Contributors to this thread:
What do you want/miss?
In the print magazines of today, what do you most enjoy and what do you most miss from 30-years ago? Not just archery/bowhunting but all outdoor magazines. If you were the editor, what would you bring back? Not people's names but article types.
I enjoy reading DIY hunts/experiences; special hunts where there was some sort of challenge that was met/overcome.
I don't miss anything from 30 years ago. I was 9.
unless it is a hunt specific story the rest is just recycled info that either is not new over the past decade or already is old news on line if not in print.
As I sit in my tree this morning in my 33rd year of bowhunting, I miss the articles about the innocence and mystery of hunting; when a guy didn't have pictures of a deer on camera; a deer didn't have a name or history. When you set up on a rub line in the woods, that you found.....not on food plot or farmer's field. When there was no commercialism in the article. Just pure fun and excitement of hearing footsteps, holding your bow a little tighter, heart beating faster, mouth going dry, knowing that you're going to have a chance to draw. No passing bucks because they aren't a "shooter". Being excited because you just shot a deer on its terms with your bow. Make it fun again.
I would like to see more articles about bow hunting different areas of the country outside of the Midwest. Good topic!
Patrick McManus type humor.
Always looked forward to the new magazine and his stuff
X2 Bloodtrail - stop feeding the consumerism beast.
I like Bloodtrail's and cnelk's comments! But I am looking for the next John "Maggie" McGee! Bowhunting needs to be fun! Not work! Also I always enjoyed your articles John and talking to you at the Ohio Deer and Turkey expo. Your barbed wire elk was classic.
Exactly the feedback I was looking for. Keep them coming.
30 years ago there were a ton of "Me & Joe" stories with no real theme and often poorly-written. I still have magazines from back then.
Today's regular writers are much better at the craft. The downside is that way too many stories revolve around expensive (and often pampered) outfitter hunts where the hunter/writer simply becomes the shooter in an orchestrated event.
I like (and write) stories that are more personal and connected to the processes of the hunt, the drama and emotional dynamics. Probably because I'm a solo/DIY hunter. But many enjoy reading stories of outfitted hunts they'll never take. I get that.
I also get that sponsors want props in articles. But there's a big difference between subtle product mentions and overt pimping. That may get the writer more free stuff and media hunt invitations, but it becomes tiresome to read , "I clipped my Scott Mongoose release to the 10X bowstring and snapped the Nocturnal nock on my Carbon Express arrow, tipped with a Rage Hypodermic, and watched through the Spot Hogg sight as the buck passed my Cuddeback camera and stood staring at the Flambeau decoy.
What's been said already. Stress this, no trail cams, naming deer and having a hit list. Sure, if you are working the fields and see deer, you can reference deer you see, like the big 8, the wide 6, etc. Also I would like to see stories about kids hunting and getting their first deer. A 12 year old shooting a spike or a doe. Kids learning to hunt and working their way up, not being put on booners at 6 years old, IMHO. One of my most memorable hunts was hunting with the neighbors, we were friends with their kids. The kid shot a spike with a 30-30, it was his first deer, and his dad showed us how to field dress it. It was a morning hunt and I was glad it was over, because it was in Minnesota in the 70's, we were not decked out in high tech gear, and it was cold. My feet were numb. I grew up in the country and hunted farms, I like small farm stories. I also love the "deer camp" stories as I never have been to one, we just got up early and went to the back 40.
I have let all my subscriptions lapse. Besides picking up a magazine or two that bowsiters have articles in, I haven't read a magazine in 4 or 5 years.
The articles are too short. Instead of a 5 1500 word articles, I'd rather read 2 3000 word articles that go more in depth.
The western "I drew a tag, scouted, then killed him" story bores me.
I want to learn something. Jaquomo wrote article about his CO elk hunt that was great. It had a lot of tips in it. A lot of his real world experience. I still have that article somewhere. I should re-read it. It seemed long too.
I would pay for articles that are longer, written by guys with a lot of experience with that animal, that give tips, tactics, and reasoning.
