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.


Packrafting Opens Backcountry Hunting and Fishing Options

Packraft1I glanced down off the trail and noticed a deep pool with a strong current going through it.  There was a steep downhill slide to the pool, but if I had learned anything about backcountry fishing, it was that pools like this are worth fishing.  I scrambled down and let my “hopper-dropper” float through the rapid.  The hopper almost immediately popped under, indicating something had taken my “dropper” (in this case a copper john).  I caught one hard-fighting, 16” cut-throat on each sides of the pool.  As I climbed back onto the trail, I felt fully alive and in love with backcountry fishing.  Over a fire that night, my friend Benn and I discussed our amazing two days of fishing in the Bob Marshall. 

A Sneak Peek into the Backcountry Journal

BCJ Spring2015 coverThe spring issue of Backcountry Journal is getting great reviews from our members! Haven’t read it yet?

Here’s a little sample with our Executive Director’s column and cool story from Hannah Ryan, one of our Montana Chapter board members, about stocking trout in an alpine, wilderness lake using her family’s pack goats.

Also inside is an instructional backcountry first aid piece as well as a fly fishing essay from David James Duncan, award-winning author of The River Why and The Brothers K.

Join Backcountry Hunters & Anglers today to promptly receive your copy in the mail, and quartlery issues for the next year!

Book Review: Woman of the Boundary Waters

The following book review was written by BHA's, Holly Endersby

USM260Woman of the Boundary WatersWoman of the Boundary Waters:  Canoeing, Guiding, Mushing and Surviving by Justine Kerfoot. 

Wanted: woman with guts, determination, humor and ingenuity. Be able to act as fishing and hunting guide, cook, electrician, carpenter, plumber and dog team trainer. Must be willing to work for a pittance. 

If Justine Kerfoot were to write her own job description, that would be it. As owner and operator, Kerfoot made a legend of Gunflint Lodge in the border lake country between Minnesota and Canada. At a time when most women were traditional homemakers, this small, slim woman was a big game and fishing guide, survived killing winter conditions, trapped, became an accomplished dog sled musher, resort manager, a jack-of-all-trades, professional writer and, the mother of three children. Beginning in 1927 when her parents bought Gunflint Lodge as a summer resort, Kerfoot was besotted with the North Country.Her own words describe her conversion from city girl to wilderness lover:“An infinitesimal speck in the cosmos, I stood on the shore of Gunflint Lake beneath a great white pine. And I knew I was home.”Those who have felt that surge of soul recognition will understand Justine’s words.

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.

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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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