Welcome to the Family
Editor’s Letter, Jan/Feb 2018
By Travis Moncrief
I paced around the house, the anticipation was almost more than I could take. Staring at the clock a myriad of scenarios ran through my head. It was opening day of deer season and my dad left the house hours before the sun rose. My thoughts raced as I stared out the living room window waiting for my dad to return. When I saw his green truck coming down our road a rush of adrenalin raced through my body — an excitement that only hunters really understand. I’d know soon enough if he was successful by the way he pulled into the driveway. Backing in meant there was something in the bed of the pickup that needed to be unloaded, and if he pulled in, well, I wasn’t prepared for the disappointment.
The truck paused and the backup lights lit up. He was making an arching turn towards the garage.
“He’s backing in,” I screamed as the last words were cut off as the door slammed behind me. I knew there was a buck in the back and I had to get my hands on it. It was opening day of Oregon’s blacktail deer season. The year was 1980 and I was seven years old. I was too young to accompany my dad, but I was there in spirit every step of the way. Hunting has consumed me ever since and it is what drives me today.
I’m Travis Moncrief and welcome to Western Hunt- ing Journal, where that passion I had at seven years old for all things hunting will be the cornerstone of this magazine. There have been a lot of tags and hunts across many Western states since that day in 1980, and those emotions from long ago have never waned. It is with that same exhilaration and passion that will be the driving force behind what I feel is the most informative and entertaining hunting magazine in the West.
I have spent the last 20 years guiding salmon and steelhead anglers in Alaska, and the Pacific North- west. I have hunted throughout the western United States and been on some exceptional hunts. Each one—whether it’s an Idaho whitetail, an Arizona elk, a Wyoming antelope or an Oregon blacktail—has been a unique and uplifting experience. And while my hunting trips have taken me to some incredible places, I return to my roots where I was raised. I still live in Tillamook, Oregon where my wife and I are raising our two children. It’s where my parents still live. It’s home, and it’s close to many of the things I hold dear.
I was blessed to have a dad that introduced me to this lifestyle, and a mom who encouraged us to be on the hunt even if that meant missing Thanksgiving dinner because we had a bull on the ground; or giving us the nod to go jump shoot ducks after the presents were open on Christmas morning. Not much has changed from those days and dad and I hit it as of- ten as we can. At 68 he is still going strong, whether it’s bighorn sheep hunting or packing out bucks and bulls on his back. I can only hope to continue at that pace. He’s truly an inspiration.
I have been surrounded by some of the best hunting buddies anyone could ask for and all have helped shaped me who I am as a hunter and a person. My long-time childhood best friend Mike McKibbin, who I’ve spent more days hunting with other than my dad, was by my side when I pulled the trigger on my first buck. Kevin Madison and I guided and outfitted together in Idaho and Montana and we’ve been on some amazing hunts throughout the western states. Eric and Sherri Camp, who through the years, have let me breeze into elk camp with nothing more than my bow. Their kindness and commitment to hunt- ing is contagious. Pat Hoglund, good friend, hunting buddy and now business partner, and I have teamed up to bring you Western Hunting Journal. Pat’s nearly 30 years in the magazine and publishing industry, combined with his addiction to hunting, will give the magazine the foundation that will set us apart from other outdoor media. My dad, who still hunts with me, has been the foundation for all of my pursuits. Collectively and individually, each person has helped me to keep the hunting passion burning.
As editor and associate publisher my job is to make sure the magazine’s heartbeat is not only steady and strong, but spikes with shots of adrenaline. (Kind of like a seven-year-old kid waiting for his dad to pull into the driveway with a buck in the back of the pick- up). Most importantly, my goal is to provide you with a tool, a resource if you will, for all things hunting in the West. Using a group of talented writers and hunters, the magazine will delve into destinations, gear reviews, tactics, shooting, archery, big game, wing- shooting and what’s trending in the western states. We are confident you will find Western Hunting Journal every bit as useful as it is entertaining.
It does not escape me that you have many choices where to spend your time and money. This is what will drive us to publish what we think is the best hunt- ing magazine in the market. On behalf of Pat, myself and crew, we are honored to bring Western Hunting Journal to life. Welcome to the family.