It has been my great privilege to serve Field & Stream for the past 20 years. I’m moving on to a new assignment, and a new editor will take this place effective with the February 2003 issue.
In my time at Field & Stream I’ve been honored to work with great talent. Many were terrific teachers as well and were unbelievably unselfish in sharing their hard-won knowledge with me. That sharing comes out of one of the great traditions in hunting and fishing: passing it on. It is a code that compels us to bring along the next generation, to help them master the arts of hunting and fishing, to help them understand and respect the fish and game we pursue. It is a high calling, and hunters and fishermen everywhere follow it.
Folks who don’t hunt or fish don’t understand the passion we have for these pursuits. More important, they rarely understand that it’s not about what goes in the cooler or gamebag. It’s about being “out there,” in the great American outdoors, with family and friends. It’s about sharing an experience-watching a whitetail deer drift like smoke through a hardwood stand, a rainbow trout rise through broken water to a high-riding dry fly, or a largemouth bass hit a crankbait tossed against a stump.
I’d like to repeat what Tyler Eckel, of Wheaton, Illinois, wrote about his father in his essay for the Field & Stream Young Writers Contest, because I think it speaks eloquently to the core of what we do and why we do it: “He showed me that I was important to him: more important than covering ground at a quicker pace, more important than friends he could have hunted with, and more important than the chance of getting a nice shot at game. He lived out his love for me by taking me hunting.”
One of the reasons Field & Stream has meant so much to hunters and fishermen for 107 years is that at heart it is a campfire. It provides light and warmth, something humans have craved since we first dropped upright out of trees on the African plains. A fire is also a gathering place to tell stories-the stories that make us laugh and weep and reaffirm who we are. For we are hunters, and we are fishermen, and Field & Stream is a magazine written for hunters and fishermen by hunters and fishermen.