On Hocus-Pocus Clothing, Gear Reviews, and Integrity | Field & Stream

Whitetail 365

All deer. All the time. From F&S' Scott Bestul and Dave Hurteau

On Hocus-Pocus Clothing, Gear Reviews, and Integrity

Okay, I'm done with the sixth-sense topic, but I need to reference it once more to make an entirely different point. Searching on Google before my last post to make sure Bestul's "Sixth Sense" column had not previously run on the site, I came across a discussion on a popular whitetail forum in which one reader slams the article for mentioning the HECS StealthScreen suit, designed to insulate a human's electromagnetic field, and the next reader then says, "Yes, I read that article…but kind of blew it off as a marketing piece…."

This brings up what I think is an unfortunate trend: a growing distrust of the outdoor media, which is not exactly unfounded in general, but I want to speak to F&S specifically.

Unlike the reader above, I know all of you have enough feel for nuance to realize that Bestul's mention of the HECS suit was tongue-in-cheek, bordering on derisive. But I think it is worth pointing out that we do not do "marketing pieces" and try to pass them off as columns, reports, or gear reviews.

I say so because this sentiment has popped up here on occasion: You may remember that the first section of the August issue's "Bowhunting Rules" cover story offered tips on how to get the right bow for you. When that went up online, someone accused me of trying to "sell new bows for companies." Again, with so much blatant hucksterism in outdoor media generally, I can understand the suspicion. So let me just make something clear: I don't give two airborne turds whether or not someone buys a new bow. For those who do want a new one, I'm happy to help with whatever insight I may have.

What I do care about is F&S's integrity, and so I go to a lot of trouble to make sure my reviews are thorough and unbiased. We often rank gear, for example, something you see less and less in other magazines. And when you rank gear, one company is happy and everyone else wants to punch you in the neck.

There's been a lot of discussion on this site about F&S's general policy to not cover the truly awful. But you should know that we routinely cover the not-so-good and the not-as-good. Let me give you an example. This summer, I tested compound bows for under $300. Here's the article is case you missed it. See if you have any trouble distinguishing between the ones I think are really good, good, and not-as-good.

As a matter of integrity, I'll put F&S's gear reviews up against anyone else's.