Think of your favorite opening day. Deer, trout, turkey, dove, elk… A day you circle on the calendar. A day that conjures memories of past openers and optimism for the one to come. A day you enjoy sharing with family and friends. Have you got it? Good.
That’s what today feels like to me. I’ve had it circled on my calendar for weeks now. Today has me both reminiscing and looking forward. More than anything, though, today is a day I’ve been excited to share with you.
Today’s the day when Field & Stream gets back to doing what we do better than any other outdoor lifestyle brand: telling stories.
And stories in print.
That’s right—print. We’re bringing back the magazine. (Find out how to subscribe here.)
A Comeback Story
Let’s step back for a minute. It’s been more than three years since we published the last print issue of F&S. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t seen the writing on the wall at the time, but when the end finally did come, I at least took comfort in the fact that we swung for the fences with our final issue—in which we celebrated the brand’s 125th anniversary. Every page of that magazine hummed. I loved it. More importantly, readers loved it. Here’s a letter from one veteran subscriber that I’ve saved all these years:
Your 125th Anniversary Issue of Field & Stream was extraordinary and brought back wonderful memories of the magazine from my youth. The issue had nostalgia, the well-disciplined array of old and new articles, and the editorial forethought to provide an old man like me a great reminiscence. It reminded me of the time when I was 12 and took a fly rod and caught smallmouth bass in a creek west of my hometown. It brought back memories of the time I saw my oldest boy shoot his first pheasant.
I’m an old man now, and I don’t get to the duck blind with my sons anymore like I used to—nor do I fish as earnestly as I did in the past. But this issue certainly helped me be reminded of how much I enjoyed the outdoors and how much Field & Stream contributed to that. Now I get to see my grandson being taught by my son to hunt and fish successfully, and Field & Stream magazine is as much a part of their lives as it had been mine. Thank you for this issue, and for a job well done.
I’ve been working at F&S for more than 15 years now, and in that time we’ve won a slew of awards—including the highest honors in the magazine industry. But no accolade comes close to reader recognition like what is on display in that letter.
I assumed that the end of the print magazine would be the end of the magazine—full stop. I was wrong. Under our previous ownership, we continued publishing F&S, but in a digital format. Even though I’d already made my peace with the idea of the magazine being a thing of the past, a part of me was intrigued by the new format, not to mention enthused about getting to tell long-form hunting and fishing stories again. I thought: Maybe our readers would forget the printed format and might actually go for a digital magazine.
Again, I was wrong.
Here’s another reader letter I’ve saved—one sent to me shortly after we launched the digital magazine. (The notes in bold are his, not mine.)
Mr. Kearns. I am a longtime subscriber. I have zero interest in you replacing my printed magazine with a digital version. I spend all day on computers and smartphones. When the work day is finally over, I will grab one of my old issues and sit quietly and read a magazine I can physically hold. I love seeing the magazine in my mailbox when it arrives. I don’t want to sit at a computer to read a magazine.
I wish I could say this note was an isolated jeer. The truth is, I heard similar reactions from countless readers. Nevermind that we published some truly remarkable stories in those digital editions of the magazine (here, here, here, and here, if you don’t believe me), one thing was abundantly clear: You missed reading stories in print.
Which brings me back to the good news: Field & Stream has new owners—who, in addition to acquiring the F&S media brand, also purchased the product rights from Dick’s Sporting Goods. As a result, Field & Stream, the brand, has been united for the first time ever. A centerpiece to this new era of F&S is reviving the magazine—the print magazine—and bringing it back where it belongs: in your mailbox, in your hands, and in your home.
The Next Generation of F&S Magazine
So, what’s this revived version of Field & Stream going to be like? If the other editors and I do our jobs, it’ll be better than ever. Bigger than ever, too. The roots of this magazine featured print editions in an oversized format. We’ll follow their lead: The new F&S magazine will measure a whopping 11×14 inches. Inside, each issue of the bi-annual magazine (delivered in the spring and fall) will have 120-plus pages packed with all the great storytelling—expert advice, hard-hitting commentary, adventure narratives, and more, all by your favorite writers—and the stunning photography that’ve made F&S a household name for more than a century.
As you can tell, I’m fired up about print. But I’m also excited about the plans for digital content that we have in the works. Every day on F&S.com, we’ll continue publishing trustworthy gear reviews, expert how-to articles, and outdoor news stories. You can also expect more timeless storytelling, the kind only Field & Stream can produce, right here on the website—pieces like this brand-new one from Bill Heavey about Pennsylvania’s flintlock season. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll also launch a new serialized feature about hunting camp, plus classic stories from the archives, step-by-step recipe guides, and gear recommendations from noted outdoor experts.
Let Us Know Your (Honest) Thoughts
Before I go and let you enjoy and explore the new F&S, I’ll leave you with two things: One, stay in touch. Drop me a line (you can reach me at email@example.com) and let me know what you love, what you hate, and any suggestions you want to pass on. Two—if it’s not asking too much—just a bit more patience and grace on your part would be greatly appreciated. We want to re-earn your trust. We want to get this thing perfect. Hopefully, by the time the first issue of the print magazine arrives at your home this spring, we will have achieved both.
I can’t wait to share the revived Field & Stream with you.
How to Subscribe to the All-New Field & Stream
Unlike the previous versions of Field & Stream magazine, the new one will not be available for sale on newsstand. The only way to purchase it is through a membership in our 1871 Club. Learn more about the 1871 Club here.