Bowhunter is a magazine for people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences who share a common love of bowhunting and the great outdoors. The magazine does not cover all aspects of archery — only bowhunting.
The Magazine publishes nine issues annually — six regular issues and three special issues. January/February emphasizes late-season whitetails and hunt planning. March/April focuses on the pursuit of bears and turkeys. May/June covers whitetails, bowfishing, and small game hunting. Gear Special, as the name suggests, dwells strictly on equipment and industry trends. Most stories in Gear Special are staff written or assigned. August/September highlights elk hunting and other early-season bowhunting pursuits. Big Game Special contains bowhunting adventures for all big game species across North America and around the world. October/November revolves around whitetail hunting throughout the season. Whitetail Special explores and celebrates America’s most popular big game animal. December promotes late-season whitetail hunting, along with products for the Christmas season.
Each year 80-100 manuscripts are purchased, a high percentage of them from freelance writers. While many of our features come from proven writers, we always welcome article submissions from new and unknown writers, and we give all submissions equal consideration.
Short items for Bowhunter’s Journal generally run 100-500 words, and pay $50 to $200, on acceptance. Bowhunter’s Journal covers industry and conservation news, interesting or unique hunting feats, and occasional book and video reviews.
Feature articles run 1,000-2,500 words, with an average of about 2,000 words. These pay $300-$700, on acceptance, for features, depending on length, quality of text, quality and variety of photos, import of the subject matter, research required, and other variables.
For special Stickbow Hunting sections, which appear in the March/April and August/September issues, the magazine buys 8-10 additional features per year. These highlight traditional adventures, how-to, and equipment.
Unless specifically assigned, manuscripts are considered on speculation. Writers are encouraged to submit query letters that clearly outline story ideas. Queries should not exceed one page in length. It is preferred that individual queries tailored to Bowhunter’s needs rather than a “laundry lists” of ideas. Mmultiple submissions of either queries or complete stories  are not accepted.
The Text
The majority of Bowhunter features relate to big game hunting in North America. Some 60-80 percent of our stories relate to whitetail deer; the remainder cover big game, bowfishing, small game, turkeys, and gear. Stories related to rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, or crossbow hunting are not published. Also, fiction or poetry is not published by the magazine.
A majority of features are written in the first person. The magazine publishes adventure stories, how-to features, hunter profiles, and occasional interviews. All stories must be written in a popular, easy-to-read style. The magazine likes educational material and how-to facts woven into the text of narratives and adventure features. In pure how-to stories, major points must be illustrated with anecdotes, as well as facts, quotes, and numbers. Dry, “textbook” presentations might work in college textbooks and scientific journals, but Bowhunter readers far prefer lively, interesting, anecdotal presentations.
Every story must have a strong theme. Rambling accounts and straight, pointless narratives about filling tags or taking big bucks have little impact or appeal. To fit well into Bowhunter, every story must have a strong theme — a point. To get a grasp for Bowhunter’s style, study all the stories in several recent issues of Bowhunter.
Above all, stories must demonstrate an underlying authenticity and authority. Writers must show a knowledge and enthusiasm for bowhunting. Similarly, all stories must reveal a strong sense of ethics and sportsmanship, and they must promote safety. In keeping with out safety message, the magazine will not publish photos of treestand hunters who are not wearing full-body safety harnesses.
All manuscripts must be printed on white paper. Handwritten submissions are not accepted. In addition to the printed manuscript, please burn the text onto a CD or DVD in a standard computer format, and include the CD or DVD in the manuscript package. Please send only one manuscript in each package, and please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of your materials to you.
To enhance your chances of a sale, submit queries or complete stories as soon after the end of each season as possible. For example, most bowhunters who have successful elk hunts in September will send their stories right after their hunts. Once the magazine has bought a half-dozen elk stories, Bowhunter cannot buy any more for the year. The sooner you submit your query or story, the better your chances of beating the crowd. Stories are published about one year after submission. That is, a story about a September elk hunt most likely will appear in an issue the following September.
The Photos
As a rule, the magazine illustrates manuscripts with authors’ photos because photos to relate directly to the text are wanted. Occasionally the magazine buys manuscripts illustrated only with good kill shots, but a good mix of photos that illustrate major points throughout the story is far preferred. All photos must be technically perfect — wire sharp, well exposed, well composed – and dead animals must be clean and appealing. No tongues hanging out, please! No deer thrown in the back of a dirty pickup, please! Show respect for all animals. Bowhunter  also wants recent photos with current bows, camo patterns, and other gear. The magazine cannot use photos featuring gear 20 years out of date.
Photographs taken with digital cameras are preferred. Digital photos must be at least 300×300 dpi (dots per inch) at the size we will use them. For magazine use, it is recommended that you use a camera of at least four megapixels — five megapixels or above is all the better — and shoot all photos on the camera’s highest resolution setting. To submit digital photos with a manuscript, burn the photos onto a CD or DVD (jpeg format is most common). While Bowhunter likes thumbnail prints along with the CD for a quick review of photos, the magazine cannot publish printed digital photos. Also, altered photos cannot be used. Send
The magazine can work with pictures taken on film, but must have the original prints or transparencies. Film photos converted to digital cannot be used. Make sure your name is on every photo, CD, and other piece of material you submit. Otherwise there is no way to identify the owners of photos that might get separated from manuscripts. Send film photos in the plastic sleeves made for slides and prints.
All photos must have complete explanations. Number each photo and then type up a caption sheet with captions numbered to correspond to the photos. For each photo provide the who, what, when, where, why, and how captions can be written for the magazine.
For stock usage, the magazine does buy some photos and artwork separately from manuscripts. These include wildlife photos, as well as general hunting scenes such as bowhunters in treestands, stalking, glassing, and so forth. Pay is about $100 for fractional-page photos and $150-$200 for full-page and spread usage. The magazine pays $750 for cover photos. Photos must be submitted through art director at the address listed below. For more detailed information, see “Guidelines for Digital Photo Submission.”
Bowhunter buys first North American serial rights to publication, and pays upon acceptance. Again, most manuscripts are published about one year after acceptance. Send all submissions to: Bowhunter, 6385 Flank Drive, Suite 800, Harrisburg, PA  17112. Brief queries via e-mail are accepted. Send them to

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