Becoming a Backpack Hunter

I came across this read by a BHA member and friend to the AFI program and thought it was worth sharing as the helpful tips in this book are worth the read for any hunter.


Becoming a Backpack Hunter By: Josh Kirchner

“Refreshing Humility”

Somewhere between deciding you want to hunt in the high country and drawing your first tag, we all find ourselves perusing the various how-to books or any other resources we can find to ensure a successful trip. Among titles such as, Backpacking for Dummies, or Guide to Public Land elk hunting we find Josh Kirchners “Becoming a Backpack Hunter”.

I don’t think I’m doing Josh a disservice by saying his writing clearly isn’t Shakespeare, or Hemingway. Nor is it overly analytical, inadvertently conceded, or preachy. Josh writes as if you are sitting around a campfire with him; refreshingly humble and completely casual in every sense of the word.

Dont take this to mean the information Josh is putting out there is sub-par. Throughout the 200 page how-to guide Josh is painstakingly detailed in every aspect of backpack hunting, from water filtration - to his favorite sweatshirt. Every nugget of information gained from this book is delivered with the humility and kind tones, and self deprecating humor of a grandfather who knows everything because they have already made the mistakes.

What adds to this honest approach to writing is the fact that Josh doesn’t represent any particular brand. Josh uses whatever gear he has found to work best, and is refreshingly honest with what works for him and why. Josh understands that even the most advanced backcountry hunter is only beholden to the mountain. And the mountain hasn’t the time for brand loyalty.

Consistent with his humble approach Josh isn’t afraid to say what he is not an expert in, and freely brings in guest writers who are experts to the increased satisfaction of the reader. An example of this is his section on adult onset hunters. Josh has been a hunter since birth and as such recognizes he might not have the right perspective of an adult who never had his experiences. Josh brings in Eric Voris a longtime friend who can shed light where Josh cannot.

Becoming a Backcountry Hunter isn’t just another how to guide, it is Josh’s stories of lessons learned, missed opportunities, and filled tags. Josh’s book is the one book I would recommend for any aspiring or even accomplished backcountry hunter because not only do you learn the “how’s” of the hunt, you understand the “why”.

“After 5 days in the Colorado mountains we were at each others throats, The next morning we decided with our last 5 days in the stunning Colorado backcountry our number one goal would be to just have fun. The trophy of the backcountry isn’t the harvest, its the ten days seeing parts of the world very few have seen, and in the end I did end up filling my tag”

Josh understands back country hunting isn’t for everyone and that it really shouldn’t be. Joshs book is for the doers of the world, for that select few who are out there for the right reasons. In my opinion there isn’t a BHA member who wouldn’t gain something from reading Becoming a Backpack Hunter.

About Trevor Hubbs

I grew up running hounds on coyotes and raccoons, spent a fair amount of time public land waterfowl hunting, and have hunted upland birds behind my setters across the midwest.

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