Babbs in the Woods: Which way is your Buckmark facing?

Talk about a perfect example of excellence in branding … I give you the Browning Buckmark. No, actually, Browning gave that to us about 32 years ago in 1978. Designed by Browning art director Don Bailey, the Buckmark debuted as part of the Browning Centennial celebration. Since then, it has appeared on plenty of Browning’s products, but also on flesh of its customers – as a popular tattoo.

Here's the Buckmark in pink, but it comes in other colors and even Stars and Stripes!

Back to the history behind the Buckmark. The story goes that Browning wanted to diversify and protect itself from a waning gun industry back in the 1970s. Looking to expand its clothing line, salesmen in the company pointed to the success of Izod and its branding of the alligator. In 1977, the company execs gave the go-ahead to Browning’s marketing department to find a logo. Bailey chose an abstract mule deer and according to the history of the Buckmark in the Browning library, Bailey said it represented “a huge mossback buck walking away from the hunter and then, as they often do, taking one last look over his shoulder.”

At first, some in the company did not warm to the logo. Others liked it, and defended it for its appeal not only to hunters, but also to fishers and campers, as these outdoorsmen also enjoy seeing wildlife like bucks. Also, the mule deer symbolizes the West and Browning has its origins in the West.

After it was accepted, another employee at Browning told Bailey that he appreciated seeing the image of a doe within a Buckmark. I’m still looking for that. Is it like those dot pictures and only some people can see it? Or is it just the buck without antlers?

Whatever it is – a buck or a buck and doe – it works, as millions of people show others their Buckmarks everyday. Note: The buck should be facing to the left as you look at it. Many tattoo artists miss this fact, and as a consequence you’ll see tattoos with Buckmarks facing to the right.

You may enter a “Show Us Your Buckmark Contest” here. But for Heaven’s sake, point your Buckmark in the right direction, if possible!

~Barbara Baird

Yep, I wear a Buckmark hat when I fish! Photo by Jason Baird.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


The Conversation

  • Kevin Howard says: July 2, 2010 at 10:15 am


    The doe in the Browning logo is in the middle of the logo. It is outlined by the buck logo. You can clearly see a doe’s head if you just look at the center and not any of the lines. It is a great logo that is recognized all over the world. It is also a sign of brand loyalty by thousands of consumers who have all types of items with the Buckmark logo on them.

    • Women's Outdoor News says: July 2, 2010 at 10:20 am


      Thanks for the clarification. I was hoping that’s where it was … because that’s what I thought I saw. But, then again, I’m always tricked by those “can you see this in that puzzle”! Thanks for commenting at The WON.

  • Bill Bowers says: June 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Another excellent Babbs in the Woods column. Barbara has a way of writing about something ordinary and familiar (like the Browning Buckmark) in a wonderfully fresh and interesting manner that makes for a fascinating read.

    Thanks, Babbs, and please keep ’em coming.

  • BDronen says: June 29, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Go Girl!!!