Print isn’t dead. From origin to latest ink, here’s what you should know about the top whitetail publications
I started my career in the outdoor industry as a magazine writer. Today, I’m a digital guy. But there’s still something magical about holding that fact-filled book in your hands. Turning the glossy pages and seeing the words and photography that adorn them is an experience you don’t get elsewhere. Sure, the web is best for real-time information. But hunting magazines still have their place.
North American Whitetail
“From its first issue forward, North American Whitetail (NAW) was billed as ‘the magazine for the serious trophy deer hunter,’” said editor Gordon Whittington. “That’s still the case, though over the decades we’ve broadened our reach to include a lot more on deer management, too. As the hunting population has increased in average age, we’ve seen that the interest in hunting big whitetails has only grown, so we’ve never strayed from our focus on trophy deer. This includes detailed profiles on the highest-scoring bucks in the world, which many people consider to be the main point of differentiation between NAW and other titles. We pride ourselves in covering the most noteworthy deer first and best.”
NAW has a great staff of knowledgeable contributors including Dr. James Kroll, Don Higgins, Bernie Barringer, and more.
“We do our best to produce a magazine that appeals to whitetail hunters and managers across a wide landscape but is specific enough to help individuals get the most they can from their personal whitetail experiences,” Whittington said. “Although our staff members grew up in different regions, we all share a lifelong love of whitetails and the land that produces them. For that reason, we feel we have a finger on the pulse of the whitetail community across North America. Our goal is to always offer fresh content on hunting and growing big, healthy deer.”
Founders: Steve Vaughn, David Morris and Dick Idol
NAW Fun Fact: When they published that first issue in 1982, they didn’t know if there would be a second issue. But the first was a hit, and the magazine has been a success ever since.
“Petersen’s Bowhunting is dedicated to reviewing the latest and greatest bowhunting equipment available,” said Associate Editor Taylor Pardue. “Every issue includes compound and/or crossbow reviews from professional engineer Jon Silks, an editorial “Field Tested” page, a special “New Gear” highlight, and technical pieces from pro archers Randy Ulmer and Levi Morgan, among others. Silks is of particular note; Petersen’s Bowhunting is the only outdoor magazine with a professional engineer on its editorial staff."
This magazine is most notable for detailed articles on bowhunting techniques and archery equipment. It’s packed with reviews on bows, arrows, and more.
“Petersen’s Bowhunting partners with some of the most respected bowhunting and archery authorities in the world, from Randy Ulmer to Bill Winke to Levi Morgan,” Pardue said. “Each issue also showcases a wealth of wisdom from, whitetail biologist Jason Snavely, crossbow expert Bob Humphrey, DIY champion Eddie Claypool, and others.”
PB Fun Fact: They produce a New Gear Guide for distribution to the Archery Trade Association Show attendees. It’s filled with new gear, and each product writeup includes the booth number where it’s located.
“There are a lot of great deer-focused magazines out there that can help you learn how to shoot more deer or kill a bigger buck,” said Editor-in-Chief Alex Robinson. “But Outdoor Life offers rich storytelling and high-quality photography that brings you along into the woods with us.”
It also has a knowledgeable team of editors and contributors including Andrew McKean, Chuck Adams, and more.
“[It has] everything from crossbow hunting trends, to the latest news on chronic wasting disease (CWD), to reviews on the best new hunting bows,” Robinson said. “If it has to do with deer hunting, we cover it.”
OL Fun Fact: The magazine is based in New York City, but the writers and editors live all over the U.S.
Deer & Deer Hunting
“It was America's first publication devoted strictly to the white-tailed deer,” said editor Dan Schmidt. “Deer & Deer Hunting also helped kickstart the whitetail industry, with direct ties to the advancement of mock scrapes, trail cameras and treestand safety equipment. These ideas and more came directly from the Stump Sitters research in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”
This magazine is as hard-hitting as they come. It’s packed with educational value.
“Readers can expect to learn not only how the whitetail ticks but also gain a better insight and appreciation of the whitetail's place in North America's history,” Schmidt said. “DDH's mission from its inception was to provide practical and comprehensive information to white-tailed deer hunters. We do this through a heavy focus on deer behavior, biology and scientific research.”
DDH Fun Fact:Deer & Deer Hunting magazine is a byproduct of the Stump Sitters Whitetail Study Group from the 1970s.
Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine
“Buckmasters is the perfect mix of whitetail science (biology and behavior), hunting how-to, gear updates and deer harvest stories,” said editor Ken Piper. “Unlike our sister publication [Rack], deer stories don’t have to be about a giant buck. We believe every buck is a trophy, and some of our most popular articles are about how our subscribers took their working-man’s (or woman’s) buck.”
