Person of the Year perspectives [video]

The April 2 edition of the New York Outdoor News hit mailboxes and newsstands earlier this week. Within its pages are many details of the 2021 Person of the Year honoree, Jim Massett, of Chittenango, in Madison County.

Those of us who know Jim consider him a living legend whitetail hunter, but more so, just a genuine good person known for dedicating his time to fellow hunters in a number of ways.

For some, it’s bending his ear at a sports show booth or after a seminar. Or, maybe he took the time to score a fine whitetail buck for you. Some even were under his tutelage during his hunter education days.

As I mentioned in my column in the April 2 edition of NYON, I met Jim through my friend Randy Flannery, a Maine master guide who runs Wilderness Escape Outfitters ( in northern Maine. Like Jim, Flannery is a well-known deer tracker and a staple on the seminar scene.

“I’ve been blessed to know my dear friend Jim Massett for a long time,” Flannery said. “He’s a tremendous deer hunter, he’s a tremendous woodsman and more important than that, he’s a tremendous person. He’s a humble man who is very approachable. He’s just a kind guy.”

Flannery is right, especially about Jim being humble. Knowing that attribute, I reached out to one of Jim’s friends and co-author of their Adirondack Deer Trackers book (, Steve Grabowski, and asked if they’d seen Jim lately. I was hoping maybe some of the guys could be with Jim when I called to inform him of the award.

Grabowski had a better idea, and invited me (and my brother, Bill) to a private camp in the Adirondacks for a day of ice fishing. Later that evening, spread out around the big room in front of the fireplace, I proudly presented the NYON Person of the Year award to Jim, who of course, was humbled.

“I thought you were talking about Joe,” Jim said of his seminar partner and also co-author, Joe DiNitto. Of course, DiNitto was right there for the moment as well, as he and Grabowski made it all happen.

For both Bill and I it was a special treat. Here we were, hanging out on the ice and in camp with some of the best big woods deer hunters anywhere. For me, to be able to put such a special touch on presenting the POY award for the first time as Editor of this publication, it was something I’ll never forget. It was a proud moment.

Most special of all, for each of us, was just being in the presence of Jim Massett, as talking with him and hearing his stories never gets hold. Over his lifetime he’s done so much, for so many hunters out there and continues that to this day.

Perhaps Flannery, who wasn’t along on this special trip, summed it up best.

“It’s a blessing,” Flannery said, “Because he is truly a great man and I have always been proud and honored to call him my friend. That’s just how he his, he’s just a wonderful guy.”

If you ever get the chance to meet Jim Massett, you too will become his friend, no doubt. Congratulations Jim, on being the 2021 New York Outdoor News Person of the Year.

Categories: Dan Ladd, New York Videos

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