Before coming to Outdoor Life, Stephen Byers worked for Rolling Stone and Men's Journal. Since his highly publicized resignation from Outdoor Life last summer, he's been writing a novel and shopping "ever so selectively" for another top editorial slot. Byers talks about his days at the sportsmen's magazine:
Stephen Byers: "My
intention was never to turn Outdoor Life readers into tweedy guys,
but merely to expose them to the political and ethical issues that
are affecting outdoor sport today, and to make them come to terms
with those issues. Call it tough love. My goal for every issue was
to address a controversial question. Where right and wrong were
clearly evident, I wanted to take a stand. None of our competitors
was doing that.
"All was going
well until the Tom Beck-Wildlife Legislative Fund of America
controversy flashed up. We could have ridden it out with dignity,
but it took (Times Mirror Executive) Jason Klein by surprise, and
he buckled. (Executive Editor) Will Bourne and I saw no recourse
but to resign.
"The WLFA has
been skillful at selling hunters on the idea that we don't have to
listen to the public regarding ethics. Outdoor magazines have
played into this by telling hunters, "You have a right to keep
doing what you're doing, and it doesn't matter what non-hunters
think about it. You should be enraged that non-hunters are trying
to tell you anything."
"That's garbage. From a
practical standpoint, if you're routinely slapping the public in
the mouth with behavior that's anathema to them, eventually you're
going to get slapped back. The hunting lobby isn't all that
powerful. Ultimately, the "mind your own business' attitude has the
potential to kill the sport."