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Gun Dog Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Since 1981, Gun Dog has remained the premier publication for sporting dog owners and upland hunters.

Happy Birthday, Gun Dog

In the fall of 1981, the first issue of Gun Dog magazine hit newsstands and 40 years later, the dream and ambition that was this publication is still alive today—and stronger than ever.

It was the first Editor in Chief, Dave Meisner, that set Gun Dog apart as the premier sporting dog and upland hunting magazine with these words penned in his first Editor’s Letter:

“Gun Dog will devote itself to the entire world of upland and waterfowl dogs, it has set its purpose the enrichment of their lives and those of their human companions. We will provide you with lots of educational and informative offerings, and will entertain you with first rate fiction, humor and nostalgia created exclusively for us by the best outdoor writers in the country. We promise you laughs, we think you may shed a tear now and then, and we hope you learn something.”

Through the past four decades, Gun Dog has lived by those words and honored Meisner’s vision to enrich lives by filling its pages with names iconic to the world of bird dogs and upland hunting. Influential uplanders graced the pages of the magazine from the beginning, including Gene Hill, Richard Wolters, Joel Vance, and even George Bird Evans, whose famous Old Hemlock setter, Briar, was the very first cover dog in 1981.

As the years have passed, Gun Dog has continued to grow and provide informative articles on dog training and upland hunting through a new generation of outdoor writers. It is in the words of trainers such as Bob West, Tom Dokken, Jerry Cacchio, Ed Bailey, Ronnie Smith and Susanna Love, and many more that continue the legacy of Gun Dog magazine and the dream that it started as.

We took Meisner’s words literally when he said we will provide you with lots of educational and informative offerings. You’ve seen the changes first-hand over the past year. The updated large format magazine welcomes new outdoor writers into our Gun Dog family and more pages for information on the pastime you cherish. What’s more, our knowledge surrounding bird dogs and hunting is being shared not only in the physical magazine, but also on a new and improved website and our social media platforms.

The Legacy Continues

In this issue, we pay homage to Gun Dog through the years and highlight upland hunting of yesteryear and how our sport has changed since that first issue hit newsstands in September of 1981. It seemed only fitting that we honor that first cover image and George Bird Evan’s dog, Briar, and commemorate it properly. The talented Bill Harrison ( put his talents to work and drew the setter in his natural element, forever capturing the Old Hemlock with pencil and paper.

This magazine has spanned 40 years because of you and your passion for bird dogs and the uplands. It is our love of watching a young dog put the pieces together, and an unwavering tail on a staunch point; the sound of the flush, and the shaking flanks of a Lab with his eyes to the skies; the drumming of a grouse, and the love of serene solitude shared with your bird dog while overlooking an untouched landscape that keeps this publication anew.

Thank you for your trust and support. We promise to continue the legacy of devoting ourselves to the entire world of upland and waterfowl dogs.

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