We’ve All Lost A Friend

Jul 20, 2023

Hearing a deep “So… whattaya know” when answering my phone always brought a smile to my face.

It was a standard greeting from my longtime friend Jim Scoutten when he initiated one our too-infrequent catch-up phone calls. Calls that went on considerably longer than either of us would admit -and were marked with bursts of raucous laughter.

On Tuesday, a text message from his eldest son and TV successor, John, told me there wouldn’t be any more of those calls coming. Our friend, Jim Scoutten, 77, passed away yesterday after a brief illness.

For some of us, this loss is deeply personal.

For the thousands of us in the shooting community, it’s a sense of collective loss.

We’ve lost a friend and fellow shooter, an unapologetic Second Amendment supporter, and a guy we happily invited into our homes for more than three decades.

Jim Scoutten, 1945-2023

Jim Scoutten has been a permanent, positive figure -a celebrity, if you will- in the shooting industry and with outdoor television enthusiasts’ TV screens for three decades. He played a pivotal role in helping launch the careers of many of our sport’s best-known figures. He helped turn shooters into personalities by showing them as people.

My first experiences with Scoutten came when we were both “car guys”- I was writing reviews, he was filming them on MotorTrend TV. He was always the guy who understood his material, from the horsepower of the latest muscle car to the capabilities of the latest caliber offerings from the gun companies. He immersed himself in the technology.

He genuinely loved what he did.

But he also had a soft spot for people and a gift at telling their stories. He effortlessly wove words and visuals to create a tapestry of our world.

If you want good storytelling, go watch Trevor’s Story or Old Sniper on YouTube. If they don’t make you want to learn more, do more, and enjoy more shooting, you’re probably not paying attention.

While he never considered himself a “celebrity” Scoutten never hesitated to be accommodating to fans like our mutual friend Vince Durso (top) or fan and fellow celebrity, Julie Golob (below).

Whether he and his team were telling us about the work involved in covering a major trade show, the excitement of 3-gun or Steel Challenge (he called it drag racing with guns) or showcasing the awe-inspiring talents of the great shooters like Jerry Miculek, Tom Knapp or Byron Ferguson and his longbow, Scoutten’s ability to tell stories formed the backbone of the visual experiences.

Scoutten loved his industry, his family, his friends and this business. And “the voice” -smooth on most occasions and gruff at others, belied a soft heart that never hesitated to help when he saw a need.

His loss is being felt in more places than we can imagine, but it is a profound loss for wife Johnnie, sons, John and Mike, stepson Michael Burroughs and his eight grandchildren.

But, in true Scoutten fashion, they’re keeping on.

“It goes without saying that one of the all-time industry greats has left the range,” says son and successor, John, “the tradition, however, will continue and Tier One is committed to producing Shooting USA at the high standards set by Jim for the last 30 years.”

“It’s my job,” he says, “to honor Jim’s legacy by keeping the good news of the shooting sports in front of as many people as possible.”

For those of us who are mourning the loss, that’s good news.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

— Jim Shepherd

Editor’s Note: In lieu of flowers, the Scoutten family respectfully requests donations in Jim’s memory to the Alive Hospice Foundation.