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Sad Day For Outdoor Mags: Harris Publications Shuts Down

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Foliomag.com (2 hours ago): New York-based enthusiast publisher Harris Publications notified employees today that the company is shutting down, effective immediately, after nearly four decades.

Founded in 1977, Harris published a wide variety of special interest magazines over the years…

“The magazine publishing industry has been through turmoil in the face of the rapid ascendance of digital media, changing consumer content preferences, magazine wholesaler struggles and consolidation in the supply chain,” read an official company statement obtained by Folio:. ”We have tried mightily to persevere against these forces, but have been unable to overcome these challenges.”

This is a tough day for me because back in the 1990s and early 2000s, I did a ton of work for Harris. In fact at one time when I first took the insane plunge and went freelance, I made most of a very meager living writing for their mags. Back then Harris was doing well and publishing a bunch of mid-grade, how-to hunting magazines, including Guns and Hunting, Whitetail Hunting Strategies, Bowhunting Strategies, Deer and Big Game Rifles and more.

I eagerly wrote as much as they would let me for all those rags, but my crowning glory came in the early 2000s, when the editors of the Harris outdoor group (Gerry and Nino, who remain my dear friends to this day) gave me my own magazine entitled Whitetail Hunters Digest.

My own mag! For years, I wrote the entire publication, 16 to 20 articles. It was published once a year, a “one shot,” and hit the newsstand in summer as a primer for deer season. It was a unique and coveted gig for a freelance writer and a hell of a lot of work. I embraced it, obsessed over it, loved it.

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My Lord, that was 15 years ago, but it seems like 50. I miss the grind and the deadlines for the incredibly scant pay. I miss working for and with my editors Gerry and Nino (Gerry had moved on from Harris a while back, and I hope Nino lands on his feet, he’s one of the best men in this industry).

I fear and know that in this digital/mobile world more print mags will go away, likely sooner than later. And it makes me sad, for I was born to write for hook and bullet magazines, not the ones on a screen, but the ones you pick up with your hands, and flip and read. Not many people seem do that anymore, especially you Millennials.

Well, at least I had some vision, and have my Big Deer Blog—digital! I plan on hunting and writing it (more correctly, posting it) until the day they put me under.

It’s a little after 4 p.m. I’m going to go pour 3 fingers, sit in my favorite chair, shut off my phone and read a yellowed 15-year-old issue of Whitetail Hunter’s Digest cover to cover. (My gosh, I’d forgotten the photos were black and white back then).

Here’s to you Harris Publications, thanks for one hell of a ride.


2016 Prices For Deer & Elk Sheds

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Mike: What are antlers going for these days? I have a big pile I might want to unload if the price is right.—Dave

For starters, depends on the condition and grade of the sheds:

Grade A: Antler in perfect condition, brown and beautiful, with no fading…no broken tines or chew marks…this year’s drop, antler picked up within a few weeks or months.

Grade B: Antler in good condition, still natural brown color, may be dull or faded on one side and slightly weathered, probably last year’s drop. May have slight broken tine or chip.

Grade C: Antler faded and weathered to white and chalky, on the ground for 2 or 3 years.

What are they worth? These are spring 2016 estimates; I’ll update the figures every year or so.

Shed addict Mike C., who goes by The Antler Collector on Facebook, says whitetail sheds are running $9 a pound for for Grade A, $4 for grade B and $2 for Grade C. Prices are down right now because the market is flooded with antlers, so you might want to think about holding onto your whitetail sheds for a while.

Also, the deer farm market has killed the price of smaller wild antlers, but they are still moving, albeit slowly.

The Peak Antler Company in Colorado buys elk and mule deer antlers suited for building furniture and lighting products, and uses smaller antlers and scraps for dog chews. Their current shed prices:

Grade A: Roughly $12 a pound

Grade B: Roughly $10 a pound

Grade C: Roughly $4 a pound

These are baselines, but keep in mind that prices vary according to the quantity and condition of your sheds, and the simple economics of supply and demand.

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Why Is Donald Trump on BIG DEER?


As Donald Trump is fixing to win big in more voting tomorrow en route to amassing 1,237 delegates and capturing the GOP nomination, I take you back to a post I wrote in 2011, in which The Donald was saying the same things: China is ripping us off… Make America great again…

Actually that post 5 years ago was more about Donald Trump Jr., who is one of us and enjoys hunting.

More to the point now, since Trump Sr. is on the verge of the Republican nomination, are his views foremost on guns and gun ownership, and to a lesser degree on public lands and hunting. While the latter two are obviously important issues for us, this will be the most important election ever regarding the Second Amendment; hard to believe, but Hillary is farther left than Obama on our right to own and carry firearms.

So what are Donald Trump’s views on guns? According to a recent interview in Petersen’s Hunting magazine:

On Second Amendment issues he was spot on… Gun-free zones create easy targets for criminals. If citizens were armed, there would be fewer casualties in mass shootings, and under his watch there would be no new federal gun laws.

As for protecting federal lands for hunting and fishing, a huge issue with sportsman especially in the West:

Donald Trump didn’t waffle, stating that a USFWS Director appointed by him would “ideally be a hunter” and under his watch there would be no sale of public Western lands.

So what do you think of Mr. Trump? Will you vote for him over Hillary?

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