The backcountry: It’s the most remote, isolated, undeveloped, and hard to reach place we can go. It offers no mercy and can chew you up and spit you out, no matter how prepared you went in. Yet for many of us, the backcountry is always calling for our return. We go there to find solitude, to test ourselves, to pursue the unknown, and to spend time living outside our comfort zones.
Its no secret that the backcountry provides much of the best big game habitat there is, and that its steep walls and deep valleys deter many hunters from going in and taking the trophies it grows. Sure, most would agree that acre for acre, public backcountry areas hold more trophy animals than any other collective land type out there. But for many of us who hunt these areas year in and year out, the trophy potential is just a small piece of what calls us back.
At some point in each of our pasts there was turning point- a striking realization that the backcountry had grabbed our hearts and didn’t let go. Maybe it was an awe-inspiring sunrise view from a ridge that few people have reached. Perhaps it was the feeling of accomplishment after reaching a place that you’d always wanted to reach. Possibly it was a sequence of moments shared with someone close that wouldn’t have been the same if it happened anywhere outside of the backcountry. This early defining moment, whatever it may have been, captivated us- perhaps to the point of obsession. This enthrallment with hunting the backcountry happened to me at age 13. I had plenty of previous field experience hunting upland birds with my grandpa and pigs with my dad and our dogs; but it wasn’t until my dad took me on a backpack deer hunt in the Ruby Mountains that I felt the life-changing emotions that a backcountry hunt can provide.
Reflecting back now, that single experience has largely influenced the way my life has evolved ever since. Over the course of that week long hunt, I gained a small bank of knowledge on things that apply not only to hunting, but to life. I learned about test of self, patience and persistence, when to work harder and when to work smarter, as well as the direct correlation between effort and success. Naturally, my interest in gear was sparked as well.
Thirteen years, hundreds of days and nights spent living out of a pack, dozens of successful hunts, and who knows how many gear changes later, I still find myself building upon the same basic lessons my dad taught me on that initial introduction to the backcountry. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to venture into numerous mountain ranges throughout various states to fulfill my calling along the way.
After graduating college in the Spring of 2013, the stars aligned and I began working at KUIU. This opportunity brought my ability to study gear advancements to a whole new level, not to mention the wealth of knowledge in contacts such a job opens access to. As a new project for 2015 I will be contributing content of various subjects to this page, The Hunt. These pieces shall address anything and everything from frequently asked how-to’s, gear related articles, customer interviews, photo essays, hunt stories, KUIU behind the scenes, and more.
If you share the same feelings toward backcountry hunting as described above, then we should get along great.
Please check back soon for more, and never hesitate to interact in the comments section. If there’s a subject you’d like to see covered in The Hunt, feel free to email me at email@example.com.