I would pay $20 or more to read a 10,000 word article by Blacktail Bob summarizing tips and tactics he's learned over the years killing black tails. In fact, he should write a book. Frank Noska gave a seminar at the last P&Y convention, with Bob chipping in, that was worth more than 100 magazine articles.
The "I went on a hunt, did these tactics, and killed this" don't really interest me.
Whitetail articles are tough. I wanna know the terrain, what the wind was doing. Why the buck was there. Etc. Maps would be great.
Essentially, I don't really care to read for entertainment, I wanna read for learning. I want to learn something about an animal or a species. I wanna think about it and consider it.
Unfortunately for magazines, they just don't have the format for this. Articles are too short. There are too many on-line competitors. Blog posters, some of them with video (like MidwestWhitetail).
Like Jaquomo said, the dang sponsor plugs get difficult to read through.
Jaq, you forgot to mention that the buck came in from directly down wind and your Ozonics and Scentlock completely covered up your human scent!
(2) The little "how to" tips that were in the old magazines.
(3) Product reviews that included the pros & cons about the item tested, not the "suck up" articles of today. Norm Mulvaney was a master of reviewing equipment and gaving an honest, unbiased review of bows and equipment.
Thanks, Bake. Good to know somebody reads my stuff. If it was one of the elk stories in Bow & Arrow Hunting, Joe always gave me more column space than usual.
Seriously, I have a story coming in one of the next issues of Bowhunting World about a knife I found in the woods on the day when I killed my first deer. Its a radical departure from the usual straight-ahead gear and tactics articles in there, and I give Jace props for considering it.
I want to read diy hunting adventures. I'm tired of the "Kill your buck" crap "experts" are repeating over and over. I want real hunting stories. Not farm land/food plot stuff.
Agree with many of the above comments esp about the commercialism. Many of the stories are cut and paste from countless other stories. For me, the thing that is missing is the magic and the mystery of something really exciting. I remember reading old outdoor life articles as a kid (more like 50 or so years ago) and being lost in the dream of someday doing the same thing. Not sure I can get that back as I am sure it has been tempered by the many hunting experiences of my life. I do miss the simplicity and intrigue of hunting as I was learning how to do it. My desire is strong and I will hunt until I can't walk.
I predict that within some of your lifetimes you'll see the effective end of print media. Too expensive to produce and distribute, and people are becoming more digital every day.
I also predict that necessary consolidation will result in a couple substantial quarterly hunting magazines with sections on different types of hunting and equipment and some "big hunt" features included. Whether it will result in better material depends on who is paying what, and upon the content to appeal to the target demographic. But editors know what people are buying today and where the real money comes from (advertisers), and the current articles reflect that.
I personally enjoy reading people's stories. I could care less about reading "how to kill a buck in the rut" or "early season tactics"
Some of my favorites are when guys have been chasing a buck for years and pictures to go with it. The habits of the particular buck. Where he liked to bed etc...
The stories I hate to read and sometimes won't even finish them are the bait stories or the guys that drive around until they find a shooter. There is 1 publication in particular out of Canada, most of the stories are......we had been driving around looking for a shooter and spotted one. We went to the nearest house and asked for permission. The guy said yes so we went and shot him. Wow great story man. Puke in my mouth. That magazine is filled with those stories. Just my opinion
Wanna know what story I’m looking forward to reading and seeing pics?
Right now he is out in Nebraska hunting WT deer. The way I like read about.
Public land. Hunting from treestands or a natural ground blind.
With a recurve.
Maybe even doing some decoying.
Yep. I can’t wait to read his story.
The REAL story
I remember when Bowhunter magazine or some other bow hunting magazine ran a story how deer don’t make sounds back in the late 70’s
I would like a story on how each sound is represented in the deer herd as to what they represent
This thread poses a great question and it made me think about something I hadn't for a long time. I don't know that I like what I realized either.
For most of my life I've subscribed to at least 3 outdoor magazines, and at my peak it was like a half dozen. I read them all and absorbed as much as I could. Then about a decade ago I started dropping them to the point where the only one I get now is American Hunter because as an NRA member that's part of the deal. I skim it over when it comes and then put it away. I can't remember the last time I read an article all the way through.
