Thank You, M.R. James

So this seems like the appropriate time to thank him officially for all he has done for Bowhunter Magazine

Some 30 years ago, this photo appeared with my first story in Bowhunter.


BOWHUNTER MAGAZINE WAS BORN in 1971, and this, the December 2006 issue, marks the end of Bowhunter's 35th Anniversary. It also marks the last issue in which M.R. James has an "official" presence. As M.R. wrote in his feature, "A Magic Carpet Magazine Ride," (Oct/Nov 2006 issue), his official "retirement" date is December 31, 2006. So this seems like the appropriate time to thank him officially for all he has done for Bowhunter Magazine, for bowhunting in general, and for me personally.


Obviously, without M.R., Bowhunter Magazine would not exist. Whatever his job titles have been in the past or his relationship with the magazine may be in the future, one thing will never change -- his title as Founder. That is etched in stone. In "A Magic Carpet Magazine Ride," M.R. wrote a brief history of the magazine, so I won't reiterate that here. However, I will emphasize that starting a magazine is risky business. New magazines die like flies, and keeping a magazine alive until it becomes viable takes vision, perfect timing, business acumen, and bulldog tenacity. M.R. and his partners displayed these qualities, and we, the readers of Bowhunter, are the beneficiaries. For the magic carpet ride, Thanks, M.R.

During Bowhunter's 35 years, M.R. has been a major force in bowhunting. He has used his position with the magazine to champion numerous conservation and prohunting causes. He has presented dozens of seminars and corresponded selflessly with anyone who has written to him, touching the lives of thousands of bowhunters. He has dedicated himself to worthy causes such as the Dr. Arnold S. Leonard Cancer Research Fund, and Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America. It's anybody's guess as to how much money he has committed to bowhunting and conservation efforts. M.R. served for 14 years on the Board of Directors of the Pope and Young Club, 10 of those as First Vice President, and was recently elected President. Again, all hunters are the beneficiaries. Thanks, M.R.

IN 1971, THE SAME YEAR M.R. and his cohorts launched Bowhunter, I set out to be an outdoor writer. My first stories were about fishing, duck hunting, even rifle hunting for deer -- whatever it took to pay the rent. But from the launch of my first arrow in 1969, bowhunting was my passion, and selling my first story to Bowhunter ("Five Steps to Success," October 1975) was a major milestone in my life. The fact that Bowhunter bought the story was amazing enough, but the fact that Editor M.R. James personally wrote and encouraged me to submit more stories to Bowhunter had far greater impact.

Taking his words seriously, I did write more stories for Bowhunter, and in 1984 M.R. added my name to the masthead as a Contributor. That huge vote of confidence stirred me to work even harder at bowhunting and writing. Getting stories into Bowhunter became a top priority for me.


Continued -- click on page link below.

In 1995, M.R. and I ended up together on a deer hunt in Mississippi and, fortuitously, bunked in the same cabin. During the three-day hunt we talked shop and chatted about our respective futures. The experience was pleasant but seemingly inconsequential.

However, a couple of months later M.R. wrote to ask if I would like to work for Bowhunter full time. He had reached a stage in life where he wanted to back off from work a little. In his letter he said I was his first and only choice to replace him. Twenty years earlier I had done back flips over selling a meager story about killing a spike buck to Bowhunter, so this was heady stuff.


It was a proud moment for me when, on January 1, 1996, I came on board as Senior Editor, working under M.R. Apparently, my performance was adequate, because on July 1, 1997, M.R. promoted me to the position of Editor -- his position. The fact that I now had his job, the perfect job that paid me for doing three of my favorite things -- writing, editing, and bowhunting -- was hard to comprehend.

Still, that paled in comparison with the fact that M.R. James would entrust me with his magazine, his baby. In life, we're all looking for validation. We want to know that we have value, that our efforts -- our lives -- count for something. M.R.'s trust not only opened up many opportunities for me to fulfill dreams and goals, but it justified, in my own mind at least, all of my efforts in bowhunting and writing over the years.

In short, M.R. James has played a major role in my life of bowhunting, writing, and editing. For all the support and opportunities he has given me personally, I can only say, Thanks, M.R.

IF THIS SOUNDS like a eulogy, let me set the record straight: M.R. James is not dying, and this is not a good-bye. M.R. will always be a friend, and he never will truly "retire." Rather, he'll just launch a new era, and I suspect his retirement from Bowhunter is not so much an end to anything as it is the beginning of something that augurs well for bowhunting. Wherever his travels, whims, desires, life, wife, Janet, numerous grandchildren, presidency of the Pope and Young Club, countless conservation causes, writing projects, and bowhunting challenges take him, M.R. James will continue to make a positive impact.

And we all will be the beneficiaries. For the countless contributions he will make to bowhunting in the future, I once again say, Thanks, M.R.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Better Bow Accuracy: Release Arm Alignment

Better Bow Accuracy: Release Arm Alignment

On this edition of "Dead On," pro archer Randy Ulmer shows you how to properly align your release arm for better accuracy and bowhunting practice.

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Curt Wells can't pass up this opportunity to hunt mountain caribou in the Northwest Territories.

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells has a friendly bowfishing competition with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team on Kentucky Lake.

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Canyon Ranch Roundup Part 1

Bowhunter TV's Derek Mleynek and Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson head to Texas for a late-season mixed bag hunt that promises plenty of action.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

 Cooking venison in camp is the best way to celebrate success. Recipes

Fresh Meat: Cooking Venison in Camp

David Draper

Cooking venison in camp is the best way to celebrate success.

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting ground, stalk your prey, pull your bow stealthily and pack out your animal. That means it's essential to train for your hunt. How-To

10 Workout Routines Every Bowhunter Should Master

Adam Holt

As a bowhunter, you need complete faith in your physical ability to hike in to your hunting...

It's important for bowhunters to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios & shot angles on the fly. How-To

Treestand Shot Selection for Bowhunters

Tony J. Peterson

It's important for bowhunters to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios & shot angles on the...

A recent study examines what does look for when choosing a mate. Whitetail

Does Antler Size Really Matter To Does?

C.J. Winand

A recent study examines what does look for when choosing a mate.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

It's often said archers do it Stories

The Journey For A Longbow Super Slam

Nathan L. Andersohn - July 31, 2018

It's often said archers do it "the hard way," but hunting with a longbow is, by far, the...

I was sure I was going to have a great season this year. I was shooting well and scouting trips Stories

Tough Hunting Season? You're Not Alone.

Fred Eichler - February 20, 2018

I was sure I was going to have a great season this year. I was shooting well and scouting trips

A year has already passed since the loss of one the greatest bowhunters in history. Stories

Remembering Dwight Schuh One Year Later

Dwight Schuh - February 05, 2020

A year has already passed since the loss of one the greatest bowhunters in history.

Bowhunting with friends can be a fun experience, but taking on the wilderness alone is something special. Stories

To Be Alone: Hunting As Social Distancing

Dwight Schuh

Bowhunting with friends can be a fun experience, but taking on the wilderness alone is...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now