- Writers’ Guidelines
- Hunting/Fishing Writers’ Guidelines
- Photography/Artwork Guidelines
- Submitting Queries and Assigned Articles
Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Outdoor Magazine of Texas, is a monthly magazine published by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We are looking for strong, well-researched and eloquently written stories on all aspects of the Texas outdoors. Texas Parks & Wildlife covers state park destinations, conservation issues, trends, and such outdoor activities as fishing, hunting, camping, bicycling, canoeing and hiking. Keep in mind that we publish many features that don't necessarily fit into the categories listed below.
- This front-of-the-book department is a collection of short (100-300 words), lively articles covering news and trends in the outdoors across the state.
- Skill Builder
- How do you tie fishing knots? Train your dog to avoid rattlesnakes? Pack a first-aid kit? These authoritative how-to lessons (700 words) brief readers on a variety of outdoor skills.
- Wild Thing, Flora Fact
- These short (700 words) articles feature Texas animals and plants and their unique characteristics.
- This department (1,200 words) encompasses a wide range of stories, mostly with a touch of history. We’ve run stories on people who’ve left a legacy on the Texas outdoors (wildlife artist Orville Rice, duck hunting guide and conservationist Jimmy Reel), legends (tales of the Big Thicket), and lore (the horned lizard and other natural history pieces).
- This department (1,200 words) takes readers on a short trip to a Texas destination. Outdoor activities are encouraged in these articles, which can also cover restaurants, museums, sights, history and culture.
- State Parks
- These destination pieces (1,500-2,500 words) cover a Texas state park in a compelling way that would make readers consider visiting it. Stories have included “Glorious Goliad,” bass fishing at Possum Kingdom and hiking in Pedernales. Stories should convey a strong sense of place, weave in the natural history of the park and describe the primary activities. Include a sidebar on facilities, how to get there, and reservations phone number.
- Conservation stories
- Stories have included “Crabbers Sing the Blues: A Losing Season for Blue Crab” and a feature on the fate of the prairie dog. These pieces must be informed by good science and reflect a balanced approach. Include quotes from experts at TPWD, reliable research universities or elsewhere.
- Recreation stories
- These features can cover camping, hiking, biking, paddling and more. They can be your own personal adventure or an account of someone else's, written to convey a sense of adventure and exploration. Past stories have featured mountain biking at Big Bend Ranch and hiking at Guadalupe Mountains.
- Hunting/fishing stories
- Stories should emphasize the legacy, community or philosophy of hunting rather than merely shooting game. Include quotes from experts at TPWD if possible. See below for further guidelines.
We prefer that stories be written in an active rather than passive voice.
Use present tense when possible.
Use good quotes. Quotes from 2-3 experts, whether from inside or outside TPWD, add much to the reliability of a story. A pithy quote is also an excellent way to help paint a picture for the reader. Sidebars, subheads and other devices for breaking up copy are welcome.
- Be aware of the magazine’s audience.
- Hunting and fishing stories should emphasize the challenges, pleasures and rewards of the entire outdoor experience rather than simply the taking of game. Many of our readers are neither hunters nor anti-hunters, and we want to build as many bridges as we can with that group, showing them that hunters share many of their interests.
- Readers love to learn about a hunter or fisher who is passionately interested in
wildlife-viewing, wildflowers or other outdoor-related activities. Such experiences
can be included either in the main body of the story or in a sidebar, as appropriate.
If you enjoy watching neotropical migratory birds while spring turkey hunting, you could
do a sidebar on what species you saw and that can probably be seen in the area covered
in the story, and give birding tips. Other ideas for sidebars include:
- -- information about requirements for hunting or fishing on public lands
- -- the best places to hunt or fish for a particular species on public or private lands
- -- tips on the best hunting or fishing methods (unless that is the main thrust of the story)
- -- conservation programs or successes related to the species in the article (TPWD programs and others)
- -- threats to the continued survival of the species in the article and what is being done about them, especially if hunter/fisher groups or funds generated by hunters and fishers are helping fund the effort
- -- experiences related to introducing someone to the outdoors
- -- recipes for preparing wild game or fish
- Harvesting of Game.