What I realized was that after close to 5 decades there's hardly anything I read in them anymore where I learn something. It's almost like the only difference between me and the people who write a lot of these articles is that they don't really know any more about hunting than I do, it's just that they know how to compose a piece and get it published.
That said the kind of writing that I DO like is the more introspective approach and the feelings of the person involved. What I damn sure DON'T like is the written version of TV hunting.
I stopped reading magazines many years ago. I understand that advertisement is what sells but when over 90% of the pages is just pure advertisement I have no use for it anymore. Hunting shows on T.V. are not much better and again I really do understand that it is very difficult to get that perfect footage of a hunter making it all come together for the viewers to see and advertisements is what drives the market. Just settle down on the advertisements a little and focus on the story that counts. Entertainment is what people want when they pick up a Mag. or watch T.V. Personal computers are a real threat to the market because people can so easily pick and choose what they wish to see and hear with the click of a button. Not so with the other markets. I agree with the above statements about hunting being all about a selling a product anymore. ("Hunting" is not a Commercial.) (When it becomes one you loose me.) It should be an experience, an adventure that is enjoyed either by yourself or with friends and family. Deer camps, Family, Friends, and Solo Adventures and on Occasion a story of Inspiration. This is what draws me to watch or read anymore. I also like hunting tactics as much as the next guy but would rather see it in a study result or personal experiences of a hunter that has used it successfully and explained why it worked versus the product that made him/her the better hunter. I'm done ranting. Good Luck with this because Hunting has become an Industry. But I truly believe if the Industry doesn't stop to listen to the customer then hunting will continue to decline. Thanks Bowriter for getting interested.
I miss waiting for the mag to arrive...the anticipation.
What I miss most is that I was young and wanting to learn everything I could. That was a great feeling. These days I feel almost 'sedated' in comparison.
I tend to like writers more than writing. I'm talking Joe Bell, Curt Wells, and Eddie Claypool, and others I can't think of right now. I especially like Eddie's articles because he's just an oilfield welder with a passion for hunting, and he gets it done. I like Joe for his tech knowledge, and I might as well lump Randy Ulmer in there too. I like Curt because he seems like a sincere, no-nonsense type of guy, one you can trust not to steer you wrong.
The articles about woodscraft or how to hunt big bucks leave me cold, because I've been reading it for years. Not many ways you can recycle that material. Like Woods Walker, I'm down from half a dozen mags to about three, and one of them is about to run out. I won't renew. If somebody wants to tell me how to kill deer in the Pineywoods of E Texas, I'm all ears !
Ain't no future in the past!
Charlie, sounds like you visited one of our fine CO weed purveyors when hunting the Rocking R!
Arrowhead, I have a lot of old magazines from the 90s, 70's, even dating back to the 40's. Interestingly, the amount of advertising to print column inches hasn't changed much. What has changed is that the ads are brighter, catcher, and more flamboyant. Online magazines aren't much better, with banner ads, pop-ups, tracking of our clicks to sell to data-mining companies. Somebody has to pay for the content and delivery, no matter where it is.
My sentiments are basically the same as Woods Walker. For many years after I started bowhunting, I subscribed to darn near every publication trying to absorb every ounce of information. Now, the only one I get is Bugle Magazine. Not saying I now have all the answers, but I’m not willing to read through it all, looking for the small tidbits that might be useful.
These days, I enjoy reading articles that focus more on the human element rather than the “this is what I did”. The current issue of Bugle has an article titled “In A High Place”. It’s about a hunt with disabled vets. The story focuses more on the hunters, and the challenges they face, rather than on the hunt itself.
Being born in the early fifties, I grew up reading the likes of Jack O’Conner. When he went on a hunt, he took you along and you could feel the excitement. When he switched to a “tech” article the tone was entirely different and the two seldom came together.
I get no magazines anymore because the entertainment isn’t there for me. The story telling has devolved into nothing more than thinly disguised advertising or rehashed tactics advice.
Maybe new hunters get something from the article with the lead in of, “Bag Your Biggest Buck During the October Dulldrums?!?” Maybe, if you follow these tips!”
