Happy Birthday, Hunter Dan!

Barbie’s sharply-coiffed boyfriend Ken…had better watch his back: There’s a new bad boy in town—and Hunter Dan is eight inches of pure machismo. So read the lead paragraph of my Snap Shots item in the March 1998 issue of Outdoor Life. I’m proud to have been one of the first to recognize the potential of fellow Hoosier Dave Randard’s creation—and would like to join all Dan’s fans in wishing the popular outdoor action figure a happy 10th birthday.Hunterdan

Hunter Dan and his creator have come a long way in the past decade.

Soon after I first wrote about the pint-sized sportsman, he was joined in the treestand by Hunter Ann, Rifle Hunter—who predictably looked much more suited to field and forest than the sportscar-driving Barbie ever did.

Since that time, Randard has introduced bowhunting versions of both figures, as well as Duck-Hunting Dan, Goose-Hunting Dan, Angling Dan, Elk-Hunting Dan and Turkey Hunting Dan.

And, because no hunter heads afield without his faithful companion (no offense, Ann), you’ve got to have a black Lab (with or without duck) to ride in the back of Dan’s pickup.Lab

Barry Lewis, community editor for The Paper of Montgomery County, the newspaper of record in Randard’s hometown of Crawfordsville, Ind., wrote this week that the purpose of Hunter Dan—and all the offshoots and accessories—has always been to promote hunting, safety and the shooting sports to youngsters—our future hunters and conservationists.

A noble aim, indeed.

“We want to use Hunter Dan to help promote what is good about hunting,” Ranard said. “We aren’t here to change people’s mind, but just to help promote hunter safety, environmental issues and to get those people already interested in hunting more interested in hunting.”

So happy birthday, Hunter Dan! Happy hunting!