I grew up in Pennsylvania where the rolling farmland of the Amish meets the coal filled Appalachians. I grew up exploring the hardwood forests and backpacking throughout the state with the boy scouts and with my father. During my childhood I had fished a little bit with a worm and bobber and occasionally a rooster tail or a panther martin, but fishing didn’t really consume me until I left for college, but fortunately upstate New York has lots of water and fair access. I hadn’t ever considered hunting until learning about ecology and questioning where my food came from, so my freshman year of college I bought my first hunting license.
Fortunately along the way I had a roommate who fly fished, and one look into his box of nymphs convinced me that was how I had to do it. I also had a good friend who hunted the finger lakes since before I was born who taught me about ruffed grouse, and his setters were forgiving of my aim. One of my best friends from home was able to fill in most of the gaps in my education through following me up mountains where we would not find grouse, showing me how to butcher a whitetail in his shed, and how to rig a soft-plastic weedless to pull bucketmouths out of the lakes.
I have worked as a plant technician for the National Park Service, taught kids at a nature based summer camp, worked as a backcountry ranger along the rocky Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail, helped preserve land through a land trust, and just recently I started doing research on the Greater Sage Grouse. I was fortunate enough through my job to be able to move to northeastern Nevada, where I currently live in a trailer on a trout stream thirty miles off the pavement without running water or electricity.
Right now fly tying is what takes up all the space in my mind, but as soon as chukar season opens up I’m sure I will neglect my vise and work on refilling my soft-hackle shelf. I am fortunate to live in an area where I can hunt jackrabbits all year round legally in a manner that has virtually no affect on the population. I am working a career where I am outside everyday and working toward protecting our wildlife and wild places. I got to this point in my life by my own outdoor experiences, and I believe that the best way to protect our wildlife is by educating the youth on hunting, fishing, and woodsmanship to create a new generation of passionate conservationists.