|Editor in Chief||Diana Rupp|
|Company||Field Sports Publishing Inc|
|Based in||Huntington Beach, California|
Sports Afield (SA) is an American outdoor magazine headquartered in Huntington Beach, California. Founded in 1887 by Claude King as a hunting and fishing magazine, it is the oldest published outdoor magazine in North America. The first issue, in January 1888, was eight pages long; it was printed on newspaper stock and published in Denver, Colorado. The magazine currently publishes six print issues per year as well as a digital edition, with an editorial focus on worldwide big-game hunting and conservation. In addition to publishing the magazine, Sports Afield licenses its name to branded products including safes, clothing, outdoor equipment, a TV show, and real-estate marketing. Sports Afield is one of the “Big Three” in American outdoor magazines together with Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, and is the only one published in a printed edition currently.
Upon its founding, Sports Afield was subtitled “A Journal for Gentlemen” and promised, in Claude King's words, “To be devoted to hunting, fishing, rifle and trap shooting, the breeding of thorough-bred dogs, cycling, and kindred sports…”The subscription price was $1.50 per year, with single copies selling for 15 cents. A few years later, King expounded on his philosophy: “Sports Afield has an ambition above that of simply entertaining and amusing the public; it wants to help propagate the true spirit of gentle sportsmanship, to encourage indulgence in outdoor recreations, and to assist in the dissemination of knowledge regarding natural history, photography, firearms, and kindred subjects.”
By 1890, Sports Afield had expanded and moved its operations to Chicago. In 1927, King stepped down as editor and turned the reins over to Joe Godfrey. Zane Grey started writing for the magazine, as did Jimmy Robinson, beginning a 60-year association with the publication. In 1930, Ivan B. Romig and his associates took over Sports Afield, combined it with a smaller publication—Trails of the Northwoods—and moved the offices to Minneapolis. A string of editors worked the helm of Sports Afield, which struggled during the Great Depression years to stay afloat. It did, and by 1934 the magazine was in the black.
Sports Afield was an early advocate of conservation. Its credo was: “We believe in sane conservation, we oppose pollution, and we stand for the enforcement of our game laws.” In the 1930s, Gordon MacQuarrie and Archibald Rutledge joined as writers, and the circulation rose to 250,000. In 1945, Ted Kesting, an associate editor of Country Gentleman magazine, was hired as editorial director and brought from Philadelphia to Minneapolis. His assignment was to expand and modernize Sports Afield. Only 26 years of age, he was the youngest editor of a major national publication in the United States.
Kesting soon signed up more writers. One he brought on board was angling editor Jason Lucas, whose writings about bass fishing became very popular. Another was mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner, who became known for his articles defending gun owners' and hunters’ rights. By October 1948, TIME reported that Sports Afield had become the biggest of all outdoor monthlies. "Last week it put to bed a November issue that would go to 800,000 customers, a record for its sixty-one years. Colorful as a hatband full of flies, it was filled with picture stories and crackling adventure stuff…”
In 1953, Hearst magazines tendered an offer to Walter Taylor, the publisher, providing Kesting and his staff came along. The sale was made, and Sports Afield moved its offices to New York City. Meanwhile, the magazine continued to grow, attracting such writers as Col. Townsend Whelen, Jack Denton Scott, and Russell Annabel. Circulation hit the 1,100,000 mark in 1961. By the late 1960s, Homer Circle, Tom Paugh, and Zack Taylor had joined the ranks. The cover price jumped from 35 cents to 50 cents a copy.
In 1970, Kesting announced he was stepping down as editor and named Lamar Underwood as his replacement. Under Underwood's guidance, Gene Hill, Nick Lyons, Vance Bourjaily, and John Madson all appeared in the periodical's pages.
When Underwood moved on, he was replaced by saltwater fishing editor Tom Paugh. The Paugh years saw major redesigns, plus a downsizing in circulation as the magazine adjusted to competitive times. Grits Gresham, Thomas McIntyre, and Anthony Acerrano all wrote for the magazine, which continued to publish not only adventure stories mixed with how-to-do-it pieces but also to comment on conservation issues as well.