The men and women creating this content know their subject matter, too. Regular writers include David Hart, P.J. Reilly, Mark Kayser, Bob Robb and more.
BM Fun Fact:Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine started as a quarterly black-and-white newsletter. Demand was so high it quickly because a full-color high-gloss magazine, and that eventually led to the first whitetail hunting TV show, Buckmasters.
“Even without a newsstand presence, Rack has gained thousands of loyal subscribers hungry for something different — a source of entertainment and awe rather than a primer,” said editor Mike Handley. “We offer eye candy, the cream of the whitetail crop, from cover to cover.”
Expect stories, photos and scoresheets behind the largest whitetails across the continent, taken by every legal means available.
“We specialize in 180-plus-inch typicals and 200-plus-inch non-typicals,” Handley said. “We feature an average of 15 giant bucks per issue. While we do not publish general how-to or gear-related articles, such information can be gleaned from the real-deal success stories within our pages.”
RM Fun Fact: It’s the official publication of Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records, offering a gross-type, no-deductions measuring system that gives full credit to every scorable inch of antler.
Field & Stream
“F&S is the world’s largest outdoor magazine,” said Whitetails Editor Scott Bestul. “Our contributors include Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters and novelists, and some of the world’s best photographers. When you go to F&S for deer-hunting content, you get cutting-edge info from top experts. But more than that, you get cutting-edge info that is written and packaged to inspire. You also get exhaustive, honest gear reviews that you can trust.”
Contributors have extensive experience. But these stories often include interviews from expert hunting guides, hunters, managers and biologists. These sources come together to present the latest information on all things whitetails.
Founders: John P. Burkhard and Henry Wellington Wack
FS Fun Fact: Field & Stream magazine is not affiliated with Field & Stream stores.
“While we are not exclusively a deer hunting magazine, we do cover all species of deer and the locations they can be found in,” said editor Curt Wells. “Our coverage is whitetail heavy, but we also cover mule deer, black-tailed deer, Coues deer, as well as all species of game that can be hunted with a bow and arrow.”
This publication is focused on bowhunting adventure, hunting tactics, quality destinations and gear. Articles range from pure storytelling to technical how-to’s.
“Our writers and columnists are real bowhunters that possess unlimited bowhunting experience, including icons like Chuck Adams, Randy Ulmer, Fred Eichler, Frank Noska, Larry D. Jones, Joe Bell, Dr. Dave Samuel, C.J. Winand and Tony Peterson,” Wells said. “We purchase articles from the most experienced bowhunters on the planet, and from the average bowhunter who has a good story or tip to share.”
BM Fun Fact: Its 50th Anniversary is just around the corner.
This magazine is a science-based, tactic-centric deer hunting publication. It covers techniques, habitat management, herd health, volunteer activism and much more. Its goal? To help ensure the future of sustainable deer populations and hunting.
“Expect timely, practical guidance on deer biology, hunting strategies, population management, habitat improvement, food plots, trail-camera monitoring, and more,” said editor Lindsay Thomas. “Enjoy a range of information for advanced and beginning hunters, as well as knowledge of use to both public and private land hunters on large or small acreage.
“We have a broad range of deer journalists, wildlife biologists, deer researchers, habitat consultants, as well as many QDMA members sharing hard-earned knowledge and success stories,” Thomas continued. “We don’t choose content based on the author’s name recognition, but on the reliability, value, and uniqueness of the information they have to share.”
QW Fun Fact: Every article is reviewed by the editor, at least three staff wildlife biologists, and sometimes additional experts in specific fields, to ensure all information is accurate.
Whitetails Unlimited Magazine
“We have hunting stories, of course, but we have also had recent stories on food safety in the field, importance of treestand safety, tracking wounded game, best deer hunting rifles, [and more],” editor Jeff Davis said. “J. Wayne Fears talks about food plots in each issue. Joe Byers shares his hunting experiences. Tommy Kirkland is a photographer who spends a lot of time following whitetails and observing their behavior. Travis "T-Bone" Turner shares his passion for hunting, conservation, and archery in every issue. There is even a set of great recipes for home or deer camp in each issue."
“We also have a section featuring member-submitted stories and practical information on topics related to deer and deer hunting,” Davis continued. “Since we are not distributed on newsstands, we have the freedom to do some things that do not drive those sales, like show photos of fawns. I've had [people] get very excited to hear that we use doe and fawn photos, and don't require every buck photo to have a monster-sized rack.”