Because the 2024 ATA Present ran its course this week at America’s Heart in downtown St. Louis, new Bowhunter Editor-at-Massive Curt Wells (left), new Bowhunter Editor-in-Chief Christian Berg (middle), and Bowhunter Tools Editor Brian Strickland (proper) mirrored on the long-lasting journal’s half-century plus legacy and its future because the powerhouse platform of bowhunting media. (Lynn Burkhead picture)

In a approach, outside business commerce reveals are often about wanting forward and never behind.

There’s are a myriad of recent merchandise, there are new enterprise relationships, and there is a new 12 months at hand within the case of the January appearances of the Archery Commerce Affiliation’s ATA Present, and per week later, the SHOT Present.

However final week, because the twenty sixth version of the ATA Present unfolded at America’s Heart conference plaza in downtown St. Louis for the primary time ever, it was actually laborious for 2 males with quite a lot of ATA Present visits on their profession resumes to keep away from a glance again, in addition to a glance forward. 

Because the week has unfolded on the present flooring only some blocks from St. Louis’ famed Gateway Arch alongside the banks of the Mississippi River, it was one thing of a altering of the guard second for longtime Bowhunter editor Curt Wells who now follows the trail of his mentor, the late Dwight Schuh, and strikes into an Editor-at-Massive roll in addition to the continued face of “Bowhunter TV” on Out of doors Channel and My Out of doors TV (MOTV).


It has additionally been a altering of the guard second for brand new Bowhunter Editor-in-Chief Christian Berg, who’s making the transfer from the identical place at Petersen’s Bowhunting as Out of doors Sportsman Group consolidates the 2 journal manufacturers right into a single powerhouse bowhunting platform for the years forward.

As an bystander for this second of change, it was simple to see every of the 2 males adjusting to their new roles as they attended displays, stood in exhibitor’s cubicles to get the within data on new merchandise, and found out the brand new panorama they discover themselves in as 2024 begins to unfold.

For Wells, who attended his first ATA Present in 2000 and has now been to 24 of them, he nonetheless enjoys the present’s hectic tempo of discovery, but in addition is aware of that the occasion has modified together with the venue.

When he first began attending the present, Wells and most others noticed the present as one thing of a launching pad for what’s new, what’s modern, and what’s stunning in twists that few noticed coming.

Are these days gone now? 

“I feel so,” stated Wells. “With the arrival of social media and the overarching want to “be first,” I feel few corporations are counting on the present to debut merchandise. They nonetheless need to showcase these merchandise to attendees, however social media just about eliminates surprises.”

That development might be seen in journal manufacturing as prior to now, a world file caliber or file book-shattering large sport animal might need been in a position to be stored below wraps till it was the duvet shot and story for {a magazine} version a few months down the street. Now, information of such earth-moving whitetails and large sport critters has usually gone viral hours, if not minutes, after the bow shot is launched.

However change is commonly inevitable, and one thing to be embraced as new challenges come, and never one thing to be feared. And that is the tact that new Bowhunter editor Christian Berg is taking as he moved concerning the present flooring and filmed product introduction movies and contemplated the primary few editions that he shall be tasked with placing collectively for subscribers, newsstand readers, and business reps.

And as he often is when there is a large story or a giant hunt mendacity forward, Berg is anticipating the thrilling alternative that’s his as he joins Wells, Schuh, and Bowhunter Journal founder M.R. James as the one 4 editors the bowhunting world’s main journal has had in its 5 plus a long time of existence.

“It is positively an excellent alternative and an honor,” stated Berg. “And, I am actually wanting ahead to taking some finest that we did at Petersen’s Bowhunting and sprinkling that in to what’s already a very unbelievable bundle at Bowhunter Journal.”

For trustworthy readers of Bowhunter, Berg says there is perhaps a tweak or two, however no wholesale adjustments coming to a model that has labored and labored and labored for years.

“When you’re on the lookout for main adjustments, you’re not going to see it,” he stated. “I don’t need to blow up a model that’s been round for over 50 years and has a very storied heritage. Bowhunter has all the time finished an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the hunt and sharing unbelievable adventures from world wide from bowhunters, quite a lot of whom aren’t skilled writers or skilled hunters, however simply common bowhunters who share the identical ardour that we do right here. And we’re not going to vary that.”

There shall be tweaks right here and there, in fact, as the 2 manufacturers mix into one going ahead, and that can very probably embody extra gear and technical tales and columns shifting forward.

“Petersen’s has all the time been slightly extra gear targeted and possibly slightly extra tactically targeted and strategically targeted, so we’re going to deliver slightly of that over to Bowhunter. However I don’t need to water down the essence of what Bowhunter has finished as a result of it’s an excellent heritage and I need to honor every part that’s been finished prior to now. Hopefully we will ship a very compelling and sturdy bundle of content material that’s going to serve the bowhunting group as an entire.”

Berg is aware of that he’s becoming a member of a choose group with the names of Wells, Schuh and James carving out an editorial path earlier than him. And he doesn’t take flippantly the duty that he’s been given.

“Actually, it’s humbling,” he stated. “Each single a type of people is an icon on this business. And I really feel like that’s one thing that can encourage me to daily be worthy of that (legacy) and dwell as much as that (commonplace), and work not only for myself, however on behalf of fellow bowhunters (and readers), to uphold that commonplace that has been set.”

Whereas Berg will now occupy the command seat on the deck of the Bowhunter model of the USS Enterprise, just like the legendary determine of Captain Kirk, he gained’t need to go it alone as a result of he’ll have the previous Capt. Of the Bowhunter starship serving to him out.

In different phrases, don’t anticipate to see Wells hit the retirement sidelines anytime quickly. Along with the TV duties that he’ll proceed to have going ahead, his position because the journal’s Editor-at-Massive will preserve him shut at hand along with his thumb on the heart beat of the bowhunting world.

“I’ll nonetheless be concerned with the journal, serving to steer it into the longer term,” stated Wells, “However I gained’t be dealing with the day-to-day work and assembly deadlines like I’ve for the previous 14 years. The excellent news is I get to maintain doing the enjoyable a part of the job as host of Bowhunter TV. Which means I can think about arranging extra “enterprise journeys” to wild locations. Looks as if a fairly good association to me!”

Even so, Wells is aware of that there are challenges forward there too to maintain pushing the extremely profitable Bowhunter TV present ahead too. And after a tough fall, he appears like one thing good is certain to occur quickly as a result of he’s apparently used up all of his misfortune for a very good whereas.

Or not less than he hopes so.

“My fall was very unusual,” he stated. “I loved some nice searching experiences and places, and hunted as laborious as ever, however was by no means rewarded with a single alternative. I by no means even hooked my launch to the D-Loop in preparation for a shot. I can solely hope I used to be involuntarily saving my luck for one thing particular sooner or later.”

That one thing particular would possibly contain some bowhunting luck going ahead for Wells, and Berg too, who hopes to be out within the area and in entrance of the digital camera just a few occasions himself within the coming 12 months.

However they each know that it’ll embody their twin roles on the most iconic bowhunting publication of all time, one that’s now even larger and higher because the magic of Petersen’s Bowhunting will get sprinkled in too.

Better of all, it’s the readers who will get the most effective probability to expertise some Bowhunter magic shifting ahead, every time a brand new concern hits the newsstand and/or their mailboxes. 

After a half-century of Bowhunter excellence, there’s nonetheless a lot extra to come back. And that certain appeared obvious this week just a few blocks from the Mississippi River as yet one more ATA Present rolled on by.

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