It still has a bit of an out-of-body ring to it, as if it refers to someone other than me.
How did I get here? Simply put -- I began writing about hunting with the bow and arrow shortly after I started flinging arrows some 30 years ago. I sold my first article to Bowhunter Founder M.R. James back in 1985, and ever since I've been working my way up the magazine's ladder, one rung at a time. I describe myself as a bowhunter who writes, rather than the reverse. I never thought my passion for bowhunting and writing would lead to my becoming just the third editor of Bowhunter Magazine. I consider this the pinnacle for a bowhunting writer, and I'm deeply humbled.
It has been a long road, and I have many people to thank, including my wife, Patti. No way would I be here without her.
I'm grateful to M.R., who once sent me a two-page letter with writing tips and advice. (A smart writer feeds off constructive criticism, and that letter was a motivational feast.) And I'm especially grateful to Dwight Schuh. Long before he helped me grow as a writer, he inspired me to become a bowhunter. We think alike in many ways, and it's an honor to take a turn at shouldering the load he has skillfully carried for 16 years.
I must also thank Intermedia Outdoors' Senior VP/Group Publisher Mike Carney -- who also hosts Bowhunter TV with me -- as well as Publisher Jeff Waring and Associate Publisher Danny Farris. I'm not here without their support. It takes dozens of people to produce a magazine, but I must also credit our immediate staff, including Assistant Editor Brian Fortenbaugh, Art Director Mark Olszewski, Sales Manager Jeff Millar, and Editorial Assistant Sally Burkey. The common thread that binds us, besides friendship, is that we're all bowhunters. (Yes, even Sally is flinging arrows these days, and we all know that she's the glue holding everything together back at the editorial headquarters in PA.) Like Dwight before me, I'm blessed to have this hard-working crew.
I'm not much into chest-thumping, and most of our readers and loyal TV fans already know that I'm about as determined a bowhunter as you'll find, and I've been fortunate to hunt big game across most of North America and to have had the opportunity to hunt in places as distant as Africa and New Zealand. But at heart I'm just a simple bowhunter from the Upper Midwest, from eastern North Dakota, a guy who lives for hunting elk and mule deer in the West but dearly loves hunting whitetails, too. When it comes to bowhunting, I don't discriminate.
In the coming months you'll see some content and design changes in Bowhunter, but rest assured that your Number One Bowhunting Magazine isn't going away. After all, in 2011 we're celebrating our 40th Anniversary! With roots this deep, you can bet that the magazine's focus will only get more hardcore, continuing to cover only the best hunting adventure, techniques, and gear. And we will make you a better bowhunter. I can be this confident, in part, because of the sure contributions of the staff I've already credited above, but also because I know we've got the most accomplished group of bowhunting Field Editors and Contributors anywhere, columnists whose work will be increasingly highlighted in the issues ahead.
Finally, know that magazine brands are far from being an endangered species, a conclusion I reached in September while riding horseback in Colorado's Flat Tops Wilderness. The predawn blackness was deathly still. The right side of the narrow pack trail rose steeply into the starlit sky. The left plunged into the abyss of a deep canyon. I was grateful for the darkness -- and the realization that my horse, with his almost soothing, rocking-chair gait, didn't care to slip off the trail any more than I did.
At two miles above sea level, the panorama of a billion distant suns awed me, as though I were riding straight into the heavens. Then it hit me -- that memorable bowhunting moment couldn't possibly be captured by a lens. No still image or videotape could capture the experience. Besides being there, only one thing can put you in that creaking leather saddle under countless stars -- words. The value and power of words are incalculable, because words can spark something far more vivid than any video -- your imagination.
Words, and yes, printed words, will always be here, and as a fellow bowhunter, I promise to work hard to bring you words that are worthy of your valuable time. Thanks for being here to read them.