I think we may have sacrificed quality for quantity. No matter how big your appetite, you will eventually get tired of the all you can eat smorg.
Here in Okla. I miss the deer check in stations. We have gone to total E-Check on the computer. Use to go up in the evening to see what was brought in and shoot the bull, and listen to the stories.
It was fun to see the kids with their trophy and see the excitement flowing.
I only read magazines when I have no internet service. I like the hunt stories on Bowsite...especially DIY, public land stories. Today, with social media like Instagram and hunting forums you can read/watch hunts semi-live. Magazines and newspapers will be dead soon.
May surprise you...most of you have said exactly what I say. Finally, it may not be falling on deaf ears. Thanks, super and very useful responses.
I'd like writers to stop trying to constantly reinvent deer hunting.
3Arrows has it right. The "my place" combined with the crazy price of land to hunt on which to hunt may be the biggest danger to hunting we have. It's been discussed a lot on here and for those without a place to hunt, you have my sympathy.
For those who have it and can, take a stranger's kid out and let them get a deer.
What to I wish I could have???? 40 years plus to enjoy again.
30 years ago? Shoot I weren't even borned yet!
I think TV is bad. Doesn’t seem to me print is that bad. I still enjoy guys and gals like Boddington, Prothero, Rupp, Spomer, etc. There is still quality out there.
What I finally got tired of were the self-written stories magazines like Eastman’s and Huntin Fool rely on. And I have had a couple written and published myself. I admit they were nothing to write home about. I did like looking at the photos of some great animals.
I just read the big guys like Field and Stream, Sports Afield, etc. now. It takes forever to find a well written article outside of them. There are only a very few really talented writers working at any given time. Way fewer than most think given that it appears everyone’s a writer these days.
I like adventure stories with real, actual, non-regurgitated tips from guys who obviously know what they are talking about.
Oh, Bill Heavey is the best writer working in the outdoor industry today. No one else is even close really. He should quit and write novels if getting rich is something he’s interested in.
Another point on gear review, I also want to see honest test. I want to see the entry level bow taken on a hunt and an honest evaluation. I don't want a controlled environment test of the top of the line model, anything does well on those test. I like the old entry level to top of the line shootout and ranking tests. What I hate to see is the "New Gear!" issue where the magazine just prints the hype straight from the manufacture. What a waste of an issue. I would like the test to be where the magazine staff goes under cover, to a big box or an Archery shop, buys the item then tests it. Not just test what the manufacture sends them. I also hate the new game changing camo waste of pages that comes out, yawn. I'm done hating. I like Traditional Bowhunting Magazine, even before I bought my first trad bow. "Tips from the old timer" and "Campfire Philosophy" are great reads. I like G.F. Asbell's writings also.
Not sure I really miss much from those times. Those mags were the only game in town, I read them all, subscribed to many. But never cared much for Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, etc.... generic outdoor mags that MIGHT have a story in the entire mag that was of interest. The magazines WERE the only game in town..... They no longer are.
What I crave I get a great deal from the "semi-live" hunts right here, no better adventures than the people on bowsite. Sheep, mt goat, moose, bou', big bears, right out to polar bears and musk ox. Awesome stuff, told like you were there..... many times with the excitement and emotion. Doesn't get any better for me.
I hadn't subscribed or really even read any hunting mag for a lot of years, then a mag came along that grabbed me and I immediately subscribed....... Extreme Elk. Very unique, very down to earth and entertaining. Loved it. They sold and the "new" mag seemed to just fall right back into the formula magazine ruts in the road..... nope, not what I wanted.
I understand it was a niche product, as such a limited market by nature. And that makes it hard commercially. Problem is when trying to expand the market the product gets watered down trying to appeal to a wider interest. More generic. It loses what attracted that harder core market to it in the first place. Sigh..... nothing good lasts forever....
“Sigh.....nothing good lasts forever....”
Just treat it like an erection. Fun while you had it and another will be along soon.
I didn't read every ones post so I might be repeating - all one needs to do is go back and read some of the hunting stories that get posted here on BS - that's just what a lot of us truly enjoy reading. Real life "as it happens" encounters.
