W OW. This month marks our 34th anniversary, and with this issue we begin Volume 35. They say the older you get, the faster time passes, and we cannot argue with that. When you think about it, the more days you wake up, and the more days you have to look back on, it makes sense that your perspective on those passing days would narrow.
But, sheesh. It still doesn’t seem like that much time could have passed since we started this thing. Kids born the same year as TF&G will be eligible to run for president in the next election!
In those 34 years, we have published—counting this one—382 issues. It took a lot of work from a lot of gifted people to make all those issues happen on a statewide scale. Looking back, our roster of contributors has read like an All-Star line-up of outdoor writers.
And with the passage of so much time, too many of those names that appeared on our early mastheads now grace headstones.
Russell Tinsley was a big reason TEXAS FISH & GAME got off the ground at all. Russ was the Outdoors Editor for the Austin American-Statesman at the time, but his name was known throughout the country from regular bylines in all the major national sporting magazines of the day, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, even Sports Illustrated. When he joined our ranks as we prepared to launch fish & game, he gave us instant credibility that helped build readership and get us across a lot of tall thresholds into the doors of major national advertisers. As Editor at Large, Russ wrote a monthly column and at least one feature article in every issue.
Russ began to decline in the early 2000s, suffering from Parkinson’s disease. But he kept at it, contributing his exceptional writing almost until his death in 2004.
Don Zaidle started working for the magazine in the mid 1990s as a freelance contributor. He steadily gained our respect as we heaped more and more assignments on him. Within a short time we added him to the permanent staff as Assistant Editor and ultimately handed him the reins as Editor in Chief in 2001. Don guided the magazine through challenging times, including the economic disasters of the late 2000s and the relentless onslaught of the internet/digital media monster. When he died in 2013, a gaping hole was left in the heart of our organization. Without the able hands of Chester Moore there to take a solid grip on the helm, the magazine would have certainly drifted into uncertain waters after Don’s loss.
Bob Hood was another Texas legend of the outdoors we were lucky to recruit in our first months of publication. From his position as the Outdoors Editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bob contributed features and Hotspot reports for a dozen or more years before assuming the role as our Hunting Editor. His passing in 2014 left another void that can never really be filled.
Ray Sasser was never a staff writer for fish & game, but in our early years we depended on his contributions on a regular basis for feature articles on both fishing and hunting topics. Another national name, Ray was the Outdoors Editor for the Dallas Morning News for decades. Ray passed away only recently, and our Freshwater Editor, Matt Williams, shares more on Ray’s work, his legacy and his recent passing in his column on page 18 of this issue.
There were other members of our early staff line-up who are now deceased, among them Hal Swiggett, Byron Dalrymple, Gene Kirkley, and A.W. McGaughlin.
As another anniversary passes, we’re thankful for the contributions of these departed pioneering talents, and for our current roster of contributors. Some of whom, like Joe Doggett and Matt Williams, have also been with us from the start.
But we are especially thankful for those who are really responsible for TF&G’s longevity: You, our readers and subscribers. You’re why we do this, and also why we’re still at it.