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

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated Mar 05, 2024

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Did the Department of Homeland Security really use a hunting magazine to recruit Border Patrol agents?

Yes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has utilized various recruitment strategies, including placing ads in hunting magazines. This approach targets individuals with outdoor skills and a familiarity with challenging terrain, which are valuable in border patrol operations. Such recruitment efforts aim to attract candidates with a specific set of skills suitable for the demands of border security.

What skills from hunting are transferable to Border Patrol duties?

Hunters often possess a unique skill set that aligns with Border Patrol requirements, including tracking, navigation, and survival skills in remote areas. They are typically proficient in handling firearms and have a heightened awareness of their surroundings. These competencies are crucial for agents who patrol the vast and varied landscapes along the nation's borders.

How does the DHS ensure that recruited hunters meet the professional standards of Border Patrol agents?

The DHS has a rigorous selection process that includes background checks, fitness tests, and extensive training at the Border Patrol Academy. Candidates, regardless of their previous experience, must meet the same high standards of law enforcement knowledge, ethics, and professional conduct to become Border Patrol agents.

Is targeting hunters for recruitment a common practice among law enforcement agencies?

While not universally common, it is not unusual for law enforcement agencies to target hunters for recruitment. Agencies often look for individuals with experience in outdoor activities, marksmanship, and a strong sense of self-reliance. These qualities are beneficial for roles in rural and wilderness law enforcement, including fish and game wardens and border patrol agents.

What other methods does the DHS use to recruit Border Patrol agents?

The DHS employs a multifaceted approach to recruitment, including online job postings, career fairs, military transition programs, and partnerships with colleges. They also use social media campaigns and public service announcements to reach a broader audience. The goal is to attract a diverse pool of applicants with various skills and backgrounds.

How has the public responded to the use of hunting magazines for recruiting Border Patrol agents?

Public response to the DHS's use of hunting magazines for recruitment has been mixed. Some people see it as a smart strategy to tap into a skilled demographic, while others raise concerns about the message it sends regarding the nature of Border Patrol work. The DHS maintains that their recruitment strategies are designed to find individuals with the necessary skills to protect the nation's borders effectively.

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