Good post above by Bake. I agree, the "stories" seem like a 2 minute recap, not a story. That's part of the genius behind Bowsite in that the user-driven content allows you to tell the story how you want.
I spent 16 hours writing, editing, and posting "The highs and lows of elk hunting." For the compensation the magazines provide, I might as well just go to work and post for free on Bowsite. When I think of a hunt story, I want something to immerse myself in. If it's a good story, the magazine should dedicate the page space in it that it deserves or do the hunt in a 2-3 part series. Otherwise, it just feels like a "I showed up, I shot, I killed," 2 minute recap.
Hunting is blood, sweat, and tears. If you can't convey that into print, you're not telling a story about hunting.
No humor for me, No mature vs management, and no huge without a real story from a paid writer. Huge can come from the average Joe in any form. Serendipity is what dreams are made from. DIYs are good but I want to feel the pain of research and uncertainty. Personally, I particularly don’t care for the ultra draw hunts with a team of 6 to 10 people participating. I love the stories that capture the zen like experience of man versus beast or capture the adventure.
Do not repeat a mantra and if you you write a technical article be sure to be highly technical.
Speaking of old artwork, this painting by Tom Beecham was from a story titled “The Making Of A Grand Slam” in the March 1972 issue of “Outdoor Life”. My own desert sheep hunt in 2014 was remarkably similar (right down to the band of 3 rams). I couldn’t pass it up when I saw it, and it now hangs above the full body mount of my ram. Amazing that they would commission paintings for individual stories.
Like PECO, I also enjoy Traditional Bowhunting Magazine. Even though I shoot a compound. Larry Conrad and E. Donald Thomas are must reads. I am down to reading TBM and Bowhunter Magazine. I enjoy Dwight Schuh's Wild Side. I also enjoy reading Mike Mitten and Kevin Dill writings here. I hate the "How to shoot beyond 50 yds. accurately" . To me bowhunting is to be close! I respect those like Cam Haines that can do it, but it is not for me. Greg
I want the truth. Have seen articles in hunting magazines that I know for a fact were total fiction and one whopper lie after another. Brutal that someone would send stories that were a bunch of lies. Not the editor's or magazines fault they bought a bunch of lies from a supposedly reputable, well known individual.
The guy in question has since passed away. He sold photos and stories to bow hunting magazines but did not like bow hunting and referred to archery season as "the wounding season". It still burns me to this day that a dirtbag like that had a great reputation as an outdoor communicator and represented a wack of outdoor equipment manufacturers. At an outdoor writers of America conference I heard several writers say "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story." Thought they were joking but unfortunately at least one of them was serious.
A lot of the good items missing from today's publications are what EVERYONE likes about hunting. Far too much is focused on equipment, the past 20 years has produced better killers but not better hunters. Campfire discussions can be anything from ethics to blood trailing. There are a number of new folks in the sport as well as seasoned old timers that love to pick up tips from others across the country.
I miss the stories that taught actual woodcraft along the way.
I was a F&S subscriber non-stop for 30 years, but just got disgusted and gave it up. All the articles were on deer farming (how to grow food plots, make your own water hole, etc.) or on altering the environment to manufacture the sorts of things that people used to know that they should seek out. I think the last straw was an article on hinge-cutting trees to manufacture a funnel. They may even have suggested stringing some kind of line through the woods. Why not just run deer fencing out 100 yards in each of 4 directions with a 20-30 yard gap in the middle???
Wondering where to hang a stand? X marks the spot!
Bake and Iddyl have said most of what I would have. I have published a bunch of articles in scientific journals due to what I do for my work and publishing something else in a hunting magazine doesn't do much for me. I published 1 story and realized afterwards I much prefer the interaction and sharing here than to publish in a magazine. The folks here seem to enjoy it and it's fun to be able to include dozens of pictures. It's understandable but it's pretty annoying/limiting to only be able to include a small number of pictures in a magazine.
