Royal Flush

Potty mouths, a secret buck, and a teen past his prime.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Field & Stream isn't the boring man-magazine I figured it would be. Idly browsing through my hubby's Winter Double Issue, I stumbled upon Bill Heavey's "The Book of John" (A Sportsman's Life). I laughed my way through the article, which so aptly described my husband. I felt compelled to check out the rest of the magazine. Now knock it off or I'll have to become an outdoor enthusiast.

Danita Bay, via e-mail

Bravo, bravo to Bill Heavey for his superb job on "The Book of John." I had just finished drooling over the new Cabela's on the biffy myself. I still can't stop laughing my ass off.

Randy Albright, via e-mail

"The Book of John" brought tears to my eyes. I'm 16 years old, and for as long as I can remember, I was next in line for the Cabela's catalog right after my dad was off the pot. I swear, putting every dime of my money into that book has kept me off drugs and the streets.

Kevin Combs, White Settlement, Texas

I just read "The Book of John" and I could hardly stay on the throne! I laughed so loud my wife came in to see if I was all right. Heavey has written lots of really good columns, but this one is the absolute best.

Michael Hines, St. Matthews, Ky.

A SATISFIED CUSTOMER
Thank you for the December article "The Deer You Never See" and all the superbuck stories. They inspired me. By Saturday, November 27, I had been hunting all season and it wasn't looking good for me. All my buddies were tagging out, and no one wanted to hunt that day. I thought of your article and decided I would try my luck. Just maybe a "superbuck" could be hiding nearby. The frozen leaves made it noisy going, so I hopped up onto a rock to watch for a while. After 10 minutes, a doe spotted me, stomped her feet, and took off. Behind her was a huge mass of antlers! I aimed and the buck fell like a ton of bricks. It was a 9-point with thick, massive antlers, rare for this heavily hunted mountain. Nobody had seen him before, and he was hiding out less than a mile from my house. Thanks, F&S.;

Andrew Angus, Bleecker, N.Y.

THAT'S RICH
Under the heading of "Jeers" please find my letter concerning your 2004 Best of the Best Awards. Your panel of "experts" found these product prices to be fair? It's hard to believe this is the same magazine my father used to subscribe to. Back in the day, I think F&S; catered to the average working-stiff family man that could afford one fishing or hunting trip a year. I think most sportsmen will say that the kind of elitist snob able to afford this gear is the last person you want in the field.

Wayne Sidor, Northlake, Ill.

When I read the 2004 Best of the Best Awards, I realized once again that you all live in the world of gratuities and freebies. Every issue of F&S; is a big decision for me: I fork over the four bucks, wondering if my money is better spent on something else this month (like gas, or many of the little things that executives have forgotten about as they've left the ordinary life behind). Four hundred dollars for a fishing jacket? I've been fishing for over 40 years in T-shirts and windbreakers from Sears. All I'm saying is, can you run a story stating the best buy for the money?

Terry B. Conley, West Chester, Ohio

You think we get to keep this stuff? If we try to boost a freebie rod or gun the manufacturers howl like scalded cats. Don't confuse us with what we run in the magazine. Most of us would be glad if we had a Sears windbreaker to fish in. It's a lot more comfortable than a flour sack with holes cut out for the arms. -THE EDITORS

[NEXT "AN ALL-AROUND GOOD TIME"] **AN ALL-AROUND GOOD TIME **
A thoughtful hunting story by Rick Bass, great adventure tales from Alaska's Dalton Highwayy and Mongolia, a fun piece on big bores, and a column by the always interesting Thomas McIntyre: Thanks for another great issue of F&S.; In an outdoor market populated by repetitive drivel, it's great that your magazine is covering a wide range of field sports, not just the same old topics.

Matt Miller, Boise, Idaho

FAMILY VALUES
When your magazine comes in the mail, my dad and I have a race to the mailbox, followed by a game of tug-of-war with the issue, usually followed by a temporary disownment because I run off with it. Great job, guys.

James Givens, via e-mail

COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF
Thank you for the fantastic recipes you have been publishing recently. I cooked my own goose this Christmas following the recipe in Jonathan Miles' "Your Goose Is Cooked." My in-laws are not crazy about wild game, but at the end of the day there was nothing left. Now my only problem is how to get more geese.

Kris Qually, Calgary, Alberta

ROLL MODEL
Way to go, Keith McCafferty ("Don't Die in Your Truck," Survival). None of us want to die, frozen solid, like a long-forgotten chunk of elk flank left over in the Kenmore upright. No way. And good thinking with the TP. I always knew there were other purposes for that stuff.

Bill Hill, Idaho Falls, Idaho

** OUT WITH THE OLD**
Is your magazine completely finished with any and all articles related to upland gamebird hunting? Is it safe to assume I will never again read of crisp fall walks through a Northeastern apple orchard for grouse and woodcock? Didn't the late, great Gene Hill once work at this rag? I swear I can hear him spinning in his grave. If indeed you are finished with articles on gamebirds, please just be forthright so I can let go of the last bit of hope I have for the sport. I guess you guys are no different from the rest of the world, content to let us old bird hunters pass on to memory.

G.S. Wagner, via e-mail

We might be able to hear Hilly spinning if you weren't whining so loud. There are plenty more articles on bird hunting to come. -THE EDITORS

Thank you to Rick Bass for the absolute best and most down-to-earth story I've ever read. "The Old Bull" made me rethink everything I cherish so much about hunting. He ventured to say things nobody wants to even think about. We're all getting older, but Bass is the only one brave enough to admit it. I'm 16, and I can see even now it's going to get harder sooner or later. All we can do is keep persisting at what we love to do (hunting) until we just can't anymore. At least we'll have more time to fish.

Jesse Prier, Ironton, Mo.

You're feeling older? Give us a break. Why, you've got at least six or seven good years still ahead of you. -THE EDITORS