Born 1935 in Rock Island, Illinois, Wickstrom earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida at Gainesville and soon after started his career as a sports reporter. In 1960, he moved to Miami to work for the Miami Herald as an investigative journalist, winning state and national awards for incisive reporting on corruption in public affairs. In 1969, he founded Florida Sportsman (first titled Florida and Tropic Sportsman), engaging Vic Dunaway, at the time a well-known outdoors writer at the Herald, to lead editorial efforts at the new magazine. Florida Sportsman quickly grew to become the leading source for information on Florida's developing boating and fishing interests and importantly, the voice of the state's recreational anglers and hunters on issues of access, management and environmental causes. Florida Sportsman celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019.