True Scoot, in my newspaper columns, (which I control,), some of my best received have been just a collection of pictures with extended cutlines to tell the story. However, for reasons I shall not go into, that is almost impossible in a print magazine where space has a price tag. Again, thanks for all the replies. I believe we have just about exhausted the subject and I have exactly the ammunition, I need. Thanks, all.
Everything now has an angle or a sales pitch but I guess it needs to because who paid for the hunt right so you have to show off and Plug the sponsors but thats the problem they edit out all the real world reality stuff that makes hunting a challenge and then put that whole " I couldn't of got that close without this camo OR oh my god look at the blood trail this broadhead is amazing" all goofy and silly bullcrap to suck the money out of your wallets.
but reason I no longer buy hunting magazines or watch hunting shows on TV is because I feel like they are either trying to push something on me or sub consciously trying to make me think I need what they just used to be as successful,,, please stop mentioning the brands over and over or doing close-ups of brand labels or labels on arrows.
I look for DIY hunts mostly founds on YT now alot of the real deal hunts guys like you and me film out there and I love reading articles and books by new writers/ old hunters who don't have to play the sponsor game and use what they know works...... I love talking with old timers and hearing how they did it before all the gimmicks and high tech stuff that makes our hunts easier,,, yes easier.. if only we had people to follow these guys around and write storys about them and tell us their secret recipes thats the stuff I want to read.
Like cnelk said: the last story should be Patrick McManus type of humor, poking fun of ourselves. I'll never forget his story that was called "Poof, no eyebrows" that was all about his early attempts at muzzleloading.
I remember back in ~'79, all of us hunting buddies would anxiously wait for the new Outdoor Life to to arrive in the HS library to read Patrick McManus
We had a helluva time keeping our laughter to a minimum and the librarian wasnt too happy :)
There are definitely differences in the content structure between different hunting publications. Some are really focused on products and tactics using the products, while others are more about the hunt and the adventure.
Since I write semi-regularly for several mainstream bowhunting pubs, I read a lot. If its a new or unfamiliar writer, by the end of the first paragraph I decide if I'm going to invest the time to read the rest of the story. I enjoy reading work from skilled, trained writers. I hate reading pieces filled with cliches and recycled phrases from other people's articles ("seemed like an eternity as I thanked Jesus, my dead grandpa, and my beautiful wife and nine beautiful daughters for allowing me to kill this buck in the food plot under my Ozonics machine"). The minute I read anything that "seemed like an eternity" I immediately move on to the next article.
I just started reading Eyad's excellent book, "Crimson Arrows", and it's a great example of high quality hunting literature. A great writer sharing great stories in a style that's readable but not insulting to the reader. Unfortunately, too much of the "free" work out there (including in magazines that don't pay writers) is just plain painful to read, but apparently many don't care about quality writing anymore.
While some don't like it, there is also a large segment who enjoys all the product and gear and food plot stuff. The Bowsite is filled with threads and posts discussing all that.
Despite what some insist, there is still some really good adventure writing out there, but also a lot of pandering to sponsors who pay the bills. Honestly, no editor has ever asked me to include product pimps in my articles, nor has anything ever been edited in any way.
I think my biggest pet peeve has been the incredible inaccuracy of many of the "tech-help" articles over the years. 40 years ago, I subscribed to learn how to do things, how to fix things and tune my equipment. There has been way too many "big name hunters" giving bad advise on equipment and/or tuning. Nearly irreversible damage is done when that happens.
Don't get me wrong, there have been lots of good articles too, but you can't tell the good from the bad if you don't know any better to begin with.
Come to think of it, that happens on here from time to time as well.
Take the great hunt stories you read on bowsite like Kevin Dill's moose hunt and turn them into a magazine. I'd prob buy some even though bowsite is free.
Some well-known industry guys tried to launch a DIY magazine a couple years ago. They had some high-profile hunting writers (and not so high-profile, like me..) lined up to be regular contributors. Unfortunately, the economics didn't work in today's print environment.
elkstabber: McManus was a gem but so was Field and Stream's Ed Zern. He was one of the reason's why I kept getting F&S for so long.
I want it to be online and free. Awesome photography, good stories, some "how to" articles. Think, Southern Culture on the Fly, but with hunting.