Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Sad Goodbye

I arrived at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, NV and had a quick chat with two employees of Grand View Media. After exchanging some pleasantries, I pried for information regarding my status as a writer for Predator Xtreme magazine. I had a good idea of what the answer would be, and I was right. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.

It all started at SHOT Show 2009 in Orlando, FL. My editor tasked me with an e-caller roundup and capabilities test. I eagerly undertook my task and began hounding manufacturers for test units. Many were very interested and agreed. Some were hesitant but desired the free advertisement. Others were dead-set against it. After several months of prodding and checking the mail, I had most of my units. One of the companies that balked at the idea was FoxPro. They wanted more information regarding the testing process. While at lunch with my wife and a friend, I received a call from Mike Dillon of FoxPro. After some small talk, we got to the heart of the matter. I explained the e-caller test and he questioned my ability to test them properly. As further due diligence, he wanted to schedule a conference call between a cohort from FoxPro and myself. I agreed knowing that this call would be a vetting process. The conference call never happened due to Foxpro’s scheduling conflicts. I eventually got word from PX that FoxPro had declined to be involved in the e-caller test. I was actually relieved having heard stories about FoxPro’s mafia-like tactics with writers and editors. I thought the problem was over and smooth seas were ahead. For a time, they were.

My editor had been invited to attend the World Coyote Calling Championships (WCCC) in Cortez, CO. Unfortunately, he had scheduled a deer hunt and would be unable to attend. I got the nod. The event went well. I hunted the event and killed a few dogs. I covered the ceremonies for PX and took photos. I got the chance to speak with several notables from the predator hunting industry. I thought the event went well. As soon as I got home, I got an email from PX stating that Mike Dillon had pulled FoxPro’s advertisement from Predator Xtreme because of something I said at the WCCC. Knowing that nothing was said, I played the game and asked what I had said. I was told that I would know what I had been accused of saying as soon as anyone found out. A month went by with no word. Finally at SHOT, I found out that in order to keep FoxPro as an advertiser, I had to be fired. Let me rephrase so there is no misunderstanding about what happened. FoxPro threatened to pull its $250,000 per year’s worth of advertisement unless I was fired.

So, the question you may be asking yourself is, “What did Charles say to make them do that?” I hate to let you down, but the truth of the matter is that nothing was said. When pushed, Mike did not come up with anything that I said. Then Mike’s issue with me became my articles. He said that he had an arm’s length list of errors in my “Intro to E-Calls” article. Despite several requests from PX, no list was ever received. Nevertheless, it was determined that I should be let go to keep the advertiser happy and the money flowing.

It is a sad truth in the industry. These are troubling economic times and print media is struggling. Editors are losing pages, advertisers are rolling back ad size, and the money belt is tightening. Some titles have been abandoned, and everyone is feeling the crunch. Advertisers wield more power than ever. Companies like FoxPro control content with their dollars, which is why articles have turned into glorified product placement ads.

So, why would a company like FoxPro want me fired? On the surface, it makes no sense. I didn’t review their products, and I have never made public statements about FoxPro. I neither mention them in radio interviews nor during my seminars. There must be a reason…and there is, but the truth will have to wait a little while longer.

Mike’s course of action puzzles me. It would have been much easier for them to control me had I remained with PX. I would have simply remained silent and loyal to PX, its readership, and Grand View Media’s general interests. When FoxPro forced PX to set me free, it liberated my obligation to the magazine and its publishing group, and best of all, it loosened the gag.

As a result of my liberation, I have established Science of the Hunt Outdoor Writing (, a place where you can find information regarding shooting and hunting products. It is intended to be a place where consumers can get the info they need to make informed decisions. So I’m forced to say goodbye to PX. Onward and upward.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats disapointing. I myself will no longer concider buying any of there products bc of that. You were one of the best writers they had and find more use in your writings than hours of coy videos.Probably still going to read px though... sorry! C.L.T.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles R. Shawley said...

I appreciate your kind words regarding my articles, and I do not fault you for continuing to read PX magazine. However, I do want you to understand that magazines like PX have their content controlled by advertisers. You aren't likely to read the truth regarding products and their capabilities as long as companies like FoxPro run the show. Who would have thought an e-caller company could buy an entire magazine!?!

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Mr. Dillon has gotten too big for his britches.
He forgets where he came from and who put him there.
The same ones can take him off of his pedestal.

"The toes you step on today could be connected to the foot in your ass tommorrow"

Snuff Jaw said it

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can assure you your not the target of bashing on a certain forum. In fact we aplaud you for your actions in speaking out.

And for your info that certain site still counts every member as an active member. Though many have left there over the years.

And when I get more time I am going to check out your book and see what you mised ;-)

1:52 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles R. Shawley said...

I appreciate your comment. Let me know what I missed, and I'll try to get it in the next edition.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Shawley,
I have recently been made aware of what has happened to you concerning PX and a certain website. You need to come check us out at another website that would be more than happy to have you.
Most of us have been excommunicated from a certain website and for the most part despise both Foxpro and PX. Can't wait to see you there.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles R. Shawley said...

I don't really despise PX. I kind of feel bad for the magazine. The former editor, my editor, Ralph Lermayer was fired for essentially the same reason. It is sad to see one company run everything the way they do. For example, I used to be a guest on the Predator Hunting Talkcast every now and then. FoxPro bought the show and its host, Brian Downs, and I was promptly banned from ever being a guest again. Brian and I were friends, and I understand that he needed some sponsors, but now he answers to the Dillons.

5:11 PM  

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