For the magazine industry, these are somewhat Darwinian days. Yet even as some publishers surrender their turkeys to slaughter, others are gambling that what the public wants to read about is turkeys — real, wild turkeys.
There are already at least two magazines for the turkey enthusiast (Turkey Hunter, circulation 40,000, and Turkey Call, the bimonthly house organ of the National Wild Turkey Federation) and now two publishers are trotting out more. Stump Sitters Inc. just last week served up the first issue of Turkey and Turkey Hunting, a quarterly that offers fowl-minded readers coverage of the evolution of the hunt and a careful comparison of muzzle loaders versus bull loaders. Is this more detail than backwoods types can digest? ”They’re out there more for the experience of the hunt than for bagging a trophy,” publisher Debbie Knauer claims. ”So they’re likely to want to read up on the intricacies of the sport.”
Also marching to the beat of a different drumstick is Beards & Spurs, a special one-shot publication from the people who bring you Buckmasters Whitetail, a deer hunters’ magazine. Beards & Spurs (which, for the uninitiated, refers to the two primary trophy parts of the bird) hits newsstands March 5 with how-to articles on such subjects as choosing the right turkey gun and where to aim. If this sounds awfully rudimentary, consider that 10 years ago there were 800,000 turkey hunting permits issued in the U.S. and this year the number is expected to reach about 2.5 million. The birds’ odds still aren’t bad, though. One expert estimates that only 10 percent of hunters can hit the wily, wary birds — and there are 4 million turkeys running wild in the lower 48 and Hawaii.