Submission Guidelines & TipsTo Increase your chances of getting published, stick to these submission guidelines and tips.
We get countless submissions every year and would love to print them all, but space limitations and quality don’t allow for this. So we are forced to evaluate every story based upon: photo quality, story quality, and trophy quality. Stories that excel in each one of these categories will have better chances than others who lack.
Western Hunter’s Story Guidelines
We aren’t expecting an Ernest Hemmingway quality story, that’s why we have a team of writers and editors who will help you along the way. However, we also aren’t looking for stories written by a 4th grader. Here are some guidelines and tips to follow that will help you increase your chances of gracing the pages of Western Hunter Magazine.
Content – Stories need to be well written and not just a bunch of thoughts. By this, we mean have a flow to your story, we don’t want to bounce around. We want the reader to feel like they were there with you.
Also, leave the gear reviews and advertising to us, it’s what we do. If you want to give props to the guide, outfitter, or landowner that’s fine, but our readers don’t care how nice your new jacket is.
Word Count – For feature story submissions we ask that you keep it between 1,200 – 1,500 words. Stories longer than that will be edited down or returned to the author for revision. Encyclopedias are frowned upon and our readers aren’t subscribed to a novel.
Describe the Scene – Take a bit of time to describe where you were, the people you were with, and the country you were hunting. Do the reader a favor and set the mood.
Be Emotional – Hunting is incredibly emotional. Whether it was a positive or negative situation it should come out in your story. Be descriptive in what you were feeling; gratitude, pain, accomplishment, indecisiveness are all major emotions felt on a hunt. Make sure the reader feels these as well.
Reflect – Finish with a reflection of your experience. What did you learn? What could you have done better? What did you do right? Help the reader learn something, especially if you made a mistake.
Images are what make a story. Someone may not read every single word of the magazine, but amazing imagery will make them stop and dive into your story. So with that, having quality high-resolution images is practically mandatory. Follow these guidelines and you might even make the cover.
Quality – Please avoid submitting low-quality images taken on an old camera or old cell phone. Last thing you want is grainy or blurry images taking away from your cherished memory.
Amount – Submit as many images as you can. To help your story engage the readers, pictures from throughout your hunt will showcase your experience. The more the merrier, we will pick the ones that fit best.
Size – We hope to receive images that are at least 1.25MB in file size. There is no need to resize your images or compress them in any way in order to send them to our editors. If you identify as “not tech-savvy”, we are here to help.
Include a list of gear that made a worthwhile impact on your hunt. Think weapon, arrows, boots, clothing, optics, pack, fork, underwear, wet wipes, or anything you feel strongly about. These will be included at the end of your story and gives our reader a bit of insight into what gear was used.
Tips For Making An Epic Story
– It needs to be compelling and fair chase. No one wants to read about the buck you shot from the highway or the elk that took minimal effort.
– It isn’t mandatory, but a quality animal will help. It doesn’t have to be a monster but your trophy fork-horn is not what others want to see.
– Make your story unique. You’ve likely read countless other stories that start with how shocked and excited the hunter was to see a positive draw result, but that doesn’t mean that yours needs to start the same way. Similarly, don’t feel like the animal you pursued needs to have a name in the story. That one has been old for a while now too.
– Map out the story BEFORE beginning and write something you would want to read. Just writing down thoughts often makes for a crappy read. Include details but not stuff that is irrelevant to the outcome or essence of the hunt. Nobody cares what you ate for lunch unless you choked and it became a life-or-death situation. Map it out, write it, and then walk away for a few days, then read it again to edit and finalize.
PRO TIP – Have someone else who wasn’t on the hunt read it to see if they like it or if it’s crap.
– Make sure you are submitting tasteful and respectful images. Photos of gut piles, bloody animals, and trash in the image are poor choices. Photos of people sitting on animals WILL NEVER BE USED. Animals should be respected and photos should portray this. Photos of the scenery/landscape help. 20 photos of nothing but the elk’s antlers make for a dull layout.
– Something “different” or “incredible” about a hunt gets you bonus points. Stories about great animals that include a plane crash, bear attack, 50-mile hike, near-death snowstorm, surviving by eating moss, or something that is epic help move your story to the top of the list. The kind of thing that makes you go “Damn, that dude is a badass” after you read it.
– Also included in this are the heartwarming tear-jerkers. Some of the best stories we have ever received stem from unfortunate situations. The passing of a loved one who would have been on the hunt with you, the time afield bringing clarity to a tough time in life, the lack of bowel movements causing abdominal discomfort. All these will help the reader connect with the importance and sentiment of the hunt.