- Since TPW magazine is a general-interest, family-oriented magazine, hunting and fishing stories, while dealing honestly and matter-of-factly with the fact that game is harvested, should take care to avoid emphasizing body count and killing. It is usually not necessary to give details on the methods used to harvest animals. It is sufficient to say that the animal was shot, or boated, or released or that the hunt ended with the successful taking of the game (or not). Naturally, articles dealing with specific hunting or fishing techniques will go into considerable detail of this type, but it should be done tastefully. If you provide photos, no pictures of mounted animals, please see photo guidelines.
- Use care in dealing with issues that affect conservation.
- Hunters and fishers are as concerned as anyone with caring for game and the habitat where it lives, and this needs to come through in articles in the way we show respect for game and the environment, not to mention the sensibilities of our readers. Avoid graphic descriptions of blood and gore while being honest about the fact that game is harvested. Show respect for the game in both text and photographs. Some examples of ways to handle this follow.
No: Among the five of us, we had 50 dead geese piled up on the ground.
Yes: Each of us took our limit of geese.
(The body count is not important, but the way you treat harvested game is.)
No: On the way to my blind, I killed a rattlesnake.
Yes: On the way to my blind, I was startled by a rattlesnake.
(You may indeed kill a rattlesnake while hunting, but we don’t want to hear about it, nor do we want to rile readers who object to such behavior.)
No: I cut a limb from a tree to probe for hidden obstacles in the water.
Yes: I used a stick to probe for hidden obstacles in the water.
(Harming vegetation is forbidden on most public land, and many private landowners don’t appreciate it, either.)
- Digital images may be submitted in either 8 bit TIFF (uncompressed) or JPG. Please do not upsize. A good guideline for resolution is 8 x 12 inches @ 300 dpi (uncropped) or 2400 x 3600 pixels.
- Each image needs to contain a caption (description of place, action, and identification of identifiable people and wildlife…common names are fine). Also fill out the creditline or copyright in the IPTC so the magazine knows how you would like to be credited next to your image (i.e….© Your Name or Your Company Name or Your Website, etc.).
- It is a good idea to have some contact information in the metadata filled out (at least Creator and Email).Photographs of a location (such as a state park) should evoke a sense of place. Photos should show an intelligent selection of subject and time of day. The magazine is looking for images that evoke emotion and wonder in our readers, both about their personal surroundings and Texas as a whole.
- The magazine is publishes general views, details and portraits of people or wildlife. Animals need to be from Texas and in Texas locations with a few exceptions (i.e. rare or endangered species or Texas species with a background that can’t be identified as non-Texan). No pictures of dead or mounted animals, please.
- Contributors can send their files via digital transfer. Images can be downloaded to the TPWD secure File Sharing system (Access is through a temporary link we send you via email). They can also be sent via dropbox or lightbox. Other methods include online large file transfers via services like WeTransfer, Hightail or FileSender. Images can also be sent via mail on CD/DVD or Flashdrives (they will not be returned).
Payment photo schedule:
Front cover: $500
Wraparound and gatefold: $400
Other covers: $250
Inside color rate per individual picture
More than a full page: $180
Three-quarters to a full page: $165
One-half to three-quarters of a page: $125
Less than one-half to a quarter of a page: $80
Less than a quarter of a page: $40
- Payment is upon publication.
- The magazine retains possession of
color separations for all photos and art published. No original separations leave the
magazine, but duplicates are available at cost. Occasionally, other publications
request the use of Texas Parks & Wildlife separations. No freelance material will be
released without the permission of the contributor, but it will be the responsibility
of the contributor to arrange for compensation from the requesting publication.
Texas Parks & Wildlife will exercise care in the handling of all material received, but the department will not be responsible for loss or damage.
Editorial OfficesTexas Parks & Wildlife magazine
4200 Smith School Road, Bldg. D
Austin, TX 78744
Phone: (512) 389-8793
- Please submit query letters, including no more than two story ideas per letter, with three published clips to:
- Louie Bond, Editor
- All photos should be submitted to:
- Sonja Sommerfeld, Photo Director
- Please submit assigned articles by email as an attachment or pasted in as text. Be sure your name, address and phone number are on your manuscript.