In the late 1990s, the magazine entered the most difficult period in its long history. Hearst executives shifted the magazine's focus from hunting and fishing to camping, hiking, mountain biking, and other “non-consumptive” outdoor sports. The strategy failed, however, and in the summer of 2000, Hearst sold the magazine to Robert E. Petersen, who subsequently moved the magazine's offices to the Los Angeles area. Petersen returned the magazine to its traditional focus on hunting and fishing with the May 2000 issue but the publication found it difficult to regain a mass audience for this format, and in June 2002 it suspended publication.
In the fall of 2002, Field Sports Publishing Inc. (FSP) purchased the rights to publish the magazine from Robert E. Petersen. The owners decided to return Sports Afield to its original core and focus the magazine on the traveling big-game hunter. Diana Rupp became the new editor; the new owners published their first issue in March 2003. In 2009 the remaining intellectual property rights to the Sports Afield name were purchased by FSP, and today Sports Afield is one of a few outdoor magazines with a high-profile name that owns all the rights to its name.
Before World War II, the Sports Afield brand was applied to some products, but it is not known if these were licensed goods or items made at the behest of Sports Afield. Occasionally such Sports Afield-branded items made before 1940 appear on internet auction sites such as eBay. After World War II, the Sports Afield brand became available on clothing, rugs, and footwear. These were license programs whereby manufacturers paid for the use of the Sports Afield name on their products. These programs continued through the decades with the Sports Afield name used on various categories of goods ranging from sporting guns to fishing gear to snow boots.
After the sale of the magazine by Hearst to Robert E. Petersen in 2000, the licensing program was taken over by Mahco Products of Arkansas. Mahco primarily concentrated on clothing and compact optics. After the sale to Field Sports Publishing in 2002, management of the brand was taken in-house, and new licensing contracts were entered into for an expanded range of products. In 2014, an agreement was made with Sports Afield Consumer Products to manufacture safes for firearms and personal security. Several licenses for clothing items were made between 2006 and 2021. Other product categories included backpacks, cloth decorated with Sports Afield magazine cover art, rubber boots, sunglasses, and canvas sports bags.
In 2011 the World of Sports Afield television program was launched. Produced by Safari Classics Productions of Dallas, it was initially hosted by Craig Boddington and since that time has been hosted at various times by Shane Mahoney, Aaron Nielson, Dave Fulson, Dan Catlin, and James Reed. It runs on the Sportsman Channel with new shows launching each year between July and December. It covers adventure travel and hunting, mainly in North America and Africa, with some Asian travel.
In March 2014, Field Sports Publishing Inc., the owners of Sports Afield, bought Cabela's Trophy Properties and renamed it Sports Afield Trophy Properties (SATP).Sports Afield Trophy Properties is a real-estate marketing company that focuses on agricultural lands, woods and forests, and recreational property listings. Its services are offered to independent real-estate brokers who get an exclusive territory within the network. The marketing consists of websites, social media, syndications to multiple listing services, printed media, and cross-promotions to other platforms in the company group.
A trophy property is a real estate term for the top 2% of properties in a given subcategory. The term may refer to residences, architecturally or historically preserved properties, agricultural lands that have extraordinary yields, high-amenity natural land and properties with spectacular views, or other extraordinary amenities.
Harris Publications Inc. was an American special interest media company, operating over 75 brands with print, digital, mobile and live event platforms prior to its sale to Athlon Media in 2016. It has produced magazines that educate, entertain, inform and inspire. Subject matters spanned an array of interests including decorating, gardening, beauty, automotive, sports, outdoor living, history, tactical, entertainment and wellness. Harris' titles covered a variety of markets and focused on niche special interests, primarily in the United States.
BPS Direct, L.L.C, doing business as Bass Pro Shops, is an American privately held retailer which specializes in hunting, fishing, camping and other related outdoor recreation merchandise. With headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, Bass Pro Shops employs a workforce of about 40,000. Bass Pro Shops supports and sells merchandise for the National Audubon Society.
Cabela's Inc. is a American retailer which specializes in hunting, fishing, boating, camping, shooting and other outdoor recreation merchandise. The chain is based in Sidney, Nebraska. Cabela's was founded by Richard N. Cabela in 1961. Cabela's was acquired by Springfield, Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops in 2017 and has been a subsidiary since then.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, is responsible for the conservation of wildlife resources and for boating projects in the state. A commissioner appointed by the Fish and Wildlife Commission heads the department. The commission--which oversees the department's commissioner and promulgates regulations governing fishing, hunting and boating--is a nine-member bipartisan board appointed by the governor from a list of candidates nominated by active hunters and anglers in each of nine geographic districts in the state.
