Did the Department of Homeland Security Recruit Border Patrol Agents with an Ad in a Hunting Magazine?

The Department of Homeland Security did indeed place recruitment ads for Border Patrol agents in a hunting magazine. This strategic choice taps into a readership familiar with outdoor skills that are valuable in patrolling our nation's borders. What does this tell us about the intersection of hobbies and professional skills? Join the conversation and share your thoughts on this approach.
L. S. Wynn

Yes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security or DHS (more specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection) placed a full page ad in the December/January 2008 issue of Outdoor Life magazine.

The majority of the ads in the December/January 2008 edition of Outdoor Life were for hunting-related products and a few were for products unrelated to hunting. While these advertisements seem to have their place in a hunting magazine, the US Border Patrol ad might stick out to some viewers as offensive.

You have hunted quail in Arkansas, wildebeests in the Serengeti, and grizzlies in Alaska! Come join us at the Border Patrol, and you can pursue the most elusive of all creatures — the Homo Sapien Sapien!

Now, that's obviously an exaggeration; this particular ad doesn't come close to making such a claim, but it isn't as far fetched when you consider the context of the ad. Here are some cropped thumbnails of photos that were published in the same issue as the Border Patrol's recruitment ad:

In defense of the agency, it is probably safe to assume they were targeting the specific demographic the magazine reaches. Targeting specific audiences is standard advertising practice; it is likely that there is a significant overlap between the readership of Outdoor Life and the types of candidates that go on to become effective agents.

Nevertheless, it seems that it would have been more prudent for the Department of Homeland Security to recognize the potential sensitivity of the issue and find more appropriate recruiting outlets. The problem has nothing to do with the recruiting of agents, nor with hunting itself; the issue at hand is the recruiting of Border Patrol agents in a hunting magazine.

This is not the first time the Border Patrol has been accused of being insensitive with its advertising. In 2007, the NFL pulled Border Patrol ads from 200,000 Superbowl Program Guides. According to FOX News, the NFL claimed that "... words like 'terrorists,' 'illegal aliens' and 'drug smugglers' wasn't (sic) appropriate for that venue."

The Border Patrol ad that Appeared in Outdoor Life:

Border Patrol Ad

AD COPY: Working as a Border Patrol Agent is not a job, it is a career. The Office of Border Patrol is looking for men and women just like you; the right men and women to protect our country's southwest border. As a Border Patrol Agent, you will enjoy an excellent salary and great benefits such as:

  • Veteran's preference points
  • Accelerated promotion
  • Earning potential of $70K after 3 years.

Are you up for the challenge? Come work in an exciting environment with wide-open spaces and opportunities to match.

Minimum Requirements:

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Possess a valid driver's license
  • Be under 40 years of age
  • Pass a background investigation, drug test, medical and fitness examination

Other full-page ads and spreads in the same issue of Outdoor Life include:

  • Toyota® Tundra truck
  • Yamaha® Grizzly ATV
  • Skoal® Smokeless Tobacco
  • Cabela's® Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Gear and Supplies
  • Honda® ATV
  • Garmin™ GPS-enabled Dog Tracking System
  • Verizon® Wireless Service and Phones
  • Remington® Electric Shaver
  • Leatherman® Multi-Purpose Tool
  • Stauer® Diamonds
  • Dickies® Clothing
  • Polaris® Ranger Off-Road Utility Vehicle
  • Dinty Moore™ Stew
  • Canadian Mist® Whiskey
  • Suzuki® Off-Road Utility Vehicle
  • Cope® Smokeless Tobacco
  • DPMS Firearms
  • Bass Pro Shops® Fishing Store
  • First Federal Coin Corp Silver Dollars
  • Geico® Vehicle Insurance
  • Sleep Number® Beds
  • National Rifle Association of America (NRA)
  • Redman® Snuff
  • John Deere® Vehicles

More images from the same issue of Outdoor Life Magazine