, which means I’m not really good or proficient at any one thing. A cool part of my job is that I have had many opportunities to try many different outdoors activities: from turkey hunting in vineyards to hunting sea ducks in Maine, from digging for dinosaur egg fragments in Montana to fly-fishing backcountry streams in Idaho. My upcoming trips include a Women in the Outdoors deer hunt in South Carolina and, in a couple of months, ice fishing for the first time in Wisconsin. My favorite part of the outdoors is seeing new places, meeting new people and stretching my comfort zone just a bit. Life should be an adventure.

  • About The WON

    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.