July 18, 2023
With sad hearts, Outdoor Sportsman Group announces that Jim Scoutten, co-host of the Shooting USA television program on Outdoor Channel and one of the most iconic voices in the shooting sports industry, has died at the age of 77.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Jim Scoutten,” indicated the Jim Scoutten Shooting USA Facebook page.
“In his thirty years of reporting the shooting sports, Jim played a pivotal role in the industry and will be greatly missed.”
He’ll be especially missed at OSG, where he has been a fixture for many years.
“Jim leaves a strong legacy as a tireless defender of shooting, firearms, and our Second-Amendment rights,” said Mitch Petrie, Vice President of Programming for Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks. “His voice was unique and powerful; we will honor Jim by carrying on in the endless fight to defend the Constitution and will support his family and team as they forge a new future for Shooting USA.”
A Franklin, Tenn. resident, Scoutten's firm but gentle voice and familiar smile were eagerly welcomed into the homes of America's shooting enthusiasts for three decades, an invitation that made him the most watched firearms reporter in industry history thanks to his knowledge of firearms, his passion for the shooting sports, and journalistic integrity that marked his long career.
A mainstream news reporter at the beginning of that career, Scoutten worked initially as a reporter for All News Radio. Upon graduation from broadcasting school, he began his career with television news stints happening in several cities across the U.S., where Scoutten would hold down spots as a reporter, anchor, producer, and news director.
In the early 1990s, Scoutten became a Special Interest Reporter and covered such topics as motorsports, switching to shooting sports when the opportunity arose. That led to a role as producer of the American Shooter television show in 1993, a show that Scoutten produced and hosted for the better part of a decade as he worked in a field and covered a topic that he was passionate about as a firearms industry enthusiast and staunch defender of the Second Amendment.
During his tenure, the American Shooter TV program became the highest-rated outdoors television program in history, garnering more than one million fans nationwide.
In recent years, Scoutten has been a part of the Shooting USA program, a show that he has co-hosted with his eldest son John, and the Sighting In with Shooting USA program, both series appearing on Outdoor Channel along with full seasons on My Outdoor TV (MOTV).
A weekly program running all year long, Scoutten's Shooting USA episodes ran the full gamut of shooting disciplines from Cowboy Action Shooting to muzzleloading to shotgunning's trap and sporting clays and even long-range rifle shooting and quick-draw competitions. New products were covered regularly, along with firearms industry news and the history of various guns, all being fair game on each week’s episodes.
With some three decades of hosting shooting sports and firearms industry television programming, Scoutten remained one of the sport's most familiar faces and trusted voices for a quarter century plus, prior to his passing.
A part of thousands of shows during the course of his legendary career, Scoutten was inducted into Garry Mason's Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2018 after his 25th year of shooting sports broadcasting. Incidentally, his son John, a competition shooter and veteran TV host and producer in his own right, received the same honor that his father did the next year.
“Jim Scoutten has been reporting the stories of the shooting industry and the competitive shooting disciplines since 1993”, said Garry Mason, founder of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame, following the group's board of directors selecting Scoutten for the honor. “In 25 years of broadcasting on four national networks, he’s done more to popularize the shooting sports than any other individual or organization, reaching multiple generations with the invitation to bring out your guns and enjoy some competition.”
After Scoutten was selected, he noted that what Mason had indicated was in many ways the hope for each episode that had been filmed.
“That’s always been the message in every show," he said in response. "Doesn’t this look like fun? Don’t these people seem like folks you’d enjoy shooting with? Now, here’s how to get involved.”
During Scoutten’s watch, the industry might have changed somewhat, but the focus of his show never did.
“When we started, the top shooters showed up for a match in jeans and a plaid shirt,” he said. “Now their sponsors recognize the national exposure we bring to competition and the shooters are as logoed-up in their uniforms as NASCAR drivers. And the top shooters have become celebrities to our audience.”
In many ways, Scoutten was also a celebrity to the audience, but he never backed off his journalistic integrity to polish any such image. An enthusiastic supporter of firearms and shooting sports throughout his career, Scoutten didn't shy away from controversial topics of the day, offering reasonable solutions to problems troubling America.
Last summer, he appeared on The Revolution outdoors radio show and offered his thoughts on safeguarding schools from shootings. Instead of a quick fix sought by vote-seeking politicians, he suggested equipping staff and teachers with practical violence response training that could serve as a crucial and life-saving measure for school districts nationwide.
To the end, Scoutten remained enthusiastic and busy in his chosen career field, an inspiration and leader that was recognized by his peers and colleagues.
While the firearms industry and shooting sports world try to soak in the sad news of his passing today, it's also a great time to remember the smiling face and familiar words that Scoutten spoke into the TV cameras so often during his career:
"As always, shoot safely, shoot often, and keep 'em in the 10 ring."
Thanks for the memories Jim Scoutten, and we here at OSG will try to do just that.
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