February 13, 2012 by wcobserver
WEST FORK – Bears, deer and hog are coming out of the Ozark woods to nest in Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and the Track Supply Co. thanks to a new magazine.
The bi-annual Arkansas Bear and Buck Journal recently signed a distribution deal with those big stores, and it’s a good catch for the year-and-a-half old magazine put together in West Fork by Clay Newcomb, who also serves on the city’s planning commission.
Newcomb is the editor and “I guess would be classified as the publisher of it as well.” It’s a reasonable description, too, since Newcomb edits the magazine, de- signs the pages and puts it all together with help of a couple other hunting enthusiasts.
Launched at the same time as the Ar- kanas Black Bear Association (ABBA), the Arkansas Bear and Buck Journal is a full-scale Arkansas hunting magazine and the only all-Arkansas, all-hunting magazine in the state, said Newcomb. While there is enough Arkansas hunting news and events to fill an encyclopedia, the magazine is bi-annual because “we would rather produce two extremely high quality Journals each year than try to produce more and lessen the quality,” according to the ABBA website. “The Journal isn’t a ‘throw-away’ monthly magazine, this is a publication that you put on your shelf for years.”
The magazine’s real prize, however, is the work by folks who wouldn’t normally get to show the public their great hunting stories and pictures.
“Most of our stories are written by guys that have never been published before and that’s part of the philosophy of what we’re doing,” Newcomb said. “We wanted to give people from the state of Arkansas a chance to tell their side of the story and have a venue to be published.”
Newcomb said he had been writing for national hunting magazines and knew first-hand the difficult process of getting stories published. Despite his success, he “knew other people who had better stories than me, that had harvested better animals and they weren’t getting published be- cause there was nowhere for them to be published.”
Thus was born the Arkansas Bear and Buck Journal, put together out of New- comb’s house with the help of other volunteers eager to share stories, tips and a respectful passion for hunting. The maga- zine is a labor of love for Newcomb and the volunteer help, which includes several regular columnists covering everything from archery to conservation, along with a couple copy editors.
“It’s my passion. It’s not difficult to find content, it’s not difficult to find writers. That’s all easy. Putting together an awe- some magazine is not hard,” Newcomb said. “The hard part is all the other stuff.”
The other stuff, of course, is the money and production, all of which have been going the magazine’s way, particularly with the new distribution deal. The magazine prints between 6,000 to 8,000 copies and sends subscriptions to more than 400 members of the Arkansas Blackbear Association … in 11 different states.
The whole thing is the individual stories from guys that aren’t writers, that we help,” Newcomb said. “I’ll have guys write stories best they can, BBM will take it, massage it and get it ready for publication.”
And getting ready they are. The next is- sue of Arkansas Bear and Buck is coming out in early March. For more information about the magazine, visit www.arbear.org