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Field and Stream magazine

Field and Stream Magazine
article by:
Richard Judger - St. James Press
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Last modified:April 21, 2017

Summary:

Field and Stream magazine

What is the Field and Stream magazine

Field and Stream magazine, America’s fishing and hunting bible, was born in a Minnesota duck blind in 1895. With contemporaries like Sports Afield and Outdoor Life, it challenged the nineteenth-century stereotype that hunting and fishing were the realms of fur trappers and frontiersmen or entertainments for the idle rich.

Coupled with technological inventions that made shooting and fishing more precise and simpler, the new magazines showed that hunting and fishing were recreational activities that may be appreciated by all, particularly the growing middle class.

With a circulation of still more than a million in the early twenty-first century, Field and Stream continues to crusade for conservation measures, provides a library of wildlife video, and commissions wildlife pictures by well-known artists and photographers without forgetting its basic function to supply the material of dreams for generations of hunters and fishermen.

Field and Stream magazine Increased Interest in Sports

The Civil War marked a fresh interest among Americans in athletic activities, most notably horse racing, boxing, track and field, and the comparatively new sport of baseball, but in addition to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. The Sporting News debuted in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1886, and its rapid success motivated newspaper publishers such as Joseph Pulitzer to add sport news sections to their daily newspapers.

Sports were considered amusement as well as a kind of escapism from what the late nineteenth century considered a crazy lifestyle, however, also, they taught a valuable lesson, particularly to the young. Like life, sports had rules, and one needed to learn and obey them to succeed and win. The choice disobedience meant failure, shame, and possibly even passing in a society obsessed with social Darwinism.

Magazine publishers weren’t far behind their paper counterparts in filling the newest emptiness for sports info. Sports Afield was founded in 1887, followed by Outdoor Life, which started as a Denver-based bicycling magazine in the early 1890s. John P. Burkhard and Henry W. Wack were speaking in their duck blind in September 1895 about the wholesale slaughter of wildlife by so-called sportsmen.

The conservation movement was in full swing, inaugurated by the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 and fanned by supporters like John Muir and Gifford Pinchot. Burkhard and Wack disapproved of delight firing and set out to preach the new gospel of conservation to middle-class hunters and fishermen in their publication North Western Field and Stream: A Journal of the Rifle, Gun, Gat and Camera, which was printed in their hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first of many remarkable conservationists to appear in the publication. Writing in 1899, the president-to-be noted of the grizzly bear, “he’s been hunted for sport, and hunted for his pelt, and hunted for the bounty, and hunted as a dangerous foe to stock, until, save in the very wildest districts, he’s learned to be more cautious when compared to a deer.”

Another post on youth hunting noted several years after, “All little boys crave the out of doors when they do not get enough of it.” The magazine was moved to New York in the very first years of the twentieth century, and its name changed, but it continued to struggle financially.

Apparently, Henry Ford offered Burkhard and Wack $1,200 worth of stock in his new motor auto business in 1905 in exchange for twenty full page ads, but the pair turned him down because they were desperate for cash. Eltinge Warner, a printing salesman and distribution supervisor, took over the company side of the magazine in 1906 and bought the publication upon Burkhard’s death in 1907.

Field and Stream Magazine
Outdoors Magazine

Circulation rose, and Field and Stream prospered as conservation measures recommended by the magazine raised animal and fish populations. Warner became involved in the motion picture business and released other publications using gains from Field and Stream, but his first magazine kept to its initial path.

“When trout are increasing, hope is powerful in the angler’s heart, even though he might not have discovered in what place or upon what insects the fish are feeding,” a Field and Stream post on fly fishing kept in 1912. An article on a shark attack in 1933 portended “awful things … there in the muddy water as well as the misty moonshine.” The magazine also featured the self-deprecating humour of Gene Hill and also the off the wall antics of Ed Zern. It absorbed its chief competitor, Forest and Stream, in 1930.

Field and Stream magazines Circulation Ups and Downs

A blessing in men’s magazines during and following World War II enlarged the flow of Field and Stream. By 1963 Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, and Field and Stream had a combined distribution of 3.7 million. In 1951 Warner sold Field and Stream to the novel publishing house of Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, which was later absorbed and reorganised in the CBS magazine office in 1971.

The name peaked in size at about 200 hundred pages per problem during the 1970s, because of its payment way of writers. “We do not pay by the word anymore,” managing editor Margaret Nichols said in 1995. “Long ago, when we paid a nickel a word, some individuals let their stories drag on and on. Fish would jump, then jump over and over and again.”

Circulation plateaued at two million before the turn of the twenty-first century, but rivalry from televised sports programs and, more recently, digital sources induced a down tendency in readership. The magazine was sold to Times Mirror Magazines, the publisher of Outdoor Life, in 1987 and turn to Time Inc. in 2001. The Bonnier Group bought it along with seventeen other titles in 2007, but the permit for the use of the Area and Stream name was sold to another private investment group.

While styling itself as the planet ‘s leading outdoor magazine, Field and Stream entered the electronic age with The Web, smartphone, and tablet PC versions supplying guidance, reviews, and adventure stories together with videos and websites. Still “there are definite things a magazine does better than anything else,” editor Anthony Licata said in 2007, “[not] just to educate and instruct, but also [to] inspire sportsmen with great photography and long-form journalism.”

Field and Stream magazine