“Let’s, for a moment, consider some things that have not changed. Or at least not substantially. I’m talking about our traditions of hunting and fishing, of course. When you get down to it, our hunting tradition is made up of genuine people who love being outdoors, harvesting their own food or pelts, and sharing their stories. This is how it’s always been, and this is how it still is today—even if the methods, tech, and aesthetics have all changed.”Alex Robinson, Editor-in-Chief
After years of hunting deer from treestands with her compound bow, Outdoor Life contributor Beka Garris was ready for a new challenge. She decided to teach herself how to properly shoot, and hunt, with a traditional bow. an old-school recurve. Her success inspired her dad to pick up his own recurve again, and Garris has been bringing her own daughter on hunts since she was six months old. Outdoor Life’s cover story gives readers a firsthand account of how swapping a compound for a recurve bow can shape the way three generations hunt.
Outdoor Life contributor Durrell Smith takes readers inside a momentous day with the Ga-Fla Shooting Dog Handlers Club, where he writes about the deep history of Black dog-men in the South, and what a new generation can learn from them. “At sunrise, bobwhite quail sing in the morning to open up Sunday service, and dogmen are the tenors of the Red Hills choir. My own dogs bark wildly, incessantly, their barks mixing in with our laughter as Joe Fryson’s voice rumbles through the woods at the beginning of each brace…While you’ll see some truly incredible dog work (and some fine horse work too) at this field trial, it’s much more than a competition. It’s among these longleaf pines that we find a particular kind of sanctuary that nurtures the spirit of great bird dogs and the centuries-old traditions that the clubs seek to uphold.”
“A dad like mine is embarrassing when you’re 13. By the time I graduated high school, I thought he was hilarious. At 29, I’m torn between admiration and exasperation. My hunting buddy is a control freak reveling in the lawlessness of old age,” writes Natalie Krebs, Senior Deputy Editor. Anyone hunter can tell you that, hunting with family is filled with highs and lows; Krebs experienced all of them on a recent turkey hunt with her dad.
Baby boomers swelled hunting’s ranks to record numbers by the 1980s, and by 1991 there were still more than 14 million estimated hunters in America. Today, baby boomers are 56 to 75 years old-—they are no longer the majority of America’s hunters, and our hunter population is declining quickly. While outdoor publications have been writing about our inability to backfill the baby boomers hunters and ways to address it. However, we haven’t stopped to take a look at the legacy the boomers are leaving behind and asked questions that address issues beyond just recruitment. Well-known outdoor writer (and baby boomer), Patrick Durkin’s in-depth retrospective examines the legacy the largest generation of outdoorsmen and women accomplished during their prime, and asks the pertinent questions that lie ahead of all of us.