Eric_longbeard_1Something recently occurred at Outdoor Life that, while most readers have no clue it took place, could have a huge impact on how they read and enjoy their favorite magazine. Our owners, Time4 Media, hired a new publisher for its outdoor-related publications, including OL and our sister titles (or would it be brother titles in our case?), Field & Stream and SHOT Business.

Now ordinarily this wouldn’t mean much to the average reader (“OL got a new suit in the office. Wow.”), but here’s why it’s going to actually make a difference to me and you—it’s because our new publisher, Eric Zinczenko, is actually one of us. That’s right, he’s a hunter. And not just the occasional sportsman who joins the boys for the once a year trip to pop released quail and yuk it up with a Scotch by the fireplace at the end of the day, but an avid bowhunter, who knows how to stalk within yards of a Western muley as well as he can grunt up a buck on his own property. (The OL crew enjoyed the chance to shoot some sporting clays with him the other week, too, and I can personally report that he knows how to handle a shotgun as well.)

Recently appointed Time4 CEO Tom Beusse (who also has old ties with our outdoor titles on the sales side) understood that it was crucial to not only put somebody in the captain’s seat who understood magazines, but who understood what our magazine is about as well.

Eric_longbeard_2And the proof is in the photos. As you can plainly see, Eric loves to turkey hunt. He took both of these birds on his own property within gunshot-hearing of his house.

The first was taken between storms on a rainy Saturday morning alternately working a couple of Primos calls—a Power Crystal (which remains among one of my all-time favorite calls) and a Mini-Sonic Double reed diaphragm for when the bird got close. Eric worked him to within 15 yards. He also called a couple of birds in for two friends.

Two weeks later, just days before the close of the season and after driving nearly 40 hours straight with some friends from a Manitoba bear hunt, instead of getting some much needed rest, Eric and a friend slipped on the camo and grabbed their shotguns. Eric had a score to settle with an old boss tom that had given him the slip for the past couple of years.

Before his little girl woke up, the two were drinking coffee in Eric’s kitchen, his buddy’s bird laying on the deck outside. By midmorning, Eric returned to the woods and was soon rewarded with tagging “the boss.” The tom sported an 11-inch beard, nearly 1 1/4-inch spurs and weighed 24 pounds.

Eric had asked me for some tips just the week before, and while I’d love to think what I told him was helpful, I believe he had everything well under control—just like Time4’s outdoor group of magazines. Eric is working closely with OL editor Todd Smith and the rest of the editorial and sales crew to keep propelling the venerable title strongly through it’s second century of existence. Keep reading—the magazine (and our Web site) are about to get really good.