Field and Stream
Celebrating 125 years of the greatest hunting and fishing stories ever told.
It started back in 1895, when the first edition of Northwestern Field and Stream: A Journal of the Rifle, Gun, Rod and Camera was published. The periodical—even with its super-catchy title—was not exactly a hit, and it might’ve vanished for good were it not for an outdoors-loving publisher named John R. Burkhard, who bought the journal in 1896, and rebranded it as Western Field and Stream. One year later, the Western was nixed, and the first issue of the more simply titled FIELD & STREAM was published. The rest, as they say, is history.
As you’re about to see, this issue is full of that history. Early on in the planning stages, we knew that we wanted to include a few excerpts of classic stories in these pages, so we spent months going through the archives. More than once during that research, I found that I had to stop reading and sit back just so that I could let the realization sink in: I am so lucky to be a part of a magazine with such a rich history and legacy. I promise you, it’s not something I take for granted.
The more of these old stories we read, the more of them we wanted to showcase in this special 125th anniversary issue. Eventually, we decided to devote every page in the feature well to this celebration. To be clear, we didn’t go all the way back to that first issue of Northwestern Field and Stream. In consulting with our resident F&S historians—David E. Petzal and Slaton L. White—we learned that the magazine didn’t really begin to hit its stride till the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, when the likes of Robert Ruark, A.J. McClane, and Warren Page began to write for us. And in the decades that followed, our lineup of writers kept getting better. So, the stories you’re about to read don’t quite span the full lifespan of F&S. Instead, we went with what we’re calling the “Modern Classics,” a collection that begins on p. 39.
Of course, not every story came from the archives. There are plenty of new tales, too. Granted, I’m biased, but to me, each one is an instant classic.
As magazine anniversaries go, 125 years is monumental—and rare. As for what’s next for FIELD & STREAM, time will tell. But one thing that’ll never change is our commitment to great stories, to writing so good that it lives forever.