Change.

It's the word of the year.

After Barack Obama's stunning and historic win in the recent presidential election, change is on everyone's mind. Along with "hope," it was President-elect Obama's major theme during his campaign.

Change can be a good thing. Or it can be something entirely different.

When you consider that America has had an uprecedented period of economic growth and prosperity over the last 26 years, does "change" mean we'll get the opposite?

Who knows? But time will certainly tell the tale.

And heck, maybe Obama will surprise us. Maybe he'll push to restrict gun-control laws, allowing law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against hell-bent criminals. Maybe he'll lower taxes and shrink government involvement in our lives. Maybe he'll actually stop the rise of the oceans, as he's promised.

Yeah, and maybe wild monkeys will fly out of my ... um, nevermind.

Change is in the air, and not just in politics.

If you're a regular Louisiana Sportsman reader, you've likely already noticed that this issue looks a little different. Actually, as you flip some more pages, you'll see it looks a lot different.

That's because we've spent a considerable amount of time over the last year constructing a redesign. What you hold now in your hands is the culmination of several months' worth of tinkering and piddling to get just the right look.

We hope you'll like the final result as much as we do.

The pages are sharper, cleaner and more reader-friendly, which means you'll have a more enjoyable experience tearing into the information that will make you more successful as you go into our woods and onto our waters.

So clear your schedule, take a seat in your favorite chair and devour your first Christmas present — the all-new, redesigned Louisiana Sportsman.

And when you're through, please drop us a line and let us know what you think. You can post your thoughts on www.lasmag.com, or send them to me at toddm@lasmag.com or P.O. Box 1199, Boutte, LA 70039.

We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas, and an even better New Year.