Blast from the Past: 1974

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For many, the holidays are a time for reflection. We’re no different here at Outdoor Life, so this week, we’re looking back at our past. In particular, we’ve gone into the vaults and chosen 1974 for this installment of Blast from the Past. What follows is a look at some of the covers and stories from that year. As you can see, the clothing style might have changed a bit since then, but not the passion for outdoor adventure.
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America might not have been as trophy-crazed, but there were still big bucks to be had. Historians might enjoy noting some of the other big happenings in 1974: The famed “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire went eight rounds. President Nixon resigned amid the Watergate scandal. And a little-known author named Stephen King published his first novel.
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January 1974
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February 1974. It was common in the the 1960s and 1970s for Outdoor Life to alternate illustrated covers with photograph covers. In the 1980s and 1990s, illustrated covers would become less common.
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A hiker from the March 1974 cover. Notice the external-frame hiking pack. External frames became obsolete in the early 1990s, as companies gravitated to the more comfortable internal-frame design. However, in recent years, perhaps as part of a nostalgia wave, some companies have re-introduced external-frame designs.
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Many issues in the 1960s and 1970s featured the Outdoor Life Conservation Pledge.
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Many sportsmen had this pledge memorized in the 1970s. Can you recite it?
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A fishing cover from April 1974.
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May 1974
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Mummy bags, the wave of the future. In the mid-1970s, however, they were just a niche product in a small square of advertising space.
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Outdoor Life sold many products over the years, from survival kits to hardback anthologies. Here’s one of the more interesting items, a “game map.”
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A closer look at the map.
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The summer fishing issue. July 1974.
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September was for the birds…
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…and the bucks.
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This nice 10-pointer graced the cover of the October issue.
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A closer look at the beauty. The issue also featured a piece by Jim Carmichel on Africa hunting, a story on the new craze of “snowmobiling,” and cheap and easy ways to mount your own deer.
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November 1974
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A four-point mule deer taken in Aspen, Colorado, by author John O. Cartier.
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One of the biggest stories of 1974 was a look at where hunters were taking the most bucks. As you can see, Texas and California were off the charts. Oregon, Pennsylvania and Michigan rounded out the top five.
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Accompanying the article were charts on the various methods hunters were using to take their deer. Still hunting, for example, was most popular in the south central and northeastern parts of the United States.
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Another chart, showing the percentage of hunters in different parts of the country who prefered tree stands.
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…and stalking.
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and drives. It would be interesting to compare such percentages to today’s numbers.
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Do you remember these covers? Were you hunting in 1974? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Leave comments and stories below.