Backcountry Blog

A blog about issues affecting the backcountry, secret spots (maybe) and hunting and fishing in wild places by traditional means. If you are interested in posting something to the blog, please email your submission to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, to help spread the word about BHA, please feel free to “like” or “share” entries via the integrated facebook links below each entry.

Mentor Monday: Karl Findling

IMG 17 2By Oregon BHA Member, Karl Findling of Oregon Packworks.

I followed my father on many of his favorite hunts from about nine years of age. About the years that a young man was able to walk through the woods; of course at a pace that was reasonable as to not annoy him (as the hunter) too quick of movements when you’re too young--I learned that wild places were the norm from a young age. My father was a depression-era baby.  Hard work was his norm. Wild-places renewed him. The fact that he was 48 when I was born may have kept him young at heart, or the time away from hard work was plain easy. And, it’s possible the pace he moved in the mountains was because it provided a great feeling of freedom when one’s heart is pounding, the views are far reaching and seeing another human rare. His over-the-ground pace as I remember was overwhelming at times and I wondered even then how he could “do it” for a forty-year smoker.

Reflections from a Public Lands Elk Hunt

Oregon CoastBy Oregon BHA Member, Mathew Grady.

In Oregon (and I believe this is true for many Western states, but not so much anywhere else) we have a number of expansive reserves of public land that allow Joe average hunter (myself) to have reasonably easy access to quality hunting opportunities. My personal favorite lies near the northwestern coast, due to access as well as familiarity (meaning I know where the animals are). Unfortunately, it is also centrally located between an agricultural coastal community with a strong tradition of hunting, and a major metropolitan area (Portland and surrounding communities). With an estimated population of 2.5 million people in the Portland Metro alone, if even .1% of them were hunters who wanted to share the woods on the same day as myself, there would be as many as 2500 people out there with me. This number does not include off roaders, nature lovers, and professional timber workers who also utilize the same resources. In other words, there is a tremendous demand for access to this resource, and its value to the area should be glaringly obvious.

To the Top and Back

By BHA Member, Tom Kotlarz of Silent Mountain Outfitters

British Columbia SheepBeautiful country, but just plain nasty weather. That was the sum of my thoughts on a mountain goat hunt I was guiding. To say it was wet was an understatement; if the rest of the season went like this I wasn’t going to need to shower anytime soon, I’d just need some soap. We were glassing a lone Billy from the bottom of the valley floor, and the climb to get to him was looking more and more disconcerting. If you’ve hunted the high country, you know what kind of day this was. Fog was rolling in and out, rain was turning into snow and then back again, all in all, the Weather Gods couldn’t make up their minds. Matter of fact we couldn’t make up our minds either. By the time we climbed up there, it might have fogged in to the point where we couldn’t see 20 feet. Maybe we should kick back and wait a day for the weather to cooperate. Oh yeah, maybe I should say who “we” are.

A Girl’s First Deer

First DeerBy Robyn of Modern Hunters

"Robyn, I've got eyes on a buck and a doe".

Nick had caught sight of them at 1,000 yards, meandering down a shrubby slope into a deep desert basin. As they dropped out of view, we scrambled down to a lower ridge that would allow us to see down. Way down. Within minutes we had our binoculars on them again as they frolicked near the rare natural palm groves shooting straight out of the arid rock and sand. It was the last weekend of rifle season and I had a buck in my sight. If only I could find a way to get to him.

Just that morning I had been feeling dejected. Hordes of raindrops were smashing into our tent walls in the pre-dawn, creating a ruckus that I couldn't sleep through. As I lay there bundled tightly in my sleeping bag I couldn't stop thinking: in the last eight weeks of hunting desert mule deer I had seen only one buck. The odds of seeing one this weekend didn't seem good.

The worst/best Christmas gift

BB GunBy BHA Development Associate, Grant Alban

I was twelve, almost thirteen years old and it was Christmas time.  Having learned long ago that Santa wasn’t real, I passed the stage of wanting a million presents under the tree on Christmas morning.  Now I only wanted one really cool gift, and in my case, that was a gun.  As I grew up, my parents always seemed a little miffed at how their only son, who lived in the suburbs of Southern California, could be so into guns and hunting.  Sure, my grandpa had hunted and kept a respectable mule deer mount over his fireplace that I always fawned over when we visited, but my passion for all things hunting was borderline psycho.  Example:  on road trips I had my mom quiz me on the ballistics chart found in the gun digest books.  Footpounds of energy at the muzzle produced by a .257 Roberts with a 120 grain bullet?  I don’t know the answer now, but I did then… before girls came along and pushed aside all that priceless information. 

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Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

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