OUR LATE, GREAT, editor Don Zaidle gave him a choice: “Steve, what do you want to write about—hunting, or about guns?”
That was pretty much the entire job interview, back in late 2003, shortly before Steve LaMascus became Texas Fish & Game’s Firearms Editor. After several years of passing the hat for firearms coverage to a round robin of talented outdoor writers such as Todd Woodard and Jim Foster, Don had finally decided to re-establish a monthly column dedicated to the art and science of firearms and shooting, and to fill the oversized boots originally worn by Hal Swiggett. Swiggett, a legend among outdoor writers and in the shooting world, had inaugurated a monthly guns column in Issue Number One of this magazine and that column ran until Larry Bozka took the editorial reins in the late Nineties and moved the overall content mix a little more in the fishing direction.
And so, with the January 2004 issue, after he made the decision Zaidle had laid on him, Steve authored his first Texas Guns column.
Since then, he has written just shy of 200 of these columns.
Columns about anything as mechanically complex as modern firearms can easily get bogged down in a mire of technical jargon and specifications. But Steve brought to his monthly assignment not only a lifetime of experience, training, and knowledge in the manufacture, use and care of just about every type of gun and ammo there is, he also possessed the literary skills of a gifted writer. His columns were not just technically informative, they were also a joy to read, and often very entertaining.
During his long association with us, Steve also authored many feature articles, and for several years did double monthly duty penning a column on self defense. In classic LaMascus up-fronted ness, when he felt he had shared everything that he could about the subject, he resigned from the Defense column. (These columns are still available, and still quite relevant, on fishgame.com).
He also co-authored a book for us, “The Texas Deer Book,” with the late Greg Rodriguez. The Deer Book is also available online. Just go to the TF&G online store at fishgame.com/fishandgamegear. You can also find it at Academy Sports + Outdoors.
To say Steve knows what he is talking about is the very definition of an understatement. He is a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent, with a great many years spent keeping the peace on arguably the roughest, most dangerous beat in America: the Texas-Mexico border. His service, along with a lifetime love of hunting, shooting and reloading, made him ideal for his tenure at Fish & Game.
Sadly, Steve recently told us that family obligations were forcing him to retire from his monthly duties.
Steve is a big, tough guy. From afar, he can still appear intimidating—a valuable trait for a lawman. It is up close that you see his thoughtful, intelligent, and caring side. He is definitely the guy you want beside you if things go wrong. But he is also someone with whom to enjoy a lively conversation on just about any subject—hunting, shooting, fishing, or the world.
Godspeed, LaMascus. We will miss your monthly contributions.