Note from the Editor-In-Chief
Eastmans' Hunting and Bowhunting Journals are dedicated to you – our members. Part of our purpose is to give hunters the chance to share their success stories and tips with other hunters, as they make up a significant part of each issue. We strive to help our audience become more skilled, ethical hunters and expand their knowledge, appreciation and awareness of the outdoors and its wildlife.
Every year, nearly 1.5 million western, big game hunters take to the field in pursuit of a trophy and every year we receive hundreds of stories vying for the opportunity to be read by our 225,000-plus readers in a limited space. Read the following guidelines carefully to improve your chances of being selected for one of those coveted spots. Also keep in mind; if you’re chosen for publication, you’ll get some great gear too.
I want to thank you for taking the time to share your hunting experiences and possibly the crowning achievement of your hunting career with Eastmans’ members. Hunt hard, hunt often and remember fair chase is the only way to hunt and take big game.
Wishing You Continued Success,
Editor-In-Chief ~ Eastmans’ Hunting Journals
Eastmans' evaluates stories by assigning ratings on (1) photo quality, (2) trophy quality and (3) story quality. Stories with the best combined rating are the most likely to be published as feature stories. Others may appear in the Successful Trophy Hunters, Younger Generation, My DIY or on our website or social media outlets.
Eastmans’ Story Policy
1. All stories must be consistent with the Eastmans’ policy of fair chase hunting. Submissions found in violation will not be published.
2. Word count for feature submissions is to be 1,200 - 1,500 words. Stories longer than that will be edited down or returned to the author for revision.
3. Eastmans’ will not publish cursing, bragging, references to alcohol or any material that may be offensive to other readers.
4. Try not to promote companies or products, although the guide, outfitter, or landowner’s name may be mentioned. If a product was used on the hunt, it may be put on the Equipment List form.
5. The Equipment List form should be completed and included with your feature story. This list gives your contact info and a chance to learn a bit more about you.
Story Types and Writing Tips
Eastmans’ Hunting and Bowhunting Journal stories are outdoor adventure stories. While we encourage some reflection, personal detail and description of the scenes of the pursuit, the stories should ultimately be fast-paced accounts of your hunting experience. Some dialogue is acceptable.
Please decide which type of story you would like to tell before writing, as each has various requirements.
STORY SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Feature Article – Ideally this piece will be around 1,500 words, speak to the heart of your experience and have ALL photos of your hunt attached including landscape/support images and completed Equipment List.
My DIY – This piece should come in around 500 words and be distilled to the core of your hunt and include 6-10 of your best trophy and support photos and completed Equipment List.
Successful Trophy Hunters – Include 1 or 2 of your best photos, the state the animal was harvested in, bow/gun, hunter’s full name, short hunt summary and completed Contact Information portion of the Equipment List.
Younger Generation – Include 2-6 of the best photos of you and your trophy and a quick summary of 150 words or less about the trophy, state harvested, bow/rifle, hunter’s full name and any unique circumstances of the hunt. Also, include the complete Contact Information portion of the Equipment List.
Here are some additional tips to help your writing:
1. Try to avoid the format of – “I couldn’t believe I was drawn for…” followed by a completely chronological story, ending with “thanks to.” This is an overly used format and takes too much time to edit for uniqueness.
2. Tell a story that is unique or engaging in some way. Reflect on what made the hunt memorable for you. Personalize it with your struggles, fears, joys and surprises. Share a few tips and tricks that helped you.
3. Put your personality into the writing. It’s a story – your story, not a dry report.
4. Transport the reader into the scene by being creatively descriptive (though not overly so) of the sights, sounds, smells, discomforts, etc. of the hunt.
5. Don’t worry if you aren’t a professional writer – our editor is and will touch up your story to make sure it reads well.
6. Try to avoid clichés and overuse of exclamation points or the exact time of day. Avoid quotation marks (except in dialogue), paragraphs longer than six sentences and “thanks” in the last paragraph that is unrelated to the story.
7. After finishing the story, take a long break with several days being best. Then revisit the story and find ways to improve it. Repeat this process multiple times. Ask your spouse or hunting partners for constructive comments.
8. Run a spelling/grammar check before submission and fix the marked portions.
Eastmans’ Photo Policy
1. TRY NOT TO submit photos taken with a cell phone, tablet, or disposable camera. No matter how many megapixels they have, these devices do not have a lens and sensor of sufficient quality for publication regardless of what commercials or salesmen have told you.
2. Digital photos of 3-5MB each in JPG or TIF formats are strongly preferred. We can use resolutions as low as 1MB but this is not ideal. Check the settings on your camera to make sure they are on the highest quality possible before you take the pictures. Also, check the settings on your computer’s photo program, especially that the save function doesn’t shrink/compress your photo to a lesser resolution.
3. Pictures must be free of visible blood, hanging tongues and material from field dressing. So please clean up your trophy before taking pictures. Minor blemishes will be taken care of by our designer.
4. Composition – Respectful positioning of the animal is a must. Do not sit on or “ride” your trophy. Make sure your trophy is highlighted and easily visible. Your rifle should not be pointed towards anyone. Avoid odd shadows and try to get some light under the brim of your hat.
5. The head and rack should not be distorted by close proximity to the camera. If the shot calls for a foreground rack, move the camera back to minimize the effect.
6. Take lots of pictures in vertical and horizontal format. If possible, include support pictures that allow readers to get a sense of the hunt experience. The hunter should be in most trophy shots and please note the names and position of whomever else is in the photo.
1. Email your story/images to firstname.lastname@example.org as a separate Word document/image files, not embedded in the email body or with photos embedded in the Word document. Please include the completed Equipment List form as a separate attachment.
2. Mail us a CD or jump drive containing your pictures, story and Equipment List to: ATTN: Editorial P.O. Box 798, Powell, WY 82435. Be sure to reference your name and story title and also consider sending two CD’s or jump drives to guard against corruption or damage. If you would like your materials back please include an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope).
*Poor photo quality, insufficient file size of the accompanying pictures or not submitting pictures at all, are the three most common reasons a good story doesn’t get published. Here are some tips to help you capture the quality photos necessary for publication.
1. Always make sure the sun is behind the photographer/camera.
2. Make sure the foreground in front of your trophy in clear of obstructions, twigs, blades of grass etc.
3. Backgrounds are very important. Try to get the best background scenery possible, even if it means moving the trophy. Take time to clear away obstacles; avoid obstructed or cluttered backgrounds.
4. Use a tripod or rest of some kind for as many of your pictures as practical, even if the lighting is good. It is hard to overstate the importance of pictures being sharp once they are enlarged. You can’t just go by the camera’s LED screen.
5. DO NOT frame the subject too tightly or cut off antler tines/horns etc. Leave us room to work with the photo in the design process.
6. Composition – see the hunter placement link below for Mike Eastman’s helpful tips.
7. Try to shoot different trophy pictures. Try more than one pose, shot angle, depth and composition.
8. The softer light of morning and evening is generally best for photos with midday being the worst.
9. Remember the photographer’s Rule of Thirds. Most photographs work best when at least one of the subjects is 1/3 of the way in from a side, top or bottom.
10. Think about hunting photography before your trip. Look at the pictures in Eastmans’ magazines and books as examples. Cover shots are often the best examples. Mike Eastman is an international award-winning wildlife photographer and in his book, Elk Hunting the West Revisited, he wrote a detailed chapter on photography.
Below are links to some helpful photo tips from Mike Eastman.
Background & Lighting
Note: These links go to PDF documents. To view these documents, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer.