Thanks to long-time acquaintance Darren Choate of Western Whitetail for taking the time to answer some questions. If you are into Western Whitetails, you need to check out his online site, forum and magazine!
The Desert Rat: So,why a magazine dedicated to western whitetails?
Darren Choate: I have been a freelance outdoor writer and photographer for about 10 years now. I love writing and taking photos for other publications, but something was missing, I wanted something that I had more of a stake in the creation and decision-making process. So, I took my biggest passion, Coues deer, and wrapped it around what I felt was a void in the publication industry, Western Whitetail hunting.
There are six unique sub-species found in the West: Carmen Mountain, Columbian, Coues, Dakota, Northwest, and Texas. Unlike Midwest deer hunting, each western sub-species offers a distinct hunting experience that can be as fun and exciting as any hunt in North America.
Our summer issue of Western Whitetail magazine was just released, and it’s free. Enjoy it here.
Why the online format? Any plans to ever go to print?
The biggest reason we went online was to use a blog format, which is a great tool for dissemination. However, after only two issues of our magazine in that format we chose to make it look and feel more like a magazine. Although the magazine is digital, we have a ton of flexibility in what we can offer to advertisers, such as direct links to specific web pages straight from our publication. For our readers, it is always there 24/7/365! Recently, we have discussed a print version, but right now, we are keeping our focus on pioneering the digital move.
This is a very well put-together magazine. What are some things you are trying to do differently than other magazines (besides the focus on western whitetails)?
Well, besides our focus and digital presence, we hope to have what we feel is a quality magazine that promotes ethical hunting and that accentuates the western whitetail sub-species, fair chase, tradition, and family. So many magazines have a focus on just killing the biggest animals, which is fine, but it leaves out a large percentage of what I believe hunting is about, and that should be included as much as possible.
What have been some of the challenges that you didn’t expect in putting this together?
One of the challenges for me is to take it one step at a time. There are several opportunities to grow our product, but we can’t move too fast. We will have some exciting new features in the coming months and years.
How has the interest been, so far?
The interest is there, and we are growing our audience every month. To help, we are launching an online hunting show this fall, which will begin in August. The web show will be broadcasted from our new domain, www.westernwhitetail.tv, on our YouTube channel, and on www.deerhunt.tv.
I will be the host of the show, and will be hunting Coues deer in Arizona, Northwest whitetail in Washington, Texas whitetail in far-West Oklahoma, and Carmen Mountain whitetail in Texas. We will also include a youth Coues hunt and an archery Coues hunt, where a friend of mine takes a 122-inch Coues buck (gross, green score). There will be six episodes from August through January, one a month.
What’s your dream hunt?
I would say Coues whitetail, but I do get to hunt Coues every year. So, I would have to say Northwest whitetail in Canada. I would really love to hunt there next year. I am hopeful that I can put together a hunt for our online show in 2013, in Alberta, Saskatchewan or British Columbia. They have some bruiser, massive bucks there, and I would love to take one with a bow early in the year.