About two weeks ago, rumors started to surface around the internet that the Varmint Hunters Association had “closed”. As word began to spread, folks reported the VHA phone number as being disconnected and that emails were going unanswered. Then, a couple of days ago, the VHA Facebook page disappeared, along with the Varmint Hunters Association website a day later. I requested more information from a friend of mine who writes for the Varmint Hunter Magazine, and he reported that the VHA is out of business and that they have ceased publication of the Varmint Hunter Magazine.
It is a sad day when another major publication that is geared towards the varmint hunting, small caliber, precision shooting, population goes out of business. Since its inception in the early 1990s, the Varmint Hunter Magazine was something that many folks looked forward to every quarter! Years ago, at the height of its popularity, people would actually post when they received the newest magazine in the mail, with others in the far west bemoaning the fact that they had to wait another day or two to get their copy. One of the Varmint Hunter Magazine’s “trademark” features after the first few issues, was a beautiful, high-quality, close-up photo of a varmint, or fur-bearer, on the front page of every issue. The covers became almost as popular as the information included in the magazine, with their covers with coyotes, bobcats, wolves and other unique animals that you normally don’t see gracing the cover of any magazine, being the most popular.
The rise of the VHA was due to the immense support from its members, who consistently submitted pictures and well-written articles, that were devoid of the corporate speak that we often find in other print magazines today. Reaching the goal of getting into the 500 yard club, or seeing your picture in the magazine, were just a couple of reasons for the dedication that members gave towards the club. It was exciting to share your adventures with other folks from around North America! The yearly jamboree at the VHA property and clubhouse drew hundreds of die-hard varmint hunters to South Dakota every year, making the experience real for folks who belonged to the “club” and gave them a chance to meet with other club members from around North America.
When we here at Varminter heard that the Varmint Hunters Association reported to be closed, it caused quite a bit of shock and definitely sadness. Jeff and Jackie Rheborg began something that meant the world to a lot of people. We are sure that the demise of this wonderful magazine also means a great loss to the Rheborgs, who spent decades pouring their hearts and souls into creating a masterpiece for us lowly varmint hunters. After the loss of the Small Caliber News and Precision Shooting, it was the only magazine left that kept coming. Until now.
Our hats are off to everyone who brought this magazine to fruition and worked so hard to make it the quality publication that it was over the last 24 years, particularly Jeff and Jackie Rheborg and their long-time editor, John Anderson…
(Varminter.com and Varminter Magazine is not affiliated with the Varmint Hunters Association, or the Varmint Hunter Magazine in any way)