Outdoor Life is an outdoors magazine about camping, fishing, hunting, and survival. It is a sister magazine of Field & Stream. Together with Sports Afield, they are considered the Big Three of American outdoor publishing by Money (magazine). Outdoor Life was launched in Denver, Colorado, in January 1898. Founder and editor-in-chief (1898–1929), J. A. McGuire, intended Outdoor Life to be a magazine for sportsmen, written by sportsmen, covering all aspects of the outdoor arena.
Bushnell Corporation is an American firm that specializes in sporting optics and outdoor products. It is based in Overland Park, Kansas and is a subsidiary of Vista Outdoor. Bushnell's produces binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, riflescopes, red dot sights, GPS devices, laser rangefinders, game cameras, night-vision devices and other optical equipments.
A hunting license is a regulatory or legal mechanism to control hunting.
Outdoor Sportsman Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), is an outdoors media group in the United States. They publish 19 hunting, fishing and shooting magazines, and own the Sportsman, Outdoor Channel, and World Fishing Network specialty channels, as well as the MyOutdoorTV.com internet TV network, and 19.9% of the Canadian Sportsman Channel having purchased the Sportsman Channel from its founders in June 2007. In 2014, KSE acquired Outdoor Sportsman Group from InterMedia Partners. InterMedia had acquired the magazines from Primedia in 2006.
Outside is an American company and magazine focused on the outdoors. The first issue of Outside was published in September 1977.
The National Wild Turkey Federation is an international non-profit organization whose mission is 'the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.' It currently has more than 250,000 members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and 14 other countries.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is a state government agency created by the General Assembly in 1947 to conserve and sustain North Carolina's fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of N.C. fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws.
Forest and Stream was a magazine featuring hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities in the United States. The journal was founded in August 1873 by Charles Hallock. At the time of its 1930 cancellation it was the ninth oldest magazine still being issued in the US.
As Canada's only national fishing and hunting magazine, Outdoor Canada has been in print since 1972 with a mix of how-to articles, buyer's guides, profiles, travelogues, reportage and analysis. In 2015, Outdoor Canada West was launched.
Abe Walsh is an American author who has written extensively about his hunting, fishing and back-country adventures. He has written for over 25 magazine titles, and authored or ghost-written several hardcover books on the subject. He has also appeared on-camera on television hunting shows.
William R. "Bill" Quimby is an author and retired columnist, editor and publisher who has specialized in subjects related to big game hunting for more than four decades.
Gary Lewis is an outdoor writer, author and TV host residing in Bend, Oregon.
Sportsman's Guide is an online retailer of hunting and fishing gear, military surplus, ammunition and outdoor sporting goods. It is based in South St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. The company was founded by Gary Olen in 1970, and the first Sportsman's Guide catalog mailed in 1976. In 2012, Sportsman's Guide employed about 700 people.
C.C. Filson is an American privately owned outfitter and manufacturer of goods for outdoor enthusiasts. The company, based in Seattle, Washington, designs, manufactures, distributes and sells men's and women's outdoor clothing, accessories and luggage. Filson sells its products via company-owned retail stores, catalogs and the Filson website as well as through authorized dealers in the United States and international distributors. The company was originally established in Seattle in 1897 as C.C. Filson's Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers to meet the needs of prospectors passing through Seattle on their way to the Klondike Gold Rush; as of 2012 the brand is owned by Bedrock Manufacturing founder Tom Kartsotis, who also owns Shinola Detroit.
Field sports are outdoor sports that take place in the wilderness or sparsely populated rural areas, where there are vast areas of uninhabited greenfields. The term specifically refer to activities that mandate sufficiently large open spaces and/or interaction with natural ecosystems, including hiking/canyoning, equestrianism, hawking, archery and shooting, but can also extend to various surface water sports such as river trekking, angling, rowing/paddling, rafting and boating/yachting.
Sports Afield Trophy Properties, formerly Cabela's Trophy Properties, LLC. is an independent real estate listing subsidiary of Sports Afield, an outdoors magazine. It was founded as Cabela's Trophy Properties, LLC by Cabela's, American specialty retailer of outdoor merchandise. Cabela's sold the service to Sports Afield in 2014.